The Inerrancy Of The Scriptures

5 God Scrip Inerr 1.docx

“In apologetic argument, as in everything else we do, we must presuppose the truth of God’s Word. We either accept God’s authority or we do not, and not to do so is sin”[1]

 

It is supposed by some that we cannot and should not approach any issue with presuppositions. First of all, that in itself is a presuppositional approach; one that supposes one can be absolutely neutral and objective, which is impossible. We may be able to come near to objectivity and neutrality, but we must honestly accept that we all have presuppositions and biases. Those who argue against presuppositions actually live their lives by presuppositions. Simply by scheduling their activities they live by the presupposition that the world is ordered by a uniform movement of the earth in relation to the sun. They live by the presupposition that a week is seven days long and that each month is regulated by the lunar cycles. One simply cannot live without presuppositions. Thus it is that I shall attempt to lay out some presuppositions relating to the inerrancy of the Scriptures.[2]

Presupposition One: God As The Source Of All Knowledge And Truth

We all assume that we have knowledge. Even the person who seeks to tell us that we cannot know anything thinks that he knows what he is saying, and he expects us to understand him.

Where does knowledge come from? Is knowledge based upon certain nervous impulses and hormonal changes? Is knowledge simply the result of observation? If this is the case, knowledge for one person will certainly not be necessarily the knowledge that another thinks that he has. In fact, knowledge would be relative and thus be only opinion. On the other hand, if knowledge is something that can be held in common by humans, knowledge must have an absolute and objective source that determines the truth or falsity of a matter.

For there to be an absolute source and standard of knowledge and truth that source must possess all knowledge and truth. The Christian Theist understands this source of all knowledge and truth to be the God of the Bible.[3]

If God is the source and standard of all truth and all knowledge, then we have a standard by which we can measure all truth claims. If we do not have God as this source and standard of knowledge and truth, we descend into relativism and irrationality.

 

Presupposition Two: God Reveals Himself To His Creatures

When we presuppose God as the source of knowledge and truth we are led to consider that God also is the source of all the media in which knowledge and truth reside: i.e. He is the creator of all things. If God is the creator of all things, then He is also the source of the persons that are human.[4]If that is so, God must be the ultimate person; otherwise how could God relate to us on a personal level if He were not a person?

If we presuppose the personhood of God, then we are left wondering about God relating His purposes to man. How will man know what God wants from him? We don’t see God with our eyes. We don’t physically feel God. How, then, can we know God and His will for us? This leads us to the presupposition that God reveals Himself to His creatures.

Presupposition Three: The Lordship of God

If God is the source of knowledge, truth, personhood, and all of creation, we then find ourselves confronted with the idea that God is Lord and ruler of all. Thus the presupposition of the lordship of God.

The lordship of God means that He must be obeyed. We must yield to Him and His demands, commands, wishes, and purpose for us.[5]

 

Presupposition Four: The Inerrancy Of The Bible[6]

Why presuppose the inerrancy of the Bible? Why not attribute this to the Koran, or the Hindu holy books, or the holy books of other religions?

The inerrancy of the Bible should be presupposed for two reasons:

  1. The one who accepts the authority of the Bible and does not approach it skeptically can easily tell that it is a book that is coherent and reliable in what it says.
  2. Since the Bible is coherent and reliable we can with good reason take it at its word that it is inspired[7], and thus is the Word of God and that it is God’s revelation of Himself and that His plan for us is contained in it[8]. In fact, it is this very inspiration that provides for us the unity and reliability of the Bible.

Since the Bible is the Word of God, we should remember that God is true. It then follows that God’s Word is true[9].

Those who believe that God is the source of all truth, and that He is the Lord who reveals Himself, have no problem establishing the inerrancy of Scripture. It is only in Scripture that we find a God-centered worldview that teaches us that the supreme being is a person who reveals truth. It is no surprise, then, that we find Scripture claiming to be true. Neither is it surprising that we find Scripture claiming to be pure and without error. To deny inerrancy is to throw doubt upon the Scriptures and leave us asking where the Word of God is to be found, and which parts of the Scripture can we determine to be the Word of God.

 

Practical Considerations

The practical side of this is the one to which we should turn. While we do well to accept the inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures, we can certainly profess that we believe them without obeying their teachings. There is certainly a need for us to move from theory to practice.

We are bound to yield to God’s Word. God has spoken and man must listen. If we are to learn, we must certainly do so with God’s Word setting the standard for us. This does not mean that we approach the Bible as a science or mathematics textbook. It does mean that we allow the Word of God to guide us as we study mathematics, science, history, etc. Scripture tells us that “The fear of the Lordis the beginning of wisdom: A good understanding have all they that do his commandments: His praise endureth for ever.” (Psalm 111:10) And again, “The fear of the Lordis the beginning of knowledge.” (Proverbs 1:7) Our learning should be shaped by the Word of God.

Inerrancy means, too, that our Bible can be trusted. We do not have to wonder whether or not God has spoken. He has. We need not live in doubt about which parts of Scripture are true and which are not. Scripture is truth. We should trust God because He has spoken to us plainly and truthfully.

