I see a tree outside my window -

Discussion in 'Apologetical Methods' started by C. Matthew McMahon, Mar 19, 2006.

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  1. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Dr. Murray:

    Have you ever seen the movie "Finding Forrester"? In that movie the major character, Jamal, asks the leading support character, Forrester, about the soup, why it is getting a skim on the top. Jamal's mother's soup doesn't do that. Forrester answers him that Jamal's mother couldn't afford to put milk in the soup, so this was outside Jamal's experience. Then Jamal asks Forrester a personal question, a question whose answer will not provide any significant information helpful to Jamal. Forrester responds that that question is not a soup question. From then on, in the movie, there is references to "soup questions".

    The question about the tree is not a "soup question". The answer to the question lies in the question itself, not in some outside information. What could possibly be added to the what is already in the question that could provide information, if the reference is that thing outside the window, which the questioner identifies as a tree? This is not a soup question, and so is a question of the category of which the answer lies in the question itself.

    I agree, a fruitless pursuit. Give me a soup question any day.

    [Edited on 3-21-2006 by JohnV]
  2. Magma2

    Magma2 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Look it up yourself.

    That may be true. Many of VT's followers have had to work overtime trying to make VT sound like he didn't really mean what he said.

    [Edited on 3-21-2006 by Magma2]
  3. Ron

    Ron Puritan Board Freshman


    You say it's there in the index. Well, produce it.

  4. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    Sure, here it is:

    Clark has demonstrated that

    1) Empiricism cannot furnish us with truth

    2) Rationalism cannot furnish us with truth


    3) The Bible DOES furnish us with truth

    Now where does it say that the Bible is the ONLY source of truth?

    More specifically, the Scripturalist epistemology says that the Scriptures are God truth revealed to man. Therefore Scripture gives us a means of justifying knowledge by using it as a foundation. God's verbal revelation.

    From Eve's empirical observation "that apple sure looks tasty", man has been trying to avoid God's revelation and find knowledge by our own efforts. Empiricism says that we can have knowledge entirely from our senses, and rationalism say it's entirely through reason. Both are dead from metaphysical and empirical causes. They are DOA. So we are left with some sort of Dogmatism to justify knowledge - ergo - Scripture.

    I wouldn't put all my eggs in a one verse basket. You might misunderstand the verse. And since empiricism and rationalism has not means of justifying knowledge, what is the alternative?

    There is more to truth than the Bible and what we can deduce from it. But knowledge is the truths we can justify being true. So what can you justify knowing from looking at mountains and trees? Nada! And yet men still "know" God exists. The justification of that knowledge can only be made through Scripture. Scripture tells us God has made it known to men. Not that men figure it out for themselves. Man alone can't seem to reason his way out of a paper bag. ;)

    (P.S. I skipped a few other epistemologies, I don't count mysticism, and the others are just blends of empiricism and rationalism, or just non-sense.)
  5. Ron

    Ron Puritan Board Freshman

    So Civbert,

    Did Jesus die to save our souls but not our bodies?

    Watch the double talk folks.

  6. fivepointcalvinist

    fivepointcalvinist Puritan Board Sophomore

    youre missing the point. you must rely on a presupposition to prove the premise makes it circular because the premise only exists because of the presupposition and uses itself to prove the argument. your argument is founded on the fact that we know trees exist because God made them, but you must first prove that the conception you rely on (that God exists) is in fact true, otherwise HOW can a tree be come into existence? for example, how can i prove a car exists unless i first prove the means and ability to make the car? (i.e. proving Ford Motor Co. exists first) then and only then can you prove the latter premise that we know trees exist because God says they do. also how can you presuppose that Scripture is Gods Word without first presupposing God? Again you must prove God exists before you can attribute characteristics to Him. the first argument you must show to be true is the foundation by which all of your other arguments rely, namely God exists.

  7. biblelighthouse

    biblelighthouse Puritan Board Junior


    Thank you for the response. Please help me understand further.

    You said, "From special revelation we can deduce sound conclusions".

    Are you implying that sound conclusions cannot be deduced from general revelation?

    In other words, are you saying that God's eternal power and divine nature are not sound conclusions which can be deduced from general revelation alone?

    Thank you for your input. I'm trying to better understand your position . . . I'm not seeking a heated debate (not that you implied otherwise . . . I've just seen a lot of heat thrown around on this thread).

    Your brother in Christ,

    [Edited on 3-21-2006 by biblelighthouse]
  8. Magma2

    Magma2 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Oh brother. I'm sorry your book doesn't have an index. Buy a new copy and then look up the word "c-o-n-t-r-a-d-i-c-t-i-o-n" and below that you'll find an entry for "apparent contradiction."

    You've now called all of your opponents stupid in one way or another, are you now calling me a liar?
  9. Ron

    Ron Puritan Board Freshman

    Oh, Bahnsen speaks a lot about apparent contradiction. I want to know where he says that the Scriptures contain them. Why aren't you willing to back up this claim with a page number and a paragraph number? Here's your chance. Quote Bahnsen and show how he affirmed apparent contradictions.

