This from my forthcoming book: Systematic Theology. These are the first two chapters on Epistemology (first draft).
(I say this sometimes for clarity, Vincent is the main pastor I read, and so I quote him often; however, I am not officially with him or represent him.)
Epistemology is the starting point of knowledge for one’s worldview thinking. That is, when considering your system-of-thinking about the world, where does the knowledge start or originate from?
Streaming from this is the next logical question, how does one know what they really know? If your knowledge starts with ‘x’ starting point, then does it make knowledge possible or not?
Before defining Epistemology in more specific ways, it is important to know why in the broader context of all the ultimate questions do we start with the question of knowledge (or maybe metaphysics) rather than, for example, ethics? The reason we do not start with ethics is that ethics “presuppose” all the other ultimate questions, otherwise such a discussion would be unintelligible and unmeaningful. It is possible to talk about knowledge without ethics, but without knowledge how do you talk about “knowledge,” of ethics? What about metaphysics? Without a reality how can ethics exit? If ethics are for man, how can you intelligently talk about ethics applied to man without anthropology? If man is perfect, why even talk about ethics? What a waste of time that would be. If man is not perfect, then you cannot talk about this with some sort of soteriology and theology. If ethics are applied to man, then man is accountable, but without an authority over man, how is man accountable, because accountability presupposes you are not free but under an authority?
Without harping on this for long, it is for this reason why most discussions in the public realm, which talk about ethics devoid of establishing the other ultimate questions are intellectually stupid and defective. Yet this is the typical intellectual height of all non-Christians. They do not discover truth; rather, they are lost in a revolving horror of delusional superstitions. I almost feel sorry for them, but then I am reminded that their delusions exalt themselves to steal and suppress the value of my precious lord Jesus Christ.
Also, because you cannot talk about the knowledge of metaphysics, or the knowledge of God, or the knowledge of man, or the knowledge of salvation, or the knowledge of logic, or the knowledge of ethics without establishing a theory of knowledge that makes knowledge possible, epistemology is often the first to be laid down. Epistemology is first, so that all others must “presuppose this level,” and because of this, it is referred to as, the “presuppositional level.” And thus, this definition phrase means what the phrase directly says.
Consider the order below. The table will show what common Christian terms contrasted with their philosophy verbiage counterparts. Notice how ethics is at the very bottom and epistemology and metaphysics is at the very top (some consider these as twins
|Systematic Doctrine||Systematic Philosophy|
1. Scripture / God’ self-Revelation.
2. God’s absolute and direct Sovereignty over all things.
3. Creation of man. The story of the two groups of mankind as God’s elect children and of reprobation.
4. Jesus as the Logos, and man created in the Logos’ image.
5. The command to subdue the earth, for pragmatic helpfulness, and not for finding truth.
6. Man’s sin, and then salvation by Jesus.
7. Undefiled Religion is faith in God, loving your neighbor as oneself and taking care of widows.
2. Ontology / Metaphysics.
4. Logic (Deductive). Intelligibility. Innate knowledge. Language.
5. Logic (Inductive).
6. Theology / IF or How man needs salvation or improvement
7. Axiology. Ethics. Morals.
Back to defining Epistemology.
By definition, of being a “STARTING point,” it cannot be deduced. Consider this from a point of a 3 premise syllogism or chain syllogism. Where does the major premise come from that starts the argument? Or if we start with a syllogism and ask where does the major premise come from, one might say, “well it comes from this previous syllogism, or premise.” We can do this for a while, and we will have three options. The First, is to say it is an infinite regress. This ends up in skepticism, and thus denies the law of contradiction. Second, is to say, “I do not know”. This option is stupid and a self-contradiction, and thus, it has no existence. To know that we do not know is a contradiction. To be true, it must be false at the same time. It ends up in an infinite regress of affirming and denying the same thing. This problem is not limited to thinking; rather, it has ontological implications as well. For example, try saying, “I do not exist”? “You” cannot do it without using “your” existence. This shows the ontological impossibility. That is, reality stops me from doing this contradiction. It does not, and cannot exist. A square circle does not exist in my mind or reality. The law of contradiction is not only a law of thinking, it is a law of reality. If you have a contradiction, you have something that has no existence. Such stupid, non-existence is to be dismissed and tossed in the recycle bins of our minds.
