This is the 1st draft from my Systematic Theology book, from the first major section on epistemology
B.1. IF (A.) self-authentication first principle for all of life, (B.) and if this truth regards the world you live in, for all metaphysics, (C.) and if able to apply deduction to oneself, and (D.) God has defined what man is do, (E) THEN one knows God’s Will for them.
B.2. A. & B. & C. & D.
B.3. Thus, E.
Below are some quick definitions I will use in this book.
Human Speculation. The unjustifiable premises that come man’s or one’s inner self, usually from one’s own observations, feelings and experiences. These are the premises of a syllogism, that are not justified.
Human Superstition. I define this how John Robinson said that superstition is the logical void or abyss that is between premise and conclusion. After human made premises, one adds human invalidness. This is the invalidness from premise to conclusion.
Deductive logic. The conclusion is a necessary inference. The conclusion does not have more information in it than what the premises provide. If the premises are true, then necessarily the conclusion is true.
Inductive logic. The conclusion does have more information in it than what the premises provide. A guess. Even if the premises are true, the conclusion is not known, and, it still could be false.
Epistemology. The ultimate question about the first principle of knowledge for a system of thinking. The starting point of knowledge for a worldview. And to a lesser extent, how we know what we know–again which is, by the starting point of our philosophy’s knowledge. I sometimes refer to this as the “presuppositional level.” If your worldview does not start, then it does not begin. If there is no start for knowledge, then there is no knowledge for any other ultimate question of life.
Metaphysics. The ultimate question about existence or reality, or how you define existence. Or that is, what type of existence is x or y. Sometimes I use this word for both metaphysics and ontology(causality), but I try to mainly use it for existence. The reason for the umbrellaing of ontology beneath metaphysics is that there needs to be a definition of the type of existence we are dealing with, so that we might understand a definition for how different existences work in cause and effect to each other.
Ontology. The ultimate question of Casualty: both of cause and effect, and of mere correlation.
Ultimate level Ontology. Causality “relative” to God. Or that is, relative from God’s viewpoint.
Relative Level Ontology. Causality “relative” to a creation viewpoint or human viewpoint. Relative from one created object to another created object.
Anthropology. The ultimate question of man. Where does man come from? What is man? Where is man gong? What is the end designed for man?
Logic. The ultimate question about the structure of thought, or thinking. Propositions are the content of thought, but logic is the study of the structure of thought. Deduction vs Induction. Valid vs invalid. Good thinking vs defective thinking. What is logic? Where did it come from? Why is it self-authenticating? Why does man use it? Why if self-authenticating, does it not give knowledge of itself?
Axiology. Ethics and morality.
Lastly, is a definition of what is systematic theology. Systematic theology is using the context of the whole Bible on a topic to formulate a doctrine that is clear, non-contradictive to the other parts and to be used for teaching and correction.
An example of this is Romans 3 where Paul formulates the doctrinal statement: “All have fallen short of the glory of God.” Or to say it more precisely: All [humans] have [sinned]. However, before this statement Paul says the Scripture has confined all as having failed God’s standard. Paul used multiple examples from the Old Testament to formulate this statement “from the Bible.” Paul quotes examples that show both Jews and non-Jews as being sinful and not obeying God as they ought. In the context of the Bible there are no other humans outside from the combination of these two groups. If this is true, and it is, then by showing these two groups are both sinful, the combination is the doctrinal conclusion, that “all humans have sinned,” and not just some. This is further reinforced in Romans 5, where Paul shows all have sinned starting at the first human. And from this starting line in humanity, God has caused all men to be unmeritedly credited with sin and to be sinful.
Thus, from this we learn to use the Bible as the starting point for our premises and we learn a direct doctrine can be formulated from the combinations of indirect teachings on a subject. As was just shown, the passages (or some of them) that Paul uses are not directly about showing the statement “all humans have sinned,” yet Paul uses them to formulate this doctrine. This is similar to the doctrine of the Trinity. Mistakes can be made by inferring too much, or making non-sequitur fallacies, (or inferring a present or past tense from a different tense) etc., however, the issue is that Paul shows us how to do it correctly, so that in maturity and faith we might follow his pattern and do it the right way.
I have over the past dozen years read and learned from the pastor Vincent Cheung. Because of this, his teaching is soaked and permeated into much of my thoughts (even some of his grammar rhythm), even when I do not realize it. I do not mind this on a personal level, because I agree with him most of the time, or that, because I believe his theology is a correct reflection and deduction from Scripture, I am fine with this. However, for public writing and publishing this is a hindrance. And so, in order to avoid plagiarizing, I will walk the safe route and shamelessly quote him on certain ponts.
Also, I want it to be clear that I do not represent Vincent. I am not a student of his (etc.). I am not affiliated with him. Obviously, my aim to is to restate his position well, when I do; however, you will have to be the judge of that by reading his own publications. When I quote him, take it that I am only agreeing with him on that narrow point and not that I agree with him broadly on that topic. And lastly, I do recommend his publications.
Some might be asking why then am I writing my own Systematic Theology book then? First, this book will not be “just like his,” for I have organized it differently; second, I am writing to a different audience in mind; and thirdly, I am saying some things with more or less emphasis and/or differently; forth, I wish to have a one-stop-shop book to show in the future to other people what I believe; and lastly, I believe this book will be a spiritual blessing to those who read it.
Vincent has explained that his website is written toward a mixed audience. Thus, there is much information in those publications that are not merely positive/expositional, but apologetic/rebukes. In contrast, a Sunday sermon addressing your usual audience, will lean more on the positive, expositional and even devotional.
The audience of this Systematic Theology book is written as if I am an old man, who is soon to die, and I have just taken on an apprentice who needs the most important basics before I leave this world. For anyone who would find such a focus helpful to them, this book is for you.
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/doctrine,” of ethics? What about metaphysics? Without a reality how can ethics exist? 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 waist 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|
|Ultimate Questions Scripture / God’ self-Revelation. God’s absolute and direct Sovereignty over all things. Creation of man. The story of the two groups of mankind as God’s elect children and of reprobation. Jesus as the Logos, and man created in the Logos’ image. The command to subdue the earth, for pragmatic helpfulness, and not for finding truth. Man’s sin, and then salvation by Jesus. (i.e. Soteriology, Theology) This is essentially a SUB-category of Metaphysics. Conclusion: Undefiled Religion is faith in God, loving your neighbor as oneself and taking care of widows.||Ultimate Questions Epistemology First Principle of knowledge. 2. Ontology / Metaphysics. (i.e. Causality & Existence) 3. Anthropology |
4. Logic (Deductive). Intelligibility. Innate knowledge. Language. 5. Logic(Inductive). Scientific method. 6. Theology / IF or How man needs salvation or improvement Conclusion: 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 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, which is, God’s absolute and direct sovereignty. This will be mentioned here, but 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 this 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 are 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; 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 God made 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 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 causality and not ultimate level causality, which is what Romans 2:15 teaches. When seeing the world God created, the knowledge already preinstalled in the mind is stirred 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.
Emotions? Defective like sensation, Palm 73. Psalm 31
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.
As this section is wrapped up 2 additional points will be made how the Scripture defines epistemology. As an example, the Christian definition of the Trinity, because Christianity is true, is the only possible and correct definition of what monotheism is. To suggest monotheism is anything less that what the Trinity is, is delusional, defective, and stupid. A definition of monotheism that is less than the Trinity, has never existed and never will; it is pure childish fantasy. The same is with how the Bible defines epistemology. Any definition that is less (or more) than how the Bible defines it, is stupid and logically defective; it is a definition of epistemology that has no possibility of existing; it is pure fantasy.
The Bible is non-contradictory. More will be said in a later chapter about the Scripture’s teaching on logic; however, some will be said here due to the importance of the topic at hand.
Jesus is called the Logos in John 1:1. For brevity sake, what this means, is that Jesus is not less than the “Laws of Logic.” Or, since logical systems are built on the 3 laws of logic, then it means Jesus is not less than the law of non-contradiction. Therefore, the law of non-contradiction was God. Without the law of non-contradiction, nothing was made. Also, Jesus in Mark 12:37 appeals to the law of non-contradiction when He publicly humiliated the Jewish leaders, “David himself calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son,” (NLT)? Jesus does not appeal to another Scripture to have “Scripture interpret Scripture”; rather, against the advice of many theologians, Jesus point of this Scripture hinged on the laws of logic. The first appearance of this is in the Genesis account, with Adam, Eve and Satan. God says, “Eat this one thing, and die.” Satan says, “Did God really say?, but I say, you will not.” It is shown God’s word is indeed true, and that lies both contradict and are not part of the truth. This story is repeated over and over in the Scripture. Then in Hebrews it says, “Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better, (Heb 7, NKJV).” The Scripture here, is making a theological point. The Scripture then assumes the position that a contradiction is to be avoided in doctrines. That is, Jesus appeals to the LoC, the Scripture assumes a contradiction is to be avoided when making a theological point and Jesus is the LoC itself.
John writes in his letter, “ I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because every lie is not of the truth. (1 John 2:21 LEB). John is appealing, to the law of non-contradiction to help define a painfully obvious point about truth. Truth is not non-truth, or that is, no lie is in the category of truth. God throughout Scripture defines Himself and what He reveals as truth. Jesus is the way, the life, and the truth. Jesus said He spoke the truth, and then later the Spirit will arrive and help them receive the truth. John in His letter simply reaffirms the basic laws of logic about what truth is. Truth means truth; and truth is not non-truth; and so, either you have truth, or you do not. John’s point is that we do have it in Christ. Thus, if you have something that contradicts the truth, then you have something that is not “in Christ.”
The Bible as a starting point for all knowledge, defines itself as non-contradictory. And so, any so-called starting point of knowledge that is contradictory is intellectually bankrupt by purely logical demonstration, but also, it is false because it does not fit how the Bible defines what an epistemology is to be. Because the Bible tells me so.
Substantial knowledge for all of reality, life and ethics.
It is irrelevant if every verse in the Bible says, “attention!, this is about metaphysics, or epistemology, or anthropology or logic or ethics), what is relevant is understanding what it does address. Whether we call Genesis 1 by Greek verbiage such as, metaphysics and ontology, or more biblical names such as existence and causality is not relevant. What is important is being able to distinguish these categories and define then as the passages do.
Paul says in Romans 4 that God calls things that “do not exist” as though they “do exist,” referring to the promise He gave Abraham. The big Greek word for this is metaphysics. The Scripture talks about this world in ways the there are points of non-existence, to then points of now existing, and that this is by God’s power alone. Genesis chapter one is all about this question. Both the starting point of existence being dealt with at the very start, and how the whole Bible keeps quoting from this chapter about God making things exist, helps to define this “question” of existence as an “Ultimate Question,” about life. And so, any definition that contradicts how the Bible defines metaphysics is by definition wrong and intellectually defective. The same is for the Ultimate Questions about knowledge, causality, mankind, and ethics, which the Scripture starting in Genesis account and going to Revelation divulges into much content. Aristotle, whose he? So what if some Greek guy named Plato happen to get a few thing about logic right? The Scripture says even a fool gets a few things right here and there. But if he did get a few things right about logic, then he agrees and borrowed them the Scripture, not the other way around. And if he borrowed without giving accredit to the Christian God, then he has conspired to steal God’s fame for himself. He will give an account for this one day in judgement.
Thus, the Bible, as an epistemology, has extensive content about all the big questions of life.
Public Starting Point:
The last point about Christian epistemology is that we are talking about a “public” revelation. God’s revelation in any aspect is a Christian epistemology; however, with the Scripture we are dealing with a particular “public” aspect of God’s revelation. It for this reason that I do not say, “only” the Bible is the word of God. Innate knowledge, even if suppressed and only able to condemn a non-Christian is still God’s word written on the heart. When in heaven God will “reveal” more about Himself, but it will be more immediate, and intuitive. This is no less the “revealed” word of God than the Bible. John in the book of Revelation talks about an infallible revelation given in the thunders he heard, but He was commanded not to share them. These “private revelations” to John, were no less the infallible revealed word of God than the Scripture.
The point about the Scripture is that it is an “infallible,” “once and for all,” “public” revelation of God to the world. Jude says it this way, “I must write… urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people,” (NLT 1:3).
This Scripture is a “once and for all” public revelation for the world.
Paul says that “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness,” (1 Timothy 3:16-7 LEB).
The Scripture is sufficient for teaching (i.e. doctrine or dogmatics), correction and knowing how to live righteousness. Righteousness is understand in the context of other bigger presuppositions, such as epistemology, metaphysics and anthropology. It is not that one is to make a category fallacy (or equivocation) by going from ontology in premise to ethics in the conclusion; rather, ethics is intelligible in context of other presuppositions being laid down. For example take Jesus Christ quoting the creation account for “teaching” and “training in righteousness” about marriage and divorce. “They are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate,” (Matt 19:6). The hidden and assumed premise is that God has not changed His definition about His aspect of the world He created. At one point, because of the ceremonial part of the Law, certain foods were forbidden, but now in the new covenant (with man already reconciled to God), God has given a new command, or definition for how man is to interact with this part of God’s creation. God has not reversed the one-flesh He created, and He has not given man permission or given man a commandment to change it. It’s God’s world, and His definitions.
Peter says, “above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God,” (NLT 2 Peter 1:20-21).
Thus, this public revelation of God, the Scripture, is infallible. It is not merely that the Scripture could error, but it does not have errors. No. There is not even a possibility for it to error. It is a category fallacy to suggest otherwise. It would be like saying, squares could be circles but are not. No, it is not even a possibility for a square to be attributed as being a circle. Hebrews 6 says, it is impossible for God to lie. It is not that God has the possibility to lie, but simply does not lie; rather, it is not even a possibility for God to lie. However, since the Scripture is attributed as not being the private interpretation of man, but the very words of God, and the Scripture claim to reveals truths, then we know it is not even possible for the Scripture to error, or give a falsehood.
As said before, the Scriptures, as a starting point for knowledge does not contradict. Thus, if there are private revelations, we are to check them against this infallible public revelation: if there is a contradiction, then the error is with the private(the man who gave it), and not the Scripture.
Private knowledge cannot be examined.
To make deductions about yourself, you will need premises about yourself. The Bible also covers this. Paul wrote, “For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:11). We derive two points from this. First, this means that a man can know his own thoughts. Thus he can supply premises into biblical deductions about himself. At this point, it is sufficient to note that this is possible. How one evaluates his own thoughts is a separate issue. Second, a man knows only his own thoughts, and not other people’s thoughts…
… We have a public first principle, and to others we make public deductions with public conclusions. But when we make deductions about ourselves on the basis of this same first principle, we supply premises that are private, that we cannot show to the public or prove to the public, even if we know that they are true. But this is irrelevant in most debates, since most debates concern public issues.
…Both our private knowledge and our public knowledge in the life to come rest on the same basis as the public knowledge that we now possess – all knowledge comes from God’s mind and becomes ours by his action. In the study of philosophy and apologetics, we establish that there is no knowledge apart from what we derive from the Bible. The context is the kind of public knowledge available to us in this life. In effect, this means that our public knowledge in this life is limited to what God has revealed in the Bible, and our private knowledge is limited to what God would cause us to know as stated in the Bible, including the knowledge of adoption. Thus this distinction between private and public knowledge does not leave room for the non-Christian to derive even private knowledge, since their sensations and speculations remain unreliable. And the Christian’s private knowledge of his place in Christ is not derived from his sensations and speculations, but it is caused by an action of the Holy Spirit that the man can neither initiate nor prevent.
Even something like “my testimony” is private, not public knowledge. The premises of “my experience with God’s truth,” are invisible premises that I think about myself. For me to say, “I (oshea) was baptized in the Spirit on this day,” is a premise only I can assent to. Or, “I (oshea) experienced the Holy Spirit causing my mind to say, “abba Father.”” Another person could say, “He (oshea) was… ,” but not “I (oshea)… .” My private revelations of God’s truth in my life, are private and “I” give them as a testimony. They are not public revelations from God to the world. For a person to apply “my” private testimony about God to “themselves” would be a category fallacy. The invisible premises I apply to myself cannot be examined by any other person. Instead, my private testimony(revelation) is a pointer to God’s public revelation for the world. From this public Scripture another person can do deduction and apply themselves to its major premises and then affirm God’s truths in their life.
1.3. Nature of God’s Revelation
This section will discuss some basics of God’s divine nature (attributes) that deal more particularly with the nature God’s revelation.
God’s existence is Spiritual, Intellectual, and Power
First God is Spirit:
“But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth,” (John 4:23-24 LEB).
Jesus is not saying, “God is one spirit among many”; rather, he intended to underscore the truth that God’s essence is of the nature of spirit.
What does Jesus teach about the essential nature of God when he describes God as “spirit”? The first point is that God is personal, that is, self-conscious and self-determining, living and active.
“[God is the] blessed and only Sovereign, the King of those who reign as kings and Lord of those who rule as lords. [He] alone possesses immortality, who lives in unapproachable light, whom no human being has seen nor is able to see, to whom be honor and eternal power. Amen.” (1 Timothy 6:16 LEB).
“No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us,” (1 John 4:12 NTL).
“The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words,” (1 Corinthians 2: 10-13).
“And her spirit returned, and she got up immediately, and he ordered something to be given to her to eat,” Luke 8:55 (LEB)
God is not material. God is not creation, because all creation is that which has been created by God, not the other way around. God is NOT what He creates. God is NOT what He causes. If God creates a north flowing river, God Himself is not a north flowing river. God is not ‘north,’ ‘flowing,’ or a ‘river.’ If God causes a tree to not bear fruit, then God Himself is not a non-bearing fruit tree. God is not a ‘tree’; He is not ‘non-bearing.’ Likewise, if God causes a man to commit sin, God is not a man who commits sin. God is not ‘man’; He is not ‘commits sin.’ God upholds and controls creation by His power, but He is also dissimilar from and independent from what He creates.
We learn that God is a Spirit and that as a Spirit being, no man has ever seen God; that is, seen by sensation. If considering it from an epistemology standpoint, then not of empiricism. We are like God in that He has made human beings with a spirit.
Paul says that only the invisible spirit of a person knows a person, and it is the same with God. Thus, God knows Himself spiritually, and intellectually, and intuitively. He does not understand Himself by observing and sensation, which would be a category fallacy. God knows all things, or that, God understands all true propositions. Thus, the foundation of all knowledge is not empiricism, but spiritual, intellectual and intuitive. Man’s image bearing of God, also images God in the same way. Man’s knowledge is not by empiricism, but spiritual, intellectual. The one difference is that rather than intuitive by Divine nature, it is by being divinely revealed.
This spirit aspect is the chief foundation of man, and how man is the image of God. After death, the body is dead, but the Spirit lives on. When Jesus resurrected the little girl, it is said her spirit returned to her body. Thus, the body is important but secondary in order. The Spirit is primary, or that is, even when the body dies and the spirit is separated, the person still lives on as themselves; they still have the foundational aspect of self-awareness and that which makes them chiefly as made in God’s image. The physical body is referred to as being “clothed.” The redeemed spirits will be given a new created heavenly body. This shows that God desires for man’s spirit to be clothed in a body. Yet, this does not change the order, the spirit is foundational, the body is then added to it. Adams body was lifeless, or it was without the image of God. Once God breathed into Adam the spirit was created and Adam became an image bearer of God. Paul tells us that the invisible Spirit of God, alone knows the mind of the invisible God. Paul says God has put His Spirit into the spirit of His children, so that they will truly know God. In this, we truly become the image of God. We know this because Paul then says based on this reality, “You have the Mind of Christ.” It is not merely that you can imitate Christ’s mind by copying, but that categorically you have the Mind of Christ, because God’s Spirit is in you. It is not that you think God’s thoughts after Him; it is more than that. With God’s Spirit in you, you think God’s thoughts with Him.
