The Antecedent Knowledge Argument
(For God's Existence)
Are you ready for the quickest, most simple PROOF of God that you've ever heard?
Here is the "AKA" argument...
P1. If it is impossible for some knowledge to be learned, then some knowledge is eternal and must come from an eternal mind.
P2. It is impossible for some knowledge to be learned.
C3. Therefore, some knowledge is eternal and must come from an eternal mind.
Support of the premises:
i. Let us imagine that you're a child, and that your mother is trying to teach you that thoughts and statements cannot be both true and false at the same time and in the same way - a fact that philosophers call the "law of non contradiction." Pointing to a cup sitting on the table, your mother states:
"This cup is sitting on the table, and therefore the cup cannot also NOT be sitting on the table - unless of course we move it off the table."
If you weren't already aware that statements cannot be both true and false at the same time, how would you know that your mother's statement above as a whole is true, and not at the same time false? You wouldn't! In order to make sense of your mother's statement, you'd already have to be aware that statements cannot be both true and false at the same time.
ii. The law of non contradiction couldn't be learned from independently experiencing and observing the world around us, either. Imagine that ancient man had the following thought:
"When I hold this object in my hand and drop it, it falls to the ground; it cannot also be the case that it does not drop to the ground."
Here again, if you weren't already aware that thoughts cannot be both true and false at the same time, how would you know that the above thought as a whole is true, and not "also false"? Obviously, in order to make sense of your own thinking, you'd have to know that true and false cannot overlap.
iii. To assert that "the brain is simply wired to know that contradictions don't make sense" is both circular and arbitrary. Firstly, this assumes the very thing being "justified" and therefore begs the question: How do you know that the statement, "The brain is simply wired to know that contradictions don't make sense," is not both true and false at the same time? Secondly, knowledge is knowledge. In the materialistic worldview, it can only be gained inductively and empirically - through experience and observation. The materialist cannot rationally claim to know that the earth is a spheroid apart from experience and observation. Likewise, they cannot rationally claim to know that contradictions are illogical apart from experience and observation - which brings us right back to the problem mentioned in points i and ii.
To recap: In order to gain knowledge that "contradictory thoughts and statements are invalid," one would have to think (i.e., have various thoughts) in order to come to this conclusion. However, thinking would be chaotic and useless without pre-existing knowledge that thoughts cannot be both true and false at the same time and in the same way! If "x" equals knowledge that contradictory thoughts don't make sense, one would have to already know x in order to properly conclude x. Without x, thought processes would be arbitrary gibberish. Obviously, one cannot come to valid conclusions via arbitrary gibberish. Knowledge begets knowledge. As human beings, we require some "antecedent knowledge" in order to gain new knowledge.
...And there you have it. It is logically impossible for any mind to "gain knowledge" of (what we call) the law of non contradiction. Therefore, said knowledge has existed eternally. Knowledge can only exist in a mind, and therefore an eternal mind exists.
An "eternal mind" describes God.
Another way of stating the argument is this:
1. All knowledge in the materialistic worldview must be gained through experience and observation.
2. To learn things via experience and observation necessarily entails reasoning.
3. Reasoning itself requires knowledge of truth and logic; reasoning requires "antecedent knowledge."
4. Thus, "new knowledge" cannot be gained without antecedent knowledge.
5. Antecedent knowledge cannot be gained through experience and observation, because it would require ITSELF (antecedent knowledge) in order to be gained.
6. Therefore, antecedent knowledge cannot be learned or gained; it cannot "come into existence."
7. Therefore, antecedent knowledge is eternal.
8. All knowledge comes from "mind."
9. Therefore, antecedent knowledge comes from an eternal mind.
10. An "eternal mind" describes God; therefore God exists.
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