Back when Bill Cosby was still acceptable he had a routine in which he asked the great philosophical question, “Why is there air?” I don’t remember the entire monologue but I remember that the answer was, “Any P.E. major can answer that. There is air to blow up volleyballs.” Much of philosophy and theology comes in at that level. Did Cosby give an answer that met the test of reality? Does air fill up volleyballs? Of course it does but there are two issues. First, that was not the heart of the question. Second, it is a nonsense question of no consequence.
There are questions that are asked that receive the same kind of answers even though they are not nonsense. One of those questions was asked by Pilate when he was interrogating Jesus.
(Joh 18:38 KJV) Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.This was in a grilling in which Jesus brought up the subject of truth. It is a subject that is still being avoided today.
The first question today would be, “Is there truth?” Does it exist? There are really two main answers to this for anyone not trying to avoid the question: Yes and no. Christians would say that because there is a God and that God has a certain character, truth is real. It does not change. It is objective. When I say “Christians” I mean those who are serious about their faith and believe the Bible. Christians who do not believe the Bible will find themselves in the pagan camp and deny that there is any real truth and if there was we could not know it. The pagan gods are whimsical and capricious. They like to play tricks and are not known for their maturity. Thus you can never count on anything.
I have come across another way of expressing this difference: Is it true because God said it or did God say it because it is true? This became and issue very early in creation.
(Gen 1:4 KJV) And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.Only four verses in and already we are having value judgements. Now, did light become a good thing as some mysterious point and God noticed, or did God create a good thing and is pointing it out?
The answer to the question, “Is it true because God said it or did God say it because it is true?” is simply “Yes.” Don’t you hate it when people do that? The answer is simple and yet it isn’t. It is a case of both/and not either/or. When you ask the wrong question it is impossible to get the correct answer.
Some think this is the old chicken or the egg question in a different form. That paradox is not a paradox if you believe in truth and that there is an answer. If you are an evolutionist it is a clever question that shows how well you listened to your new age guru. If you are a Christian who believes in creation the answer is simple. Two chickens came before the egg or, to be precise, a hen and a rooster. There are a couple of reason for this. First, if the egg came first there would be no chicken to sit on it and keep it warm until it hatched. Somewhere in the soil of the earth would be the one fossil of the one egg that existed. If somehow the egg was in the sun just right and managed to hatch there would be no bird of the opposite sex to insure that future eggs would be fertile. Again you are left with one fossil somewhere in the rocks.
God is the source of truth. God speaks ex nihilo and thus truth is what He declares. I imagine he could have made the sky green like it was in one of the science fiction series I read but in that case we would probably still call it blue and not know the difference. Since what He declares has nothing before it and He put the whole thing together, it is true.
Once He declares it then He repeats it because it is true. And the glorious circle goes on.
What a glorious day for philosophy, theology and logic.
homo unius libri