Gordon H. Clark on Logic and Scripture

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Beth Ellen Nagle

Puritan Board Senior
#49 >>Yes, give me one of those basics in which the Word of God infallibly comes. <<

Basic beliefs flow from our most basic concepts. We can know these from reason and argument (laws of thought as test for meaning and coherence). Our most basic concept is that of existence. Whatever we say about anything we speak of it as being, "it is". The sky is blue. The ground is hard. All such expressions assume "it is". This is true for anyone, anywhere, at any time.

Logically we can say two things about existence, "it is" now, and always past/future (eternal) or "it is" now and not always past/future (temporal). The eternal is prior to the temporal both logically and ontologically. So, we can know something exist and that something is at least eternal or temporal or both. We can at least know that if something is temporal then something is at least eternal. Saying nothing is eternal is reduced to absurdity, i.e. being cannot come from non-being. This is clarity at the basic level of thought concerning our most basic concepts from which our most basic beliefs will flow.

All world views flow from these basic concepts/beliefs. We don't stop here though. It can be shown whether such beliefs, through the critical use of reason, can stand and whether one has integrity in holding such beliefs, i.e. material monism, spiritual monism, dualism, certain forms of Theism.

We all tend to use reason constructively. For instance, we draw out good and necessary consequences from Scripture but we over look the critical use of reason at the basic level to see what is clear about God and resort of fideistic approaches in the defense of Christianity against other world views.

As to your question above. What I am trying to show here is clarity at the basic level of thought and this is the logos in us as light. The logos in us as reason interacting with the logos in Creation is clear. Creation is Revelation. The willingness to think and understand is not there. The irony is that if we but think clearly we could see, but we don't and resort to giving up reason. This ends in silence or absurdity and contradictory beliefs that cannot be held with spiritual integrity. That is the spiritual death in us. We shut our eyes to the light. We need redemption. We need regeneration.

I am sure you will have questions or thoughts. :D
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
I don't understand all of this and want to reread several times; so please do forgive the question if it is terribly ignorant: I was wondering if anyone could comment on the relation of this (sufficiency of not only natural revelation to reveal God but of man's reasoning faculty even after the fall to apprehend Him from creation, if I'm understanding correctly? -- as with the fallen will, it is not faculty but desire etc. that is lacking?) what what Calvin says in chapter 5 of the institutes, particularly sections 14 and 15?
 

Beth Ellen Nagle

Puritan Board Senior
I don't understand all of this and want to reread several times; so please do forgive the question if it is terribly ignorant: I was wondering if anyone could comment on the relation of this (sufficiency of not only natural revelation to reveal God but of man's reasoning faculty even after the fall to apprehend Him from creation, if I'm understanding correctly? -- as with the fallen will, it is not faculty but desire etc. that is lacking?) what what Calvin says in chapter 5 of the institutes, particularly sections 14 and 15?

It's been awhile since I read that chapter and so will read it again later. I am not sure enough to answer affirmatively. A quick perusal though suggests to me that he doesn't hold to the idea of rational clarity. He doesn't seem to root accountability in clarity. He says, " But though we are deficient in natural powers which might enable us to rise to a pure and clear knowledge of God, still, as the dullness which prevents us is within, there is no room for excuse." Here he clearly says there is a deficiency. What does he mean? Is reason fallen? Or is it only the use of reason that is fallen? One can see a argument is sound and not rise to assent to it. Is this what he means? Much to consider here!
 

Whitefield

Puritan Board Junior
#49 >>Yes, give me one of those basics in which the Word of God infallibly comes. <<

Basic beliefs flow from our most basic concepts. We can know these from reason and argument (laws of thought as test for meaning and coherence). Our most basic concept is that of existence. Whatever we say about anything we speak of it as being, "it is". The sky is blue. The ground is hard. All such expressions assume "it is". This is true for anyone, anywhere, at any time.

Logically we can say two things about existence, "it is" now, and always past/future (eternal) or "it is" now and not always past/future (temporal). The eternal is prior to the temporal both logically and ontologically. So, we can know something exist and that something is at least eternal or temporal or both. We can at least know that if something is temporal then something is at least eternal. Saying nothing is eternal is reduced to absurdity, i.e. being cannot come from non-being. This is clarity at the basic level of thought concerning our most basic concepts from which our most basic beliefs will flow.