This leads to a mental blunder that unbelievers commit. When some non-Christians ask for God to prove He exists will as for a type of supernatural miracle. They might say, “if God were to cause my car to fly off the ground 1 mile and then fly back down, in perfect safety, then I know the laws of physics have been suspended and I will believe God.” Or, “ if God were to show Himself as a obtuse-triangle of burning light and speak to me,” or, “if God would transform my shoes into gold,” “then I would believe.” All of these, and those like it, commit the fallacy of a category error. God is Spirit, and so, even if He manifested as a burning obtuse-triangle of light, or made a car fly up, these things are not Spirit, but material creation. To start your logical argument or syllogism with material creation, to then conclude God, (who is Spirit) into the conclusion would be invalid. You might as well just say, “Rocks are clouds, and grass is rocks, therefore, all cats are 15 blue gravities.”
The same is when delusional minds give the query, “can God make a rock so heavy that He cannot lift it?” Again, God is Spirit, thus, cannot categorically “lift” anything. Why are non-Christians so stupid, that their proofs for God would be invalid? The more educated are not better in their sub-human thinking, with the exception that they are “better” at deceiving themselves.
Second, God is intellectual:
“In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, (Colossians 2:3 NLT).
“He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit,” (Psalm 147:4-5 NIV).
The ⌊whole⌋ of your word is truth and your every righteous judgment endures forever. (Psalm 119:160 (LEB)
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent,” (John 17:3 LEB).
“And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and a willing mind, for Yahweh searches all hearts and understands every plan and all thoughts,” (1 Chronicles 28:9 LEB).
“In the beginning was the [LOGIC], and the [LOGIC] was with God, and the [LOGIC] was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it,” (John 1:1-5, NKJV)
God’s Nature is not physical but Spiritual. We first learned in 1 Corinthians 2 that the “spirit” aspect of both God and man is attributed with knowing one’s self. And so, the second point is that God is intellectual. God’s knowledge has “no limit,” and that means infinite. We are told that all knowledge and wisdom(reason) is hidden in God. That is, as a category premise it is not that “all mammals are dogs,” (which is false) but that, “all dogs are mammals.” Do a circle diagram to see this if you need to. Thus, if you go outside of God, there is no knowledge or reasoning. No knowledge and reason would mean no thinking: nothing.
A summarized way to say Colossians 2:3, would be, “God knows all things.” God knows all propositions. To think a true proposition, one would have to think a proposition God knows.
Also, because God knows all things, then God knows x, y and z. God knows all the unmeasurable names of the Stars. God knows the thoughts and intents of all the humans He created. God knows all these things because He predestined and decreed them to happen. Whether it is the thoughts of man, (proverbs 21:1) or a random eagle that leaps off a cliff to fly, or anthropology and salvation (Acts 2:23).
God’s mind does not merely know every proposition, but the structure of God’s propositions are in perfect order, or logic. Jesus is the LOGOS, or that Jesus is the Logic or Reason. God’s propositions are in perfect logical ordering and structure. Man, images God not only when our propositions are from God’s mind, but also when our structure of ordering these propositions are patterned after God’s way of doing it, which is rational and deductive. More on this topic in a later section.
Jesus even sums up “life” as simply “knowing God”. This is because before creation, God the Trinity, has already existed in perfection of life and joy. This was before any created thing. Jesus even says He wanted to have this “valuable life” back, the type before the world existed. For those following what has been said, should be able to see why. God is Spirit and intellectual. The fellowship of the Trinity and the valuable life therein, was without empiricism or material things. Thus, man, and those who have been remade in more closeness to God’s image through Christ Jesus, will thus, image this life of God. The Christian’s valuable, abundant life is in knowing God: through spirit, intellect and in power.
To recap the two points together of God being a spirit and intellectually consider Vincent as he says,
God introduced himself as ME. He identified himself by himself, and in relation to himself. I AM is I AM. Of course God can be known in his actions and relations, and he often reveals himself through his actions and relations, but his basic identity is I AM. He just IS, and this is meaningful even before we consider his actions and relations. No one else is like this. No creature can possess intrinsic definition and meaning, because the fact that it is a created thing means that it is conceived and defined by the creator, so that it can find meaning only in relation to one who created it. A creature-centered definition of a creature is also a mis-definition of the creature. The definition of the essence of a created thing will always be a creator-centered definition, a God-centered definition. In other words, to truly know a created thing, we must know how it is related to the creator, or God. A self-centered definition of a created thing is different from a God-centered definition of that thing, and on its own this self-centered definition is insufficient and misleading. When a created being insists on defining himself by himself, we call that sin, because by this the created being pretends to be God, and thus blasphemes the true God.
On the other hand, God is eternal and uncreated. He is relative only to himself, and therefore he is absolute. It is necessary that he defines himself by himself, because he is the one that defines everything, and there is nothing other or higher than himself by which he is defined. Therefore, with him God-centeredness and self-centeredness are the same. This is his unique characteristic. A creature who is self-centered in the sense that he considers himself the center of everything, and defines himself and everything else by himself, is out of touch with reality.
God with perfect knowledge of all things, knows Himself perfectly. He has a perfect self-knowledge. God does not forget; He does not get tired. God is immutable. And so God’s perfect self-knowledge is always constant and vivid about Himself. As Reymond says about God being a Spirit means: He is, “self-conscious and self-determining, living and active.”
This gives some insight to the foundation of the doctrine of the Trinity. They all share in the same divine power and divine nature, but the Father with perfect self-understanding does not assent, “I am the Holy Spirit,” for that would be false. The same with the Son and the Spirit. The difference of the Trinity is their personhoods that assent to different propositions about themselves.
The Christian images this about God, as they have a clear and vivid self-awareness of themselves, in relation to God. For a person to talk about themselves having a good self-knowledge or centeredness, without their relation to God, is like playing a game of horseshoe, when there is no stake in the ground. It is nonsense, mentally unhealthy and delusional. Paul said that God has given us a sound and powerful mind, or state of mind. God does not forgive “God.” Rather, the Christian grows a strong and correct self-centeredness by deductively applying God’s truths to themselves. “I (Oshea) am forgiven by God.” The Father is not a child of God; rather, He is the Father. Thus, the truth of “I am a child of God,” is not a truth the Father thinks about “Himself.” It is meant to be meditated on and affirmed in the minds of the elect. This is who “they” are. God with His perfect self-awareness thinks, “Oshea is my child.” And Oshea, with correct and sound self-centeredness thinks, “I (Oshea) am a child of God.” or “I (Oshea) will approach boldly to the throne of grace today.”
Vincent also pointed out in his essay how Paul said a very similar phrase Yahweh said about Himself being, “I AM, who I AM.” 1 Corinthians 15:10 (LEB), “But by the grace of God, I am what I am.” Paul affirms his own self-centeredness or awareness with the same Divine way Yahweh did, “ I AM what I AM,” but with one exception. Paul has a healthy, powerful and sound understanding of himself, and this is in relation to God, and to God’s unmerited favor bestowed, (not on God), but on Paul.
Third, God is Unstoppable Power:
“Jesus said to him, “You have said it. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the POWER and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Matthew 26:64 LEB) 
“[God is the] blessed and only Sovereign, the King of those who reign as kings and Lord of those who rule as lords. [He] alone possesses immortality, who lives in unapproachable light, whom no human being has seen nor is able to see, to whom be honor and eternal POWER. Amen,” (1 Timothy 6:16 LEB).
“Then he said to me, “This is what the Lord says to Zerubbabel: It is not by FORCE nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,” (Zechariah 4:6 NLT).
“But you will receive POWER when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 LEB)
“..Enabled with all POWER, according to his glorious might, for all steadfastness and patience with joy,” (Colossians 1:11 LEB)
“And the whole crowd was seeking to touch him, because POWER was going out from him and healing them all.” (Luke 6:19 LEB)
“For God has not given us a spirit of cowardice, but of POWER and love and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7 LEB)
“But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, because I know POWER has gone out from me.” (Luke 8:46 LEB)
“…that he may grant you according to the riches of his glory to be strengthened with POWER through his Spirit in the inner person,” (Ephesians 3:16 LEB).
“And amazement came upon them all, and they began to talk with one another, saying, “What word is this? For he commands the unclean spirits with authority and POWER, and they come out!” (Luke 4:36 LEB)
“And behold, I am sending out what was promised by my Father upon you, but you stay in the city until you are clothed with POWER from on high.” (Luke 24:49 LEB)
“Israelite men, listen to these words! Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with deeds of POWER and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, just as you yourselves know—.” (Acts 2:22 LEB)
“Jesus of Nazareth—how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with POWER, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, because God was with him.” (Acts 10:38 LEB)
This is what the Lord says—
the Holy One of Israel and your Creator:
Do you question what I do for my children?
Do you give me orders about the work of my hands?
I am the one who made the earth
and created people to live on it.
With my hands I stretched out the heavens.
All the stars are at my command.
I will raise up Cyrus to fulfill my righteous purpose,
and I will guide his actions.
He will restore my city and free my captive people—
without seeking a reward!
I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!…
…Consult together, argue your case.
Get together and decide what to say.
Who made these things known so long ago?
What idol ever told you they would happen?
Was it not I, the Lord?,” (Isaiah 45:12-13, 21).
This doctrine of the POWER of God can be overlooked. There is often a focus, and rightfully so, on God’s “sovereignty,” and “authority”; however, the word for power, as used often in the New Testament simply means force, strength, or ability. Our English word for dynamic comes from this. In physics, dynamic refers to the study of “force” interchanged between objects. When applied to metaphysics Yahweh says in Isaiah that He planned something for the future, and then will cause (power/force) this something to happen (Cyrus to help His people). Then Yahweh makes the point that He is able to tell what the future is. The context is God already planning to cause what will happen, then God in a painfully obvious observation says, He predicts the future that He Himself is planning and causing by His force. I say painfully obvious, because it seems the Bible has to repeat this point often due to people irrationally and wickedly not believing God’s teaching. Yet, this God of power, is the true God of the Scripture. Anything less is superstition.
“Jesus said to him, “…Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the POWER…”
(Matthew 26:64 LEB)
It is interesting for theological reflection and doxology, to note Jesus in Matthew 26 referred to His Father as just “Power,” or “Force.” Yahweh, would be God’s proper name, or “Father,” would be the direct name in relation to Jesus being the “son.” And Yet Jesus overlooks all of these. John is famous for saying “God is Love,” in his letter; however, the Son of God does not call His Father on the throne, “love,” or “kindness,” or any such term. The context is Jesus being commanded by the high priest to answer if He was the Christ. And so, Jesus offers a straightforward and official response to this question. What is Jesus’ official response to who He is and who sent Him? FORCE! Jesus perceives Yahweh so foundationally as “force” that Jesus calls His Father, “Power,” in place of His title of Father or His proper name as Yahweh. That is, rather than Jesus saying He is the Messiah sent from … “the Father,”…or… “Love”… or… “the Lord of angel armies”…, Jesus says He is the messiah sent from the “Power.” When God gave a direct answer to Job (Job 39), about who this God is, He gave a long list of things describing Him creating reality, and His absolute causality and control over it. Why are some animals more dumb than other animals, like an ostrich, because God decreed and causes it to be so. Why does a random eagle fly off a cliff, because God commanded it. God is the absolute and total “Power.”
Luke records that the woman, with the flow of blood issue, when she touched Jesus, that Jesus felt “FORCE, or POWER” flow out of Him. This word for “force,” is the same word Jesus referred to the Father in Matthew 26. And so, the Father is power, and the Son of man on earth, who is the perfect image of the Father, is having “power” flow out of Him. When this force of Jesus came into contact with the “force” of a defective body, Jesus’ force was greater. Jesus’ force won. The woman was healed. Seeing how Peter says all the people Jesus healed were “oppressed by the Devil,” in Acts 10, then we can say, Jesus’ force, came into contact with demonic force, yet because Jesus was stronger, His force overcame and defeated the weaker satanic force. Therefore, John says in his letter that with “faith,” we also overcome and “defeat the world,” because with faith, Christians have access to wield God’s power as their own.
This same word is sometimes used to talk about “power” in the inner man for spiritual and moral strength. The power of the flesh is strong, but the power of the Spirit is stronger. The Spirit wins. The man is converted, the man is progressively sanctified, and the man is kept until he is sent home. This is accomplished because God’s ability is greater in the man compared to the world’s weaker ability. However, since in my experience most do not resist this we will focus on the power when applied to other areas.
Jesus commanded, not just the apostles, but any follower to wait in Jerusalem until they are clothed with “FORCE/ABILITY,” from on high. To appreciate the logical order of this, first consider how God is pure “force.” Thus, it is no surprise to hear the Scripture say, “Not by POWER, but by my Spirit.” The contrast is about what is real power. True ABILTY is not in created things like men; rather, true ABILITY is the force that made all created things and upholds them. The world was made by the Trinity. It was made by the unstoppable power of the Spirit. Jesus, as the God-man, did not start His ministry of POWER, until He was filled with the Spirit of POWER. Jesus in John 14-16 told His disciples that it was good for Him to leave, because only then would the Spirit of POWER be given to all His followers. The world was to be conquered by the gospel, through POWER. But Jesus was just a single grain of FORCE. After His death, then all the grains produced by His atonement would have FORCE like Him. The application of the Spirit of POWER to all believers was a stipulation of the New Covenant (from the Father to the Son), Acts 2:33, 39.
“But you will receive POWER when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 LEB)
Jesus’ word for “power,” is the same one He used to refer to Yahweh on His throne. The same word He termed to Himself under the ministry of the Spirit. And now that He is at the Father’s right hand, He will clothe His believers (most in the upper room were not apostles) with the same unstoppable FORCE. Also, the “farthest part of the earth,” is still in play. Jesus said He would come back again, when every nation has heard the gospel and contains a remnant in them. We are still here, and thus that is not fulfilled. Thus, as long as the gospel is in play, this Power from the Spirit baptism is still in play, despite demons saying otherwise. Also, in Peter’s sermon in the next chapter, connects this “power” and salvation as intertwined. If you negate one, then you necessarily negate the other; for both have the same foundation. Peter’s point about predestination (2:39) is directly about future generations receiving this POWER and not forgiveness of sins. That is, Peter’s contrast about the elect and reprobate is about receiving this Power. Jesus says we are to be witnesses of the gospel of grace, through POWER. Why do so many Christians willfully disobey their commanding officer on this and still call Him Lord?
To summarize. God is Spirit and Intellectual. This invisible Spirit of immeasurable intellectual propositions and communion, is sheer Power and Force. Adam and Eve, were made in the image of God, regarding some core issues, but their potential was far from the mark, even before they sinned. Adam did not have God’s Spirit in Him, like we do, so that we can say, “I have the Mind of Christ,” or “I have the Mind of God.” The same is about intellect and force. In Jesus Christ, the image of God in the Elect, is truly realized in precious and awesome ways. The Christian’s eternal life is summed up as “knowing God.” Their intellect is truly elevated to divine levels.
God is Spirit. Thus, He gives His SPIRIT to the Elect (1 Corin 2:10-16). His same SPIRIT is in them! They have the Mind of Christ.
God is intellectual. Thus, God reveals His KNOWELDGE (2 Corin 4:6) to the Elect. They think God’s KNOWELDGE with Him. In the New Covenant God promises to be their personal teacher. They know the world as it truly is. They know God, not by sensation or observation; rather, they know Him intellectually, as His truth is revealed to them. They fellowship and worship Him in truth.
God is Power. Thus, God takes His FORCE and clothes His elect, in the same FORCE. God’s ability becomes theirs. God’s force to cast out demons and work miracles becomes theirs. In ultimate level ontology God directly does all things; however, Jesus the most God-centered man who ever lived, said that He gave authority and POWER to His followers, (NOT to Himself), to cast out demons and work miracles. Jesus mostly speaks on this relative level ontology. Thus, God’s power to move mountains or have trees plant themselves in salt water, becomes their FORCE. Jesus says the tree will “OBEY” you, not God, when you speak in faith. Force will flow out of “you.” Force will flow out of “your” shadow (Acts 5:15), not Jesus’.
God’s TRUTH is indomitable.
God’s FORCE is indomitable.
God’s UNMERITED FAVOR is indomitable toward us.
Thus, our FAITH is an indomitable faith.
A summary of some of God’s attributes that relate more to revelation.
Spirituality of God:
Since this point has been talked about in the opening of this section, we will move on to the next.
Infallibility of God:
This has already been introduced in the first chapter.
“Two immutable things… impossible for God to lie,”
(Hebrews 6:18 NKJV)
Some things are impossible because there is a limitation. For example, it is impossible for a house fly to lift my car and throw it. It simply lacks the force or ability to do it.
However, somethings are impossible because of the laws of logic. The laws of logic are both a law of the mind and of reality. Jesus is the LOGIC, and so, logic is not something God obeys, but that is part of the Divine Nature itself. For example, a square cannot be a circle, not because it lacks the power, but because a contradiction is impossible. As said before in the introduction, try saying, “I do not exist,” without using your existence. Reality forces you from doing a contradiction. It is a category fallacy. A square circle does not exist in my mind or in reality.
And so, the doctrine of the Bible is that it is infallible. Some say the Bible is inerrant. This is indeed true, as far as it goes. However, it goes further than that. Inerrant means the Bible does not error. But as we have already learned from Hebrews 6, it is not even possible for God to lie. But since the Scripture is included as part of God and all of it is truth, then the possibility of the Scripture to error, is the same. The possibility does not even exist. It is a stronger statement that correctly belongs to the scripture. Thus, the bible is infallible.
The ⌊whole⌋ of your word is truth and your every righteous judgment endures forever. (Psalm 119:160 (LEB)
“No lie is.. truth,” (1 John 2:21 NKJV). [Do a circle diagram if you need to, to see the distinctness of this statement.]
Jesus, “I am the way, the truth and the life,” (John 14:6)
“All who invoke a blessing or take an oath, will do so by the God of truth,” Isaiah 65:16 NLT).
“Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No,’” (Matt. 5:37 NKJV).
“The world through its wisdom (i.e. a human epistemology) did not know God,” (1 Corin.1:21 NKJV).
Here God is truth. God has revealed truth in the scripture. There is also a lecture on logic as we are told truth, is not a lie, and reversely. No [lie] is [truth]. This is both a lesson on contradiction and contrariety. Thus, it is false to say, “all lie is truth,” or “some lie is truth.” Because God’s nature is truth, there is not even some little bit of a lie. Also, as this is applied in a command or ethic for mankind (Matt: 5:37) we are also given a lesson on the law of identity. Jesus is commanding His followers to be holy as their Father is holy. In other words, God the Father is morally cut-above all things, and as His image bearers, we are commanded to also be morally superior. We already know God’s truth is truth, for there is no lie in it. Thus, Jesus is demanding we speak in the same consistent way. Our yes is to be yes, and our no is to be a no. If we say to our boss, or spouse or friend, “I will meet you at 9am,” our words are to mean what they say. That is, we are to apply the laws of identity and contradiction constantly to all we say and do. By this we image our Father in heaven, who’s word is truth, and not something else, or its opposite.
Thus, since God has already been defined as truth (as being part of His divine nature itself), and all He has revealed in the Scripture is truth, then it is a category impossibility for God to lie. For God to lie, would be to deny the law of contradiction. It would be to deny Himself. For example: to say God is truth, is to say, God is a circle. And to say a lie, is a square. God cannot categorically be a circle and a square. It is a thinking and ontological impossibility. A square circle has no possibility to exist, and the God of Scripture to lie has no possibility to exist. It is not that a square circle could possibly exist but simply does not; rather, the possibility does not even exist. The same with God and lying. It is not merely that God could lie, but just chooses not to; rather, the possibility does not even exist. It is impossible for God to lie. It is impossible for the Scripture to have a lie in it.
The knowability and incomprehensibility of God:
What is the use of God revealing all this truth, if God is not knowable to begin with? There is some reason to ask this in a broad sense; however, considering the God of all POWER and intellect, such a risk, would never exist. Ultimately the issue of a created thing, having the ability to understand what God reveals about Himself to them, rests on God’s POWER and ability to create and reveal it. As per my Theology Maximum: God is the foundation of theology, not man. God’s understanding and ability have no limit. For example, I can say, “If God forgets to think about me, I would stop existing.” I do not mean by this, that it is possible for God to have divine memory loss, but that “IF” such a thing were possible, then “x” would be the necessary outcome. It is not possible for God’s ability to be limited or deficient. God does not have to jump over a wall or a seeming problem to man, He can bulldoze right through it. God can teleport right into it. He can cause things that do not exist to suddenly exist, whether it is babies or knowledge. There is no limitation with God’s power.
