- We have begun this series with considering our world view
1. Origin: Where did I come from?
2. Identity: Who am I?
3. Meaning: Why am I here?
4. Morality: How should I live my life?
5. Destiny: Where am I going when I die?
- We then looked at truth = Telling it like it is; that which describes an actual state of affairs; truth is absolute; truth is unchanging; TRUTHS DO NOT CONTRADICT EACH OTHER.
- We then touched on self-defeating statements: “You can’t know truth.” “You should doubt everything.” “All religions lead to heaven.” (religious pluralism states that ALL religions are true.)
- This morning we are going to look at the topic of: “Can truths about God be known?”
I. THE LAW OF NONCONTRADICTION:
- This law states that contradictory claims cannot both be true at the same time in the same sense. In short, it says that the opposite of true is false.
ILLUST: A medieval Muslim philosopher by the name of Avicenna suggested a sure fire way to correct someone who denies the Law of Noncontradiction. He said that anyone who denies the Law of Noncontradiction should be beaten and burned until he admits that to be beaten is not the same as not to be beaten, and to be burned is not the same as not to be burned! – A bit extreme, but we get the point.
II. HOW IS TRUTH KNOWN?
A. Self evident laws of logic: The process of discovering truth begins with the self-evident laws of logic called first principles. They are called first principles because there is nothing behind them. They are not proved by other principles; they are simply inherent in the nature of reality and are thus self-evident.
1. Two self-evident laws of logic:
a. Law of Noncontradiction (contradictory claims cannot both be true at the same time
b. Law of the Excluded Middle which states that something either is or is not.
· Examples: God exists or He does not; Jesus rose from the dead, or He did not.
· There is no other alternative.
2. How this works:
a. Example #1
· All men are mortal. (either they are or they aren’t)
· Spencer is a man. (either he is or he isn’t)
· Therefore Spencer is mortal. = conclusion – based upon the premises.
Sounds good, logical, simple because we understand the mortality of man.
But now, let’s use the same logic, but throw a little fiction into it.
b. Example #2
· All men are four-legged reptiles.
· Zachary is a man.
· Therefore, Zachary is a four-legged reptile.
POINT: The argument is valid because the conclusion follows (comes from) the premises (beginning statements). BUT!!!! The conclusion is false because the premise is false. In other words, an argument can be logically sound but still be false because the premises of the argument do not correspond to reality.
Trans: We know truth by understanding self-evident laws of logic. But this is not enough, so we need to…
B. Distinguish between deduction and induction
1. Deduction = The process of lining up premises in an argument and arriving at a valid conclusion. – Deduction may not always lead to truth (Example of Zachary above). In a word, deduction means conclusion.
2. Induction = The method of drawing general conclusions from specific observation. The process of discovering whether the premises in an argument are true usually requires induction. In a word induction means observation
3. The perfect induction – Being confident of truth because all particulars are known. (Example: The carpet is blue)
III. HOW ARE TRUTHS ABOUT GOD KNOWN?
A. God is invisible – Col. 1:15
B. God has invisible attributes – Ro 1:18-20
C. Use induction (observation) to investigate God.
ILLUSTRATION #1: A book
- We know what a book is.
- Where do books come from?
- Trees, machines, printing press, AUTHOR(S) – a designer.
ILLUSTRATION #2: The world
- We know what the world is.
- Where did the world come from?
- Observe (induction) and conclude (deduct)
- Use the self evident laws of logic: (1) Law of Noncontradiction (2) Law of the excluded Middle.
- Beliefs have consequences.