Now though these are called laws of thought, and in fact, we cannot think except in accordance with them, yet they are really statements which we cannot but hold true about things. We cannot think contradictory propositions, because we see that a thing cannot have at once and not have the same character; and the so-called necessity of thought is really the apprehension of a necessity in the being of things. This we may see if we ask what would follow, were it a necessity of thought only; for then, while e.g. I could not think at once that this page is and is not white, the page itself might at once be white and not be white. But to admit this is to admit that I can think the page to have and not have the same character, in the very act of saying that I cannot think it; and this is self-contradictory. The Law of Contradiction then is metaphysical or Ontological.
Since the first & second options are a thinking and ontological impossibility, then consider the other. In this third option, if we keep going back, we must eventually hit the starting point or origin of knowledge. This starting point cannot be deduced, because it is a starting premise and not a conclusion.
There are some irrational comments about this floating around, for some anti-Christian commentaries say that a first principle is not “provable” in any sense. However, provable, in the context of philosophy, logic and doctrine has a strict meaning. It means a deduction. This is true. However, just because something is not deducible does not mean it is not provable in the sense of giving a justification or warrant for why one should pick this first principle over all others. For example, consider the aspect of the self-authenticating principle of the law of noncontradiction, that we just went over. It is not a deduction. It is not circular, because we never left from doing the law of noncontradiction. Yet, it was justified as true because of its necessary and self-authenticating nature.
For a quick comment about this self-authentication of the LoC. It only works because we are only considering it on this narrow slice of reality, and we are ignoring some of the presuppositions that are needed to discuss this in the first place. For example, logic does not even give us knowledge about itself, because it is dealing with the structure of thought, and not the content (terms and premises) of thought. But more on this later.
And so, a worldview or system-of-thinking about the world, must start somewhere. The option of not knowing is implausible with reality. Thus, the next question is if your epistemology is a good one or a bad one. That is, does the starting point of your worldview make knowledge possible or not possible?
Some try to make this point vague or blur it by saying a worldview might be an interconnection of several starting points like a bridge with many supports. This appeal is a red-herring or sleight-of-hand fallacy, to divert attention away that their epistemology is in ruin. It is irrelevant, because even if so, some points would be more foundational than others; thus, if we were to discover one of these foundations were compromised, then the whole structure would fail.
For example, if one attempted to make a dual epistemology with the Scripture and something else “x,” and this “x,” was shown to be faulty, then it would falsify the scripture, which was said to have taught this hybrid epistemology.
Additionally, if one wishes to claim more than one starting point for knowledge, then if one of the epistemologies (K) makes a judgement about one of the other epistemologies (B bible), then in fact this (K) is a higher or more foundational starting point. It is the true starting point that judges the others. If empiricism (or my observations and emotions, or skin color (etc)) gives me additional knowledge that I use to judge the Bible, (if the Bible is correct on this point or that point), then empiricism is a higher starting point over the Bible. Empiricism would be my major premise in a syllogism.
In the quote below, Vincent is using the term “worldview,” but the context is relating more directly to the first principles or the presuppositional level of worldviews. His context is about “how a starting point is completely true versus only partly,” but the overall point addresses our present topic.
Suppose a given system of thought includes the following propositions: (1) X is a man, and (2) X is an accountant. If, in reality, (1) is true but (2) is false, how will a person know to affirm (1) and deny (2), unless he is already acquainted with X? Unless the system is completely true (or false), there is no way to tell which proposition is true (or false) without importing knowledge from outside of the system, and if one imports knowledge from outside of the system, then he would be evaluating the system in question by the second system from which he has gained the knowledge to evaluate the first.
That is, if worldview A is not complete true or false, then there is nothing within worldview A by which we can accurately judge a particular proposition within worldview A as true or false. If we bring in something that we know from worldview B by which we judge something within worldview A, then we are making worldview B to stand in judgment over worldview A. But if one has already obtained knowledge that is accurate, relevant, and extensive enough from worldview B by which to evaluate worldview A, then he cannot meaningfully learn anything from worldview A. He is judging it, not learning from it.
