Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Response to: TJH's Gordon Clark on Science

Another blog recently provided a review of a book by Gordon Clark on science. It was not a particularly favorable review. That, of course, is not neecessarily bad. Poor writing deserves to be panned. But I think the author of the blog read into Clark's writing, rather than reading Clark's writing for what it is.

For example, I doubt Clark would agree with either:


For Clark, causality and a world are in principle understandable with or without God.
or:

For him, science is either a praxis of pure techne that works, who knows why? or a sinister activity by which men conspire to prove that God does not exist.
I get the sense that this blog author may be aware of his disagreements with Van Til and may be reading some negation of Van Til (though not necessarily Clark's own negation of Van Til) into Clark.

The first example he gave sounds almost precisely like an inversion of something Van Til wrote, and I would be unsurprised to discover that the latter was as well (though I don't recall Van Til's relevant comment off-hand).

In fact, Clark's central thesis of the book appears (at least to me) to be that while science may provide useful information, useful information is not the same as absolute truth.

The application, of course, is that we need the propositional truth of Scripture, and it is accepting the presupposition of Scripture's divine authority and reliability that gives us truth.

The fallibility of non-presuppositional science is variously demonstrated by Clark using the example of the paradox of motion, the problem of optical illusions, and the like. This, Clark teaches, should demonstrate the fraility of science to the reasonable person for the purpose of obtaining certain truth, as opposed to merely useful knowledge.

Indeed, it is only by accepting the presuppositional truth expressed, for example, in Genesis 1:28 that a proof of God's existence becomes possible.

It is there that Clark and Van Til really seem to part ways, with Van Til appearing to suggest that the presuppositions themselves can be proved, whereas Clark rather clearly argues that they must be accepted on faith.

But I may be misunderstanding Van Til. It's not easy to pin down a precise epistemology of Van Til, although he would normally be considerd a presuppositionalist.

The following is a quick example:
I believe in God now because unless I have Him as the All-Conditioner, life is Chaos.

- Van Til, from "Why I believe in God"

There are two major problems with this apology
1) It's not from Scripture: it's not exegetical
2) The term "Chaos" only makes sense if one assumes a Theistic world-view, but the apology is phrased as though it is the reason for the world-view

Some might take my comments above to suggest that I do not believe that at least some of the world appears chaotic to at least some men. Nevertheless, it does not appear chaotic to me, but that's because I look at it through the goggles of Reformed Theology.

Without the knowledge that comes with those goggles, how would the world appear? It depends on the goggles one is wearing. To the naturalist atheist, it appears chaotic, but that appearance of chaos itself implies the existence of order in order to define chaos.

Seeing order in the world is the result of one's presuppositions, and it is important to recognize them as presuppositions, and not claim to have arrived those presuppositions through reason.

One might think that this means that, to avoid seeing the world as chaotic, one must have the presuppositions of a theist. This is not quite precies. Many atheists see only part of the world as chaotic and all men have the knowledge of God written in their hearts (i.e. it may be a hidden presupposition, even for atheists, that there is a god).

The problem with Van Til's apologetic is that the logical flow ought to be from presupposition to conclusion. That is to say:

A => B

But one cannot validly invert the logical implication such that one then concludes

NotB => notA

Indeed, I will readily agree that to the consistent atheist the world is chaotic. He has to borrow from the Reformed worldview for the world not to appear chaotic. After all, there is no god but God, Christians are the only theists. Furthermore, only Reformed Christians consistently hold to a worldview that includes God. After all "open theists," for example, would be expected to have a similar perspective to atheists, if they were consistent. It is only in the Reformed view that God gives meaning to all of life, down to the most minute detail.

Thus, I can affirm that not just theism, but the Christian God (as explained by Reformed Theology) must be presupposed for life not to appear chaotic.

Someone will say that this appears to agree with what Van Til said, except he stated it inverted. I would respond that inversion is one way to put it, but I think a better way to put it is that, as an apology, it is circular. One will not seek to avoid viewing life as chaotic without the presuppositions. In other words, the conclusion is also the premise.

But all that is an aside. Van Til's apology is not derived from Scripture - that's its biggest weakness. Van Til's apology purports NOT to use God as a presupposition, but a desire for lack of chaos. He says I believe because of the alternative, but he would not even know the alternative if he did not believe.

In short, Van Til's apologetic is phrased as though it is based on reason. However, as noted above, it contains a circularity. The escape from circularity would be to acknowledge his presuppositions, identify them as presuppositions, and not seek to "prove" the presuppositions.

-Turretinfan

P.S. At TJH's request (here), here is a link to his post (here). I'm not sure what there is to "double-check," but the reader can certainly verify that I have quoted accurately from TJH's blog, if that was ever in doubt. And, of course, TJH, your comments here would certainly be valued.

59 comments:

Anonymous said...

One’s ultimate presupposition, as defined by Van Til, is accepted on faith. “In the first place it must be affirmed that a Protestant accepts Scripture to be that which Scripture itself says it is on its own authority… we cannot subject the authoritative pronouncements of Scripture about reality to the scrutiny of reason because it is reason itself that learns its proper function from Scripture” (Van Til - Christian Apologetics, p. 139, 140).

You state, “It is there that Clark and Van Til really seem to part ways, with Van Til appearing to suggest that the presuppositions themselves can be proved, whereas Clark rather clearly argues that they must be accepted on faith.”

Van Til states in the beginning of the pamphlet Why I Believe in God, “My whole point will be that there is perfect harmony between my belief as a child and my belief as a man, simply because God is Himself the environment by which my early life was directed and my later life made intelligible to myself.” As Bahnsen states in response to this, “Here Van Til held that the charge of ‘environmental’ influences on the early childhood faith of a Christian is—within the Christian worldview—not a terribly damaging thing, even if true, because God’s all controlling sovereignty is the broader context of such influences.” (Van Til’s Apologetic, p. 122). Later, Van Til continues describing his conversion “I do not claim that I always fully understood the meaning of it all [the Bible readings of his childhood]. Yet of the total effect there can be no doubt. The Bible became for me, in all its parts, in every syllable, the very Word of God. I learned that I must believe the Scripture story and that ‘faith’ was a gift of God.” Van Til contrasts this with the unbeliever: “I am just mildly suggesting that you are perhaps dead, and perhaps blind, leaving you to think the matter over for yourself. If an operation is to be performed it must be performed by God himself…. Nor do I pretend, of course, that once you have been brought face to face with this condition, you can change your attitude. No more than the Ethiopian can change his skin or the leopard his spots can you change your attitude. You have cemented your colored glass to your face so firmly that you cannot even take them off when you sleep…. Only the great Physician through His blood atonement on the Cross and by the gift of His Spirit can take those colored glasses off and make you see facts as they are, facts as evidence, as inherently compelling evidence, for the existence of God.”

Therefore, it seems to me to be a great misunderstanding to draw such a conclusion. Van Til does suggest that presuppositions can be proved (transcendentally) but one must be careful not to confuse this with persuasion. Van Til clearly believes that one must accept the presupposition on faith and that this faith must be a gift from God. Van Til states on page 130 of Christian Apologetics, “To admit one’s own presuppositions and to point out the presuppositions of others is therefore to maintain that all reasoning is, in the nature of the case, circular reasoning. The starting point, the method, and the conclusions are always involved in one another.”

I must say that I find your writing to be very unclear. For example: “In short, Van Til's apologetic is phrased as though it is based on reason. However, as noted above, it contains a circularity. The escape from circularity would be to acknowledge his presuppositions, identify them as presuppositions, and not seek to "prove" the presuppositions.” Do you mean to say that his apologetic appeals to reason or that his presupposition is founded upon reason? When you say it would “escape from circularity” do you mean that it would not be circular simply because it would not be arguing anything at all?

Another example: “Van Til's apology purports NOT to use God as a presupposition, but a desire for lack of chaos” What are you talking about? For the life of me, I cannot help but guess that you are defining presupposition in a way entirely different than Van Til. Van Til’s entire apologetic is based off the presupposition of the Christian God of Scripture so how can you say he purports NOT to use God as a presupposition? It seems obvious that Van Til means that unless you presuppose God then all you have is chaos (in principle). Van Til elsewhere clearly claims that our faith in God is dependent on God’s sovereign grace… What in the world do you mean to attack? I cannot imagine that you mean to attack the idea of God working through secondary means (reasons) or attacking the idea that we can have reason for beliefs.

I don’t mean to be offensive but I really think it would benefit people if you would write more clearly. Maybe you need to expound more but it seems more that you need to change the way you word things.

Turretinfan said...

I see I should not have encouraged the panning of poor writing and then provided an example of such writing.

Thanks for your comments, dear Anonymous reader.

As you yourself admitted: "Van Til does suggest that presuppositions can be proved (transcendentally) but one must be careful not to confuse this with persuasion."

Whether or not we should confuse that with persuasion, it is circular to seek to prove one's presuppositions.

Such an apologetic (the so-called transcendental argument for the existence of God) must be acknowledged to be based on accepting the truth of Scripture by faith. It is not a stand-alone proof for the existence of God, any more than is the first-mover proof.

In your first criticism you ask: "(1)Do you mean to say that his apologetic appeals to reason or that his presupposition is founded upon reason? (2)When you say it would “escape from circularity” do you mean that it would not be circular simply because it would not be arguing anything at all?" (numbering inserted)

(1) His apology appears to suggest that the presuppositions have been proved by the exercise of reason (contrasted, for example, with proofs from evidence). The problem with both his approach and the approach of the evidentialists is that "proving" one's presuppositions is an exercise in futility at best. Such a proof will be bootstrapped. Consequently, the argument will be logically invalid, and nothing will have been proved.