 

 

[1]John Frame, Apologetics to The Glory of God, pg 9, P&R Publishing

[2]For those who think that we should not hold to the presupposition of inerrancy we say, there is only one alternative: the presupposition of errancy. One cannot be neutral on this issue.

[3]Deuteronomy 32:4;1Samuel 2:3;John 1:1-4,14;Colossians 2:3 and many more.

[4]I say, “Persons that are human” not to say that there are non-human persons, but so that I don’t attribute to God the creation of the persons that humans are; i.e. sinful persons.

[5]Jesus said, “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46) See also Psalm 95, which tells us that our Creator is to be worshiped and obeyed.

[6]We attribute inerrancy to the original manuscripts of the biblical books and not to copies and translations of them, though we are convinced that we have reliable copies and translations available to us.

[7]2Timothy 3:16-17;2Peter 1:16-21

[8]We do not mean that the Bible is the only revelation of God. Christians believe that Jesus is the ultimate revelation of God.

[9]See John 17:17;Romans 3:1-3;2Timothy 2:11-13;Revelation 21:5;22:6

Jesus’ View of The Scriptures

Jesus View of The Scriptures

The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. ” (Matthew 19:3–9, KJV)

Authoritative 

As Jesus responded to the question of the Pharisees we note that He referred them to the Scriptures. Over and over again we find Jesus turning the people back to the Scriptures to get the answers to their questions.  Here he asks, “Have you not read..?”  Jesus then quoted to them the instance in which God gave Adam his wife and explained to them that, since the two were joined together by God, they should not be divided.

Jesus viewed the Scriptures as the authority for doctrine and morality.

 

Inspired

 

Jesus also viewed the Scriptures as the inspired Word of God.  Note how Jesus used Genesis 2:24-25.  He takes the words penned by Moses and says, “He which made them at the beginning..said…”  In other words, Jesus was stating that while Moses wrote it, God had spoken it. Jesus viewed the Scriptures as the inspired Word of God.

 

Inerrant

 

Jesus also viewed the Scriptures as the inerrant Word of God.  He did not seek to correct the creation account of Genesis chapters one and two.  He did not even add any words of qualification as though He had reservations about the cosmology of the creation account.  Jesus simply accepted and asserted that the Genesis creation account was correct!

Someone may reply saying, “Yes, but people in Jesus day, and Jesus Himself, didn’t have the scientific knowledge that we have today!  There was no way for them to understand that the earth could not have come into being in six literal, twenty-four hour days.”  To the one who replies in such a fashion I must ask this question: Do you truly think that the eternal Son of God was that ignorant?  Do you think that Jesus was fallible in His reasoning?  If so, you need to reevaluate your understanding of Jesus.

Another may reply, “Well, Jesus knew better, but was simply speaking in an accommodating manner.” To which I can only sigh and remind said person that if Jesus did so, He was being deceitful- and that is sinful. If that is how you view Jesus, I must ask you why you even have any respect for Him or the Bible.  Such a view should certainly be repented of.

 

Verbally Inspired

 

Finally, Jesus believed that the Scriptures were verbally inspired.  He applied the Scriptures with the understanding that the very words were given by God.  While the Pharisees stated the Moses “commanded” them to give a writing of divorcement, Jesus replied that Moses “suffered”, or allowed, them to do so. In other words, there is a difference between “command” and “suffer”.  The word “suffer” (allow) was the word given in Deuteronomy chapter twenty-four.  Jesus took the fact that the word “suffer” was used and explained that something that is allowed is not necessarily commanded.  There is a difference.  He could only have done so if the very words of Scripture were given by inspiration.

 

Our View

How do you view the Scriptures?

Too often we find people today who have accepted much of the old German higher critical scholarship. I have no problem stating that I am a Fundamentalist.  I have no problem accepting the Scriptures and holding to a high view of the Scriptures.

Should there arise a conflict between science and the Scriptures, I shall accept the fact that

  1. my interpretation of the Scripture is incorrect

or

  1. science in incorrect

I see no alternative. When we bring the Scriptures into question and doubt their veracity we question the very character and veracity of the sinless Son of God Who preached and taught the Scriptures as being authoritative, verbally inspired, and inerrant.

That is absolutely unacceptable.

Biblical Inerrancy: Of Truth And Morality

6 God Scrip Inerr 2.docx

 

In a previous article I spoke of God as the source of truth and the ultimate standard of truth. We all live as if this were true, whether we accept the foregoing statement as true or not. We live by a standard of truth and expect others to live by the same standard. For example, when I go to the bank to deposit my money, I expect the tellers to come to the same total as I do when they have completed their addition. Why? Because I know that there is a standard by which we operate. Two plus two always equals four. The fact that we live by such a standard points to the reality of the absolute and ultimate standard. There could be no standard of truth if there were no Christian God. The God of the Bible is not only all knowing, but is the source of all knowledge and truth. He is truth.

