Author Archives: osheadavis

Timelessness:

[This is a first draft from a small section of my upcoming Systematic Theology book]

“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

God is timeless, or exists in an “eternal state.” What does that mean?

God is Spirit, Power and intellectual. Thus, what is timeless is spiritual, intellectual force.

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.

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.[1]

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. 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 state. For this reason, “emotions,” are not part of the Divine Nature. Emotions change, but God does not change. God is timeless; yet, emotions by definition are measurable, and thus, are not timeless.

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, 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.

This does not mean there is no such thing as 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. For example, 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 about 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[2] for God, because it is merely pinpointing specific information that was part of God’s original timeless intuitive thought. For God, any specific thought about creation, does not add more information to His conclusion. For my readers, this section is dealing with many abstract concepts, however, to help see this, consider it 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 His time as incarnated Jesus).

End-notes————–

[1] Vincent Cheung. Sermonettes Vol 1. Chapter 2. “Creation: In the Beginning.” 2010.  Pg. 7

[2] 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 plain definition.

Deduction simply applies the knowledge

Helped a friend work out a syllogism yesterday, regarding God’s absolute sovereignty or causality. The important thing to remember here is that deduction is an application of knowldge, or that is, deduction does not manufacture new information and then add it to the conclusion, which is what induction does. For this reason all induction is a non-sequitur, that is, all inductive conclusion are, “it does not logically follow.” By importing new information not from your source premises, you just ruined all validity.
Deduction simply applies the knowledge already stated to particular instances. If the bible says, all men have sinned, then to say this to the particularly man Oshea (Oshea has sinned), is simply “applying” the knowledge. It does not makeup or manufacture new information to shove into the conclusion like induction does. Thus, when the Scripture shows a doctrine that God is the ulitmaite sovereign and absolutely controls all things, then to “apply” this knowledge one would need to affirmed it on every particular instance.
G.1: All [things that happened/ens] are [ caused by God].
G.2.: All [Adam’s fall] is [a thing that happened].
G.3. Thus, [Adam’s fall] is [caused by God].
Or since this is about causality, or ontology, I personally put such into propositional arguments. Here, I would put an extra conjunction in the antecedent, and so it would technically be a Natural Deduction format, but for simplicity, we will look at it as a basic Modus Ponens.
H.1. If (P) God caused/s all things to happen, and (Q) Adam’s fall is a thing that happened, then (R) God caused Adam’s fall.
H.2. P and Q.
H.3. Thus, R

The Eye of Yahweh is Watching for Those Who…

Behold, the eye of Yahweh is on those who fear him,
on those who hope
for his loyal love to deliver their soul from death
and to keep them alive in famine. (Psalm 33:18-19 LEB)
.
Oh, what joy for those
whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sin is put out of sight!
Yes, what joy for those
whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt,
whose lives are lived in complete honesty! (Psalm 32:1-2 NLT)
——–
God is pleased when we not only look to Him for spiritual love to forgive us our sins, and remove them, He is also pleased when we seek Him for help, prosperity and deliverance. Our verse mentions “to keep alive in famine.” Isaac planted in famine, in faith toward God’s promise to Abraham, and God gave it a 100 fold increase. That’s more than barely getting by. That is abundance. Regarding us seeking God for material help and blessing, it is said that God is actively looking for such people. How eager must God be to help, if He is already standing on the watch tower, peering over and actively looking and scanning, if anyone would only but ask and believe Him to be faithful to His promise. He wants to help more than you want to be rescued and blessed.

“…I will Be YOUR GOD, & you will be MY PEOPLE…”

Hebrews 8 quotes Jeremiah 31, which is prophesying about the terms stipulated in the New Covenant, or contract. There are 3 basic points of this contract that God is making with the elect through Jesus Christ the mediator.

First, is the cornerstone aspect of forgiveness. “I will not remember their sins anymore.” Later the writer of Hebrews puts it like this, (paraphrased), “When I forgive you of your sins, there is no longer a need for a sacrifice.” This teaches the finality of the issue. To put this into an analogy. Imagine you have sinned again today in that besetting sin you are fighting.  What do you do? If you think to yourself, “I will not talk to God for a while today and just read my Bible, then I will feel better for God will see me trying, and then I will pray to Him.” The issue with this is that you just “sacrificed” to get back in reconciliation with God.  Our covenant or contract with God ensures there is no longer sacrifices for sin, so that you can be reconciled to God. It is final. What this means, is that from God’s part, He never sees us as apart or distant. If you feel this way, it is a lie and you are deceived by Satan.  Hebrews 6 says it is impossible for God to lie. This is stating a category error. Just as it is not possible for a circle to be a square, it is not possible for God to lie. He is truth, and all His revelation is truth, without blemish. God’s agreement is that He considers us reconciled, thus we are. Period. As Hebrews also says, this new agreement is the forgiveness/forgetfulness of sin, not the conscience of sins. One way to see if  you are mature in believing what this covenant means is when you sin, can you see yourself, in the next moment opening the doors to the majestic throne room of power and march boldly to God almighty (before the watching eyes of elders and angels) and ask not only forgiveness but also for prosperity and blessings. If not, then you are relating to God as if you do not have a covenant with Him.

Second, is about God being our personal teacher and tutor. Some people pay high prices to get the best tutor for their children, whether it be in math, music or sports, so that they might be the best by being trained by the best. How precious it is to see written into the new covenant that God will be our personal trainer! 1 Corin. 2 Paul says, “No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.” God becomes our tutor, not by proxy, but by putting into our spirit, His very own Spirit. The one who knows God, is God’s Spirit. God gives us His Spirit. Paul later says in a category statement, “You have the Mind of Christ.” What is interesting is that Paul starts this section off by saying this is about maturity and mature wisdom in God. Then Paul’s main point about God’s teaching us, by having His Spirit put directly into us, is that the Spirit will help us know and receive all the unmerited goodies God is giving us.  What does it matter if you are poor or rich, talented or not, if God is your personal tutor, then there is no limit to how great you can become in the kingdom of God.

Third, which is the biggest part of the new covenant says, “I will be your God, and you will be my people.” This last stipulation in the agreement is huge! It includes all the promises of goodies, blessings, healings, heirship, sonship, helps and prosperities that cover the span the whole Scripture. Take for example the blessing of Abraham, which was based on God’s unmerited favor. Paul in Galatians 3 and 4 says this blessing is part of Jesus’ atonement for all those with faith. Therefore, it is part of the new contract. God is Abraham’s God, and Abraham is God’s people. This is seen vividly in the Exodus account. Pharaoh and the Egyptians where not God’s people and God was not their God. Rather, God was their enemy, and they were enemy to God. Israel was rescued and Egypt destroyed because God was God to Israel and Israel was God’s people. In fact, the last judgment was God killing the first born; this was the positive/direct action. The negative/indirect was God passing over those, to whom were His people, as He was on His direct action to kill His enemies.

Consider when Jacob admitted he was wrong, but then demanded, even physically fighting God, to bless him more. How can that be? God promised to bless; it is that simple. Without anyone influencing Him, God in total predestination and desire made the promise, because He wanted to. It is impossible for God to lie. God is not a man. He is actually faithful. Yet, the promise to bless Abraham was confirmed by the blood of animals, and the worm Jacob was able to fight God to bless Him more; however, in Christ, the blood of God was used to confirm His new contract with us! How much more will God bless us, when both the blessing of Abraham and Jesus is given to us, and confirmed by the blood of God?

Whether was King David or women like Hannah, they were all helped, blessed, healed and clothed in prosperity because God was their God and they were God’s people. All those promises they applied to them, are to be applied to us with even greater force. Psalm 103? Yes, it is yours in the new covenant with God. All your sins forgiven, all your sickness healed, all your needs met, and your youth renewed. David applied this to him under Abraham’s promise. How much more now under Christ’s atonement.

