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Seeking the Whole Truth: The Problem of Reductionism in Secularized Human Science

September 28, 2015

Reductionism MedDentalAssns



Seeking the Whole Truth: The Problem of Reductionism in Secularized Human Science

Handout for Presentation on 9/28/2015
Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine
Christian Medical & Dental Associations
    • Theme: Opening up our InquisitivenessInquisitiveness
    • What’s Out There?What's out there


    • Does Human Science Leave Room for God?Room for God


    • Conclusion: Opening up our InquisitivenessReductionism Christian med-dental assns 2015



YES, NO, MAYBE: Reason as Evidence of a Rational God

September 19, 2015

Yes.No.Maybe-Reason+RationalGod Copyright2015_ADSpaldingJr

YES, NO, MAYBE: Reason as Evidence of a Rational God

Handout for Presentation on 9/19/2015
Metro City Church, Taylor, Michigan
  • Reasoning: Laws of Logic, Epistemology, and Wisdom
  • The Euthyphro Dilemma
  • Laws of Logic
    • Law of Non-contradiction
    • Law of the Excluded Middle
    • Law of Identity
  • Are laws of logic material (physical), changing, objective, and/or necessary?
  • Epistemology: Ways of Knowing
    • Empirical Knowledge (e.g., Science)
    • Reason (e.g., Square Circles are contradictory)
    • Intuition (e.g., Nonverbals)
    • Authority (e.g., people, books, a supreme being, etc.).
  • Can Science Discover the Origin for the Laws of Logic …. Without first relying on the laws of Logic?
  • Epistemology: What Science Cannot Prove:
    • Logical & Mathematical Truths
    • Metaphysical Truths
    • Ethical Beliefs
    • Aesthetic Judgments
    • Science Itself
  • Epistemology: Laws of Logic come from …Someone else?
    • Immaterial/Metaphysical…
    • Unchanging…
    • Objective…
    • Inviting Science…
    • Inviting Learning…
  • Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE): God.
  • An Afterthought: Atheism & Truth Claims
    • Atheism cannot account for laws of logic.
    • Atheism cannot account for the uniformity of nature.
    • Atheism cannot account for the reason reason is reasonable.
  • Compare: Scientific Materialism (Scientism): Is your mind your brain?
    • Biological cell replacements
    • Thoughts are immaterial
    • Thoughts are subjective
    • Thoughts are volitional
    • Mind over (brain) matter
    • Knowledge and Presuppositions
    • Wisdom and Presuppositions
  • Who is Really a “Free Thinker”?
  • Conclusion / Q&A

Lesson Seven: Apologetics as Proof – Theistic Arguments B

August 23, 2015



Lesson Seven: Apologetics As Proof (Part 3B) (1)


  • Traditional Metaphysical Arguments: Most of the arguments traditionally used in apologetics begin with some fundamental reality in the universe and try to show that that reality presupposes, implies, or somehow requires God.
    • Despite the general revelation of nature (Romans 1:20-21), regeneration does not occur without the intervention of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:4-5; Titus 3:3-5).
    • Naturalism_Super-Naturalism
  • The Argument from Purpose: The Teleological Argument
    • When considered informally (i.e., intuitively): strongest argument.
      • Immanuel Kant: “Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the oftener and more steadily we reflect on them: the starry heavens above and the moral law within.”
        • Kant’s philosophy rejected natural theology and traditional “proofs” for the existence of God because Kant’s epistemology did not allow for apprehension of viable knowledge in the realm of metaphysics.
      • Compare: Psalm 8:3-4.
      • Also consider:
        • Microcreation: The amazing programming of the DNA code, the intricacy and precise balance of the many tiny parts needed to produce sight through the eye.
        • The wisdom and precision spread through all the molecules and atoms in the billions of stars throughout this immense universe.
          • Handout: “Evidence for the Fine Tuning of the Universe”
      • As Thomas Aquinas put it, when we see unintelligent things (atoms, matter, energy) working together for a purpose, we generally attribute that to an intelligent designer. Teleological means “pertaining to purpose or goal.”
    • When considered formally, the argument is weaker.
      • Dysteleology: Arguments from “poor design,” existence of evil, and other possible explanations (e.g., polytheism, multiverse, etc.).
      • Compare:
        • Analogy and disanalogy: A lack of complete human understanding can/should be expected if the world was planned and made by a transcendent God.
      • Our ability to distinguish between apparent teleology and apparent dysteleology, and our ability to speak intelligibly about the limits of our knowledge and about alternative explanations for data, implies that we have (or think we have) access to criteria by which to resolve questions of this sort. Ultimately, then, we have access to the values of rationality and truth. And if these are indeed moral values, where does their authority come from?
    • Which is (more) plausible: absolute personality versus ultimate impersonality?
  • The Argument from Causation: The Cosmological Argument
    • Thomas Aquinas: Initial motion requires an unmoved Mover; Initial effect requires an uncaused Cause; initial contingency requires a necessary Being.
      • Similar to Aquinas’ causation argument, the Kalam argument of Al-Ghazali (promoted in formal debates by William Lane Craig), all effects require a cause, so there must have been an uncaused Cause.
    • Reason and science rely on the expectation that there is a discoverable cause for every effect.
      • This is intuitive, and also practical: without the ability to arrive at probabilities and conclusions about what was, is, or will be the case, there can be no explanation for anything.
        • To claim that “This even has no cause at all” would require omniscience or irrationalism.
      • Further, the nature of reason is to inquire after causes. And if reason does not find a cause, it does not conclude that there is no cause; rather, it looks further-or else it sets the problem aside for future investigation…
        • …until it finds the final and ultimate explanation for the phenomenon under consideration (i.e., a first Cause).
    • So in the end we are forced to choose between belief in a first cause and irrationalism.
      • Irrationalism, however, is self-contradictory (“It is objectively true that there are no objective truths”).
      • To be at least rational, the non-Christian must assume that the world is not a chaos, but that it is orderly and relatively predictable, even though this assumption in turn presupposes God.
  • Next: Proving the Gospel