All world views flow from these basic concepts/beliefs. We don't stop here though. It can be shown whether such beliefs, through the critical use of reason, can stand and whether one has integrity in holding such beliefs, i.e. material monism, spiritual monism, dualism, certain forms of Theism.

We all tend to use reason constructively. For instance, we draw out good and necessary consequences from Scripture but we over look the critical use of reason at the basic level to see what is clear about God and resort of fideistic approaches in the defense of Christianity against other world views.

As to your question above. What I am trying to show here is clarity at the basic level of thought and this is the logos in us as light. The logos in us as reason interacting with the logos in Creation is clear. Creation is Revelation. The willingness to think and understand is not there. The irony is that if we but think clearly we could see, but we don't and resort to giving up reason. This ends in silence or absurdity and contradictory beliefs that cannot be held with spiritual integrity. That is the spiritual death in us. We shut our eyes to the light. We need redemption. We need regeneration.

I am sure you will have questions or thoughts. :D

I appreciate your explanation of how reasoning goes from basic to complex. But in response to your statement that the Word of God comes infallibly to us in reason and creation, I asked could you give me an example of the basics where the Word of God infallibly comes. I don't see that in your post.

Infallible: incapable of failure or error.

-----Added 4/16/2009 at 01:33:07 EST-----

I think Clark's and Van Til's point is that behind all human reason is God's reason, and the only place we can objectively encounter God's reason is in Scripture.

Van Til definitely taught the sufficiency of natural revelation. At that point he was placing one foot on old Princeton's shoulder.

Why was special revelation necessary if natural revelation was sufficient?
 

Beth Ellen Nagle

Puritan Board Senior
#49 >>Yes, give me one of those basics in which the Word of God infallibly comes. <<

Basic beliefs flow from our most basic concepts. We can know these from reason and argument (laws of thought as test for meaning and coherence). Our most basic concept is that of existence. Whatever we say about anything we speak of it as being, "it is". The sky is blue. The ground is hard. All such expressions assume "it is". This is true for anyone, anywhere, at any time.

Logically we can say two things about existence, "it is" now, and always past/future (eternal) or "it is" now and not always past/future (temporal). The eternal is prior to the temporal both logically and ontologically. So, we can know something exist and that something is at least eternal or temporal or both. We can at least know that if something is temporal then something is at least eternal. Saying nothing is eternal is reduced to absurdity, i.e. being cannot come from non-being. This is clarity at the basic level of thought concerning our most basic concepts from which our most basic beliefs will flow.

All world views flow from these basic concepts/beliefs. We don't stop here though. It can be shown whether such beliefs, through the critical use of reason, can stand and whether one has integrity in holding such beliefs, i.e. material monism, spiritual monism, dualism, certain forms of Theism.

We all tend to use reason constructively. For instance, we draw out good and necessary consequences from Scripture but we over look the critical use of reason at the basic level to see what is clear about God and resort of fideistic approaches in the defense of Christianity against other world views.

As to your question above. What I am trying to show here is clarity at the basic level of thought and this is the logos in us as light. The logos in us as reason interacting with the logos in Creation is clear. Creation is Revelation. The willingness to think and understand is not there. The irony is that if we but think clearly we could see, but we don't and resort to giving up reason. This ends in silence or absurdity and contradictory beliefs that cannot be held with spiritual integrity. That is the spiritual death in us. We shut our eyes to the light. We need redemption. We need regeneration.

I am sure you will have questions or thoughts. :D

I appreciate your explanation of how reasoning goes from basic to complex. But in response to your statement that the Word of God comes infallibly to us in reason and creation, I asked could you give me an example of the basics where the Word of God infallibly comes. I don't see that in your post.

Infallible: incapable of failure or error.<<<<



The Logos (Word) is clear here.


1)Something exists.
2)Something is necessarily eternal.
3)Being cannot come from non-being.
 

