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Colbert & O'Reilly on the Existence of God

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Recently Bill O'Reilly interviewed David Silverman, president of the American Atheists Association regarding a new billboard they've put up in Alabama which says of religion, "You Know They're all Scams." O'Reilly's chief argument in defense of God's existence? The tides. The tides? Yes, that's right, the tides. O'Reilly: "Tide goes in, tide goes out, there's never a miscommunication. You can't explain that." I am a homeschooling parent and I actually used this particular clip as a teaching opportunity for my kids. After watching it together, we talked about the weakness of O'Reilly's "God of the gaps" defense and contrasted this approach with the kinds of arguments we actually find in Acts and the Pauline epistles which focus on the historical resurrection of Christ, along with the fact that it was all done, "according to the scriptures" (Acts 2:22-32; 26:22-29, 1Cor 15:1-6).

During the interview David Silverman appeared to be so dumbfounded by O'Reilly's weak argument that he failed to give a solid comeback. But I told my kids that what he should have said was that the gravitational pull of the moon on the ocean causes the tide to ebb and flow. Enter Stephen Colbert. On the Jan. 6th, 2011 episode of the Colbert Report, the faux conservative news anchor poked fun at O'Reilly by saying that "like all great theologies, Bill's can be boiled down to one sentence: 'There must be a God, because I don't know how things work.'" Later, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson showed up to explain to Colbert that the tides are affected by the moon's gravitational pull. The science lesson didn't end up working for Colbert though. He ended up deciding that we should all become moon worshipers.
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  • Guest - David Taylor

    Hi DH - thanks for your questions - makes me think!

    A)

    Empiricism is no more dangerous than any other worldly philosophy (no safer either.) The problem comes from supposing that any knowledge at all comes from sensory input. Knowledge is from God. And the axiom of empiricism is initiated without empirical data: it contradicts itself at the very start.

    B.

    First, inductive conclusions CAN count as knowledge - but only if they are *perfect* inductions.

    However, part of the problem (as always) is a misunderstanding of terms - or, a crossing of definitions. What I mean by knowledge almost certainly is not what you mean by knowledge. When I use the term 'knowledge' I specifically mean the truth. A person does not 'know' that 2 + 2 = 5. They may have that *opinion* but this is as far as I will grant that particular understanding: any content of a mind that is not true is opinion. When that opinion can be verified by the source of all knowledge (that is, if it coincides with what God knows) it then changes from opinion to knowledge.

    The reason than an imperfect induction cannot be true (counted as knowledge), is because there is no way to know that the next encounter of the particular instance will fit the particulars required: that next crow may be green, for all we know. In fact, the idea of color is part of why empiricism fails - more later.

    A perfect induction can certainly be knowledge: suppose an exhaustive count of every occurrence of the word 'king' is located in Scripture. This is knowledge because the case is 'enclosed' - there has been an accounting of every instance.

    C:

    Not everything must be deduced from Scripture, but all truth must. I can easily argue that "all kings have four wings - there is a king, therefore he has four wings." Valid deduction, but not from scripture. What I argue is that Scripture is the only source by which we can verify that something is *true* - otherwise, we must hold it to be an opinion, until we meet in the next life, where the source of all truth will be much more readily available.

    D:

    It is most certainly my opinion that I sit before my computer! But...maybe this is a dream! This cannot be proven empirically.

    E.

    Ever read Augustine's De Magestro? However, note that the existence (or supposed existence) of black marks on paper can in any way transmit knowledge to me. If that were so, language would be meaningless, no? I cannot read Chinese, but I do know that there are Bibles translated into Chinese. If that knowledge were transmitted by marks on the page, I'd receive that knowledge with no problem....but...I have to *understand* (an intellectual concept) the Chinese alphabet in order to read the collections of black marks - and even more, I'd have to know what those black marks *symbolize*. The meaning is not in those marks. It is in my mind - and Christ, not blotches of color (if that exists) places the meaning there.

