Non-Christian Circles

“An ultimate standard must do more than simply prove itself. It must provide a basis for proving absolutely everything that is knowable. And this is quite a challenge. The Christian’s ultimate standard is able to do this. But no non-Christian standard is up to the challenge. Non-Christian circles turn out to be self-refuting, rather than self-attesting, and they cannot account for the preconditions of intelligibility.

Consider empiricism- the belief that all knowledge is gained by observation. Is empiricism self-attesting? Is it able to prove itself by its own standard? No. If all knowledge is gained by observation then we could never know that empiricism is true. If empiricism could be shown to be true, then it would be false. It is self-defeating. Consider materialism- the belief that all that exists is matter in motion. Does materialism pass its own standard for truth? No not at all. We could never prove that materialism is true by its own standard, because we would need laws of logic (in order to prove anything), which are nonmaterial and thus cannot exist in a materialistic universe.

So the question is not, “Which worldview uses some degree of circular reasoning?” They all do. The question is, “Which worldview is the only one that is actually able to authorize itself-to pass its own criteria while simultaneously providing criteria for everything else. Remember, a circular argument is not invalid but is normally fallacious because it’s arbitrary. But in the case of biblical creation it’s not arbitrary. The reason for our circle is that it is the only one that makes knowledge possible.

Notice that even the standards by which all worldviews are judged are actually biblical standards. We have insisted all along that a worldview should be self-consistent, and thus all truth is. A clever unbeliever should have responded, “No, no. I’m not going to be consistent. That’s a biblical standard.” We have insisted that a worldview should be non-arbitrary since God has logical reasons for what He does. A clever unbeliever should have responded, “No, no. I’m not going to have reasons for what I believe. That’s a biblical concept.” And yet, virtually no one thinks to argue this way. Why?

All unbelievers are made in God’s image. As such, they know if their heart of hearts the biblical God. God has built into them the knowledge that they should be consistent, non-arbitrary, rational, moral persons. And try as they might, they cannot completely escape this principle. The unbeliever must live in God’s universe, and therefore must accept God’s presuppositions in order to function. The unbeliever might deny being made in God’s image, but he cannot escape it.”

(Lisle, Ultimate Proof of Creation, 146-48)


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