Monday, March 26, 2007

Paradox in Christian Theology

After delay, the much anticipated book by James Anderson (based on his doctoral dissertation) is out. You can order Paradox in Christian Theology now. Having read bits and pieces of the book, I can say that it is a useful tool for the philosophical theologian. It should be included in every Christian's--esp. those interested in philosophy and theology--library. Also, atheologians should get their hands on this book since it provides an orthodox, and analytically rigorous way of looking at, and dealing with, apparent contradictions in the Bible. Everything from warrant to dialethism is looked at in this book. For the followers of Gordon Clark, no longer can they be content to sit back and snipe Van Tillians by simply quoting his claims about paradox. If they use the "footnote refutation," we can reply with a much more thorough and forceful "footnote refutation" of our own. For those interested in the logical headaches the incarnation and the trinity have provided some, this is a fresh tool to include in your kit as you seek to understand these "paradoxes" in a way that submits to the Bible as the authority. So, order now.

Here is the description:

'An accomplished engagement of important recent work in analytic philosophy of religion.' David Fergusson

How can Jesus be fully human and fully divine? How can God be Three-in-One? James Anderson develops and defends a model of understanding paradoxical Christian doctrines according to which the presence of such doctrines is unsurprising and adherence to paradoxical doctrines can be entirely reasonable. As such, the phenomenon of theological paradox cannot be considered as a serious intellectual obstacle to belief in Christianity. The case presented in this book has significant implications for the practice of systematic theology, biblical exegesis, Christian apologetics and philosophy.

James N. Anderson is a Research Fellow of the University of Edinburgh, Scotland

55 comments:

  1. Where can we order it?
    I've been waiting for it, thanks Paul Manata!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I found a link:
    http://www.authenticmedia.co.uk/AuthenticSite/pages/product/product.asp?prod=9781842274620&cookie%5Ftest=1
    For those who are interested!

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  3. Is this the same product (has a longer title)?:
    http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?dest=9999999997&product_id=5705843&sourceid=0100000030660805302498

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've always enjoyed reading James Anderson. Now he has a book?! Wonderful!

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  5. Is there anyway that TOC can be posted here?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Re: Magma2,

    People should be aware that Magma2, and his Clarkian nonsense, was hung, drawn, and quartered, here.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sean,

    Comments about the correct way to write "hung, drawn, and quartered," me fitting in with the Calvinists because we'd kill people, and atheists mocking both you and I are irrelevant.

    But, since you can't know anything other than what is deducible from Scripture, you didn't know that those posts were irrelevant. So, I forgive you.

    Anyway, Sean, just so you know, the comments will deal with the topic of the post, otherwise they'll be deleted. You'll be treated the same as the teenage atheists here.

    ReplyDelete
  8. "But, since you can't know anything other than what is deducible from Scripture, you didn't know that those posts were irrelevant."

    Haha! Burn. :-)

    Has our friend Sean just not read Aquascum's page? This is really one of the weakest systems of philosophy I've ever encountered.

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  9. Sean,

    I have not deleted *one* post that has been (even remotely) about the subject of this post.

    Boy, you sure are a paranoid little guy, aren't ya?

    Sean's a martyr. That's what keeps him, and the 10 other Scripturalists, going.

    What's really fun to watch (or, not watch) is the complete lack of anything of substance from Sean. For someone who rails against so-called van Tillian irrationality, you'd expect he'd *at least* include some substance in his ad hominem peppered posts.

    Anyway, I gave a link above, and anyone - atheist or Christian - is free to see for themselves is Sean Grrrretey is all bark and no bite.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous,

    "Few bloggers can see that Paul equivocates on the word "know" in his statement that magma cannot know his comments are irrelevant because he can know only what is deducible from the Bible."

    Actually, I don't. I claim that Magma/Sean, cannot know, on Magma's own terms, that the comments are irrelevant. And, your above comment seeks to prove my point. If Magma can only know what is deducible from Scripture, and if the relevancy of the comments here are not deducible from Scripture, then Magma cannot know them.

    "One of our best kept secrets is that we Vantilians cannot know either, but we keep asserting that we can, and sure enough, if we say it loud enough and long enough, people believe us."

    Here's the equivocation. Can we know in Magma's sense? No. But so what? That's not my sense.

    "And so we've redefined "knowledge" so that it means possibly wrong opinion. That way, we can "know."

    But of course that's not how "we" define knowledge (btw, there's no dogmatic position on knowledge in Van Tillianism. Some can be Cartesian, some Polonian, some Plantinginian, etc). At any rate, that's not how *I* define knowledge. So, apparently you feel the need to lie and misrepresent, and paint in as weak a light as possible, the positions of those you're critiquing. What a hack.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Gerety/anonymous:

    I don't feel the need to make an argument when there have already been, in my view, knockdown arguments given which have not been rebutted.

    Nor am I gullible or easily impressed. Isn't this just a case of *you* resorting to ridicule rather than argumentation? The arguments are out there. Where's your response to them? To say they're not impressive, and to call me gullible for accepting them as definitive, you're really just ridiculing, not arguing.

    If you have a paper refuting the arguments on Aquascum's page that I'm unware of, I'd love to read it. Please make it available.

    Also, on a personal note, I find your hostile demeanor and evident superiority complex somewhat disturbing for a professing Christian.

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  12. I don't see a reason to take you seriously, Gerety. You've offered no counterarguments to the very serious arguments which have been raised against your position. But you feel free to jeer at those who accept them as good arguments, without providing any reasons. You claim that Bahnsen took a particular position that contradicts Paul's claim, but you don't bother to cite a source.

    Furthermore, you're rude and your insults demonstrate that you're simply immature.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Gerety,

    I'm sorry, did I miss argumentation, again?

    Anyway, Sean says I equivocate, but he just doesn't seem to grasp what a *reductio ad absurdum* is. I'm using *his* theory of knowledge, or, of what can be known. Sean says only those propositions in the Bible, or deducible from the Bible, can be known. Sean cannot deduce the relevancy of said comments here, therefore Sean doesn't know that I deleted relevant comments rather than irrelevant ones.

    Then he accuses me of slandering Clark, but where's the argumentation of documentation.

    Lastly, Gerety confuses Van Til with Van Tillianism. There's much more flexability in van Tillianism, which saves the program. With Clark, he shot himself. To claim that we can know extra-scriptural truths, or that what we know might be probable, just *isn't* Scripturalism. It also seems that Scripturalism relies on internalism (*at least* in its apologetic method), and to reject this is to reject Scripturalism, or its method.

    Even if Van Til held to JTB, he didn't say that there was no extra-Scriptural knowledge. And, he wouldn't say he had some sort of God-like certainty about these things. Within Van Tillianism there is more freedom to move. We are not God, Sean. We learn. We make mistakes. We grow. We are being sanctified even in our epistemological enterprises. Clark was not the zenith of Christian thought. Christian theories of knowledge, metaphysics, etc., didn't stop with Clark.

    Anyway, Sean, really, if you can't so much as produce an argument then see yourself out of the combox. This isn't "The Puritan Board." You don't run the show here. And, I'm sorry of that's a blow to your ego. So, if you don't have anything of substance to say, don't go away mad, just go away.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Paul, could you write a post that basically outlines a curriculum one should read/listen to to best understand the Vantillian/Pressupostional/Transcendental
    apologetic method?

    Basically, all the essential resources one would need: beginner, intermediate, and advanced, plus the order one should read/listen to them in?

    I know this would be very helpful for me. It doesn't have to be absolutely exhaustive, but the more resources the better.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Gerety in italics.

    Even if? You need to read both Bahnsen and Van Til again Paul. I guess this is how Van Tillianism "saves the program," by simply ignoring what Van Til actually said. Since he said many nonsensical things, I guess Van Tilians have no other recourse.

    Note that Gerety resorts to his usual modus operandi; making unsubstantiated claims, neglecting to cite sources, and abstaining from argumentation on all the above claims.

    But, of course, you're correct, Van Til didn't deny extra-Scriptural knowledge, he, like you, merely begged the question and asserted the very things he needed to demonstrate.

    Again: Lack of argument, lack of specificity. Just a vague, unsubstantiated claim.

    He even claimed science was a cognitive enterprise, ignoring that science is built upon a tissue of logical fallacies.

    Aside from the lack of a source citation, we can see here that Gerety is wholly ignorant of basic, introductory-level philosophical distinctions in this almost humorously sophomoric attempt to attack science. It is, of course, the standard mantra of the Scripturalist to spout off about how induction commits the fallacy of affirming the consequent, which is what Gerety is implying here. Gerety appears unaware that it's a flagrant category mistake to accuse inductive reasoning of formal logical fallacies, since formal fallacies by definition apply to deductive reasoning, not induction. All he's doing is presupposing that deduction is all we can use, by applying standards of deduction to induction and then acting as though it's some amazing revelation that induction doesn't follow deductive rules of inference.

    Worse, Van Til imputed irrationality to God per his soul destroying doctrine of Scripture and his analogous view of truth (see Reymond's discussion of Van Til and his doctrine of biblical paradox).

    Note that he gives no source citation and no argumentation. Once again all we have is bare assertion and posturing from Gerety.

    I agree. Van Tilianism is not limited or restricted in any way to God's inerrant Word alone in formulating its doctrinal distinctives, and this extends to the doctrine of justification as anyone closely following the currently controversy should easily see.

    Here we have unsubstantiated, unargued, emotive rhetoric.

    Perhaps Clark wasn't, but he was head and shoulders over Van Til whose central contribution was to render the church impotent and anemic while imputing irrationality to God and His Word.

    This is, of course, nothing but pure rhetoric: unsubstantiated and unargued charges.

    There's something of a pattern here in Gerety's puerile attacks:

    1. He never cites any sources.
    2. He engages in lavish, vitriolic rhetoric.
    3. He attacks people personally.
    4. He has a superiority complex.
    5. He never gives a single argument.

    In short, he deals with intellectual disputes in a childish, unsophisticated, uninformed, unchristian manner. I think this will be my last time to respond to him. Perhaps God has gifted Paul with more patience for putting up with this sort of nonsense.