Whitefield

Puritan Board Junior
The Logos (Word) is clear here.


1)Something exists.
2)Something is necessarily eternal.
3)Being cannot come from non-being.

1) How does pure basic reason avoid solipsism? This is the dead end Descartes faced and which Bishop Berkeley tried to avoid.

2) Based on basic subjective reasoning this cannot be proved, only assumed. How can a basic reasoning of a mortal know this to be true?

3) Then basic reason places us in an infinite regression. For if by reason we deduce there is a God who created our present reality and this God has being, what being produced him, and the one behind him who produced him, ad infinitum.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Why was special revelation necessary if natural revelation was sufficient?

It comes down to what it is sufficient to accomplish. It was never intended to direct man to eternal blessedness in communion with God prior to the fall or to show him the way of salvation after the fall. Hence the necessity of special revelation. But it does suffice to manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God (WCF 1:1), that He hath lordship and sovereignty over all, is good and doth good unto all, and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the might (WCF 21:1), and that man is inexcusable in failing to do so, which means that he is left without any reason for his unbelief and disobedience.
 
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MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Then basic reason places us in an infinite regression. For if by reason we deduce there is a God who created our present reality and this God has being, what being produced him, and the one behind him who produced him, ad infinitum.

I think bare reason alone would involve man in the problem of infinite regress, and therefore we must be wary of any argument which tries to "prove" God's existence by pure reason. The fact is that natural revelation is more than mathematical computation; it also includes relational entities. Combined with man's innate desire to seek out and to find the perfection of his own existence, human rationality cannot escape the concept of the Infinite, Eternal, and Unchangeable. Every use of reason therefore presupposes the Infinite, Eternal and Unchageable. Every use of reason which denies the Infinite, Eternal, and Unchangeable necessarily condemns man to the lost and miserable condition of never being able to find the perfection he naturally desires. Theism (Life) or Nihilism (Death) are really the only alternatives.
 

Beth Ellen Nagle

Puritan Board Senior
Then basic reason places us in an infinite regression. For if by reason we deduce there is a God who created our present reality and this God has being, what being produced him, and the one behind him who produced him, ad infinitum.

I think bare reason alone would involve man in the problem of infinite regress, and therefore we must be wary of any argument which tries to "prove" God's existence by pure reason. The fact is that natural revelation is more than mathematical computation; it also includes relational entities. Combined with man's innate desire to seek out and to find the perfection of his own existence, human rationality cannot escape the concept of the Infinite, Eternal, and Unchangeable. Every use of reason therefore presupposes the Infinite, Eternal and Unchageable. Every use of reason which denies the Infinite, Eternal, and Unchangeable necessarily condemns man to the lost and miserable condition of never being able to find the perfection he naturally desires. Theism (Life) or Nihilism (Death) are really the only alternatives.

What do you mean by "presupposes the Infinite, Eternal and Unchangeable"?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
What do you mean by "presupposes the Infinite, Eternal and Unchangeable"?

It is the precondition upon which all human rationality functions and all truth statements are made. E.g., "everything in the world changes." That fact never changes. Ergo, "everything in the world changes" requires an unchanging point of reference to validate it.
 

Beth Ellen Nagle

Puritan Board Senior
Then basic reason places us in an infinite regression. For if by reason we deduce there is a God who created our present reality and this God has being, what being produced him, and the one behind him who produced him, ad infinitum.

I think bare reason alone would involve man in the problem of infinite regress, and therefore we must be wary of any argument which tries to "prove" God's existence by pure reason. The fact is that natural revelation is more than mathematical computation; it also includes relational entities. Combined with man's innate desire to seek out and to find the perfection of his own existence, human rationality cannot escape the concept of the Infinite, Eternal, and Unchangeable. Every use of reason therefore presupposes the Infinite, Eternal and Unchageable. Every use of reason which denies the Infinite, Eternal, and Unchangeable necessarily condemns man to the lost and miserable condition of never being able to find the perfection he naturally desires. Theism (Life) or Nihilism (Death) are really the only alternatives.

Just to clarify, could you please give an example of "bare reason alone"?