I'm saying his presupposition is God's existence, and His conclusion is God's existence. His argument purports to be a logical argument in favor of God's existence (appealing to reason), but the argument is a petitio principii.

To directly answer your question, he appeals to reason, but reason fails him.

(2) No, by escape from circularity I mean avoiding engaging in begging the question. What does that mean? It means that there can be intuitive proofs of God that rely on either hidden presuppositions in common sense (as Charles Hodge would likely argue), or on hidden presuppositions learned in childhood. There cannot, however, be logical proofs of the existence of God, because God must be acknowledged presuppositionally by faith.

In your second criticism, you seem to be confused by my comment: "Van Til's apology purports NOT to use God as a presupposition, but a desire for lack of chaos."

Allow me to explicate this a bit. Van Til's apology (at least his (and I'm paraphrasing here): "I believe God, because else all is chaos," appears to suggest that Van Til believes that his presupposition can be proven by an appeal to reason/logic. Specifically, Van Til appears to suggest that his own belief is not purely presuppositional, but that it is based on a desire for order (i.e. lack of chaos). He seems to be saying "I believe BECAUSE ..." with a reason following the because.

You ask what I'm "attacking." I think "attack" is much too strong a word. I'm tweaking. I realize that Van Til considers himself a presuppositionalist, as do his theological children: Bahnsen and Gaffin, for example. I'm explaining that this particular area of their apologetic is inconsistent with presuppositionalism. I also realize that all these men have claimed (and I see no reason to doubt their claim) to accept the truth of the Bible on faith, which is inconsistent with pure demonstration.

That is not deny the use and validity of arguments for God's existence. One of the greatest theologians in the history of the States was Jonathan Edwards. Edwards was fond of the Causeless Cause argument for the existence of God.

And, indeed, like the transcendental argument for the existence of God, the causeless cause argument is intuitive.

We intuitively recognize that there needs to be a beginning to the chain of causes. We all laugh at the "turtles all the way down" response regarding how the world is supported in space.

Likewise we intuitively recognize that there must be a cause for the order of the world.

Nevertheless, in both cases, our intuition is informed by our presuppositions. Those proofs are proofs to those who share our presuppositions, not to those who deny them.

And the reason this is so, is that in both cases, the hidden premise is: there is a first cause who is uncaused.

Thus, both arguments are good for helping us to realize that we already know that there is a God, but neither positively proves the necessity of God's existence by pure demonstration.

Let me return for a second to your question (2) above, in which asked: "When you say it would “escape from circularity” do you mean that it would not be circular simply because it would not be arguing anything at all?"

Another way I could answer this is to say that the way to escape from this circularity is to stop asserting that one believes God becasue it is reasonable, and instead affirm that one's beliefs are reasonable because they conform to what God says.

I hope that clarifies things, but if it does not, please feel free to pan my writing a bit more, as I've obviously opened the door to that sort of thing with my initial comment in this post.

-Turretinfan

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the clarifications,

It seems to me that you must deny transcendental arguments in general. What about Aristotle’s proof of the law of non-contradiction? You may reject this as a “proof” but nevertheless, most philosophers agree that it is in fact a demonstration that one cannot escape the law of non-contradiction, in fact I don’t know any who would deny that in denying the law of non-contradiction you must use the law of non-contradiction. Likewise, one cannot escape the fact that God is the precondition to intelligibility. The claim that “nothing exists or God exists. Something exists. Therefore, God exists.” Is a presupposition but can be demonstrated particularly. There cannot be a universal demonstration or that would make us God (and thereby disprove our thesis). Likewise, we cannot universally prove that to deny the law of non-contradiction would in fact use the law of non-contradiction but we may hold to this presupposition and thereby, every time someone attempts to disprove it we can prove them wrong.

You must admit that either all proofs become circular at some point or else there is always an infinite regress of proofs. If there is an infinite regress of proof then you have actually proven nothing and everything is sound and fury signifying nothing or else, it seems to me, you must admit the necessity of transcendental proofs.

You state, “His apology appears to suggest that the presuppositions have been proved by the exercise of reason (contrasted, for example, with proofs from evidence).”

Van Tillianism claims that reason can apprehend the proof of a presupposition because without the presupposition there would be no reason at all. Since there is the presupposition there is reason and since there is reason it can apprehend the fact that it is dependent on the presupposition. To deny the apprehension of the presupposition is to deny reason. The fact that there is evidence likewise evidences the presupposition. If you have a problem with this then you must have a problem with all transcendental proofs; however, if you reject such method of demonstration then you must reject any value of presupposition. It would be as if I rejected empirical demonstration but wanted to still call myself an empiricist.

You state, “It means that there can be intuitive proofs of God that rely on either hidden presuppositions in common sense (as Charles Hodge would likely argue), or on hidden presuppositions learned in childhood.”

The word “intuitive” is ambiguous… what is it like to intuit something? How do I know if I am intuiting God or something else? How do you know that person B intuits God if he claims he doesn’t? If you try to demonstrate that person B intuits God then you are arguing transcendentally… if you cannot demonstrate that person B intuits God then you have no justification to claim that it is such. Thus, we can merely, with Wittgenstein, yell “heretic!”

You state, “There cannot, however, be logical proofs of the existence of God, because God must be acknowledged presuppositionally by faith.”

This seems to be a non-sequitur, for the Van Tillian claims that it is the fact that God must be acknowledged presuppositionally which makes it possible for logical demonstration of that fact to be possible

You state, “Van Til believes that his presupposition can be proven by an appeal to reason/logic. Specifically, Van Til appears to suggest that his own belief is not purely presuppositional”

There is only a problem here because you are asserting (or appear to be) that a presupposition, by definition, is something that cannot be proven. However, if I define a presupposition as that which can be demonstrated transcendentally then the problem disappears. In doing this you reject transcendental reasoning. Why do you reject transcendental reasoning? It seems that if I push this question you will either be backed into a corner of reasoning circular yourself or you will simply have an arbitrary end-point to reason. Let me ask you, do you ever reason inductively? If so, why?

You state, “Those proofs are proofs to those who share our presuppositions, not to those who deny them.”

The Van Tillians claim that all men share this presupposition and therefore, by your own admission, the transcendental argument is a proof to all men. You can escape this by denying that all men presuppose God but then you must also deny that he is the precondition for intelligibility because all men, albeit inconsistently, do intelligible things. Thus, if they do intelligible things and they do not share our presupposition then God is not the only precondition to intelligibility.

Anonymous said...

I see where you have stated this:

"Presuppositions are important and useful, as long as they are correct. I am a presuppositionalist, and my presuppositions are correct. I presuppose that God exists, that He revealed Himself in His Word, and that He is True to His Word. From those presuppositions I derive my doctrine and worldview. If someone wants to debate the existence of God, I can demolish their arguments against God's existence, but I cannot positively prove my presuppositions. I can explain the usual arguments for the existence of God, including the intuitive "first cause" and "source of meaning" arguments. Nevertheless, these will only be persuasive if the person already shares my presuppositions, or if God opens their eyes to the truth."

1) How do you know your presuppositions are correct?

2) Let us say that you claim God exists and that someone else claims God does not exist. Can you demolish that opposing claim? How? Can you only demolish that claim when one attempts to give a reason for the non-existence of God? If this is the case, then by your own admission it seems, that they can demolish your claim for the existence of God every time you try to give a reason. Why then is one the wiser (or the fool)? Surely you believe one is the "fool who has said in his heart..." do you have a reason for this belief?

It seems that you may cut yourself off from any rational discourse. You may say that you believe in X because of Y, but in the end you cannot justify X because you cannot justify Y so why should one even have a Y? Why can’t we just end with X?

Turretinfan said...

Dear Anonymous reader,

Your response is sufficiently detailed and raises enough issues that it deserves rebuttal (or at least attempted rebuttal) in a separate post.

I will accordingly, provide such a post in the near future, if the Lord wills.

In the meantime, I appreciate the time and thought that went into your reply, and will seek to provide a response that is at least as detailed.

May God's blessing rest on you,

-Turretinfan

Turretinfan said...

I do recognize that there may be two (or more) anonymous readers here. Between the time I finished responding to one anonymous comment, another was posted asking two questions.

Quick answers:

1) God regenerated my heart and renewed my mind by the operation of the Holy Ghost. In consequence, I believe what God wrote in Scripture to be true, because I love and trust Him. Thus, I take His Word as my presupposition, with the Reformers adhering to sola scriptura.

2) The demolition of the denial of God is by appeal to Scripture. Scripture is the declaration of God, and is sufficient to show both God's existence and a measure of His glory.

You ask why I am wiser than the fool. The answer is that it by God's mercy that my eyes have been opened to see the glory of God revealed in Scripture. I am wise (in the Biblical sense) because I trust in God and fear Him.

Your write: "It seems that you may cut yourself off from any rational discourse. You may say that you believe in X because of Y, but in the end you cannot justify X because you cannot justify Y so why should one even have a Y? Why can’t we just end with X?"

I am not willing to entertain an open mind about whether God exists, about whether He has revealed Himself in Scripture, or about whether His self-testimony at the pens of the prophets and apostles is true. Those things are true, and their truth is presuppositional: it something that precedes rational discourse.