To summarize, even in a so-called multi-structure of starting points, there will be one that is more foundational, and that stands first above the others to judge and evaluate them. The question is, if the starting point of your philosophy makes any knowledge possible? If not, then not only do you not have a worldview to discuss, you do not even have the knowledge to discern “if cats are planets” and “if rocks are clouds.” You have nothing.
1.2 First Principle, God’s Revelation
The Christian starting point for knowledge is God’s revelation. The emphasis might seem overtly obvious, but since most mistakes happen at the rudimentary level, it is best to go over them and even repeat them. If the Christian epistemology is “God’s revelation,” THEN it is by GOD; it is GOD (not something else) REVEALING. This is like saying, if my epistemology is empiricism (knowledge comes by sensation), then empiricism and not something else is revealing the knowledge. Or, if my starting point is the Easter Bunny, then it was the Easter Bunny and not Roger Rabbit that gives me knowledge.
Earlier it was said that one must have a starting point, because the alternative of skepticism and not having one is impossible with reality. It was also said, that if you use the contents of a starting point “b” to evaluate starting point “n”, then “b” is in fact judging “n,” and “n” is not in fact a “starting” point. And now applying the law of identity, if “b,” is your starting point then it is not something else like “n.”
And so before we even get to the contents of “specifics” of the Scripture’ teaching on epistemology, we already know some “general” and “necessary” aspects of a starting point.
What it is & What it is not.
Quick note: in this following discussion, it will presuppose some basic understanding of Christian metaphysics, or that is God’s absolute and direct sovereignty. This will be mentioned here, but taught in a following chapter.
This leads to how the Scripture defines what is epistemology, and how it defines what it is not. A good definition tells us what it is, but also for extra clarity, it says what it is not (categories that might get confused as being part of the definition but is not).
The doctrines of the Scripture are so easy to understand that what most called deep theology can be taught to 6-year-old children. And if child has been taught just the very basics of logic, then a 10-year-old can do advance theology.
The doctrine of is rather simple. Christian epistemology(A) is God’s revelation(B). Do a circle diagram to see this with more clarity, if you need to. All (A) category is inside (B) category. Thus, if you saying something is a starting point of knowledge that is not God’s revelation, then you have left the realm of reality for human fantasy.
The Scripture teaches that man’s knowledge starts by the direct force or sovereign work of God. This work is directly by God’s mere force, separate from any consideration of the relative level, or that is, separate from anything that has been created and controlled by God.
They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right. (Romans 2:15)
They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. (Romans 1:19-20)
Romans 2:15 makes what is being said here clearer than Romans 1:20, which is often abused to support empiricism, which is the opposite of what it is saying. God has written His law’s on our hearts. This is often referred to as God’s innate knowledge. This is one aspect where God creating something out of nothing is more readily seem. In the beginning God created everything out of nothing. By the sheer unstoppable force of His decision did God make reality come into being. Adam and Eve were made as fully formed adults that could immediately communicate intelligently with God (Genesis 1-2). Knowledge, understanding of the knowledge and wisdom to apply the knowledge were all put into man directly by God’s power. School and the learning process were supernaturally bypassed. Also, a proposition is invisible. It is not made up of matter. Thus matter has nothing to do with putting knowledge in man. To suggest otherwise would be to commit a category fallacy and make an invalid inference. It would be like saying, “All trees are organic. All cats are organic; thus, all rocks are clouds.”
Whether or not so-called DNA is a physical organized code; or whether the brain is a physical organized code, it is not an invisible proposition. But we understand by propositions. To say one leads to the other would be like saying, “All trees are organic. all cats are organic; thus, all rocks are clouds.” Bottom of the barrel scrapping stupid! People play with terms and categories like they are God. However, there is only one God, and this creation is by His power and by His definition only, not yours.
A point to consider on innate knowledge is how substantial it must be. For someone born with the preloaded propositions about “God’s Law,’ there are many presuppositions about other things for “God’s laws” to be intelligible to such a person. For example, the laws of logic must be preloaded or else “God’s laws” could mean, “no laws of God,” or “dung beetles.” Also, mathematics must also be preloaded by God, because law is not singular; rather, it is plural, “laws”. Also, basic propositions about God must be included into “God’s laws,” for God is holding the unevangelized pagans accountable for not worshipping “Him,” and not some other so-called god. Thus, included in this innate knowledge are some propositions about God’s divinity and attributes (i.e. those mentioned in chapter 1:20). Also, there must be some basic preinstalled knowledge about metaphysics. Knowledge about the world we live in. God’s laws apply to this reality and not to some possible fantasy world, that might could exist. This innate knowledge also must include some basic propositions about anthropology, because God’s laws applies to “man,” and not to non-man. I could go on about this for much longer, but the point should be made that innate knowledge includes a large body of knowledge about many things.