I think if reason is being used (laws of thought)critically in thinking about "being" you either have to affirm that something is necessarily infinite, eternal and unchangeable (IEU) or give up reason. I don't see how presupposing the IEU is a safeguard to the use of reason, if it is indeed possible to affirm IEU without first thinking about it. It seems to me as rational beings by nature we think about what exists and then we can distinguish two kinds of existence (logically-eternal and temporal) and then we see that onotologically one is prior to the other (eternal prior to temporal), etc. Are we on the same page here?
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
Consider how Paul speaks of General Revelation as revealing the Divine nature and attributes (being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth). Can naturalists and Hindus know this? Ought they to know this? Are they excusable?

They are inexcusable because they are liars. They suppress the truth in unrighteousness. They lie about what they know.

We can have inexcusable and say that they are not liars. Inexcusable just implies that one either knows or it is one duty to know better. One does not actually have to know.

CT

-----Added 4/16/2009 at 10:20:42 EST-----

I don't understand all of this and want to reread several times; so please do forgive the question if it is terribly ignorant: I was wondering if anyone could comment on the relation of this (sufficiency of not only natural revelation to reveal God but of man's reasoning faculty even after the fall to apprehend Him from creation, if I'm understanding correctly? -- as with the fallen will, it is not faculty but desire etc. that is lacking?) what what Calvin says in chapter 5 of the institutes, particularly sections 14 and 15?


Yes, that is the ticket :up:

-----Added 4/16/2009 at 10:24:49 EST-----

The Logos (Word) is clear here.


1)Something exists.
2)Something is necessarily eternal.
3)Being cannot come from non-being.

1) How does pure basic reason avoid solipsism? This is the dead end Descartes faced and which Bishop Berkeley tried to avoid.

2) Based on basic subjective reasoning this cannot be proved, only assumed. How can a basic reasoning of a mortal know this to be true?

3) Then basic reason places us in an infinite regression. For if by reason we deduce there is a God who created our present reality and this God has being, what being produced him, and the one behind him who produced him, ad infinitum.

1)Because Descartes did something wrong or half way does not imply that it cannot be done fully. You cannot deny that something exists without involving yourself in a multitude of self contradictions.

2)If something is not eternal then you have something coming from nothing. Which again puts you into a multitude of self contradictions.

3)No there is no infinite regression needed. That something cannot come from nothing does not imply that everything has to "come" from something else.

CT
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Just to clarify, could you please give an example of "bare reason alone"?

I think if reason is being used (laws of thought)critically in thinking about "being" you either have to affirm that something is necessarily infinite, eternal and unchangeable (IEU) or give up reason. I don't see how presupposing the IEU is a safeguard to the use of reason, if it is indeed possible to affirm IEU without first thinking about it. It seems to me as rational beings by nature we think about what exists and then we can distinguish two kinds of existence (logically-eternal and temporal) and then we see that onotologically one is prior to the other (eternal prior to temporal), etc. Are we on the same page here?

E.g., the cosmological argument. If one tries to rationally arrive at the existence of God, the God that is "created" is not the true God because it has commenced with the idea that "everything" has a "cause." The moral argument is no better because if the existence of moral norms proves a Judge who determines good and evil, what does the existence of evil prove? And if design proves a Designer, where does death leave us?

OTOH, we can use reason within the relational framework within which human beings have been created. Reason can serve to explain man's relationship to God in terms of basic creational realities. It does not "prove" God's existence, but it does "confirm" belief in God to be rationally valid and conducive to the very best which men seek after.
 

Whitefield

Puritan Board Junior
Clark makes an interesting point in What Do Presbyterians Believe, pp. 7-8.

Where do we get our information about God? This question has been answered in different ways. These different ways have resulted in different opinions on the nature of God. If we must learn about God from Plato, or from Bultmann, we shall not have the same idea as if we had accepted information from Mohammed or Mary Baker Eddy. No doubt all or most men have some idea of God, but since these ideas differ, and differ widely, we would like to know whom we may trust.

Where and what is the source of reliable, accurate, full, and true information about God?