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  16. I say keep deleting comments that are irrelevant to the initial Blog entry. Local newspaper editors won't print irrelevant letters, so why should it be different here? Keep doing it and maybe those who write them will go away.

    If this comment of mine is deemed irrelevant, so be it. Delete it. Just do us all a favor and delete the multitude of comments you have here that are irrelevant, and you'll have a better discussion. And don't bother apologizing when you do.

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  17. The Ghost of Van Til3/28/2007 9:01 AM

    Does magma "know" what P. T. Barnum said? He "knows" in the same sense that we "know," Paul.

    Your repeated attempts to deceive your readers on this point does the cause of Vantilianism no good.

    Of course, magma does not "know" what Barnum said in the Clarkian sense, for that sense recognizes that a propositional revelation from God is epistemically superior to statements by circus owners.

    If God's revelation is "knowledge," then to use the word "knowledge" in some weaker sense is to (1) equivocate and (2) deceive.

    It is my hope that Vantilians can avoid doing that.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Ghost,

    "Does magma "know" what P. T. Barnum said? He "knows" in the same sense that we "know," Paul. "

    Oh, so it's been him who has been equivocating? And, I think if Magma were here, he'd not like your Van Tillian double speak about different senses of knowing. Watch out, otherwise you might vindicate Van Til's claims about our knowledge and God's knowledge not being identical! ;-)

    "Your repeated attempts to deceive your readers on this point does the cause of Vantilianism no good."

    Well, and how do you know my intentions? Is this in the "same sense" as how you "know" what P.T. Barnum said?

    I have not tried to deceive my readers. I have illustrated the self-referentially incoherent position Scripturalism is in, or, if not that, agnosticism one must have about the Scripturalist package.

    Furthermore, as all good Clarkians know, they have learned from their Mother's knee that: "All knowledge consists of propositions in Scripture, or deducible from Scripture, all else is unjustified opinion." That's from the pen of Scripturalist Vincent Cheung.

    So, you guys have "unjustified opinion" about what P.T. Barnum said. i wouldn't call that "knowledge" and I wouldn't say that my knowledge is "unjustified opinion."

    "Of course, magma does not "know" what Barnum said in the Clarkian sense, for that sense recognizes that a propositional revelation from God is epistemically superior to statements by circus owners."

    But the question is about *us* knowing what so and so said, be it God or P.T. Barnum. I'd say the Scripturalist is in the same boat regarding *that* knowledge of either of them. Really, the Scripturalist doesn't "know" what God said anymore than he knows what P.T. Barnum said. You may think you have read the word of God correctly, but (a) God could deceive you (if you hold to Cheungian occasionalism), or (b) any number of problems could have happened between reading the mediumof the word and the contents getting into your head. Anyway, you certainly can't deduce that *you* know what the Bible says since *your name* isn't in the Bible. hence, you have unjustified opinion about *your knowledge* of what God or P.T. Barnum has said.

    "If God's revelation is "knowledge," then to use the word "knowledge" in some weaker sense is to (1) equivocate and (2) deceive."

    A proposition can be known, but it's not "knowledge." Anyway, I have not used the word in a "weaker sense." I used it in Gerety's sense, and since Gerety wouldn't use the word in "different senses" and has admitted that "all else is opinion" then, on Gerety's own terms, Gerety doesn't "know" what P.T. Barnum has said, and, thus to call his mere opinion on the matter "knowledge" is to be the one wo, ironically, is equivocating.

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  19. The Ghost of Van Til3/28/2007 12:56 PM

    Paul,

    Your failure -- or is it a refusal? -- to admit that a revelation from God is epistemically superior to the statements of a circus owner is disturbing. I would say that any theory of knowledge that does not or cannot distinguish between statements from God and all other statements cannot even be called Christian.

    Further, your attempt to make knowing depend entirely on your own efforts betrays your epistemological Pelagianism. A genuine Christian
    epistemolgy requires the premise that God takes the initative in our knowing as he does in our salvation (that is why salvation is called "coming to the knowledge of the truth"). People know only because God causes them to know, not because they have attained knowledge on their own.

    I see things much more clearly now than I did when I wrote my books- that-are-not-books in the 20th century. My vision has improved immensely since I put off eyeballs and neurons.

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  20. I've exercised my administrative prerogatives in cleaning up this thread. A number of comments have been deleted because (i) they substitute invective for argument (contrary to the rules of engagement) and/or (ii) the cast aspersions on a book they've never read.

    It's very revealing when Clarkians feel free to make accusations which they are in no position to know are true. Apparently, one can be a Clarkian without any commitment to basic Christian ethics.

    If Gerety et al. would like to offer a supporting argument for their objections, including documentation where appropriate, they are welcome to post further comments.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Ghost,

    "Your failure -- or is it a refusal? -- to admit that a revelation from God is epistemically superior to the statements of a circus owner is disturbing."

    But of course I said nothing of the kind. Your inability to follow my post, to follow the argument, to stick with the context, is disturbing.

    I'm not talking about the statements coming from the testifier, I'm talking about our knowledge *of* the statement. That is, there's a difference between the statement and your knowledge *of* the statement.

    Furthermore, it is obvious that I said that the *Scripturalist* must view them the same. The Scripturalist doesn't "know" that God said X anymore than he "knows" that P.T. Barnum said Y. His name is not in Scripture, and so can't deduce that *he* knows. Now, you may be of the *opinion* that God said X, or that P.T. Barnum said Y, but that's not knowledge.

    So, if you're going to make accusations about people being deceptive, try not to play the part of the hypocrit.

    " I would say that any theory of knowledge that does not or cannot distinguish between statements from God and all other statements cannot even be called Christian."

    And of course nothing in my post said we can't distinguish between statements from God and statements from others. You have not quoted me, drawn out the implications, you've just chosen to act dishonestly. Now I see your claims above were just psychological projections.

    "Further, your attempt to make knowing depend entirely on your own efforts betrays your epistemological Pelagianism."

    Again, unsubstantiated accusations. Tell me, please, if you can, is this what Clarkians are reduced to? Using emotion and fallacious arguments from fear to try and undermine their opponents.

    Anyway, the rest of your comments were at the same level.

    Substantiate your charges, or have your future posts deleted. Oh, and if you wouldn't mind, please deduce all your claims from Scripture. Or, just admit that you're simply offering your mere opinion.

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  22. Substantiate your charges, or have your future posts deleted.

    That seems like all you can do Paul -- delete posts. You certainly can't seem to deal or interact with any of them. You guys are nothing but petty tyrants.

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  23. Sean,

    All your posts have been dealt with.

    You seem to have an inability to put together a post with actual arguments. You will let us know when you can do that, right?

    Sean, as Steve said above:

    "If Gerety et al. would like to offer a supporting argument for their objections, including documentation where appropriate, they are welcome to post further comments."

    So, is there anything so hard about fulfilling the above requirements?

    ReplyDelete
  24. the ghost of van til3/28/2007 2:44 PM

    Paul,

    I am delighted to hear that you epistemically distinguish between statements from God and all other statements. (I will not ask how you make such a distinction; I am just glad to hear that you are willing to allow it.)

    In keeping with that distinction, will you be requiring all your correspondents, not just one or two, to follow your rule:
    "please deduce all your claims from Scripture. Or, just admit that you're simply offering your mere opinion"?

    Any other rule would blur the epistemic distinction between God's Word and all other words.

    If you would impose that rule universally, that would improve the quality of the discussion immensely.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Ghost wrote:

    "In keeping with that distinction, will you be requiring all your correspondents, not just one or two, to follow your rule:
    "please deduce all your claims from Scripture. Or, just admit that you're simply offering your mere opinion"?"

    Travis writes:

    Why should he do that? The point here should be obvious. The Scripturalist claims that all knowledge is explicitly stated in Scripture, or deducible from Scripture. Do you understand what this means? This means that if a proposition p is not explicitly stated in the Bible, and if one cannot sit down and write out, premise for premise, a formal deductive argument, using only premises that are explicitly stated in the Bible (or premises which have themselves been deduced from statements in the Bible), which entails p, then one cannot know p.

    The Scripturalist then comes by and makes all sorts of claims that are not explicitly stated in the Bible and obviously could never be deduced from premises that are explicitly written in the Bible. These are things that on the Scripturalist's own criteria the Scripturalist could never know.

    The following is going to sound harsh and demeaning, but I honestly don't mean it that way. A reasonably intelligent high school student, or even middle school student, should be able to understand what I've said above (if they knew the relevant terms) and should be able to see that the Scripturalist consistently contradicts himself. And, even worse, the Scripturalist seems to either just be unable to grasp this criticism, or he just ignores the problem.

    To be honest, I really don't know what to make of Scripturalists who appear to be unable to comprehend this problem with their system. Being much more charitable to those with whom I disagree than are most Scripturalists (cf. the insults and allegations of stupidity and gullibility hurled at anyone who disagrees with Cheung and Gerety), I think it's likely an extreme case of radical dogmatism rather than mere unintelligence. Although I think a deficiency in a quality education in philosophy, and some level of ignorance, as well as the lack of ability to do serious critical thinking has to be a factor as well. This is just much too big of a mistake to be something that people can reasonably disagree about.

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  26. Addendum:

    I think it might be that some Scripturalists, despite all their lauding of deduction, don't really understand what deduction is. See, for instance, Vincent Cheung's attempted "deduction" of the Scripturalist epistemological thesis from Scripture.

    The Scripturalist epistemological thesis he was claiming to deduce was:

    1. "All knowledge comes from biblical propositions and their necessary implications."

    He then wrote:

    "...the principle can be deduced from Scripture. The Bible teaches that God is infallible, that the Bible is his infallible revelation, that God controls all things, that man is fallible, that man's sensations and intuitions are fallible, etc., etc. — put them together, and BAM, you have Scripturalism."

    In other words, Cheung's deduction is:

    P1. God is infallible.
    P2. The Bible is God's infallible revelation.
    P3. God controls all things
    P4. Man is fallible.
    P5. Man's sensations are fallible.
    P6. Man's intuitions are fallible.
    C. Therefore, all knowledge comes from biblical propositions and their necessary implications

    Anyone who knows anything about deduction (anyone who has taken an introductory logic course, for instance) knows that this is not a valid deductive argument. Cheung is missing some premises. He at least needs the following premise:

    9. Knowledge is gained only from infallible sources.

    Can he deduce (9) from explicit statements in Scripture?

