A blog post recently surfaced on social media that challenges the Van Tillian Apologists at the website, known as Choosing Hats, to answer this apparent puzzle.[acp footnote]1[/acp] The solution to the puzzle is quite simple, but the puzzle relies heavily on modal logic. As a Clarkian presuppositionalist, I’d like to humbly offer my response. Here is the puzzle:
Presuppositional Apologetics can’t account for all Truth!
First, some definition:
P: Some proposition P[_]x: Necessarily x
Vx: All of x
~>: if then conditional
(1) If the Christian God makes P true then, necessarily, if the Christian God exists then P is true.
I don’t think an Presuppostional apologist would disagree with (1), but this leads to a modal collapse if First Order Quantification and S5 modal logic hold:
(2) [_] Vx: F ~> Vx: [_] F (Converse Barcan Formula)
Now let us take an instance of CBF:
(3) [_] Vx: x exists ~> Vx: [_] (x exists)
Now (3) tells us that if it is necessary that everything exists, then everything exists necessarily! What (1) leads us to is that God can’t make a contingent truth, indeed, there could be no contingent truths.
(C) The Christian God cannot account for all Truth.
Amended: Another way to look at this is if the Christian God is a truth maker for any proposition P, and if the Christian God exists necessarily, then anything that is true is necessary., no contingent truth could have the Christian God as it’s truth maker.
The inclusion of so many logic symbols is superfluous for such a simple objection. In essence, he is arguing that if the Christian God exists by necessity, then anything that is true is necessary. This “puzzle” is meant to confound presuppositionalists, but it appears that the atheist misunderstands the relationship between God’s nature and propositions.
The Christian God does not change (Malachi 3:6). I used to use modal logic a lot, but once I fully realized God’s sovereignty and his nature, I realized that The Bible teaches that there is no possible world where God would do anything differently than what he has done in the actual world. Since God does not change, God would never do anything differently than what he has done in the actual world.
The question is, does this realization logically lead to the conclusion that every proposition in the actual world is true by necessity? The answer is no. The propositions themselves are a consequence of God’s will, nature, and decree. The propositions cannot not be true without God’s decree so the propositions themselves cannot be considered necessary by their own nature. Since the truth of the propositions are relied upon God, they are contingent on God.
Let us also note that the atheist committed a logical blunder. He equivocated the word “necessary.” Let us take a look at his amended summation of his argument:
Another way to look at this is if the Christian God is a truth maker for any proposition P, and if the Christian God exists necessarily, then anything that is true is necessary., no contingent truth could have the Christian God as it’s truth maker.
The atheist is using the word necessary in two different fashions. When Christians say that God exists by necessity, they are saying that he exists by the necessity of his own nature. This is the sense of “necessary” that the atheist is using; however, when he speaks of propositions, he argues that all propositions are true by necessity if God is the maker of that truth. This is, of course, using “necessary” in a different sense, for he is not arguing that the propositions are true by their own necessity, rather, he is arguing that the proposition is necessarily true because God makes it so.
A similar flaw can be found in his argument concerning the idea that everything exists by necessity if God exists necessarily. The atheist states that if God exists necessarily, then all things must exist necessarily. In order for something to be necessary, it must be necessary by its own nature. As scripture teaches, all things exist contingently on God(Col. 1:16, Romans 11:36). Thus, since all things that exist do not exist by the necessity of their own nature, all things do not exist by necessity.
Of course, we should not stop without addressing the conclusion. The atheist argues that because all truths are necessary, God cannot account for truth. We have already thoroughly addressed this error, but let’s address how he arrives at his conclusion. We have already pointed out that the assumption that if God is necessary that all truths are necessary is false. The truths in this world are made by God, but the truths themselves are not necessary by their own nature. Rather, the true propositions of this world are contingent and reliant upon God himself, for God is the maker of truth (John 14:6, Psalms 86:11). Since the true propositions of this world are reliant on God’s will and decree, God is indeed the maker of truth. Let us all also not forget that God is the maker of all things ( Isaiah 44:24). Thus, the atheist’s conclusion, “The Christian God cannot account for all Truth” is false.