Therefore, the authors of the Westminster Confession did not put the doctrine of God in their first chapter. They put it in the second chapter. Chapter one has to do with our source of knowledge.
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
Just to clarify, could you please give an example of "bare reason alone"?

I think if reason is being used (laws of thought)critically in thinking about "being" you either have to affirm that something is necessarily infinite, eternal and unchangeable (IEU) or give up reason. I don't see how presupposing the IEU is a safeguard to the use of reason, if it is indeed possible to affirm IEU without first thinking about it. It seems to me as rational beings by nature we think about what exists and then we can distinguish two kinds of existence (logically-eternal and temporal) and then we see that onotologically one is prior to the other (eternal prior to temporal), etc. Are we on the same page here?

E.g., the cosmological argument. If one tries to rationally arrive at the existence of God, the God that is "created" is not the true God because it has commenced with the idea that "everything" has a "cause."

I guess one could formulate the cosmological argument in such a fashion, but it is in no way necessary. One can easily formulate it in the form that everything that is not eternal (or began), has a cause. In that form, the "created" God is the true God.

The moral argument is no better because if the existence of moral norms proves a Judge who determines good and evil, what does the existence of evil prove?

That everything is not how it began? Something happened between the beginning and now.

And if design proves a Designer, where does death leave us?

Same answer here.
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
I don't understand all of this and want to reread several times; so please do forgive the question if it is terribly ignorant: I was wondering if anyone could comment on the relation of this (sufficiency of not only natural revelation to reveal God but of man's reasoning faculty even after the fall to apprehend Him from creation, if I'm understanding correctly? -- as with the fallen will, it is not faculty but desire etc. that is lacking?) what what Calvin says in chapter 5 of the institutes, particularly sections 14 and 15?

It's been awhile since I read that chapter and so will read it again later. I am not sure enough to answer affirmatively. A quick perusal though suggests to me that he doesn't hold to the idea of rational clarity. He doesn't seem to root accountability in clarity. He says, " But though we are deficient in natural powers which might enable us to rise to a pure and clear knowledge of God, still, as the dullness which prevents us is within, there is no room for excuse." Here he clearly says there is a deficiency. What does he mean? Is reason fallen? Or is it only the use of reason that is fallen? One can see a argument is sound and not rise to assent to it. Is this what he means? Much to consider here!

Beth it seems to me like he is saying the faculty itself is impaired: could this be because of what if I am understanding right, Vic was referencing -- that there is a 'moral' content to reason itself (that we prefer non-contradiction to contradiction?) and our -- apprehension of this content -- may be involved in the fall? It's not just the desire to reason correctly/to apprehend God but the moral content of a fallen creature's faculty of reason that is to some degree a ruin; and it takes regeneration to set that aright?

(That is a *very* tentative suggestion, I might be misunderstanding the point about reason's content or something else?)

I also wanted to ask, if you know (which you probably do!) if this kind of presupposing of reason that you are speaking of is more along the lines of how C. S. Lewis does apologetics (which seems to me a very lucid and common sense approach, and not really 'Van Tillian' if I understand Van Tillianism -- which I confess is not lucid to me!)? It seems to me that the way you present things is similar to the the use he makes of reason in his arguments.
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
(added: here is a quote from Lewis' Miracles to illustrate what I am asking, chapter 3, "The Cardinal Difficulty of Naturalism")

"All possible knowledge, then, depends on the validity of reasoning. If the feeling of certainty which we express by words like must be and therefore and since is a real perception of how things outside our own minds really 'must' be, well and good. But if this certainty is merely a feeling in our own minds and not a genuine insight into realities beyond them -- if it merely represents the way our minds happen to work -- then we can have no knowledge. Unless human reasoning is valid no science can be true.
"It follows that no account of the universe can be true unless that account leaves it possible for our thinking to be a real insight. A theory which explained everything else in the whole universe but which made it impossible to believe that our thinking was valid, would be utterly out of court. For that theory would itself have been reached by thinking, and if thinking is not valid that theory would, of course, be itself demolished. It would have destroyed its own credentials. It would be an argument which proved that no argument was sound . . ."
He is 'presupposing' the clarity of non contradiction and the clarity of reasoning processes to make that argument; and more explicitly that we can adjudicate by what we presuppose (reason) between ideas that can account for the validity of our reasoning processes and ideas that cannot? Is this somewhat similar to what you are saying?