    Furthermore, it's not even clear that he has deduced P1 through P6 from explicit statements in Scripture. Where's his deduction for those premises? I agree that they're all true, and I'd even agree that Scripture clearly teaches all of them. But are they all explicitly stated or could they all be deduced without bringing in additional extra-scriptural premises? That's extremely doubtful. I would challenge the Scripturalist to give that daunting task a try.

    Source for both quotations:
    http://www.vincentcheung.com/2005/07/07/biblical-empiricism-incoherent/

    ReplyDelete
  27. As someone who *actually believed* Scripturalism (!) until I read Paul, Aquascum and Steve's posts on Triablogue, maybe I can explain (?)

    My name is Mark.

    I CANNOT deduce this from Scripture.

    Therefore according to Scripturalism, my knowledge that my name is Mark is unjustified opinion. At best.


    Clark thinks we can only know things if we know how we know them.

    But if God designed the world, and our minds, then why think this?

    We can know things which AREN'T the end result of a deductive syllogism. (couldn't God have designed us this way?)

    e.g. I KNOW my name is Mark. This isn't just unjustified opinion!

    Paul tells us to examine ourselves to see if we're saved. On Scripturalism our assurance is unjustified opinion at best!

    Just face it, Clark was not the world's greatest philosopher. Robbins is also not the best theologian, you should read the Tbloggers' replies to Cheung and Robbins.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Ghost,

    "In keeping with that distinction, will you be requiring all your correspondents, not just one or two, to follow your rule:
    "please deduce all your claims from Scripture. Or, just admit that you're simply offering your mere opinion"?"


    No, I won't. That the epistemic status of beliefs is distinguished does not commit me to Scripturalism.

    "Any other rule would blur the epistemic distinction between God's Word and all other words."

    I don't see how. But, the more interesting point to note is that you don't know this. If you can't deduce it from Scripture, then are you just giving us your opinion? Really, why should we be expected to rationally assend to your opinions about propositions?

    "If you would impose that rule universally, that would improve the quality of the discussion immensely."

    One wonders how Ghost knows this. He doesn't. Again, it's just his opinion.

    If Scripturalists want to be taken seriously, they should avoid condemning people for not accepting their unjustified opinions.

    Anyway, this is the third post of yours that is simply a bunch of assertions, minus argumentation.

    I think imposing the rule that posts be substantive would "improve the quality of the discussion immensely." Don't you?

    ReplyDelete
  29. If Scripturalists want to be taken seriously, they should avoid condemning people for not accepting their unjustified opinions.

    While you've used the term and applied it incorrectly, I'd say it's you who doesn't understand what a reductio ad absurdum is. LOL :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Sean,

    Oh, so you *know* that, say, "Any other rule would blur the epistemic distinction between God's Word and all other words?"

    Since Gerety says that one cannot know what is not deducible from Scripture, and since the above isn't deducible, then Gerety doesn't know it. If he doesn't know it, but merely believes it, then it's his opinion.

    ReplyDelete
  31. My Sean, you're very opinionated, but since you only offer unjustified opinion in lieu of arguments, this argument's pretty academic, isn't it?

    Since we're all merely spouting our opinions who's to say who's arguments are good and who's are bad, it's just opinion.

    You also have no assurance of salvation.

    "I'm going to heaven!"

    "That's only your opinion!"

    Think about that Sean, you could be going to hell for all you know.

    You don't know anything not contained in Scripture, e.g. how to read, how to breathe, how to get dressed.

    It's not just you don't know 'for certain', you're claiming that you don't know 'at all'.

    Everyone who thinks they know anything outside Scripture is deceived! And only Clark found out the truth after all these years... amazing!

    Of course the idea that you must know how you know everything is rejected by almost all philosophers as absurd, but they're nothing compared to Clark!

    ReplyDelete
  32. the ghost of van til3/29/2007 6:53 PM

    "Mark" asserts he knows his name. Why should anyone believe him? Why should he believe himself? He would not be the first to be mistaken about his own name.

    The refusal, on philosophic principle, to offer an argument in which "My name is Mark" follows from some infallible premise is not a theory of knowledge; it is a prescription for invincible ignorance.

    The deception, Paul et al., lies in your philosophy; it uses the word "knowledge" to refer equivocally to both infallibly true (God's Word) and possibly false ("Mark's" words) propositions.

    You earlier said that you recognized an epistemic distinction between God's Word and all other words. If so, then why do you call both "knowledge"?

    More to the point, why do you continually ridicule those who recognize this epistemic distinction and are not arrogant enough to call their opinions knowledge?

    ReplyDelete
  33. Ghost,

    "'Mark' asserts he knows his name. Why should anyone believe him? Why should he believe himself? He would not be the first to be mistaken about his own name."

    Well that all depends on how you define knowledge. But, make sure your definition is something deducible from Scripture, or else don't hold Mark accountable to your mere opinion.

    "The refusal, on philosophic principle, to offer an argument in which "My name is Mark" follows from some infallible premise is not a theory of knowledge; it is a prescription for invincible ignorance."

    Who said it has to "follow from some infallible premises?" That's *your constraint.* Why should we accept it?

    "The deception, Paul et al., lies in your philosophy; it uses the word "knowledge" to refer equivocally to both infallibly true (God's Word) and possibly false ("Mark's" words) propositions."

    Of course the assumption that for something to count as knowledge it must be "infaillible" is a constraint I don't hold to. But, you're free to argue for this infallibilist constraint if you so choose. There is no deception. For I have not claimed that "only that which one is infallibly sure about, or that which is itself infallible, is knowledge."

    I don't hold the assumption that because it is *possible* that P could be false, I therefore don't know that P.

    "You earlier said that you recognized an epistemic distinction between God's Word and all other words. If so, then why do you call both "knowledge"?"

    If both are believed, both are true, and both are warranted, then both count as knowledge. God's word has the epistemic distinction, for me, as ultimate authority. But, that does not mean that I can't know something by means of personal testimony, memory, etc. Take an immediate mental state, i.e., "I am experiencing a pain." Why can't I know this? It may be false that there is something causing the pain, it may be in my head, etc., but it seems odd to suggest that I'm wrong about my report of my immediate experience? Even if I'm a brain in the vat, it is true that I'm *experiencing* a pain. This does not need to be deduced from premises since it is an *immediate* report. It is a basic belief. It doesn't get its warrant from other beliefs.

    "More to the point, why do you continually ridicule those who recognize this epistemic distinction and are not arrogant enough to call their opinions knowledge?"

    More to the point why do you hold to a self-refuting position. If Scripturalism is true, you can't know it. it's just opinion. So, knock off the arrogance and tell everyone that you don't know that Scripturalism is the case, and it's just your mere opinion that it is a correct and biblical method.

    ReplyDelete
  34. the ghost of van til3/29/2007 9:27 PM

    Paul,

    You met none of the arguments. You simply -- and arrogantly -- reiterated your position.

    In fact, you do not, because your philosophy will not allow it, recognize the epistemic distinction between God's infallible Word and your fallible words. You insist on calling both knowledge. You want to get rid of infallibilism; that means you must get rid of Christianity, for it claims to be an infallible propositional revelation which men can know.

    As for your assertion that "I am feeling pain" is an "immediate report" (how perfectly silly!) and therefore cannot be wrong, you not only smuggle infallibilism in the back door, you forget that Plato disposed of the Sophists' "immediate reports" oh, only about 2,300 years ago. Your philosophy, which you imagine to be so cutting edge, was refuted before Christ walked on Earth.

    ReplyDelete
  35. the ghost of van til said...

    "In fact, you do not, because your philosophy will not allow it, recognize the epistemic distinction between God's infallible Word and your fallible words. You insist on calling both knowledge. You want to get rid of infallibilism; that means you must get rid of Christianity, for it claims to be an infallible propositional revelation which men can know."

    Just to clarify, there aren't two kinds of knowledge: fallible and infallible. Rather, there's only a distinction between knowledge and fallible belief.

    And Scripturalism implicitly denies epistemic access to the Bible.

    "You forget that Plato disposed of the Sophists' 'immediate reports' oh, only about 2,300 years ago."

    And how do you *know* that Plato did this? Did you deduce that from Scripture?

    Or are you merely *opining* that Plato refuted immediate reports?

    ReplyDelete
  36. the ghost of van til said:
    Paul,

    You met none of the arguments. You simply -- and arrogantly -- reiterated your position.

    ***************************************

    Have you ever noticed that Scripturalism is a synonym for Manichaeism? Clarkians are modern-day Manichaeans.

    For the Christian, the senses were designed by God. For the Christian, the sensible world was designed by God.

    But the Clarkian Manichees despise God's handiwork. They act as if the sensible world was made by a diabolical demiurge. They act as if sensory input was a diabolical delusion.

    This is nothing more than old fashioned, Manichaean dualism.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Ghost,

    "You met none of the arguments. You simply -- and arrogantly -- reiterated your position. "

    But of course you didn't offer any arguments. You simply assumed infallibilism, and then said that, based on this, Mark cannot know something.

    "In fact, you do not, because your philosophy will not allow it, recognize the epistemic distinction between God's infallible Word and your fallible words."

    Is this supposed to be one of those "arguments" you've been talking about? Anyway, I gave one epistemic distinction between the two. God's word serve as ultimate authority, mine don't. But, it certainly doesn't follow from this that I can't know things based upon the testimony of others.

    "You insist on calling both knowledge."

    No. I insist that both can be objects *of* knowledge. I don;t know what it means to say a proposition *is* knowledge.

    "You want to get rid of infallibilism; that means you must get rid of Christianity, for it claims to be an infallible propositional revelation which men can know. "

    Hmmm, now I must conclude that you don't even know what "infallibilism" in epistemology is. You place an infallible *constraint* upon knowledge. Denying infallibilism in this sense does not commit me to denying the infallibility of God's word. You believe that for something to qualify as an item of knowledge a belief must not only be true and justified, the justification of the belief must necessitate its truth.

