Omniscience could not fail to comprehend all truths, and anything less than omniscience would fail as an understanding of the whole truth. Further, only omniscience could fully understand the whole meaning of even a single proposition, so as adequately to evaluate its truth value; for the infinite extent of the realm of the possible entails that the potential consequences in experience of the truth of any proposition are necessarily infinite in number, and until one knows all the consequences of a concept, one cannot fully comprehend its meaning. So only an omniscient being can know the whole truth, or the whole meaning of any one truth. If therefore a proposition is true, it must necessarily be found among that set of propositions entertained by God as the whole truth. So only the propositions entertained as true by God can in fact be true. Other beings may understand their truth, to be sure; but if any truth is to be at all apprehensible by any creature, it must first have been entertained as such by the Divine Mind – for had it not been thus Divinely understood as true, it could not be true at all, to anyone. I.e., it would be false.
Put another way: If God knows a proposition is true, then other beings may have a shot at recognizing that truth. But if he knows that a proposition is false, then it just is false, and no being whatsoever can have a shot at recognizing its truth. If there are truths at all, then, it can only be because God has known them as true.
The only question, then, is whether there be such a thing as truth. If so, God necessarily exists. OK, then, here we go:
- A proposition can properly be said to be true if and only if God exists & has understood it as true.
- So, if any proposition is true, God exists & has understood it as true.
- “There exists no true proposition,” being self-refuting, is necessarily false.
- Some proposition is true.
- God exists.
Note that, because 3 is necessarily true, so is 4. So, God not only exists, He exists necessarily.
The weakness of this argument is that, like Anselm’s Ontological Argument, it proceeds from a definition, which is open to challenge as being tendentious. So how strong is the definition? The definition follows, not from a presupposition that Divine omniscience is a fact, but from the consequences of a Humean skepticism about the possibility of accurate, adequate creaturely knowledge. Such skepticism says that, if there be no God, then in our scientific efforts we have nothing but our own frail faculties to rely upon, & we are left at best with an ultimately unjustifiable pragmatism as the only criterion of “truth.” Pragmatism is a way to cope with Hume, & a good one. But under a wholly Pragmatic epistemology, there can be no justifiably privileged opinion about the true state of affairs. But this just means that so far as Pragmatism is concerned, beings can agree with each other only happenstantially, and not because they agree with the truth. And this means that there cannot be any such thing as a true state of affairs – or, to put the case more bluntly, there can be no such thing as a state of affairs, at all – and, thus, no coordinated world such as the one we seem to live in. Rather, all our impressions of the order and regularity of the world are mere illusions. Hume saw this quite clearly. If he is right, then we live in chaos. But one can’t live in chaos; lives, personal careers through the world, depend upon the good order thereof. If that order does not really exist, then it is not even possible to be a skeptic. Skepticism, then, presupposes a world, which is ipso facto ordered (a state of chaos cannot constitute any thing or system), and with which we may potentially agree. For skepticism depends upon the possibility of error, and if truth is absolutely unattainable, then there is no way to err in its apprehension. If you cannot possibly be exactly correct, it is nonsense to talk of error, for in that case the categories both of correct and incorrect are simply empty, and there is therefore no way to make a meaningful statement.
To be a skeptic, then, one must presuppose that there are true propositions. But the truth of those propositions cannot derive from mere creaturely epistemological operations, for these are fallible. The truth of true propositions can derive, then, only from the epistemological operations of an infallible omniscience. Only omniscience can know that absolute truths are absolutely true; and if omniscience knew that there were no such truths, there just wouldn’t be any. But, in that case, it would be true that omniscience truly knew that there were no truths; a contradiction. The utter non-existence of true propositions, then, is utterly ruled out.
Here, then, is a more accurate statement of the argument:
- Only an infallible omniscience could absolutely establish the whole truth of a proposition.
- If there is no such thing as that absolute establishment, there are no wholly true propositions.
- “There exists no absolutely true proposition,” being self-refuting, is necessarily false.
- Its opposite is therefore true: there exist absolutely, wholly true propositions.
- There is an infallible omniscience.