(I know Van Tillian presuppositionalists say, we must presuppose God to account for reason: but I think what Lewis is doing is different in that his presupposition is the validity of reason?)
 
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Beth Ellen Nagle

Puritan Board Senior
Clark makes an interesting point in What Do Presbyterians Believe, pp. 7-8.

Where do we get our information about God? This question has been answered in different ways. These different ways have resulted in different opinions on the nature of God. If we must learn about God from Plato, or from Bultmann, we shall not have the same idea as if we had accepted information from Mohammed or Mary Baker Eddy. No doubt all or most men have some idea of God, but since these ideas differ, and differ widely, we would like to know whom we may trust.

Where and what is the source of reliable, accurate, full, and true information about God?

Therefore, the authors of the Westminster Confession did not put the doctrine of God in their first chapter. They put it in the second chapter. Chapter one has to do with our source of knowledge.

This is significant and nothing different than what I have been saying:

Chapter I
Of the Holy Scripture

I. 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;[1] yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, which is necessary unto salvation.


What do you think is significant about this?

I am still working on answering your other post. :)
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
I don't understand all of this and want to reread several times; so please do forgive the question if it is terribly ignorant: I was wondering if anyone could comment on the relation of this (sufficiency of not only natural revelation to reveal God but of man's reasoning faculty even after the fall to apprehend Him from creation, if I'm understanding correctly? -- as with the fallen will, it is not faculty but desire etc. that is lacking?) what what Calvin says in chapter 5 of the institutes, particularly sections 14 and 15?

It's been awhile since I read that chapter and so will read it again later. I am not sure enough to answer affirmatively. A quick perusal though suggests to me that he doesn't hold to the idea of rational clarity. He doesn't seem to root accountability in clarity. He says, " But though we are deficient in natural powers which might enable us to rise to a pure and clear knowledge of God, still, as the dullness which prevents us is within, there is no room for excuse." Here he clearly says there is a deficiency. What does he mean? Is reason fallen? Or is it only the use of reason that is fallen? One can see a argument is sound and not rise to assent to it. Is this what he means? Much to consider here!

Beth it seems to me like he is saying the faculty itself is impaired: could this be because of what if I am understanding right, Vic was referencing -- that there is a 'moral' content to reason itself (that we prefer non-contradiction to contradiction?) and our -- apprehension of this content -- may be involved in the fall? It's not just the desire to reason correctly/to apprehend God but the moral content of a fallen creature's faculty of reason that is to some degree a ruin; and it takes regeneration to set that aright?

(That is a *very* tentative suggestion, I might be misunderstanding the point about reason's content or something else?)

The problem with this view is that it seems to give space to the idea that one would have an excuse for unbelief. "Hey my brain does not work right so I couldn't see that God exists."

Next, Romans 1 was written to fallen people, so we should expect that God clearly reveals himself to fallen folks.

-----Added 4/17/2009 at 02:40:10 EST-----

(added: Here is a quote from lewis' miracles to illustrate what i am asking, chapter 3, "the cardinal difficulty of naturalism")

"all possible knowledge, then, depends on the validity of reasoning. If the feeling of certainty which we express by words like must be and therefore and since is a real perception of how things outside our own minds really 'must' be, well and good. But if this certainty is merely a feeling in our own minds and not a genuine insight into realities beyond them -- if it merely represents the way our minds happen to work -- then we can have no knowledge. Unless human reasoning is valid no science can be true.
"it follows that no account of the universe can be true unless that account leaves it possible for our thinking to be a real insight. A theory which explained everything else in the whole universe but which made it impossible to believe that our thinking was valid, would be utterly out of court. For that theory would itself have been reached by thinking, and if thinking is not valid that theory would, of course, be itself demolished. It would have destroyed its own credentials. It would be an argument which proved that no argument was sound . . ."
he is 'presupposing' the clarity of non contradiction and the clarity of reasoning processes to make that argument; and more explicitly that we can adjudicate by what we presuppose (reason) between ideas that can account for the validity of our reasoning processes and ideas that cannot? Is this somewhat similar to what you are saying?

