Puritan Gems

Friday, November 02, 2012

The Knowledge of God Part VII

Revelation: The Basis for Knowledge
"It is idle to talks always of the alternative of reason and faith.  Reason is itself a matter of faith.  It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all.  If you are merely a skeptic, you must sooner or later ask yourself the question, "Why should anything go right; even observation and deduction?  Why should not good logic be as misleading as bad logic?  They are both movements in the brain of a bewildered ape?"  The young skeptic says, "I have a right to think for myself."  But the old skeptic, the complete skeptic, says, "I have no right to think for myself.  I have no right to think at all.“” (G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 2006 Relevant Media Group, p. 23)
After examining the theories of knowledge espoused by secularists, we must conclude 1.) that there is absolute truth and objectivity in knowledge, and 2.) that the main categories of secular epistemology fail to justify knowledge. How, then, can we rightly claim to know anything? Do we have any standard by which we may justify any truth claim as valid?

The Christian theory of knowledge is accurately referred to as Revelational epistemology. Christianity is a "revealed" religion, and that "revealed" knowledge is not limited only to religious truths. All knowledge is possible because God has created and providentially governs the human mind, and gives it a connection with the material and immaterial universe.
“For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.” (Colossians 2:1-4)
Paul tells us that ALL the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Christ, whether it be about God, nature, biochemistry, astrophysics, how to hit a golf ball, or how to write a letter. Why does Paul tell us this? “…in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.” In other words, the unbeliever cannot even create an argument against God without acknowledging His Lordship in some way. For the Christian, this passage is adequate proof for our Revelational Epistemology. However, in some ways the unbeliever also knows this to be true.

The ultimate proof for God’s existence is that the denial of Him leads to irrationality. Having examined the unbelieving epistemologies and found them to be inadequate as a foundation for knowledge, we may conclude that the unbeliever, by holding that man is the measure of all things, has no basis for claiming that he knows anything at all. Therefore, we may prove the existence of God by the following declarative:  

P1: If man can obtain meaningful knowledge, then God exists, since God is the precondition of human knowledge.

P2: Man can obtain knowledge.  

Conclusion: God exists.

The beauty of this proof is that it immediately put the unbeliever's worldview on trial for its most basic and necessary foundation, knowledge. Any argument that comes against the Christian God must assume that the human mind is capable of meaningful thought and sense experience outside the creative attributes and providence of God, and thus the unbeliever needs to justify that assumption. As we have established, the unbeliever will reach a dead end regardless of which road he may take. Truly, God has "made foolish the wisdom of the world". (1 Corinthians 1:20).

Cornelius Van Til once compared atheists who constantly battle against the knowledge of God to a toddler sitting on her father’s knee while constantly slapping his face. Yet she would be unable to do so without the foundation that her father gives to her. So the unbeliever, in order to get his argument off the ground, must use “borrowed capital” in epistemology from the Christian worldview, thus acknowledging its truth in order to argue against it.