Many try to give God praise in humility. However, their “humility” is just lazy and/or outright perverted worship. To praise God, it is not necessary to self-debase oneself. In fact, to give God truthful and spiritual worship, it is often necessary to exalt oneself, in the sense, of “how God” has so exalted “you” (but exalted “you” nonetheless) to praise Him for it. How can you praise God for cleansing “your” conscience (compared to the world), when it is not? How can you praise God for having the Mind of Christ, if you do not? How can you praise God for boldly approaching the throne of grace and getting help in the land of the living, if you do not? How can you praise God for strengthening “your” inner man for moral superiority, when it is not? How can you praise God for endowing “you” with power, if you have not been so? You are not worshiping at this point. You are lost in a delusion and fantasy. Paul praises God, for more than one church in his letters, that they were “once” these evil things, but are not anymore. “Some of you were these things, but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God,” (1 Corinthians 6:11 LEB). Paul says earlier in chapter 2 that they have the “mind of Christ,” and that (2. Ch.5) because they died with Christ and are now both the righteousness of God and filled with God’s Spirit, that he does not even consider them to be lowly humans anymore. Paul is thankful and praises God that they are filled with powerful gifts of the Spirit. They were at one point inferior non-Christians, but now they are superior as Christians. This is what true humility is! I was once stupid and evil, like the rest of the world, but Almighty God, saved me, washed me, empowered me and has exalted me to sonship in Christ! Anything less, is unworthy worship of the God who saves people.
Isaiah 55 is a favorite passage for theological perverts to abuse their false humility on.
“Whoever has no money, come, buy and eat,
and come, buy without money,
wine and milk without price …
… For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:1,9)
Let us just deal with the logical absurdity when some say to the effect, “God’s thoughts are not our thoughts,” as a doctrine. If that was the case, then the thought that “God’s thoughts are not our thoughts,” would not be God’s thought. For this self-refuting nonsense to be true, it would have to be false at the same time. To know that you do not know is a contradiction. It would be an infinite regress of affirming and denying. When our opponent is finished with this regress, I will admit I was mistaken.
Thanks be to God, He is the logos and does not speak as such. As often is the case, look at the context. Or even better, consider the words themselves. To say my thoughts are not your thoughts, could mean a variety of things. I could mean, “I have not told you my thoughts,” and so of course you cannot think them. Our opponent picks the dumbest self-refuting possibility, one that is not even a necessary deduction and makes a formal doctrine out it. Spiritual Pervert!
When formulating a doctrine, you define to show the terms clearly, and if a conclusion is being made, is a necessary/logical outcome. But at the very least, apply the law of noncontradiction, and show that it does not contradict the context or other passages on the subject. Our opponent fails at this smallest requirement. Isaiah 55 starts by saying come buy from God without money. The context is having God’s favor and deliverance. It is about the gospel. God is highlighting the extreme level of “unmerited favor” that is in the gospel. A good picture of this is in Hebrews 4 and 10, when we are told to boldly approach the throne of “GRACE,” to receive all the help we need. Grace means “unmerited favor.” It is not having the credit/money to afford God’s favor. Jesus gives us an unlimited amount of unmerited favor, for us to buy all the (milk and honey) favor, help and blessings from God we need. When God said His thoughts were not their thoughts, the point was that God’s thoughts, about how free His favor is, through Jesus Christ, is not theirs. They were still under the law, and the full understanding of Jesus had not yet been revealed.
However, for those who approach the throne of grace (unmerited favor) to buy all the mercies and help, in faith in Christ, are those who are thinking God’s thoughts with Him, and who ways are walking in God’s highest ways. God’s thoughts are now their thoughts. God’s heavenly ways have now become their heavenly ways. They are truly sons of God. They have the mind of Christ. And so the passage means the opposite of what many imply that it means.
Beyond the aspect of mere ability, which alone would broadly invalidate any objection to man knowing God, God has promised in the New Contract that He will be their personal teacher. Jesus in John 6 quotes Isaiah 54, saying, “They shall be taught by God.” The contract (Heb. 8, quoting Jeremiah 31) even says, “they will know me.”
God knows an infinite number of propositions. Man is not a infinite being like God, and so man does not at once, and intuitively, know an infinite volume of propositions, yet, the promise from God, is that in Jesus Christ all that we do know (which is substantial Colossians 2:3, 2 Tim 3:16-17) is what God knows. For all those propositions, we think God’s thoughts with Him.
Instead of dealing with the faulty and unspiritual doctrine that says man’s knowledge is an analogy of God, here, it will be dealt with in the section, “defective logic.”
Necessity of Revelation:
This necessity is built by the negative and positive. Negatively, the bible says, “Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom,” (1 Corin. 1:21 NLT). In context both the wisdom the Greek’s seek and the signs the Jews seek, are both thrown in the category of “human” wisdom, or a human epistemology. They are both starting with human observation (like the Socratic method) and inductively produce premises about the world from human speculation, whether it be about Greek philosophy or Jewish signs, African culture, or worldwide science. All these reject God’s revelation as their starting point; they start with human speculation and end up with human speculation. The positive contrast is with God’s revelation. Paul in a few verses later in chapter 2 verse 4, uses the word for a 3 premise syllogism (“demonstration”), to described why the Corinthians faith is in God, not man. By the force of the Spirit Paul gave a deductive argument from Scripture that the Corinthians understood and believed. Because deduction does not contain any extra information than the source, (in this case the Bible) then the conclusion is what the Bible asserts. Thus, their faith was indeed in God, and not human speculation.
If you recall some earlier comments about innate knowledge. Romans 1 and 2 teaches man is born with God’s laws (which is substantial knowledge) and by viewing the world it stimulates this knowledge to the front of their thinking. However, in man’s sinful and depraved condition they suppress the knowledge of God and God’s laws. Thus, this knowledge is enough to condemn man guilty, and to downgrade them as worthy of the flames of hell; however, it is not enough to save man. And so innate knowledge is enough to condemn, but not enough to save. Thus, arises a necessity for another starting point of knowledge, where man can be saved.
“[God’s] divine power has bestowed on us all things that are necessary for life and godliness, through the knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and excellence of character,
(2 Peter 1:3 (LEB)
Peter says there is some things that are “necessary” to live life and live godly. Life is broadly referring to living in God’s creation, under His supply and abundance, which is more about metaphysics and ontology. It is God’s supply for health, prosperity and His favor that makes the world react to you in a positive way, particularly in the things He has called you to do, ( including, your own hearts desires). Godliness is more particular to ethics. Peter says these necessary things to live, is provided by God’s “force” or power. Thus, man needs this power, for without this power man lacks the necessary things for ethics and for metaphysical abundance. Yet this power also has an antecedent. To get this force man needs God’s knowledge. And as Peter in context of his own letter, it is the Scripture that is the source of this. Thus, Scriptural knowledge is a necessity for man.
“In whom all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden,”
(Colossians 2:3 (LEB)
Paul says to Timothy that “from childhood you have known the holy writings that are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness,” (2 Timothy 3:15–16 LEB). Recall in the section about innate knowledge, and how much knowledge must be included in the phrase “laws of God”? The same applies here. For to act “righteous” in “this world,” would mean the Scripture must contain by implication basics about the ultimate questions of life. Indeed, Paul says that the Christian philosophy is superior to the non-Christian in his teaching to the Colossians. Paul’s point is not that all philosophy is bad, but that non-Christian teaching on the “ultimate questions” of life is inferior and stupid; the Christian teaching on ultimate questions is superior and logical.
Vincent also comments on this Letter to the Colossians in chapter 1 verses 14-19.
“Christology is presented and emphasized, including the deity of Christ before and at the creation of the universe, and the humanity of Christ in the incarnation and atonement. As it sets forth a broad and coherent christology, the passage also relates to it epistemology (revelation), theology proper (God, Trinity, creation, providence), angelology and demonology (angels, demons, powers), anthropology (man), harmatiology (sin), soteriology (reconciliation, atonement, resurrection, conversion, faith, perseverance), ecclesiology (the nature, structure, and mission of the church), and eschatology (glorification, judgment, heaven, hell)…. It is comprehensive and logical, and Paul uses almost the same outline in his speech on Mars Hill in Acts 17. This is in fact the biblical-logical outline for systematic theology, and there is nothing wrong with calling this simply the systematic method.”
The doctrine in this text (v.13-19) is board and short, but it is a systematic theology structure (or systematic philosophy, or ultimate questions put into a logical structure), expressed particularly through the lens of Christ. This simplified form is great for sermons and also where time is short. And so, Paul used this outline starting in verse 14: “Christ the Revealer, Christ the Creator, Christ the Sustainer, and Christ the Redeemer.” Paul’s theology structure is a doctrine of Knowledge, a doctrine of God, a doctrine of Redemption and lastly a doctrine of Ethics. To put these biblical words into philosophy jargon, Paul’s teaching is about Christian epistemology, Christian ontology/metaphysics and Christian ethics.
We are told the Father has grabbed the saints out of the kingdom of darkness, and then put them into the kingdom of the Son of His love (v.13). And so, this Christology that follows (v.14-19) is told to us (Revealer, Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer) to expound on the greatness of the SON we have been grafted into. Lastly, (or ethically) this is done to encourage faith in understanding all the implications for what it means to be transferred into this Kingdom of love. That is, having faith to turn away from thinking like the old kingdom of fear, to receiving all the positive benefits that come from being part of God’s kingdom of love.
This entire book is structured in a simple type of philosophy/worldview argument. It is organized by contrasting the Christian (1) first principle, (2) metaphysics and (3) ethics, with the world’s (1) first principles, (2) metaphysics and (3) ethics. Paul shows the vast superiority of the Christian system.
3…hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
4 I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive arguments…
8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.
[Epistemology & doctrines from it]
9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10 and in Him you have been made complete.
13… He made you alive together with Him [NASB]
Some English translations say “elemental spirits/powers,” which is an unjustified translation. It is correct, the term “angels” is used briefly in chapter 2; however, it is not the main context of Paul’s preaching, and more so, it is not the immediate context of the verse itself. Many instruct others to read in context, but few do it. The question is about the context of Paul’s preaching. This “context” of Paul is about “ultimate questions” over and over, both in general and immediacy of the verse. Also, the first rule to reading comprehension is to read the words in question. I feel odd saying that, but it must be said.
The NASB has a more literal and helpful translation. What does “foundational principles” mean? It is like a starting principle of the law of contradiction for logic, or that a square is a plane figure, of equal sides and with 4 right angles of 90 degrees in geometry. From these starting points, the rest of the system deduces, or proceeds forward.
Look at the verses. In verse 3 the context is about epistemology. Paul literally says that “all” knowledge is in God and Christ. Not only is God’s revelation our first principle for knowledge, it is our sole epistemology. This becomes clearer in that Paul later rejects human starting points, and that the bible rejects all other first principles of knowledge as failures, including empiricism. Next, the context is about not being deceived by “persuasive arguments.” It is not about being deceived by elemental fire spirits or being possessed by them. It is about propositional “ARGUMENTS.” Since Paul himself is giving persuasive arguments to have faith in Jesus Christ, he is not saying every type of arguments are bad. He is addressing ultimate questions, which is what Philosophy is, and so, Paul is not against philosophy in general, for then Paul would have to be against preaching that Christ is the ultimate source of knowledge, ultimate point for all creation, and salvation. In verse 8 we are given more clarification to what these bad types of persuasive arguments are. They are based from “tradition of MEN.” These bad philosophies do not start with Christ’s revelation for knowledge; rather, they begin with “human” starting points for knowledge. This is where these badly answered ultimate questions (and their arguments), tripped up and became defective from the start.
In context of truth, when someone says, “I observed,” or “in my experience,” we know their thinking is malfunctioning, is rebellious and human from the start.
This point was mentioned before but it bears repeating. Paul says some similar points to the Corinthians in chapter 2. Paul says he gave them a deductive argument about Christ they could not refute (2:4). Paul starts by saying he did not convince them by persuasive wisdom, and then a few verses later calls this term, “human wisdom,” (2:13). Earlier Paul says that the “world through its wisdom did not come to know God (1:21 NKJV).” The world’s wisdom starts with man; it is man “starting” with “his” sensations, observations and superstitions conclusions. Man’s epistemology is empiricism and his logic is inductive (thus, fallacious). Thus, man starting with himself fails to understand reality, “through its wisdom did not know God.” Their starting points are malfunctioned, and their arguments unsound. They stupidly attempt to make up for this glaring impotence by flowery speech, or by pious, self-debasing speech. “I am the worst of sinners,” “God thoughts are not mine,” “God’s ways are not mine,” (etc). This is all the persuasion they have left. All they can do is exalt in their smooth words, or exalt in how self-debasing they can sound.
And so, in this immediate context of not getting knowledge from Christ, but from men’s speculations, we are given the term, “rudimentary principles.” Therefore, if we are to judge without bias, the context is about “human” traditions that came from “human” starting points. In philosophy jargon this is called “empiricism,” and the Socratic method.
Furthermore, to this “rudimentary principles,” is sandwiched between Christ philosophy, because proceeding next is about “Christian ontology.” All power dwells in Christ (2:9). And believers are made complete by Christ’s power in them. Next is soteriology in verses 10-13. And so, in the middle of Paul talking about Ultimate Questions of epistemology, going into metaphysics and then ending into soteriology, and then later into ethics (2:20-23) we get this term, “elemental principles.” And this term about starting points is directly in context of talking about starting points for knowledge, and the doctrines inferred from them. Why some people rip this out of direct and immediate context to mean “spiritual powers,” is beyond me.
The point about worshiping angels (i.e. you “ought’ to do this) is about bad ethics produced from “human” starting points. This is solved by the Christian philosophy. When one starts with the Christian starting point of Christ’s revelation and the doctrines of ethics produced, then all these superstitious ethics go away. Recall the immediate context of verse 3. It says all knowledge is from the Father and Son. So, here is a question. Where does the “worship of angels” deduce from? Obviously, in Christian revelation there is no such knowledge revealed from the Father or Christ. The scripture does not reveal this knowledge. Therefore, we know such an ethical doctrine/tradition did not come from the Christian first principle of knowledge or deduced from it. This superstitious ethic started with empiricism. They probably had some reasoning like: (1) God is from Heaven. (2) All angels are from Heaven. (3) Thus, man should worship angels.” Or some other inductive nonsense. See Psalm 50 how man by their inductive reasoning thought God needed food, because man needed food. Stupid!! All inductive logic is a non-sequitur.
When it comes to logic, starting bad will cause you to end bad in a philosophy system. Take for example the first principle of a square. If you said the first principle for a square was that it was “a 7 figure plane, with 7 uneven lengths, and 7 angles of various degrees,” then no amount of time will help you end up with a correct conclusion for what a square is. One might end up in the conclusion correct on an accident, or because they did not follow their own system correctly, but then they would have no logical warrant to accept their conclusion. They would end up in skepticism, but skepticism denies the law of contradiction. Contradictions have no ontology; that is, they are implausible with existence. If you leave the Christian starting point for knowledge, you will always be wrong and irrational, and no amount of time or progress will help.
The big idea. If you desire to have correct ethics and doctrines (who to worship), then you must have a first principle of knowledge that gives truth, that gives truth for all of life, and is self-authenticating.
Paul’s point is this: if the rudimentary point of your Christian worldview reveals that Christ alone has saved you and brought you to God, then why are you walking in ethical dogmatics and “regulations” produced from a human rudimentary starting point? Paul is showing us how to be consistent in applying the Christian philosophy. God has revealed all things regarding man believing in Jesus Christ and obeying Him. It is a complete revelation for man to know and walk after God, until the restoration of all things in Christ’s second coming. Therefore, it would be a glitch and wickedness for the Christian to find their first principle in the Bible, to then look to man’s speculation for ethics. With the premises from the Scripture (and with proper deduction) the Christian knows all they need to know how to fully please Christ in faith, following Him in all ethics and religious practice.
The world has its “first principles” (v 2:8, 20) and from this starting point of knowledge the world also has its speculations about metaphysics, ethics and doctrines for religious practice. Verse 22 terms this as the “doctrines of man” or “traditions.” From their human first principles, men manufacture their own doctrines concerning how man obeys God. This is contrasted to Christ who is our superior first principle (1:15, 27; 2:3); Christ who is our superior metaphysics and ontology (1:16, 27; 2:10, 19; 3:3-4); and Christ who is our superior ethics and practice (chapter 3-4). For the Christian to turn to the left or right from this, would be harmful and absurd.
Robert Reymond, who gets some things correct in his systematic theology book, exposes his incompetence on this point of the Necessity of Scripture.
It is important that we clearly see that the Confession grounds its doctrine of the necessity of Scripture in two antecedent conditions that obtain at the present time, namely, (1) the insufficiency of general revelation, and (2) the cessation of special revelation. If general revelation is insufficient to provide that knowledge of God and of his will that is essential to salvation, and if special revelation has ceased, then one must go to Scripture if he would learn those things which are “necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation” (I/vii). Moreover, it must be noted that to the degree that one believes that God still speaks directly to men and women today through prophets and glossolalists, just to that same degree he is saying that he does not absolutely need the Bible for a word from God, and accordingly he has abandoned the great Reformation principle of sola Scriptura.
Point 1 is correct, as has already been addressed. Point two is false.
First, there is nothing in the Scripture that says such a thing. This will be addressed more in the ethics section. Second, his own argument does not logically follow. That is, Reymond, who has read Gordon Clark, and who knows the importance of logic, misses it here. His conclusion has more information than what the scriptural premises say. There is no logical necessary connection from the antecedent to the consequent. There is nothing necessary about saying, “if one still believes in prophecies (like in N.T.), then they do not absolutely need the Bible.” He has no scripture to support his claim, and no sound argument. Part of the problem is the ambiguity of the phrase “need the bible.” If it is meant having the Bible as a starting point of knowledge and making deductions from it, then what if one deduces the command to eagerly seek the gift of prophecy? There is no command to stop seeking it.
Also, Paul makes a remarkable comment about the sufficiency of the Bible to Timothy, which the cessationist use, but use to their own damnation. Vincent was the first to bring this to my attention. He writes,
The cessationist argument is based on the sufficiency of Scripture. You claim that a sufficient Bible should render prophecy unnecessary, and if a prophecy only repeats or applies what the Bible says, then it is not prophecy in the biblical sense, but only a reminder of what the Bible says. This is a familiar argument, and therefore I will not repeat all the details. You mention that the Bible says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). This is a significant passage for the doctrine, but your inference is false.
Paul was speaking to Timothy, not to you. Of course, it applies to all of us by extension. The principle applies to all of Scripture and anything that is Scripture, so it is correct to affirm it for our Christian Bible. However, Paul referred to whatever “Scripture” that Timothy had. You cannot make this identical to what you have now — you have more. You mention that Second Timothy is considered one of the later New Testament documents, but this is irrelevant. To use Paul’s statement this way in order to make the “Scripture” in this verse identical to the complete Christian Bible, this must not only be the final document, but it must be the final sentence in Scripture. Moreover, for the “Scripture” in this verse to be identical to what we have, Timothy must have had access to the Christian Bible in its complete form. Unless this was the case, it would be irrelevant even if this is the final sentence of the final document in the Bible. Timothy at least did not have access to Second Timothy while Paul was writing it! In fact, it is likely that Paul had in mind only what Timothy could access in his infancy, since the verse before says, “From infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).
