Thinking is Either Based on Made-Up Stuff or Divine Revelation
When people go beyond what God has revealed, the only option is making stuff up.
This question came from a discussion group, a Christian writer’s group.
Reality places some restrictions on what’s rational and what’s not. “Reason” is the first book in the set, and it covers the subject comprehensively. It’s 410 pages on 8.5X11 in #12 Times Roman font. Most of that is dealing with misconceptions and objections, so I’ll give you a quick summary without trying to deal with all the questions that the book answers. Because of the brevity, it may seem a bit stuffy.
Here’s a short version of the basics of how we can know anything about anything. Knowledge of truth requires a true premise and valid deductive form. Neither inductive nor abductive reasoning can get us to the truth. That’s commonly taught in logic books and classes everywhere. Yet, the classes and books seem to ignore the ramifications. They allow premises that no one can prove.
On their own, our human minds have no path to true premises. When we observe anything or read Scripture, we can’t go beyond what we see without adding information. Without divine revelation, we get that information by making it up, which we call making assumptions or using axioms. Axioms come from our worldviews, so they seem more real than reality. We need Jesus Christ if we’re to go beyond what Peter and Jude say is like a “brute beast.” The brute beast mind can react to the environment. It can be very clever, and it can do science. This mind can be ever learning, but it can never come to the knowledge of the truth.
Jesus Christ is real. I know this because I know Him. Everyone who seeks Him finds Him, and He leads, teaches, and corrects us moment by moment. God speaks through Scripture and every means mentioned in Scripture. Anyone can test this. The reason that we know that the Bible is God’s word (utterance) without error is that the Holy Spirit speaks this into our hearts. There are many facets and pitfalls concerning divine revelation, and I go into those in detail in the book. We’ve probably all met people who said “Thus sayeth the Lord” when God never spoke. We’ve also probably met people who said “The Bible says” when the Bible says no such thing. That being said, God tells us that He’s a good Father and well able to give the Holy Spirit to those who ask for the Holy Spirit. He won’t give us a stone instead of bread or a serpent instead of a fish.
This ungodly thinker is tossing the elephant. It’s a way to cause confusion in a discussion. In these cases, summary dismissal is one option. Another is to find some way to organize the thoughts. The following diagram shows one option for doing that organization.
On some discussion groups, they’ll allow you to upload your images. On others, you may be able to point to a web page or blog where you put your images. This way, you can keep the discussion from becoming confused. Though the hardened ungodly thinker may never turn to Christ, someone may be silently reading your post, and it may help that person.
Below, is some more of the conversation context:
Sandbuilder stepped into a conversation from the outside with a demand for a definition and a weird rule-setting tactic of wanting Rockbuilder to “like” his comments because “no one gets notified of your comments unless you . . .” Actually, they get notified if you click “reply.”
Sandbuilder: Define “rational thought”.
Also note: No one gets notified of your responses unless you react (“like”, etc) to their comments. If younwant an extended comversation then I encourage you to react to each comment.
Rockbuilder: I don’t know that I want extended conversations. LOL. As to rational thought, we can just follow the standard rules of logic: true premises and valid form. For truth, the form must be deductive. For opinions, any form will do, premises need not be true, and no rational thinking required.
Sandbuilder: So what DO you want here?
You never actually defined “rational thought”. You only (partially) indicated how to achieve it.
So you don’t give any credence to inductive or even abductive reasoning?
Rockbuilder: Some people think that all abductive reasoning is just guessing. I don’t agree. My experience is that God often communicates through the intuition. Inductive reasoning is OK, too. I check the weather forecast. This weekend was supposed to be a total washout, but it was really nice when we actually lived out those days. I wouldn’t bet my life on inductive reasoning. But, sound inductive reasoning also requires a true premise, doesn’t it? Without divine revelation, how do you reason to a true premise? Is there any path you know of to absolute proof without divine revelation?