    The above is a general condition, and is not the same as saying that there are *some* infallible items of knowledge.

    The problem you face, though, and the one you've been avoiding this entire discussion, is that: the infallibilist constraint upon knowledge cannot be deduced from Scripture, hence, you do not know that there is an infallibilist constraint upon knowledge.

    So, wouldn't you say that you should study up on the terms of the debate before you actually start debating the terms?

    "As for your assertion that "I am feeling pain" is an "immediate report" (how perfectly silly!) and therefore cannot be wrong, you not only smuggle infallibilism in the back door, you forget that Plato disposed of the Sophists' "immediate reports" oh, only about 2,300 years ago."

    Uh-oh, what am I to do, Plato supposedly refuted my above claim. The problem for you is that Plato isn't the Bible, and so isn't infallible, and so, based on your own standards, you don't know that Plato refuted this view.

    Are you saying we can go to extra-biblical sources for our knowledge about refuted philosophical positions? How interesting! An extra-Scriptural Scripturalist.

    But, I must say that you didn;t need Plato. You actually invoked an argument that I was hoping you weren't familair with. You actually show how conversant with rhetoric and philosophic argumentation you really are. So, I must now bow out of the debate, for I have no comeback to what is possibly the most devistating argument you have offered thus far: "how perfectly silly!" Ouch! Talk about making a Van Tillian look bad.

    "Your philosophy, which you imagine to be so cutting edge, was refuted before Christ walked on Earth. "

    Well, that's not "my philosophy."

    Anyway, the more interesting point is that you don't know that Plato existed before Christ.

    and, have Steve said, you don't know that it was refuted. So, again we have the Clarkian asking people to give up their beliefs because his opinion to the contrary. C'mon, be honest, you probably hang outside Baskin And Robbins telling people that Pralines 'n Cream has ben shown to be refuted in taste tests and Gold Medal Ribbon is "the way to go" if you're going to be epistemically honest.

    Now, if you don't, why try and hold me to your unjustified ice cream opinions above? Plato refuted the sophists = Rocky Road and immediate reports of mental states = Very Berry Strawberry.

    ReplyDelete
  38. As I read through these comments, I saw this quote and was struck by a few thoughts.

    Ghost said:
    ---
    You earlier said that you recognized an epistemic distinction between God's Word and all other words. If so, then why do you call both "knowledge"?
    ---

    My first thought was "Probably for the same reason you use the word 'word' for both God's Word and human words."

    After all, when you think about it typologically and from the aspect of imaging, it's not at all unusual to realize that human knowledge is typed after divine knowledge, just as all our attributes are.

    As way of explanation: God exists. People exist. Obviously, this is not to say that people exist in an identical manner to how God exists; but it does not make it any less true to say that both God and people share a common attribute: existence.

    Here's the distinction. God's attribute of existence is the archtype for our own existence. While God's existence is self-existence, our existence is dependent upon God's existence. God's existence is infinite and universal; ours is limited and localized. God's existence occurs independent of our existence; our existence is dependent upon His. In God, existence is ultimately defined; in man, our existence is imaged after God's, and thusly defining "existence" requires us to start with God's existence. Our existence is meaningless without God's existence being presupposed.

    The same is true of power. God is omnipotent; we have limited power. We do not have "no power" for we are able to do things within our limited sphere of influence, just as God is able to do things in his unlimited sphere of influence. Again, God's power is the archtype for our power. His is infinite and universal; ours is finite and local. His is independent; our is dependent upon Him. Thus, God's power must be presupposed in order for us to define what our power is.

    Now back to the point of the quote. The same is true of knowledge. God's knowledge is the archtype for all human knowledge. God's knowledge is infinite and universal, while ours is neither. God's knowledge is eternal while ours is temporal. God's knowledge is independent of us; ours is dependent upon Him. Again, speaking of human knowledge is meaningless unless we presuppose God's knowledge. Without God's knowledge, we cannot speak of man's knowledge, since man's knowledge is patterned on God's.

    Why is it that we can use the terms "existence", "power", and "knowledge" when refering to people even when the term does not mean the exact same thing when used for God? Because these terms are ultimately defined by God in the archtypical sense regardless of what men think, believe, hallucinate, etc.

    We, being created in the image of God, image these attributes in a finite way--and because even non-believers who have never read Scripture are still created in the image of God, this seems to be a death blow to the Scripturalist concept.

    Our imaging of these attributes is not identical to the original, but because we do image them, the definition of our capabilities is linked to the same capability in God. Again, this is due to our creation in the image of God; it was true before God revealed anything in Scripture that man was created in His image. This is a universal truth of our being, and it does not require revelation for us to know this. Indeed, this is the very basis for Paul's claims in Romans 1 that the unregenerate are without excuse because they KNOW the things of God.

    And there is more we can press logically from this concept. I would go so far as to argue that this imaging is the very foundation for Language in the first place, and thus Scripture itself (being comprised of Language) presupposes this imaging. Without the linkage between God and His image in man, all terms (at least relating to attributes) are meaningless. Indeed, the reason God can reveal anything to man is because God created man in His image.

    In summary, to define an attribute requires two things: 1) God's already having that attribute, and 2) an actual link between that attribute and our own attributes. This linkage is NOT a 1:1 correlation, but it must be sufficiently similar in order for meaning to occur.

    To deny this is ultimately to make God so completely "other" that there is no correlation between God and His creation, and makes Scripture itself meaningless for all. It is nothing less than turning the phrase, "In the image of God He created them" on its head. In the final analysis, to argue that these terms have no correlation is to argue that God cannot speak to man at all, for there is no longer any way for God to relate to man.

    And if God cannot speak in Scripture then the slipperly slope finally ends in realizing that Jesus Christ Himself could not reveal the Father in any meaningful sense. The very Word of God, in other words, is just as meaningless as human language is if you deny this linkage.

    Certainly it sounds like we are offering praise to God when we say: "God's knowledge is so higher than ours that we ought not use the same term for His knowledge and ours." But in reality, this is the false foundation that leads to the complete inability of revelation to occur. In short, to hold this view (as the Scripturalists do) is to deny Scripture any meaning; and again, is ultimately to deny that Christ really did reveal the Father.

    Granted, I doubt Ghost has thought this far and I doubt he would actually take the step in saying Christ could not reveal the Father...but all this means is that he must embrace the...*gasp*..."paradox" within his own belief system!!!

    ReplyDelete
  39. the ghost of van til3/30/2007 8:08 AM

    Ladies and Gentlemen:

    It was obviously a mistake for me (or anyone) to get into an argument with expert spinners of paradoxes like you folks. I thought that perhaps someone speaking from the dead would persuade you, but you have the Bible, and if you will not hear it, no voice from the dead will persuade.

    Steve, who looks remarkably like Cary Grant (but my senses, or Steve, or both, might be misleading me -- besides "Cary Grant" wasn't his real name, was it?) -- in any case, Steve agrees with me when he says,

    "Just to clarify, there aren't two kinds of knowledge: fallible and infallible. Rather, there's only a distinction between knowledge and fallible belief."

    That is precisely what I have been saying all along. But it obviously did not linger very long in Steve's mind, for he immediately chastises me for not "knowing" that Plato refuted the Sophists!! But I and you, too, Steve) have only a fallible belief -- an opinion in other words -- that Plato did so. And that is quite enough to destroy your philosophy.

    Steve is very labile, for after agreeing with my epistemic distinction between knowledge and fallible belief, he then says that Clarkians are Manicheans who believe a demiurge created the world because they do not believe knowledge can be derived from sensation. Reading your posts, gentlemen, is like walking through a funhouse full of mirrors.

    Paul also is hopeless; he apparently does not understand (at least he does not let on that he understands) either induction or apagogic argumentation. He just keeps asking the same already-answered question over and over again.

    As for the last poster, whose name I don't recall, he should read John 17.

    There he will find that Christ received words from the Father, which he then transmitted to the disciples, and the disciples received the very same words and "knew" them. Christ did not transmit words "analogous" to those he received from the Father; he did not transmit the "ectype" after receiving the "archetype'; he transmitted exactly the same propositions, and the disciples learned exactly the same propositions as the Father had given Christ, and they "knew" them. There is no break in the transmission of propositional revelation at any point -- from the mind of God the Father to the minds of the disciples. The disciples "know" exactly the same words that the Father told Christ.

    That one passage destroys all the rot about "ectypal" and "archetypal"; it destroys "analogical knowledge," and asserts univocal knowledge.

    What I find completely missing in your philosophy is any serious consideration of God the Holy Spirit as the Revealer of knowledge. As someone said earlier (but I opine that his post has been shoved down the memory hole by the moderator who did not like it), your philosophy is merely another form of epistemological pelagianism.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Have you ever noticed that Scripturalism is a synonym for Manichaeism? Clarkians are modern-day Manichaeans.

    For the Christian, the senses were designed by God. For the Christian, the sensible world was designed by God.

    This is nothing more than old fashioned, Manichaean dualism.



    Steve, at the risk of having Thought Commissar, Dictator Manata, delete this reply too, yours is one of the most uninformed statements I’ve read in years. I suppose I should just excuse it because it reveals a complete ignorance of Clark’s thought or even what is being debated.

    You need to do some work and read for yourself instead of being spoon fed like a little bird by the regurgitations of Manata.

    While we’re on the topic of being fed, Clark argued that God gave men stomachs too, but it doesn’t follow from stomachs that they are a means to knowledge. Of course he did grant that if a person didn’t have their three squares a day then it might make advancing in knowledge somewhat more difficult.

    God did design the eyes in your head as well as your stomach. Not particularly profound. Yet, the Scriptures teach that there are those who are ever learning and who never come to a knowledge of the truth. Rather than knowledge, the Scriptures teach that "GOD GAVE THEM A SPIRIT OF STUPOR, EYES TO SEE NOT AND EARS TO HEAR NOT, DOWN TO THIS VERY DAY."

    The only ones who seemingly cannot grasp this basic bible lesson are Van Tilians, Manatas (who calls knowledge whatever happens to pop into their heads), and your ordinary Evidentialists – all of whom (as The Ghost of Van Til has already demonstrated) are guilty of epistemological Pelagianism even if they’re too blinded by their own pride, hatred, eyes and stomachs to see it.