My point is that the Scripture was already sufficient way before 2 Timothy 3:16-17, but since it was not finished, God continued to write. This is why the sufficiency and the finality of Scripture are two different doctrines. The Christian Bible is not only sufficient to equip us for every good work, but it is more than sufficient for this. Scripture was sufficient before it was complete. If the cessationist uses the sufficiency of Scripture to undermine the continuation of prophecy, he must first use the sufficiency of Scripture to undermine all the Scripture that was produced after Timothy’s infancy — this would include Second Timothy itself. Therefore, to use the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture against the continuation of prophecy is first a repudiation of Scripture. Before any debate about the continuation of anything, the argument would first prevent both the completion and the collection of Scripture. When you do that, from the Christian perspective, you are finished. It is over for you. You are anti-gospel. You are the counter-Christian heretic. Save yourself before you pretend to be a theologian and criticize other people…
The cessationist makes at least three attacks against Scripture in this one argument that supposedly defends Scripture. First, contrary to the Bible’s own claim, he declares that the Bible was never sufficient until completion. Second, because the Bible indeed declares itself sufficient before completion, but the cessationist claims that anything that is beyond sufficient is unnecessary, and not in the same class as biblical prophecy, he declares that all portions of Scripture produced after what Timothy had in his infancy are unnecessary and uninspired. Third, because he claims that prophecy that repeats the information contained in Scripture as in a different or lower class than the prophecy of Scripture, or even not prophecy at all, he declares that all portions of Scripture that repeat the words or ideas that were already contained in previous portions of Scripture are unnecessary and uninspired. Any one of these offenses, if made clear to a cessationist, and if he refuses to repent, is a sufficient basis for excommunication.
Thus, there is no logical connection of the sufficiency of the Scripture and prophecy ceasing. There is however, a logical connection of using the sufficiency of Scripture to undermine prophecy, to undermining the entire New Testament.
Oddly, Reymond mentions the WCF, and how it refers to knowledge is what the Bible reveals and what is deduced from it. On this point Reymond and the WCF is correct, as this section has shown both are taught by the Bible itself. If only they would do it. Paul says in Timothy the Scripture is sufficient for teaching in “righteousness.” Well? What does the Scripture command us to do, in order to live a righteous life before God? There is the painfully obvious exhortation in 1 Corinthians 12-14 about seeking the gifts of the Spirit. However, since the “gifts” is in fact a minority type in the Scripture, in which such things as prophecy operate, let us look to the majority type. Jesus, and the New Testament letters put emphasis on “faith,” and the “baptism of the Spirit.” Peter brings up Joel’s prophecy. Joel puts the powers of the Spirit and forgiveness of sins together. Peter continues what Joel says by keeping them together. In fact, Peter puts it into context of the doctrine of God’s sovereign predestination. The crowd asks, “what should we do”? Peter says they ought to repent, “SO THAT,” God might pour out the Spirit upon them. In context, this pouring out of the Spirit is directly about power, not about ethics.
Paul in Acts 13 is often quoted, showing God predestines in context of believing for salvation. “And when the Gentiles heard this, they began to rejoice* and to glorify the word of the Lord. And all those who were designated for eternal life believed,” (Acts 13:48 (LEB). However, Peter is referring to predestination in context of the baptism of the Spirit. Peter says, if God has predestined you, then you will receive the promise of God Spirit. This exposes the obvious point that cessationist do not have the Spirit. To cover up the fact God has not Elected them for such a good thing, they conspire with devils to kill off the Spirit and His gift, and/or to make fun of those who do as crazys. Furthermore, they invent long creeds, traditions and histories to mask over this issue. Then they build towers and scholastic powers. From these factories of unbelief and perversion they manufacture those who agree with them. They appraise and congratulate one another. They have their reward. They will both fight against God and men, if they do not have to admit they have the sin of unbelief.
At any rate, most of the time, the majority type for such power, is faith. Jesus commands us to ask and receive anything we want (John ch 14-16).
Vincent first made me think carefully about predestination and fruit bearing as normal discipleship to Jesus Christ, in his essay, Predestination and Miracles.
God will give me whatever I ask. I will have whatever I ask. What I ask, I get. And I am predestined for this. So I am chosen to get whatever I ask. I am predestined to get whatever I ask. It is my foreordained destiny to receive whatever I ask God in the name of Jesus. If you have never heard this, then you have never heard the Bible’s doctrine of predestination, you have never heard the Bible’s doctrine of prayer, you have never heard the Bible’s doctrine of the name of Jesus, and you have never heard the Bible’s doctrine of discipleship. Just several verses earlier, Jesus said, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (15:7-8). Getting whatever we ask from God is intertwined throughout his discourse with the notions of bearing fruit, being his disciples, and loving one another. Thus getting whatever we ask from God is as pervasive as the gospel itself. It cannot be taken out and thrown away without tearing apart the entire gospel, and thus also our salvation. Here bearing fruit is almost the same thing as getting whatever we ask from God, and by getting what we ask from God, we show ourselves to be true disciples of Christ.
Tradition teaches that we show ourselves to be disciples when we demonstrate how well we put up with God when he does not answer our prayers. Historic unbelief suggests that we show ourselves to be disciples when we keep our word of allegiance to him more than he keeps his word of blessing to us! That is supposed to be good fruit. That is supposed to be true discipleship. But Jesus said that we show ourselves to be his true disciples when we abide in him, have his words abide in us, and then ask for whatever we wish, and receive whatever we ask from God. Look, are we disciples or not? If we are disciples, then we should let the master define what it means to be disciples. People say that we show that we are disciples by remaining faithful when we do not get what we want from God – when he disappoints us and appears to break his promises. But Jesus said that we show that we are disciples by asking for what we want and getting what we want. Decide. Accept what Jesus said and be a Christian, or reject what Jesus said and walk out the door.
Jesus puts an emphasis on doing greater miracles than He did (John 14:12-14). In the next chapter (15), Jesus says this asking and receiving anything by faith, is discipleship fruit. Jesus also in this same context says, if you are unfruitful, you will dry up and be thrown into hell. Later in chapter 15 Jesus makes a necessary connection of answers to prayer (discipleship) to God’s predestination. “Appointed to bear much fruit.”
The Big idea, is that answers to prayers (and in context this is greater miracles than what Jesus did: healing, prophecy, resurrection), is normal discipleship to Jesus, and has no necessary or logical connection to the “gifts of the Spirit.” It is NOT the gifts of the Spirit doing the greater miracles here, it is normal, everyday faith and discipleship to Jesus. And this Jesus puts this as normal disciple level, then it is to been done continually. Thus, the manifestations of healings, prophecy and such, is NOT done by the gifts, but by normal faith and normal discipleship to Jesus. In other words, the same discipleship faith you use to know your sins are forgiven and forgotten everyday, is the same faith you use to produce daily answered prayers. This is not to minimize the “gifts,” for the command still stands to earnestly seek the gifts. However, basic faith in God is the majority type that Jesus highlights for producing the miraculous and causing the power of God to manifest. For this reason, Vincent in more than one place points out the obvious logical fallacy cessationist commit, when they attack the “gifts of the Spirit.” He says to this that cessationist are “pointless,” because even if the “gifts” have “ceased,” yet everyday discipleship faith is still able to produce all that the gifts do. Cessationism as a whole therefore, is one gigantic informal fallacy of non-relevance. They are indeed intellectually, pointless people.
There is also a problem where some super pious people will try to attack what has been said here as “biblicism.” They attack the idea that one is able to use the Bible as their “sole” epistemology and make deductions; rather, they assert one needs to add to this, a submission to the church history and in particular the creeds. In other words, we cannot ‘only’ use the bible and deductions from it to understand it, for they assert we must submit to also using the creeds. This is what some mean by “sola scriptura.” This is deceptive, for instead of meaning only Scripture as our first principle, they mean scripture is not our Sole epistemology. At least they admit up front, that they do not believe the Bible.
Logically speaking any use of history is a fallacy of induction, and would thus result in skepticism at the epistemology. But again, skepticism deny the law of noncontradiction; but a contradiction in ontologically implausibly with reality. The end result is that any appeal outside of the Bible, to men and history, would be an appeal to logical fallacies. This will be given more attention in the section, Logic.
The WCF says all creeds have errored (which would logically include itself). Thus, if the creeds are used in any sort of a dual epistemology with Scripture, it would result in epistemology skepticism. However, let us move on from this to consider the contradiction in their thinking. How did the writers of the creeds formulate doctrine? If they only used the Bible and deductions from it, then they would be guilty of the “biblicism” they accuse others of. If they admit they mixed in a human starting point (similar to how the Pope is a dual epistemology to the Scripture, or to Paul’s comments of human wisdom to the Colossians and Corinthians) then they are guilty of a dual epistemology. They would be guilty of a “theology of man.”
Some resort to saying superstitious things like, “God ordained/predestined these creed writers hundreds of years later to write creeds that we all must submit to.” Yet, the crucial issue again is that pesky Revelation from God. Did God reveal that men hundreds of years later, after its completion, would be predestined by God to write creeds, that the church must submit to it? If so, then where does the bible say it? The bible does talk about having teachers and prophets to help instruct the Church, but it also says there will be false teachers. What does the bible say we ought to do, to know the difference? Does it say men were predestined 1500 years later to write a creed? Where? God predestined the Pope to a place of power, and write formal theology and predestined many to follow them, yet does that mean we can use induction and history to say; “therefore what the Pope says is correct?” Or, does it say we are to compare what teachers say to the scripture and see if what they say, is what God says, or if it is this “human wisdom” Paul warns us against? Since the Bible does not reveal predestined Popes, devils, or creed writers for the church to submit to, then there remain two options. Either these creed writers Solely used the Scripture as an epistemology and made deductions, or they added an additional human epistemology. If it was the first, then we are able to do the same. If the second, then we know from the get-go they are nothing more than a boring rehashed version of the Pope. Since this is not in the Bible, then they admit to adding a human starting point of knowledge. Plus Ultra Stupid!!
Remember Paul in Corinthians 1, puts both the secular Greeks, seeking truth in their philosophies, and the religious Jewish, seeking a sign, as both in the category of “human wisdom.” The presuppositional level of human wisdom is a human starting point. It is empiricist, sensual, and its methods are inductive rehashed types of the Socratic method. Thus, despite the deeply religious sounding words the Jews used, they were nothing more than empiricist sluts, disguised as spiritual people. They sought signs, not because the Scripture told them to do it this way, but because from what “they” observed and what they calculated, they decided this. The kingdom-of-self ruled, not the Kingdom-of-God. They were empiricists, that used induction to formulate a religious truth. These voodoo practitioners use God’s causality seen in the world, to inductively formulate from man’s observations truth claims. Again, like the Socratic method, with the exception that it is clothed in religious sophistry to deceive people in thinking it is biblical. This has similarities to demonic divination as well. What we “ought” (ethics) to do is based from God’s commands, and not divinations from ontology. In other words, whether it be secular philosophies with epistemologies of rationalism, or empiricism and fallacious methods such as science, or whether it be religious people using their inductive observations, Paul throws them all into the trash heap of human wisdom. A human starting point and human induction divorced them from understanding God and reality.
The Reformed and their appeal to the creeds are part of this same type of wicked game. They say all the creeds have error, and only what is deducted from the Bible is to be affirmed as truth; however, they deny it in application. They make themselves such easy targets to attack, because they claim to be so educated and biblical, and the crazys on TBN as not making deductions from Scripture correctly. Yet, if you were to add up all the deductions from Scripture the Reformed make versus the health and wealth preachers make, the Reformed would have a lower overall score. This score would be heavily impacted by their cessationism, because it deals with application of everyday ethics, in many areas. They get a few deductions about imputed righteousness correct, but blindly assume the rest of their doctrines are as good. Their doctrine of cessationism, is not a deduced doctrine, but a human starting, a human observation and inductive superstition. These perverts, in the open daylight, hump on empiricism, and then march back into church to say with a sweaty face, “sola scriptura.” In the end, it is always a human starting point vs God’s revelation, on the presuppositional level. Traditionalist, Pope’s, David Hume and non-faith people prefer “human” starting points, over God’s starting point of scripture. But “in their wisdom, they did NOT know God.” Do not let people who do not know God, to teach you about Him.
To summarize: Human starting points fail to produce any knowledge (more on this in the section, Defective starting points). Innate knowledge (general revelation) is only enough to condemn. Thus, the Scripture is necessary for man to have a justified starting point of knowledge, so that man can deduce truths about God, the world, himself, and the way to salvation. And lastly, it is often those in the Church, who claim to be consistent to this standard, that are often the most perverted with it.
The doctrine of self-existence is part of the section on epistemology to point out the obvious that “truth is self-existence.”
Because many are accustomed to being irrational and empiricist in how they view ultimate questions, they think metaphysics starts with creation but invisible things such as truth and propositions, and/or discovering these immaterial things, came after the material world. However, reality is the opposite. The immaterial or invisible was first and creation/material was later. In fact, the material was produced by the immaterial
“For just as the Father has life in himself,
thus also he has granted to the Son to have life in himself,”
(John 5:26 (LEB).
The Father as life in Himself and so does the Son. Jesus says this in contrast to speaking to created man, who does not have life in themselves. Jesus says that the Father has life in Himself, and not that the Father created life in Himself. Therefore, God is said to have “always existed,” rather than the fallacy of “self-creation.”
Scripture says God holds all creation (or non-God) into being by His power. “[Jesus] is …sustaining all things by the word of power.” (Hebrews 1:3 (LEB) (see also Colossians 1:17). This is a straightforward “all” category proposition. That is, all things not-God, are upheld in reality by God’s force. There is no where in Scripture that contradicts this all statement. The few that I have seen brought up are usually passages that do not have clear context of dealing with ultimate level ontology, and thus, no deduction about ultimate level ontology can be made. And/or the passages are dealing with relative level ontology, and thus again, no statement can be said about ultimate level ontology. The first lesson to learn in logic or critical thinking skills, is have clearly defined terms. Once this super basic step is taken, many issues get answered before any arguments are even made. Since man is the pinnacle creation, it is worth asking, “does God uphold man into reality?” This is already answer from Heb. 1:3; however, it could be asked and answered in this helpful way. If man is the pinnacle of creation, then if God does this for man, how much more for the rest of creation? Paul addressing the Greeks in Acts 17 says that in God man and all things live move and exist in God. And so, man does not have self-existence, nor does any other created thing. “For in him we live and move and exist,” (Acts 17:28 (LEB).
As said at the beginning of this section, God is Spirit, Power and Intellectual. Also, God’s self-existence has always been spiritual (invisible), powerful, and intellectual. God did not discover truth. Truth has always been self-existence. Truth created all things. All things are upheld by the Truth. There is no falsehood in the Truth, and so this self-existing Truth is always right, and never wrong. It is for the very reason that “All Things” is produced (and upheld) by His intellectual force, that God knows all things about “All Things.”
Timelessness / Immutability:
“Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
who lives from everlasting to everlasting,”
Psalm 41:13 NLT
“there he worshiped the Lord, the Eternal God
Genesis 21:33 NLT
“Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you will endure.
And like a garment they will all wear out,
you will replace them like clothing, and they will be set aside.
But you are the same, and your years do not end,”
(Psalm 102:25–27 LEB).
God is timeless; He exists in an “eternal state.” What does that mean?
God is Spirit, Power and intellectual. What is timeless is truth.
Time is a measure of change. Without any change, in any degree, there is nothing to measure, and if there is nothing to measure, then the concept of time is meaningless and nonsense. Time has no logical relevance without change.
Thus, all material existence is automatically ruled out in being attributed with timelessness, because all material things change. Even invisible things like the mind of man, changes as man learns new things; however, we will focus on the issue that matter is not timeless.
Vincent Cheung commenting on this says,
Matter cannot be eternal, in the sense of being timeless, for there is no before and after with that which is timeless. And if there is no before and after with matter, then it would be impossible for it to be one way before and another way after. Therefore, if matter changes at all, it cannot be eternal. And matter could not have existed forever, for if matter is bound to time but has existed forever, then it would have an infinite past. But if it has an infinite past, it could never have reached the present. If it has reached the present, the past cannot be infinite. Therefore, matter is not eternal, but bound to time, and it originated at some point in time.
God is uncreated. He is eternal, timeless, and immutable. And he created the universe out of nothing, that is, without the use of any existing materials, since there were no existing materials when he created. All linguistic and historical arguments that attempt to suggest an opposing view must be wrong. In fact, these kinds of arguments are irrelevant unless the logical arguments based on the very ideas of matter and creation are demonstrated to be inconclusive.
To further explain this. By this we know that any naturalistic or evolutionary claim that matter has “always existed” is bottom of the barrel stupid. To always exist with change, would mean an “infinite” chronological measurable time/distance. Another way to say infinite in regard to time or distance, would be “an unreachable distance.” If it is reachable, then it is not infinite. Matter’s history of change is not an unreachable distance, if the distance to the past is reachable. Evolution teaches matter has always been here; they say this because if it was not, then either matter was created, or “self-created,” which is a contradiction. Either is not acceptable for evolution. Thus, since timeless is out of the question, they make matter eternal. However, that is a contradiction, and as shown before, a contradiction does not exist in the mind or in reality. To say matter has an “unreachable” distance going into the past, yet, we have “reached” this “unreachable” distance by being here today, is Plus Ultra Stupid.
God, as the Scripture says, exists from “everlasting to everlasting,” and this is as the “I AM who I AM.” He is also said to be immutable. The IMMUTABILITY of God is stated in various places:
Numbers 23:19 (LEB) “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of humankind, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? And has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?”
Psalm 102:26–27 (LEB) “They will perish, but you will endure. And like a garment they will all wear out, you will replace them like clothing, and they will be set aside. But you are the same, and your years do not end.”
James 1:16–17 (LEB) “Do not be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of change.”
And so, the I AM who I AM, has always been that way, and will forever be that way. Thus, God’s existence is not eternal properties that might change; rather, God’s existence is an eternal, unchanging state. For this reason, “emotions,” are not part of the Divine Nature, which gives us the doctrine of the IMPASSIBILITY of God. Emotions change, but God does not change. God is timeless; yet, emotions by definition are measurable, and thus, are not timeless.
At the very least, God cannot have “passions,” which is more directly related to the changeableness of emotions. If God did have passionless emotions, with perfect control, so that there is no, ups or downs, then at the very last God’s emotions are not like mans. Thus, it would be an inductive categorical mistake for man to think because our emotions are like this, then God’s are. Thus, anytime the Bible mentions God having passions (mutable emotions), then it is God using language that is relatable to us, not meant to convey that God is actual mutable. The same is when the Bible says something like, “He sees us with His eyes”; God has no physical eye. What it means is that God knows all that we are doing.
Therefore, what is timeless is God’s mind, or what is timeless is God’s powerful thoughts about all things. There is nothing to measure in God’s eternal state, because there is no change. Thus, God’s thoughts are not learned. God’s thoughts are not in a linear progression like man is with his limitations. God has always self-existed as intuitively knowing all things in “one thought” (i.e. “eternal unchanging state”), without progression. God did not have to wait to create, to see (although this is wrong because God does not have eyes) images to associate certain thoughts with things to know them better. God has always known that He would create. Included in God’s thoughts about all things, as an intuitive and never changing thought, was creation. This is why after creation, God does not change. This is why God is not different between the Old Testament or the New Testament. The eternal state of God’s intuitive thought about all things, has not changed.
God is also said to be perfect. And thus, for God to change is not only a denial of His timelessness and immutability, but it would be a change for the worse; it would be to liberate from perfection; it would make Him less valuable; it would be a serious downgrade. If you have been following what has been said about God’s nature, for God to change it would mean God would have to exchange a truth for a lie. This is an impossibility.
If all this is so about God’s mind, knowledge and immutability, then does God think in order, at all? This leads us to our next point.
Deductive or Orderly Thinking of God:
The big idea is that although God knows all things as an intuitive thought, God still has a rational order to His timeless “thought.” This can lead some to have ignorant irrational ideas about God’s thinking, as if God has no order or perspective of order or time. Reymond says,
“…it is a non sequitur to conclude from the fact of God’s omniscience that God has no idea of succession, that is, that relative to his own existence he has no knowledge of a past, present, and future applicable to his own existence. This is to confuse the notion of the succession of ideas, which is surely not true of God if one means by this notion that God learns new facts, with the notion of the idea of succession which I submit God surely has.”
Vincent in an email said this to me about this subject.
“…someone said that I was wrong, since God does not perform deduction, but only direct intuition. In other contexts, I myself have taught that God knows all things directly but the focus here is induction vs. deduction in the context of theology. The person nitpicked at me because he wanted to sound clever and throw himself into the discussion. You know how people are. But it showed that he really didn’t know what deduction is. Would he say the same thing about a discussion on the order of the eternal decrees? When we talk about that, we sometimes qualify it by reminding people that the order is a logical order, not a chronological one, since there is no process of reasoning in God, as if he does not have in mind premise #3 when he is still on premise #1. No, he is directly aware of all premises at the same time, but it remains that he is aware of them, and of the logical relationships between premises. But whether we remind people of this or not, it is always assumed. This person did not understand deduction so he thought he had room to show off his knowledge. So I added this in case other people failed to assume the obvious. I was surprised, in fact, since it was so basic.