Vincent has been helpful to me on this, saying it this way:
Nevertheless, this knowledge is indestructible and undeniable, so that it surfaces in distorted forms in non-Christian religions, philosophies, and ethical principles.
Thus God has revealed his existence, attributes, and some of his moral demands to every person by including this information in the human mind. This knowledge is innate and is not derived by reasoning from sensation. Man does not infer from what he observes in nature that there must be a God; rather, he knows the God of the Bible before he has any access to empirical data. Interaction with creation, including the act of observation, stimulates the mind of man to recall this innate knowledge, which has been suppressed by sin.
Every person has an innate knowledge of God, and everywhere he looks nature reminds him of it. His every thought and every experience testifies to God’s existence and attributes; the evidence is inescapable. Therefore, those who deny the existence of God are suppressing the truth because of their wickedness and rebellion. Although they claim to be wise, they have become fools (Romans 1:22).
And so, knowledge was put into man’s mind in infancy, directly by God, separate from any other created thing or power. No senses, or observations, no empirical data, no reasoning from the person. From this we can make sense of passages like Romans 1:20. Below, it will be shown that empiricism is contradicted by the Scripture, and thus, is not an option for acquiring knowledge. I sometimes refer to empiricism as the “kingdom of self,” and God’s word, as the “Kingdom of God”. Romans 2:15 shows that a significant amount of knowledge is preloaded into the mind, directly by God. And so, when we read that creation reveals God’s attributes, we know by contradiction that it cannot be by the observation of the senses. God’s attributes are already in the mind as innate knowledge. Therefore, Romans 1:20 is said in the relative level ontology and not ultimate level ontology, which is what Romans 2:15 teaches. When seeing the world God created, the knowledge already preinstalled in the mind is stimulated to the surface of the mind. The unbeliever is then forced to rethink about God’s laws again. He hates this. Thus, the non-Christian tries to suppress these truths, until creation stimulates this buried innate knowledge again to the surface of his thinking. For the non-Christian this repeating horror story goes on and on, which is why they try to sear their conscience with a hot iron, so that even if God’s innate knowledge resurfaces again by viewing creation, they just brush it off.
From this we can begin to formulate a doctrine. All knowledge is through God directly putting it into man, separate from anything in creation. To further flesh this out we will go over more specific scriptures and broad ones. But next we will head off some irrational and anti-Christian doctrines about knowledge. We are asking how the Scripture defines for us, what knowledge is not, for extra clarity.
Just by the simple calculation of logic, empiricism is demonstrated as irrational. And so, as a starting point of knowledge it is ontologically impossible.
However, since the Scripture is my starting point, what does this infallible epistemology say about empiricism? Vincent Cheung, first brought these verses to my attention.
Commenting on 2 Kings 3:16-24 he says,
“What did the Moabites see – blood or water? The Moabites thought they saw blood, but their senses deceived them. We know that they saw water that looked like blood because this is what the infallible testimony of Scripture says. Thus the passage points out that the senses are unreliable, and shows that we depend on divine inspiration to tell us about particular instances of sensations.”
Vincent also lists John 12:28-29, Matthew 14:25-27, and Matthew 28:16-17.
Even though these are only a few instances of a Divine testimony of empiricism (knowledge starts with sensation) being wrong, it is enough to trash the whole thing into skepticism.
To show the importance of this, then consider if I were able to show just one instance where the Scripture was false. For example, what if it were false that Jesus was born in Israel, but rather born in South Asia? The issue is that it would cast doubt on the rest of the premises in the Scripture. The problem is not that any premise would definitely be wrong; rather, it is that there would be no infallible mechanism to demonstrate how any given premise of Scripture is true. It would trash the whole bible (as a starting point for knowledge) into skepticism. The issue here, is that skepticism denies the law of non-contradiction; and thus, ontologically impossible.