Sandbuilder: So why assume it isn’t just a guess that “God often communicates through the intuition”? I mean, you even use the word “often” to imply not all the time. Does that mean you can’t even nail down exactly when your god is communicating through intuition? It seems quite non-deductive.
You absoultely DO bet your life on inductive reasoning! We all do. The most basic line of indictive reasoning we all use is that the future will be much like the past. There is no way to deduce thise from experience because you haven’t actually experienced the future. We get in our cars and travel at deathly speeds, betting our lives, that the car and traffic will operate much like it has done in the past. If we don’t assume that, then we wouldn’t be able to live productive lives, Bob.
All premises come back to nature, Bob. Does it work for our lives right here and right now? Nature is the (or maybe a) revealler. Now, whether there is another objective revealler at the foundations of nature is another question worth pondering. But there certainly doesn’t NEED to be a “divine revelator” in order for nature to be its own revelator. In fact, many speculate that the divine revelator is one and the same with nature (ie. pantheism).
You STILL haven’t defined “rational thought.” You keep claiming that others aren’t capable of it, yet you won’t even define what it is.
And you still haven’t told me what you do want here…?
Rockbuilder: I’ll answer your questions after you answer these two. Let’s have a conversation or cut it off. Without divine revelation, how do you reason to a true premise? Is there any path you know of to absolute proof without divine revelation?
Sandbuilder: I JUST answered that. Re-read my “all premises come back to nature” paragraph. Even for the theists, “divine revelation” has to comport with nature. And even when another nature is revealed in the afterlife, revelation still has to comport with that nature. Something is “true” if it aligns with nature.
Of course, that begs many questions, first and foremost which is, “Can we ever fully know nature?” I would just say that right now it doesn’t seem we do, but maybe someday. But of course, non-coincidentally, that is what theists tend to say about their god. So theists and atheists are in the same “reasoning boat.”
You still haven’t defined what “rational thought” is, or explained what you are doing here.
And as I said before, if you want a conversation then it is best to react to my comments. I will lose the conversation if you don’t, and won’t respond simply because I can’t find it anymore.
Note that Sandbuilder does everything in his power to diffuse the conversation into many rabbit trails that are hard to follow. Sandbuilder is pretending not to know what it is to be rational. Rockbuilder ignores that and sticks to the point. Sandbuilder keeps asking, “What are you doing here?” That was a reaction to Rockbuilder’s remark about not always wanting to get into extended conversations. Since Rockbuilder is building on the Rock of Jesus Christ, extended conversations with dogmatically ungodly persons indicate that Rockbuilder has failed to make his points clearly or that Sandbuilder is extending the conversation through invincible ignorance. Rockbuilder keeps working toward one point. The choice is divine revelation versus made-up stuff.
Pragmatically reacting to stimuli from the senses isn’t rational thought. Earthworms do that. Ungodly thinkers have no path to a true premise, so they can’t rationally reason beyond their sensory experience. When they do, they use made-up stuff to do so. Their sense experience includes muscle memory of skills, memories of techniques that worked, etc., and it’s not really terribly limiting as long as ungodly thinkers to stick to their sense experience and pragmatics. They can do science for instance. They can note the results and share those results with others. Others can learn from those notes and carry on further research. However, this only works for what can be observed and tested. It doesn’t work for topics like spirituality, God, morality, or truth. They can never come to a knowledge of the truth without Christ.
On the other hand, those of us who follow Christ are led by Christ. Christ leads, teaches, and corrects us moment by moment. We know Him. Since He knows all things and cannot lie, we can reason rationally. It’s not that we always do. We’re learning to listen to His voice and to react in submission and obedience. We often follow our own fleshly desires rather than following God, but the Holy Spirit eventually corrects us if we’re sincere about wanting His will over ours. We do create inner strongholds against the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit will tear down those strongholds but not against our wills. He waits patiently for our submission. God promises to give us the Holy Spirit if we ask for the Holy Spirit. If we prefer a certain dogma, then that dogma will blind us until the Holy Spirit can gently work in our lives to relax our grip on it.