Vincent Cheung recently came out with an essay on our contract with God.[1] Vincent makes a point about this contract, that I had not considered in such clarity before.

He says,

To use marriage as an example again, whenever my wife asks for me she does not have to wonder if I would support her in that instance. Whenever we meet someone she does not have to wonder if I would prefer him or her over my wife this time. The act of forming the marriage covenant meant that, by this one motion, I had decided how I would treat her in every case in the future. If I had intended that I would decide how to treat her on a case-by-case basis, or on a day-by-day basis, I would not have formed the covenant, because it would be meaningless, and in fact there would be no actual covenant. It would be a contract that carries no terms, no conditions, and no promises. There would be no contract…

…The very point of a contract is to prevent decisions to be made on a case-by-case basis. The very reason for it is to declare the will of each party for future events. There is no need for a contract if one can discover the will of another only by observing what the other person does in each instance. By definition, a contract guarantees that one would know what the other person will do before he does it…

…God has a contractual right to approach us at any time to make demands on us. This is what it means to have such a contract. This is admitted without hesitation, but the reverse is also true. We have a contractual right to approach God at any time to make demands on him. Jesus said this in various ways to his disciples, repeating the teaching again and again. He said that if we would remain in him, or if we would ask in his name, then we could ask for whatever is our will, and it would be done for us, or given to us… If we do not believe that we can approach him like this, then we do not believe that he can approach us like this either.”[2]

Jesus on the night of His betrayal, in John 14-16 said, over and over and over and over and over, that his disciples are to ask for anything they wish in His name, and they will get it. In John 15 Jesus makes it clear, this includes all disciples because the point is about bearing fruit for the Father’s value. Those who do not remain are thrown into the flames of hell. As Vincent says, by contractual right, those who remain in Him are to ask and receive anything. By this the Father is publicly valued in the world. These are Jesus’ words and teaching. Thus, the context is for all disciples or followers of Jesus, who remain in Him. This is right before Jesus gives His famous high priest prayer. He is telling us the necessary outcome of His death, which in His blood, ratifies the new contract. Jesus is saying, you do not need to guess if I will answer your prayer on a case-by-case issue; rather, I am promising that I will always behave in this way with you. If you ask you will receive. If you seek you will find. The conditions of the contract are stipulated this way. As Vincent points out the obvious (which I had not myself considered carefully), a contract is about avoiding the whole situation of a “case by case” issue. In fact, that is how you treat outsiders. That is how you treat non-spouse. That is how you treat foreigners and aliens. That is how you treat those who are afar off.  This is like saying, “it’s a 50/50 chance.” A  contract is a guarantee that God will not treat you case-by-case; rather, its a promise that if these conditions are met (and in this case Jesus meets the conditions for us, as our substitutionary atonement), then you can pray for anything, and God will give it to you.

When I make a contract, let us say for a subscription, or house rental, I know how the other will react every month, and they know how I will react. I do not guess if Netflix might give me access to login, on a case-by-case issue every time I login. I also have no doubt, if they might or might not charge me, on a month-to-month case. The whole point of a contract is to know in precision and guarantee how the two parties will react.

Isaiah 53 says that Jesus bore (the same Levitical word in Leviticus 16 for the escape goat, and same word used in 53:11-12) our sickness. Our sickness was confessed on Jesus and then He bore them outside the gate to the place of the Skull. Thus, the necessary outcome in the contract is found in James 5:15 “And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick…” Jesus says that the bread of Abraham’s blessings is healing and necessary for Abraham’s children. It is necessary, because it is bound in blood in contract.

God, apart from the fact He is the sovereign God, on the basis of the New Contract is able to make demands on us. We were purchased with a price. Our bodies and new souls are a temple of God, and God demands we treat them as such. God, on this new contract, made a demand for Peter to feed His people. Peter, along with the other disciples demanded that God would apply Psalm 2, (which was not directly about them) to them, and God, on the basis of the new contract with them, applied Psalm 2 to them anyway (Acts 4).

The 3rd stipulation of the New Contract

Jacob: Lord Bless me even more, despite that I am a worm.
God: I am your God, and you are My people.

Joseph: You meant me evil, but God meant me good.
God: I am your God, and you are My people.

Hannah: Lord give me a son and take away my reproach.
God: I am your God, and you are My people.

Samson: Sovereign Lord, remember me.
God: I am your God, and you are My people.

Elijah: Rain, stop. Rain come back.
God: I am your God, and you are My people.

David: Lord give me strength to destroy my enemies.
God: I am your God, you are My people.

David: Forgive me.
God: I am your God, you are My People.

David: Prosper me and give me success.
God: I am your God, you are My people.

Jabez: Lord prosper me and protect me.
God: I am your God, you are my people.

Ruth: Lord, you will be my God, and your people my people.
God. I am now Your God, and you are now My people.

Blind man: Lord heal me.
God: I am your God, you are My people.

Woman bent over for 18 years: No record of her even asking.
God: I am your God, you are My people.

Roman Centurion, outside the timing of the New Contract: Lord just say the Word.
God: I am your God, and you are My people.

Canaanite woman, outside the timing of the New Contract: Lord, there are still crumbs.
God: I am your God, and you are My people.

Unnamed man healing in Jesus’ name: be healed in Jesus’ name.
God: I am your God, and you are My people.

Peter: get up little girl.
God: I am your God, and you are My people.

Peter: You have lied to the Holy Spirit, and so you will take your last breath.
God: I am your God, and you are My people.

Steven: I see God on His throne.
God: I am your God, and you are My people.

Paul: Fill these Gentiles with the power and baptism of your Spirit.
God: I am your God, and you are My people.

Paul to the Corinthians. Jesus became poor so that you can be wealthy and help those who need it.
God: I am your God, and you are My people.

Rahab the Harlot: God is not with my people, but is with yours; let me join you.
God: I am now your God, and you are now My people.

On the Day of Atonement the blood was brought in to be sprinkled on the mercy seat. Today, Jesus is on the right hand of God, and sits in a throne of power and a seat of mercy. It is as if God took His heavenly pen and dipped it in the blood of His Son (even the blood that came from “by His stripes we are healed”), and penned the New Contract with it.

This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—

an agreement confirmed with my blood,” (NLT 1 Corin. 11:25).

    1. I will not remember your sins
    2. I will be your personal tutor.
    3. I will be your God and You will be my People.
      (…those who are in this contract may ask anything in my Son’s name, in faith, and they will have it.)

Endnotes—————–

[1] Vincent Cheung. “Our Contract with God.” Web. July 2020. www.vincentcheung.com

[2]  Vincent Cheung. “Our Contract with God.” Web. July 2020. www.vincentcheung.com 
( https://www.vincentcheung.com/2020/07/21/our-contract-with-god/ )

Faith, The First Theology: “God did Say?”

The Lord God commanded the man,

You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;  but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman,

Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”[1]

What was the first school lecture, or first doctrine taught by God to humanity? Relative to how we read our Bible, the first might be said, to be ontology (referring to God creating) or to epistemology (God is “revealing” that He is created all things). However, what I am referring to is what is relative to humanity (represented by Adam and Eve). That is, when God stops and gives the first personal lecture to humanity, what is this about? Or, when God’ holds the first school class for all of mankind, what does God teach in this first class? God does not contradict Himself, for He is the Logic (Logos) itself. God cannot lie. God is super smart. He literally is the source of all knowledge and treasure of all understanding and wisdom. When the King of Ages gives the first lecture to man He created, what is this pivotal knowledge? What is the opening lecture that sets the stage for all other teachings afterwards?