The above statements may seem to be somewhat of a leap, but consider that morality also exists. There is an ought-ness about certain things in life; and that ought-ness is personal, and presupposes an absolute person who cares about what we do. We do not live in an impersonal world. We interact with persons all the time. We live in a world that is so full of personality that we often give inanimate objects personal names, and many men refer to their cars as “she” and “her”. We have no true moral responsibility to inanimate objects as such. We may have a moral responsibility to God and to others in regard to how we deal with inanimate objects, but we are not morally responsible to an inanimate object itself.

Morals demand one to whom we are morally responsible. They also demand an absolute standard of morality. Since morality is impossible without personality, it follows that there is an absolute person who is the final arbiter and ultimate standard of morality. The God of the Bible certainly fits this description. He is called the God of truth who is without iniquity (Deuteronomy 32:4;2Corinthians 1:18) and all men will give account to Him in the judgment (Romans 14:10-12).

What does morality have to do with truth? That is the question that some will ask. It is a good and valid question. It is also a question that must be answered. The answer is that truth must be respected, honored, and adhered to. If we do not do so we are being immoral. To commit an offense against the absolute standard of truth is to commit a moral offense. An offense against God is an issue of moral consequence. God cares what we believe. It matters to God whether we believe the truth or not. He cares whether we speak truly or not. To stray from the absolute standard of truth is to offend against the absolute person who is the standard of morality and the judge of all men.

It may be argued that there is no moral culpability when one commits an error due to ignorance. We don’t truly live this way, however. Should I be fully convinced that a new bridge which will shorten people’s commute times by fifty percent is opened, and I inform everyone I see that it is opened though it is not; I can assure you that there will be a large number of people who will hold me responsible for giving them wrong information and causing them to be late for work. Ignorance will be accepted as no excuse. We also know that ignorance of the law will not excuse us in court if we have broken the law. Ignorance may be considered by many to be a mitigating circumstance, but it is not an excusing circumstance. Many times we find ourselves gaining new information and thinking, “Well, I’m glad that I know better now.” Scripture does not allow us to do that. Scripture compels us to look back on our ignorance with shame, and then commands us to repent ( See  Leviticus 4:1-35;Acts 17:30).

Let’s take this a step further. Scripture intimately connects our loyalty to truth to our morality. You see, we are morally obligated to fear the Lord. That is commanded many times in the Scriptures. At the same time we are told that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7). Only by the fear of the Lord will we know the truth. As I am morally obligated to fear the Lord, and I am morally obligated to believe and speak the truth, truth and morality are inextricably connected.

I fear that many fail to see that man’s fall was a rejection of truth, and that man’s sinful state is one in which he suppresses the truth (Romans 1:18). Man’s fall was a rejection of truth in that he did not give glory to the one who is truly glorious (Romans 1:20), accepted the word of the one who is a liar (Genesis 3:1-7;John 8:44), and corrupted their own understanding and knowledge, thus becoming fools (Romans 1:22). This immoral rejection of truth then led, and still leads, to a rejection of the truth of God and a perversion of the truth of God.

The connection between morality and truth could hardly be more plainly seen than in a verse in the “love chapter” of the Bible, 1Corinthians 13. In 1Corinthians 13:6 Paul stated that love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in truth. We would be correct to say that the opposite of unrighteousness is righteousness, but it is also correct to say that the opposite of unrighteousness is truth. Think of it: the opposite of immorality then is truth. Truth is a moral issue.

Paul, speaking to the church at Corinth, declared that he worked to bring everyone’s thoughts under submission to God (2Corinthians 10:5). It did not matter to Paul from what school one originated. What mattered to Paul is that every thought was submitted to the Lordship of Christ, and that is a moral as well as a religious issue.

The letter to the Ephesians most definitely shows that Paul considered truth and morality to be related issues. His desire for the Ephesians was that they would not live by the standards of the world (See Ephesians 4:17-24). He explained to them that those outside of Christ lived in the futility of their thoughts, and that their minds were blinded because they were ignorant of the truth. Their ignorance of the truth was not only a sinful thing, but it led to more sin in that they went head-long after sin and gross immorality.

In common, everyday life we live as if these things are true. We expect our banker to hold to the  truth about addition, subtraction, multiplication, because we are relatively sure that, if he doesn’t, he will err on the side of immorality and take our money instead of erring so as to give us more money. When people speak to us, we expect them to speak the truth to us and we don’t accept ignorance as an excuse when someone is harmed due to being given wrong information. Ivory tower academics and philosophers may quibble about this, but they also deposit money in the bank, and their expectations are the same as those of the common man. It is reasonable to conclude that there is an unbreakable link between truth and morality.

There is one application that needs to be made before concluding this article. That application relates to the debate surrounding the inerrancy of the Scriptures. Not only are there some who deny that the Scriptures are inerrant, but they plainly state that there are mistakes in the Bible. Not only so, but some go so far as to say that Jesus Himself erred and ignorantly spoke things that were not true. If that is so, we cannot accept that Bible as what it claims to be: a holy book which is the true Word of God that teaches us the way of righteousness and salvation. Neither can we take Jesus to be what the Bible claims Him to be: the sinless Son of God. To insinuate error in Christ and the Bible is to insinuate sin in them. There is no way to escape that. Those who do so, no matter what they may claim about adoring Christ and accepting the authority of the Scriptures, are grossly in error and would do well to reconsider their position. What true Christian wishes to be guilty of implicitly accusing Jesus of sin and Scriptures of being deceitful and misleading?

