Proof vs. Persuasion

Do the Unpersuaded Have Enough Proof?

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and deity, so that they are without excuse.  (Romans 1:20)
[Some speakers look “wise as an owl” as they profess to defend God’s truth, but their teaching falls short]

At a local Bible conference, years ago, a popular seminary professor unintentionally contradicted the apostle Paul. During Q&A the professor wrongly opined that “you cannot prove the existence of God to anyone, because you must choose to believe in God.”  (Part right, part wrong.) That statement fails Forensic Evidences 101, clashing with the proof principles taught in Romans 1:18-28.(1)

Did the seminary professor’s thinking mischaracterize God’s proofs of His Creatorship? If so, how did he stumble? The professor confused proof with persuasion.  This error was illustrated again, recently, when a nearby church’s visiting speaker (who trained at a North Carolina seminary dominated by the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, a famous Roman Catholic writer of the Dark Ages) repeated the same exact error, in a so-called apologetics message that failed to rely upon Scripture.

But Bible-believing Christians–thanks to the Protestant Reformation’s revival of “Sola Scriptura” thinking!–recognize that the Scripture are perfectly authoritative, authoritatively reliable, and authoritatively relevant to how we learn and defend the truth–the real truth. Studying God’s truth, while appreciating its many infallible proofs, is a sanctified usage of our minds. By “hallowing” (i.e., intentionally glorifying as holy) God as our Creator, and being grateful to Him as our Maker, we logically worship our Lord God.(1) As Dr. Guliuzza often notes, worship is the logical response to seeing and understanding God’s work.(1),(2)  This demonstrates the doxological role of Biblical creation apologetics.(2)

Yet creation apologetics has a horizontal role, too—we also share the evidences of God’s Creatorship, with others.  Creation evidences are like testifying witnesses (or, if inanimate, like trial exhibits) that illustrate God’s Creatorship, bioengineering genius, and providential care.(2)

However, documenting and explaining these wonderful witnesses of creation is not enough, alone, to convert doubters and skeptics into believers.(2),(3) Why? Because proof is not the same as persuasion. 

Proof requires giving relevant information, true facts. But persuasion requires choice: “clearly seen” truth can be accepted or rejected.(1),(2),(3) Proof of relevant “clearly seen” facts—proof beyond an honest doubt—can be (and often is) rejected, due to truth suppression, because someone’s receptiveness to truth is corrupted.(2),(3)

Evolutionists attribute their origins to accidents occurring to inanimate stuff (physical material). Some imagine that geophysical elements somehow “selected” and/or “shaped” inorganic nonlife into procreating lifeforms. Some accredit life-on-earth to immigrating meteor-borne crystals or to lucky ingredients self-assembling inside a warm pond.(1),(2)  In short, such imaginations are idolatry.(1) 

Carefully presenting God’s truth, with its many infallible proofs, can simultaneously glorify God and serve others, benefiting them with relevant information and insights. But we cannot choose for others.

Meanwhile, God holds every breath we take—and every breath is itself a providential miracle!(4)

As Paul reminded the Christians in Rome, God manifests His mighty power and marvelous glory “in” us—our own bodies are walking, talking, blood-circuiting, breathing witnesses of Who God is, as our Creator.(3),(4)  

So, there is no lack of adequate proof of our Creator’s existence, power, wisdom, care, and glory.  Rather, those who choose to be “unpersuaded” are, as the apostle Paul says, “without excuse”.(4)

 References

(1)1 Timothy 3:15. “In short, people will either believe that God creates nature or that nature creates itself.” Guliuzza, R. J. 2020. Gaia and Selectionism’s Nature Worship. Creation Science Update (January 31, 2020), https://www.icr.org/article/gaia-and-selectionisms-nature-worship. Guliuzza, R. J. 2011. Darwin’s Sacred Imposter: Natural Selection’s Idolatrous Trap. Acts & Facts. 40(11):12-15. See also Genesis 6:5; Romans 1:21; John 1:10-12; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Jeremiah 17:9.

(2)Acts 1:3; Job 12:7-9. Regarding doxological apologetics, see Johnson, J. J. S. 2019. Sanctifying our Hearts with Apologetics. Acts & Facts. 48(12):21.  Regarding “reprobate mind” unbelief, see Johnson, J. J. S. 2020. New York Seminarians Worship Plants. Creation Science Update (January 7, 2020), https://www.icr.org/article/new-york-seminarians-worship-plants. See also, regarding creation evidences in general, Morris, H. M. Many Infallible Proofs. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 1996.

(3)Romans 1:20,28 (“reprobate mind”); 2 Timothy 3:8 (“corrupt minds”). See also Johnson, J. J. S. 2011. Quintillions of Creation Witnesses: Blood Service Agents Testify for Creation. Acts & Facts. 40(5):8-9, saying: “Do the math: hundreds of billions of blood cells in each human body, multiplied by [almost-eight] billion humans now alive on planet earth, equals quintillions of witnesses. … And each of those blood cells is an independent witness of God’s creation, because only biblical creation provides an adequate explanation for the extraordinary design and operation of each of those quintillions of cells.. … [Every blood cell, worldwide, in every human being alive today] is a stand-alone proof of God’s creation. Each of these quintillions testifies that God is our Creator!”

(4)“So, equal amounts of these gases are exchanged in less than 0.25 second–leaving over 0.5 second to spare. … It just “happens” that the solubility of CO2 in plasma and alveolar fluids is 20 times higher than O2, which is just right to compensate for the pressure differences … Who would have thought that a few principles of nature like solubility and partial pressures would be so important for life? The Lord Jesus Christ did!” Guliuzza, R. J. 2009. Made in His Image: Breath of Life. Acts & Facts. 38(6):10-11. See also Daniel 5:23; Job 12:9-10; Romans 1:19-20.

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