The first lecture is agreeing to what God classifies as true; or that is, the first lecture is about faith. God creates all things. God even created categories that do not exist and from scratch, designs them, creates them and then places created things into His own created rules (or order) and categories. God even created the invisible mind of man, and the invisible thoughts and invisible knowledge of man (Romans 2:15). If only Plato could have turned from shadows dancing on a cave wall, to the King of Ages, then he would have found the source of all categories that he was looking for.

In one way, the Scripture is heaven’s dictionary or encyclopedia for mankind. After God creates all things, all categories and sustains them by His power, God then publicly gives descriptions or definitions to what He created.  God points to the thing He created and says, “this is its definition, engage with this created thing with the definition I give it.” God considers a particular point of reality and says, “this is its category, this its name, and this is the reason I created it.”

Normally, if I were to start with a systematic theology, I would begin with epistemology; however, for this topic we start with metaphysics because of the context.  The reason we normally start with epistemology is that if knowledge is not possible, then knowledge about creation, categories and the nature of faith does not exist.  Without knowledge, there is no point in teaching about the knowledge of metaphysics and the knowledge of ethics. There would be nothing to say and nothing to think about. Once knowledge is possible in a system-of-thinking, then we can move on to knowledge about reality and knowledge about ethics. For this essay, we will assume epistemology (for more see, Vincent Cheung, Systematic Theology and Ultimate Questions).

On one hand, “faith” just makes sense in the context of the Christian system in a pragmatic way of looking at it. If God created all things, then He gets to define the things He created as He so wishes. Thus, if we do not interact with God’s reality with His correct definitions, then our interaction with reality will be defective, unsuccessful and unreliable.

However, there is more to it than the ontological interaction, for there are moral definitions and consequences in this reality God created. For example, faith is itself an ethic, because God commands faith. Even with the gospel of Jesus Christ Paul says in Acts 17, God has commanded all to repent and believe in Jesus Christ. Ethics is what you ought to do. Faith is what you ought to do; thus, it is an ethic. All ethics are from God’s command.  Therefore, we need to quickly go over what is an ethic, and what is responsibility.

As with ontology, there is nothing more basic than God Himself. Thus, a doctrine of privation is a blasphemy to describe evil, because it makes something other than God more foundational in regards to existence and causality.  If evil results from the privation of God (and God is good), then God is not the most foundational ontology in existence.[2] The same is with responsibility. If God Himself is responsible, then God is not the final authority. It would mean if you take the Christian God away, there is another God behind God. God would not be God. Responsibility presupposes an “authority over you.” There is no one over God by definition and by revelation of Scripture. God is therefore not responsible for anything He does. Therefore, Moses says, “All God’s ways are just,” (Deut. 32:4). If God moves His pinky finger, then it is by definition a just and righteous action. God is said to be just because He is faithful to His promise and revelation. However, God is consistent in this way not because He is being held accountable under a higher authority; rather, God’s Nature itself makes it impossible for Him to lie (Hebrews 6:18). Its like saying God’s nature is a circle, and a lie is a square. A square-circle is a contradiction; it does not exist in the mind or in reality. It has no being. God is truth, and so, He cannot lie.

God created all things, even categories themselves. He upholds His own creation by His power, within the categories He created. He has revealed to man what He has created and why He did so. God cannot lie, and so, what He has revealed is a precise and correct explanation of reality. God will sometimes change things in His own creation; He might get rid of some types of categories and make new ones. However, He has promised that all things necessary for life and godliness has been revealed to us. Therefore, all important ultimate questions about reality, and their changes if so, God has revealed to man in the Scripture. For example, there were no seasons before the flood, then afterward God changed it. God did it by unstoppable force and power. He then pointed to this new aspect of reality, and He revealed to us precise definitions of it.  The same is with the old Mosaic covenant, and new covenant made in Christ’s blood. God points to this specific aspect of reality and says, “this is the correct definition for it.”

How painfully obvious is the pragmatic effectiveness, success and certainty if we interact with creation by God’s definition of it.

As for human ethics, God points to man and says, “this is your definition, act like it.” God does the same thing, for example with a fig tree; however, the fig tree has no mind, so there is no relative level ontology to describe here in relation to a mind. As for man, even though God controls directly and absolutely all things, even man’s mind, God interacts with man on the relative level. God tells man, “this is my definition for you, interact and move within this description.” As for the fig tree, it has bark and leaves and does (if the scientists are right) the process of photosynthesis because it is the definition God gave it. The tree does not think about its own definition, because it has no mind. It was not made in God’s image. This does not mean, such things as trees are not accountable. Jesus found a fig tree with no fruit and cursed it. The tree was accountable for the sole reason that it was not free, but under God’s authority. The same is for man. However, man made in God’s image is able to think about reality and the truth about it.

Because God has commanded faith in His revealed definitions, man is not merely to think about reality; rather, man ought to move and behave within the definition that God defined man with. Mankind will be held accountable to this, because man is not free relative to God’s authority and command over Him.[3] Even the concept of what is value, if it is something man ought to value or not ought to value is an ethic, because it is about what we ought to do. That is, it is about God giving us a definition about some aspect of reality and commanding us to interact with (x) as something valuable or not valuable. It is based in God’s commandments.

This leads to a point of caution. The category of ontology/metaphysics is not the same category of ethics. The category error, of equivocating these two distinct categories, is the favorite pastime of many theologians. A description about metaphysics cannot logically/validly deduce into a conclusion of ethics(ought). It would not logically follow. It would not be an application of knowledge. Now, there is some connections between these, but they are not the same, and there is a logical order to the structure when thinking about them. Christian ethics work within the order of God’s sovereignty over all things, His revelation to man, His definition of man, and finally His command to man. God’s command is not only a definition about aspects of reality, it is a definition about God’s creation called mankind, and that God will hold man accountable to operate within this definition.

The Garden of Christ

This was the first school lesson for mankind. God gave His correct and precise description about what mankind is, to Adam and Eve. God said they will be accountable by His authority to interact within this definition. Satan comes along and tempts them to not agree with God’s definition. Satan in essence says, “Even though God created and controls all reality, should you trust His definition of it?” “Did God really say that about (x)….?” Satan appealed to things like lusting for more of something and pride; however, those were the symptoms, or additives. The foundational issue was about faith in God’s definition about His reality.

Two points.

One. God’s definition was correct, and Satan’s a lie. Just because someone says something in a sentence does not mean it is intelligent. I can say, “Do you really have to exist, in order to deny your own existence?”  I could say that as a snake, your pastor or a Greek philosopher, but the result would still be the same self-refuting nonsense. Adam did not have the Scripture, but he did have innate knowledge (God’s laws), that was not suppressed by sin. In order to overcome man, Satan, attacked his enemy with deception and lies.

Second. The foundation of Satan’s lie used a starting point of empiricism rather than God’s revelation. Adam had self-awareness. He knew he was created as an adult, and preinstalled with all the knowledge, logic and understanding by God’s power, and not Adam’s.

And so, Satan first injected doubt about God as a starting point. “Did God really say.” This is a negative apologetic attack, against God as an epistemology. Then Satan does a positive apologetic for empiricism. “YOU, look at how attractive this fruit is to benefit you.” Satan encourages man to start knowledge with “man,” and “how man sees and observes such and such.” Or for a simple contrast, The kingdom of God, versus, the Kingdom of self.  It is God’s revelation, versus, man’s speculation.

Paul in contrast to what Satan said, says the opposite, “we live by faith, not by sight,” (2 Corn. 5:17).” Paul further says in 1 Corinthians 1 that man by his wisdom did not know God. Next in Chapter 2 verse 4 Paul says by the power of the Spirit He gave a deduction (“demonstration”) (obviously from Scripture), so that the Corinthian’s faith, is in God rather than man. Major premises started from God’s word. Next, the Corinthians applied themselves to God’s revelation. The Greeks, which according to Paul, “seek for (human) wisdom,” could not discover God. The Greek philosophers had two main epistemologies (3 if you include the self-refuting skeptics): Plato as a rationalist, and everyone else (From Socrates to Aristotle) where empiricists. All these Greek epistemologies had one thing in common, they all started with “man as a starting point”. The only honest one was Plato who admitted that by his rationalism, he could not get to the realm of the categories(forms/logos).