Presuppositions And Biblical Inerrancy

5 God Scrip Inerr 1.docx

“In apologetic argument, as in everything else we do, we must presuppose the truth of God’s Word. We either accept God’s authority or we do not, and not to do so is sin”[1]

 

It is supposed by some that we cannot and should not approach any issue with presuppositions. First of all, that in itself is a presuppositional approach; one that supposes one can be absolutely neutral and objective, which is impossible. We may be able to come near to objectivity and neutrality, but we must honestly accept that we all have presuppositions and biases. Those who argue against presuppositions actually live their lives by presuppositions. Simply by scheduling their activities they live by the presupposition that the world is ordered by a uniform movement of the earth in relation to the sun. They live by the presupposition that a week is seven days long and that each month is regulated by the lunar cycles. One simply cannot live without presuppositions. Thus it is that I shall attempt to lay out some presuppositions relating to the inerrancy of the Scriptures.[2]

Presupposition One: God As The Source Of All Knowledge And Truth

We all assume that we have knowledge. Even the person who seeks to tell us that we cannot know anything thinks that he knows what he is saying, and he expects us to understand him.

Where does knowledge come from? Is knowledge based upon certain nervous impulses and hormonal changes? Is knowledge simply the result of observation? If this is the case, knowledge for one person will certainly not be necessarily the knowledge that another thinks that he has. In fact, knowledge would be relative and thus be only opinion. On the other hand, if knowledge is something that can be held in common by humans, knowledge must have an absolute and objective source that determines the truth or falsity of a matter.

For there to be an absolute source and standard of knowledge and truth that source must possess all knowledge and truth. The Christian Theist understands this source of all knowledge and truth to be the God of the Bible.[3]

If God is the source and standard of all truth and all knowledge, then we have a standard by which we can measure all truth claims. If we do not have God as this source and standard of knowledge and truth, we descend into relativism and irrationality.

 

Presupposition Two: God Reveals Himself To His Creatures

When we presuppose God as the source of knowledge and truth we are led to consider that God also is the source of all the media in which knowledge and truth reside: i.e. He is the creator of all things. If God is the creator of all things, then He is also the source of the persons that are human.[4]If that is so, God must be the ultimate person; otherwise how could God relate to us on a personal level if He were not a person?

If we presuppose the personhood of God, then we are left wondering about God relating His purposes to man. How will man know what God wants from him? We don’t see God with our eyes. We don’t physically feel God. How, then, can we know God and His will for us? This leads us to the presupposition that God reveals Himself to His creatures.

Presupposition Three: The Lordship of God

If God is the source of knowledge, truth, personhood, and all of creation, we then find ourselves confronted with the idea that God is Lord and ruler of all. Thus the presupposition of the lordship of God.

The lordship of God means that He must be obeyed. We must yield to Him and His demands, commands, wishes, and purpose for us.[5]

 

Presupposition Four: The Inerrancy Of The Bible[6]

Why presuppose the inerrancy of the Bible? Why not attribute this to the Koran, or the Hindu holy books, or the holy books of other religions?

The inerrancy of the Bible should be presupposed for two reasons:

  1. The one who accepts the authority of the Bible and does not approach it skeptically can easily tell that it is a book that is coherent and reliable in what it says.
  2. Since the Bible is coherent and reliable we can with good reason take it at its word that it is inspired[7], and thus is the Word of God and that it is God’s revelation of Himself and that His plan for us is contained in it[8]. In fact, it is this very inspiration that provides for us the unity and reliability of the Bible.

Since the Bible is the Word of God, we should remember that God is true. It then follows that God’s Word is true[9].

Those who believe that God is the source of all truth, and that He is the Lord who reveals Himself, have no problem establishing the inerrancy of Scripture. It is only in Scripture that we find a God-centered worldview that teaches us that the supreme being is a person who reveals truth. It is no surprise, then, that we find Scripture claiming to be true. Neither is it surprising that we find Scripture claiming to be pure and without error. To deny inerrancy is to throw doubt upon the Scriptures and leave us asking where the Word of God is to be found, and which parts of the Scripture can we determine to be the Word of God.

 

Practical Considerations

The practical side of this is the one to which we should turn. While we do well to accept the inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures, we can certainly profess that we believe them without obeying their teachings. There is certainly a need for us to move from theory to practice.

We are bound to yield to God’s Word. God has spoken and man must listen. If we are to learn, we must certainly do so with God’s Word setting the standard for us. This does not mean that we approach the Bible as a science or mathematics textbook. It does mean that we allow the Word of God to guide us as we study mathematics, science, history, etc. Scripture tells us that “The fear of the Lordis the beginning of wisdom: A good understanding have all they that do his commandments: His praise endureth for ever.” (Psalm 111:10) And again, “The fear of the Lordis the beginning of knowledge.” (Proverbs 1:7) Our learning should be shaped by the Word of God.