    ReplyDelete
  41. MAGMA2 SAID:

    "Steve, at the risk of having Thought Commissar, Dictator Manata, delete this reply too, yours is one of the most uninformed statements I've read in years."

    Why are you reading? Reading involves the use of eyesight. Didn't you know that sensation is a fallacy?

    "You need to do some work and read for yourself."

    Why are you telling me to read? Are you a closet empiricist?

    "While we're on the topic of being fed, Clark argued that God gave men stomachs too, but it doesn't follow from stomachs that they are a means to knowledge."

    If you can't tell the difference between one organ's design function and another, that's your problem, not mine.

    BTW, how do you know we have a stomach? How do you know what to eat? Surely you don't rely on eyesight to use a knife and fork.

    "Yet, the Scriptures teach that there are those who are ever learning and who never come to a knowledge of the truth."

    How do you *know* that? Did you *read* it somewhere? Or *hear* it somewhere?

    So you can only *opine* about what the Scriptures teach.

    Unless you happen think you can actually use your sensory organs to acquire information.

    I guess your a godless, apostate evidentialist and epistemological Pelagian after all.

    But we'll pray for you.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Ghost said:
    ---
    As for the last poster, whose name I don't recall
    ---

    And since it's right there at the top of my post, I suppose your comment just demonstrates you're too lazy to scroll....

    You said:
    ---
    There he will find that Christ received words from the Father, which he then transmitted to the disciples, and the disciples received the very same words and "knew" them.
    ---

    Which makes perfect sense under the position I argued, but which does not make sense under your claims.

    Allow me to argue as you have done to demonstrate this. When the disciples "knew" what Christ said, they were not omniscient. Their knowledge was not the same knowledge as God's knowledge. Therefore, you ought not use the word "knew" in that situation.

    If that argument fails here, it also fails when you use it against Steve, Paul, or me.

    You said:
    ---
    There is no break in the transmission of propositional revelation at any point -- from the mind of God the Father to the minds of the disciples. The disciples "know" exactly the same words that the Father told Christ.
    ---

    Which ignores the issue. The issue isn't that they know this (this isn't even in dispute); it is how they know this. Your position undermines all knowledge, including the above, if applied consistently, whereas mine establishes all knowledge, including the above. I can account for how the disciples knew propositions about God, but you cannot because, again, your position undermines the very fabric of language itself.

    You said:
    ---
    That one passage destroys all the rot...
    ---

    Great argument there! "Your position is rot." Yup, you've convinced me with that one....

    You said:
    ---
    What I find completely missing in your philosophy is any serious consideration of God the Holy Spirit as the Revealer of knowledge.
    ---

    But this is only because you're once again ignoring the issue and begging the question. No one denies the Spirit must reveal certain knowledge, such as soteriological knowledge, but when we are not dealing with soteriology, the above statement begs the question that your view is correct and mine is wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Ghost,

    "It was obviously a mistake for me (or anyone) to get into an argument with expert spinners of paradoxes like you folks. I thought that perhaps someone speaking from the dead would persuade you, but you have the Bible, and if you will not hear it, no voice from the dead will persuade."

    And yest you've not quoted the Bible once.

    "That is precisely what I have been saying all along. But it obviously did not linger very long in Steve's mind, for he immediately chastises me for not "knowing" that Plato refuted the Sophists!!"

    Not to speak for Steve, but I don't believe Steve holds to an infallibilist constraint on knowledge. You, apparently, don't know the difference. I actually know for a fact that Steve agrees that some of our knowledge is probabilistic. So, you didn't catch Steve in an inconsistency so much as showed yourself to be rather unfamiliar with some elementary distinctions conetmporary epistemology makes.

    "have only a fallible belief -- an opinion in other words -- that Plato did so. And that is quite enough to destroy your philosophy. "

    And why won't you admit that you only have a fallible belief--an opinion, in other words--that Scripturalism is the case? You certainly don't *know* that Scripturalism is the case. You certainly can't deduce the proposition: "all knowledge is either propositions in Scripture, or propositions deducible, via Aristotleian logic, from Scripture."

    "Paul also is hopeless; he apparently does not understand (at least he does not let on that he understands) either induction or apagogic argumentation. He just keeps asking the same already-answered question over and over again. "

    And again we have Scripturalist accusations without quotes and argument to back it up. Apparently people are just supposed to "take Ghosts word for it." So, upon anaysis, Ghost thinks that there is no epistemic distinction between God's say-so and our anonymous commenter, Ghost's say-so.

    Anyway, here's what I do understand. G. Clark says: "Induction is always a fallacy." So, I'd wager that it is G. Clark who "doesn't understand induction."

    "As for the last poster, whose name I don't recall, he should read John 17.

    There he will find that Christ received words from the Father, which he then transmitted to the disciples, and the disciples received the very same words and "knew" them."


    As typical, our Clarkian poster seems to be unfamiliar with Van Til's concept of analogy. An analogy is *the same* and *different* in areas. So, to the extent you want to stress the "sameness," a Van Tillian can agree. It's just that we also stress the "differences" between our knowledge and God's as well. There's more than just "knowing that" we can speak of when we use the term "to know."

    "That one passage destroys all the rot about "ectypal" and "archetypal"; it destroys "analogical knowledge," and asserts univocal knowledge. "

    Wow, it "destroys" a caricature and a straw man. Good job. Apparently studying the opposition isn't high on a Clarkian's list of priorities. Apparently they seek to "follow Scripture," and yet forget the passages like "show thyself a workman approved by God." They strain the epistemic gnat while swallowing the epistemic camel.

    "What I find completely missing in your philosophy is any serious consideration of God the Holy Spirit as the Revealer of knowledge."

    This could be taken in various ways. At any rate, I don't see how saying that I know my wife is not a robot implies that "I deny the holy Spirit is the revealer of knowledge."

    ReplyDelete
  44. the ghost of van til said...

    "But it obviously did not linger very long in Steve's mind, for he immediately chastises me for not "knowing" that Plato refuted the Sophists!! But I and you, too, Steve) have only a fallible belief -- an opinion in other words -- that Plato did so."

    Our Clarkian Manichee is now having to backpedal from his original claim. This is what he initially said:

    "As for your assertion that 'I am feeling pain' is an "immediate report" (how perfectly silly!) and therefore cannot be wrong, you not only smuggle infallibilism in the back door, you forget that Plato disposed of the Sophists' 'immediate reports' oh, only about 2,300 years ago. Your philosophy, which you imagine to be so cutting edge, was refuted before Christ walked on Earth."

    So you originally said that Plato *refuted* Manata's position.

    Now, however, you have to admit that Plato did not, in fact, refute Manata's position. You can only *opine* about Plato's alleged refutation, since you can't deduce that from Scripture. What is more, Plato could only *opine* about sophism, since Plato didn't deduce him critique of sophism from the Bible either.

    So what our hapless Clarkian Manichee now offers us is a second-tier opinion: an opinion of an opinion. A Clarkian's opinion of Plato's opinion of sophism.

    "As for the last poster, whose name I don't recall, he should read John 17."

    He should *read* Jn 17? As in using his eyes to acquire information?

    "There he will find that Christ received words from the Father."

    As in written words on a page? Squiggles of ink?

    ReplyDelete
  45. Sean/Magma,

    "Steve, at the risk of having Thought Commissar, Dictator Manata, delete this reply too, yours is one of the most uninformed statements I’ve read in years."

    Sean, actually, I don't think I have deleted the majority of posts here. I even think there was a post above telling us who chose to do so. So, your comment "is one of the most uninformed statements I’ve read in years."

    "You need to do some work and read for yourself instead of being spoon fed like a little bird by the regurgitations of Manata."

    Considering Steve has been a Christian for over 20 years, and I've been one for only 7, and considering Steve is vastly more well read than I, even on Clark, I'd say that your comment "is one of the most uninformed statements I’ve read in years."

    "God did design the eyes in your head as well as your stomach. Not particularly profound. Yet, the Scriptures teach that there are those who are ever learning and who never come to a knowledge of the truth."

    And yet Scripture is not talking about epistemology here in the sense we've been discussing it above. Scripture is not saying that the eyes are used for "learning" but to "know any truth" one must be a Scripturalist. Scripture is nt denying that these people know their wives are people, that they know the earth is more than 5 minutes old, that their memories are reliable, etc. So, exegetically, your comment "is one of the most uninformed statements I’ve read in years."

    "Rather than knowledge, the Scriptures teach that "GOD GAVE THEM A SPIRIT OF STUPOR, EYES TO SEE NOT AND EARS TO HEAR NOT, DOWN TO THIS VERY DAY."

    No, it's "rather than knowledge about the true religion and the true and living God. It's not talking about any knowledge whatsoever. So, contextually, your comment "is one of the most uninformed statements I’ve read in years."

    "The only ones who seemingly cannot grasp this basic bible lesson are Van Tilians, Manatas (who calls knowledge whatever happens to pop into their heads"

    But of course this is not what I call knowledge, as I demonstrate to Sean HERE (I'm "Tom Bombadil"). So, apparently Sean likes to tell people to listen to his understanding of the Scriptures when they do epistemology, but when it comes to the 9th commandment, Scripture goes out the window! Thus, your comment "is one of the most uninformed statements I’ve read in years."

    " even if they’re too blinded by their own pride, hatred, eyes and stomachs to see it."

    Ah yes, this is called Lunesta for Scripturalists. Since they only have about 10 members, and most learned men scoff at them, they must tell themselves that "the real reason" people aren't Clarkians is because "their pride and hatred of God and the Scriptures," so that they can sleep at night. It couldn't possibly be because it's a pathetic attempt at philosophy, and only gets off the ground because of the piety its clothed in, that's the reason people aren't buying what the Scripturalist is selling, right?

    Well, hey, if it helps you sleep at night to tell yourself those things Sean, then I won't stand in your way. Night night, little guy, don't let the bed bugs bite.

    ReplyDelete
  46. "God did design the eyes in your head as well as your stomach. Not particularly profound. Yet, the Scriptures teach that there are those who are ever learning and who never come to a knowledge of the truth."

