Friday, July 16, 2010

D.A. Carson on the existence of God

How do I know God exists? from A Passion for Life on Vimeo.

I don't think I can find anything disagreeable about Dr. Carson's excellent presentation here.  Certainly, he is coming at this from a presuppositionalist angle.  But while I can find agreement with Carson in his approach, I certainly wonder how evidence can play into this.  If it is the case that we cannot place ourselves in a state of judgment as to whether or not God exists, or whether not the resurrection is an historical event, then where does the process of evaluation come into play with the unbeliever?  Certainly, Paul presented the resurrection to those at Mars hill in presupposing the existence of the Christian God, and even presenting this resurrection as a fact.  However, when we find the unbeliever in disagreement with these presuppositions, where do we draw the line in where we move from evaluating the evidence to "being in judgment of the creator, reducing him to mere arguments and syllogisms?"

Again, i'm not disagreeing with Carson per se, but am trying to find what the most consistent and God-honoring apologetic is when we are presenting our beliefs to unbelievers as well as reasoning with things ourselves.


Butterball said...

I can agree on the idea that nothing in the nature is uncaused.

But if everything in the nature could be traced back to something that causes it (an independent variable). How about God himself?

Should God self be interpreted as the independent variable of everything?

The argument that Dr. Carson presents seems to be inconsequent in the sense that he doesn´t discuss or answer the question wheter God himself is uncaused or not (But everything else in the nature is caused by God).

Mike Felker said...

@butterball, thanks for the comment. One thing that i'd like to point out is your observation about "things in nature" being uncaused. That is, you are referring to the material world. If we are talking about the God of the Bible, then we've left the "natural" and entered into the metaphysical or supernatural.

But aside from this, you seem to be addressing some form of the cosmological argument. However, I don't think your characterization is quite accurate. The Kalam form would state:

I. Everything which has a beginning, has a cause.
II. The universe had a beginning.
III. Therefore, the universe had a cause.

As long as we agree with the first two premises, then the third is consequential. But one thing you'll notice is that this argument only works and can be addressed for things which have a beginning.

The question then becomes, does God have a beginning? If God does have a beginning, then certainly, there would need to be something which caused God. But if God does not have a beginning, it would be pointless to ask "what caused God?"

For the sake of the video, it is safe to assume that Carson is presupposing the uncaused nature of God. Or at the very least, he is concluding this on the basis of God's revelation of himself.

Butterball said...

Damn it!

I thought that i posted two answers in a row after your response to my initial comment.

Sorry for that.

Mike Felker said...

@butterball, yeah I agree that the kalam argument doesn't prove the biblical God. Certainly, there are implications within the argument itself that support the nature of the biblical God, but this was the whole point of Carson's argument and the nature of the presuppositional approach; man isn't in a place to sit in judgment of whether the biblical God exists through the evaluation of evidence. Carson didn't really get into this much, but a presuppositionalist would argue that you can't even evaluate the evidence without first presupposing the biblical God anyway. The reason being, without the biblical God, there is no such thing as "evidence" and such. But I don't want to get too deep into that aspect, since Carson didn't really allude to this.

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