Prepare yourself for an intellectual thrill, dear reader. Your mind is about to be enhanced by the creation scientists at Answers in Genesis (ol’ Hambo’s online ministry).
Your guide on this adventure is Mike Matthews, who is editor in chief of Answers magazine — that’s Hambo’s in-house vanity journal, which is peer-reviewed by creation scientists. It was founded by ol’ Hambo himself. Their “About” page says:
The purpose of Answers magazine is to illustrate the importance of Genesis in building a creation-based worldview, and to equip readers with practical answers so they can confidently communicate the gospel and biblical authority with accuracy and graciousness.
With a prestigious position like editor in chief of such a respected and influential journal, you know that Matthews is a solid thinker. His article is: Part One: The Ultimate Proof — Can We Prove the Bible Is True? This is what you’ve been waiting for all your life. It’s very long, so we can only give you a few excerpts, with bold font added by us and scripture references omitted:
You’re sharing the gospel and out of the blue you’re asked, “How do you know the Bible is true?” How would you answer?
While the Bible doesn’t give a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all formula for defending itself, it does give us all the guidelines we need.
We know you’re excited. Let’s read on:
God tells us in bold terms the root problem. It’s not the nonbelievers’ view of the Book; it’s their view of the Author. All people already know God because He is clearly seen in His creation, and His moral law is also written on their hearts. But they “suppress,” or hold down, the truth in unrighteousness because their proud hearts are rebellious and they do not want to submit to the truth … It’s not a matter of evidence; they just don’t want to be convinced. So it is a mistake to proceed as though the main problem is a lack of knowledge. Your hearers have a heart problem. They have rejected the God of the Bible even before they begin to consider whether His Word could be true.
Yes, dear reader, deep down you already know The Truth™, don’t you? Matthews continues:
How do you break through the darkness? It’s not enough to demolish their wrong beliefs by cold, hard logic. Blind men cannot see the truth except with new sight given by the Holy Spirit. Thankfully, God’s Spirit is already at work convicting sinners of their unbelief, using His Word as His primary tool. By relying on the Scripture’s own claims, rather than your wisdom or clever arguments, God empowers His words to convict [sic] hearts and point them to Christ.
Yet God does not demand blind faith. Our faith is reasonable. In fact, it is the only logical and reasonable choice available to mankind. And explaining that simple fact is the secret to a biblical defense of the Bible.
A biblical defense of the bible may seem a bit circular, but don’t quit yet. Here’s more:
Even though lots of other evidences confirm the Bible (and you should discuss them), your conversations aren’t likely to get very far unless you address the deeper question: “How do you know anything is true?”
Even secular logicians recognize this problem. Every philosophical system must start with presuppositions — starting points or assumptions — that cannot be proven from anything more basic, but are accepted up–front as the foundation for all subsequent reasoning.
He’s talking about axioms. Science begins with certain axioms — they’re so deeply imbedded in the scientific method that they’re rarely mentioned. One is logic. We must accept the validity of Aristotelian logic as an axiom, because logic underlies all our intellectual efforts. Without it, for example, contradictions would be acceptable. Therefore if logic is out … then it’s in. Life without logic is great, isn’t it?
Axioms can’t be proved, but something that is truly axiomatic must be accepted. Without logic we’d be unable to recognize false conclusions, and without free will (another axiom), we couldn’t reject false conclusions. Other fundamental axioms of science are the validity of sensory evidence (augmented by the evidence of our instruments), without which we have no verifiable information, and the existence of objective reality, which is the source of the information we obtain from our senses.
Let’s see what axioms Matthews is talking about:
The Bible claims to be this ultimate standard of truth, the “Word” given by the Almighty Creator God [reference to an AIG article]. Most people point to one of three standards: their own personal opinion, public consensus, or great moral literature. But that is not an option if the Bible is true.
Whoa! Where are the axioms of science? Matthews doesn’t even mention them. He says:
An appeal to any other standard, such as the opinions of people, automatically means you must reject the Bible as your ultimate standard. Don’t miss this point; it’s worth repeating!
Lordy, lordy. We’re in big trouble! Moving along:
Since we must appeal to some ultimate standard, the next question is how to determine the right one. One — and only one — logical solution is available.
Can you guess where this is going? No need to guess, here it comes:
The standard itself must be “self-attesting” and “self-authenticating.” In other words, it must speak for itself and defend itself in such a way that it (1) passes all its own standards of truth and (2) gives a foundation for successfully interpreting all other claims to truth.
Even before modern logicians recognized this limitation to every logical argument, God’s Word had already acknowledged and solved it. Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, said, “I am the truth” and “God’s word is truth”. Jesus claimed to define what truth is, and He said God’s Word is the ultimate judge of truth. No truth exists apart from Him.
We don’t know how to argue with that, so let’s proceed to another excerpt:
Your hearers won’t find an alternative that comes close to matching the biblical God, no matter how hard they try. But you don’t have to belabor this point. (They could spend many lifetimes searching!) A positive proclamation of the reasonableness of the Christian faith is enough to highlight the shortcomings of alternative worldviews.
If you’re not yet convinced, consider this:
The Bible repeatedly claims to be God’s Word, the ultimate source of all truth, and it rejects all other claimants. The Bible offers no neutral ground, which is the only reasonable demand from a source that claims to be the truth above all others. The Scripture also says it was inspired by a God who sees everything, knows everything, communicates perfectly, and always tells the truth. In fact, He strongly desires to share the truth. So choosing such an ultimate standard is not arbitrary!
This is a very long article (and it’s only Part One), so we’ve been forced to skip a lot. Be sure to read it all so that you don’t miss anything important. We’ll give you only one more excerpt, from the end:
Since all people are blinded sinners, they resist the truth and refuse to believe even the most obvious evidences, assuming they just don’t have enough information to prove you wrong. You will end up talking in circles.
Based on the Bible’s own example, you should point them to the only true ultimate standard, the Bible’s own claims about itself. Ultimately we trust the Bible, not because we can prove it from other sources but because we trust the One who made us and then gave us His Word.
So there you are. Now that you’ve heard from the editor in chief, we know you’re going to get a subscription to Answers magazine. And while we’re on the subject of self-attesting standards, we’ll close with something you’ve seen here before:
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