If God Desires All People to Know Him, Shouldn’t All People Know Him?

On logical syllogisms, the hiddenness of God, and unimaginable treasure


Many people make logical arguments that begin with assumptions about God. The latest one I saw was a syllogism beginning with the following premise: God desires all humans to know Him…. As the syllogism goes, it states that all people do not know God, and it ends with the conclusion. “Therefore God does not exist.”

The critical thing about syllogisms on the existence of God is that initial premises make some assumptions about God. Immanuel Kant famously developed a logical syllogism proving that God exists; then he turned around and developed a logical syllogism proving God does not exist. Both syllogisms were well-constructed, and the conclusions logically flowed from the initial premises.

That’s the thing with logic: we need to set the initial assumptions, and the conclusions are dependent on those assumptions. The logical syllogism I saw this morning seems solid at first glance, but it leaves out a critical word that makes all the difference.

Logic can be abstracted from reality and still make sense. The exact terms of the assumptions are critical. If the assumptions are inaccurate or poorly stated, our conclusions will be false, no matter how logical they are.

In this case, the assumption is that God desires for all humans to know Him. For the assumption to make real sense, though, we would need to add one word.

Implicit in this premise is that God desires only for humans to know Him, and He has no other desire, purpose or goal. If the initial premise is that God desires only for humans to know him, that God has no other desire, purpose, or goal for humans, then the logic follows.

If God’s only desire, purpose, goal is for humans to know Him, He could so dominate and overwhelm us that we would have no choice but to know and acknowledge Him. The fact that people are not overwhelmed or dominated by God, and that people do not know God, would prove, on this syllogism, that God doesn’t exist.

We have to ask, though: Is that really God’s only desire, purpose, and goal for humans is to know that He exists? Is God that simple-minded?

If God is really God, God is (at least) as complex as the universe He created. Taking note of the sublime nuances of physics, quantum mechanics, biology and chemistry, we should assume God is (at least) as sublime and nuanced as the world He made with these elements.

Does it make sense that God has one singular desire, purpose, and goal for humans? Is the entire thrust of creation summed up by an unconditional desire by God for humans to know Him and acknowledge His existence?

The problem with logical syllogisms is in the initial assumptions. We have to presume to know the mind and purposes of God. If we are wrong, even if God really does exist, we will come to the wrong conclusion.

As finite, limited creatures of an infinite Creator of the universe, we do not have the capability of knowing on our own why God created the world such as it is and what His purposes are. I believe we have no capacity to know these things apart from God revealing them to us.

The Bible purports to be that revelation from God to man, so let’s take a look at what it says. If we are going to be “scientific” about the Bible, we shouldn’t come to it with preconceived notions. We should consider what it says on its own merits and come to our own conclusions.

Continue reading “If God Desires All People to Know Him, Shouldn’t All People Know Him?”

Does God Live Under Your Bed?

A loving God who is just and fair would not foreclose a connection to those who are born without the intellectual capacity to understand or know what is required of them

Depositphotos Image ID: 154118170 Copyright: ImageSource

I read an autobiographical account by CS Lewis in college in which he recounted his journey from atheist to agnostic to Christian. The twists and turns of his journey were fascinating to me. I gained much insight into my own journey and how God works in the hearts of people who are inclined to follow the prompts.

His journey was like mine in some respects and much different in others. Just as I see how uniquely tailored and personal those prompts were for me, they were just as uniquely tailored for CS Lewis.

The God revealed in the Bible is a Person, and He is personal. He made us in His image. He made us to have relationship with Him. He relates to us as no one can. He knows our innermost being. I have found all these things to be true to my own experience.

After CS Lewis conceded the intellectual point that the universe was more likely created by a Causal Agent than not, he began to sort through the various possibilities for what that Causal Agent could be. Searching out the various world religions, he found that one stood out. One was not dependent on man’s own capacity to know or to understand. All other religions required special knowledge, understanding, and effort to achieve a connection with that Causal Agent.

He reasoned that a loving God who is just and fair would not foreclose a connection to those who are born without the intellectual capacity to understand or know what is required of them. Such a God would have to be accessible by all people, regardless of capacity. The complexities of religion did not seem appropriate to Lewis as he contemplated these things.

Continue reading “Does God Live Under Your Bed?”

Musings on Shakespeare and One Less God

 (c) Can Stock Photo

(c) Can Stock Photo

Stephen F. Roberts famously said that we are all atheists, he just believes in one less God (or less gods) than others. It is a rather clever statement that many self-described atheists or agnostics have repeated, but it’s more kitsch than substance.

Atheism could be defined as belief in no God, but atheists often object to that because they don’t perceive themselves, or don’t want to perceive themselves, as believing or having faith in anything. That’s absurd, of course. We all believe in something – even if we only believe in the material world and our ability as humans to comprehend it. Continue reading “Musings on Shakespeare and One Less God”

What Is the Point of Faith?

God certainly has made Himself known in spectacular ways at times, but not very often. There must be a reason. The reason, I believe, lies in the importance of faith.

MV Pacific Hope Sails to Fiji

I believe that faith has a point, though I have often wondered exactly what it is. I believe there is a reason that faith is necessary, though I have often wondered why. I think these questions are worth exploring.

“Seeing is believing” is a truism that characterizes the world that we live in. Some people are generally skeptical and not willing to believe anything (to give themselves to an idea) unless they are overwhelmingly convinced. Other people are quick to believe the things they want to believe, even in the face of evidence to the contrary. People are quirky that way.

I believe both extremes are rooted in the same soil. We naturally want to control our own destinies. Skepticism is one way we hang on to that control. Believing in something we want to believe is just another way of clinging to the control of our own destiny (gullibility and naiveté aside).

Continue reading “What Is the Point of Faith?”

Does Truth Matter?

Truth exists whether we see it, know it or acknowledge it

IMG_6613


“Truth ain’t something you can just out run.” (A line from the song, Truth, by Steven Moakler) I was mulling over the title to this piece when the song, Truth, came on Spotify as I was listening to a playlist. Sometimes “life” happens like that, so I am running with it.

It certainly seems trite to speak of truth, especially when we speak of Truth with a capital “T”. How often do we think of Truth? Does Truth matter?

Truth (small “t”) is certainly something that we want to depend on in our everyday lives. Courts of law are designed to get at it. We seem to have a hard time finding it. “He said, she said” is the story we often hear, and it is hard to know what the truth really is, even in our everyday lives. Continue reading “Does Truth Matter?”