When Jesus asked Peter who He was, and Peter responded with the right answer Jesus said that “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father who is in heaven, (Matt. 6:17 LEB).” Since we already know the Scripture rejects empiricism, there is no surprise to find this verse teaching the same doctrine we learned from Romans 2:15. God, separate from the senses, by His direct force puts the knowledge into man. Jesus said that God Himself revealed the invisible proposition that Jesus is the Son of God. Even though Peter saw, heard, touched and observed God in the most direct and personal way, Jesus said the proposition of Jesus being the Son of God was not revealed by these observations. This proposition was revealed by God Himself to Peter.
Consider Paul’s teaching that all knowledge, regarding the value of Yahweh, displayed in the gospel of Jesus Christ, is revealed by God. Not observation, but by God. For God who said, “Light will shine out of darkness,” is the one who has shined in our hearts for the enlightenment of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ,” (2 Corinthians 4:6 LEB). Paul alludes to Genesis 1:3, “And God said, “Let there be light!” And there was light, (LEB). In Genesis, we have the teaching about God creating out of nothing. There is no secondary anything, for only God existed. It is easy to see what it means that God, directly by His power, created it. Yet, Paul picks this passage to talk about the creation of the knowledge of Christ, in the mind. God created the worlds out of nothing; likewise, God created the propositions about His Glory in His Son’s gospel, into our hearts. God said, and then water and earth formed into the void of empty space. God said, and then propositions (and faith) about His glory formed into the void of the mind.
Consider dreams? The Scripture already denies empiricism; however, dreams also show that God directly puts propositions in the mind. There are many occurrences in the old and new testaments about God’s elect having dreams, from Joseph in Genesis to Joseph in the book of Matthew. They were asleep. There is no observation. There is no sight, or hearing, or touch. There is only the invisible mind, with invisible propositions. God directly imparts knowledge about the future to these people separate from any sensation.
What about knowledge for practical skills such as various workman skills? Exodus 35:30-35 LEB, “And Moses said to the Israelites, “See, Yahweh has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri the son of Hur, from the tribe of Judah. And he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom and with skill and with knowledge and with every kind of craftsmanship, and to devise designs, to work with the gold and with the silver and with the bronze, and in stonecutting for setting and in cutting wood, for doing every kind of design craftsmanship. And he has put it in his heart to teach—he and Oholiab the son of Ahisamach, from the tribe of Dan. He has filled them with skill of heart to do every work of a craftsman and a designer and an embroiderer with the blue and with the purple, with the crimson yarns and with the fine linen and a weaver; they are doers of every kind of craftsmanship and devisers of designs.”
Some people might feel some resistance to this doctrine, but since the Scripture is filled with passages that address this doctrine the problem is with men’s little faith and not God’s abundant revelation. As this section is wrapped up it is important to address it in the broad scope. And this broad foundation is, “God”. God is the foundation of theology. Without Him, there is no point in doing theology. And God’s foundation as taught in Scripture, is that of absolute and directly sovereign over all reality. This foundation takes away all the problems that non-Christians have with their fruitless attempt to find knowledge. God’s power and absolute sovereignty makes revealing His knowledge a trifle and without contradiction.
God decreed what He would create. God then created all things. God now actively controls all things. It is telling how important this foundation is, when the Bible starts off with this foundation in Genesis 1. Also, important moments of the gospel coming in contact with the world starts off with this foundation of God, consider Paul in Acts 17 24-28,
God who made the world and all the things in it. This one, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands as if he needed anything, because he himself gives to everyone life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of humanity to live on all the face of the earth, determining their fixed times and the fixed boundaries of their habitation, to search for God, if perhaps indeed they might feel around for him and find him. And indeed he is not far away from each one of us, for in him we live and move and exist.” (LEB)
It is not only important for theology and apologetics, but this Sovereign God foundation is important for worship and doxology, (Rev. 4:11 LEB)
“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
because you have created all things,
and because of your will they existed and were created.”
The Apostle Paul in one of his exchanges mentions the act of resurrection in this way,
“Why should any of you consider it incredible
that God raises the dead?” (Acts 26:8 NIV).