Inerrancy means, too, that our Bible can be trusted. We do not have to wonder whether or not God has spoken. He has. We need not live in doubt about which parts of Scripture are true and which are not. Scripture is truth. We should trust God because He has spoken to us plainly and truthfully.

 

 

[1]John Frame, Apologetics to The Glory of God, pg 9, P&R Publishing

[2]For those who think that we should not hold to the presupposition of inerrancy we say, there is only one alternative: the presupposition of errancy. One cannot be neutral on this issue.

[3]Deuteronomy 32:4;1Samuel 2:3;John 1:1-4,14;Colossians 2:3 and many more.

[4]I say, “Persons that are human” not to say that there are non-human persons, but so that I don’t attribute to God the creation of the persons that humans are; i.e. sinful persons.

[5]Jesus said, “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46) See also Psalm 95, which tells us that our Creator is to be worshiped and obeyed.

[6]We attribute inerrancy to the original manuscripts of the biblical books and not to copies and translations of them, though we are convinced that we have reliable copies and translations available to us.

[7]2Timothy 3:16-17;2Peter 1:16-21

[8]We do not mean that the Bible is the only revelation of God. Christians believe that Jesus is the ultimate revelation of God.

[9]See John 17:17;Romans 3:1-3;2Timothy 2:11-13;Revelation 21:5;22:6

The Triune God

3 Trinity 1

 

The Triune God

Genesis 1:1-3

This text, in the context of the totality of Scripture, gives to us an understanding of God as a plurality in unity, as it speaks to us of God creating and the Spirit being present. We must specifically, when speaking of the God of the Bible, speak of God as a Tri-unity, or Trinity. The one God is three persons in perfect unity of being, essence, and agreement. We see this by considering the fact that the Son is as much Creator-God as the Father (See John 1:1-4,14 and Hebrews 1:1-3), and by understanding that the Spirit of God is equally Divine (Job 33:4, Acts 5:1-5 and Romans 8:9-10). These three persons, Father, Son, and Spirit, are the One God.

 

Why Is The Triune God Necessary?

Why would we say that the Triune God of Scripture is necessary to knowledge?

First of all, truth is expected to be an unity. We expect that which is true in one field of study to agree with what is true in any other field of study in whatever fashion those fields of truth intersect. For example, we would expect that mathematical truth would be the same whether it were applied to governments or to a building contractor’s business. We would not expect the realities of mathematics to change simply because of the field in which math was applied changed. We expect truth to be true wherever truth appears.

What this means is that we expect there to be unity in plurality. While there are many fields of knowledge, we expect the truth to be united across the plurality of fields. There is one body of truth, though many fields of knowledge; and the truths found in every field of knowledge agree, as truth is an unity.

The problem is that we must then find a source and standard for truth and knowledge that can provide unity in plurality.

Pantheism cannot provide this unity in plurality. If all is god, then there is actually more of a monad than a plurality. Not only so, but all is subsumed into god leaving us with obscurity. There would be no true revelation, because all is god and there would be nothing distinct from the god to receive knowledge. In fact, we would be unable to even know what to call this god. This would cause everyone and everything to be a standard of truth in and of itself/ourselves. This would leave us with relativism, because we would be unable to point anywhere to a united standard of truth that addresses the problem of plurality in unity.

If God were totally one in the sense that Allah, the god of the Muslims, is one, then we would again have an unknowable standard. The god would then be so utterly other than the world and humanity that the god would be unapproachable and unknowable. There would be no way to have a divine revelation that would give us truth and knowledge. Neither would we have a standard by which to know truth. We would be left in the dark.[1]

What, then, is the answer to our dilemma? The Triune God of Scripture is the answer. He alone meets our need for a single, sovereign, intelligent Creator God who is the source of all knowledge and truth. Apart from the Trinity there can be neither truth nor knowledge.

The Bible, as the source of our knowledge of this Triune God, is our only ground of rational thought. It is in the Christian Scriptures that we find that God is:

  1. Our Creator (Genesis 1:1-3;Jeremiah 32:17;Hebrews 1:1-3;11:3).
  2. The God of knowledge and truth who judges us (Deuteronomy 32:4;1Samuel 2:3).
  3. The God who is one God, yet three persons (Genesis 1:1-3,26-28;Psalm 110:1-7;John 1:1-4,14;3:16-17;5:17-21;Hebrews 1:1-3).
  4. The God who makes Himself known to His creatures (Genesis 1:1-31;2:1-25;Psalm 19:1-11;Isaiah 40:1-8;John 1:18;Hebrews 1:1-3;Revelation 1:1-8;22:1-6,16-21).

With this in mind, we need to approach our Bibles as God’s revelation of Himself; and, if God reveals Himself to us in the Scriptures, we must acknowledge that the Scriptures are true.

 

 

[1] Thus, ipso facto, the Koran is no revelation of God, nor is it true.

 

God The Fount Of All Truth And Rationality

2 The Existence Of God 2.docx

God The Fount Of All Truth And Rationality

“Without God there is no meaning (truth, rationality, etc.); therefore God exists.”[1]

 

 

 

Many years ago a man asked the question, “What is truth?”[2]We can only speculate about why he asked this question. It is, however, a question that we all must ask. What is truth? Truth is that which conforms to reality. It is the actual state of a matter, and it is also fidelity to a required standard or law[3]Having this answer will help us move forward.