  10. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    You seem to conflate souls and bodies. Was Jesus Jesus before he gained a body? And what of the Holy Spirit? Is the Holy Spirit not a person too? What makes you a person? Did Jesus die to save your body or your soul? They are not the same thing. The body will be resurrected, but until that time, will YOU will be with Christ or not? Clearly the body and the soul are two different things.

    Watch the side-stepping folks.
  11. Ron

    Ron Puritan Board Freshman


    All premises based soley on nature are inductive inferences and therefore may not be asserted as true premises. It might be helpful to try to justify a true premise apart from Scripture.

    God's attributes cannot be deduced from nature but they are known through nature. In other words, the unbeliever knows he's under God's wrath because the unbeliever is justified in his belief of this truth. However, how could he deduce it? What would be the source of his true premises? If he can't deduce it, how can he justify it? Nonetheless, he does know it.

    I appreciate your sincerity.


  12. biblelighthouse

    biblelighthouse Puritan Board Junior


    You rightly say that God's attributes are "known through nature".

    Yet, I have seen some on this thread say that we cannot truly "know" (i.e. "have knowledge") of anything unless we get it from Scripture.

    So, please help me understand what is different about the "knowledge" a person has about God's attributes from Scripture, versus the "knowledge" a person has about God's attributes merely from general revelation.

    In other words, would Clark say that *both* persons have true "knowledge" of God's attributes?

    If not, why not?

    If so, then how is it that a person acquired true knowledge through his senses (by looking at creation), without ever reading the Bible?

    Thank you for your patience,
  13. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    If there is a bible on your desk, how do you know it exists ? And how do you know it is God's word ?

    This thread is the most inane epistemological foolishness I have ever heard. Scripturalism cuts its own throat. Do you still look both ways for cars that may or may not exist before crossing the street ?
  14. biblelighthouse

    biblelighthouse Puritan Board Junior


    Great point, Mark! That is worth quoting. I'm going to have to remember it.

    Also, humans went thousands of years without even *having* a Bible. It didn't even EXIST until the time of Moses (Job notwithstanding). So would a Clarkian suggest that nobody knew anything from the time of Adam until the time of Moses?
  15. Ron

    Ron Puritan Board Freshman

    Civbert States: I don't recall where the Scipture says Jesus died for "physical" people. I thought he died to save souls. And I think my soul (although non-physical and therefore abstract) is real.

    Ron Replies: We believe in the resurrection of the body around here, Civbert. We're Christians, not gnostics"¦ Did Jesus die to save our souls but not our bodies?

    Civbert replies: You seem to conflate souls and bodies. Was Jesus Jesus before he gained a body?

    Ron States: Notice how Civbert brings in an irrelevant point. The Second Person of the Trinity prior to the incarnation had no body. He took on a body in order to save men, who are not merely spiritual beings but also bodily creatures! Your position is heretical, for it denies that Jesus came to save man, which includes body and soul.

    That´s a false dilemma Civbert. He came to save men, who are made up of body and soul.

    It is fallacious to argue that since we´ll be absent from the body yet present with the Lord that our bodies are not redeemed by Christ´s finished work. Your position is that Jesus only redeemed our souls, whereas my position is that Jesus redeemed men, both body and soul. This does not mean that a person's body and soul cannot be separated. Nonetheless, the body is redeemed.

    You have stated that Jesus does not save bodies but only souls. This denies the redemption of the body.

  16. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    Thank you for another obviously good point Joseph.
  17. Ron

    Ron Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm with you, brother.

  18. Ron

    Ron Puritan Board Freshman

    I would never say that. I know that I'm sitting on a couch. An atheist can know the same sorts of things. The justification of knowledge requires special revelation.

    With respect to those attributes that are revealed in nature and conscience, there's no difference in the knowledge in that it is justified belief in the truth. The difference has to do with the ability to offer a justification. Again, how would an atheist or theist justify God's attributes apart from special revelation?


    [Edited on 3-21-2006 by Ron]
  19. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    Huh? The presuppositions uses itself? The presupposition is not a conclusion, it is a premise.

    But the question was not "how do we know God exists". No one asked if God exists. The fact is not "trees exist", the question was how do we know "trees exist". I'm not assuming trees, I am assuming Scripture.

    And the answer is: we know based on a priori truths. The foundation is the starting point, not the conclusion. You are looking at some interesting issues, but you are mistaken in thinking that holding to presuppositions makes an argument circular. That is contrary to the meaning of "circular" - which is to arrive at a conclusion by assume it as a premise. That's why circular arguments are fallacious - they go in a circle.

