What “Timeless Truths” Can Tell Us
Spend much time on the water and you’ll quickly realize the value of buoys. Whether they signal an underwater obstruction or the edge of a narrow channel, they mark the way for mariners, helping them find their way safely home. But to serve this valuable function, the buoys must remain fixed in place – literally “grounded” to the earth beneath the waves. Otherwise, the forces of wind and current would move them and eventually deposit them, useless, onto a distant shore.
Buoys are not the only things that must remain “fixed” in order to have value. A bit of reflection reveals that certain unchanging concepts must also be somehow grounded. Unpacking this idea provides considerable support for a belief in God and displays the lack of explanatory power of the atheist’s worldview. For in the end, without a supreme transcendent eternal Being – God – to ground these permanent concepts, they simply could not exist.
We acquire information about the world from our senses. The evidence of what we see, hear, touch, smell and taste provides the clues which, assembled by our minds, tell us about the world around us. The vast majority of what we encounter is changing; it is in a constant state of flux. Matter does not remain fixed but moves from one form to another. The components of this computer I am presently using were once things that were quite different and one day will either be reconfigured to some other use or begin to decay in a junkyard somewhere. Even more “permanent” things like mountains and rivers did not always possess their current appearance and also are in the process of transformation.
Just as the forms of matter are not fixed, neither are our thoughts. “Minds” are constantly in the process of changing. My knowledge base is much greater today than it was ten years ago, and some things I thought to be true then I no longer believe to be true. Many of my thoughts relate to current and shifting feelings, such as hunger or thirst or the need for sleep. My opinions as to events or places or people are also constantly changing. For most of what we encounter, those things and ideas that are changing, we know the thing itself, or at least something about the thing. When I know that the sky is blue, I am knowing the sky and the color it emits. When I know that the Roman Empire fell, I know something about an historical event. When I know I am hungry, I know something about my physical condition.
But there is a separate category of known things that are different – things that we know to be necessarily permanent…
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