I can tell you of the truth of those statements, but if you will not listen to my testimony or (more importantly) the testimony recorded in Scripture, so be it.

-Turretinfan

JonathanB said...

Thanks for the quick reply,

Sorry about the "anonymous" thing, I didn't mean to be "incognito"... I just didn't take the time to fill out the appropriate fields.

In response to your two answers:

Do you believe that belief X (the Christian presupposition) is that which makes any reason, logic, evidence, etc. possible, or do you simply believe that belief X must be taken on faith and we establish other beliefs (Y) based on reason, logic, evidence, etc.?

If the former then I fail to see why the fact of reason does not transcendental validity to the presupposition. If the later then is not "reason" autonomous?

Turretinfan said...

Dear JonathanB,

(no problem on the anonymity issue ... in fact you can feel free to submit the comment anonymously vis-a-vis blogger.com and just "sign" your post with a "-jonathanb" if you like. I have no problem with commenters remaining incognito if they so desire)

There's something missing from your comment: "If the former then I fail to see why the fact of reason does not [?] transcendental validity to the presupposition."

I think you intended to add a verb there, e.g. "provide" "grant" "lend" "give" or the like.

If so, I'm afraid I'm a bit fuzzy on the concept of propositions having "transcendental validity," outside of Kantian philosophy, which I trust is not your position. With respect to what is the proposition (in this case the proposition is a presupposition) or its validity transcendent?

God is transcendent, of course, and a transcendent God is necessary for us to have knowledge. But we only obtain certain knowledge of such by faith.

Perhaps there is a semantic gap between us.

Would you care to clarify?

If you have not done so, I would encourage you to read Mr. Butler's article on the subject, found here:

http://butler-harris.org/tag/

-Turretinfan

JonathanB said...

TF,

Yes, I am missing a verb there… even so I don’t think it makes my statement much clearer. What I was meaning to say is that I fail to see why the fact of reason does not give proof, in the transcendental sense, if God is the precondition to reason.

Perhaps this will help:

“If reason then God. Reason. Therefore, God.”

It seems that you have already granted premises one and two but reject the conclusion. What am I missing?

Turretinfan said...

JonathanB:

I agree that reason exists, and that God exists. I even agree that reason exists because God exists.

I do not agree that the syllogism is a proper proof of God's existence. To be clear, your syllogism is not fallacious, it is a valid syllogism.

But the question (to the outside world) is whether the major premise of your syllogism is correct.

For contrast, consider another argument:

If there were witnesses to the resurrection of Christ, then the Christian God exists.
There were witnesses to the resurrection of Christ.
Therefore, the Christian God exists.

That argument is as valid as your own, and every term is as true.

It is, however, not what would be viewed as a proof, because (as with your own) the major premise would simply be denied.

The only way to get the IFF between reason and God is by reading Scripture and believing it, with your eyes opened by the work of the Spirit.

-Turretinfan

Anonymous said...

TF,

You state, "I do not agree that the syllogism is a proper proof of God's existence."

There lies the problem (or at least a major part of it). How do you define proof? I saw this question arising afar off and thus stated in my first reply that we need to distinguish between proof and persuasion.

It seems to me that "proof" should be defined as a sound argument. Since you grant that the argument is valid and that the premises are true then the argument is sound, and thus a proof. The question is the unbelievers apprehension of this proof.

You correctly note that unbelievers will reject the major premise... but in the words of Bahnsen, "so what?" Consider that Van Tillians and Clarkians agree that no unbeliever will be persuaded apart from the grace of God. However, I think both would also agree that God works through means and arguments. (1 Peter 3:15 - "Sanctify Christ as Lord in your heart always being ready to give a reason/defense/answer/apology...."). I believe that we can show the unbeliever that his unbelief is irrational: for, as far as he rejects the knowledge of God he rejects knowledge. Since the unbeliever can never fully reject his revelation of God (indeed it is within his very being) he must also see the truth (though he suppresses it) of the premises of the argument as well. Therefore, the argument is also sound for the unbeliever and thus a proof. Naturally there are arguments which present the truth in a more detailed and clear fashion than others. “Either nothing exists or God exists. Something exists. Therefore, God exists.” Is probably as basic an argument as one can find and therefore it does not present the truth in as much detail with as much clarity. Sometimes arguments, can have hidden premises that need to be explicated to make it sound. Sometimes arguments have true premises but the form of argument is not usable for certainty (i.e. they are inductive; evidentialist). Transcendental arguments are those which provide the best form of argument for the certainty of any conclusion.

Thanks for the conversation,
JB

Turretinfan said...

Dear JB,

"You correctly note that unbelievers will reject the major premise... but in the words of Bahnsen, "so what?""

The answer, of course, is that, therefore, it is not a proof.

It is not a proof because the conclusion does not follow from accepted premises, not just true premises.

You might reply, but then there can be no proof of God's existence, because athiests will always deny at least one of the premises.

To which the answer is "no great loss." We are not called to prove God's existence, but to preach it.

But let me provide an example of the above:

It may be true that:

If there are aliens hiding on the back of Alpha Centuri, then there is extraterrestrial life.
There are aliens hiding on the back of Alpha Centuri.
Therefore
There is extraterratrial life.

It is a valid premise, and it may have true premises and a true conclusion. But that is not a "proof" because the minor premise is not accepted.

I mean your argument may as well be:

God says He exists.
God always tells the truth.
Therefore God exists.

It's all true, and logically valid, but not a proof, any more than TAG is a proof.

-Turretinfan

Anonymous said...

I would have a broader reply than to say that one cannot prove God’s existence; namely, one cannot prove anything. First, I would argue that you have reduced the concept of proof to persuasion of true statements of fact. This requires much of our vocabulary to change. How could we possibly ask, “has the theory of relativity been prove?”? We couldn’t make such a statement in any intelligible manner. Instead, we must ask, “has the theory of relativity been proven to you?” Thus it seems that we have subjected the right to an idea or belief to the person's psychology. Afterall, why should Joe accept an unproven theory, idea, belief, claim etc.? (Furthermore, if a sound argument is not proof then what is it? Does it demonstrate anything?)

Secondly, as I have already stated in my last reply, it is in fact a proof even on the grounds you have suggested because all men do in fact have knowledge (justified true belief) of the God. The difference between the syllogism I gave concerning God and the syllogism you gave concerning aliens is that all men know the truth of the premises in my syllogism but no one (that I know of) knows the truth of the premises in your syllogism.
This raises a question: how do you define knowledge? If you cannot persuade Hitler that killing Jews is wrong then does Hitler act correctly in accordance with the information he has or does he sin against better knowledge?

JB

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I forgot to ask:

Why should I accept your definition of proof over mine? Clearly, on my grounds, you can prove the existence of God (but you cannot persuade anyone, only God can do that). On your grounds, proof is subjectivized and nothing can be proven invariably. Furthermore, you could never prove to me that your definition is correct because I could just refuse to be persuaded.

God bless,
JB

Turretinfan said...

Dear JB,

You wrote: "I would have a broader reply than to say that one cannot prove God’s existence; namely, one cannot prove anything."

I respond: That's not the case. Using our presuppositions as premises, we can prove all sorts of things. It's something like geometry. You cannot prove the axioms, but you can prove an awful lot from the axioms.

You wrote: "First, I would argue that you have reduced the concept of proof to persuasion of true statements of fact."

I respond: No, that's not the case. See above.

You wrote: "This requires much of our vocabulary to change."

I respond: I've provided an example to illustrate that your view of the term "prove" is flawed.

You wrote: "How could we possibly ask, “has the theory of relativity been prove?”?"

I respond: Most scientific theories are not susceptible of rigorous proof. That's why scientists usually prefer the terms "verified" or "confirmed" or "established."

You wrote: "Instead, we must ask, “has the theory of relativity been proven to you?”"

I respond: See above. But, more imporantly, given the premises of geometry there are many proven conclusions ... even if they have not been demonstrated to your or my satisfaction.

You wrote: "Thus it seems that we have subjected the right to an idea or belief to the person's psychology. Afterall, why should Joe accept an unproven theory, idea, belief, claim etc.? (Furthermore, if a sound argument is not proof then what is it? Does it demonstrate anything?)"

I respond: It proves the consequences of the premises. But if the premises are the item on the table, then argument engages in the logic fallacy of question begging.

You wrote: "Secondly, as I have already stated in my last reply, it is in fact a proof even on the grounds you have suggested because all men do in fact have knowledge (justified true belief) of the God."

I respond: They have knowledge of the truth, but they suppress it in unrighteousness. So, no - they do not accept the premise, and if they did, there would be no need for the argument.

You wrote: "The difference between the syllogism I gave concerning God and the syllogism you gave concerning aliens is that all men know the truth of the premises in my syllogism but no one (that I know of) knows the truth of the premises in your syllogism."

I reply: That is a difference, but not a difference that matters. After all, as noted above, men do not accept the truth that they know.

You wrote: "This raises a question: how do you define knowledge? If you cannot persuade Hitler that killing Jews is wrong then does Hitler act correctly in accordance with the information he has or does he sin against better knowledge?"

I respond: How does it raise that question? I'm wary of questions that include the words "Hitler" and "Jews."

-Turretinfan

Turretinfan said...

Dear JB,

You wrote: "Why should I accept your definition of proof over mine?"

