Covenantal/presuppositional apologetics: BIBLICAL AUTHORITY
Worldviews have consequences and they are the reason why Christians and non-Christians can look at the same evidence and interpret it differently. Many debates about the existence of God aren’t very effective because some Christians aren’t even arguing for the biblical trinitarian God, but some nameless force/deity much like the “force” in Star Wars. I want to explain why we need to have the bible as the foundation of our apologetic.
He who is not with me is against me; and he who does not gather with me scatters.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is INFINITE
The belief that evidence can be interpreted from a neutral standpoint is really a secular position. The bible clearly states that people cannot come to God through secular reasoning (wisdom of this world).
1 Corinthians 1:21 (NLT)
Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.
We don’t ever want the unbeliever to become a judge over our LORD. If I’m the “defense attorney” for the faith and the unbeliever is judging the evidence I present, then who is on trial??? GOD!
Take a look at Eve. Eve tried to treat Satan’s word as one hypothesis and God’s word as another. She decided that she would be the judge between both of their claims. Like any true empiricist she performed an experiment to see which claim was correct. The result of her decision was immoral and irrational.
Immoral because she chose Satan’s word over God’s. Irrational because Eve was relying on her senses and on her mind to judge whether or not God’s word was true. But God had created Eve’s mind and senses by his word and she knew it. So if God were a liar, then there would be no reason for Eve to trust her senses or her mind in the first place.
What could be gained from such a ridiculous experiment? She should’ve told Satan that God’s word is true and you are a liar. Get behind me Satan! God’s word ended up being true after all (Genesis 3).
Fortunately Christ (Last Adam) set the record straight with Satan in the wilderness.
But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”
I want to show the problems with two beliefs about the interpretation of scripture that are very common today.
1) “Scripture must be interpreted in light of what science says.”
This view commits the fallacy of reification; science is a conceptual tool and doesn’t actually say anything. In order to avoid committing this fallacy some may restate it by saying “Scripture must be interpreted to match the opinion of the majority of scientists.” But this only replaces one fallacy with another. It is now the fallacy of appeal to majority/authority. Others may say it in a way to hide the fallacy. “We must interpret scripture in light of scientific knowledge.” Remember, what is considered “knowledge” differs from person to person. So what they really mean is “what is considered scientific knowledge by the majority of scientists.”
Those who hold to this view are saying that a certain level of scientific understanding is necessary in order to correctly understand the bible.
The “correct” interpretation of scripture is never constant in this view, because it’ll change as the majority opinion of the scientists change. It logically follows that people misinterpreted the bible, including it’s authors, for thousands of years until modern scientists finally figured out the “truth.” If a certain level of scientific knowledge is necessary to understand the bible, then you could never know for sure that our understanding of the bible is correct. What is considered scientific knowledge differs between scientists and hundreds of years from now our understanding of science will be primitive. This view is self refuting and those who hold to this view do not have the bible as their ultimate authority.
2) “Revelation through nature/Nature is the 67th book of the bible” usually supported by Romans 1:20.
This view is just as absurd as the first. It is said that “God has also revealed himself in nature. Since God cannot lie, the bible and nature must agree.”
The fallacy of reification is also committed here. Nature is not a person that can hold a position on a topic. Nature is not propositional truth made up of a bunch of statements. It’s impossible for nature to literally agree with the bible. It is still dependent on “what the majority of scientists say about nature.” This view actually matches the first one and we already know the problems with it.
This view is self refuting. The only way an advocate of this view can know God has revealed himself in nature is by reading it in the scriptures, Romans 1. So the view that we need to interpret scripture in light of the “67th” book or God’s revelation through nature presupposes that an understanding/interpretation of nature is not needed, but rather a natural reading and understanding of the bible.
A lot of apologists and old earth creationists are falling into these self refuting secular doctrines. Paul warned us about this in Ephesians.
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and CARRIED ABOUT WITH EVERY WIND OF DOCTRINE, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
Paul reassured us that God should be our foundation for understanding so that we aren’t deceived by secular arguments/traditions.
3) in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
4) I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.