1.Drawn from Frame & Torres, Apologetics (P&R Publishing, 2015), Chapter 5, “Apologetics as Proof: Theistic Arguments”


Lesson Six: Apologetics As Proof – Theistic Arguments A

August 16, 2015

Giving_an_Account_for_the_HOPE_CBC_ABFs Lesson Six: Apologetics As Proof (Part 3A) (1)

  • Keep in Mind when having an “apologetics” type of conversation with a nonbeliever:
    • Your goal should be to keep the dialogue going (and moving forward), in love.
    • Remember that at the end of the day, only the Holy Spirit can soften or harden the nonbeliever’s heart. Pray.
    • Also remember it is the nonbeliever’s (profound and ultimate) decision to make.
    • Faith is a gift: be a representative of God’s love and grace.
    • Be content if your are able to articulate that faith is not “blind,” and that there is reasonable doubt for the “implausibility” of the Gospel truth-claims.
  • Transcendental Argument for God (TAG): Without God, there is no meaning (truth, rationality, etc.); therefore, God exists.
    • The Bible presupposes God as the source of all reality and truth; these are attributes of God’s nature.
    • Logic demands the existence of God
    • Ethics demands the existence of God
    • Science demands the existence of God
  • The Lordship of Christ over all is always the “bottom line” of the transcendental argument. For example:
    • Lordship over wealth and economic life (Matt. 19:16-30).
    • Lordship over our intimate relationships (John 4:7-26).
    • Lordship over our intellect (1 Corinthians 1:18 – 2:16).
  • Certainty and Probability
    • Relying on the Holy Spirit and the Word, we need to be certain of the truth of Christ (Luke 1:4) and of our own salvation (1 John 5:13).
      • The believer is assured by the supernatural factor of God’s Spirit concerning both the truth of the gospel (1 Cor. 2:4-5; 1 Thess. 1:5) and his own relationship to Christ (Rom. 8:16).
      • It is true that believers do sometimes doubt both the truth of God and their own salvation, but they have the resources and the right, both logical and supernatural, to come to full assurance on at least the major points of the gospel message.
    • General revelation is so plain and clear that it obligates belief and obedience – leaving us without excuse (Rom. 1:19-20).
      • John speaks of Jesus’ miracles (“signs”) as warranting belief (John 20:30f.), and Luke speaks of the “convincing proofs” (Acts 1:3 NIV) that Jesus presented to the disciples after the resurrection.
      • The evidence for Christian theism, therefore, is “absolutely certain.” Or, to put it in moral terms, there is no excuse for disbelief. The evidence obligates belief.
    • Compare: The thrust of many “negative” apologetics discussions (i.e, discussions with skeptics who want to argue that the claims of the Gospel and of Christianity are implausible) may be to simply show that such claims are not implausible.
      • Mere possibility, if no plausibility, is sufficient in order to challenge the unbeliever to give careful consideration to the claims of the Gospel and of Christianity.
  • Theistic Arguments for God
    • Authentic moral standards reflect God’s nature. (Lev. 19:2; Matt. 5:48; 1 Peter 1:16).
      • One’s dominant beliefs about morality will most often or most profoundly govern their behavior. (Matt. 7:20)
    • There are no agnostics
      • In one sense, we are all agnostics to the extent that we do not have God’s omniscience.
        • However, Scripture denies that anyone can be truly agnostic about God or morality.
        • God is clearly revealed to all (Rom. 1:18-20), so that all know him (v. 21), although they repress the truth (vv. 2lff.).
        • Most professing agnostics are not trying frantically to hedge their bets; they behave exactly like atheists, not as if they were in some halfway position between atheism and theism.
          • “True” agnostics are truth-seekers, and their openness to the Word of God will mean that they may not remain agnostic forever (Joshua 24:25; Matthew 6:24; Matthew 12:30; John 7:17).
    • Introduction to The Moral Argument: Morality is personal, not impersonal
      • Obligations and loyalties arise in the context of interpersonal relationships.
        • How can an impersonal structure such as fate create obligation?
        • If obligations arise from personal relationships, then absolute obligations must arise from our relationship with an absolute person.

1. Drawn from Frame & Torres, Apologetics (P&R Publishing, 2015), Chapter 5, “Apologetics as Proof: Theistic Arguments”


Making the Gospel Coherent for our PostModern Friends & Society

July 16, 2015

Detroit Pub Theology 7-16-2015

  • What/who is “Post-Modern”
    • Skepticism about the Reliability/Trustworthiness of Rationalism
    • Cynicism about Language, Perspective and Grand Narratives


  • What is “The Gospel”
    • As a Reasoned Argument
    • As a Grand Narrative


  • Traditional “Tract” Summary of the Gospel
    • Ontological Presumptions Embedded
    • Claims Made (Historical, Metaphysical, etc.)

  Traditional Bridge Illustration








  • Apologetics-Informed Summary of the Gospel
    • Pre-Evangelism: Dealing with Presuppositions

Spalding Bridge Illustration









  • Compare: John 4, Jesus & Samaritan Woman at the Well
    • Evidence of Spiritual/Existential Vacuum
    • Testimony: Personalizing the Narrative


  • Other Suggestions / Observations / Criticisms?