I respond: Mine is the historical meaning. That should be good enough. If it is not, then simply note that yours results in absurdities, like the proof of alien life.

You wrote: "Clearly, on my grounds, you can prove the existence of God (but you cannot persuade anyone, only God can do that)."

I respond: On your grounds, you can prove anything you like, including absurd things.

You wrote: "On your grounds, proof is subjectivized and nothing can be proven invariably."

I respond: On the contrary, (though you did not have the benefit of my comment above when you wrote) as can be seen from the comment above, whenever two people share presuppositions, proof from the ose presuppositions is possible.

You wrote: "Furthermore, you could never prove to me that your definition is correct because I could just refuse to be persuaded."

I respond: You yourself have acknowledged the difference between proof and persuasion. Stubborness in accepting a proof as a proof is different from rebutting a proof by denying one or more of its premises.

-Turretinfan

Anonymous said...

TF,

In an earlier reply you wrote: “…therefore, it is not a proof.” The “therefore,” was from one of my statements that an unbeliever would reject the major premise. You continued, “It is not a proof because the conclusion does not follow from accepted premises, not just true premises.”

Now, you have stated: “Using our presuppositions as premises. It's something like geometry. You cannot prove the axioms, but you can prove an awful lot from the axioms.”

Now, let me clarify in passing that you haven’t added anything to your definition of “proof” – all you are still saying is that if one accepts the argument then it counts as proof; however, if they don’t accept the argument then it isn’t proof. You may want to say that if one accepts an axiom then they MUST accept all that would logically follow from an axiom. In other words, if someone accepts that God exists then they must accept that reason also exists. But why should we throw moral acquiesce to logic in at this point? Why can I not maintain that if one does not see the connection between premises, despite them following from the axiom, that it is unproven? Therefore, you do not have the right to say “you can prove an awful lot from the axioms”. This assumes that proof is not person relative. At best, you can only say, “it may be that we have a better chance of proving X if someone already accepts the major premises to X.” Yet, how would you calculate probability when it comes to whether or not a person will see the logic of a statement? I know people who always reject logical points that follow from their “axioms.”

However, please notice, that this isn’t saying anything new from your last reply. Therefore, it seems to me that you have still reduced the concept of proof to persuasion of true statements of fact.

You may want to stick to your guns on this one and maintain that if someone accepts an axiom then something can be proven from that axiom regardless of whether or not the person sees the logic of it (let’s call this idea of proof “P2” over the latter “P1”). If this is the case then it seems that I can grant you this point and still maintain my thesis: the disjunctive syllogism I gave earlier is a proof of God (to all men). First, I would obviously disagree with the equation of axiom and presupposition, but putting that aside for now: All men know (accept the axiom) that (the) God exists. Therefore, the syllogism counts as a proof under P2. You maintain, of course, that there is a sense in which they do not accept the premise (or axiom). However, I would argue, their ultimate belief, by the nature of the case, is that God does in fact exist. Their rebellion of this truth is to some degree a conscious rebellion in that they know they are sinning against better knowledge. They cannot hold belief B (~God) more ultimate than belief A (God) because belief A is intrinsic to the creation and their very being as a part of that creation. The only way that they can continue to exist in belief B is by support of belief A. Now, as a Calvinist I grant that no man can do justice to belief A apart from the grace of God, but that doesn’t mean that A is subordinate to B. At one point you say, “So, no - they do not accept the premise, and if they did, there would be no need for the argument.” However, this assumes that acceptance of a premise includes moral submission to live in light of the premise… however, I don’t see how this follows at all. In fact, it seems as if we would now have a P3: intellectual assent as well as moral assent is necessary to prove.

Either way, it seems as though something is amiss. For example, if I give this syllogism to an unbeliever “Either nothing exists or God exists…..” and by God’s grace he says “That’s right! I finally understand. Sign me up for Christianity.” Have I not just proven God? This example illustrates that even under P1, P2, or P3 I can still say that we can prove the existence of God. So then, what exactly is the claim being made? Is it the claim that “proof is person relative” and therefore you can prove God to some people by His grace but not to others?

Nevertheless, we are missing another road completely. If an unbeliever has different axioms than you do, do you have any point of contact with him?

JB

Anonymous said...

At one point you claim that I could prove absurdities… Please notice that this is only the case if you accept that the truth can be absurd. I defined proof as a sound argument. A sound argument is an argument with true premises and a valid form. So, being able to prove something that is true but absurd (though I do not necessarily accept that this could be the case) is no fault of my definition.

JB

Turretinfan said...

JB:

You wrote: "I defined proof as a sound argument. A sound argument is an argument with true premises and a valid form."

I respond: As I said, this leads to absurd results, not that your conclusion is absurd, but that your definition includes syllogisms that are self-evidently not proofs.

For example:

1. God knows the number of the elect currently living in Africa now.
2. God knows that such a number is greater than the corresponding number of elect currently living in the nation of Columbia.
3. God is always right.
4. Consequently, there are fewer elect currently living in Columbia than Africa.
QED

Those premises may all be right (1 and 3 are certainly right). And the conclusion follows from the premises. But to say that I've proved my conclusion is absurd. I haven't proved my conclusion, because even if premise 2 is true, we don't know that's true.

Hopefully that example will help you see that a proof needs to follow from accepted premises. Thus, there is a proof of Socrates' mortality.

It is thus:

1. All men are mortal.
2. Socrates is a man.
Therefore
3. Socrates is mortal.
QED

That meets your definition, but it has one additional quality that distinguishes it from the nose-counting example above. The premises are accepted as true.

We cannot prove the consequent without first proving the precedent.

This creates a problem of infinite regress. The only way out of the regress is to identify certain fundamental truths as outside the realm of proof, and call them presuppositions. The presuppositions of geometry are its axioms. The presupposition of theology is the Word of God.

-Turretinfan

Anonymous said...

I fail to see the problem with your Columbia/Africa argument. We don’t know if that is or is not a proof because we don’t know the truth of the premises… but when we come to know the truth of the premises we are not changing anything about the argument itself. Is it a proof? I don’t know but when I know the truth value of the premises I will know whether it is a proof. I will not make it a proof when my knowledge changes. The only reason why saying you have proven your conclusion is absurd is because you don’t know if it is true or false. Thus, the absurdity is in your claiming to know something you don’t know. The absurdity is not in the fact of the argument being sound (proven) or unsound (unproven).

You state that the only way to escape infinite regress is by way of axiom (which you define as presupposition). We both agree that we presuppose God. You claim this can only be (rationally?) done by asserting it without trying to justify it. If one attempts to justify it, they are being circular. We both agree that this is circular reasoning. It seems the difference between our points is that I believe transcendental arguments are valid and you don’t (?). Would you call yourself a fideist?

JB

Turretinfan said...

Dear JB:

As to the Columbia/Africa argument, compare that to your argument. You say you don't whether that's a proof or not.

It's hard for me to believe that you really don't recognize that the Columbia/Africa argument is not a proof of the conclusion.

You may want to bounce the issue of some of your friends or relatives. Ask them whether Turretinfan has proven that there are more elect people in Africa than in Columbia.

Your response is suprising: you simply say that you do not know whether I have proven it or not, whereas I think ordinarily folks would agree that I had proven nothing.

In fact, all that your proofs have done is to regress the debate back to the major premise. In other words, the new debate is not "does God exist" but "is order, reason, or existence related in an IFF way to God's existence"?

The same is true in my example. The debate becomes, "but does God really know that the number hither is less than yon?"

In contrast, the proof of Socrates' mortality settles the matter, because it flows from accepted premises.

The traditional proofs of God's existence attempt to do this, by finding accepted premises (motion has a cuase, change has a cause, every effect has a cause, and infinite regress is impossible) and proving God from those premises.

They "work" as long as the premises are accepted, but they fail when the premises are denied. How does the causeless cause advocate respond to the retort: "but infinite regress IS possible"? By sputtering indignently? By chuckling about "turtles all the way down"? They can try to find additional accepted premises to establish the conclusion that infinite regress is impossible, but it is a lost cause ...

You also wrote: " We both agree that this is circular reasoning. It seems the difference between our points is that I believe transcendental arguments are valid and you don’t (?)."

Circular reasoning is not "valid." Can we agree on that?

-Turretinfan

Anonymous said...

I maintain my stance regarding the Columbia/Africa argument. I don’t see where you have made an argument against my position beyond appeal to friends and family. Whether or not my friends and family share the same definition of proof that I do is rather irrelevant to me in this context. I suppose that if they disagreed it only means that an argument would pursue. Some arguments are not proof because their conclusion exceeds the reach of the premises. For example, an inductive argument for God is not a proof that God exists despite the possibility that the argument is sound. All the inductive argument proves is that God probably exists.

Honestly, this is just going to go back and forth because we are simply defining our terms differently. I’m relating “proof” to the soundness of the argument whereas you are relating “proof” to both the soundness of the argument and to the apprehension of the person to whom the argument is being presented.
I’ve said a few times now (once in a reply that was never published… maybe I forgot to send it or it got lost?) that I can grant your definition and still maintain that God’s existence is provable. Allow me to rework some of that reply which was unpublished: Proof may be defined as a sound argument (P1) or as a sound argument that has accepted premises (P2) or as a sound argument that actually persuades (P3) (this is largely modified from my original reply). Under P1 and P2 I can claim that God’s existence is universally provable. Under P3 I can only claim that God’s existence is possibly provable (and that it has been proven for many people). In light of this I don’t think that the key to our disagreement lies merely in how we define “proof.”

