Sawing Off Your Support

In apologetics reading, I recently came across the worst argument I can remember. In a chapter regarding Old Earth Creationism, the author argued for a flood that wiped out all of mankind without being global–a regional but universal (from humanity’s perspective) flood. One supporting argument he laid out floored me: science has proven that a global flood is impossible.

Just think about that for a moment and the damage done accepting that argument does to Christianity.

If you’re having trouble seeing it, then put the statement laid out into a formal, logical argument.

We begin with a major premise, a general statement that we then apply to specifics (the minor premise).

Major Premise: If science says a thing is impossible, it did not happen.
Minor Premise: Science says a global flood is impossible.
Conclusion: Therefore, the flood described in Genesis 6-9 could not have been global.

(If you’ve already said to yourself, “But aren’t all miracles scientifically impossible by definition either in absolute terms or in terms of timing?” then give yourself a medal. You’ve seen the fatal flaw in the argument. To argue here against what the Bible describes as a miracle undermines any Christian argument of miracles later.

To demonstrate, we will continue to explore the damage accepting this argument does to Christianity. To see if the major premise holds, we apply it to other Christian doctrines.

Major Premise: If science says a thing is impossible, it did not happen.
Minor Premise: Science says that virgin women do not give birth.
Conclusion: Therefore, Mary could not have been a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus.

Whoa! Whoa! To make his point in one place, has he just accepted a premise that undermines Christianity? Surely not! Surely a trained apologist–nay, a clear thinker–would have seen the flaw from a mile away and realized that accepting the major premise meant he had to discard the Virgin Birth. But, wait, one can be saved without believing in the Virgin Birth (let’s say that a new believer had never heard of the Virgin Birth. He would still be saved. However, when hearing that the Bible teaches the Virgin Birth, the hypothetical new believer should accept it). So, he’s still in the clear, right?
Nope. For the premise denies all miracles. Let’s apply it to the central miracle of Christianity.

Major Premise: If science says a thing is impossible it did not happen.
Minor Premise: Science says men do not rise from the dead.
Conclusion: Therefore, Jesus could not have been resurrected from the dead.

By presenting the major premise as an argument against a global flood, he destroyed any possible defense of the central tenet of Christianity. Oh, he might argue that other miracles are still possible just this one isn’t. But to argue that what you yourself are setting up as a rule and standard doesn’t apply when it hurts another argument you like is a textbook case of the fallacy known as special pleading. Either the major premise is true and no miracle is possible, or it is not and miracles are possible.

I trust you see why using it is akin to sawing off the limb you’re standing on.

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About frankluke

Professionally: pastor, programmer, writer. Personally: husband, father.
This entry was posted in Apologetics, Christianity, Philosophy and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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