Deduction always produces correct conclusions, because the conclusions never produce information not already in the premises. Deduction is more like an application of knowledge, unlike induction, which is a fallacious attempt at arriving at more knowledge. So when applied to God in this context, deduction is the same as his intuition. Using the same example, when we talk about the eternal decrees, we are talking about God’s deduction. But if we, like the person who complained, cannot even talk about God in terms of deduction, then we cannot even discuss the topic of the eternal decrees, because it would all be just one “thing.” Take it to the extreme, we cannot even talk about God thinking, speaking, acting, or anything about God. Everything would just be one eternal “thing” in God’s mind. But of course we can talk about God’s deduction, thinking, speaking, acting, his before and after, and all that, just like the way he talks about himself. Several times I have pointed out that some Christians, after learning a little, makes what little they know the whole thing, and then try to police everyone else with it, including their expressions. Many Calvinists are like that. They become trapped in their own personal terminologies. It happens when they talk about justification, predestination, and many other things. This is a sign of ignorance, not knowledge or orthodoxy.”
And so, the immutability of God does not conclude there is no logic or order to God’s mind; rather, it means the logical order of God’s mind was not chronological in time, but always known intuitively as one thought. Vincent mentioned, the decrees of God. God ordered the history of the world, before it was created. But this ordering has always self-existed with God as one intuitive thought. For man, who is not timeless and has a limited amount of thoughts they can think in any given moment, needs time and a progression of thoughts to see this ordering. This will be discussed more later, but the same is for logic and God. Because God has already known all things, it means any thought applied to creation is a deduction for God, because it is merely pinpointing specific information that was part of God’s timeless intuitive thought. For God, any specific thought about creation, does not add more information to His conclusion. Consider this with Jesus. Starting with Jesus’ divine mind before creation and His timeless eternal intuitive thought about all things, then go down to the incarnated Jesus who limited His mind (but the Divine Mind did not stop or change); any thought He had is still just a deduction from His timeless intuitive thought about all things (even what He would think and say as the incarnated Jesus).
Divine Dictation of Scripture:
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
[God is not] 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, … in him we live and move and exist. Acts 17:25–28 (LEB)
As said before God is the foundation for theology not man. Recall an earlier comment about how the doctrine of God’s absolute sovereignty automatically ruled out many implications for a doctrine of knowledge. The same goes for here. Whatever the doctrine is regarding how God revealed His Scripture through and to man, it is in context of God’s absolute and direct sovereign control over all existence and causality (as everything else is). Thus, any doctrine put forward about the revealing of the Scripture that contradicts “God,” is to be mocked. For unrepentant Christians who espouse such, they are to be excommunicated. As said in the beginning of this section on epistemology, the doctrine of knowledge affects every other ultimate question. Thus, this is one doctrine, in particular, where no compromise can be made. Resistance must be confronted with the same harsh rebukes Jesus gave, such as name-calling, referring to human beings as sub-human, referring to humans as stupid vile animals, referring their heritage to Satan, and condemning them to hell. Do not forget that Jesus said these things, as a “man” born “under the law”; this law commanded Jesus to love His neighbor as Himself.
“The ESV makes the meaning clear: “All Scripture is breathed out by God.” He did not produce the Bible by merely stimulating the minds of the writers or by suggesting ideas to them. He did it by direct causation. You say, “Certainly this cannot be, since human authors were the ones who wrote down the words.” But God is not a man – he does not write out only words on paper, but also entire planets and galaxies. No, he “wrote” out the human authors themselves by his creation and providence, and then he directly caused the human authors to write out what he wanted them to write. This does not mean that he suspended their consciousness. His control was much more extensive than that – he “wrote” out their very thoughts and personalities. Peter tells us that the prophets “spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21).”
Vincent niftily sums this up as “God did not find the right people to write Scripture, but he created the right people to write it, and then he caused them to write it.” This is simply doing deduction 101 with God’s sovereignty, and applying it to the writing of Scripture. If God directly causes all things, then God causes x, y, and z. Or, If God decrees and causes all things, then God decreed and caused the Scripture to be written as He wanted it. Since God wanted it to be a perfect (without any false statement Psalm 119:160) revelation of Himself, then God caused it to be so. “Well,” you might ask, “what about the human element?” What about it? The human element is no less under God’s direct control than any other part of creation. God created the right world, for His predetermined purposes. God created the right ethic groups. God created the right cities. God created the right culture. God created the right person, in the right family, in the right time. God then directly created the thoughts in the man (as God caused light to shine out of darkness), and then directly caused the man to write down those thoughts He put in his mind. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4 that the knowledge of Jesus Christ is put into the Christian’s mind as sovereignly as God created light out of darkness. That is referring to “out-of-nothing,” power and direct causality. If this this so, for God’s children reading the Scripture, then how much more for those who wrote it?
Some complaint this makes man a puppet. However, how many things does a man “control” in puppet. Whether it is a hand puppet, or one on strings, there is at most several things a person has “control” over the puppet. Yet, if we are to calculate all things God controls directly about us and relating to us, then what? Thousands? Millions? Trillions of things about us? The issue is that to ascribe God controlling us like puppets or computers, is to steal from God the true scope and depth of His sovereignty. It is far too small to describe it. God controls not only things like where we were born and physical things like our hair, but He also controls all spiritual and invisible forces as well: including all minds and thoughts. We will deal with the idea of responsibility and so-called free will later.
In any event, Peter said the prophets wanted to know more about the Christ, that they prophesied about. Thus, these writers did not fully know what they were writing. So what? God is the foundation of theology, not man. God knew the man He was writing, and He knew the Scripture He was breathing out of the man.
The Authority of Scripture:
“For the scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very reason I have raised you up, so that I may demonstrate my power in you, and so that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.””
Romans 9:17 (LEB)
“And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, proclaimed the good news in advance to Abraham: “In you all the nations will be blessed.””
Galatians 3:8 (LEB)
The argument for understanding the scope of the Scriptures’ authority is simple. What is the authority of God? It is absolute. If the Scripture claims to be God, then the Scripture’s authority is equal to God’s. This is in fact what the Scripture claims about itself.
In Galatians 3:8 Scripture is attributed with Divine foreknowledge of God’s personal decrees for reality. This is not just foreknowledge of a leaf that will move, in such a way tomorrow, but foreknowledge of God’s predetermined decrees of salvation. Only God knows such things, but the Scripture knows them. Thus, the Scripture is attributed with exclusive Divine attributes. Also, it was God, or more likely the pre-incarnated Jesus, who said to Abraham, “In you all the nations will be blessed.” Yet, the Scripture exchanged God for itself, in preaching this to Abraham.
Take for example that Jesus said it was not wrong for us to say that we are sons of God because the Scripture calls them “gods,” to whom the old message was given. John 10:34-36, “Jesus replied, “It is written in your own Scriptures that God said to certain leaders of the people, ‘I say, you are gods!’ And you know that the Scriptures cannot be altered. So, if those people who received God’s message were called ‘gods,’ why do you call it blasphemy when I say, ‘I am the Son of God?’” If the message of condemnation made them “gods,” then how much more us who have received the message of Christ to preach it? Also, Paul says we will judge the world, and we will judge angels one day (1 Corinth. 6). One quick note, Jesus says the Scripture cannot be altered or changed. Thus, Jesus branded the Scripture with the divine attribute of immutability. Paul, further says, the past, present, the world and all things have been given to us (1 Corinth. 3:22). Paul, after saying we haven been given God’s Spirit, who along knows God, says we categorically have “the Mind of Christ.” I do not process infinity, or immutability, but in Christ there are many divine attributes given to me. Some divine attributes are exclusive to God, and some that are passed on to my nature, as a child of God. The point of this is to show, that even with all these divine (god like) things true about Oshea, I would not be wicked and delusional and say, “Oshea preached the gospel to Abraham.” I would not interchange myself with God that way. To do so logically is a non-sequitur. It is the inductive argument of analogy. (1, 2, and 3 all have attributes of A, B and C. Thus, if 4 has attributes of A and B, it also has attribute C. This is irrational.) Or in layman’s terms, it is delusional and superstitious.
In Romans 9:17 it again interchanges the Scripture with saying something God said.
Scripture interchanges itself with God. It is not that Scripture is the 4 member of the Godhead; rather, the Scripture is so interchangeable with God, it means for man using the Scripture as our epistemology, it has the same authority as if God appeared before us and gave us a direct command. The Scriptures’ authority is as equal to, as if we stood before the Throne of God and He personally read us the Scripture and says, “obey it.” This is the level of authority the Scripture has. God’s “word” made light come out of nothing and out of the darkness (along with the rest of the universe). God’s word is not only interchangeable with God’s authority, but it is also God’s unstoppable force.
Self-authenticating starting point
Note: The specific argument or apologetic argument I give for Christianity is something I learned from Vincent Cheung. Because this argument includes the teaching on the self-authenticating nature of Scripture, I will use this section to teach both doctrines. There is the positive doctrine that the Scripture teaches about its self-authenticating nature. Then there is a second negative use of this doctrine to be used as an apologetics against thoughts that rise themselves against Christ, and against the people who given them.
Let me quickly give a definition of a positive and negative doctrine. Positive can mean two things, or both at the same time. It means the “direct” teaching of a doctrine. The other is the non-direct version/use, or negative form of a doctrine. For example, injustice is the negation of justice. Justice is the positive doctrine. It directly and logically comes first. Injustice is intelligible, only if justice is understood first. Negative, in this context is the “indirect” meaning. Apologetics is a “indirect” or negative use of “preaching.” Preaching is first about God, and God saving His elect by it. Preaching is formulating doctrines from the Scripture and applying these truths to ourselves. This is preaching in the direct and positive sense. The negative use is to attack(apologetics) those who resist this positive, direct message. In heaven there will be no more reason to use doctrines in this negative use. Who will you use apologetics on?
The quote from Vincent is in the broad context of a negative use of preaching, for it is used against thoughts and people who resist the positive message. However, the argument he gives is itself a positive type. This gives an additional abstract layer to think about, but it is helpful if you can grasp these concepts and understand them.
I will quote Vincent giving this apologetic argument in full context below. For a full book length use of Vincent giving this argument then see, Ultimate Questions.
We will first go over the positive doctrine, then revisit its use in the Christian apologetic argument.
Vincent Cheung’s Argument:
For any true proposition, there is literally an infinite number of possible errors related to it or possible deviations from it. For example, if “1 + 1 = 2” is true, then the possible errors or deviations would include 1 + 1 = 3, 4, 5,…. Therefore, it is impossible to make a specific refutation of every possible error or deviation from the truth. Instead, what we need is a positive claim or argument that excludes all errors or deviations by logical necessity.
If Christianity (the Bible) is true, and this same Christianity declares that all non-Christian claims and worldviews are false, then all non-Christian claims and worldviews are false by logical necessity.
Now, to eliminate all non-Christian claims and worldviews by logical necessity would demand that your positive demonstration be correct by logical necessity. Supposing that we have such an apologetic, the situation would be thus:
Christianity is true by logical necessity.
Christianity excludes all non-Christian views.
Therefore, all non-Christian views are false by logical necessity.
The key is (1) – the rest are easy and automatic. And to attain (1), you will have to read my works on apologetics and learn how to apply the method. I recommend reading Ultimate Questions, Presuppositional Confrontations, and Apologetics in Conversation, among others.
Then, this forces your opponent to interact with the Christian’s positive construction, rather than allowing him to evade the force of your presentation just by throwing mere possibilities at you – since you have destroyed those possibilities, not by specific refutations, but by logical necessity. If you are dealing with a specific non-Christian worldview, you might also perform a refutation of this particular belief system.
So, if we keep the same hypothetical syllogism Vincent used it looks like this:
H.1. “(P) Christianity is true by logical necessity, and (Q)Christianity excludes all non-Christian views, then (R) all non-Christian views are false by logical necessity.
H.2. (P and Q)
H.3. Thus, R.
Because of the conjunction in the antecedent, this would be best for Natural Deduction; however, because a truth table will always demonstrate that extra conjunctions are always valid when used in the Modus Ponens and Modus Tollens structure, we will just keep it as a simple modus ponens syllogism.
Vincent is correct, Q and R would be easy to demonstrate. As has already been shown in our section on epistemology, the Bible says only it is true. And if P and Q are true, then R would necessarily follow. Thus, the point that needs some attention is to show P is indeed taught by the Scripture.
It has already been pointed what self-authenticating means by the example of the law of noncontradiction. To use the LoC to deny the LoC, is in fact to prove it by using it. It is like using air to breathe and then use this air to breathe out (i.e. speak), I do not use air. The solution for such a person is easy. This can be solved by holding their head under water. This is what we do with the Scripture. We hold deniers under Scripture and logic.
“For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification],”
(Romans 1:20 AMPC)
The AMPC translates the Greek word more directly here by saying, “without a defense or justification.” Some other translations will finish this by saying, “before God.” Its base word is our word for apologetics. This Greek word has a few variants. Most translations use the term “without excuse,” which is a necessary consequence, rather than the direct meaning itself. The direct meaning of this term in Romans 1:20 (which is a derivative of ‘apodeixis’ ) is about “not being able to give a rational defense.” The word is where we get our English for “apologetics.” It is how Peter said to give a “defense” (apologetic, a rational defense) for the hope that is in you. It is a negative particle of “apologeomai,” which means to give a positive rational answer or argument. The negative is not being able to give a rational answer. Strong’s Greek says, “379 ἀναπολόγητος [anapologetos…] …. 1 without defense or excuse. 2 that which cannot be defended, inexcusable.” If you are before a judge and cannot rationally defend your actions, then what is the result? And thus, the necessary inference, or indirect meaning is that they are “without excuse” before God. But the direct meaning of the term is giving a rational defense and failing at it, or not being able to give a good justification to a Judge about your actions.
In 1 Corinthians 2:4 Paul says that he makes a deductive argument (apodeixis) from Scripture so that the people’s faith is in God’s word and not man’s sophistry. Some might miss this because of the old translation of the term. The word in most English translations is, “demonstration” in the Spirit. It is incorrect to think this is about supernatural demonstrations by power of the Spirit as in healings and transportations. This word for demonstrate is philosophy jargon for a sound deductive argument. It is not merely a variation of the word Aristotle made popular, but it is the very same word. It is what one is taught in an English Comp class in college (as I was), where there is an Ethos, Pathos and Logos essay. Stanford’s Philosophy encyclopedia, says regarding this word and how Aristotle coined it: “A demonstration (apodeixis) is “a deduction that produces knowledge.”” As the Encyclopedia goes on to explain, Aristotle’s use of “demonstration” is not just a “valid” or deductive argument, but a valid argument with true premises. This is the only way to produce “knowledge in a conclusion.” In modern logic classes (as with the one I took), this type of “demonstration” is called a “sound” argument. A valid argument only means its logical structure is deductive, or that is, the conclusion is necessarily inferred, without added information. A “sound” argument is both valid and has true premises. Aristotle stupidly explained such true premises come from observation and science, which is inductive. This has to be one of the biggest mental blunders in all history, but that is for another time.
The big idea, is that Aristotle’s epistemology is a human starting point, and thus, it is speculative and superstitious. Paul says that the Greeks did not “know” God by their human starting points. Thus, when Paul uses Aristotle’s coined word for a “sound” argument he is purposefully contrasting this concept of where to get “true premises.” It is similar to how John handles the term LOGOS for Jesus, when philosophy’s usage of the term is about the ultimate divine order to all things. John in essence is implying the Greeks attempt was defective and laughable, because Jesus is what it really means to order all reality, by the deduction and predestined purpose of His will. Back to Paul, Paul uses Scripture, over and over in all his letters, and says that it is sufficient for all teaching and correcting. Thus, when Paul made a demonstration to the Corinthians, it means Paul, did not start with Greeks wisdom that uses human observations (or Jewish tradition) and science; rather, Paul started with Scripture and made deductions about Jesus Christ and ethics from this. The result is that the Corinthian’s faith is in “God” and “not man.” The true premises were from “God,” and deduction is “God’s” reasoning. Therefore, on the occasion of leading Paul to make this “sound argument,” the Spirit then led the Corinthians to have faith in God.
Back to Romans, when Paul says man is “without excuse” in Romans 1:20 the word has similar Greek variants in how Aristotle used “apodeixis.” Now, “anapologetos,” is more broadly defined, as not being able to rationally give a defense, when you are questioned. The context is that because God’s knowledge is in the inner man, you cannot stand before God and give an apologetic about how you did not know God, and thus, should not be charged guilty. Put in as a chain hypothetical syllogism, “if (P) you use God’s knowledge to deny why you do not know God’s knowledge, (Q) you have no apologetic for why you suppress God’s knowledge; and if (Q), then (R) you have no excuse.” Or, “If (P) you use air to breathe, then necessarily (Q) you have no apologetic for denying that you don’t breathe.” Or, “If (P) you use the law of noncontradiction to deny it, then (P) you have no apologetic for denying it.”
As said before, innate knowledge is further explained in Romans 2:15, and that this knowledge is sizable. It included, not only categories about God’s power, but of the world, man, logic, math, ethics (etc.). God put all things that are necessary for man to have “intelligence” to know God and reality. Therefore, we learn all things necessarily for intelligence only comes from God’s revelation, and in this instance innate knowledge. We also learned innate knowledge is only enough to condemn and not save. Thus, what we went over concerning the Necessity of Scripture, means we are able to rationally infer all things that are necessary for intelligence, only converge in the Scripture. This is where the idea of “presupposition” comes from regarding the Scripture and how it is like the LoC. Because the doctrine of the necessity of Scripture, one must not merely presuppose “innate knowledge,” but one must also presuppose the “Scripture” when they deny God.
With the example of the LoC, by using it to deny it, it does not rationally yield the information that induction is irrational. Or that is, the LoC’s self-authentication, is narrow in what it is authenticating. You use it; you must use it to deny it; you always use it. To infer negative information from this is inductive and invalid. Or to say it in layman’s terms, it is a positive test. It proves itself, but it does not with its limited use, give information that disprove all others (it does not give a negative use). This is where fatal mistakes have been made in transcendental and TAG type arguments. Such presuppositional arguments do not validly negate the other side. Vincent points out that there are infinite possible ways to get a wrong answer (i.e. “what is 4+4”), or since we are talking about epistemology, then there are an infinite possible wrong starting points for knowledge, even if pragmatically most only use a few. Both Christians and atheist will use these defective TAG arguments. These trash arguments will be reviewed in the next section.
This is why Vincent’s use of the presuppositional aspect is with a conjunction in the antecedent. The extra premise because it comes from scripture, is direct. Not only is there the positive self-authenticating method, but in addition, the Bible gives the information that only it is true and “all” other methods to know God and reality are wrong. First, the scripture says you are using it, and secondly, the Scripture says all others are wrong. Thus, the infinite possible ways to be wrong are eliminated in one logical tactic. Any non-Christian way-of-thinking, is false by logical exclusion. And thus as a whole, because both premises in the antecedent are produced by the Scripture, this apologetic method is a positive and direct, not a negative argument.
A point about why the self-authenticating aspect of the Bible is called a “method” and not the Christian apologetic itself…
Take again the example of the LoC. When I use the example showing a person that when they are denying the LoC they are in fact using it, it is a method to show or point to the LoC. This method is not the LoC itself. This is also why such a proof avoids begging the question, because I did not supply the premise or the LoC, my opponent supplied it the moment one word left their mouth. This is the same with the correct biblical presuppositionless. When the doctrine is applied this way to an individual, it is a method, or an indirect proof/justification.
