This article will be the first in a series of 3 wherein I argue that Sye Ten Bruggencate’s version of the argument from reason is superior to both Lewis‘ version, as well as Reppert’s supposedly improved version of Lewis’ version.
First, let’s be clear. These two men are not opposed to one another. We are all on the same pro-God team. Secondly, I am a huge fan of Lewis. Third, although I think Bruggencate’s argument holds more solidly, it doesn’t mean I think he is a better apologetic per se. Lewis had many arguments, and his argument from reason preceded Sye, giving Sye a potential head-start, although Sye does not mention his version being informed directly by Lewis.
The first time I took the argument from reason seriously was on hearing it from Bruggencate on some YouTube video where he is at a college talking to an atheist. I can’t find the video, but here’s another video where he demonstrates his argument. I also mentioned this a while back. He states it simply (About 50:30 in the video above): The proof that God exists is that without him you can’t prove anything.
In other words, Sye’s proof is a contingent proof, at least at first glance. Sye claims that if God exists, then things can be proven, but if God does not exist then things cannot be proven.
This originally contingent proof beautifully and automatically unfolds into an absolute proof. There are two possibilities: Things either can or can not be proven. If things can be proven, then we can prove that things are provable. In other words, things being provable is self-consistent and self-reinforcing.
If things cannot be proven, then we cannot prove that things cannot be proven. Therefore, the idea that things cannot be proven is self-defeating, absurd and necessarily false, unjustified and should be rejected.
It follows that things can be proven. For things to be proven things first have to be. We can take this in a cosmological direction by saying that anything which is must have a source outside itself or within the necessity of its own nature. Sye, however, prefers the presuppositional, transcendental route.
He notes that absolute laws of logic, truth and knowledge are all also presupposed by the fact that things can be proven. Because laws of logic do not vary with respect to time, they must exist and have a source outside of time. This transcendental source must also have a mind because it is capable of creation and dissemination of true knowledge.
Stick around for parts 2 and 3 of my series! In part 2, I will explain Lewis’ argument and some later revisions of it. In the third article I will weigh the pros and cons of the various arguments, concluding with an explanation of why I find Sye’s argument to be the strongest.