What’s a greater leap of faith: God or the multiverse?
God’s faith isn’t actually a leap. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing comes by the rhema of God. The Greek word rhema means utterance. Faith comes by the utterance of God. God speaks through Scripture, and every means mentioned in Scripture. We hear. His faith comes. Jesus Christ is the Author and Finisher of this faith, which isn’t like the make-believe faith of the ungodly thinkers. That’s why God’s faith is substance, which means it’s part of reality as opposed to being a concept. And that’s why God’s faith is evidence, which means that it’s absolutely certain proof.
Since I kept this brief to make the point, you may want to check http://realreality.org/by-grace-through-faith/ and http://realreality.org/is-faith-the-same-as-making-believe/ to see the basis of these statements.
Dr. James Tour is an accomplished scientist and a Christian. The video link below is a talk that he gave to Syracuse University. He wanted to show what science can prove—what humanity can know from science. He could show, through science, that no one has yet proved abiogenesis and molecules-to-humanity evolutionism. He wasn’t able to show, through science, the impossibility of either of these, although they both are implausible He goes through the research that scientists have done on abiogenesis. None of the research had the purpose of showing that abiogenesis happened. None of the research tried to discover the odds of abiogenesis happening. We could say the same of the research on molecules-to-humanity evolutionism. And yet, those who control the message distort the research to claim that both of these stories, abiogenesis and molecules-to-humanity evolutionism, are probable even though they’re unlikely. From there, they imply that these stories happened.
What science can’t do, God can. God can reveal reality through Scripture and through every means of revelation He mentions in Scripture. Science will bring you closer to God if you bring God with you to help you understand science. That’s a very good thing to do since God knows everything. He’ll open your eyes to discoveries you would never have noticed on your own. This isn’t just true for scientists. It’s true for moms, dads, and kids no matter what they’re doing. The deep respect for the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. All knowledge and wisdom are hidden in Christ Jesus.
P. S. I found this meme on Facebook. I didn’t create it. I tried to find The Illogical Atheist, and it may be a discussion group, but I’m not certain.
Have you noticed that evolutionists never try to prove that the stories of evolutionism actually happened? Rather, they argue that these stories are possible. Could you imagine being accused of committing a crime and being convicted based on the fact that it would have been possible for you to have committed the crime? Somehow, that sounds like some to the corruption that now has invaded a corrupted justice system. However, it’s not rational. It’s insane.
Evolutionism starts with a simple axiom: anything is possible.
Therefore, the stories of naturalism and evolutionism are possible. Therefore, naturalism is probable. Therefore, naturalism is a fact and an axiom. Therefore, all explanations must conform to naturalism, which means that God is excluded. Therefore, the stories of evolutionism are the only acceptable explanation of origins. Therefore, the stories of evolutionism are probable. Therefore, the stories of evolutionism constitute a fact and an axiom that we must use to interpret all observations. Therefore, when we observe something that conflicts with any of the stories of evolutionism, we must deny the observation or develop an additional story to make the new observation fit into the stories of evolutionism.
Well, let’s turn the same searchlight on the creationists? Let’s each examine our own hearts on this matter. Are we starting with axioms and working toward a conclusion that God created the heavens and the earth? If so, we’re saying, “I made this up. Based on this made-up stuff, God created the heavens and the earth.”
We know because the Bible says so. But how do we know that the Bible is accurate? Are we also starting with axioms to claim that the Bible is accurate? Are we using circumstantial evidence rather than a true premise? No.
We know that the Bible is accurate and trustworthy because we know the God Who wrote the Bible. He speaks to us. When we were born again, our spirits were joined to His Spirit. He communicates to us through our spirits to our souls. Our souls are our minds. The word “soul” is a synonym for the word “mind.” We know that the Bible is accurate and trustworthy because Christ speaks this truth into our minds. We might say that He speaks this into our hearts, but “heart” is also a synonym for “mind.”