The greater problem is that all of us believe that we have truth on our side. Folks who believe in absolute truth argue for their position and do so quite strenuously. Those who do not believe in absolute truth are often absolutely sure of their position as well. Those who believe that there is no such thing as truth and that all things are meaningless are also convinced that their arguments have meaning and are true. How do we judge these claims? How do we deal with this issue? Who is correct? Whose truth is true?

The answer to the above questions brings us back to our definition of truth as that which is faithful to a required standard or law. There must be a standard of truth or we will never have anything by which to measure truth claims. Every man could, and would, be a law unto himself. Truth would be relative without an absolute standard. One man’s truth would be another’s lie, and one nation’s lie would be another nation’s truth. There must be a standard.

What is this standard? First of all the standard must be absolute, or else there will be no consistency or rationality. After all, if truth is forever changing, there is actually no truth at all; because what is true at one point in history would susceptible to becoming an untruth in a moment of time, though nothing but the standard changed. The goal posts would forever be moving and mankind would have no ability to be rational.“David Hume, the great skeptic, has effectively argued that if you allow any room for Chance in your thought, then you no longer have the right to speak of probabilities. Whirl would be king. No one hypothesis would have any more relevance to facts than any other hypothesis. Did God raise Christ from the dead? Perchance he did. Did Jupiter do it? Perchance he did. What is Truth? Nobody knows.”[4]There must be an absolute standard of truth.

We all are convinced that we have truth. Even the person who believes that truth does not exist, or is relative, is ironically certain that his position is the truth. The one who says that there is no truth, and that words have no meaning, still expects us to find meaning and truth in what he says. Cornelius Van Til responded to such ideas and said, “No human being can explain in the sense of seeing through all things, but only he who believes in God has the right to hold that there is an explanation at all.”[5]

How does God even come into this discussion? Does logic equal God? Hardly, but, on the other hand, logic cannot exist without God. Truth cannot exist without God. Speaking of the Van Tillian view of knowledge, John Frame says, “Without God there is no meaning (truth, rationality, etc.); therefore God exists.”[6]Greg Bahsen spoke of God and said, “His existence is required for the uniformity of nature and for the coherence of all things in the world.”[7]This necessity for God is the thing we must prove.

We have already seen that there is a necessity for an absolute standard of truth if we are to have rationality. Why must this standard be God? First of all I must be clear that I mean the transcendent, immanent, eternal, immutable, personal, Trinitarian God of the Christian Scriptures. “Nothing is intelligible unless God exists, and God must be nothing less than the Trinitarian, sovereign, transcendent, and immanent absolute personality of the Scriptures.”[8]Here I speak of Him only as the eternal and immutable God. (The other attributes will be addressed later in this series.) This God is the standard of truth. He is the truth. John Frame has said that “the argument is transcendental. Rather than offering straightforward empirical evidence for God, it asks the deeper question: what must be the case if evidential argument and knowledge (and hence objective moral standards) are to be possible?”[9]The answer is that God exists and the Bible provides the only grounds for truth and rationality. But we still must prove God’s necessity.

This world has no other standard of truth than God. God is one (Deuteronomy 6:4-5), and He alone is the arbiter and source of knowledge and truth (Deuteronomy 32:4;1Samuel 2:3;John 14:6[10];2Corinthians 1:18;1John 2:27). Why is He the standard? Because He is the only absolute, eternal, unchanging God. He also is our Creator. “If the Christian position with respect to creation, that is, with respect to the idea of the origin of both the subject and the object of human knowledge is true, there is and must be objective knowledge. In that case the world of objects was made in order that the subject of knowledge, namely man, should interpret it under God. Without the interpretation of the universe by man to the glory of God the whole world would be meaningless. The subject and object are therefore adapted to one another. On the other hand if the Christian theory of creation by God is not true then we hold that there cannot be objective knowledge of anything. In that case all things in this universe are unrelated and cannot be in fruitful contact with one another. This we believe to be the simple alternative on the question of the objectivity of knowledge as far as the things of this universe are concerned.”[11]There is simply no other way that there can be coherence and rationality. Either God the Creator is the sole and absolute standard and authority, with all things relating to Him and subordinate to Him, or there is no knowledge, truth, or rationality.

Thus we conclude by saying, if God then absolute truth. If we know anything at all, it is because God is the fount of all knowledge and truth.

