I saw an interesting post in a debate group that I thought was worth addressing. What follows is a transcript that gives a ton of examples of atheists not respecting the definition of terms giving by Bible believers. This is a very common tactic in atheist evangelism. They will try to get you away from definitions of terms that accurately reflect what the Bible teaches and will attempt to get you outside of the Biblical framework in order to attempt to show you that it is not possible for the Bible to be true in the first place.
In my first book, ‘Apologetics Made Simple,’ I stress the importance of both the defining of terms and accurate representation. In this case, the atheist initially claims omniscience is logically impossible and then tries give unbiblical implications to the term, ‘omniscience.’ Atheists cannot argue with us on the basis of Biblical premises and definitions because if they are granted, our position is unassailable. Atheists always try to get the believer to adopt their outrageous assumptions instead. It is the only way atheism can survive a philosophical discussion. Notice that every time these two atheists try to assert that God’s omniscience is impossible by disregarding the definition of omniscience, I bring them back to the definition of omniscience that is compatible with what the Bible teaches.
Atheist I: Omniscience is logically impossible. One cannot possibly know that one knows everything that can be known.
Me: Your argument assumes that God’s knowledge is the result of a series of inferences, but an omniscient being’s knowledge is a priori. Your objection is inapplicable. All true propositions are already possessed by God, including that he is omniscient.
Atheist I: Circular reasoning is circular.
Me: I hope you are in this group to learn because I find it quite concerning that you cannot tell the difference between two modus ponens arguments and circular reasoning.
Atheist I: Again: How can God know he was not created by a being who instilled in him the belief he is all-knowing? Easy: He can’t. It is logically impossible.
Me: Again? This is the first time you asked that question. God, being omniscient, possesses all truths (this is what it means to be omniscient). If an omniscient being is uncreated, he knows that he is not created. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, as they say.
Atheist I: Let me try help you out. My position is that the very concept of omniscience is illogical.
Me: I have already shown that your position is incorrect.
Atheist I: Surely you can see how just asserting that God is omniscient does not address this.
Me: I didn’t just assert it. I defined what it meant to be omniscient and then I argued its implications. You are trying to argue that it is logically impossible. Since logic has to do with inference, you have to start with the concept of omniscience and then show how it is not possible. I am apparently not the one who needs help in this conversation. Your view of this issue is simplistic, deficient, and primitive.
Atheist I: If I say “A married bachelor cannot exist”, would you reply “Sure he can. If he is married, then he is married by definition”? I hope not.
Me: I would start with the definition of ‘married’ and the definition of ‘bachelor’ and then show that the two are mutually exclusive by definition because that is how philosophy is done well. I took a similar approach in this conversation with omniscience. If you would argue that a bachelor cannot be married by virtue of the definitions of the key terms, you are an intellectual hypocrite for attempting to reject my valid and sound arguments for God’s omniscience. The structure of the argument I gave is the same for what you would give for arguing that a bachelor cannot be married. If we accepted your deficient view of argumentation, you would have to agree arguing that a bachelor is unmarried by definition is circular.
I’m going to give you some unsolicited advice. I recommend you learn something about doing philosophy well before you spend all of this time arguing in Facebook groups. You are wasting your time.
Atheist II: Omniscience assume complete knowledge. It does not assume which theory of knowledge.
Me: With omniscience, all truths are possessed. This makes theories of knowledge irrelevant. God doesn’t need theories of knowledge because he already knew everything from the start. This is a point that is very easy to understand.
Atheist II: If God’s knowledge is reliably produced true belief, then god’s beliefs are all knowledge by his nature.
Me: No beliefs were produced by God as a result of his knowledge. He already knew everything to be true. God doesn’t discover nor infer propositions that were previously unknown to him because he is omniscient. A being that must use inferences to possess new truths is not omniscient by definition. At this point, I’m seeing an ironic parallel between this conversation and the married bachelor example that Faizal used earlier. I assume you think bachelors are married too?
Atheist II: That leads to the problem of the incompleteness theorems if god’s knowledge is recursive, and Russell’s Paradox if it isn’t.
Me: It would only lead to the aforementioned problems if God had to infer in order to come to the possession of truths that were previously unknown to him. Since God possesses all truths, he has no need for inferences when it comes to knowing propositions to be true. Therefore, God’s knowledge is not recursive. God, as an omniscient being, does not rely on an axiom to deduce theorems so that he can know propositions to be true so Russell’s paradox is also not relevant to omniscience either.
Atheist II: Its you that is assuming what theory of knowledge others are assigning to god. Making your objection void.
Me: Anyone who needs a theory of knowledge is not omniscient by definition. Now, I am convinced that you haven’t taken a look at these issues very carefully. I suggest you do some reading and some reflecting before returning to this conversation.