Ayn Rand, as she often does in my opinion, puts it best . . . most succinctly.
It is a reformulation of Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am,” but it is somehow more complete, less problematic, more . . . satisfying.
“Existence exists.” It is one statement that brooks no counter-argument, for to even make a counter-argument presumes the statement itself. To argue with this simple statement is to concede the argument before it begins.
How do I know existence exists? The answer is, “if it doesn’t, how are you even asking that question?”
Existence, then, is not an assertion, a theory, a postulation, an argument. It is a fact.
From this indisputable fact of existence flows another – Identity. If you refuse to acknowledge that existence exists, then there is no point in . . . well . . . anything. But if you acknowledge that fact, then you have to acknowledge this:Â something exists.Â Something is allowing you to even have these thoughts . . . to even read this blog.
ThatÂ “something” is identity. At this moment, you are reading something I have written. It is the first you’ve read it – the first time it has entered your mind. But it entered mine first, because I wrote it. That, in and of itself, is a demonstration that I am not you, and you are not me. We are separate individuals, rather than a great, amorphous It.
You may think this is self-obvious . . . and indeed you are right! But just being self-obvious is not enough. It has to be considered, because it is the basis for everything else.
How do I, as a believer in Christ, reconcile my worldview with that of a rabid athiest like Ayn Rand?
Easily, in fact . . . because God did it first.
In Genesis, God asserts that humanity is created in His image. Entire volumes have been written around the question, “What did He mean by that?”
Here’s what I think:
There isÂ one time in Scripture where God is asked to identify Himself, and complies with the request. In the single instance we have of God telling us who He is, His answer is three letters. “I Am.”
I believe that is the image in which we are created. How could you possibly capture the concepts of existence and identity?? “I am” proclaims existence, while “I Am” identifies that whichÂ exists.
As I said before, Ayn Rand didn’t come up with this idea on her own . . . she merely distilled what was much, much older.
God says, “I Am” . . . and because I am created in His image,Â I am, too!
Existence exists. . . .Â I exist!
What does that mean?? . . . That’s what Part 2 is all about. Stay tuned.