    And yet Scripture is not talking about epistemology here in the sense we've been discussing it above.


    Indeed it is. Knowledge, and especially in the sense we’ve been discussing (or would be if you’d stop equivocating), is nothing if it is not about coming to knowledge of the truth. Neither Paul nor the rest of Scripture restricts knowledge of the truth to just some limited salvific sphere limited to only truths “about the true religion and the true and living God.” Paul tells us, but evidently not you, that ALL Scripture is given for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, so that the man of God may be perfect – complete – for all good works and not just those good works you’ve conveniently “religiously” defined.

    I think any consistent exegetical position would have to concede that the Scriptures are profitable for politics, homemaking, parenting, science, philosophy, economics, epistemology and any other “non-religious” field of thought you magically want to exclude from the playing field.

    Paul said we are to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. You just have a different agenda.

    "Rather than knowledge, the Scriptures teach that "GOD GAVE THEM A SPIRIT OF STUPOR, EYES TO SEE NOT AND EARS TO HEAR NOT, DOWN TO THIS VERY DAY."

    No, it's "rather than knowledge about the true religion and the true and living God. It's not talking about any knowledge whatsoever. So, contextually, your comment "is one of the most uninformed statements I’ve read in years."


    I admit the clarity of Scripture doesn’t work well with your “program,” but there is no reason to restrict Paul’s letter to Timothy. Hey, Paul's letter doesn’t work for Papists either who similarly attempt to artificially restrict Paul’s teaching so that their “program” doesn’t appear to have egg on its face either. Since you are evidently obsessed with the number of adherents a particular philosophy has, I openly admit there are millions who share yours.

    I’m done. BTW, I just read on PB that Lieno is “weeping” over your act of feigned piety and self-imposed penance by temporarily removing yourself from the boards. LOL :) You’re an excellent showman Paul. {I’m confident you’ll delete my parting comments as well Commissar Manata. Wouldn’t want any free speech making your blog look bad.} :-)

    Bye.

    Col 2:8; See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Sean,

    Unfortuately, you're the one who gives ammo to the Catholics as they seek to misrepresent sola Scriptura. I recognize that Scripture is the final authority in all matters of life and doctrine, this does not imply, and you have yet to argue for it, that "All knowledge must be deducibe from Scripture, or directly stated in Scripture."

    I, for one, would love it if a Clarkian would actually *argue* for his position. For some reason Sean Gerety thinks that he can just cite a verse, and tell us what it means, and expect us to all bow down to his interpretation. Here we can see that Scripturalism is just another form of Popery.

    The verses Sean uses that have been used in support of sola Scriptura, though, don't mean what Sean thinks they do. Men like, say, Godfrey, have expressed it well:

    "In spite of the difficulty of this undertaking, I am eager to join that historic train of Protestant apologists to defend the doctrine that the Scripture alone is our ultimate religious authority."

    And,

    "Let me begin with certain clarifications so as not to be misunderstood. I am not arguing that all truth is to be found in the Bible, or that the Bible is the only form in which the truth of God has come to His people."

    A.A. Hodge says,

    "It is not meant that the Scriptures contain every revelation which God has ever made to man, but that their contents are the only supernatural revelation that God does now make to man, and that this revelation is abundantly sufficient for man's guidance in all questions of faith, practice, and modes of worship, and excludes the necessity and the right of any human inventions."

    And, as James White says,

    "Sola scriptura teaches that the Scriptures are the sole infallible rule of faith for the Church. ... The Bible is an ultimate authority, allowing no equal, nor superior, in tradition or church."

    And so no, I won't just bow down to Sean's claims that "all human knowledge is either directly stated in Scripture, or else deducible from Scripture."


    Sean also cites Paul saying that "all Scripture is inspired by God, and profitible for correction and training in righteousness, so that he may be complete for every good work." Okay, and this somehow proves this:

    "All human knowledge is either directly stated in Scripture, or deducible from Scripture."

    ???

    And, of course, you don't *know* that Paul said any of that, do you? So, you fail, again, in showing how you know what you claim to know (and, since you're an admitted internalist, that question is legitimate.).

    Where's the beef, Sean? I mean, it's a nice tactic trying to paint me in a light that allegedly ignores Scripture. But, without the bully tactics and assertions, you don't really have anything, do you?

    "Paul said we are to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. You just have a different agenda."

    And of course this is just more slander. And, I'm at a loss as to how "take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" means "all knowledge is directly stated or deducibe from Scripture."

    One would think that a Scripturalist, of all people, would have deduced his position for us by now. I've been asking and asking. Sean keeps ignoring. He doesn't want to be confused with the facts.

    "I admit the clarity of Scripture doesn’t work well with your “program,” but there is no reason to restrict Paul’s letter to Timothy."

    Sure there's a reason. And, I gave you one. If your interpretation were true, you couldn't know your own Scripturalist package. Furthermore, your own interpretation implies that unbelievers don't know anything, but we know that they know things, therefore your position is false.

    So, again, Paul has offered arguments, Sean has offered zip, ziltch, nadda, the empty set, etc.

    "I’m done. BTW, I just read on PB that Lieno is “weeping” over your act of feigned piety and self-imposed penance by temporarily removing yourself from the boards. LOL :)"

    Well, I don't know what you're referring to. But, maybe if I ever hold on to a weak philosophy, that gets shredded time and time again, I'll resort to lying and pejoratives and abuse in order to score some points.

    " {I’m confident you’ll delete my parting comments as well Commissar Manata. Wouldn’t want any free speech making your blog look bad.} :-)"

    On the contrary, Gerety, I'm banking on your use of free speech to make you look bad. Kind of Ironic, huh. Anyway, I'm glad you've toned it down and are following the rules of Van Tillians. Now, all you need to do is follow our other request and make sure you actually argue in your posts, rather than dictate that such and such means this and that.

    "Col 2:8; See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ."

    And the $64,000 question is: Why does Gerety hold to Clark's philosophy, then?

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  48. LOL! I never knew much about Gordon Clark and "Scripturalism," but the guys here at T-Blog have sure shown me that I was wise in not wasting my time studying them.

    Good job, T-bloggers, I'll go back lurking now.

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  49. I find it ironic that there's a certain passage that is not being dealt with here by the Scripturalists. Then again, it could be due to the fact that it is apologists dealing with atheists who tend to have this passage memorized, and that's going to be your VanTillians not your Clarkians.

    Said passage:
    ---
    For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
    ---

    Yup, good ol' Romans 1:18-23. I used the ESV above. Have no fear, the other translations speak the same. For instance, the KJV says:
    ---
    Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse
    ---

    The emphasized portions each drill another nail into the Scripturalist coffin. Observe that the Apostle Paul had no problem saying that non-believers had knowledge of God. And this knowledge of God, according once again to the Apostle Paul, was gained not by Scripture but by "the things that have been made."

    Thus, Paul himself not only implies but explicitly states that the created order provides knowledge to the unbeliever apart from Scripture such that the non-believer is left without excuse for his rebellion against God.

    Perhaps the Clarkians would like to "correct" the Apostle's usage of the term "know" and demonstrate how Paul engaged in equivocating on the meaning of the term "know" there...but of course that would leave them with yet another dreadful paradox in which they affirm knowledge is only found in Scripture except for the knowledge found in Scripture that says that knowledge is NOT found only in Scripture.

    Have it it :-)

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  50. Good one Pike.

    I also notice that Sean avoided dealing with my question about how he could have any assurance of salvation, if for all he knows he could be totally deceived by his senses.

    If he knows that his senses could be wrong (which he can't!) then he has a defeater for his belief that he's been justified by God.

    On his death bed he will have *NO* sure hope of avoiding hell when he dies. In fact since "few will be saved" the odds are stacked against him.

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  51. While I’ve already said goodbye to Manata since he is incapable of exegeting, much less applying simple universals of Scripture - even if he contradicts WCF 1:2 at his own peril - that doesn’t mean that I can’t reply to Peter Pike’s post (assuming the Chief Censor and Thought Commissar permits).

    I mean, really, what can you expect from me? Manata’s a man who won’t even take correction from Van Til’s ghost! While he finally came to his senses and abandoned the core of the Vantilian apologetic “program” and that intellectual charade called the “Transcendental Argument,” he’s now jumping headlong into another vat of epistemic quicksand provided by men like Plantinga. Without divine intervention, I’m confident it’s only a matter of time before he’ll be eating at the trough of his own vomit alongside his atheist blog buddy John Loftus. (Note to Loftus; familiarize yourself with Plantinga’s epistemology and the idea of warrant. You’ll make considerably more headway against Christians like Manata in the future).

    The Ghost of Van Til was “spot on” and Vantilians are guilty of epistemological Pelagianism. Another example of this is that like some barking Arminian salivating over any mention of the word “all,” Peter has a similar Pavlovian response whenever he sees the word “know” in Scripture.

    At the risk of upsetting Peter’s contradictory Vantilian apple cart, perhaps he’ll consider another confessional idea that he has obviously jettisoned; the idea that the infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself and that the meaning of Scripture, rather than being a morass of insoluble paradoxes, is one.

    Hear God’s word:

    1 Cor 1:21a; For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God.

    Contrary to Peter’s exegesis of Romans 1, Paul writes that the world does not know God. How can that be? Peter Pike said “knowledge of God . . was gained not by Scripture but by ‘the things that have been made.’" Now in the intellectually bankrupt world Vantilians inhabit, such a glaring contradiction is not an indicator that perhaps Peter Piker picked a poor and errant interpretation of Romans 1, instead he and Manata will praise each other for their piety and hail their submission to contradictions as evidence of their humility to the authority of Scripture.

    Unlike the Vantilian insanity that informs Peter Pike’s and Manata’s neo-orthodox and retrograde theology, men cannot both KNOW God and not KNOW God in the same sense.

    Leaving Vantilain nonsense aside, Scripture uses the word “to know” in a number of different senses, which is why clearly defining what you mean and not equivocating on the definition is essential in order for the conversation to advance. Scripture tells us; “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib." Is this knowledge in the sense Van Til and Bahnsen understood it when they defined knowledge as justified true belief? I admit that it does sound like knowledge as Manata defines it, but no bother. In addition to the use of the word “know” as already cited in 1 Cor. 1:21a, how about; “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain?”

