The Logic of Miracles – Part 4: Kreeft’s Last Ten Arguments

The Logic of Miracles – Part 4: Kreeft’s Last Ten Arguments December 20, 2018

WHERE WE ARE AT

I am in the process of examining Peter Kreeft’s case for the existence of God, in order to test the following hypothesis:

Classical Apologetics FAILS at Phase 1 because we are ignorant about the PLANS and PURPOSES of God, and this ignorance makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to SHOW that God exists.

Peter Kreeft’s case for God consists of 20 different arguments (these are from Kreeft’s Handbook of Christian Apologetics, hereafter: HCA).

For each one of the arguments in Kreeft’s case, I wish to answer the following question:

Does this argument require any assumptions about the PLANS or PURPOSES of God in order to be a successful argument for the existence of God?

In Part 3 of this series, I argued that ALL of the first ten arguments in Kreeft’s case require assumptions about the PLANS or PURPOSES of God in order to be successful arguments for the existence of God.   So, it looks like my hypothesis will be confirmed.  However, I need to also examine the last ten arguments in Kreeft’s case in order to have enough information to confidently evaluate the hypothesis.

 

THE LAST TEN ARGUMENTS OF KREEFT’S CASE FOR GOD

  • ARGUMENT #11: The Argument from Truth
    • “Therefore there must exist an eternal mind in which these [eternal] truths reside.”  (HCA, p.67)
    • Is the eternal mind (in which eternal truths reside) the CREATOR of the universe?
  • ARGUMENT #12: The Argument from the Origin of the Idea of God
    • This is an argument for the existence of a being that is “the cause of the idea we have of him [God].” (HCA, p.68)
    • Is the being that is the cause of the idea we have of God the CREATOR of the universe?
  • ARGUMENT #13: The Ontological Argument
    • This is an argument for the existence of a being “that than which a greater cannot be thought.” (HCA, p.69)
    • Is the being that than which a greater cannot be thought the CREATOR of the universe?
  • ARGUMENT #14: The Moral Argument
    • “Moral obligation can hardly be rooted in a material motion blind to purpose.” (HCA, p.72)
    • Is the being in which moral obligation is rooted the CREATOR of the universe?
  • ARGUMENT #15: The Argument from Conscience
    • This is an argument that there exists “something superior to me” that is “The…source of absolute moral obligation”. (HCA, p.75)
    • Is the source of absolute moral obligation the CREATOR of the universe?
  • ARGUMENT #16: The Argument from Desire
    • This is an argument that there exists “some real object that can satisfy” (HCA, p.78) the “human desire  for something more than nature” (HCA, p.81).
    • Is the real object that can satisfy the human desire for something more than nature the CREATOR of the universe?
  • ARGUMENT #17: The Argument from Aesthetic Experience
    • “There is the music of…Bach.” (HCA, p.81)
    • Is the being that makes it possible for the music of Bach to exist the CREATOR of the universe?
  • ARGUMENT #18: The Argument from Religious Experience
    • “Therefore, there exists a ‘divine’ reality which many people of different cultures have experienced.” (HCA, p.82)
    • Is the divine reality which many people of different cultures have experienced the CREATOR of the universe?
  • ARGUMENT #19: The Common Consent Argument
    • “the vast majority of humans have believed in an ultimate Being to whom the proper response could only be reverence and worship.” (HCA, p.83)
    • Is the ultimate Being to whom the proper response could only be reverence and worship the CREATOR of the universe?
  • ARGUMENT #20: Pascal’s Wager
    • As Kreeft himself admits, Pascal’s Wager “is not an argument for God at all…” (HCA, p.49)
    • Because this argument only attempts to show that it is in one’s self interest to believe that God exists, and it makes no attempt to show that it is TRUE that God exists, there is no hope of this argument being a successful argument for the existence of God, even if we KNEW what the PLANS and PURPOSES of God would be, if there were a God.

 

CONCLUSIONS

My hypothesis holds true in EVERY EXAMPLE.  The very last argument, Argument #20 is not even an attempt to SHOW that God exists, so it is irrelevant to my question about Classical Apologetics.  ALL of the other 19 arguments require that one make some assumptions about the PLANS or PURPOSES of God in order for the arguments to be successful.

In each case, the argument infers the existence of a being of a certain sort (e.g. “an absolutely necessary being”, “a cause of the beginning of the universe”, “an intelligent designer of the universe”, etc.).  We can always ask a relevant question about this being:

Is this being the CREATOR of the universe? 

If the answer is “NO”, then we can immediately conclude that the argument in question FAILS to show that God exists.

However, if the answer is “YES”, then this raises the PROBLEM OF EVIL, because the universe includes events that appear to be EVIL or BAD (e.g. pain, suffering, disease, violence, death and destruction).

This casts doubt on the moral goodness of the being in question.  But God, by definition, is perfectly morally good.  So, if being X is the CREATOR of the universe, then we have good reason to doubt that being X is God.  In that case, the argument will NOT be a successful argument for the existence of God unless the arguer can provide a plausible THEODICY, a justification of the perfect moral goodness of the CREATOR/God in view of the existence of EVIL in the universe.

But a plausible THEODICY requires that we make some assumptions about the PLANS or PURPOSES of God.  Therefore, in order for ANY of Kreeft’s 19 arguments to be a successful argument for the existence of God, Kreeft must make some assumptions about the PLANS or PURPOSES of God.

In view of my examination of the 20 arguments in Kreeft’s case for God, I conclude that my hypothesis about Classical Apologetics has been strongly confirmed by this evidence.  Thus, our ignorance of the PLANS and PURPOSES of God means not only that Classical Apologetics is doomed to FAIL at Phase 2 (where the apologist tries to show that a miracle has occurred), but that Classical Apologetics is also doomed to FAIL at Phase 1 (where the apologist tries to show that God exists).

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