 

[1]. John M. Frame, Apologetics To The Glory Of God,P&R, Phillipsburg, NJ,1994,pg 70

[2] John 18:38

[3] http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/truth?s=t

[4]  Cornelius Van Til, Defending The Faith, Torch and Trumpet,1951,Volume 1, Issue 1. Page 40

[5] Cornelius Van Til, quoted by Greg L. Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apologetic, P&R, Phillipsburg, NJ, pg 142

[6]  John M. Frame, Apologetics To The Glory Of God,P&R, Phillipsburg, NJ,1994,pg 70

[7]  Greg L. Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apologetic, P&R, Phillipsburg, NJ, pg 78

[8]  John M. Frame, Apologetics To The Glory Of God,P&R, Phillipsburg, NJ,1994,pg 89

[9]  John M. Frame, Apologetics To The Glory Of God,P&R, Phillipsburg, NJ,1994,pg 101

[10] It is interesting to note the bearing that this has upon the discussion of the Genesis Creation Account, because John 14:6 builds upon John 1:1-4 and Jesus’ being the creator. Cornelius Van Til said regarding this, “If the Christian position with respect to creation, that is, with respect to the idea of the origin of both the subject and the object of human knowledge is true, there is and must be objective knowledge. In that case the world of objects was made in order that the subject of knowledge, namely man, should interpret it under God. Without the interpretation of the universe by man to the glory of God the whole world would be meaningless. The subject and object are therefore adapted to one another. On the other hand if the Christian theory of creation by God is not true then we hold that there cannot be objective knowledge of anything. In that case all things in this universe are unrelated and cannot be in fruitful contact with one another. This we believe to be the simple alternative on the question of the objectivity of knowledge as far as the things of this universe are concerned.”

 

Cornelius Van Til, The Defense Of The Faith, P&R, Philadelphia, PA, pg 43

 

[11]  Cornelius Van Til, The Defense Of The Faith, P&R, Philadelphia, PA, pg 43

The Existence Of God

1 The Existence Of God

 

The Existence Of God

 

Is God real? This is among the most important of all questions asked. It is also the one that we must settle before we begin a long series on Christian doctrine. After all, Christian doctrine is of no use if there is no God.

 

How does one go about proving the existence of God? He cannot be seen with the eye. God cannot be measured with a scale or a ruler. God cannot be found through scientific experimentation. Christians, however, are convinced that the Trinitarian God of the Bible is real. How can we ever establish His existence as a matter of fact?

 

As we begin with the existence of God, we must go to one of the most basic and most important issues of life: meaning[1]. Once we begin to speak of meaning, different ideas arise. Some believe that there is no meaning. Ironically enough, they expect us to understand the meaning of their words as they speak to us. Others say that all is relative[2], and that meaning changes. Yet others speak of absolutes[3], and declare that meaning is neither related to, nor dependent upon, anything; but meaning exists independently.

 

All of us live as if there is meaning, and as if there are absolutes. When we get a paycheck, and when we make our deposits in the bank, we are definitely convinced that math has meaning, and that the principles of addition and subtraction are absolute. We have no desire for anyone to deal with our money (And we feel the same about the rest of our lives, too.) as if mathematical principles are relative. Furthermore, we live with the understanding that time is an absolute. We all mark time in hours, minutes, and seconds. Though the language may be different from one nation to the next, we all understand that time has meaning, and that there are twenty-four hours in a day. If we did not do so, all would be chaotic.

 

This belief in absolutes is especially relevant when it comes to the things that we know and consider to be true. Truth cannot be relative. By nature, that which is true cannot be false at the same time. This is called the law of non-contradiction, and it tells us that something cannot be A and Non-A simultaneously.

 

For us to have absolutes, we must have an absolute standard[4]. We measure our days by the rotation of the earth. We measure our years by the orbit of Earth around the sun. This means that we recognize that our watches and our calendars have to be reset at times, because a solar year is a bit longer than our calendar year is. Thus we have a leap year every four years. Why? Because we are measuring our time by the standard of the time it takes the earth to make a complete revolution around the sun.

 

Now, the rotation and orbit of the earth are not necessarily absolute. They are subject to change. When it comes to truth, we need an absolute standard, because we speak of truth versus falsehood; and we recognize that truth is absolute. But where does truth get its truthfulness? What is the standard of truth? What is the source of truth? For the answer to these questions, we must turn to the Scriptures, and we shall see that the Christian’s Bible gives him the only logically coherent view of truth, knowledge, and the world.

 

 

 

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

 

There must be a source of all things. There must be a cause of all things. There cannot exist an effect without there first being a cause. The world did not come into being on its own power. There must be a beginning cause that is uncaused. [5]  Christians understand that this uncaused cause is the Creator, the God who is presented to us in the Bible.

 

Creation testifies to us that God exists. The Psalmist tells us, “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, And night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, Where their voice is not heard.” (Psalm 19:1–3) Wherever one goes there is testimony to the existence of God. The starry heaven and all that is in the sky above us tell us that God is great, valuable, and is beautiful. Their beauty, balance, and order tell us that they were designed by a mighty, beautiful, and intelligent person.

 

Not only do the skies and heavens above us testify to the existence and presence of God, but all of Creation tells us that He is here with us. “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 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:” (Romans 1:18–20) Creation testifies to us that God exists, because we know that there must be a cause for all things, and that cause must be beautiful (i.e. glorious), eternal (timeless), and forever powerful. After all, matter, beauty, and time could not exist except a beautiful, all powerful, and intelligent person existed outside of time and made it all.