So, whether in the first days of the Garden or in a New Testament Church, God is constantly teaching and reteaching this subject. We are to start with God’s revelation and believe His words; we are to do this over all human starting points (or non-God starting points). Seeing this is the foundational attack of our greatest enemy against us, should we not take time to consider it and make preparations to withstand it? Should we not practice with our divine armor and weapons so as to defend and defeat our foe?

Yet, it seems even preachers take more time in a sermon to explain why Jesus did NOT REALLY SAY, “I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will have it,” (Mark 11:24). Their exegesis is mostly about, “Jesus really did not say that.” It makes one think who side these preachers are on?

Here is the real issue. It is about deductions from the Scripture as our only epistemology. It is starting with God’s Revelation rather than man’s speculation. It is to say, “Yes, Jesus did say,” rather than to hiss out, “Did Jesus really say that”.

Those who question, “Did God really say that,” do not have a valid deduction from Scripture to say this. Instead they seek for a sign, or for human wisdom. But as Jesus says, an evil person seeks for a sign. They say, “physician heal yourself,” and proceed in informal fallacies of ad- hominem attacks. God is the foundation of theology, not man. God is the only first principle of Knowledge. There is no knowledge from observations. Wait?  Who was the fool that told you that knowledge comes from human observations?  Because God is the foundation of theology it is a non-relevant point if a person does not do what the Scripture says. If God says, then that is the only correct definition of reality.

They say, “Oshea heal thyself.” Or, “history for the past 1,500 years, “heal thyself.”” I have experienced some success in healing ( and I know others with better success), but that is not even relevant in a logical argument. It is an ad-hominem fallacy. What does God’s revelation say? They seek a sign that God’s word is true. They read in God’s book, “…God did say…,” but then they seek a sign for God to prove it. However, Jesus said even if someone from the dead comes back to preach to them, they still would not believe. Jesus did give these a sign. It is a book called the Scripture. Jesus stands before these sign seekers (reformed, traditionalist, non-faith-ers) and throws a book at their feet. Jesus points to it and says, “read and believe it and live. Disbelieve it and burn in hell fire.” Of course they hate this, because they want a sign to prove the book is true. And so, it is foolishness to them. Yet, the fact is, they have their sign. The issue is whether they will say, “yes, God did say,” or “this is what I observe and say.” Their sign seeking would make the Jewish leaders in Jesus’ day blush with envy.

They say, “I do not see this.” Or, in the past a bunch of pastors got together and said, “WE do not see these miracles or healings Jesus promised, and so WE come together to publicly say, ““God did not really say; He meant something different; this something different is what WE see and observe, and calculate.”” These are David Hume, empiricist sluts. They seek wisdom the same way the Greek philosophers Socrates and Aristotle did. Their starting point for knowledge is a human starting point. They produce major premises to deduce from, by what they observe or by what other men in history observed. It is a kingdom of men, a kingdom centered on self. Jesus’ wisdom to these, is the same for the sign seekers. Jesus stands before these human wisdom seekers and throws a book at their feet. Jesus points to it and says, “read and believe it and live. Disbelieve it and burn in hell fire.” This of course is foolishness to them, because they seek a human starting point, not a God starting point. God is not the foundation of their theology. And so it is madness to them.

The Garden of Eden was Great, But Yahweh’s Garden Is Better

In Jesus, our garden is the very Garden that is in Yahweh’s house. In this garden are all sorts of promises and fruits to partake. The golden apples in the Garden of Hesperides cannot compare. Let us sample some choice selections.

Jesus replied,  “Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.  But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!  When you produce much fruit , you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.” (NLT). John 15:6-8.

Yes, Jesus did say.
Jesus did say you can pluck this fruit and partake of its sweetness. And in return it becomes fruit in your own life, that proves you are a disciple.

Psalm 103:2–5 (LEB)  “Bless Yahweh, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits: who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,  who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with loyal love and mercies, who satisfies your life with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

Yes, God did say.
God did say you can pluck this fruit and partake of its sweetness.

 “And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins ⌊he will be forgiven⌋.  Elijah was a human being with the same nature as us, and ⌊he prayed fervently⌋ for it not to rain, and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.  And he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the earth produced its fruit.” (James 5:15–18 LEB).

Yes, God did say.
God did say you can pluck this fruit and partake of its sweetness.

“Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,” ( Acts 2:38 NLT).

Yes, God did say.
God did say you can pluck this fruit and partake of its sweetness.

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, he will have what he says. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will have it.” (Mark 11:22-24 NIV)

Yes, Jesus did say.
Jesus did say you can pluck this fruit and partake of its sweetness.

Will you partake, or will Satan continue to lead you to seek more signs and more human wisdom?

———–Endnotes———–

[1] Genesis 2:16-17, 3:1

[2] Vincent says this well and has taught me on this subject. He says, “… This exposes the dangerous implication of the idea that evil is the mere privation of good. That is, if evil is the mere privation of good, and God is good, it would mean that evil is ontologically more basic than God himself. Since evil is necessarily associated with an entity, it could even suggest that Satan is more basic than God. Therefore, those who use this principle as some kind of theodicy or to distance God from evil not only ends up with a version of dualism, but also ends up with Satan as the supreme entity instead of God. It ends in blasphemy.

God is ontologically the most basic entity, and he is good. He is always good and righteous, and therefore it must be “good” that there is evil (although evil itself is evil, and not good). …

Vincent Cheung. “Evil and Privation.” From, The Author of Sin, 2005, pg 45.

[3] Gordon Clark and Vincent Cheung first taught me about his subject. Here is Vincent saying “… If God says something is wrong, then it is wrong to do it, regardless of the context or choice, and regardless of freedom. In fact, the Bible says that the non-Christian is unable to obey God’s law. If sin presupposes the freedom or ability to obey God’s command, or to not sin, then all non-Christians are already sinless, since all of them are unable to obey God, and they would require no salvation. However, it is precisely because they are sinful and unable to change that they need Jesus Christ to save them…”

Vincent Cheung,  http://www.vincentcheung.com, “Homosexuality and the Wrath of God.” Emphasis added by author.  Sermonettes Vol.5 chapter 20.

Stop Humping on Empiricism for a Moment

Isaiah 53 Makes Healing On Demand as much as Salvation on Demand, by faith, by the same accomplished atonement and intercession of Jesus Christ. If you negate one (usually healing) then you logically negate forgiveness of sins by the blood and intercession of Jesus Christ.

Some might complain, like a David Hume empiricist slut,[1] that this is not what I see and observe. Yet this presupposes that empiricism is a starting point of knowledge. Such a starting point would logically be a more foundational point than Scripture, because it would end up evaluating Scripture by it’s content. If you could stop humping on empiricism for a moment, then you might see the perverted rebellion and disgrace you are committing against God. I ask, when have the abysmal deficiencies of empiricism ever been answered? You know the Scripture gives infallible testimony of observations being wrong? You know this, right?[2] Ah, that’s right, you are already judging the Scripture with your observation anyway, so I guess appealing to the Scripture as a starting point, is wasted with a pervert like you.