You ask, “Circular reasoning is not "valid." Can we agree on that?” As you are already aware, I’m sure, Van Tillians claim that circular reasoning is not only valid but necessary when it comes to one appealing to an ultimate commitment. For example, I would hope that you and I would both agree that the Scripture’s authority is self-attesting… Is this a circle? Yes but it is necessary. It sounds as though you may be claiming that in order for God’s Word to avoid a logical fallacy it must not claim be the authority which claims authority for itself. Yet, this is exactly what Scripture must do. This is not a dilemma if one realizes that such circularity is a necessary sign of coherence within any worldview. However, this does not mean that we are left with a narrow circle, hence transcendental arguments. Let me ask you, what is the point of contact between the believer and the unbeliever if they hold to different axioms (a question from my lost reply)? Can I claim “murder is good” is an axiom? If so, then can I prove that murdering Joe is good?

Turretinfan said...

Dear JB,
You wrote: "Now, let me clarify in passing that you haven’t added anything to your definition of “proof” – all you are still saying is that if one accepts the argument then it counts as proof; however, if they don’t accept the argument then it isn’t proof. "

I respond: It's not a question of accepting the argument, but of accepting the premises. If one does not accept the premise that "Socrates is a man" (for example, if one believes Socrates is a god), in that context the Socrates' mortality proof is not really a proof. The argument has regressed to a question of Socrates' humanity.

The same goes for your argument. It's not really a proof, it's just an appeal to an unaccepted premise, which - itself - is very much a part of the debate.

As for the remainder of your comment (in this particular comment), your statement "All men know (accept the axiom) that (the) God exists," is where you start to go astray.

They have a knowledge of God, but it is suppressed, not accepted. Furhermore, to the extent that they are deemed to have such knowledge, proof of God's existence is a complete waste of time.

Instead, we should, as Paul did simply assert God's existence on divine authority.

-Turretinfan

Anonymous said...

You wrote, "It's not a question of accepting the argument, but of accepting the premises. If one does not accept the premise that "Socrates is a man" (for example, if one believes Socrates is a god), in that context the Socrates' mortality proof is not really a proof. The argument has regressed to a question of Socrates' humanity. The same goes for your argument. It's not really a proof, it's just an appeal to an unaccepted premise, which - itself - is very much a part of the debate."

Unfortunately, I don’t see this as saying anything new (although maybe I'm missing it). I agree that one would call a particular premise into question and want to debate that premise but this doesn’t effect the objective truth or falsity of the premise and therefore doesn’t detract or add anything to the soundness of the argument. Pointing out that one will want to question P1 of my disjunctive syllogism (Either nothing exists or….) does not mean that I will have to modify my definition. Furthermore, this again misses the point that I have made yet again that this semantic debate may be inconsequential to my main thesis (which, I don’t know if I have directly stated but it is that one can prove God’s
existence).

You wrote, "As for the remainder of your comment (in this particular comment), your statement "All men know (accept the axiom) that (the) God exists," is where you start to go astray. They have a knowledge of God, but it is suppressed, not accepted. Furhermore, to the extent that they are deemed to have such knowledge, proof of God's existence is a complete waste of time."

Well, this is part of why I asked you to define knowledge. Knowledge usually is defines as a justified true belief. You want to draw a dichotomy between knowing a thing and accepting a thing but acceptance is contained within the concept of belief and therefore within knowledge. The fact that they already have this knowledge does not make the argument useless, rather it is what makes the argument a proof for them (I maintain by your definition) and thus can be an instrument in removing any illusions they have of autonomy from God.

You state, “Instead, we should, as Paul did simply assert God's existence on divine authority.”

(1) Then we are, as I stated in one of my earliest posts, with Wittgenstein merely yelling heretic at each other.

(2) Is this divine authority self attesting?

Turretinfan said...

Dear JB:

You wrote: "I maintain my stance regarding the Columbia/Africa argument."

I respond: Why?

You wrote: "I don’t see where you have made an argument against my position beyond appeal to friends and family."

I respond: I think we were discussing the conventional meaning of the word "proof." How else do you propose we test the conventional meaning? Shall I direct you to a dictionary?

You wrote: "Whether or not my friends and family share the same definition of proof that I do is rather irrelevant to me in this context."

I respond: Add to the list your pastor, elder, teacher, or whosever view of the English language you would expect to be reasonably clear. Or just ask a random stranger. Or, as noted above, look in a dictionary.

Now, if "in the context" you mean that you have developed a new definiton for "proof," ok. Humpty Dumpty did the same. Why then call it a "proof," instead of a "spoon"?

You wrote: "Some arguments are not proof because their conclusion exceeds the reach of the premises. For example, an inductive argument for God is not a proof that God exists despite the possibility that the argument is sound. All the inductive argument proves is that God probably exists."

I respond: I agree that it is a given that an argument must be deductive to be valid. Inductive arguments merely prove shared intuition.

You wrote: "Honestly, this is just going to go back and forth because we are simply defining our terms differently. I’m relating “proof” to the soundness of the argument whereas you are relating “proof” to both the soundness of the argument and to the apprehension of the person to whom the argument is being presented."

I respond: You're somewhat misstating my position. My argument was that a proof must begin from accepted premises. It was not that the audient must agree that the argument is sound. But, if you are going to use a non-standard definition of "proof," then that semantic difference will certainly separate us.

You wrote: "I’ve said a few times now (once in a reply that was never published… maybe I forgot to send it or it got lost?) that I can grant your definition and still maintain that God’s existence is provable."

I respond: I think you'll find that the comment in question has now been published. The response immediately above this one corresponds to that comment.

You wrote: "Proof may be defined as a sound argument (P1) or as a sound argument that has accepted premises (P2) or as a sound argument that actually persuades (P3) (this is largely modified from my original reply)."

I respond: For the purposes of our discussion, I am referring to P2, and I was under the impression that you were referring to P1. P3 is not really an issue here, though it is within the semantic range of the term "proof."

You wrote: "Under P1 and P2 I can claim that God’s existence is universally provable. Under P3 ... "

I respond: I've omitted your detailed discussion on P3 because it is moot. I don't agree with your claim regarding P2, because the premise existence IFF God is not accepted by athiests. Thus, vis-a-vis athiests, it is not a proof.

You wrote: "You ask, “Circular reasoning is not "valid." Can we agree on that?” As you are already aware, I’m sure, Van Tillians claim that circular reasoning is not only valid but necessary when it comes to one appealing to an ultimate commitment."

I respond: Actually, I was unaware of that claim (I guess I'm a bit out of the loop). If you could back that claim up with citation to Van Til, Bahnsen, and/or Gaffin (or any other Van-Tillian of note) I would appreciate it. It would actually provide a good basis for an entirely new post.

You wrote: "For example, I would hope that you and I would both agree that the Scripture’s authority is self-attesting… Is this a circle? Yes but it is necessary."

I respond: It is not an argument, just a declaration. If it were an argument, it would be the dual fallacies of ipse dixit and petitio principii.

You wrote: "It sounds as though you may be claiming that in order for God’s Word to avoid a logical fallacy it must not claim be the authority which claims authority for itself. Yet, this is exactly what Scripture must do."

I respond: No, it just must call it what it is, a declaration: gospel. It is not an argument, it is an assertion. Do you see the difference?

You wrote: "This is not a dilemma if one realizes that such circularity is a necessary sign of coherence within any worldview."

I respond: I'm itching to ask for the proof of that claim, but I fear it would to a very tangential rabbit-trail. Instead, I'll simply reply that my world view does not begin from circularity but from revelation.

You wrote: "However, this does not mean that we are left with a narrow circle, hence transcendental arguments."

I respond: I'm not sure the size of the circle really matters. As you already appear to have admitted, transcendental arguments are fundamentally circular. Consequently they are logically invalid.

You wrote: "Let me ask you, what is the point of contact between the believer and the unbeliever if they hold to different axioms (a question from my lost reply)?"

I respond: The pulpit.

You wrote: "Can I claim “murder is good” is an axiom? If so, then can I prove that murdering Joe is good? "

I respond: Ad argumentum, you can provide whatever axiom you like, and prove whatever you like by selecting the right axioms. Nevertheless, it's foolishness to pick axioms that are contrary to Scripture.

-Turretinfan

Turretinfan said...

Dear JB:

You wrote: "Unfortunately, I don’t see this as saying anything new (although maybe I'm missing it). I agree that one would call a particular premise into question and want to debate that premise but this doesn’t effect the objective truth or falsity of the premise and therefore doesn’t detract or add anything to the soundness of the argument. Pointing out that one will want to question P1 of my disjunctive syllogism (Either nothing exists or….) does not mean that I will have to modify my definition. Furthermore, this again misses the point that I have made yet again that this semantic debate may be inconsequential to my main thesis (which, I don’t know if I have directly stated but it is that one can prove God’s
existence)."

I respond: The definition of "prove" is vital to the thesis. I willingly grant that my "resurrection-witnesses" argument is a "proof" of the existence of God under your definition of "prove," and that consequently (using your definitions) proof of God's existence is possible. It's not just possible, it's extremely easy. But that's not what we (English speakers) mean when we say "prove," so I'd wish you call it something else.

You wrote: "Knowledge usually is defines as a justified true belief."