Paul considers it the height of ignorance and stupidity that a person would even have the slightest resistance to know that God raises the dead. What moron told them otherwise? Considering God’s definition in the Scripture, it should never enter into the mind that God raising the dead is anything less than normal and a mere trifle. As Jeremiah said, “Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you” (Jeremiah 32:17 NIV).
All of this was said to point out one simple deduction. If God sovereignly created all things and by this sovereign power continues to uphold all things in Himself, then God created knowledge and continues to uphold all knowledge. We will go over logic and deduction later but for now consider a syllogism from Romans 3. We are told that all have sinned. The “all” refers to mankind. Thus, the major premise would be, “All [mankind] are [those who have sinned].” Thus, if Oshea is a man, then Oshea has sinned. This conclusion did not add additional knowledge from a different source. This is an application of knowledge. It is not 50/50 or that Oshea might have sinned. It is a true statement about reality, that Oshea is he who has sinned. “If all men have sinned, then human r, y, or z has sinned.” There is no exception. Do a bullseye circle diagram if you need to see a visual.
Thus, if God is directly sovereign over all things, then God is directly sovereign over t, r and k (knowledge). Some lazy students of God’s word appear to overlook in applying God’s sovereignty over the reality of knowledge. God created knowledge out of nothing, and now directly upholds it in existence and controls it directly.
This section started off with passages addressing aspects of knowledge; however, this foundation of the absolute sovereign God already falsifies many possibilities about what any doctrine can be. No specific proposition about any doctrine can contradict “God”. God does not contradict Himself. His nature is immutable.
To summarize. The foundational doctrine of the Sovereign God, means from the start God directly created all knowledge and controls it. Knowledge is part of reality, and so, it falls under the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, as everything else does. Even if there are so-called secondary created objects, they all exist by God’s power and move in Him, as He controls them. All things are created by God and moved by God. So, even if a secondary object (the senses or an angel) appears to give a person knowledge, it is only relatively or by correlation, but not directly and ultimately.
Thus, although we went over specific Scriptures that falsify empiricism as a starting point for knowledge, the doctrine of God would have already ruled such a thing out. For empiricism to be true, it would have to be a dual ontology with God, so that apart from God’s causality, it would use its own power, and sovereignly create knowledge into the mind of man. The Scripture denies any sort of dualism.
Also, someone might say, does not Psalm 19 teach that creation gives you knowledge. Psalm 19’s term for revealed knowledge needs to be addressed. Is it said in Ultimate level ontology or Relative level ontology? (More will be said about this common category error later.) Making a category error on a term, and then equivocating it into the meaning that someone wants into their conclusion, is a common fallacy among theologians. Sometimes the easiest way to get clarity is to consider the law of noncontradiction. If creation revealing is taken in this Psalm as ultimate, then it would have to assume empiricism. However, the Bible already has passages that show empiricism is not able to reliably give knowledge. Psalm 19 and Romans 1:20 says mankind “certainly” knows these things, however the Bible also shows knowledge by sensation “cannot give knowledge in certainty.” The Bible in clear passages shows man does indeed know God’s knowledge in certainty. These show that God Himself puts the knowledge into man Himself. Thus, Psalm 19 is speaking on relative ontology.
Theological abuse occurs, when a passage is not obviously clear if something is said in relative level ontology or ultimate level, and then it is forced to say what the theological pervert wants it to say. Jesus says things like, “the Mountain will obey You.” “Your faith saved you.” Did Jesus say this on relative or ultimate level causality? You answer this question by going to passages whose terms and context make it clear it is addressing one of these type of causality and find out what it says. Jesus has clear statements saying (John 10) that you do not believe because you are not a sheep. And only by the Father dragging someone up can they believe (John 6). Every time there is a pulling away of the curtain, to see how ultimate level causality works Jesus, the prophets and Apostles always answer it with God doing it directly and absolutely.
The doctrine of occasionalism will be dealt with more later, but here is Vincent Cheung to put it into context of knowledge, which few seem to take the time to consider:
All the problems with empiricism remain for you. Even if you begin from biblical presuppositions, there is no way to show in any instance whether your sensation is correct. Even if you begin from biblical presuppositions, you still cannot rescue what is inherently irrational and logically impossible.
With occasionalism, there is no problem. The ears at best provide the occasion upon which God communicates directly to my mind – on the occasion of the sensation but independent of the sensation. In addition, he is the one who controls everything about both the occasion and the communication. 