You say that commanding people to have faith to receive healing that is given in Jesus’ bloodshed, puts too much of a burden on people? Are you serious? You cannot be that stupid. Wait, maybe you are? If you claim not to be a Christian, I cannot be judged by you, and so I do not care. If you claim to be a Christian then you have shared the gospel and done evangelism, correct? Ok. Wait, you still don’t get it do you? You have the audacity to burden people with the eternal state of their souls, being their responsibility to have faith in God’s atonement, or else burn in the torments of hell, and suffer eternal damnation. You burden them further by telling them that their loved ones (parents and children) have the same responsibility of faith, so that they are burning in Hell, if they lacked faith in God’s atonement.  Yet, you dare say that I am burdening people with the “temporary” responsibility of healing by their faith in God’s atonement? How dense can you get?

Christ Our Healer:

“That Isaiah 53:4 cannot refer to disease of the soul, and that neither of the words translated “sickness” and “pain” have any reference to spiritual matters but to bodily sickness alone, is proven by Matthew 8:16, 17 – ” . . . and He cast out the spirits with His word, and healed all that were sick; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias, the Prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” This is an inspired commentary on this 4th verse of Isaiah 53, plainly declaring that the prophet refers to bodily ailments, and therefore the word “sickness,” choli, must be read literally in Isaiah.  The same Holy Spirit who inspired this verse quotes it in Matthew as the explanation of the universal application by Christ of His power to heal the body.  To take any other view is equal to accusing the Holy Spirit of making a mistake in quoting His own prediction.

From You and Me to Calvary

In the 4th verse, the word “borne” (nasa) means to lift up, to bear away, to convey, or to remove to a distance.  It is a Levitical word, and is applied to the scapegoat, that bare away the sins of the people.  “The goat shall bear (nasa) upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited; and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness” (Lev. 16:22).  So Jesus bore my sins and sicknesses away “[outside] the camp” to the cross.  Sin and sickness have passed from me to Calvary  – salvation and health have passed from Calvary to me.

Again, in this 4th verse of the Redemption Chapter the Hebrew verbs for “borne” and”carried” (nasa and sabal) are both the same as are used in the 11th and 12th verses for the substitutionary bearing of sin, “He shall bear (carry) their iniquities,” and “He shall bear the sin of many.” Both words signify to assume as a heavy burden, and denote actual substitution, and a complete removal of the thing borne.  When Jesus bore our sins, our sicknesses and our pains, He bore them away, or removed them.  Both these words mean substitution, one bearing another’s load.

On this point, permit me to quote from “JESUS OUR HEALER written by the Rev.  W. C. Stevens.  He says:

This prophecy presents healing as, an integral part of the vicarious Atonement . . . Now, whatever be the sense of these two Hebrew verbs (nasa and sabal), the same sense must be applied in both cases, namely, of sin-bearing and sickness-bearing.  To pervert the sense in one case would give liberty to pervert it in the other.  And that the sense of the verbs as relating to sin, not only here in this prophecy, but everywhere else in the Old Testament, is strictly vicarious and expiatory, no evangelical student disputes.  This prophecy, therefore, gives the same substitutionary and expiatory character to Christ’s connection with sickness that is everywhere given to His assumption of our sins.”

(FF Bosworth, Christ Our Healer)

—–EndNotes—–

[1] For more see Vincent Cheung: Systematic Theology, &, Presuppositional Confrontations, &, Captive to Reason. And See Gordon Clark, A Christian View of Men and Things.

[2] See, Vincent Cheung. Presuppositional Confrontations. 2010. Pg 70.

Share the Same Blessing Abraham Received

So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith. (3:9)
 
Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith.(3:14)
 
For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his (unmerited favor) gave it to Abraham through a promise.(3:18 NIV)
 
For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.(3:26)
 
And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you. (3:26)
 
God sent Jesus to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.”
Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child.
And since you are his child, God has made you his heir. (4:5-7)
 
Paul’s letter to the Galatians. NTL
 
 
It was based on this promise that Abraham’s servant in faith asked for a bride for Isaac. That is, this is what a servant and not the receiver of the blessing was able to do. It was based on this promise that Isaac was able to produce 100 fold in famine. It was on this promise, in faith, Isaac blessed Jacob with the first born promise, and it happened just as it was spoken, even though Jacob took it by deception. It was on this promise that Joseph, in faith, was made the second highest ruler in Egypt, and by faith had his bones taken out and moved to the promised land.
 
We have the same promise of blessing by unmerited favor, not by works. On this promise a daughter of Abraham received healing from the oppression of Satan on her physical body (bent over for 18 years). On this promised blessing healing is called by Jesus as everyday normal bread. On this promise, even those outside of it, bent down, picked up its crumbs and received power to cast out demons for their outsider children. On this promise, the Spirit of God and miracles are given to God’s children.

God is the Foundation for all Theology, even with Ethics

You cannot go beyond God to find a reason for ethics. If you did so, then you cannot do it without establishing a dual ontology or authority with/over God. God’s sovereignty over you is what makes a command a command, and not something else. God created you, in absolute sovereign power. You are not free from God’s hold on metaphysics and His revealed definitions about mankind, and this is the foundation for ethics. Consider our patriarch King David. Compare his words to Romans chapter 9. David says because God created him, (A sovereign authority over David, which David is not free from) he needs to understand how to obey Him.
Ps 119:73 LEB
“Your hands have made me and established me;
give me understanding that I may learn your commands.”
Or Paul’s argument:
If the Creator takes me from a neutral clay lump(that is not already bad) and makes me into a wicked pot, and I obviously go along with God’s causality, then why does God find fault with me, even if He commanded me to do good? He finds fault because you did not do what He commanded, regardless of the ontology of it.
Romans 9,
“Well then, you might say, “Why does God blame people for not responding? Haven’t they simply done what he makes them do?””
Both affirm God’s commands presuppose the fact God is a sovereign over something, and that this something is not free relative to God. Paul takes it further by saying, even if God causes (on the ultimate level ) you to behave against His commands (like He did with Pharaoh) you are still accountable because God is a sovereign creator over you, and you are not free from Him. As said before, God is the foundation of all theology. The issue is that God will do what He wants. If he decides to hold Pharaoh or a fig tree accountable, then its accountable, regardless of anything else that might be added.

John Calvin: You are Commanded to Obtain what you Ask; Otherwise, You are a Rebellious Pervert

From, John Calvin Institutes, from the public domain ccel publicized edition. I have done a medium copy-edit, “modernization” of the English.

I post this because I agree with Calvin’s understanding of Scripture on this doctrine of faith in prayer. I do not call myself an Calvinist, and so have no desire to talk about Calvin. One point to consider, is even if one is a cessationist, yet what Scripture says is available in faith (and Calvin affirms), would give access to all what cessationism denies. As Vincent Cheung says, “Cessationist are pointless.” Yet, pentecostals are in equal condemnation, for they rely too much on the gifts, and negate what is available through basic faith in God’s promise. 

…though Satan works to block up all the paths to prevent us from praying, we may, nevertheless break through. We are firmly persuaded that although not free of all hindrances, our attempts are pleasing to God, and our wishes are approved, provided we are diligent to keep their aim, even if we do not immediately acquire it.

No man is worthy to come forward in His own name and appear in the presence of our heavenly Father and God. However, to ease us instantly from fear and shame, which all feel oppressed by, God has given us His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. God made Him to be our Advocate and Mediator, so that under His guidance we may approach securely. Therefore, we know with all confidence that with Jesus, as our Intercessor, nothing which we ask in His name will be denied to us, for there is nothing which the Father can deny to His Son (1 Tim. 2:5; 1 John 2:1; see sec. 36, 37).

