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?”