(i know van tillian presuppositionalists say, we must presuppose god to account for reason: But i think what lewis is doing is different in that his presupposition is the validity of reason?)

yes!!!
 

Whitefield

Puritan Board Junior
I. 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.

All I have been trying to say it is that natural revelation is not sufficient for salvation. To know God through natural revelation is nothing more than a curiosity. To know God through special revelation is salvation. Knowing God exists does not save, but knowing Jesus does. We simply cannot know anything about Jesus Christ through natural revelation. And without knowing Jesus Christ we really can't know the truth of the universe, for He is the truth.

-----Added 4/17/2009 at 02:49:28 EST-----

(I know Van Tillian presuppositionalists say, we must presuppose God to account for reason: but I think what Lewis is doing is different in that his presupposition is the validity of reason?)

You can account for reason apart from God?
 

Beth Ellen Nagle

Puritan Board Senior
I. 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.

All I have been trying to say it is that natural revelation is not sufficient for salvation. To know God through natural revelation is nothing more than a curiosity. To know God through special revelation is salvation. Knowing God exists does not save, but knowing Jesus does. We simply cannot know anything about Jesus Christ through natural revelation. And without knowing Jesus Christ we really can't know the truth of the universe, for He is the truth.

No quibbles here except that I don't think knowing General Revelation is a mere curiosity. We are created to know Him in the fullness of His self-revelation. The earth is full of His glory. The earth will be filled with the of the knowledge of His glory as the waters cover the sea.

Well, this could go into an entirely different topic. I can't elaborate on what I mean here fully now as I can only handle so much discussion right now. :D :book2:
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
The problem with this view is that it seems to give space to the idea that one would have an excuse for unbelief. "Hey my brain does not work right so I couldn't see that God exists."

I understand: I'm trying to make sense of Calvin saying, 'But though we are deficient in natural powers which might enable us to rise to a pure and clear knowledge of God, as the dullness which prevents us is within, there is no room for excuse.'

And of course, some people's brains *don't* work right (as some people are born blind and deaf and so have limited access to natural revelation), yet as Calvin goes on to say, 'dumb creatures have voices loud enough to declare' the truth and all are still inexcusable?
 

Beth Ellen Nagle

Puritan Board Senior
I. 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.

All I have been trying to say it is that natural revelation is not sufficient for salvation. To know God through natural revelation is nothing more than a curiosity. To know God through special revelation is salvation. Knowing God exists does not save, but knowing Jesus does. We simply cannot know anything about Jesus Christ through natural revelation. And without knowing Jesus Christ we really can't know the truth of the universe, for He is the truth.

-----Added 4/17/2009 at 02:49:28 EST-----

(I know Van Tillian presuppositionalists say, we must presuppose God to account for reason: but I think what Lewis is doing is different in that his presupposition is the validity of reason?)

You can account for reason apart from God?

Reason is self-attesting. You could not distinguish anything without it. You could not make sense of propositions without reason. You could not even distinguish between God is and God is not.
 

Whitefield

Puritan Board Junior
No quibbles here except that I don't think knowing General Revelation is a mere curiosity. We are created to know Him in the fullness of His self-revelation. The earth is full of His glory. The earth will be filled with the of the knowledge of His glory as the waters cover the sea.

I never said natural revelation was unimportant. I would say that natural revelation has really no real meaningful content until it is understood under the guidance of special revelation. Natural revelation may teach the wonders of the creator, but Scripture teaches us who that Creator is. Natural revelation my show us the bare phenomenon, but Scripture teaches the purpose behind that phenomenon.

-----Added 4/17/2009 at 02:55:47 EST-----

Reason is self-attesting. You could not distinguish anything without it. You could not make sense of propositions without reason. You could not even distinguish between God is and God is not.

I didn't ask for its function, I asked can you account for its existence apart from God.
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
Lance I understand what Beth to be saying, to be that reason leads us into (and if I understand right, even reveals to some degree) the knowledge of God: nothing else is 'reasonable'. But what is 'presupposed' there seems to be the clarity and validity of reason?