It is necessary to mention what we have previously taught concerning faith. Here is the big idea: the promise gives us Christ as our Mediator, therefore, unless our hope of obtaining what we ask is founded on Him, it deprives us of the privilege of prayer. If we think of the dread majesty of God, then we are filled with alarm. We know our own unworthiness keeps us far away, until Christ intervenes. He must, therefore, convert a throne of dreadful glory into a throne of grace. And so, the Apostle teaches that we can therefore, “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need,” (Heb. 4:16). Regarding prayer, this rule has been laid down: a promise has been given that those who pray will be heard. We are explicitly commanded to pray in the name of Christ, for the promise is that we will obtain what we ask in His name. “Whatsoever you shall ask in My name,” says our Savior, “that will I do; that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” & “Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full,” (John 14:13; 16:24). Thus, it is indisputably clear that those who pray to God in any other name than that of Christ, are rebellious perverts who falsify His orders. They regard His will as nothing. They have no promise that they shall obtain. For, as Paul says, “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us,” (2 Cor. 1:20); that is, they are confirmed and fulfilled in Christ.

…In genuine prayer we do not arrogantly extol ourselves before God. We do not set great value on anything of our own. Instead, while confessing our guilt, we utter our sorrows before God, just as children intimately lay their needs before their parents. Indeed, the immensity of our sins should spur us on and incite us to prayer even more. About this, the Psalmist gives an example, “I said, “Lord, be merciful to me; Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You,” (Ps. 41:4). I confess, these stings would prove mortal darts to the soul, if God had not given us help.  Our heavenly Father has given us help. By overwhelming kindness, God has added a remedy that calms all our worries, soothes all our cares, and dispels all our fears. Through such kindness, God lowers Himself and allures us to Himself. Yes! By making the obstacles to Him level and making the way smooth before us, our Father removes all our doubts.

By commanding us to pray, God, by the very act of ordering us, condemns us of perverse rebellion if we do not obey. He could not give a more precise command than which is contained in the Psalms: “Call upon me in the day of trouble,” (Ps. 50:15). Because there is no application of holiness more frequently commanded by Scripture, there is no reason to dwell any longer upon it. “Ask,” says our Divine Master, “and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you,” (Mt. 7:7). In this passage, God adds a promise to the precept; this is necessary, because of our weakness. Even if all confess that we must obey the precept, yet the greater part would ignore the invitation of God, if He did not promise He would listen and be ready to answer. Because these two doctrines are laid down [the command and promise], then undeniably, all who protest this declare themselves as those who do not directly approach God. They are rebellious and disobedient. They are also condemned by their unbelief, because they distrust the promises.

There are more reasons to investigate this doctrine further. You see, these religious fanboys are clothed with false humility and holiness. They proudly despise God’s precept. There is an additional sin as well. These hypocrites deny all credit to the gracious invitation of God. Indeed, this false holiness robs God of a principal part of His worship. Consider that the pinnacle of holiness appeared in sacrifices; however, God rejected and said He did not desire sacrifices. In doing so, God elevated something else as the greatest and chief thing He desires. This holiness, which is precious in God’s sight above all others, is for us to call upon Him in the day of need. And so, this command is God merely demanding which is already His own. He urges us to obey with eagerness. Therefore, doubting in prayer, no matter how good of an excuse it may seem, cannot justify us. Therefore, throughout Scripture, in which we are commanded to pray, there is displayed before our eyes numerous banners, to inspire us with confidence.

If God did not eagerly wait us by His own invitation, then it would be arrogant for us to march before His throne in prayer. He opens the way for us by His own voice, “I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God,” (Zech. 13:9). How obvious it is, that He anticipates His worshippers and desires for them to follow the command. Therefore, we cannot fear that the melody, which He Himself commands, will prove unpleasing. Especially let us call to mind that noble description of the Divine character, knowing we shall easily overcome every obstacle: “O You who hear prayer, To You all flesh will come,” (Ps. 65:2). What can be more lovely or calming, than to see God invested with a title, which assures us that nothing is more proper to His nature than to listen to the prayers of servants? And so, the Psalmist infers, that free access is given, not to a few individuals, but to all men, because God addresses all in these terms, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me,” (Ps. 50:15). Consider David’s appeals to the promise that guarantees that He will obtain what he asks: “For You, O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, have revealed this to Your servant, saying, ‘I will build you a house.’ Therefore Your servant has found it in his heart to pray this prayer to You,” (2 Sam. 7:27). The logical inference is that David would have been afraid if it where not for the promise that emboldened him. In another passage he fortifies himself with the general doctrine, “He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him,” (Ps. 145:19). Some might see in the Psalms that the necessity of our prayer is broken, when a transition is made to the mere power of God, at another to His mere goodness, at another to the mere faithfulness of His promises. It might seem to some that David, by introducing these sentiments, strangely injures his own prayers. However, many believers know by experience, that their zeal grows relaxed unless new fuel is added to their faith. Therefore, to mediate on God’s nature and on His precious truths during prayer, is not unnecessary; rather, is precisely what we ought to do. And so, let us emulate the example of David, and introduce thoughts which resurrect our sluggish minds, with new vigorous of faith.  

How strange it is, for these delightful promises, to bounces off such icy hearts. It seems most men prefer to wander up and down, while forsaking the fountain of living waters set before their face.[1] They dig out to for themselves broken cisterns, rather than embracing the Divine charity that is freely offered to them. “The name of the Lord,” says Solomon, “is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” Joel, after predicting the fearful disaster which was at hand, anchors the following memorable sentence: “And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.” This we know properly refers to the Gospel. Scarcely one in a hundred is moved to come into the presence of God, though God Himself exclaims by Isaiah, “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” This honor God elsewhere gives to the whole Church in general, as belonging to all the members of Christ: “He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him,” (Ps 91). My intention, is to select some admirable passages as a specimen, showing how kindly God allures us to Himself. Thus, how extreme our ingratitude must be, when such powerful motives are displayed, and our doubts still slow us down. Wherefore, let these words always resound in our ears: “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth,” (Ps. 145:18). Likewise those passages from Isaiah and Joel, declares that God’s ear is open to our prayers. He is delighted with us, as a sweet-smelling sacrifice, when we cast our cares upon Him. We receive the great benefits of these promises, when we are not timid or doubtful. In addition, even though we see God’s great majesty, by trusting His word, we must be bold to call Him Father. Remember, it was God Himself who gave the delightful title of, Our Father, to His name.

Encouraged by such invitations we have sufficient reasons for prayer. Our prayers depend on no merit of our own; rather, all guarantee of success is founded and depend on the promises of God. Our prayers need no other support. They require no further investigation for success. There is a mistake, that needs to be addressed, regarding the value we put on the high sacredness of patriarchs, prophets, and apostles. The command to pray, and obtain what we ask for, is not special to them. The command to pray is common to us as well as them, and faith is common. Therefore, if we lean on the Word of God, we are in respect of this privilege, associates of the patriarchs, prophets, and apostles. For God declares He will listen and be favorable to all.  This encourages the most wretched to hope that they shall obtain what they ask. Therefore, we should exclude none from first to last; only let there be sincerity of heart, true humility, and faith. If we do this, then we will avoid the hypocrisy of a deceitful prayer, and not profane the name of God.

Our most merciful Father will not reject those whom He encourages to come, and even urges in every possible way to approach Him. Therefore David’s method of prayer to which I lately referred: “And now, O Lord God, You are God, and Your words are true, and You have promised this goodness to Your servant,” (2 Sam. 7:28). So also, in another passage, “Let, I pray, Your merciful kindness be for my comfort, According to Your word to Your servant,” (Psalm 119:76). The Israelites show that because it was God Himself who gave the covenant, that they are not to ask timidly from God. (Gen. 32:13). Take for example the patriarch Jacob, who admitted he was unworthy of the many mercies which the Lord poured into his hand. However, even after this confession, he was encouraged to make still larger requests, because God had promised that he would grant them.