This is a point Vincent help me to understand in an email exchange, saying,
“…The transcendental “argument” in the context of apologetics is more like a strategy than an argument or a proof. This is because the argument in itself can at best show the necessity of bits and pieces of the Christian faith each time it is used on specific items. But we mean to say that the whole God (not just particular properties, and not just to the extent shown to be necessary) and the whole Scripture (not just a verse here or there) are necessary at all times, and that the whole first principle is ONE, not subject to division and selective affirmation. This does not come from the transcendental argument itself — the argument itself does not yield this conclusion — but it is already assumed as we employ the transcendental strategy. For this reason, the transcendental approach is more like an illustration for what we mean when we say that the whole Christian faith is necessary, just like the law of noncontradiction is an illustration to what we mean when we say that we can “justify” a first principle, but we cannot offer a “proof” or “demonstration” for it.
We believe that the Christian faith is true, that it is the foundation for all thinking and necessary for all thinking, not because of a proof or demonstration, not because of a transcendental argument or many transcendental arguments, and not even because it seems to be necessary, but we believe that the Christian faith is true and necessary because it is God’s revelation. This is what we should say if the Christian faith is indeed God’s revelation. So since God is one, his revelation is one, and not subject to division and selective judgment (one cannot affirm one part and discard another). This is the basis for affirming the whole thing at one time and at the beginning. The transcendental approach can only illustrate the necessity of a part of it at a time, but to say that we need to take up the whole thing because we have illustrated the necessity of a part comes from this other consideration, that we accept any of it and all of it in the first place, because it is God’s revelation. This is why the foundation of Christian apologetics is not the transcendental approach (indirect or negative), but biblical dogmatism or rationalism (direct and positive).
Suppose only Vincent has the key to this car. If you want the key, you will have to ask Vincent. But “Vincent” cannot be divided into a thousand pieces so that a person could deal with only one of these pieces. If you deal with Vincent at all, you deal with the whole person, because Vincent is one person. However, this “whole Vincent” idea does not come from the key itself, or from the fact that you need Vincent to get the key. The fact that only Vincent has the key means that 1) it is useless to ask anyone else, and makes it necessary for you to 2) deal with Vincent and 3) with the whole Vincent, or Vincent as a person.”
To summarize. First. The Scripture teaches, and deduces a doctrine that it(the Scripture) is self-authenticating. As also pointed out, this Scriptural doctrine (Rom 1-2), has a particular(but not only) focus on the necessary things for intelligence. A point to bring up is that the Christian learns the concept of self-authenticating from the Christian starting point, not from somewhere else. The Christian can judge/evaluate if Plato or whoever, is speaking correctly about what self-authenticating means, both in the biggest sense and narrow sense, by comparing it to the Scripture’s doctrine. The Christian does not need history to know about ultimate questions, all they need is to be made wise by God’s revelation.
Second. This self-authenticating aspect can be used as an effective “method” in Scriptural apologetics, when applied correctly.
A quick point about the “ontology of epistemology,” or the “causality of your starting point of Knowledge,” or in biblical terms, “God’s sovereign control over knowledge.” This is a place even famous secular philosophers seem to overlook. I will keep saying this until it becomes part of your thinking. “God.” “God is the foundation of theology.” Without Him, there is no point in doing theology. God’s foundation is His absolute and direct sovereign control over all reality. This foundation takes away all the problems that non-Christians have with their fruitless attempts. They cannot find a rational answer for the ontology of epistemology. David said with God’s strength he can leap over a wall. Yet, God is not only able to leap over a high wall, but He can push right through it, or just teleport on the other side, or just create something from nothing and do whatever He wants. Thus, on one hand God has given the Scripture, which is a public, compete and perfect starting point for knowledge and when studied faithfully the Christian can find answers to all sorts of deep and ultimate things (we are commanded to do so), yet on the other hand, God can just force Himself pass all this.
“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,”
“Our usual epistemological challenges against man’s attempts to derive knowledge do not apply. The text addresses the issue from the standpoint of metaphysics, not epistemology, and it says this is something that God does. It is not something that man discovers, but something that God performs. It is not only something that God communicates, but something that God causes, and something that God causes you to do, and something that God causes you to BE. The text says nothing about any attempt or method by man to discover that he is a child of God. There is no issue with epistemology. You get a Spirit of sonship. You call him “Father” by the Spirit. It does not say you learn it. It says you do it. Then it says that the Spirit does something — he testifies with your spirit that you are a child of God. He testifies. It does not say that you request to know. It does not say you attempt to find out. It does not even say that you listen or receive. It says he testifies. He does it.”
Often a Christian’s new birth is like this, for most often our understanding of Scripture at this point is limited. Often in times of weakness, when our mind has a hard time concentrating, the Spirit bypasses this epistemology (our current strivings to understand the Scripture as best as we can), and like a man running through a concrete wall, He makes the soul cry out, “Abba Father,” and ushers us right into the throne of Heaven. The Spirit causing to cry out, Father, is making us “do” epistemology. This is private knowledge and one can deduce such things for themselves from public Scripture; but this point is about the ontological aspect that God does, not us. Our great Father heals the whole man. Our Father gives a perfect starting point of knowledge. He lovingly causes us to privately do and be this knowledge, bypassing all our weakness. Indeed, God causes us to be victorious in Christ. God gives us a sound mind able to know truth and make rational applications for oneself; He gives power for a healed and healthy body; power over the weaknesses through the Spirit, faith and heaven’s authority; He gives power to have success in all that we touch; He gives power to the soul to delight in His commands.
Summary: The Scripture teaches that it, as an epistemology, (1) it is self-authenticating, (2) that it does not contradict itself, and (3) it gives extensive knowledge for all of life, godliness and ultimate questions. (This 1, 2, 3 combo learned from Vincent.)
This gives a doctrine to evaluate other epistemologies from other worldviews, to see if they make knowledge possible. Does empiricism or rationalism or Islam, (or some famous philosopher) meet these 3 principles that make an epistemology must have to make knowledge possible? If not, then they are to be mocked and then sent to the city trash heap.
Defective Starting points
First we will deal with the two most common faulty starting points; however, out of the two, one is the chief in that practically all non-Christian starting points can be summed up into it.
Empiricism. Empiricism has already been dealt with to an extent. From the Scripture which is man’s only infallible starting point, we see Scripture showing that man’s sensation is not always correct about reality. This alone should end all debate. The Scripture which you are already using says empiricism is not a reliable epistemology. As “a starting point for knowledge” this directs empiricism to skepticism; but skepticism denies the law of noncontradiction. Thus, for empiricism to be true, empiricism would have to be false at the same time.
Empiricism is by definition a starting point for knowledge, and so is a theory of knowledge, or an epistemology. As said before, from a starting point the rest of your system of thinking proceeds from there; thus, empiricism will inevitably lead to and deal with other ultimate questions. For example, as with all starting points there is a method or order in how one proceeds forward from this starting point of sensation. This order or method has to do with logic. Empiricism’s logic is induction and its logic in dealing with reality/metaphysics/ontology is affirming the consequent (i.e. scientific experimentation). Thus, this epistemology also touches on logic and ontology. Since we are still in the section of epistemology we will mostly stay on this point, although there is some overlap.
Empiricism teachings that all knowledge for man “starts” with the senses. There are some who are enticed to hybrid empiricism as a dual epistemology, (empiricism and rationalism, or worse the Scripture and empiricism). The problem with such attempts is that rather than combine the strengths, they combine and multiply the logical fallacies. It is a non-relevant issue if one combines so-called strengths in a dual epistemology, there are some points that will always be more foundational, such as important pillars for bridges. If one of these supports are defective, then the whole structure falls. Since empiricism logically ends up denying the law of non-contradiction, then any other epistemology that is unfortunately hybrid to it, will logically be attached to something that denies the law of non-contradiction. If the foundational pillar falls, then anything attached to it, will also fall and become defective. For example, if the Scripture is hybrid to empiricism, then the Scripture is made to support a starting point that denies the LoC, the same LoC that Jesus Christ appeals to in Mark 12:35-37. If the Bible vouches for a liar, then the Bible cannot be trusted. Empiricism is a lie as an epistemology, and so, if the Scripture is said to vouch for something that is nonsense, then the Scripture is not to be trusted. And so firstly, the Scripture directly contradicts Empiricism, for it teaches man’s knowledge starts with God’s absolute and direct sovereignty. Secondly, if hybrid to empiricism, it would by connection to empiricism fall as an epistemology, when empiricism falls.
The Blank Mind:
Stepping outside the Scripture (for sake of argument) and putting ourselves into the worldview of empiricism, (this is going to be painful, so embrace yourself for it) we discover, since God did not put innate knowledge in man, then by definition it must be by the senses. A baby that is born has not had the opportunity to have the senses to somehow put knowledge in the mind, and thus it is blank. It is a non-relevant issue if we assert (based on empiricism) that all humans, must thus be born with a blank mind, or the first humans must have started with blank minds. Either way, the elephant in the room that must be dealt with is a “blank mind.” How does a blank mind “learn?” How does a blank sheet of paper learn? Or let us consider a video camera that has “hardware,” visual and audio senses. With a blank SSD drive but no computer or programming in it, how will it learn? This is still being too kind, for even a blank SSD drive is logically set up to receive data. How would a blank, non-thinking organic mass even know how to first structure its organic tissue to even be suitable for receiving information? And so, an analog camera might better describe what we are talking about. However, back to the camera, how long will it need to sit there before it had an intelligent thought? Remember a thought involves a true and false proposition. Even binary language is built upon the concept of true and false. It involves subjects and predicates.
The issues of this are more easily seen in the bigger presuppositional and universals that a thinking mind must have in order to think at all. These are the (1) laws of logic, and (2) the ideas of space, of self, of measurement, math, time and a unit, and the understanding of basic categories (categories in many ways are the Laws of Identity, Contradiction and Excluded Middle applied at the universal level or universal idea of a unit, rather than only on particulars). Particular sensations cannot give universals and logic, for one must already have them to think. To go from particular in the premise to universal in the conclusion, is a category error. It is like saying, “This empiricist is a frog. This river is a bird. Thus, All cats are 12.” This is no less invalid and stupid and playing with categories like play-dough, than going from particulars to universals. Plus Ultra Stupid. Empiricism is a childish delusion and superstition.
If by sensation there is no possible way for knowledge to be in the mind, then there is no worldview. In fact, there is nothing. No knowledge means there is nothing to talk about. Nothing. Nothing. It poses no logical threat to my worldview, or to any worldview for that matter.
If we go back to a blank analog video camera, what makes this different from a “smart” video camera would be the pre-installed programs and or pre-installed AI. Without this, the camera would be blank. It would not even have the concept or program to utilize the laws of Identity, Contradiction and Excluded middle. If taken to binary language it would mean the 0’s are 1’s and 1’s are 0’s. Try and see if a program is intelligible upon that foundation? And thus, even if it did have some invisible concepts, such as subjects and predicates, the idea of, “I sensed something,” could mean its opposite, “I did not sense something.” If the mind or analog tape, or SSD is blank, and thus did not have the concept of the LoC, how would it get this understanding, without already having it? For it to intelligently (without meaning the opposite) affirm, “I think I just discovered the LoC,” it must have it first, otherwise, “I think I just discovered the LoC,” would mean its opposite, “I did not discover the LoC.” If am empiricist can demonstrate this to me in formal validity, then please show me?
And since math is built upon the foundation of logic, then not only is logic impossible to start with sensation, but also math.
Even if I wrote the premise on a blank mind or SSD, “Empiricist are stupid,” how will the unthinking mind or SSD understand this? That premise was in English. Without the presupposition of language, how would a blank starting point think about anything?
Also, if I were to point to a tree and say to little Johnny, “This thing is a tree,” there is no way to “logically” or validly conclude Johnny’s sensation, “that is a tree.” Johnny’s sensation of the event of me pointing, would be a premise in the syllogism. What he heard me say would be another. No matter how you try to put it, for Johnny to conclude, “that is a tree,” would be an invalid inference; it would be a non-sequitur fallacy. The conclusion would always have more information than what the premises provide. Maybe my pointing or multiple pointing is saying, my pointing itself is the tree, or about the color brown (etc). There is no valid way to conclude either way. Thus, empiricism again, as an epistemology would lead to skepticism. If empiricism is true it would be false at the same time.
Vincent Cheung, puts it in terms of observing a game.
“If we take the time to enumerate, we can make explicit dozens, or more probably hundreds or even thousands of presuppositions that are necessary for the game to be intelligible to your observation, when at the same time these presuppositions cannot come from the act of observation. To make matters more difficult, there are thousands of arbitrary elements to every game that are not essential to the rules, although they are objects of observation. For example, if a chess game is played by two men in formal attire, what can you infer from this? Are you to infer that this is an essential rule of chess? And if so, must women also wear men’s suits, or are they allowed to wear dresses? Of course, people wear regular clothes when they are playing chess in other settings. But how do you know that they are not in violation of the rules, and that they are just getting away with it? Or do you assume without warrant that if they were indeed in violation, the rules would always be enforced against them?
Without knowledge that comes apart from observation, observation itself can make no sense or communicate any information. The intelligibility and interpretation of observation presuppose knowledge about the objects of observation, and this knowledge cannot come from the act of observation itself. That is, the intelligibility and interpretation of an experience is made possible by knowledge that comes apart from the experience. This knowledge may be something that is innate or something that is received by verbal instruction.
If the mind is totally blank, so that it does not even possess categories such as time, space, and causation, intelligibility and interpretation are impossible. In fact, if your mind is a blank, without any knowledge that comes apart from observation, your world will be to you as a whirlwind of sensations with no way to organize them or interpret them. However, if a prior non-observational knowledge of reality is required in order to properly interpret observation about reality, this means that the order and meaning you observe is imposed on what you observe, and never derived from what you see. This is another way of saying that the meaning of what you observe is governed by your presuppositions.
Returning to our initial illustration, what happens if you presuppose the rules of basketball or chess when you watch the tennis game? Even if it appears that you are able to make sense of the things that you observe, because the wrong rules are presupposed, your interpretation will be false. Therefore, it is not enough to recognize that nonobservational presuppositions precede intelligibility and interpretation, but we must realize that not all presuppositions are equal, and that they can be true or false.
Then there are all the logically absurdities that results such as: does one know they are having a sensation? How can this be other than by a sensation? What is the sensation that senses a sensation? This directs to an infinite regress in thinking and proving; however, an infinite regress in this context is not compatible with reality. Once you are finished with your own infinite regress, you let me know, and I will believe that it is possible in reality?
To further elaborate, how do we know this sensation senses a sensation other than by a sensation that senses the sensation that senses the first sensation? Is the lack of a sensation a sensation? How does one know this? By sensation?
Vincent first brought this absurdity to my attention saying in an online debate,
“Are you conscious of all the sensations that you are having? How do you know that? Do you sense that you are sensing all? But then, do you sense that you sense that you are sensing all? How do you know? By sensation again?
Do you always sense everything around you? If not, how do you know that you are not sensing everything around you if you are not sensing what you are sensing?
How about radio waves? Are there radio waves? If so, do you sense radio waves? All the radio and TV stations at the same time? If you use a radio device to pick up these waves, then what are you sensing? The sound from the radio, or the radio waves? Do you hear words and music from the radio? If so, then are radio waves words and music? Ah, but you might say that these are the “effects” of the radio waves. But then, you are only sensing the effects and not the cause. If so, how do you know the cause? If you infer from the effects to the cause, then how do you know that the inference is valid? By sensation again? What do you sense that would confirm this?
Also, how do you know that you do not know certain things? By sensation? Again, is the lack of sensation a sensation? How do you know this? Do you sense that a lack of sensation is a sensation?
Then, if you know that you do not know certain things, what are these “certain things”? If you know what they are, then you must know what they are by sensation, but then, this means that you have sensed them — if so, in what sense do you not know them?”
Therefore, how can empiricism escape begging the question and infinite regress? This leads to Skepticism. To be true, it must be false at the same time.
Moreover, an invisible concept of a true and false proposition is not a physical thing. “A proposition,” or that is “thinking,” is not physical. But sensation is physical. Sensation is not “propositional thinking” of the sensation. Also, understanding a true and false proposition about a given sensation is not the sensation itself. Now one can just arbitrary and without justification assert something at this point to make the leap from physical sensation to an invisible understanding in the mind, but a child can delusionally assert without justification. “Splashing super blues sevens are big 2 running dog tree justice.” Isn’t make believe fun?
If invisible knowledge comes by sensation is true, then where is the justification? Where is the sound argument to prove it?
To have a picture in the mind of Mt. St. Helens is a copy of it(2); it is not the actual Mountain(1). That is one category, and then another. In addition to this is another categorical leap; that is, to think propositional thoughts about(3) the indirect copy(2) of the real Mt. St. Helens(1). There is no logical justification for these 2 categorical leaps between premises and conclusion. In essence the syllogism is like saying, “All dogs are mammals. All blue things are color. Therefore, All humans are clouds.” There is no more justification for that syllogism than saying the propositional thoughts in an invisible mind, about the picture copy in my physical brain, is knowledge about the real Mt. St. Helens. Both are playing with categorical reality as if it is play-dough. That might work to sell Fantasy novels, but not so much when asking questions about the reality we live in.
B1. [A picture in the mind] is [physically coded information].
B2. [Conceptual information] are [true and false propositional knowledge in the mind].
B3. Thus. [A picture in the mind] is [a true and false propositional knowledge in the mind].
The problem with syllogism B is also two-fold.
First. How is premise B1. proven? Let us for sake of argument say DNA is a code-based language (by physical symbols) for complex operations for the body. So what? Stepping aside the presuppositional issues how readable code got there and issues of logic of the code and how one validly infers from this with only sensation (etc), let us focus on the immediate issue. If I think a proposition right now, “Empiricists are monkeys,” can it be seen (or sensed) on my physical brain the logic and invisible premise, “Empiricist are dumb.” Of course not, because by definition, true and false like math, is an invisible concept. What if they had my brain under a machine to detect electron pluses? So what? The machine is not my brain. Even if, in the future, they could somehow see a picture on their machine, it would be seen on the machine and not my brain. How does one know the inference was valid? Thus, is would end up being an appeal to the result to infer the cause. It would be affirming the consequent, and thus logically invalid. It would be a non-sequitur fallacy, for the conclusion would have more information than what the premise(s) provides.
Second. As already been shown to go from Premise B1. “physically coded information,” to B2. “Conceptual information” is an equivocation or (four term fallacy) because the first term is about physical symbols that then changes into concepts, which by definition are invisible. The only options are to have premise(s) as is outright make-believe speculation, or to make an equivocation in the terms to superstitiously appear in the conclusion. There is no way to prove empiricism in formal validity.
Clark on Empiricism
Gordon Clark has been helpful to me in applying the presuppositional Christian apologetic, particularly in a negative attack. Clark says these points quickly and precisely, and so I will shamelessly quote him on several points below, with him critiquing empiricism. I would recommend his book, A Christian View of Men and Things.
(Clark) Empiricism: No self
“Berkeley was quite sure that there must exist a mind to have these impressions. A mountain is something perceived, and a perception can exist only in a mind. But Hume was acute enough to see the next step. If material substance is an absurdity because it is an abstract idea, so too is the spiritual substance or the mind. Experience consists entirely of images, impressions, and their resulting combinations. No one has experienced a Self. What common opinion calls a person is simply a bundle of images. And this, as was argued above, results in skepticism. If all knowledge is based on experience, we may conclude, there is no knowledge.”
(Clark) Empiricism: Time, Space & Math
“All this may be so, but it is a poor defense of empiricism. The trouble lies deeper. If knowledge is a result of sensory experience, or even of internal experience – if after Hume there can be any internal experience – how could the ideas of space and time be obtained? Time has never been impressed on the senses so that we might have an image of it. If anyone thinks he has an image of time, let him describe its color, its shape, and smell. But more profoundly Kant argues,
The idea of time does not originate in our senses, but is presupposed by them. For sensory impressions can be represented as simultaneous or successive only through the idea of time. Succession does not produce the concept of time, but presupposes it.
Similarly, with respect to space Kant argues that the idea of space is not abstracted from external sensations, for I cannot conceive anything external to me except by representing it as in a place where I am not. Therefore external perceptions do not originate but presuppose the idea of space.