    That is why, unless you define your terms in light of Scripture, you are no different then the jerking knees of the Arminians who scream “God desires all to be saved and all men are free to come to Him if they only will” – bondage of the will be damned.

    If knowledge is understood in the epistemic sense as Van Til defined it, then belief is a central component of knowledge in this sense. Do unbelievers acknowledge the revelation of the Lord God of Truth within them? Do they assent to the innate ideas God has implanted within them? What do the Scriptures say? “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness ; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”

    Hopefully my highlights help you follow the thought expressed in the passage. Invisible attributes can’t be seen with the eyes in the head, but rather with the eyes of the mind. Seeing in Scripture is often used as a metaphor for understanding, as it is in Romans 1. Paul tells us all men have an understanding of God within them even though they suppress it. It is in this sense that the word “know” is to be understood in Romans 1. Further evidence for this is that Paul tells us in the next chapter that the Law of God is written on the minds of men and, because of this, their thoughts alternately accuse or else defend them. Being created in God’s image also means that the invisible forms of logic are irrevocably impressed on the minds of men, yet all men by nature reject the Incarnate Logic of God who dwelt among us.

    To reiterate, while all men have an understanding of God and stand convicted in accordance with what God has revealed “within” them, Romans 1 tells us explicitly that unbelievers suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Instead of acknowledging God, Paul tells us that God gave them over to a reprobate mind.

    Contrary to Peter's deficient understanding of Romans 1, men do not come to a knowledge of God in the epistemic sense and as Van Til defined it apart from Scripture and the active work of the Holy Spirit. Therefore it follows that the word “know” is being used in a different sense in Romans 1 than Peter Pike thinks and as Paul used it in 1 Cor. 1:21a previously cited.

    Romans 1 teaches us that all men have certain innate ideas, but unregenerate men do not accept those ideas. Hardly, JTB.

    Ironically, in one of his more lucid and biblical moments, Van Til called the kind of natural theology necessarily implied by Peter Piker’s remarks “anti-Christian.” But why listen to Van Til, right? You haven't listened to his ghost?

    Of course, why listen to Calvin either since he said; “I call that knowledge, not what is innate in man, or what is by diligence acquired, but that which is delivered to us by the Law and the Prophets”?

    P.S. There are no paradoxes in Scripture in the Vantilian sense. Those are problems within your own mind. Why Vantilians like you impugn God’s Word by transferring your own ignorance and confusion to God’s revelation is beyond me, but that doesn’t make your assertions any less sinful

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  52. Notice how Gerety says he's not responding to me, but he referrs to me throught his entire post.

    Anyway, he tells Loftus,

    "Without divine intervention, I’m confident it’s only a matter of time before he’ll be eating at the trough of his own vomit alongside his atheist blog buddy John Loftus. (Note to Loftus; familiarize yourself with Plantinga’s epistemology and the idea of warrant. You’ll make considerably more headway against Christians like Manata in the future)."

    But, Sean has admitted that he's never read Plantinga. So, like with Anderson, Gerety continues his trend of commenting on works he's never read.

    Anyway, Gerety says the unregenerate do not come to a knowledge of God in the epistemic sense. Wrong. They know *that* God exists. But, they don't come to a *saving* knowledge.

    Gerety just dismisses this by saying either (a) all knowledge is saving knowledge (which is based on his *assumption* of Scripturalism, which he hasn't proven), or (b) the only knowledge that matters is saving knowledge.

    Then, Gerety cites the confession against me. But, the confession agrees with me, not Gerety.

    The confession, 1:1, says:

    "Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, which is necessary unto salvation."

    See, without the Scripture men do not have *THAT* knowledge. What knowledge? "That knowledge" which is "necessary to salvation." The confession doesn't say that men don't have knowledge, it says that they don;t have **THAT** knowledge. Indeed, this implies that men **DO** have knowledge, otherwsise there is no sense in talking about **THAT** knowledge men do have with holy Scripture.

    He then, as is typical, merely *asserts* that I "contradict" section 1:2. Well, how? We are left to guess at this. Now, 1:2 talks about which books make up the cannon. How do I contradict this? I don't. The only thing I can think is that Gerety means the last sentence,

    "All which are given by inspiration of God to be the rule of faith and life."

    But, this is *my* position above. Anyway, Gerety needs to *prove* that "rule of faith and life" mean "no knowledge exists that is not in Scripture or deducible from Scripture." If he can't, he's just using, again, bully tactics and popery. He expects us to bow down to his understanding of the Bible and the confession.

    Lastly, of course the problem still ramains. Gerety doesn't *know* that I contradict the confession. He doesn't *know* that Plantinga's episetmology is problematic. He doesn't *know* that Peter his misinterpreted Romans 1. All of his post was merely his *OPINION* on the matter.

    Gerety wants us to bow down to his mere *OPINION*. At least the pope claims to be the imfallible interpreter of the text. At least, *if true,* there would be reason to listen to him. But Gerety, *if his position is true,* simply asks us to believe his opining and pontinfications.

    Sorry, Gerety, we're not buying.

    And, John Loftus, all you need to do to refute Gerety and his fellow Clarkians, is to point out that they can't know their philosophic/apologetic methodolgy. The Scripturalist package renders knowledge of the Scripturalist pachage, unattainable.

    Lastly, people are invited to read the debate I had with gerety. the link is given in the 6th post down from the top. Gerety is just an angry man who can't accept that he's lost.

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  53. Couple of points:

    1. I have read Plantinga. I have read most if not all his published articles available on the web and related RE authors linked to M. Sudduth’s website and elsewhere. I have been unimpressed. I have purchased Warranted Christian Belief and, so far, I remain unimpressed. Seems he not interested in defending Christianity at all, but rather some sort of nondescript “generic” Christian faith which covers beliefs defended by even open and avowed enemies of the faith. I’m still wondering when and if he’s going to defend Christianity?

    2. Rather than exegesis, Manata asserts that men know God exists, but just don’t have a “saving knowledge” of God. How he arrived at this conclusion he does not say? The Scriptures tell us that the fool says in his heart there is no God and the Apostle Paul said “the world through its wisdom did not come to know God.” If Manata is correct then he’s never met a fool and Paul is a liar. Calvin argued that men have a sensus divinitatis, which, again, regardless of Plantigna’s novel use of this idea, a sense of the divine is hardly knowledge in the strict sense. But, hey, Manata has no “strict sense” and rejects Van Til’s, Bahnsen's and Clark's definition of knowledge. Besides, I’ve already cited Calvin who said he does not consider what is innate in man knowledge. In addition, Paul in his letter to the Colossians said that in Christ are “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Notice, contrary to Manata’s paltry notion of warrant where virtually anything and everything that pops into his head is “knowledge,” the Apostle Paul says that ALL – and not just some – such treasures are hid in Christ – thoughts floating around Manata’s fevered mind not withstand. I can only conclude that Manata has become fixated on some cheap counterfeits that he foolishly calls “knowledge.” I can almost smell that trough from here.

    3. Now, since Romans 1 is addressing innate ideas and provides no support at all for the kind of Natural Theology and explicit Thomism Peter Pike picks, Gordon Clark has praised Kant for at least recognizing the need for an a_priori. However, even with his categories, I don’t even think a blind Vantilian like Manata would be stupid enough to assert that Kant arrived at a knowledge of God. Although, given Manata’s track record so far, perhaps he would?

    4. Manata continues to assert extra-biblical knowledge but refuses to provide any account whatsoever. He says he doesn’t want to be tied to any “infaliblitistic” constraints. He wants to be free to call anything knowledge, provided he first passes it through his newly discovered “warrant” sieve.

    5. In spite the clear teaching of both Scripture and the Confession, Manata is correct and that many in the Reformed tradition, particularly those around the turn of the last century who were enamored by the advancements in science, did limit the truth of Scripture to faith and morals as Manata does. They, like Manata, had high hopes in empirical methods and thought that through general revelation and the ordinary use of means men could arrive at knowledge of God and God's existence. Even if Manata’s Thomism had never been thoroughly debunked, what possible excuse can Manata have today after the overwhelming arguments advanced – even by foolish yet brilliant atheists like Popper and Russell – demonstrating that science is non cognitive? Manata has no excuse, but he continues to shove his fingers deeply in his ears and like a petulant schoolboy yells “I don’t hear you, I don’t hear you.”

    And, you know, he's right. He does not hear.

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  54. Is it paradox, or hypocrisy, or Clarkian double-speak that causes Gerety to continue to respond to me after he said he was done? He railed against me when I responded after I said I was done, but apparently Gerety is above the law. Now, on to his points.

    1. Well, assuming that Gerety is correct here (and, let's not forget that he doesn't know that he's read Plantinga), how can we explain his horrendous understanding of Plantinga, warrant, and the like? For example, everyone who has read their Plantinga knows that he uses contemporary language like: "upon being appeared to redly." Now, when I used this language with Sean, he acted as if it was the first time he had ran across a sentence like that. In the debate I linked to 6th post down from the top, Gerety says this in response to my employment of a sentence like that:

    "I misunderstood you, albeit “upon being appeared to redly” doesn’t seem to be remotely grammatical."

    So, he admitted that he didn't even *understand* the sentence, and, further, he acts as if it is the first time he's encountered such a sentence. But, for one who has "read Plantinga" his ignorance here is really inexcusable. Moreover, note that he simply "purchased" WCB. Wow, does Sean think he learns by osmosis, or something? Lastly, his claims about "defending Christianity" are likewise ignorant. But, one can see where he gets this since he actually hasn't read his Plantinga. Skimmed him and quote mined him in an uncharitable way, maybe; read him, hardly.