Therefore, even with the stupid excuses that unbelievers give, when they do not flee to God as often as necessity urges, or seek after Him, or ask for His aid, they defraud God of His honor. Such people are no better off, if they were to fabricate for themselves new gods and idols, because both are denying that God is the author of all their blessings. Christians are free from every doubt, by knowing that no obstacle should impede them while they are obeying the command of God, because they know nothing is more delightful to God than obedience. And so, a bold spirit to pray before God is in unity with fear and reverence of God. There is no contradiction when God raises up those who had fallen prostrate before Him, by giving them what they ask for. And so, although believers are persuaded of the paternal love of God and cheerfully rely on his faithfulness, remain humble and reverent before Him.

———-Endnotes————–

[1] (see also Jer. 2:13; Prov. 18:10; Joel 2:32; Is. 65:24; Ps. 91:15; 145:18)

 

1. & 1.2 Epistemology (Book)

This from my forthcoming book: Systematic Theology.  These are the first two chapters on Epistemology (first draft).

 

(I say this sometimes for clarity, Vincent is the main pastor I read, and so I quote him often; however, I am not officially with him or represent him.)

1. Epistemology.

Epistemology is the starting point of knowledge for one’s worldview thinking. That is, when considering your system-of-thinking about the world, where does the knowledge start or originate from?

Streaming from this is the next logical question, how does one know what they really know? If your knowledge starts with ‘x’ starting point, then does it make knowledge possible or not?

Before defining Epistemology in more specific ways, it is important to know why in the broader context of all the ultimate questions do we start with the question of knowledge (or maybe metaphysics) rather than, for example, ethics? The reason we do not start with ethics is that ethics “presuppose” all the other ultimate questions, otherwise such a discussion would be unintelligible and unmeaningful. It is possible to talk about knowledge without ethics, but without knowledge how do you talk about “knowledge,” of ethics? What about metaphysics? Without a reality how can ethics exit? If ethics are for man, how can you intelligently talk about ethics applied to man without anthropology? If man is perfect, why even talk about ethics? What a waste of time that would be. If man is not perfect, then you cannot talk about this with some sort of soteriology and theology.  If ethics are applied to man, then man is accountable, but without an authority over man, how is man accountable, because accountability presupposes you are not free but under an authority?[1]

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

1.      Scripture / God’ self-Revelation.

 

2.      God’s absolute and direct Sovereignty over all things.

 

3.      Creation of man. The story of the two groups of mankind as God’s elect children and of reprobation.

 

4.      Jesus as the Logos, and man created in the Logos’ image.

 

5.      The command to subdue the earth, for pragmatic helpfulness, and not for finding truth.

 

6.      Man’s sin, and then salvation by Jesus.
(i.e. Soteriology, Theology)
This is essentially a SUB-category of Metaphysics.

 

Conclusion:

7.      Undefiled Religion is faith in God, loving your neighbor as oneself and taking care of widows.

Ultimate Questions

 1.    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.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4]

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.[5] 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.[6]

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

Summary: Definition

The Christian starting point for knowledge is God’s revelation. The emphasis might seem overtly obvious, but since most mistakes happen at the rudimentary level, it is best to go over them and even repeat them.  If the Christian epistemology is “God’s revelation,” THEN it is by GOD; it is GOD (not something else) REVEALING. This is like saying, if my epistemology is empiricism (knowledge comes by sensation), then empiricism and not something else is revealing the knowledge.  Or, if my starting point is the Easter Bunny, then it was the Easter Bunny and not Roger Rabbit that gives me knowledge.

Earlier it was said that one must have a starting point, because the alternative of skepticism and not having one is impossible with reality. It was also said, that if you use the contents of a starting point “b” to evaluate starting point “n”, then “b” is in fact judging “n,” and “n” is not in fact a “starting” point. And now applying the law of identity, if “b,” is your starting point then it is not something else like “n.”

And so before we even get to the contents of “specifics” of the Scripture’ teaching on epistemology, we already know some “general” and “necessary” aspects of a starting point.

What it is & What it is not.  

Quick note: in this following discussion, it will presuppose some basic understanding of Christian metaphysics, or that is God’s absolute and direct sovereignty. This will be mentioned here, but taught in a following chapter.

This leads to how the Scripture defines what is epistemology, and how it defines what it is not. A good definition tells us what it is, but also for extra clarity, it says what it is not (categories that might get confused as being part of the definition but is not).

The doctrines of the Scripture are so easy to understand that what most called deep theology can be taught to 6-year-old children. And if child has been taught just the very basics of logic, then a 10-year-old can do advance theology.

The doctrine of is rather simple. Christian epistemology(A) is God’s revelation(B). Do a circle diagram to see this with more clarity, if you need to. All (A) category is inside (B) category. Thus, if you saying something is a starting point of knowledge that is not God’s revelation, then you have left the realm of reality for human fantasy.

The Scripture teaches that man’s knowledge starts by the direct force or sovereign work of God. This work is directly by God’s mere force, separate from any consideration of the relative level, or that is, separate from anything that has been created and controlled by God.

They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right. (Romans 2:15)

&

They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. (Romans 1:19-20)

Romans 2:15 makes what is being said here clearer than Romans 1:20, which is often abused to support empiricism, which is the opposite of what it is saying. God has written His law’s on our hearts. This is often referred to as God’s innate knowledge. This is one aspect where God creating something out of nothing is more readily seem. In the beginning God created everything out of nothing. By the sheer unstoppable force of His decision did God make reality come into being. Adam and Eve were made as fully formed adults that could immediately communicate intelligently with God (Genesis 1-2). Knowledge, understanding of the knowledge and wisdom to apply the knowledge were all put into man directly by God’s power. School and the learning process were supernaturally bypassed. Also, a proposition is invisible. It is not made up of matter. Thus matter has nothing to do with putting knowledge in man. To suggest otherwise would be to commit a category fallacy and make an invalid inference. It would be like saying, “All trees are organic. All cats are organic; thus, all rocks are clouds.”

Whether or not so-called DNA is a physical organized code; or whether the brain is a physical organized code, it is not an invisible proposition. But we understand by propositions. To say one leads to the other would be like saying, “All trees are organic. all cats are organic; thus, all rocks are clouds.” Bottom of the barrel scrapping stupid! People play with terms and categories like they are God. However, there is only one God, and this creation is by His power and by His definition only, not yours.

A point to consider on innate knowledge is how substantial it must be. For someone born with the preloaded propositions about “God’s Law,’ there are many presuppositions about other things for “God’s laws” to be intelligible to such a person. For example, the laws of logic must be preloaded or else “God’s laws” could mean, “no laws of God,” or “dung beetles.” Also, mathematics must also be preloaded by God, because law is not singular; rather, it is plural, “laws”. Also, basic propositions about God must be included into “God’s laws,” for God is holding the unevangelized pagans accountable for not worshipping “Him,” and not some other so-called god. Thus, included in this innate knowledge are some propositions about God’s divinity and attributes (i.e. those mentioned in chapter 1:20). Also, there must be some basic preinstalled knowledge about metaphysics. Knowledge about the world we live in. God’s laws apply to this reality and not to some possible fantasy world, that might could exist. This innate knowledge also must include some basic propositions about anthropology, because God’s laws applies to “man,” and not to non-man. I could go on about this for much longer, but the point should be made that innate knowledge includes a large body of knowledge about many things.

Vincent has been helpful to me on this, saying it this way:

Nevertheless, this knowledge is indestructible and undeniable, so that it surfaces in distorted forms in non-Christian religions, philosophies, and ethical principles.

Thus God has revealed his existence, attributes, and some of his moral demands to every person by including this information in the human mind. This knowledge is innate and is not derived by reasoning from sensation. Man does not infer from what he observes in nature that there must be a God; rather, he knows the God of the Bible before he has any access to empirical data. Interaction with creation, including the act of observation, stimulates the mind of man to recall this innate knowledge, which has been suppressed by sin.