And so, creation stimulates the innate knowledge, which God has already put into all mankind. If additional knowledge is given, then on the occasion of a person seeing a beautiful sky, or reading a book, God distinct from the seeing, creates the new propositions into the mind.
Consider this doctrine from a chronology viewpoint of the Bible. It was shown that from the beginning of Genesis that knowledge started out by God creating it out of nothing, into the mind of Adam and Eve. Thus, the first instance of knowledge is by out-of-nothing creation by God. For it to enter someone’s mind to think differently, then they would need a blatantly obvious passage(s) of Scripture showing it has changed. My question, where are these? It will need to be a deduction so that there is not an equivocation of terms from the passage to the conclusion you want. However, as we travel along the history of Scripture it reveals the same doctrine about knowledge, from practical skills, dreams, innate knowledge, and gospel knowledge. The Scripture show it is precisely by God’s power, and not something else.
 This idea of responsibility presupposing authority rather than free was first brought to my attention by Vincent Cheung, and Gordon Clark.
 This impossibility of infinite regress will rear its ugly head when dealing with other ontological issues, such as if matter always existed. It is not impossible to progress forwards in time for infinity; however, if matter was eternal, then today would have never reached. You cannot say ‘matter has existed for an unreachable amount of time,’ to then say, ‘it has now reached today’. As said before, a contradiction has no existence. How stupid men become when suppressing God’s truth.
 To affirm the proposition, “Adam is a man” (X), is to deny the contradictory proposition, “Adam is not a man” (Y, or not-X). Likewise, to affirm the proposition, “Adam is not a man” (Y), is to deny the contradictory proposition, “Adam is a man” (X). Now, to affirm both “Adam is a man” (X) and “Adam is not a man” (Y) is only to deny both propositions in reverse order. That is, it is equivalent to denying “Adam is not a man” (Y) and “Adam is a man” (X). But then we are back to affirming the two propositions in reverse order again. When we affirm both, we deny both; when we deny both, we affirm both.
Therefore, there is no intelligible meaning in affirming two contradictory propositions. It is to say nothing and to believe nothing.
-Vincent Cheung. Systematic Theology. 2010. Pg. 21
 H.W.B. Joseph. 1906. An introduction to LOGIC. Pg.13
 “Think about this. If the law of contradiction is the “ultimate” or foundational law of logic, then how can we prove the law of contradiction? Can you prove it without using it? If you can, then the law of contradiction would necessarily be a secondary law. But if you must use it to prove it, then are you being circular? Where is the circle? For something to circle back, you need to move away from it first, but how can you depart from the law of contradiction, so that you can circle back to it to make the fallacy happen? If you can understand this, then you can apply it to biblical apologetics. The only difference is that the law of contradiction has no content, so it is less likely to confuse you. But the principle is the same.”
Vincent Cheung. From his blog post in http://www.vincentcheung.wordpress.com. Sept. 2016.
 Even the secular philosopher David Hume admitted as much about his starting point of empiricism leading to skepticism.
 While the harp was being played, the power of the Lord came upon Elisha, 16 and he said, “This is what the Lord says: This dry valley will be filled with pools of water! 17 You will see neither wind nor rain, says the Lord, but this valley will be filled with water. You will have plenty for yourselves and your cattle and other animals. 18 But this is only a simple thing for the Lord, for he will make you victorious over the army of Moab! 19 You will conquer the best of their towns, even the fortified ones. You will cut down all their good trees, stop up all their springs, and ruin all their good land with stones.”
20 The next day at about the time when the morning sacrifice was offered, water suddenly appeared! It was flowing from the direction of Edom, and soon there was water everywhere.
21 Meanwhile, when the people of Moab heard about the three armies marching against them, they mobilized every man who was old enough to strap on a sword, and they stationed themselves along their border. 22 But when they got up the next morning, the sun was shining across the water, making it appear red to the Moabites—like blood. 23 “It’s blood!” the Moabites exclaimed. “The three armies must have attacked and killed each other! Let’s go, men of Moab, and collect the plunder!”
 There was point when not even angels or other spiritual things existed. All started out of nothing by God’s creating force.
 (secondary on the relative level, (or human, or creation point-of-view))