William Cowper is a name that many people have never heard. To be honest, the only I know is because he wrote some of my favorite hymns (There is a Fountain). Cowper lived from 1731 to 1800, and he penned some words that I have found to be of interest: The absence of proof is not proof of absence.
I think of Cowper’s words when I meet someone who asserts that the truth about God does not exist because, they say: There is no proof that God does exist.
The person who takes this position believes a particular idea cannot exist because it has never been detected. Anyone who would embrace this logic would have to have the omniscience of God because he would need to have the cognitive ability to know all there is no know about the universe—all ideas, concepts and science.
As an example, Pluto wasn’t discovered until about the time of Cowper’s death in 1800. Would anyone be so naïve to say that Pluto didn’t exist until it was discovered?
Speaking of the word discovered, this speaks to the very heart of truth. We need to realize that truth is not invented, it is discovered. The truth of the existence of Pluto was present, but it was undiscovered until 1800.
Frank Turek has written about the nature of truth:
- Truth is discovered, not invented. It exists independently of anyone’s knowledge of it. (Gravity existed prior to Newton)
- Truth is transcultural; if something is true, it is true for all people, in all places, at all times (2+2=4)
- Truth is unchanging even though our beliefs about truth change (When we began to believe the earth was round instead of flat, the truth about the earth didn’t change, only our belief about the earth changed.)
- Beliefs cannot change a fact, no matter how sincerely they are held. (Someone can sincerely believe the world is flat, but that only makes the person sincerely mistaken.)
- Truth is not affected by the attitude on the one professing it. (An arrogant person does not make the truth he professes false. A humble person does not make the error he professes true.)
Remember the words of Jesus? He said: You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. Some people look at faith in God as being something that is restrictive. I have found it to be much different: It freed me from bondage, and it has helped me turn my life around.
I hope this gives you something to think about.
One thought on “Absence of Proof?”
Excellent, Stan. May I print this out?