Whenever we’re challenged on the point, we go back to Him, and He confirms it to us again. Not only that but every time we read Scripture or hear someone reading it, He speaks to us through the Scripture. We don’t lean on our own understanding, but we stand in the presence of the King of kings and hear His voice as He speaks through Scripture. When we look at creation or read the Scripture, we ask Him to correct any misunderstandings we may have, and He does this little by little to the extent that we’re able to yield to Him.
The argument between evolutionists and creationists isn’t about the scientific observations. We all have the same creation that we’re observing. The argument is between made-up stuff and divine revelation.
Sometimes, we don’t understand what God is doing. Things come into our lives, and we ask, “Why?” And yet, we’re assured that God knows exactly what He’s doing. He shows us the big picture, but we may not understand it. When the Hebrew children started walking around Jericho, they didn’t know what was going to happen. They knew that God was going to give them the land that was now inhabited by the evil decedents of Ham, but God just told them to march around the city once a day for seven days and to blow the trumpets on the seventh day. They were obedient, and the walls fell.
In the same way, we don’t know what God is doing at each moment in our lives. However, He’s given us His overall vision of what He’s doing. He’s working everything for His good purpose. Consider Romans 8:28-29:
“And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.”
God is orchestrating everything in our lives for our good, for the purpose that He has for us because He has a plan to transfigure us into the image of His Son. That’s no small task when we consider what we’re like right now. We aren’t very godlike. We’re often disobedient to Him, and it seems as if we slip into sin very easily.
But God has a plan.
He plans that to change us from glory to glory. We read in 2 Corinthians 3:18:
“And we all having been unveiled in face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
Through this verse, God tells us a little bit about His process for changing us, for transforming us, for transfiguring us. When God speaks and we listen, faith comes. Faith gives us access to His grace, and grace does His righteousness through us, but we must yield the members of our bodies to His grace instead of yielding to our fleshly natures. When we do, our fleshly nature loses its grip on us. We become less enslaved by it. At the same time, the Holy Spirit builds up Christ within us. This process of dying to self and living to Christ is the process of spiritual maturity.
When God speaks, He speaks a vision of His hope. We look as if looking into a mirror, and see who we are in Christ. We each see the ministry that He has created us to be. It may be unclear, but we see a glimpse of it moment by moment as He speaks. We also see the body of Christ with all the gifts, ministries, offices, and orders. We see our brothers and sisters but not after the flesh. We see them after the spirit. We see a glimpse of the ministry in each one. Not only that, but we see how we fit into the body of Christ and what we’re supposed to be doing right now.
God doesn’t show us everything at once. He gives us what we need for each moment. If we yield to His Spirit in the moment, He gives us power both to will and to do His good pleasure. He knows the plans that He has for us, plans of good and not of evil. He imparts His gift of righteousness to us.
All of this has one purpose: our transfiguration into the image of His Son.
Something in the nature of reality prevents God from just fixing us without our involvement. He doesn’t force Himself on us. He waits for us to yield ourselves to Him willingly. That means that the process is slow since our fleshly wills are strong and the flesh wants its own way.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just have a theoretical faith and theoretical obedience? We would just tell God that we love Him and that we trust Him. Then we would commit ourselves to doing His will. No trouble would ever come our way. We would never be tested, tried, or tempted. However, that wouldn’t finish the work that God has for us. We must choose to obey Him in spite of the test, trial, or temptation.
Gold is a type of deity. God tells us a lot about refining gold in Scripture. We have Christ abiding within us ever since we were born again. Since that moment, we’ve been in a war between the flesh and our spirits—our spirits have been forever joined to the Spirit of Christ. Christ is deity, which is typified by gold. But the Gold must be refined, and gold is refined by heating it.
