The Evidence for God: Review by Mike Robinson
Moser controverts numerous forms of Naturalism including:
• Quine’s (p. 68-70)
• Ontological Naturalism
a. Eliminative ontological naturalism
b. Noneliminative reductive ontological naturalism
c. Noneliminative nonreductive ontological naturalism
• Methodological naturalism in three dominant forms.
All this within the context of a refutation of Scientism (pp. 76-87) while he opposes the empirical attempt to prove the existence of God (p. 87).
The author rejects classical proofs (pp. 142-182) along with historical and evidential methods as systems that prove too little (finite data V. an infinite ontology: the God of Christian Theism), yet he admits to their possible psychological or aesthetic apologetic value (p. 160). The apologist also denies that Behe’s irreducible complexity and ID science are epistemically satisfying approaches (p. 166-167).
The often astute professor alogically and unbiblically rejects God’s sovereignty in the salvation of souls and the enlightening of minds (pp. 131-142 and misc.). He builds a neurasthenic case for the divine call that results in “nonargument evidence of God’s reality” not as “volitionally static” forasmuch as we need to “avoid … a bias against evidence of the divine reality that comes from the volitional pressure of a transcendent call and the resulting transformation of a willing human recipient who thereby becomes a personifying evidence of God’s reality” (p. 150). Nonetheless Moser’s previous arguments against traditional proofs (finite, mutable, perishing material things lack the epistemic ability and ontic necessities to prove an infinite, immutable, imperishable God) cuts off the branch he’s resting his arguments on: Christians become the “evidence of God’s reality in receiving and reflecting God’s moral character to others” (p. ix); inasmuch as Christians are also mutable and finite, thus under Moser’s epistemic scrutiny, they fail to offer proof for the awesome infinite and immutable God revealed in scripture. The professor’s argument provides the grounds that confute his own position.
The author claims that the evidence that has epistemically virtuous rights streams from the personal, perfectly loving God who alone deserves our worship and obedience. He maintains that this is the only justifiable evidence because God is elusive and all that is within the cosmos is epistemically diminutive. The seeker should open his heart and find salient evidence for the reality of God in the lives of believers who exhibit the love that they have received from the Lord. I personally haven’t met a fellow Christian who lived a life that is morally adequate enough to be proof for the existence of God; furthermore I have not observed the love of a believer that was so impressive as to compel one to believe in God. The only moral source of love that compels saving faith is found in Christ Jesus.
Moser offers a formidable case against fideism and mysticism (p. 88-125), but his central allegation against classical & evidential proofs implies that he’s one who rejects propositional and evidential proof, so he seems to slide into a type of moderate fideism himself, although he avouches “moderate evidentialism” (p. 135).
He advocates the amorphous view that “God’s reality is increasingly available and salient to me as I, myself, am increasingly willing to become such evidence–that is evidence of God’s reality.” This contention is his chief argument for Christian theism (p. 172). One reason Moser contends that God’s existence cannot be proved in propositional apologetic terms is: God is epistemically veiled so the lives of believers are the only sufficient evidence that is available, moreover we need to “let God be God” (p. 28). God is concealed since “the reality of the God is knowable firsthand by humans on the basis of salient and conclusive, if elusive, evidence.”
The author endeavors to rebut the Reformed view of soteriology in relation to apologetic pursuits as he asserts that some “people assume that God would have a magic cognitive bullet in divine self-revelation whereby God guarantees that the divinely offered evidence of God’s existence will actually be willingly received by humans. Sometimes this dubious assumption is clothed in talk of `divine sovereignty,’ but this approach, in any case, involves a serious mistake” (pp. 33-34). However Romans chapter one informs the world that all men know that God exists but they suppress the truth in unrighteousness; furthermore the totality of holy writ discloses the idea that God is the agent who opens the human heart and calls men to Himself by grace alone.
The professor states: “Conclusive firsthand evidence for divine reality is, I’ll contend, purposively available to humans, that is, available in a way, and only in a way, that accommodates the distinctive purposes of a perfectly loving God. The latter purposes, we’ll see, would aim non-coercively but authoritatively to transform human purposes to agree with divine purposes, despite human resistance.”
Moser’s work may not have compelling positive and direct proof for theism but he does present an extremely effective refutation of naturalism and fideism along with a moderate challenge to the traditional arguments for God’s existence. Even though I affirm a dissimilar apologetic method and epistemic approach, I enjoyed this volume immensely and gained additional insight in ways to defend the faith.
My method advocates a certain argument for the existence of God. Additionally in contrast to Moser I argue that God alone furnishes all the a priori essentials for the necessary epistemic equipment utilized in all science and research. God has the ontic attributes of omniscience, immutability, and omnipotence (universal reach) to be the ground for the immaterial universal and immutable rational and ethical necessities. Any position that rejects Christian theism ultimately fails; thus whatever evidence one discovers, one must discern and process that evidence with the rational tools noted above.
God Does Exist!: Defending the faith using presuppositional apologetics, evidence, and the impossibility of the contrary