Every person has an innate knowledge of God, and everywhere he looks nature reminds him of it. His every thought and every experience testifies to God’s existence and attributes; the evidence is inescapable. Therefore, those who deny the existence of God are suppressing the truth because of their wickedness and rebellion. Although they claim to be wise, they have become fools (Romans 1:22).[7]

And so, knowledge was put into man’s mind in infancy, directly by God, separate from any other created thing or power. No senses, or observations, no empirical data, no reasoning from the person. From this we can make sense of passages like Romans 1:20. Below, it will be shown that empiricism is contradicted by the Scripture, and thus, is not an option for acquiring knowledge. I sometimes refer to empiricism as the “kingdom of self,” and God’s word, as the “Kingdom of God”. Romans 2:15 shows that a significant amount of knowledge is preloaded into the mind, directly by God. And so, when we read that creation reveals God’s attributes, we know by contradiction that it cannot be by the observation of the senses. God’s attributes are already in the mind as innate knowledge. Therefore, Romans 1:20 is said in the relative level ontology and not ultimate level ontology, which is what Romans 2:15 teaches. When seeing the world God created, the knowledge already preinstalled in the mind is stimulated to the surface of the mind. The unbeliever is then forced to rethink about God’s laws again. He hates this. Thus, the non-Christian tries to suppress these truths, until creation stimulates this buried innate knowledge again to the surface of his thinking. For the non-Christian this repeating horror story goes on and on, which is why they try to sear their conscience with a hot iron, so that even if God’s innate knowledge resurfaces again by viewing creation, they just brush it off.

From this we can begin to formulate a doctrine. All knowledge is through God directly putting it into man, separate from anything in creation. To further flesh this out we will go over more specific scriptures and broad ones. But next we will head off some irrational and anti-Christian doctrines about knowledge. We are asking how the Scripture defines for us, what knowledge is not, for extra clarity.

Just by the simple calculation of logic, empiricism is demonstrated as irrational. And so, as a starting point of knowledge it is ontologically impossible.[8]

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[9] 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.”[10]

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[11]. It is easy to see what it means that God, directly by His power, created it. Yet, Paul picks this passage to talk about the creation of the knowledge of Christ, in the mind. God created the worlds out of nothing; likewise, God created the propositions about His Glory in His Son’s gospel, into our hearts.  God said, and then water and earth formed into the void of empty space. God said, and then propositions (and faith) about His glory formed into the void of the mind.

Consider dreams? The Scripture already denies empiricism; however, dreams also show that God directly puts propositions in the mind. There are many occurrences in the old and new testaments about God’s elect having dreams, from Joseph in Genesis to Joseph in the book of Matthew. They were asleep. There is no observation. There is no sight, or hearing, or touch. There is only the invisible mind, with invisible propositions. God directly imparts knowledge about the future to these people separate from any sensation.

What about knowledge for practical skills such as various workman skills?  Exodus 35:30-35 LEB, “And Moses said to the Israelites, “See, Yahweh has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri the son of Hur, from the tribe of Judah.  And he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom and with skill and with knowledge and with every kind of craftsmanship, and to devise designs, to work with the gold and with the silver and with the bronze,  and in stonecutting for setting and in cutting wood, for doing every kind of design craftsmanship. And he has put it in his heart to teach—he and Oholiab the son of Ahisamach, from the tribe of Dan. He has filled them with skill of heart to do every work of a craftsman and a designer and an embroiderer with the blue and with the purple, with the crimson yarns and with the fine linen and a weaver; they are doers of every kind of craftsmanship and devisers of designs.”

Some people might feel some resistance to this doctrine, but since the Scripture is filled with passages that address this doctrine the problem is with men’s little faith and not God’s abundant revelation. As this section is wrapped up it is important to address it in the broad scope. And this broad foundation is, “God”. God is the foundation of theology. Without Him, there is no point in doing theology. And God’s foundation as taught in Scripture, is that of absolute and directly sovereign over all reality. This foundation takes away all the problems that non-Christians have with their fruitless attempt to find knowledge. God’s power and absolute sovereignty makes revealing His knowledge a trifle and without contradiction.

God decreed what He would create. God then created all things. God now actively controls all things. It is telling how important this foundation is, when the Bible starts off with this foundation in Genesis 1. Also, important moments of the gospel coming in contact with the world starts off with this foundation of God, consider Paul in Acts 17 24-28,

God who made the world and all the things in it. This one, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands as if he needed anything, because he himself gives to everyone life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of humanity to live on all the face of the earth, determining their fixed times and the fixed boundaries of their habitation, to search for God, if perhaps indeed they might feel around for him and find him. And indeed he is not far away from each one of us, for in him we live and move and exist.” (LEB)

It is not only important for theology and apologetics, but this Sovereign God foundation is important for worship and doxology, (Rev. 4:11 LEB)

“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
because you have created all things,
and because of your will they existed and were created.”

The Apostle Paul in one of his exchanges mentions the act of resurrection in this way,

“Why should any of you consider it incredible
that God raises the dead?” (Acts 26:8 NIV).

Paul considers it the height of ignorance and stupidity that a person would even have the slightest resistance to know that God raises the dead. What moron told them otherwise? Considering God’s definition in the Scripture, it should never enter into the mind that God raising the dead is anything less than normal and a mere trifle. As Jeremiah said, “Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you” (Jeremiah 32:17 NIV).

All of this was said to point out one simple deduction. If God sovereignly created all things and by this sovereign power continues to uphold all things in Himself, then God created knowledge and continues to uphold all knowledge. We will go over logic and deduction later but for now consider a syllogism from Romans 3. We are told that all have sinned. The “all” refers to mankind. Thus, the major premise would be, “All [mankind] are [those who have sinned].” Thus, if Oshea is a man, then Oshea has sinned. This conclusion did not add additional knowledge from a different source. This is an application of knowledge. It is not 50/50 or that Oshea might have sinned. It is a true statement about reality, that Oshea is he who has sinned. “If all men have sinned, then human r, y, or  z has sinned.” There is no exception. Do a bullseye circle diagram if you need to see a visual.

Thus, if God is directly sovereign over all things, then God is directly sovereign over t, r and k (knowledge). Some lazy students of God’s word appear to overlook in applying God’s sovereignty over the reality of knowledge. God created knowledge out of nothing, and now directly upholds it in existence and controls it directly.

This section started off with passages addressing aspects of knowledge; however, this foundation of the absolute sovereign God already falsifies many possibilities about what any doctrine can be. No specific proposition about any doctrine can contradict “God”. God does not contradict Himself. His nature is immutable.

To summarize. The foundational doctrine of the Sovereign God, means from the start God directly created all knowledge and controls it. Knowledge is part of reality, and so, it falls under the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, as everything else does. Even if there are so-called secondary created objects, they all exist by God’s power and move in Him, as He controls them. All things are created by God and moved by God. So, even if a secondary[12] 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. [13]

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.

 

—–Endnotes—–

[1] This idea of responsibility presupposing authority rather than free was first brought to my attention by Vincent Cheung, and Gordon Clark.

[2] 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.

 

[3] 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

[4] H.W.B. Joseph. 1906. An introduction to LOGIC. Pg.13

 

[5] “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.

[6] Vincent Cheung. The Light of Our Minds. 2004. Pg 36 (www.vincentcheung.com)

[7] Vincent Cheung. Systematic Theology. 2010. Page 6. (www.vincentcheung.com)

[8] Even the secular philosopher David Hume admitted as much about his starting point of empiricism leading to skepticism.

[9] 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!”

 

[10] Vincent Cheung. Presuppositional Confrontations. 2010. Pg 70. www.vincentcheung.com

 

 

[11] There was point when not even angels or other spiritual things existed. All started out of nothing by God’s creating force.

[12] (secondary on the relative level, (or human, or creation point-of-view))

[13] Vincent Cheung. Captive To Reason. Chapter: Occasionalism and Empiricism. 2009.  Pg.13