I respond: In philosophy class, yes. In the real world, not necessarily. The "knowledge" that the wicked have of God is not belief, but information.

You wrote: "The fact that they already have this knowledge does not make the argument useless, rather it is what makes the argument a proof for them (I maintain by your definition) and thus can be an instrument in removing any illusions they have of autonomy from God."

I respond: It is a useful argument against Arminians and others who acknowledge God and declare autonomy from him. It is not a useful argument against those who deny (lack belief in) the existence of God. Whether or not they have the information, they do not accept it as true. Thus, no, that does not qualify under P2.

You wrote: "(1) Then we are, as I stated in one of my earliest posts, with Wittgenstein merely yelling heretic at each other. (2) Is this divine authority self attesting?"

I respond: It is self-attesting, but not by argument. Wittgenstein, for a variety of reasons, does not carry much weight with me. The very short answer to his assertion is that just because some things are presuppositional does not mean that everything is presuppositional.

-Turretinfan

Anonymous said...

First of all, I really am appreciative of you taking the time to have this conversation with me. I actually am going to start teaching a class in July on apologetics (though it occurs to me that you may not be excited to hear that I will be indoctrinating my students with Van Til and my peculiar take on proof) and this conversation is helping me flush out some points in my head. Now to the argument:

I was not under the impression that you and I were debating the conventional use of a word… if such was the case why wouldn’t we have just gone to the dictionary to begin with (or taken an online poll)? The conventional use may not be the most precise use or the best use. What I was arguing for was the validity of my definition. When I said “in the context” I merely meant that I did not mean to imply that it would be irrelevant to me in other senses; for example, I would care that thought I was using the word improperly but the mere fact of his disagreement would not cause me to want to switch definitions. I tried to make this “in the context” clarification because I said “Whether or not my friends and family share the same definition of proof that I do is rather irrelevant…” and I didn’t want that “irrelevant” to mean without exception.

You state, “Inductive arguments merely prove shared intuition.”

We never did come up with any meaning for the word intuition (recall one of my earlier replies where I called this term into question). I’m still not convinced that the word is of any use, logically.

You state, “My argument was that a proof must begin from accepted premises. It was not that the audient must agree that the argument is sound. But, if you are going to use a non-standard definition of "proof," then that semantic difference will certainly separate us.”

Obviously, if I am going to use an argument to try to convince someone then I am going to look for accepted premises. I’m not saying that the disjunctive syllogism given earlier is the first tool I would pull out of my box… rather it was used, and has been used by others to demonstrate several different things. However, my ever present point is still that people do accept the premises to that syllogism. Granted it is so basic that it has very little pull on the person’s intellect. However, other arguments, such as TAG, have premises that everyone accepts and that are more clear to the unbeliever than the simple disjunctive syllogism.

You state, “I don't agree with your claim regarding P2, because the premise existence IFF God is not accepted by athiests. Thus, vis-a-vis athiests, it is not a proof.”

Here I would simply restate my objection that “Knowledge usually is defines as a justified true belief. You want to draw a dichotomy between knowing a thing and accepting a thing but acceptance is contained within the concept of belief and therefore within knowledge…” (c.f. the post directly above your last reply, fourth paragraph). I suppose one may debate whether or not they know P1 in the disjunct but I would argue that the unbeliever knows *the* God and that any concept of the true God must be one of necessary or primary existence (Anselm?).

You state, "Actually, I was unaware of that claim (I guess I'm a bit out of the loop). If you could back that claim up with citation to Van Til, Bahnsen, and/or Gaffin (or any other Van-Tillian of note) I would appreciate it. It would actually provide a good basis for an entirely new post."

“Criticism is effective only when the critic can suggest a better way. But there is no alternative to circularity [in relation to one’s ultimate commitment]… Circularity in a system is properly justified only at one point: in an argument for the ultimate criterion of the system… It is possible to argue the Pauline authorship of Second Timothy on the basis of higher and broader princples than the Pauline authoriship of Second Timothy. Allowing circularity at one point in a system, therefore, does not commit us to allowing circularity at all points.” (John Frame The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, p. 13-131). If you would like an example of an atheist (or agnostic) philosopher who accepts some circularity see The Philosophers Tool Kit by Julian Baggini and Peter S. Fosl on pages 76-79.

You state, "It is not an argument, it is an assertion. Do you see the difference?"

Yes. I see that we are reduced to skepticism and blind assertions.

You state, "I'm itching to ask for the proof of that claim, but I fear it would to a very tangential rabbit-trail. Instead, I'll simply reply that my world view does not begin from circularity but from revelation."

The “proof” is rather easy (unless your not persuaded). I just ask you what your ultimate commitment is and you say X and I ask what justifies X. If you say Y then you have only shown that Y is your more ultimate commitment. If you say X then X is your ultimate commitment and you are reasoning in a circle. Of course you can say that you have no reasons for believing X… in which case you do not have coherence you have arbitrariness.

You state, "As you already appear to have admitted, transcendental arguments are fundamentally circular. Consequently they are logically invalid."

Why do you trust logic?

You state, "Nevertheless, it's foolishness to pick axioms that are contrary to Scripture."

Is this an arbitrary assertion or do you have a logical reason for this?

Turretinfan said...

Dear JB,

You wrote: "First of all, I really am appreciative of you taking the time to have this conversation with me. I actually am going to start teaching a class in July on apologetics (though it occurs to me that you may not be excited to hear that I will be indoctrinating my students with Van Til and my peculiar take on proof) and this conversation is helping me flush out some points in my head."

I respond: If this conversation has been edifying to you, may God be praised!

JB wrote: "I was not under the impression that you and I were debating the conventional use of a word… if such was the case why wouldn’t we have just gone to the dictionary to begin with (or taken an online poll)? The conventional use may not be the most precise use or the best use."

I respond: I'm occupying the historical semantic range of the word "proof," and you are not. A valid syllogism with true premises has a name: it is a sound argument.

A sound argument is not a proof unless the true premises are acceptable to the party to whom proof is being offered, just as a valid syllogism without true premises is not a sound argument, and an invalid syllogism with any kind of premises is not a sound argument.

You wrote: "You state, “Inductive arguments merely prove shared intuition.” We never did come up with any meaning for the word intuition (recall one of my earlier replies where I called this term into question). I’m still not convinced that the word is of any use, logically."

I respond: I doubt it is of any use logically. That's why I haven't explored a more detailed definition.

You wrote: "my ever present point is still that people do accept the premises to that syllogism,"

I respond: The rebuttal is that SOME people (i.e. most Christians) accept those premises, but not ALL people, and certainly not the typical target audience of such an argument. The same goes for TAG and the like. The causeless-cause argument was a stronger argument when more people were willing to accept the premise that infinite regress is impossible. It's not as strong now, can you imagine why?

Your wrote: "Here I would simply restate my objection that “Knowledge usually is defines as a justified true belief. You want to draw a dichotomy between knowing a thing and accepting a thing but acceptance is contained within the concept of belief and therefore within knowledge…” (c.f. the post directly above your last reply, fourth paragraph). I suppose one may debate whether or not they know P1 in the disjunct but I would argue that the unbeliever knows *the* God and that any concept of the true God must be one of necessary or primary existence (Anselm?)"

I respond: Your argument relies on equivocation over the term knowledge. Their knowledge of God does not qualify as knowledge under the usual philosphic definition of the term. They do not believe in God's existence. The remainder of your argument consequently unravels.

Thanks for the quotation from Frame. Hopefully I can work a new post around it.

You wrote: "You state, "It is not an argument, it is an assertion. Do you see the difference?" Yes. I see that we are reduced to skepticism and blind assertions."

I respond: That's not quite what I asked. I asked whether you see the difference between an argument and an assertion. Your assertion, of course, is incorrect. Pure presuppositional apologetics is not "reduced to .. blind assertions," but to informed assertions and the logical consequences therefrom.

You wrote: "The “proof” is rather easy (unless your not persuaded). I just ask you what your ultimate commitment is and you say X and I ask what justifies X. If you say Y then you have only shown that Y is your more ultimate commitment. If you say X then X is your ultimate commitment and you are reasoning in a circle. Of course you can say that you have no reasons for believing X… in which case you do not have coherence you have arbitrariness."

I respond: False dichotomy and equivocation.

Equivocation: Circular reasoning is not an example of reasoning, it is an example of broken reasoning, just as potsherds are not a category of pottery. Presumably there will be more discussion of this when I discuss Frame.

False Dichotomy: There is another (at least one) option besides arbitrariness and broken reasoning.

If you ask what is my ultimate commitment and I respond God, and you ask what "justifies that" my response is that the question is flawed. Asking what is beyond an ultimate commitment is like asking which letter comes after Z, or what building is taller than the tallest building. It's a silly question, and the best responses are to point out that the question itself is absurd, or simply to remain silent.

You wrote: "You state, "As you already appear to have admitted, transcendental arguments are fundamentally circular. Consequently they are logically invalid." Why do you trust logic?"

I respond: Why do you care? More importantly, what does my trust (or lack thereof, or basis therefor) have to do with the logical invalidity of circular arguments?

You write: "You state, "Nevertheless, it's foolishness to pick axioms that are contrary to Scripture." Is this an arbitrary assertion or do you have a logical reason for this?"

I respond: Scripture is true. It is foolish to take a position contrary to the truth by picking axioms that contrary to the truth. Therefore, it is foolish to pick axioms that are contrary to the Scripture.

