Editor’s note: This article is part five of a five-part series, Truth in Modern Times.
Our primary path to truth is with reason, with logic rigorously and properly employed. For with reason the realms of truth multiply. With the rigors of reason inherent in the scientific method, science is able to know a great deal about the physical cosmos. But reason can also reveal truths now thought to be exclusive to personal preference and cultural norms, to revelation and to personal belief.
Think about the existence of God. Reason tells us God’s existence is not a matter of perception and individual belief. God either exists or He doesn’t exist. And, His existence is a matter of fact as are all claims of existence. And, proving God’s existence is a matter of evidence. For the rigors and rules require evidence for any assertion, and certainly one of this magnitude.
Well, the existence of everything, of space and time, matter and energy are pretty compelling reasons for His existence. So too, is the observable order of the cosmos. Also, all these physical effects must be caused to exist by something, some force, some being. Science compels this as does reason. Well sooner or later, tracing existence back to its first causes leaves us with the inevitability of this first cause as an uncaused cause, an uncaused cause-er.
And, all these matters of origin and order are matters of scientific and rational necessity. For even our modern atheistic, scientific materialism tell us this. That is why scientists search for the god-particle – the initiating particle of the big bang. But, this is also why when the particle is discovered, if such a thing exists, it will not answer the problem of the origin and order of the universe.
For science and logic both demand a prior cause to this god-particle. So, this search for the first cause is destined to be an infinite regression as both reason requires and science can extrapolate. For the initial cause to the existence of the physical cosmos must come from some kind of uncaused cause-er in order to avoid the scientific absurdity and rational necessity of an infinite regression.
Yet, questions about origin and order of the cosmos are best and most appropriate when applied, not to the tangible, physical world, but to the intangible world. Just how did the nature and order of reason come into existence? How could such rational order be made manifest in a physical universe, let alone its intangible mental order? And, who or what could imbue reality with such rigorous rationality, let alone imbue beings capable of knowing and using reason’s many rigors?
Where did reason come from? How did its rigors come into existence? And, how do we human beings have the unique abilities to know and use these capacities? Just as the physical universe needs explanations for its existence and order, so too does reason? This intangible rational order must have a cause.
And, its cause must have these rational capacities inherently, rigorously, perfectly, simply because you cannot have more in the effect than in the cause, as reason so definitively tells us. So, the causer-er of reason must have and embody pure, perfect reason. As all that is a rational necessity.
So, science tells us the origin and order of the tangible, physical realm must have come from an intangible, uncaused cause-er of consummate power. And, the existence and order of reason tells us we also must have an intangible mind who embodies and epitomizes this rational order and power. Not only that, but this rational mind must be perfectly ordered, must be the perfect embodiment of the rational order.
And all this, as Aquinas says, is what we call God. The God who is there and who is not silent, as existence and reason make clear. For God speaks to us through existence, through the tangible, physical cosmos. And, God speaks to us through the intangible, rational order, as well.
And, as if reason and science weren’t enough, we also must confront two other realities of life and living, of human experience and human relationships.
Just as science and reason empower us to know and to understand and to act, so too does love. For love presumes existence and relies on reason, yet it fulfills and transcends all that existence and reason compel. For love is a matter of being. And, it is the consummation of all that being entails.
Once God’s existence is established and His rational order and power is proven, we must recognize our existence and our rational capacity to know transcend the biochemical materialism of modernity. Once we recognize the fatal contradiction of scientific materialism, rationality and being in all their full reality become not merely experiential but actual, factual, rational.
Just as reason’s intangible order and power proves a Supreme Being, so too is the intangible being of every human being proven, rationally, scientifically, philosophically. Proven beyond any rational skepticism and scientific objection. It is just that simple and certain. Just that scientific and logical.
“If all we are is biochemistry, then we have no way of knowing that all we are is biochemistry.” That way of knowing makes everything unknowable because all knowing is mere sensation, sensation whose actual content is merely a sensation. And, this scientific materialism makes science impossible because reason isn’t real. Reason is just a sensation, a neural event. Nothing more.
So, we can conclusively know that reason is our primary and natural way we can know anything when reason is properly and logically employed. For reason, when it is properly used, is the basic form of revelation known as natural theology. The common and rationally self-evident path to truth, truth of many kinds from the more immediately practical to the most esoteric and foundational.
And, given the certainties of natural theology that reason reveals, God’s more direct revelation as conveyed through the Scriptures and through the apostolic traditions and history, gives mankind all the necessary and essential truths critical for living in its fullness, from the most immediate to most ultimate, from the most foundational philosophical facts to the details of morality and relational harmony.
This is why love is the holistic consummation of our existence, the harmony of the ultimate truths of life and living and all of its many immediate implications to our lives in space and time each and every moment of our earthly lives. For love is truly the truth, abundant in its depth and breadth, in its ultimate and immediate reality.
And, it is a profound truth and the harmony of all truths. Truths we can, should and do know, if we but open our eyes and minds. But, it is up to us to look and to seek. And, as God promises us, if we seek and keep seeking, we will most certainly find and keep finding. For truth in its full abundance awaits every eager heart and every hungry mind. For the full wealth of truth awaits. And, it is consummated by knowing He who is truly the Truth.