(I answered this while Beth and you had another exchange: I'm going to bow out and wait to see what else turns up as my mind moves much more slowly than you all's!)
 
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Beth Ellen Nagle

Puritan Board Senior
No quibbles here except that I don't think knowing General Revelation is a mere curiosity. We are created to know Him in the fullness of His self-revelation. The earth is full of His glory. The earth will be filled with the of the knowledge of His glory as the waters cover the sea.

I never said natural revelation was unimportant. I would say that natural revelation has really no real meaningful content until it is understood under the guidance of special revelation. Natural revelation may teach the wonders of the creator, but Scripture teaches us who that Creator is. Natural revelation my show us the bare phenomenon, but Scripture teaches the purpose behind that phenomenon.

-----Added 4/17/2009 at 02:55:47 EST-----

Reason is self-attesting. You could not distinguish anything without it. You could not make sense of propositions without reason. You could not even distinguish between God is and God is not.

I didn't ask for its function, I asked can you account for its existence apart from God.


I disagree with this but we haven't worked through basics first. We can know our need of salvation from General Revelation and Scripture comes to us in that context.

We are not yet agreed upon reason, which generally can end up dying the death of a thousand qualifications.
 

Whitefield

Puritan Board Junior
We are not yet agreed upon reason, which generally can end up dying the death of a thousand qualifications.

I guess the point around which this discussion has revolved is "is reason self-existent" or "is it derived from something outside itself?" The next layer of discussion is "whether reason is self-existent or derived, what can unaided reason discover about God, without borrowing from Scripture?"

My stance has been that reason is derived and not self-existent (aseity), and that it can know nothing of significance about God apart from Scripture.
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
I. 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.

All I have been trying to say it is that natural revelation is not sufficient for salvation. To know God through natural revelation is nothing more than a curiosity. To know God through special revelation is salvation. Knowing God exists does not save, but knowing Jesus does. We simply cannot know anything about Jesus Christ through natural revelation. And without knowing Jesus Christ we really can't know the truth of the universe, for He is the truth.

I would say that one needs natural revelation/natural theology in order to care about Jesus and understand why he needed to come. Without it, all you have is someone claiming that you have to believe in him or order to be saved etc. Why should someone even care or even think that they are in need of salvation if there is no natural revelation/natural theology.

-----Added 4/17/2009 at 02:49:28 EST-----

(I know Van Tillian presuppositionalists say, we must presuppose God to account for reason: but I think what Lewis is doing is different in that his presupposition is the validity of reason?)

You can account for reason apart from God?

I think it is easier to say that one has reason and then go forward in asking what is true to reason. (Because one cannot make sense of "accounting for reason" if reason is not already accepted).

CT
 

Beth Ellen Nagle

Puritan Board Senior
We are not yet agreed upon reason, which generally can end up dying the death of a thousand qualifications.

I guess the point around which this discussion has revolved is "is reason self-existent" or "is it derived from something outside itself?" The next layer of discussion is "whether reason is self-existent or derived, what can unaided reason discover about God, without borrowing from Scripture?"

My stance has been that reason is derived and not self-existent (aseity), and that it can know nothing of significance about God apart from Scripture.


Yes, thank you kind Sir. I think we need to pause here and hash this out as adding more to the discussion would not be profitable. I also think it will be more profitable for others too. I will take some time and prepare a post.
 

Whitefield

Puritan Board Junior
I would say that one needs natural revelation/natural theology in order to care about Jesus and understand why he needed to come. Without it, all you have is someone claiming that you have to believe in him or order to be saved etc. Why should someone even care or even think that they are in need of salvation if there is no natural revelation/natural theology.

What specifically is there in natural revelation/natural theology which teaches me to care about Jesus?

-----Added 4/17/2009 at 03:27:51 EST-----

Yes, thank you kind Sir. I think we need to pause here and hash this out as adding more to the discussion would not be profitable. I also think it will be more profitable for others too. I will take some time and prepare a post.

I will look forward to it and please keep in mind that that which is not derived has aseity, by definition.
 
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