When we obey the Holy Spirit under the heat of the test, trial, or temptation, the Holy Spirit makes increase of our gold, which is Christ in us. At the same time, our fleshly nature dies a little. Theoretical obedience isn’t enough. We must be found faithful in the fire. However, the reward isn’t worthy to be compared to the glory that God will reveal in us.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. ~ Romans 8:18
Truth is simple. If we’re having trouble understanding the truth, we’re not thinking correctly. That doesn’t mean that we can know everything. It doesn’t mean that God hasn’t created a complex universe. It does mean that what God reveals is simple, but human minds can add or remove a little information from what God reveals, and then it seems confusing.
Ungodly thinking is thinking without God. Of course, we need to allow God to remind us that He reveals reality to humanity through Scripture and every means mentioned in Scripture. That means that God reveals His nature through the things that He has created just as He says He does when He speaks to us through the first chapter of Romans. It means that He speaks to us through brothers and sisters in Christ just as He says that He does when He speaks to us through the twelfth chapter of First Corinthians. He even tells us a little bit about how to discern between someone who is speaking by the Holy Spirit and someone who is speaking by a different spirit.
As we walk in the Spirit, we listen to God’s voice. When we hear Him and acknowledge Him, His faith comes. He tells us that Jesus Christ is the Author and Finisher of this faith, and we are not. This faith is substance. God tells us that through Scripture. What God says is a fact. What is substance? The Greek word from which “substance” is translated means “reality as opposed to concept.” So many people get confused and think that this faith is like the make-believe faith that ungodly thinkers have. God goes on to tell us that this faith is evidence, but what does “evidence” mean? The Greek word from which “evidence” is translated means “absolutely certain proof.” When God speaks, we can know that whatever He says is true.
Appeal to Consequence Fallacy
“If we continue to eschew science, eschew the process, and try to divide science into observational science and historic science, we aren’t going to move forward, we’ll not embrace natural laws, we’ll not make discoveries, we’ll not invent and innovate and stay ahead.
Now, one last thing, you may not know that in the U.S. Constitution, from the Founding Fathers, is the sentence: to promote the progress of science and useful arts. Kentucky voters, voters who might be watching online, in places like Texas, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Kansas, please, you don’t want to raise a generation of science students who don’t understand how we know our place in the cosmos, our place in space, who don’t understand natural law. We need to innovate to keep the United States where it’s in the world.” ~ Bill Nye
Bill committed an appeal to consequences fallacy. Appeal to consequence is a fallacy because consequences can’t change reality. He also committed an appeal to fear fallacy. Fear can’t change reality either. Making this line of reasoning even more ridiculous, the consequences Bill proposed weren’t realistic, but even if they had been realistic, consequences have no power to change reality. In other words, it’s not sane to deny reality simply because of a consequence. This consequence could be real or imagined. Therefore, Bill’s imagined and unrealistic consequence isn’t proof against God, doesn’t prove the ungodly origins story, and doesn’t disprove God’s account of origins.
Bill points to a consequence, but his supposed consequence is an absurd extrapolation. We know that we won’t suffer this consequence since young-earth creationists started most branches of science. These were scientists who didn’t believe in the ungodly origins story, which shows that scientists who don’t believe in the sacred-cow story have made tremendous scientific progress. Bill’s supposed consequence is a phantom consequence. It’s not going to happen, and Bill’s prophecy is silly.
Then there’s the following framing fallacy, which is also an appeal to consequence fallacy:
“If we continue to eschew science, eschew the process, and try to divide science into observational science and historic science, we aren’t going to move forward.” ~ Bill Nye
This statement implies that certain relationships exist, but those relationships don’t exist. Dividing science into observational science and historical storytelling is discerning the difference between observation and creative stories about the distant past. The term “historical science” is really just historical storytelling. Bill claims that knowing the difference between observation and storytelling will stop progress. He claims that knowing the difference between what scientists have observed and what scientists have made up is the same thing as deliberately avoiding science and the scientific method.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. ~ Romans 10:17
Literally, So then belief comes by hearing and hearing by the utterance of God.
