Seventh in a series on the search for meaning in a world that doesn't want to bother with it.
"You cannot know. You may either believe, or not," said the Star's daughter to the crew of the Dawn Treader in C. S. Lewis's classic children's book. You cannot know in advance that something is true without treating it as though it is. This belief may be a considered one, it may be reckless, it may be abortive — but it is the impetus for venturing into the unknown.
It is a long jump, but a necessary one, when at issue is the possibility that ultimate meaning lies outside the cosmos; otherwise we place artificial limitations on our search. I have already shown that there no grounds for affirming that the observable universe contains within it all ontological possibilities. That things are the way they are doesn't mean that they could not have been otherwise.
So it's time to begin testing the hypothesis that ultimate meaning lies outside the cosmos. If there is such meaning, all contingencies in the cosmos are dependent on it. I will call this ultimate meaning "God" with a capital "G" in order to distinguish this One from all gods which, even if they existed, would be contingent on the One — that is, they would belong to the cosmos.
To test the hypothesis we must leave the scientist's laboratory and the philosopher's study, for both are inadequate to the task. Instead, we consider personal communication as a possible avenue by which ultimate meaning may be known. We must reject the assumption that the God of ultimate meaning is barred from communication with the cosmos. How could we know that? How could anything stop a God who is ultimate? The One who is under no necessity to communicate is still free to do so. That is what "ultimate" means.
The real question in this series is not, "Does God exist?" asked on philosophical or scientific terms, because the existence of the God of ultimate meaning is beyond their reach. The question rather is, "Has the God of ultimate meaning, one who is free to communicate with the cosmos, in fact done so?"
True theists say that he has. Next time we will look at some examples they offer. In this they have an advantage over atheists, because by definition non-existence offers no examples for us to consider.