-Turretinfan

natamllc said...

Turrentinfan

You wrote above:::>

''Furthermore, only Reformed Christians consistently hold to a worldview that includes God.''

Can I ask you to parse that one comment please?

By it's structure do you mean to imply that only Reformed Theology goggles view a world that includes God?

That question maybe because in this instance I have not fully read all the article or the comments and you clarify the pre-supposition for making such a claim and as always, seeing pride is a demised virtue in my flesh, I wish to kill it daily with communion within the Holy Christian Church and you might become my executioner today?

I do agree that goggles are good, however!

In any event, would you kindly parse that sentence for me and if necessary plumb the depths?

Turretinfan said...

Dear Michael,

Thanks for your comment/question.

What I meant by that sentence is:

1) There are many worldviews that say, "There is a God."

2) God, however, has various characteristics, including infinity, eternality, and immutability, as well as various attributes such as being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.

3) All worldviews, except the Reformed worldview, compromise one or more of God's characteristics/attributes. This is an inconsistency.

4) Accordingly, only the Reformed worldview consistently includes God.

Does that make sense?

-Turretinfan

natamllc said...

turretinfan

my quick answer is YES AND NO.

I enjoy this very much so if I camp out here, tell me to go home and visit my wife and children every now and then, ok?

I have read quickly most of the general thoughts from this back and forth on this point hereon and find it quite useless to the task I have at hand in my called, chosen and faithful Work.

That Hand upon me is certainly one.
They each have me held in the palm of Their Hand, hmmmmm!

But when you consider we be the one He has put His Hand on then, we better be about our Master's business and not our own as time is a tickin' one poet said.

To that I have just cut across someone I hope?

We will see, perhaps?

I would go to a point right now, though, for selfish "reasons". And I hasten to say that I find your ability to respond with such depth and quality to these commenters amazes me.

How do you find the time, Sir?

I have not only read the best, I have been, in my reasonable opinion, with the best of several nations.

My question eliciting a response from you goes to the "heart" of ALL REASON.

Here it is; "have you placed any time or thought into why the Holy Ghost put it into Paul and Peter's hearts only, for our encouragement today, to use this Greek Word"?:::>

LOGIKOS
λογικός
logikos
log-ik-os'
From G3056; rational (“logical”): - reasonable, of the word.

Paul uses the word at Romans 12:1 and Peter at 1 Peter 2:2.

There are several words Translators use when applying God's "WORD" to our reasonable minds: LOGOS, RHEMA or LOGIKOS.

Only these two Apostles were moved upon to apply the WORD LOGIKOS at the most vulnerable of times and purposes of the "reborn" at the most vulnerable time in the establishment of the CHURCH AGE.

I indeed am curious to ponder some of the commenters and their depth and persuasions in this debate. I will get to that, hopefully soon.

This debate seems from my first blush hereon to be something of a fire storm as David's now at Soli Deo Gloria and elect infants?

Does it appear or feel that way to you too?

Turretinfan said...

Dear Michael,

I agree that much of the debate may not be immediately relevant to the work of an evangelist.

Some parts, however, are relevant. Do you preach the Word of God, or do you try to argue people into accepting the truth of what you say?

There are certainly more powerful ways to preach and less powerful ways to preach, but Paul explained:

1Co 2:4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

We don't argue people to the faith by appealling to "transcendentals," we - with the prophets and apostles - speak the revealed Word.

"Thus saith the Lord"

That should be our evangelical and epistemological starting point. Many people will refuse to listen, but God will also open the hearts of many people.

As far as the Greek usage issue goes, it seems like an interesting point, but I wouldn't draw too strong of a conclusion from it. I would tend to view the word as simply a (perhaps irregular) declension of Logos ... not as a separate word. The semantic range of Logos in Greek is quite broad, and it is logos that is ordinarily viewed as the root of our English word Logic. (and I do recognize Strong's handiwork at play in your quotation)

Praise be to our soveign God!

-Turretinfan

natamllc said...

And then there was silence for about 500 years! ah, half an hour!

Rev 8:1 When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

Thank you for your kindness even more than....

natamllc said...

My dear Friend

"both" is my answer:::>

Some parts, however, are relevant. Do you preach the Word of God, or do you try to argue people into accepting the truth of what you say?

Turretinfan said...

You're welcome, kind sir.

-Turretinfan

natamllc said...

My dear Friend

with a most hearty disapproval I have to say so:::>

Your response is this:::>

""That should be our evangelical and epistemological starting point. Many people will refuse to listen, but God will also open the hearts of many people.""

My question then comes to you:::>

Turrentinfan, why should our evangelical and epistemological starting point have to be so there and not as two of your commenters say presumably from their own worldviews?

If it is reason we seek, then I would agree with you. But with your presupposition, I would not agree with your premise and the construction of that assertion quoted above by you in your polemic.

My Scriptural basis for this agrument?

Here:::>

Rev 5:8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
Rev 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,
Rev 5:10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth."
Rev 5:11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands,
Rev 5:12 saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!"
Rev 5:13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!"
Rev 5:14 And the four living creatures said, "Amen!" and the elders fell down and worshiped.

Turretinfan said...

Michael,

You wrote: "Turrentinfan, why should our evangelical and epistemological starting point have to be so there and not as two of your commenters say presumably from their own worldviews?"

I respond:

Because the Scripture says:

1 Peter 1:24-25
24For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

And likewise:

Psa 119:160 Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

And finally:

2 Peter 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

-Turretinfan

natamllc said...

My dear friend

with great flutter you have fanned the flames.

Coming now a most easy/difficult question:::>

At verse nine, Revelation 5,

what is the presupposition?

At verse 13, Revelation 5,

what is the presupposition?

I do have a question!

But having been corrected already by you, I now side on prudence and await your answers?

Blessings be upon the Lord My God who thought up your life and gave you knowledge!!!

Turretinfan said...

Dear Michael,

Despite your compliments (for which I am thankful), I'm afraid I cannot decipher your question.

What do you mean, what is the presupposition (for each of the verses)?

Are you asking for my interpretation of John's prophecy?

-Turretinfan

natamllc said...

yes

but that I tip my hand here is a portion of your recent apology that I will point:::>

you wrote this:::>

''Thus, I can affirm that not just theism, but the Christian God (as explained by Reformed Theology) must be presupposed for life not to appear chaotic.''

natamllc said...

Oh, if it has not been consider, I am pouring over your words with interest and the comments of some brilliant and not so that have had their comments placed hereon incited naturally by yours to the article on Clark and science.

As I write I am co-editing a new, yet published book by a good friend of many years holding a doctor of Theology, the title is:

"THE LAW OF PRAYER"; the word "law" being law/science of prayer.

This inquisition is sharpening my ability to give him good advice to which I am grateful for this blog!

Turretinfan said...

I'm not prepared to give my interpretation of that passage at that time. I would commend, for your own comparison, the fourteenth chapter of the same book.

-Turretinfan

Turretinfan said...

If these posts have edified you, praise be to the One True God!

-Turretinfan

natamllc said...

My dear friend

with all due respect,

amen!

natamllc said...

Dear Turretinfan

as an aside, of your post above,

I would have put the 1 Peter reference this way, not in any way defending myself or justifying myself or you or becoming overly defensive because of this great work being done hereon::::>

1Pe 1:20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for your sake,
1Pe 1:21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
1Pe 1:22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,
1Pe 1:23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word/LOGOS of God;
1Pe 1:24 for "All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls,
1Pe 1:25 but the word/RHEMA of the Lord remains forever." And this word/RHEMA is the good news that was preached to you.
1Pe 2:1 So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.
1Pe 2:2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk/LOGIKOS, that by it you may grow up to salvation--
1Pe 2:3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Now I come to this because I came to understand what Jesus was doing when we read this exchange of "words" between Him and His dearly beloved Apostle Peter:::>

Joh 21:15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs."
Joh 21:16 He said to him a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep."
Joh 21:17 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" and he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep.
Joh 21:18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go."
Joh 21:19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, "Follow me."

I do hope this is as edifying to you as your words have been to me?

I am humbled by your kindness!
Thank you.

natamllc said...

So my dear friend

inquiring::::>

2) The term "Chaos" only makes sense if one assumes a Theistic world-view, but the apology is phrased as though it is the reason for the world-view

You are saying this from the premise of an atheist who is in this fashion now, the world?

Wouldn't that be a basis for the argument the lad puts forth for FAITH?

I might be "reading" more into his thrust or jab at your comment though?

I would argue, any premise, correct or incorrect is a basis of FAITH!

Am I on a sandy patch here or on the solid Rock in your view?

natamllc said...

Again, my dear friend

isn't this quite narrow?:::>

you wrote:

''After all, there is no god but God, Christians are the only theists.''

I ask you, are all Jews Christian then? or Muslims?

I am not picking a fight, and I trust you have come to that realization?

I am just diving deep into it!

Is there something to be forgiven of then, ah, diving deep into it?

Oh yes, as an aside, WHERE WILL YOU DO YOUR PEDAGOGY?

natamllc said...

Turretinfan

I just posted this at tim's blog where there seems to be smoke in the air. And the axiom, "where there is smoke", "there is fire":::>

At#46 T-fan, I was going somewhere else with this. I was wondering if the “no empirically certain knowledge” thesis would have any ethical implications, say, if Adam had not fallen. It would seem, then, that it would always be possible to violate the law of God due to inescapable empirical uncertainty. Yet it would not be a “fall” in the self-conscious sense. Would this follow from your or Clark’s view?