    Sure, I'm assuming God exists ontologically, but my epistemological assumption is Scripture because that gives meaning to the term "God". Logically, I don't start with "God exists" because I can not deduce anything from that statement. The statement "X is" has no meaning: X is what? God is what? God exists just means "God is". That is a metaphysical statement of fact. Very profound in proper context - but by itself it is meaningless. But all that aside, that still does not make the argument for trees circular.

    Nope. "God exists" has no meaning. Only by predicating what the word "God" means do we give it meaning. And since a man-made definition of God defeats the idea of "god-ness", we get our definition of God from God. Any attempt to prove God exists would be circular. But we can know who God is through revelation. That's why the epistemological starting point is Scripture - not the meaningless "existence".

    AND again, :) since the question was about "trees" and not God, then circularity is not involved. :)

    [Edited on 3-21-2006 by Civbert]

    [Edited on 3-21-2006 by Civbert]
  20. Ron

    Ron Puritan Board Freshman


    I think Matthew's point, but I'm not sure, is that in order to prove X, one must first prove the necessary preconditions for the proof of X. What he might be getting at in the end, but again I'm not sure, is that by proving X, one proves the necessary preconditions for X.

  21. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    What does "exist" mean?

    I look both ways when I cross the street because cars are big heavy things that move fast and hurt a lot when they run in to you. :eek: But I don't say I look both ways because "cars exist". Mickey Mouse exists, but he doesn't hurt when he runs into you. If the only thing the exists are things with physical attributes, then God does not exist because God is not a physical being.

    If you going to ask the question, you need to know what "exists" means. You are making many assumptions when you ask "how do you know it exists". What does exist mean? What does "know" mean?

    The whole idea of "existence" is not so simple. Or maybe you worldview amounts to existentialism? Do you hold to "it is what it is?" or "why ask why?"

    What's really inane is to assert any X exists. That's meaningless. Existence if a philosophical black whole that philosophers have fallen into by asking stupid questions like do trees exist. Are you going to follow them in? It's dark in there.
  22. Magma2

    Magma2 Puritan Board Sophomore

    How do you know there is a bible on your desk? Unlike his self-styled critics like Ron, Clark was not satisfied with just begging the question. How about you? Why don´t you provide an account for a bible on your desk. Also, if your theory begins with sensation, please define sensation and demonstrate that people have them before you attempt to share you theory of images and all that is entailed per your empirical assumptions. Actually, why don´t you read Hume before answering.

    This was already addressed on another thread, but how did Abraham know God was commanding him to sacrifice his son and not Satan? Answer this question correctly and you´ll have your answer.

    Why, because you say so?

    And how does this question address the question how knowledge is possible? Is it you assume what you need to demonstrate and your work is done?

    [Edited on 3-21-2006 by Magma2]
  23. fivepointcalvinist

    fivepointcalvinist Puritan Board Sophomore

  24. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    Jesus is God.
    Jesus has physical attributes.
    God has physical attributes.

    You just denied the Trinity.

    [Edited on 3-21-2006 by Saiph]
  25. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    Sean, knowledge is possible because we are aware of ourself and our surroundings. And since we use language to correlate the empyrical with the rational, knowledge is not only possible, is is necessary. We are conscious knowers.
  26. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    I'd say men could not justify knowing anything without Scripture. All men know some things, but they have no way of separating their knowledge from beliefs without a epistemological process that works. Without Scripture, they could only guess that what they believed was true. What else could they do?

    Metaphysically, God speaking is where knowledge comes from. God speaks things into existence. And God speaks to men directly and through the Scripture. But unless you are claiming to be an existentialist or a mystic, you can not justify anything you believe is knowledge without a written revelation from God. God gives men some knowledge directly - but they can not justify it for themselves - they are epistemologically bankrupt.
  27. Ron

    Ron Puritan Board Freshman

    Well, if that was your point, then I'm delighted. :bigsmile:

  28. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    I think you should withdraw that statement unless you would like to take that up with my Pastor. You have just accused me of being an apostate. That's a serious charge and should not be made lightly.

    God is three persons. The person of Jesus has a body. God the Father does not, the Holy Spirit does not. Are you denying the person-hood of God? Are you saying that Jesus was speaking to himself when God spoke and said "this is my Son".

    The implication of Mat 3:16-17 is

    Jesus is not the Father.
    Jesus is not the Holy Spirit.
    The Father is not the Holy Spirit.

    Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit are not the same person. The Scripture shows three separate persons with unique attributes. Jesus was not taking to himself, and he did not just fly down from heaven like a dove.

    Now, if you'd like to deal with the separation of the soul and body when "we" are in heaven with Christ prior to the resurrection, that might be helpful. My point is, we are not our bodies. Physicality is not an defining predication of person or "existence".
  29. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    Jesus is not God, he is the God-Man.

    You have denied the hypostatic union.
  30. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior

    "I think therefore I am".

    And from that you can justify what? Language is not only unnecessary given your correlation of "empirical with the rational," it is impossible.
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