 

There is also a seasonal cycle that testifies to God’s personal existence. The succession of the four seasons provides us with that which is necessary to the production of the food that sustains us. This order of events speaks to us of the fact that an orderly and intelligent person made the Earth to do these things.  Paul preached telling some idol worshipers, “We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts 14:15–17) This Creator must be a person, because He made persons who, and He acts in a personal manner by showing kindness to His creatures: kindness that gives us joy.

 

If one were to believe the illogical theory that everything came into being by nothing, out of nothing, by random and meaningless processes, there would be no reason for them to think that there was any meaning to anything. After all, there would be no intelligent creator and ruler who had the ability and authority to give meaning. On the other hand, those of us who understand that God created all things believe and know that He has a purpose for all things and gives all things meaning.

 

As we saw above in Romans 1:18-20 shown Himself to us in Creation. This means that the created order speaks to us primarily of God. In fact, Genesis 1:1 opens us the Bible telling us about God. He reveals Himself to His creatures by instructing them and giving them purpose. He also reveals Himself to us in the Scriptures. That is why the Bible begins by telling us that all started with God: He is revealing Himself to us so that we may know Him and His will and purpose for us.

God has revealed Himself to us, and Creation is first and foremost about God and His purposes. When we look around us and think about the world, we must think of it as God’s world that is filled with God’s meaning and made for God’s purposes.

 

Furthermore, This world has no other standard of truth than God. God is one (Deuteronomy 6:4-5), and He alone is the arbiter and source of knowledge and truth (Deuteronomy 32:4;1Samuel 2:3;John 14:6[6];2Corinthians 1:18;1John 2:27). Why is He the standard? Because He is the only absolute, eternal, unchanging God. He also is our Creator. “If the Christian position with respect to creation, that is, with respect to the idea of the origin of both the subject and the object of human knowledge is true, there is and must be objective knowledge. In that case the world of objects was made in order that the subject of knowledge, namely man, should interpret it under God. Without the interpretation of the universe by man to the glory of God the whole world would be meaningless. The subject and object are therefore adapted to one another. On the other hand if the Christian theory of creation by God is not true then we hold that there cannot be objective knowledge of anything. In that case all things in this universe are unrelated and cannot be in fruitful contact with one another. This we believe to be the simple alternative on the question of the objectivity of knowledge as far as the things of this universe are concerned.”[7] There is simply no other way that there can be coherence and rationality. Either God the Creator is the sole and absolute standard and authority, with all things relating to Him and subordinate to Him, or there is no knowledge, truth, or rationality[8].

 

If there can be no knowledge or truth apart from God, then God is a necessary[9]being. In other words, God must exist; because there is no logical way for there to be no God. If one denies God, he must also deny truth and meaning. If he denies truth and meaning, all is random, chaotic, and relative. No one lives as if that were true, however. We all live as if there is meaning and truth in life.  To speak of meaining and truth is to acknowledge taht there is a standard of meaning and truth, and that invariably brings us back to the necessity of God’s existence.

 

Finally, we should take notice of the fact that we have not only seen the logical need for God, but we have seen that the Bible presents to us the God who is needed. The Bible provides us the framework for rational thought in that it presents to us God as the Creator who is the source and standard of all knowledge and truth. This means that, not only have we established a good case for the existence of God, we have also found good reason to believe the Bible. Without the Bible, we have no means by which we can establish that there is absolute truth and meaning.

 

[1] Meaning is what is meant by a word, concept, or action. It also deals with the worthwhile nature and purpose of something.

[2] That which is relative is dependent upon something else.

[3] An absolute is a value or principle that is universally valid or able to be viewed without relating it to other things.

[4] A standard is that by which all else is measured.

[5] To say that there is no God is to hold that the world exists on its own as its own creator, or that there is an infinite series of causes that brought the world into existence. Neither of these ideas are actual solutions to the question of origins. The first presents the idea of a self-caused cause, which is impossible and illogical. The latter posits an infinite regress, which is impossible, because there will of necessity be a cause that is the first of all causes.

[6]   It is interesting to note the bearing that this has upon the discussion of the Genesis Creation Account, because John 14:6 builds upon John 1:1-4 and Jesus’ being the creator. Cornelius Van Til said regarding this, “If the Christian position with respect to creation, that is, with respect to the idea of the origin of both the subject and the object of human knowledge is true, there is and must be objective knowledge. In that case the world of objects was made in order that the subject of knowledge, namely man, should interpret it under God. Without the interpretation of the universe by man to the glory of God the whole world would be meaningless. The subject and object are therefore adapted to one another. On the other hand if the Christian theory of creation by God is not true then we hold that there cannot be objective knowledge of anything. In that case all things in this universe are unrelated and cannot be in fruitful contact with one another. This we believe to be the simple alternative on the question of the objectivity of knowledge as far as the things of this universe are concerned.”

 

Cornelius Van Til, The Defense Of The Faith, P&R, Philadelphia, PA, pg 43

 

[7] Cornelius Van Til, The Defense Of The Faith, P&R, Philadelphia, PA, pg 43

[8] Rationality is that which accords with reason or logic.

[9] That which is necessary is inevitable. It cannot be otherwise.