“Again, an allegation may be made in negative form, and he who asserts a negative must prove it; as when the atheist asserts that there is no God he is logically bound to make good his assertion—if he can. But it is evident that he cannot do this; because, as John Foster pointed out, it would require universal knowledge to make good such an assertion, for, otherwise, somewhere beyond the bounds of the atheist’s knowledge might be proof that there is a God.”
Why? Why is it the Atheists burden?
” In controversial sermons it is essential that we should clearly perceive where lies the burden of proof, and sometimes in the statement of propositions and questions it may be well to make this formally clear to the hearers; and in general for clearness of discrimination and logical accuracy in argument the underlying principle of the burden of proof should be understood. This principle is well stated in the Roman legal formula: Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat (the proof lies upon him who affirms, not who denies). That is to say, He who alleges anything must prove his allegation; and, conversely, no man is required to prove the negative of another man’s assertion.”
John Albert Broadus, A Treatise on the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons, ed. Edwin Charles Dargan, New (23d) ed. (New York: Hodder & Stoughton, 1898), 174.