God speaks through Scripture and through every means mentioned in Scripture.
By whom [Jesus] also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:2
So, grace is through faith and faith gives us access to grace–and only by grace can we stand.
But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:10
So, grace does the works of righteousness. Whatever I do on my own is filthy rags. But He can do works through me and speak through me.
Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. Romans 6:13
Our part is to yield and allow God to do righteousness through us.
Everything else is sin:
whatsoever is not of faith is sin. Romans 14:23b
Whatever God didn’t tell us to do and do through us by grace, which is through faith, is sin.
Ungodly thinkers have a secret weapon called confusion. By creating confusion, ungodly thinkers can fool many people. I pulled out a new weapon to counter the confusion. The new weapon is an old weapon called “flowcharting.” Whenever you want to understand something complex or confusing, give flowcharting a try.
A previous post called “The Atheist God Complex” can be found here. In that post, I answered an over-confident atheist using a flowchart. The reason I used a flowchart is that he was using a common atheistic debate tactic known as creating confusion. Flowcharts organize thoughts. In this case, the flowchart exposed the butterfly logic of the atheist. Well, the atheist wasn’t going to let it go at that. He came right back last night with the following three posts that were just as irrational as his original post. So, each of those posts needed to be answered using a flowchart. He gave every indication that he was going to be back with more, but he suddenly disappeared. Did he leave to seek counsel from his ungodly network? Did he want to limit the damage to his atheistic evangelism campaign? Who knows, but here is the continuing discussion.
Notice that Sandbuilders comments almost seem sane until we analyze them and realize that they’re just more made-up stuff and smokescreen fallacies. Enjoy.
Sandbuilder: For convenience, I will assume numbering from 1 to 10. Please use these as reference so we don’t get lost. I won’t necessarily go in order, or all in one go:
#3. You misunderstand the point. Even if we assume that a god exists, and has the necessary wisdom to authenticate his message, that doesn’t mean that any Person X who claims to have an authenticated message from God, has actually received a message from God. Your point requires that everyone has an authenticated message from God to compare the fakes to, which almost no Christian believes, or else there wouldn’t be missionary projects or apologetics.
If people can still be fooled by counterfeit “gods” than any claims of divine messages are suspect. We do not, as a species, have the capacity to truly know God from a fake, and the tremendous amount of fakes that people give 100% of their faith in are overwhelming evidence of this.
For an example: Look at all those people who buy into rapture scares. How many times do you see people selling all their belongings, expecting to be raptured, even after so many other rapture call have proven false. Virtually all claim to have received revelation (through interpreting scripture) Now, assuming that the date of the rapture can be delivered by God does not mean that any of the people claiming to have the date right, in fact do. This is not a slight on God’s power, its a comment on your own fallibility: It is far more likely that a person has been fooled into believing a god talked to them than having an actual god talk to them, just statistically.
Sandbuilder: #1 You misunderstand how axioms work. An axiom is a starting point for reasoning. Axioms do not have to be true to work, but they do need to be true for the results of your reasoning to be consistent with reality. For example, you can reason from “God is necessary for reason” as your own axiom, which you take to be true, and arrive at various conclusions. Those conclusions however are not binding to anyone that doesn’t share your axiom. And it is your axiom, not God’s, as you’re the one reasoning here, not God. You’re as bound by axiomatic thinking as everybody else.
Sandbuilder: #6 – #8 Jesus has not in fact revealed himself and his trustworthiness to every person already. He as not done so to me, so this is simply an untrue claim.
I was a member of a Christian church until I was 30. Now, you don’t have to take this as meaning I was definitely a True Follower, from your standpoint, but I did pray, and I did believe in god at the time. A message from God then would have swayed earlier me far more easily than older skeptic me.
Now, Sandbuilder has disappeared. Where he went, we don’t know, but he may return. If he does, I’ll keep you posted.