    2. Sean shows off his stellar exegetical skills. Let's look:

    (a) It says that the fool "*SAYS*" in his heart there is no God. My position is that though men may know that God exists, they don't admit it, they suppress it. Interestingly, Michael Martin uses this exact verse to argue against the claim that all men don't know that God exists. I have responded to Martin, and here's a snip of my response to his employment of Scripture. Quoting myself,

    "What are Martin's scriptural examples which show that the Bible affirms the existence of atheists? Well, he only gives one: "The fool hath said in his heart there is no God" (Psalm 14:1). The easiest refutation of his argument is to point out that advocates of NA do not disagree that people say there is no God, even in their hearts. What NA claims is that all men know that God exists but yet suppress this knowledge. Saying "there is no God" is one way sinful, creative man suppresses this knowledge. Just because someone "says" something does not mean that they really believe it, especially if one is self-deceived! So, Martin has misunderstood the Psalmist. Not only that, but this verse is actually support for the NA claim.

    How does the verse Martin cites turn out to be a scriptural example for NA? Well you have to ask the question, why is someone a fool for saying there is no God? It is because God created them (Gen. 1:27) and man clearly knows this (Rom. 1:20). Man has sinned against God (Rom. 3:23) and God's wrath has been revealed unto them but they suppress that truth (Rom. 1:18). This God who created them also provides for them regardless of whether they serve him or not (Matt. 5:45). Man does not thank God for providing for and caring for him though (Rom. 1:21). Not only does man not thank God, he actually hates God (Rom. 8:7; Mt. 6:24 (note: you can't hate someone you don't know anything about)). All of these things man actually knows (Rom. 1:19). For these reasons, it is obvious that only a fool would say there is no God. Why? Because he knows that God is there!"



    (b) Sean, master exegete, says there is no generic and non-saving knowledge of God. He says my idea that there is, is false. He says I contradict Paul. He supports his idea by referring to 1 Cor. 1:21. He quotes part of Paul, for some reason, but not the entire verse. Let's read the entire verse:

    "For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe."

    Hence we clearly see that the knowledge they did not have was a *saving* knowledge. Calvin says,

    "Thus it must be reckoned as our own fault, that we do not attain a saving acquaintance with God, before we have been emptied of our own understanding."

    And,

    "Accordingly, when Paul here declares that God is not known through means of his creatures, you must understand him to mean that a pure knowledge of him is not attained."

    And, my position is not that all men have "a pure knowledge" of God.

    (c) Sean says that I agree with Plantinga's notion of the "sensus divinitatis." Well, I do not. For Plantinga, if Sean had bothered to read him, the sense of the divine is a *capacity* that men have. Actually, Plantinga *does not* say that all men *do* know God. So, Sean wrongly understands both me AND Plantinga. He hasn't read Plantinga, he doesn't read what I write,and, he comments on Anderson's work without reading Anderson. Are we seeing a pattern? Is this the height of Scripturalist "scholarship?" A scholarship falsely so-called.

    (d) Sean then takes Paul's specific response to *Gnosticism,* in Col.2, as somehow saying that "nothing can be known that is not deducible from Scripture." The Gnostics thought they had "hidden" wisdom regarding *salvation.* But, Paul says, this is "hidden in Christ." No, if this means that Christ is the standard, exemplar, ultimate authority, of all that can be known, okay. But, if Sean wants it to mean that "we can only know what is deducible from Scripture," then he needs to actually prove that. Just citing a verse, telling people it means such and such, isn't very persuasive. And, furthermore, why assume it means that non-Christian don't know *that* God exists?

    (e) Romans 1 and knolwedge, as Murray says in his excellent commentary on Romans,

    "Verse 19 explains how it can be said that men hinder the truth in unrighteousness; they hinder the truth because there is a manifestation of the truth to them, and the truth manifested to them is described as 'that which is known of God' (n.36, note that which may be known, as in A.V.). The content of this knowledge is defined in v. 20. For the present is is stated to have been manifested unto them and manifest in them and it is manifest in them because God has manifested it unto them. It is easy to be misled by the expression 'manifest in them' into thinking that the apostle is dealing with the same subject as he deals with later in 2:14,15, the knowledge that is inherent in the mind of man (n.37 what has been called sensus divinitatis) as distinguished from the knowledge derived from the revelation that is external to himself. There is no warrant for this interpretation of the terms in v.19. It is plain that the apostle is dealing with that which God makes manifest to men and is known by men from the work of creation, that is to say, from his observable handiwork. And the reason why this knowledge may be said to be 'manifest in them' is the simply fact that manifestation of truth to men always presupposes the mind and consciousness of man. Revelation is always to those possessed of intelligent consciousness. If it is revelation to us it must also be in us because that which makes it to us that which is in us, namely mind and heart.

    There is a contrast instituted between 'the righteousness of God is revealed' (v.17) and 'that which is known of God; (vs.19), a contrast as respects both mode of revelation and truth-content. The distinction is that between the manifestation that is the property of all and its corresponding effect, on the other. Hence the holding back of truth in unrighteousness, contemplated in this instance does not apply to the gospel. Those in view are regarded as outside the pale of the gospel revelation and 'that which is known of God' is used in a specific sense to denote the truth-content respecting God available to such." - Murray, Romans, 1997, p. 37-38, emphasis his)


    Of course there is a more intimate and profound sense of "knowing" that Christians have. It is not a mere "knowing that" but a "knowing who." In contrast to this saving and special and intimate knowledge, unbelievers are rightly said to "be ignorant" and to "know not" and to "lack knowledge." It is not *just that* we know some facts about God.

    Notice that Romans 1:21 tells us that,

    "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened."

    And so it is clearly obvious that Scripture tells us that unbelievers "knew" God. We cannot doubt, therefore, that, *at least,* non-Christian, unregenerate, *had* a knowledge. This is sufficient in and of itself to debunk Sean's rendering of the passage to coincide with his Scripturalist understandings. But, we should continue on in our argument. This view (that the knowledge is past) is refuted by Paul's tying in the knowledge "had" with "guilt of sin." Knowledge of the law. But, if this knowledge were relegated to the past, how could we conclude that the Gentiles of the present, the ones Paul is *presently* referring to (and Gentiles in our day), are guilty and responsible for their actions? As John Frame notes,

    "The past tense is used (participially) because the past tense is dominate in the context. That is appropriate, because Paul intends to embark on a history of suppressing the truth. But he clearly does not regard the events of vv.21-23 merely as past history. He clearly is using this history to describe the present condition of the Gentiles before God. Therefore, the aorist gnontes should not be pressed to indicate time exclusively. As the suppression continues, so does the knowledge that renders the suppression culpable." Frame, AGG, 1994, p.8, n.12.

    Hence Paul, *at least* (though this has been argued against) says that unbelievers *knew* God. This flies in the face of his rationalism. Clarkians cannot abide tension in Scripture. They totally flip out and loose it when they read that unbelievers could both know, and not know, God. Though this has been specified above, and so is not paradoxical, except on the face, it serves as an interesting plug for Anderson's book. Sean Gerety demonstrates why one should by Anderson's book!

    (f) Sean totally ignores my argument from the Confession. So I simply repost it:

    The Confession says in 1:1:

    "Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, which is necessary unto salvation."

    See, without the Scripture men do not have *THAT* knowledge. What knowledge? "That knowledge" which is "necessary to salvation." The confession doesn't say that men don't have knowledge, it says that they don’t have **THAT** knowledge. Indeed, this implies that men **DO** have knowledge, otherwise there is no sense in talking about **THAT** knowledge men do have with holy Scripture.

    3. Of course Gerety doesn't prove this is "innate." I wonder why he uses the terms and categories of the Continental Rationalists for his expounding of Christian Scripture? Indeed, the Bible doesn't use the term "innate" and I doubt Gerety can "deduce" the meaning of "innate" from the Bible--without begging the question. So, his "exegesis" of the passage imports EXTRA-biblical knowledge to make it intelligible. Bad Scripturalist, no donut!

    4. Of course Sean hasn't *asked* me to provide "an account." Furthermore, for him, an "account" means "deduce from Scripture." Surely he wouldn't accept any other kind of "account." Why ask me for an "account: of something when you're unwilling to accept said "account?" If he accepts the "account" then he has to reject Scripturalism to do so, he won’t do that, therefore he won't, a priori, accept any "account" I give him.

    Lastly, say I refer to basic beliefs. Now, why would one need to give an *account* for these? Surely Sean doesn't give "accounts" for his "dogmatic positing of Scripture as his first axiom." Clarkians are well known to deny that they must "give an account" for their presupposition. So, why do they expect others to do so when basic beliefs are on the line? Say that I know my wife is a person in a basic way. I do not claim to *infer* this from *other* propositions. But, given the theory of knowledge I laid out in the thread I linked to 6 posts down from the top, one can still "know" these things.

    Now, Gerety's only response is that he "doesn't like my theory of knowledge." So what? Gerety doesn't like much of anything. I hardly let his dislikes hinder me from believing and accepting positions. Also, we should note that Gerety doesn't *know* that my position on knowledge of these beliefs does not count as knowledge. So, at the end of the day, Gerety's position boils down to the claim that I'm wrong in my "account" because his opinions to the contrary.

    And so it's actually *Gerety* who fails to *deal with* my account.

    5. Of course Gerety hasn't shown that I contradict Scripture or the confession. He's merely *asserted* that I do.

    He says I limit the Scripture to "faith and morals." But I never said that. That's not a quote from me. Scripture is the authority on everything. That doesn't imply "all knowledge is deducible from Scripture." Why does Gerety continue to fail to prove this? I argued for the correct understanding of sola Scriptura above.

    He also says that Russell's arguments are "good." But of course he doesn't know that. Actually, they're quite laughable. And, I have not commented on "science." So, I could be an anti-realist. But, that wouldn't warrant the conclusion that there is no "extra-Scriptural knowledge." To conclude that from "scientific anti-realism" would be a hasty generalization.

    Gerety has given us squat in this combox. Why does he think that mere threats and rhetoric will win the debate. Why does he *substitute* that for argument? Surely he hasn't strolled into this combox with only the above as his strong considerations for his position. I mean, maybe to those he scares by calling me a Pelagian, and a contradictor of Scripture and the Confession, will scurry into his camp. But, those who see past the bark, and know there's no bite, remain unconvinced. Those who actually read the discussions in this thread will see who was the one who argued, provided context and exegesis for Scripture, and didn't merely resort to sophistry.

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