Any truth that needs one to see something with their own eyes, or arrive at a conclusion because of some form of reasoning would belong to this class. Any truth that has been demonstrated in such a way as to make one that would never have believed the truth change because of a demonstration that caused him to believe would belong to this class. When we have a truth that belongs to this class and we think that by asserting a doctrine or dogma we have proved the truth in the minds of one who is inquiring, we make a big mistake. If a truth needs to be proved, as some truths need to be proved, merely stating a doctrine will not do. The mind of the unconvinced will never accept the doctrine when proof is what is needed.
The first area of truth in this category is that of divine revelation. These are truths revealed to man by the Holy Spirit. Many of these truths can be known without the testimony of God and in some the testimony does not either confirm or deny the truth because they are a priori truths that would be accepted as truth even without the testimony of God. However, when God does reveal truth, it is immediately accepted as such merely because God said it. There is a song which says, “God said it and I believe it, and that settles it for me.” Our spirits cry out within us that the testimony of God is true and we need to believe it. When the mind tries to reason against God, it is always a sign that the inner man has accepted the truth in the spirit but the mind is arguing against the spirit and trying to reason away something that is first of all known in the spirit as an a priori truth, and secondly confirmed by the revelation of God. However, our main point at this time is not to discuss truths that need proof, but to discuss truths that need no proof.
Truths which need no proof
Truths which need no proof are a priori truths that the spirit indicates to our inner man as being truth. It is something that you just know and yet you may not be able to explain or fully understand it. First are truths which are necessary and universal.
We call them first truths
First truths are truths that are absolute and necessary. To every event there is a true cause. Space is one of these types of truth. It is absolute and it is necessary. Whether there is anything else or not, we can’t deny that space exists. We don’t think about it much and we can’t explain it, but we have no doubt that it exists. Another thing that we can’t deny is Time. Both of the first truths mentioned here are first truths that the whole universe accepts without doubt. The whole universe of living beings accepts both time and space as facts that need no reasoning or explanation.
Secondly when one speaks of truths that need no proof they are speaking about universality. This means that there can be no exception to the truth. Every event has a cause and there is no event without a cause.
First truths are truths of necessary and universal knowledge. This means that not only are these truths known, but that they are known to all moral agents by their very intellect and in the spirit. We know that space and time are things that exist without dispute and we know that every event has a cause. No one doubts or disputes these facts. Even people that have never discussed this subject would agree with what is being said.
First truths are self-evident. They are all universally perceived as such when the light of their own evidence shines upon the mind of a moral agent.
First truths are truths of pure reason and certain knowledge. These are so universal that no moral agent can overlook them, deny, or forget them. You can deny a first truth in theory, but in practice, no one can deny them. You can’t forget, overlook or deny that time and space exists or that every event has a cause. It is because first truths are already universally known that it is ludicrous to try to prove a first truth. First truths form the basis of all other reasoning. Your mind perceives that you have a body and it must be that you do. Your mind also conceives that things in life happen in a certain order. Thus we all know that the concept of time is a first truth. You can tell me that you don’t believe in time, but in your heart you know it exists. You can deny that there is such a thing as space, but it is universally known that space exists. You can deny that every event has a cause, but in the end you can’t deny that even this is true. So when we come to first truths, we are talking about something that is universally known and no matter how much one denies these types of truth, it does not alter the fact that these truths exist. You may not think about a first truth all the time, but that does not suggest that the first truth does not exist. All reasoning is based upon first truths of some kind so that every conclusion you come to has assumed certain things to be true or there could be no conclusion at all.
Next are self-evident truths
- These are truths of reason (intellect) and not sense (emotion) or understanding (spirit).
- They are a priori in that they don’t need evidence or induction and they are truths that are clearly seen.
- These are truths of universal affirmation and are known by all moral agents. A good example of these types of truth is math and science.
- They are universal in most areas because there is no exception to them. 2+2=4. Water is h2o. The universe could not have happened by a great explosion; it had to be created by some universal power. It has intelligent design as science is finding more reasonable than evolution, the myth. Accidents and explosions do not produce microscopic life. The life in a seed is not just the sum total of the elements of that seed. Any attempt to make explanations that contradict a first truth are nothing more than empty arguments that can never be proven and many times become disproven over time by other facts that are equally apparent and eventually accepted by all.
- These are necessary truths. There is no way that these truths cannot be. They must be true. Abstract and infinite truths belong to this class. One only needs to present a clear and comprehensible picture in the mind of another regarding this truth and there is no sound mind that would fail to accept or even affirm them. The only thing needed is that a person be willing in their inner self to admit that these truths exist and are true.
Third are truths of rational intuition, as truths that need no proof.
These truths need no proof but they don’t possess universality or necessity. Your own existence, personality, and identity belong to this class. You can know by your own reasoning power that you are conscious of yourself. You know it and it needs no proof and cannot be doubted. You develop this truth through the sensations of the five senses, but they are not what create the truth. Your five senses do not create the truth that you exist, they only confirm to your mind a fact that already existed from the day that you were born. No one would be foolish to say, I think, I feel, and therefore I am. This would be to base my feelings of existence on emotions and intellect rather than a rational intuition (spirit). As you can see, some things just are and they really don’t need proof or logic.
The fourth class of truths that need no proof are sensations.
- We have already seen various forms of sensations of which we are conscious that are self evident to anyone that has them. We may not know the real cause of the sensation but that does not take away from the fact that the sensation is real. Our senses will tell us that a sensation exists and of that we need no proof but it is the cause of the sensation which is arrived at by the intellect through rational thinking that may ascribe the wrong cause to the sensation.
- Though we have not exhausted this subject, I think that we have adequately proven that there are first truths and also self evident truths exist and that part of the process of evaluating truth includes those types of truths that have neither logic nor reason as their basis. We need to have examined these truths in order to understand the next few chapters on morality and religion. When we do examine morality and religion we will develop the ideas through a priori truths that are affirmed in the reason of every living being.
- I would say that one reason for this writing is that far too many people assume that just because they don’t believe in God or that they have a different belief system than a Christian, usually based upon a system of reasoning of the mind, a logical way is made for their illogical conclusions that completely ignore both first truths and self evident truths as we will see in succeeding chapters. I think that an understanding of what is about to be presented will expose the fallacy of our present day reasoning and show the areas that have been severely neglected. The fact is that we need what is about to be said more than we have ever needed it. Our very culture has been undermined by a rational that claims to be intellectual and objective. The reality, however, is that this rational and objective philosophy has some very glaring flaws.