Space and time, for Kant, give the basis for mathematics – for geometry and arithmetic respectively. And the truths of mathematics are examples of truths that cannot be derived from experience. Teachers of small children may think that “two and two are four” is taught by playing with marbles. Does not the teacher show the pupil how two marbles and two marbles make four marbles? Roll them together into a corner and see that there are four marbles. Then, after this is done with different colored marbles, and different sized marbles, and with pencils and erasers, the child generalizes or abstracts from his experience the truth that two and two are four. However, this explanation of the learning process seems to be unsatisfactory. In the first place, the child would have to recognize one marble before he could count two of them. Where did the concept of a unit come from? From the marble also? But would not the pupil have to have the concept of a unit before he recognized a marble as one? If he did not know one, he could not count one. He has to know the numbers in order to count. And in the second place, this consideration holds for four as well as for one. He must know four before he can count four marbles. Perhaps this can more clearly be seen if large numbers are used. Let the teacher try to teach the young child that 356 marbles and 791 marbles are 1147 marbles. Everyone has heard children say their numbers: one, two, three, four, seven, sixteen, five, twenty‑one, sintillion. The young child who so counts cannot learn the example by counting marbles because he cannot count numbers. He can count marbles only after he can count numbers. And since numbers are not marbles or anything else sensory, it follows that arithmetic is not abstracted from experience. So much for mathematics.”
(Clark) Empiricism: Logic
“Hume’s analysis of causality also points up essentially the same difficulty in empiricism. While Hume treated the subject more or less in isolation, Kant saw that a general principle was involved. Physics as well as mathematics requires necessary and universal judgments, and these are impossible on an empirical basis. All images, sensations, or experiences are unique occurrences….
No doubt we are accustomed to this sequence of events just as we expect the Sun to rise in the east tomorrow; but there is no logic by which we may begin with a few experiences of the past and arrive at a judgment about the future…
If all knowledge is based on experience, no statement can validly be made about the future, for experience is always past. Even if it were possible to learn by experiment that two and two have always been four, and that the Sun has always risen in the east, there would be no conclusive reason for supposing that these things would be the same tomorrow. But not only does this principle of universality and necessity prevent an empirical knowledge of the future; it applies to the past as well. Since no one can have experienced every case, empiricism cannot consistently assert that the Sun has always risen in the east, that two and two have always been four, or, to use one of Kant’s examples, that all bodies are heavy. Similarly, no experience necessitates the conclusion that every change requires a cause.
More important still, the validity of syllogistic reasoning can never be based on experience. The laws of logic may well be called more important than the propositions of mathematics and physics because logic underlies them both. In all our conversation and writing, the forms of logic are indispensable: Without them discussion on every subject would cease. But if empiricism cannot establish the truth that two and two will always be four, neither can it assert that the conclusion of Barbara always and necessarily follows from the premises. Empiricism, therefore, is conclusively shown to be skeptical, because the law of contradiction cannot be abstracted or obtained from temporally conditioned particulars. And without the law of contradiction it is impossible to say anything meaningful. Scientists like Pearson, Carlson, or Bridgman, and liberal theologians like Brightman, may produce complicated and persuasive systems of thought; but if they claim to be empiricists, their systems contradict their epistemological principles, for if all knowledge is based on experience, there is no knowledge.”
(Clark) Empiricism: Equivocation from God to man.
If empiricism is used to prove God, from sensing nature to man having propositional knowledge of God, then the fallacy of equivocation or a 4 term fallacy occurs. The definition of existence(is) if constructed through empiricism, cannot produce the same definition of (is) in what the Bible means by it: “Must believe that God is.” (Hebrews 11:6).
St. Thomas and other modern philosophers (Van Til) try to rescue this by using the idea of analogy. There is a fallacious way to use an analogy. The point that makes analogies invalid is if the terms in the syllogism are not the same. Using empiricism in this context to know God’s existence makes the terms not the same and so invalid in the conclusion. Again, it would be a non-sequitur fallacy. The conclusion would have more information than what the premises provides.
There is the more basic problem of empiricism not being able to validly go from an “is” to a “proposition” in the mind. What is indirectly or directly sensed and the copies of these sensations as indirect images of the so-called real things, to then concepts in the mind. Famous philosophers in history such as Locke, Berkeley to Hume recognized this issue. But as Hume concluded, it is an inescapable fallacy that empiricism is stuck with. Empiricism creates an abyss of skepticism. At least Hume was honest about it.
Then there is more particular problems related to this such as empiricism going from an “is”(what is) to an “ought(what ought to be).”
But as for analogies here is Clark again.
“It follows, therefore, that the Thomistic proofs of the existence of God are invalid on two counts. First there are the previous empirical difficulties with causality, abstraction, and logic; but now there is this second. Even if no other fallacy were to be found in the arguments, and if we should arrive validly at the conclusion, God exists, this existence at which we have arrived would not be God’s existence. Syllogisms and valid arguments require their terms to be used univocally. If this has been done, the “analogical” and actual existence of God has not been obtained. All through the argument the term exist or is has been used in a human or temporal sense; and if the argument is valid, the term in the conclusion must also have the same temporal sense. But in this sense of the word exist, God does not exist. Once more, empiricism has failed.”
(Clark) Empiricism: Categories, Classification
“If the arguments of the last few paragraphs are sound, along with the considerations on empiricism that occurred in several of the earlier chapters, a satisfactory theory of epistemology must be some sort of apriorism with or without intellectual intuition. The notion that a blank mind can learn must be repudiated.
Of all the modern philosophers it is Immanuel Kant who is naturally thought of first as a representative of a priori theory. For him experience gives us a rather indefinite, even chaotic manifold of sensation, and the mind arranges, or imposes unity on, this manifold by the application of innate categories so that knowledge results. All items of knowledge are judgments or predications. A term, such as triangle, by itself cannot be either true or false. But if one says, “the triangle is an isosceles triangle,” or, “the triangle is a four-sided figure,” one has said something either true or false. All judgments are classifications. This triangle is classified under the species of isosceles triangle, or, falsely, under the class of four‑sided figures. Two terms, therefore, the subject and the predicate, are brought together. Thus the mind imposes unity on experience by judging or classifying. Since judgments or propositions are the products of the mind’s unifying activity, the several types of judgment are witnesses to several functions of unity. These are the categories, the non‑empirical contribution of the mind to knowledge – the prerequisites of learning. They are not based on or derived from experience, but rather the possibility of meaningful experience depends on them.
To one who has been impressed by the universal and necessary factors in knowledge, in particular the law of contradiction and the validity of implication, and who sees clearly the epistemological skepticism and ontological nihilism implied in empirical philosophy, this a priori view is inescapable. And yet when one comes to work out the details, there is danger of emulating Kant’s many self‑contradictions. At any rate, Kant’s categories cannot be accepted as they are. ……
Kant might continue to object that no one should be allowed to have his cake and his penny, too. The categories are either derived from experience or they are innate. By this decisive disjunction, so Kant might argue, the preformation theory is proved to be unfair to organized philosophy. However, preformationism does not repudiate the disjunction as just stated: The categories are indeed innate, but in addition God has fashioned both the mind and the world so that they harmonize. And some such scheme must be accepted if the Kantian a-priori is no less skeptical than empiricism. That the cake and penny illustration is inapplicable may be seen by asking the question, Does the law of contradiction hold in thought or does it hold with things? The objector would have to choose one and reject the other. But is it not more plausible to say that the law of contradiction applies both to thought and to things? Even a Ding-an-sich, unknowable as and if it is, cannot also be a Not-Ding-an-sich.”
(Clark) Empiricism: Blank Mind, Private Thoughts.
“The idealistic philosophers have argued plausibly that truth is also mental or spiritual. Without a mind truth could not exist. The object of knowledge is a proposition, a meaning, a significance; it is a thought. And this is necessary if communication is to be possible. If a truth, a proposition, or a thought were some physical motion in the brain, no two persons could have the same thought. A physical motion is a fleeting event numerically distinct from every other. Two persons cannot have the same motion, nor can one person have it twice. If this is what thought were, memory and communication would both be impossible. The reply might be made that although the motions are numerically distinct, they are generally similar; therefore, today I have the motion, Columbus discovered America, and tomorrow I have another one like it. This reply, however, is faulty. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that two motions can be similar: A baseball pitcher can throw a curve and later a second curve like it; and one cortical quiver could be like a second. But how could anyone tell that the two motions were similar…..
Or, more to the point, how could any motion connect two other motions that no longer exist? When the second motion occurs, the first thought of Columbus is gone. In its absence how can the second be compared with it and pronounced similar? If only we could remember it! But memory, the making present of the past, is impossible on a physical theory. The first motion as a physical event in time and space is completely and irretrievably gone. It may as a cause initiate a second motion, but it itself no longer exists; and to say that a non‑existent motion is similar to an existing motion is hardly more intelligible than to say they are the same. It is a peculiarity of mind and not of body that the past can be made present. Accordingly, if one may think the same thought twice, truth must be mental or spiritual. Not only does it defy time; it defies space as well, for if communication is to be possible, the identical truth must be in two minds at once. If, in opposition, anyone wishes to deny that an immaterial idea can exist in two minds at once, his denial must be conceived to exist in his own mind only; and since it has not registered in any other mind, it does not occur to us to refute it.
To conclude: empiricism is a delusion if used for a starting point knowledge. The Scripture explicitly shows observations being mistaken. This alone should answer and end any questions about this. However, if we pretend the Bible out of the way and examine empiricism by its own definition, we still find it speculative, superstitious and leads to the denying of the law of noncontradiction. Thus, for anyone to use empiricism to not believe the Scripture on any point, are morally wicked and disobedient; regarding the intellect, they are broken and stupid.
Rationalism can mean a few things. In my experience, it is often loosely thrown around in a vague and undefined way; however, in context of epistemology is has a precise meaning. Rationalism is to start with logic as one’s starting point for knowledge for their worldview, which the rest of their worldview will proceed from. And since the laws of logic are used as the starting, the logical order for the rest of the system will proceed as deduction rather than induction. The most important historical figure for making this known and poplar is Plato. Like David Hume for empiricism, Plato was honest and admitted the limitations of his starting point. He admitted his worldview knew about world of the forms or categories, but his worldview could not get him their so as to know about it in a clear and precise manner. Or that is, using logic as a starting point, he vaguely knew the order of the Forms (shadows dancing on a wall), so as to entice him, but his rationalism could not get him there in knowledge and clarity.
Despite Plato admitting Rationalism lacked as and epistemology, and Aristotle showing how induction irrational, many famous Christians would still use both rationalism and empiricism as dual epistemologies with the Bible. After Plato and Aristotle many famous Christian thinkers usually chose sides between the two. For example, St. Augustine of Hippo used a type of dual epistemology of the Scripture and Rationalism. As said before, this is a mistake, but not worse mistake to make, because rationalism(laws of logic) gives no knowledge. Logic is only the structure of thinking, not the content. Rationalism strictly speaking, gives no content that would contradict the Scripture, because it has no subjects or predicates. Famous theologians like the medieval St. Thomas used a dual epistemology of Scripture and empiricism (if you include the Pope, it would be a triple epistemology). This mistake is a fatal mistake, because empiricism contradicts the Scripture outright (in epistemology and metaphysics and logic), and if you use induction to produce knowledge it would forever produce knowledge/content that would further contradict the Scripture. It would also condemn the Scripture for vouching for a liar.
Most Christians today, due to a lingering anti-intellectualism, have dual epistemologies of Scripture and empiricism. Thus they have more in common with Greek thinkers and Catholics, than they do with God’s revelation. Such things as their love for the pragmatic helpfulness of science, makes them blind to fatal blasphemy they comment at the epistemology level.
Going past using, rationalism or empiricism as a dual starting point with Christian, others make another mistake. This mistake often happens because such Christians have a dual epistemology with rationalism or empiricism, but they are blind to their mistake. They think the Scripture is their only starting point. They are often time confided because they say a slogan, “sola scripture,” that they are truly faithful to it. However, when Christians attempt to do apologetics, their dual starting points will often become uncovered and exposed. This is seen when Christians try to use TAG, presuppositional and Transcendental arguments to prove God.
Some, like St. Thomas, will NOT presuppose the Scripture, but presuppose empiricism and so use science to prove God. However, as Clark pointed out, the way God “exists” according to the Bible, and how we sense “existence” is not the same. Plus Ultra Stupid. Thus, any conclusion about God from observation is an invalid conclusion. It is a category error fallacy. The same is with using science, with the exception that science now has the additional fallacy of affirming the consequent.
Or like Locke or Descartes, will not presuppose the Scripture but rationalism/logic to prove God. Since logic has no subjects or predicates, any conclusion made from a TAG argument using logics, is an invalid conclusion, no matter how fancy it sounds. It is a category error fallacy. It is a non-sequitur fallacy.
Some argue that they are only trying to put themselves in the shoes of the unbeliever and use either worldview against them. It is fine to use their own standard as a negative attack, to show their standards are irrational (etc.); however, to use a malfunctioned starting point to “prove” something as a positive argument is beyond moronic. For example, to use the starting point in geometry, “ a square is a 7 plane figure with all unequal sides and the color blue,” to “prove” a positive argument that my phone is or is not a square is nonsense. If a starting point is defective from the start, there is no using it to “prove” anything. Nothing. One can use their standard to show their starting point is nonsense itself, but not to use it in any positive demonstration.
What was just said seems so simple a child could grasp this; however, many famous theologians and denominations are built using apologetics that try to use empiricism as a positive demonstration for God. Stupid! Wicked! It is truly sad to see those who stress using the Bible as their sole starting point for knowledge, often willingly use empiricism/science to prove something (Van Till, or Charismatics), or out of sheer mental blindness keep falling back on empiricism and science to prove God, and other doctrines from the Bible (Gordon Clark students often make this mistake, and all cessationist make this mistake). If you are so bold to go public to teach others to solely use the Scripture, as their starting point, then at least practice it enough that you are pragmatically faithful to your teaching. Since empiricism is essentially atheism, to hybrid these together is to hybrid God and Satan together. It is a monstrous blasphemy to make.
A few points of clarity about rationalism before moving on. To use a system of deduction versus a system of induction, is not by definition “rationalism,” when we are talking about worldviews and philosophy. Rationalism, in this context is about using logic itself as a starting point for knowledge, and not about the logic proceeding from that starting point. More will be said about logic in the Logic section, but Paul, Jesus and the prophets use deductive logic. Paul makes several logical deductive chain arguments. Paul in Romans 3 uses the old testament to make a systematic theology statement, “all [humans] have sinned.” We are to apply ourselves to this statement: (Oshea has sinned). Any Christians who have applied this verse to themselves is using deduction and not induction. Since they “started” with the Scripture, then the Scripture is their starting point, in addition to this, they are using deduction as the structure for their thinking.
For this reason there is nothing wrong with calling the systematic theology taught in this book as Biblical-rationalism, or Biblical-deductionalism.
FIRST. Objections directly to God’s nature and the nature of His revelation:
This category fallacy is often made by theologians, and lay people alike, because this, it will be dealt with in a continual and often manner. Consider how this book is chaptered off in different categories: knowledge, reality, causality, logic, ethics (etc.). This are big categories that with big differences, and so to mixed this up is a huge mistake. It is one thing to mix up a maple tree with an oak tree, at least they are in the same broad category of trees. But to mix up foundational categories with each other will cause mistakes and conclusions that are overtly off.
Man starts with what He sees and then becomes irrational by applying things he sees in himself back to God. Because his starting point is wrong, man will make mistakes in his thinking and conclusions about reality. God is Spiritual and Intellectual and Powerful. Man being God’s image has some similarities, but not the same. For example, man’s foundation is a spirit-man, but this spirit-man is housed in a physical body. The Father has never had a body, and never will. Thus, for man to go from anything physical about himself to God, is not only the fallacy of induction, but a “category error,” fallacy. It is to say, because I can run through a cloud, I can therefore run through a rock. Category error.
God’ nature is not applicable to created things, just as the color red is not applicable to the concept of 5. God does lift any rocks, red seas, or stars because God does not have physical body.
Thus, trying to prove God in the reverse is also a mistake. To ask God to prove His existence by making my car float up and down, is to make a category error. Thus, the conclusion from premise (This car floated up and down), to (an invisible, spiritual God) will always be invalid. To go from material things (in the premise) to spiritual in the conclusion is a huge category error. People who think like this are delusional, and are habitually trained to think like an empiricist.
One mistake that will be focused on in the next section is irrational mixing up the categories of metaphysics and ethics, or what God creates with what God commands.
SECOND. Stupid and illogical starting points in general.
We have already addressed the issues of empiricism, which is what most start with. It is human starting point. It is not starting with God, but man. It is speculation, and its inductive method is superstitious. However, there is another mistake often made here. It comes from when people try to make a dual starting point of the divine revelation and empiricism. In our analyses of empiricism we discovered it cannot rationally gain any knowledge of reality; it commits one category error after another, and it results in skepticism. If our sensation of sight is only a picture of the real thing (a copy), then we cannot make a valid inference about the real thing from the copy. Also, a picture or sound is a momentary (here and gone) observation. It is particular, not universal; it is not about the past or future. However, truth is universal, and is about the past, present and future. “[Truth] not only does it defy time; it defies space as well, for if communication is to be possible, the identical truth must be in two minds at once. If, in opposition, anyone wishes to deny that an immaterial idea can exist in two minds at once, his denial must be conceived to exist in his own mind only; and since it has not registered in any other mind, it does not occur to us to refute it.”
I will not bore the reader with history, but a quick statement might be helpful. The western world has been abandoning the Christian starting point for empiricism for hundreds of years. Empiricism is the mother of science, or is it? At any rate, the West began to see empiricism as the foundation for all the nice things science was doing. However, when David Hume can out and showed that empiricism lead to skepticism about reality, it began to erode the West’s confidence in knowledge itself. The Christian system with deduction was abandoned, and now the West’s new lover, empiricism, was shown to make knowledge skeptical. Rather than going back to God in repentance, the West, kept naively waiting for a future discovery to show Hume was wrong. However, since it was the starting point itself that lead to the skepticism, no amount of time will rectify the empiricism’s skepticism. In the 1700’s Kant tried to hybrid Christianity and science(empiricism). However, since empiricism, leads to skepticism, this hybrid also lead Christianity into skepticism. In the next century, the philosopher Kierkegaard was smart enough noticed this. And so, what did he do? He began the process of giving up on knowledge. Kierkegaard began to embrace irrationalism, and skepticism as part of Christianity.
Yet, all this nonsense is from the foundational mistake of making a dual epistemology of God’s Revelation and Empiricism. The end result is the most of Christianity in the Western world has willfully chosen not to give up their harlotry with empiricism, and so, ever since Kierkegaard, there has been a steady increase in skepticism and irrationalism. This has happened both in the Church and the world. I recall a few years ago a study done by World Magazine. To the shock of the secular reviewers, the study found that students in America were both skeptical about Christianity and Evolution. This is fruit of empiricism.
And so, one way to sum up the last few hundred years in the West, would be to call it the Age of Irrationalism. To put this into more context. Both Plato and Aristotle, fought the skepticism in their day. When Christianity took over it began to wipe out skepticism, due to the singular starting point of God’s revelation and deduction from it. Even the famous St. Augustine of Hippo would battle the few remaining skeptics in the 400s. However, at this time, skepticism and irrationalism, was a small minority. In the last few hundred years, with the West given up on a purely Scriptural starting point, the West has in essence reverted back to the way they thought thousands of years before.
For us today this can be seen when people make overtly over the top super humble statements about, “our knowledge is only an analogy of God.” What these super pious zealots don’t realize is that, this would mean “our knowledge is only analogy of God, is also only an analogy of God,” and to it so is not univocal.
An argument from analogy is in fact an irrational invalid argument.
[ X, R, T, and F all have characteristic 1, 2, and 3. Also, X, R and T have characteristic 4. Thus, F has characteristic 4 as well.]
The problem with an invalid argument from analogy is when one takes it further.
Our knowledge is an analogy of God’s. It meant as an argument, then it is fallacious. “God’s knowledge includes a, b, c, and d. Our human knowledge also has knowledge, a, b, c. Therefore, our knowledge also includes God’s d.” This is a stupid and invalid conclusion. If the “d” included things like “Jesus came to save sinners,” then we cannot know as a truth if Jesus died for sinners. If stated this way, then the “a, b, and c,” are in fact known by man as univocal knowledge and there is no issue on those points.