Comment by TJH — June 16, 2007 @ 4:38 pm

Tim, hello, this obviously to you is my “first” time here.

Wow, I must admit when I read those words this came to me fluttering like a bird who could not rest on her nest,:::> ESV trans;

Pro 26:2 Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying, a curse that is causeless does not alight.

I pose the questions: WHAT IF ADAM DID NOT FALL?

Would we be better off?

My answer: No.

HEREON I ask myself the question:::>

“Why do you answer the question: NO?”

Because, first a verse and then a concluding remark:::> ESV trans;

Gen 1:2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

The word utilizing the Strong’s ConC… for the word used here, “darkness”; the epistemology
“darkness” preceded the creation of this present heavens and earth where this debate is being conducted a long long time after Genesis 1:1!

חשׁך
chôshek
kho-shek’
From H2821; the dark; hence (literally) darkness; figuratively misery, destruction, death, ignorance, sorrow, wickedness: - dark (-ness), night, obscurity.

This is by revelation alone, this understanding, but it is found by living science and it’s method of discovery.

thoughts?

Comment by MICHAEL — June 23, 2007 @ 4:43 pm

natamllc said...

My dear friend TF,

the lad's assertion here is where I believe he got off the train tracks your train is railing down [now will I be accused of becoming your apology?]:::>

the Lad's words:

"Van Til clearly believes that one must accept the presupposition on faith and that this faith must be a gift from God."

Again, with due humble regard for stature herein, I do believe anonymous misses it?

Am I?

Here is mine:

FAITH IS A GIFT FROM GOD. The giving of FAITH to mankind as His soteriology is simply to assist mankind to free himself in this life/helika from his natural biological faith that seeks self-atonement that is inherent within him when he or she broke through from the maternal womb to this place we now debate these things!

Life defined here above is the GREEK WORD used by Strongs is:

ἡλικία
hēlikia
hay-lik-ee'-ah
From the same as G2245; maturity (in years or size): - age, stature.


And also; assists to free himself or herself from the "FAITH" Satan gives them to keep them in bondage to that biological faith inherent in them at birth!

You might pause and conclude that this harsh treatment and wrath as written by Tertius at Romans 1 and 2 is in itself God showing His GRACE and MERCY to the sinner with the intent of soteriology PEACE as the end result.

Rev 20:15 And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Now I will say that for one to come to a knowledge of this latter order, "a faith Satan gives", that one must have gone the way Paul has Tertius write at Romans 1 and 2 and come under special wrath from God so as to activate His GIFT OF FAITH within them.

Again, this is speculative and mysterious but I urge you to find me a place in all the Word of God where we can find otherwise on any given day?

Turretinfan said...

Michael,

The result of the narrow definition of theism as being consistent belief in the Christian God is that it makes Jews and Muslims athiests, not Christians.

You also asked where I will do my pedagogy. Hopefully some of my posts are pedagogy in practice.

Pedagogy itself just has not come up to a significant extent.

-Turretinfan

Turretinfan said...

Your comment regarding any premise serving as a basis for faith (in its broad sense) is not far from my own comments.

In the process of reasoning, people begin from accepted premises - premises they trust are true.

-Turretinfan

Turretinfan said...

In 1 Peter 2:2, I would view Logikon as simply meaning "of/coming from the Logos."

-Turretinfan

Turretinfan said...

As to the Fall, I agree that God's providential decree to permit the Fall was more wise than preventing the Fall.

God is most wise, and all things work together by his ordinance for good to the elect.

-Turretinfan

Turretinfan said...

As for Satan giving "faith," of course since Eve, many men having been trusting Satan more than God.

Still, that is not a gift from Satan, the way that saving faith is a gift from God.

Satan is a deceiver, and those who trust him do so to their own destruction.

I remember a fundamentalist pastor remarking on Satan many years ago. He said:

"When you're doing what's right, Satan hates you and wants to see you destroyed; but when you're doing what's evil ... Satan hates you and wants to see you destroyed."

He's like a ravenous predator. He does not give people a gift of faith, he deceives people into believing a lie - something that fallen man willingly consents to.

-Turretinfan

natamllc said...

Turrentinfan

You indeed are true to form; thank you and I greatly appreicate the time you give to me herein!

I hope to only be indebted by His Love in some way? But there may come a day....

I liked your fundamentalist's view on Satan and as I do yours on all the subjects raised so far. I believe of these folks just want to joust with you and some from deep sincerity want to learn! Phi 3:12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.


But, as they say, in the multitude of words there want not transgression.

I do a fair amount myself, words and transgressions. Some for ill and some not.

I like what my Mentoring Pastor said of Satan, "he is just coined a killer. If he was a killer, wouldn't we all be dead?"

I also like the depth and solidity of your answer about Satan's faith working in us, ah, me. I agree and have my own experiences to draw from. Now yours, thanks.

I am continually asking the Lord for His mercies, sometimes daily. I never tire of the forgiveness and He never slumbers nor sleeps.

Somehow I got it in my mind while reading your posted comments that you were sharpening your senses herein in preparation for teaching a course as a professor? Am I indeed off the mark here?

natamllc said...

Turrentinfan

For me, after quoting your comment above first:::>

''In 1 Peter 2:2, I would view Logikon as simply meaning "of/coming from the Logos."''

A story: some months ago, maybe a year or so, my son was home sick and not in attendance at our "Private" school which the men of my fellowship built a number of years ago, built with our wives and outside teaching gifts who we hire to come in and teach on different subjects.

My other son was at school and I came to pick him up to bring him home.

While sitting outside the building I noticed a pigeon seemingly undisturbed by the children running in and out of the building as they were doing school.

This bird was sheltering itself right under the "lip" of the door jam at the porch! No one of the children seemed to notice the bird. So when my son came out and got into the van I said to him, "go get that pigeon". He did.

We brought it home for my sick son to have a daily companion during his recovery from what illed him.

Both my son and the bird, [the bird we found out later that day had a gapping hole in it and it was sorely wounded] recovered. My son first and over several weeks the bird.

Some time later I took both my sons for ice cream. Where we go there are a lot of pigeons. On this day my son said he wanted to go feed the pigeons because one had caught his eye and he wanted to catch it!

Hmmmmm, I thought. Wow, that's quite a statement. How was he going to catch this pigeon, I thought to myself silently?

To my surprise and that of my other son and several onlookers, my son boldly walked into a mass of pigeons and as they, about one hundred or so of them, took flight, my son reached out and in mid air just above his head caught this pigeon with his hand! He just reached out and grabbed it!

Shortly thereafter, maybe two or three months later these two pigeons mated and now we have two squabs. I watch both the male and female parents care for the little birdies. What amazes me is to watch them "feed" the little birds!

They eat and then they digest the food and then they cough it up and "squeeze" this mild looking ice cream like substance down the throat of the little ones!

To this I point as I consider your understanding here about Logos, and the Logikon Peter, rather the Holy Ghost speaks about through both Peter and Paul. For me, being in the ministry now over 30 years, I learn a lesson.

To those verses at John 21:

Joh 21:14 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.
Joh 21:15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs."

You should be able to say, we too are like that, first, after rebirth, we just need someone else's food to eat, like a spiritual parent, before we go off eating steaks and lobsters and wheat bread or serving up food to hungry eaters!

Enough on that then.

Blessings upon you and yours and may His richest Blessings reach out to you here daily before there forever!

Rev 7:15 "Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
Rev 7:16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat.
Rev 7:17 For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."

Turretinfan said...

Dear Michael,

I think you are confusing me with JB, as far as the comments on being a professor.

I don't give out personal details about myself, except that I am a man with a Bible and the work of the Holy Spirit in my heart and mind.

-Turretinfan

natamllc said...

Yes Turrentinfan

I see that now.

My mistake!

Thanks again for your generosity in replying to my inquietudes.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Clark's view defines God. Clark says that Scripture as the beginning axiom is our starting point for all deductions. This agrees with WCF 1.6, btw. Also, to start with general revelation, as you seem to be doing, always ends up in skepticism. For Clark, science does not produce "useful information" or even "useful knowledge." Science is basically operationalism. Just because science can produce useful technological advances does not prove that science produces knowledge. For Clark knowledge must be systematically coherent from beginning to end. If there are any paradoxes or inconsistencies or antinomies then the epistemology must end in skepticism and irrationalism.

Since science is always evolving and changing, it never arrives at the truth. The Bible says this as well, btw. (2 Timothy 3:7; 1 Timothy 6:20). The Bible, otoh, is apodeictic and logically deducible. In short, the Bible is univocal and propositional revelation in written language. God's Word and revelation never changes.

Science cannot decide from one year to the next if Trex was a cold-blooded scavenger or a warm-blooded predator. And how about medicine? One minute coffee is good for you and the next it isn't?

The trouble with Van Til is that he really wasn't a presuppositionalist. He was an irrationalist. And Van Til was inconsistent even in that since Van Til claimed that the cosmological argument was a valid way to prove God's existence. But which God do you prove exists??? Only Scripture can provide that information.

Only Gordon H. Clark was a genuine presuppositionalist. Scott Oliphant has as much as admitted that since he is now moving away from presuppositionalist apologetics and now calling his view covenantal apologetics. But switching terms does not help his case.

Sincerely,

Charlie J. Ray