Warming Up to Presuppositionalism

While the rule seems to be that most non-Christians do not accept Presuppositionalism as a valid form of argumentation (due mostly to misunderstanding it), there are those who have, in my experience, warmed to the idea over time. Case in point, a cyber-friend of mine I will call by the initials “HR”. HR and I have known each other for close to 7 years now, primarily through the medium of a discussion board that he and I frequent. When we first met online, I was just coming up to speed on the Presuppositional approach to defending Christianity. Needless to say, he was extremely patient with me as I learned more and more about what it meant to be a Presuppositionalist. As well, his understanding of my position and desire to interact, both on this discussion board and through other means, increased.

I recently came across a post of his on this discussion board where he was forwarding the idea that Satan, as an intelligent being, and one familiar with the Bible, could bring about a series of events that would run counter to what God has decreed. Since specific events (at least in this instance) would lead to what God had decreed, and since Satan’s choice would essentially cause these events, my friend’s argument was that if Satan would change his actions such that they were not consistent with what God stated would occur, then God’s prophesy would fail to obtain. And, of course, if this were the case, then God would be made out to be a liar. If on the other hand, Satan was not able to choose to act differently than God had said he would, then Satan obviously has no free will and God is therefore responsible (morally) for Satan’s actions.

My response to HR was that this “dilemma” he spoke of was only a dilemma for those who believed the following:

1) Free agents have a “free will” of the sort that gives them the ability to choose other than what God has determined/foreknown they will choose.
2) Moral responsibility requires that free agents have this particular type of “free will”.

Since I hold to an interpretation of the Bible that provides a high view of God’s sovereignty and a low(er) view of man’s will, (meaning I believe God has predetermined all of our choices, yet those choices are “real” just the same because we make them without compulsion, and therefore are morally responsible for them), my friend’s dilemma does not exist for me. Satan will, in fact, make the very choices God has decreed he will make, and the results will be exactly as God has stated. In the midst of this, Satan will remain responsible for his actions as he freely chooses those actions through no compulsion of anyone, but rather because those actions are his greatest desire at that time given his nature, and the surrounding circumstances.

After some back and forth with my friend, he finally admitted that there was no point in going forward with the discussion until such time as we addressed the underlying presuppositions that guided each of us to the conclusions we arrived at. I was ecstatic! My friend was, for the first time as far as I could tell, fully aware of the absolute futility of debating any given “fact of existence” until such time as the worldview that fact was evaluated from within was firmly established.

Although my friend also stated that he saw no way that we would ever change each other’s minds about our presuppositions, I shared with him that I did feel it was entirely possible for his presuppositions to change, and that I prayed that God would make that change in his heart.

BK


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