However, if not meant as a technical “argument from analogy,” but as an “illustration,” then the problem remains.
Clark dealt with this previously; however, it also ties into the next point about bad use of TAG arguments. The basic idea is that to use a non-biblical starting point, to prove God, will never be rational. It will always result in a conclusion that is not sound, and that commits categorical fallacies. They will be non-sequitur conclusions that have more information in them than what the premises (provided by the non-biblical starting point) provide.
To start with man’s observations. This is the foundational problem. Again, to start with man’s experience and observations, man will say, This is how “existence” is, or this the conclusion/definition of existence. However, God’s existence is not how we observe it, because God is separate from His creation and is invisible. And so, some morons in the past call this an analogy knowledge of God. Or knowledge is not exactly like God’s. If that is the case, then it leads skepticism, but skepticism denies the law of noncontradiction. This is of course, impossible with reality. Does man think the knowledge, “Jesus was born in Bethlehem,” but when God thinks this knowledge, it means, “Jesus was born in Egypt?”
Some might say God knows so much more about a knowledge, that it becomes a different knowledge. This is of course, barrel of the bottom stupid. Just because I know advance Calculus, does not mean that my knowledge of “2 + 2 =4,” is any different than from the first day I understood it. I have gained more knowledge about math, but my understanding of basic math is no different than when I learned it in grammar school. God knows an infinite about of premises, I do not. Yet, this has no necessary connection that the premises I know now are different from the premises that God as revealed. OR that is, if a math teacher knows much more than their students about math, does that mean, the students understanding of “2 + 2 always = 4,” is only an analogy from the teacher. Of course not. As long as both assent to the truth of addition, the understanding is the same.
Some people, being man-centered start with “man,” for understanding rather than God. It is often Christians who say things like “sola scriptura,” that often play the harlot on this. If one starts with Scripture, then we learn God calls what He as revealed as truth; He cannot lie. We learn that God knows Himself by His “Spirit.” Yet, God’s has given us His Spirit, so that we know the things God as freely given us. Paul then says, “you have the mind of Christ.” God has knowledge about things He as freely given us. God knows this by His Spirit, and not something else. In order for us to know about this as God knows about it, God gave us His Spirit, The same Spirit that is the foundation for God to know Himself. We have this same foundation. Thus, we know the things God as freely given us, as God knows it. We have the Mind of Christ.
In fact this is precisely how Paul says it, “things which we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. But the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to understand them, because they are spiritually discerned,” ( 2 Corinthians 2:13-14 LEB). It comes from God as Spiritual, and we receive as Spiritual. If analogy knowledge was true, then Scripture would have said “Spiritual from God, but received as human/natural by us.” It does not say about “us”; however, it does say this about the non-Christian; they receive in a human natural knowledge and ability; thus, they do not know God. Yet, for the Christian, who is a new creation, it is understood and sent by God in Spiritual knowledge and Spiritual ability, and we receive it and understand it as Spiritual knowledge and Spiritual ability. The human element has been bulldozed out of the way for the Christian, by the unstoppable Ability of the Spirit of God in the Christian. For Paul to say the receiving and ability of this is the same for both parties, and then for someone to conclude “different,” is plus ultra stupid.
God is the foundation for learning, not man’s limitations. Man-centered people judge reality by their limitations. As wicked as it sounds, they even Judge God by their limitations. Faith, however, judges what they can do, by God’s ability.
Remember was has been said before, “God is the foundation for theology, not man.” God can make man from a rock. God and not merely jump over all wall, God can go right through it and or teleport on the other side. There is no limitations with God. God can make man know Him, because GOD is the sovereign and powerful foundation that makes this happen, not man’s limitations. Man being able to know God in truth and precision is based on the foundation of God ability not man’s. This is the essence of faith. It starts with seeing God’s revelation and not believing what you see in your observations. It makes God’s limitless power and love, the measuring rod to know what is possible for man. The new covenant says God will be our personal teacher and tutor, so that we “Know God.” The measure is not man, but God’s ability and power to make man know. All things are possible with God. If God wants man to k now Him with the same knowledge, (although not as a beginningless infinite) He has, the measure to determine this is God’s own ability, not man!
Many Christians are their own worst enemies. They are habitually man-centered. They judge everything by man’s limitations, man’s speculations and man’s superstitions. Then when their system of thinking does not add up, they let God take the disgrace by crying out, “it’s a mystery, paradox” and so on. They will have their just reward one day, for their continual ridicule and mockery of God.
True humility starts with Epistemology.
The sleight of hand that many of these man-centered theologians hide behind is the idea of being “humble” before God. However, hiding behind being humble makes for naked shield, because humility starts with believing what the Christian starting point says. That is, before humility is a pragmatic action it is first an intellectual abandoning of your human starting point and starting with Scripture. Humility starts at epistemology and then goes to action. This is why repentance to God’s command to be saved and converted is humility, because in this the sinner abandons his excuses, and then starts with how Scripture describes man, sin and salvation in His Son. True humility always starts here. Therefore, since the Bible says that we know God by His Spirit (the same way God knows Himself), then to say our knowledge is an analogy of God’s, is not only invalid, but it is the pinnacle of pride, arrogance and man-centeredness. If you feel sinful due your besetting sins, and then conclude it is humble to distance yourself from God by saying, “my knowledge is an analogy to God,” is boastful and arrogant. You started with yourself and haughtily thought you could produce knowledge from a human starting point. Arrogant supreme!
Humility always starts with knowledge. Paul says we live(continually) by faith and not sight. No matter what the issue is about reality, humility starts by abandoning what you observe and calculate, by throwing it into the garbage. For it is truly trash. Then you go to the God’s word to find out what it says about that it. If this does not happen first, then you are kidding yourself about living a humble life before God. Living by “faith and not sight,” include more than standing on God’s promises and seeking His rewards. Hebrews says be faith we know God created reality out of nothing, by His sheer power. Thus, to live by faith and not sight is start with what God says about reality. Faith starts with how God defines the world, animals, trees, man and all things. If you do not start here, the humility does not start.
Thus, for people who desire to humble, the application is simple. Examine all that you think you know that came by your observations and trash them. Read the Scripture and on every point and doctrine affirm its truths. If Paul says that Jesus was our substitute in poverty, so that by this substitution we might be wealthy (2 Corin 8:9), then to the affirm this is the starting point for true humility. To deny this is to start with arrogance and human boasting. To travel this path is a destructive and harmful one. It will destroy you.
THIRD. Bad use of TAG Arguments:
To put this into context that more might recognize, the self-authenticating method to demonstrate the law of non-contradiction is a type of presuppositional or TAG/ Transcendental argument. “I deny the LoC.” However, to say this I must use the law of contradiction, otherwise, terms such as “I” could mean something like “fish,” and “non-fish,” and the statement could mean the opposite, “I affirm the LoC,” or just nonsense, “Your mom is a fish.” It shows that the person denying the LoC is using or that is, “presupposing” it to deny it. The LoC demonstration also avoids begging the question, because our opponent conveniently provides the premise (as long as they say anything), not us. The history of philosophy is full of both Christians and non-Christians using forms of presuppositional arguments; however, they are, at least in my experience, always using a non-Christian starting point to do it. This is embarrassing for those historical Christians who made this mental blunder. Why did they not even consider, as a Christian, to start by presupposing God’s revelation? Why is this so difficult for so-called Christians to think about the all sovereign God who has revealed Himself, “hey, I am presupposing Him in all that I do and think”?
Most of these non-Christian starting points, which the historic Christians have used, is either empiricism or rationalism. Of the two, using rationalism is the least fatal mistake to make, because the laws of logic give no content; they give no subject; they give no predicate. The laws of logic have no knowledge, it is only about how thinking is structured. Logic does not even give the subjects and predicates to even intelligently discuss the topic of logic. For such knowledge logic must go to a higher first premise, or to the starting point that makes talking about logic intelligible. Thus, to make this mistake, which St. Augustine of Hippo made (Plato as a non-Christian), is problematic, but not fatal, because although in principle this makes logic (equal to as in epistemology dualism) or more foundational than God in knowledge, it gives no knowledge. It gives no knowledge, to contradict Scripture in essence.
This other starting point of empiricism is however, a fatal mistake. The non-Christians who made this mistake popular was Socrates and particularly Aristotle. Christians who follow him were the famous Catholic St. Tomas. Others seeing the weakness in these two epistemologies, tried to hybrid empiricism and rationalism, but rather than multiplying their so-called strengths, all they did was multiply the ways they are irrational, stupid and delusional. Most Christians, I would suppose have some form of empiricism in their starting point for knowledge, and thus, use it to some extent in their use of presuppositional type apologetics.
Empiricism is both irrationally stupid and a blasphemy at the level of knowledge and causality. But this will be dealt with more later. Empiricism both contradicts God Himself, and it contradicts God’s revelation. It is in essence atheism. There is a reason why atheist like David Hume use empiricism (a human starting point) for atheism; rather than, God’s revelation (a God starting point). To use Atheism to somehow prove God is nonsense. To use irrationalism to prove deduction is nonsense. To use Buddhism, to prove that Christianity is exclusive is nonsense. To use x, which contradicts God, to prove God is plus ultra stupid.
Beyond this act of Christians using atheism in their own use of TAG’s to somehow prove God, there is a more basic problem with how most use these type of trash arguments. The mistake is that even if true, it does not prove “your” worldview is true, because it still leaves out the possibility of other worldviews to be true. Remember the section on the self-authenticating nature of the Scripture? There Vincent Cheung pointed out that in a statement of truth, “2 + 2 = 4” there is only one correct answer and an infinite number of possible wrong ones. All the presuppositional arguments that I see do not eliminate the infinite possible wrong answers. They simply eliminate that 7, 93, and 8 are not the right ones. Then they “put more information into the conclusion” (i.e. invalid/non-sequitur ) and say, because 7 and 93 are wrong; therefore, 15 must be true. Yet such an argument is worthless, because a presuppositional argument is suppose to show that you are presupposing my position. And thus, it is a trash level argument.
Here is general type of presuppositional argument I might see (although they can vary).
(X = an epistemology, and Y= an epistemology)
X – is false by contradiction.
Y – is false by contradiction.
U – Bible is not contradictive.
Q – without truth nonsense results, but nonsense is impossible.
R – The (U) Bible does not rely on X or Y;
Therefore, the Bible is true an all others false.
This is a mistake. First the positive claim in the conclusion, is not a valid inference from our premises. The conclusion is a non-sequitur. Second, it could as easily mean that epistemology (T, G, or possible H) might be true.
Atheist and Empiricist often make this same mistake in their generic use of a TAG argument, to show that Christians presuppose their epistemology of empiricism. It is often in context of atheist saying to a Christian, “when you read the bible, the knowledge is not coming from God, but from YOUR SENSATION. Empiricism is your foundation, not God. Empiricism is the foundation for naturalism not theism.”
Their argument could look like this, or some form like it:
A.1. “If X (EMPIRICISM) is false, then nonsense results; [i.e. you must use your eyes to read the Bible to get knowledge (etc.)]
A.2. Nonsense is impossible or unacceptable;
A.3. Therefore, X (Empiricism) is true.”
Or like this.
E.1. You must presuppose X (the senses for knowledge), or nonsense results.
E.2. Christianity denies X but affirms God’s sovereignty.
E.2.a. Christians must use X to get knowledge about God by reading the Bible.
E.2.b. Christianity reduces to nonsense.
E.3. Atheism has X.
E.4. Thus, Atheism is true.
Again, this is not a valid inference. The positive claim in the conclusion has more information in it than what the premises provide. It is a non-sequitur. Also, even if nonsense is impossible, epistemology T, or O, or N might be not led to nonsense, and thus, empiricism could be just a fantasy and N be true.
The big idea about this mistake, is that the burden of proof in this type of argument is that you must prove your epistemology “is being presupposed.” This type of TAG argument does not logically/necessarily show that empiricism is being “presupposed,” thus, there is no logical warrant to us it. Because there is no logical warrant to us it, it has no logical value to say that another worldview is using it. LOL.
The Scripture says you can know for certain that it is true; yet, empiricism (your observations) cannot give certainty. The Scripture and your empiricism are two different contradictory epistemologies. Paul says in 1 Corinthians that man with this wisdom could not know God. Man’s wisdom starts with himself and what he observes, then irrationally argues from this. In philosophy verbiage, this is ‘empiricism’ as an epistemology, and ‘inductive reasoning’ for a conclusion. It is, through and through, a philosophy of man.
 Paraphrased from, John Robbins, Forward of Gordon Clark’s book, “Three Types of Religious Philosophy.”
 The ultimate and relative level ontology can be liken to a chess game.
I got this initial idea of a chess game from Vincent Cheung. See, “There is No Real Synergism.” Found in Sermonettes Vol. 1. 2010. Ch.32
Ultimate level. God caused Oshea to believe and confess Jesus Christ. (Oshea moves white pawn to H3 to take black knight.)
Relative Level. Oshea confessed and made Jesus Lord of his life. (White pawn takes black knight).
Just because the announcer at the Chess tournament says, “white pawn takes black knight,” then should I rebuke the announcer and tell him he should know better because the pawn did not move itself?
The Big idea is that ultimate level causality is God moving everything directly. However, the Bible often speaks of relative level causality, “Oshea buys some gum at the store from Johnny.”
 This idea of responsibility presupposing authority rather than freedom 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))
 LoC is a shorthand for law of non-contradiction.
 Vincent Cheung. The Gospel Guarantee of Self-Knowledge. Found in Fulcrum. 2017. Pg. 52.
 Vincent Cheung. The Witness of the Spirit. Found in Sermonettes Vol 5. 2011. pg 58.
 In Job 39 God makes the point against Job, who does not have knowledge and power, that He, God, does. Whether it is why an ostrich lacks wisdom in caring for its young, or when a random eagle decides its time to fly, it was by God’s causality and command that all such things happen. God knows it because the created, caused and commanded it to happen.
 Reymond, R. L. (1998). A new systematic theology of the Christian faith (p. 167). Nashville: T. Nelson.
 Emphasis, which is added in verse and the rest in this section are added by author.
 Vincent Cheung, Commentary on Colossians, 2008, page 35
 Lilbd, pg.35
 See Vincent Cheung. “Ultimate Question,” “Systematic Theology,” and “Presuppositional Confrontations.”
 Reymond, R. L. (1998). A new systematic theology of the Christian faith (pp. 58–59). Nashville: T. Nelson.
 Vincent Cheung. Scripture, Sufficient Against Cessationism.
Found in, Fulcrum. 2017. Pages 12-13, 15. www.vincentcheung.com.
 In the section, The Bible’s Sufficiency, from A New Systematic Theology. first edition, pgs 83-86
 Vincent Cheung. Predestination and Miracles.
 Vincent Cheung. “Faith Override.”
 i.e. induction.
 Like with a ouija board, “causality” is used determine what you “ought” to do.
In contrast, Christianity teaches that God’s “commandments” determines what you “ought” to do.
 Notice how created things had a beginning point “laid the foundations” and change, “wear out”; however, God is without beginning and without change, and stays the same forever.
 Vincent Cheung. Sermonettes Vol 1. Chapter 2. “Creation: In the Beginning.” 2010. Pg. 7
 I will say that it is theoretically possible that God has had one infinitely high emotion of joyful love, (in the Son and the Son in the Father), that has never changed in intensity. Jonathan Edwards would say this shared- intellectual, force of love -between the Father and Son is the Holy Spirit. From this it is possible, like how induction is understood by God to be used by man, but not part of His own reasoning(His is deductive), other non-joyful love emotions are a derivative from this for a created world, but not part of God own emotion.
 Hebrews 6:17-18.
 Reymond, R. L. (1998). A new systematic theology of the Christian faith (pp. 173–174). Nashville: T. Nelson.
 Vincent Cheung, in an email exchange. Jan, 2017.
 Vincent Cheung in an email first brought this to my attention, when I was discussing logic with him. Once I thought about it, it was rather obvious God’s thoughts are deductive, by definition of what deduction is.
 Vincent Cheung. “Breathed Out by God.” Found in, Reflections on Second Timothy. 2010. Pg 71. Also see Vincent Cheung, Systematic Theology, 2010, pages 17-19.
 Vincent Cheung, Systematic Theology, 2010, pages 18.
 2 Corinthians 4:6 (LEB) 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.
 A specific negative argument would be to attack empiricism, by demonstrating how irrational it is, and how it leads to the denying of the LoC. Vincent’s individual board points/(major premises) (antecedent) come from Scripture, and the consequent a necessary result, and so it is direct message. When the self-authenticating method is applied to an individual (so that their denial provides the premise of their use of Scripture), then it at this level it becomes an indirect method/proof.
 Vincent Cheung. Captive to Reason. 2009. Chapter. Excluded by Necessity. Pg. 44.
 Because the knowledge about Logic comes from Scripture, then it is not a separate thing from Scripture.
 I will not take long to explain this, but will make a passing comment. Because the Christian has the truth, or true premises, to begin with, it means a “rational defense” does not necessarily have look like a polished sound argument. A new Christian merely giving a basic testimony or quoting a single verse, as long as it is relevant to the defense, has the potential to be a most beautiful crafted enthymeme very made.
 Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.
 Keep in mind that Aristotle meant a “deductive” or “sound” argument for the best “logos” argument, where as in today, it is use in a contradictory meaning to how Aristotle used it; today it is popular to teach the best logos arguments, are “inductive” and “irrational” statistical arguments. Plus Ultra Stupid.
 Smith, Robin, “Aristotle’s Logic”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2019 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), forthcoming URL = https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2019/entries/aristotle-logic/
 Or in a broader philosophy jargon, A justified True Belief.
 Vincent Cheung. The Gospel Guarantee of Self-Knowledge.
Found in, “Fulcrum.” Pages 52-53. 2017
 All of God’s revelation(s) is man’s epistemology, just as in heaven God will cause us to know Him without the old way of studying the Scripture. We will know Him much better. The point about the Scripture, is that it is our “public” starting point for all Christians. It is the starting point to evaluate to see if a private revelation (prophecy) is correct or false. So that even if a person does not have the Scripture, if the Spirit gives them new birth and cause them to say “Abba Father,” this person is “doing” Christian epistemology (God’s revelation) right, even if they do not have the full context.
 About Private Knowledge vs Public.
“To make deductions about yourself, you will need premises about yourself. The Bible also covers this. Paul wrote, “For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:11). We derive two points from this. First, this means that a man can know his own thoughts. Thus he can supply premises into biblical deductions about himself. At this point, it is sufficient to note that this is possible. How one evaluates his own thoughts is a separate issue. Second, a man knows only his own thoughts, and not other people’s thoughts. The followers of this philosophy that denies self-knowledge tripped up themselves because they failed to make this simple distinction between private and public knowledge.
They are usually debating believers about theories in philosophy and methods in apologetics, and occasionally debating unbelievers about the Christian faith, which is what these theories and methods should be used for in the first place. Almost all of this entails arguments about the correct public worldview, regardless of what a person knows or thinks in his own mind. We have a public first principle, and to others we make public deductions with public conclusions. But when we make deductions about ourselves on the basis of this same first principle, we supply premises that are private, that we cannot show to the public or prove to the public, even if we know that they are true. But this is irrelevant in most debates, since most debates concern public issues.”- Fulcrum. Pages 51-52. 2017.
 Vincent Cheung, “Presuppositional Confrontations,” 2010, p. 5-6
 Gordon Clark, Vol.1, “A Christian View of Men & Things,” (2005, pg.214). Published by The Trinity Foundation, Unicoi TN.
 Clark. Ibid. pg.214
 Clark. Ibid. Pg. 215-216
 Clark Ibid. Pg. 218.
 Clark. Ibid. pg.219, 221.
 Gordon Clark, “A Christian View of Men & Things,” (2005, pg.223). Published by The Trinity Foundation.
 He did use a weird mix of sensation and nubilous notions of the Greek god’s throughout his philosophy. However, he trying to mainly use rationalism.
 Gordon Clark, “A Christian View of Men & Things,” (2005, pg.223). Published by The Trinity Foundation.