    F.

    Well, God certainly does, because it is part of the sum total of all of His knowledge. However, I 'see' what you are saying. I am not arguing that the senses are not a *means* by which we can gain knowledge of God - what I am saying is that the senses do not provide ANY data. All they do is help us recall data that is in our minds. Here's a quote I had on a notepad - note sure where I found it - will post that if I do find it again... "...All speech or communication is a matter of words, and words (even those found in Holy Scripture) are signs, in that they signify something. When signs are used, the recipient, in order to understand, must already innately know that which is signified. Apart from this innate knowledge signs would be meaningless..."

    Christ, "...that was the true Light which, coming into the world, gives light (photizei [enlightens] - no Greek on this page) to every man...." (John 1:9) I hope that you will *see* the *light* of my argument!

    G.

    My argument is that while we can certainly form opinions of everything around us, unless we turn to God for the truth (which is communicated to us 'sola scriptura') we cannot *know* the truth. It isn't simply for a knowledge of God rather than opinions, it is in order to move from opinion to knowledge about everything.

    H.

    No worries - you probably already know my reason for rejecting them. My argument is similar to His: man is created with an innate knowledge of God (it's part of his nature) - "..because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them..."

    I.

    I'd say that they are the ONLY place to look for God. Otherwise you end up (at least, you should) with Aristotle's deity. He was one of the best the world could offer. When I say I reject his ideas, I do not reject his genius! But see: 1 Cor. 3:19-20.

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  • Methinks the key issue to the debate between Van Tilians, Scholastics and Scripturalists were debated in the 14th century between Palamas and Barlaam of Calabria over the issue of created light and uncreated light. The Van Til and Scholastic views give only created light through created natures, i.e. sensations. Our knowledge is then only a created analogy. Yet 2 Peter 1:3-5 clearly teach participation in uncreated nature. This is only possible with a philosophy that teaches immediate knowledge, i.e. Scripturalist and eastern Orthodox. Personally, I am Scripturalist.

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  • Aquinas was a Calvinist as Cunningham demonstrated in the Reformers and the Theology of the Reformation and I have learned much from him but his doctrine of created knowledge is simply trash. See his Summa 1.2.16.7

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  • I think these verses clearly teach that divine knowldge does not come by natural created means:

    Jhn 6:45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. Jhn 6:46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.

    Psalm 119: 99 I have more insight than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation. 100 I understand more than the aged, Because I have observed Your precepts.

    Mat 11: 25 At that time Jesus said, "I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.

    1 Cor 1:21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

    1 Cor 1: 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29 so that no man may boast before God.

    Not to mention that infant salvation is impossible without immediate saving knowledge.

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  • "These two strange creatures share a common bond in spending too much time arguing over apologetic methodology and their hatred of Thomism (likely never having read anything except excerpts from Aquinas own writings)."

    An unhelpful comment, to say the least. Sounds like it's not just VanTilians and Clarkians that have their biases and, shall I say, presuppositions? One wonders how much of Clark Mr. Houston has read, since even a cursory reading of Clark's materials available for free online will answer all 5 questions he posed to Mr. Taylor.

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  • Guest - David Houston

    Before I go through your response, Mr. Taylor, I would like first to say that I am not making any statements about anyones salvation or their commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. I made my first comment because I have seen too many proud obnoxious men latch on to VanTil and/or Clark and gone on a rampage attacking anyone who disagrees with their methodology. I’ll put my cards on the table. I’m a very left-wing VanTillian (possibly more than John Frame) and am attracted to natural theology. I find Alvin Plantinga incredibly helpful but disagree with much of what he says on theology proper and libertarian free will. So yes, Mr. McWilliams, I do have my presuppositions. There they are. Hopefully you’ll now understand my intention when I made my comment. Just because I know what Clark’s answers were does not mean that I find them adequate and so I seek a better answer.

    Enough with the preliminaries!

    “Hi DH – thanks for your questions – makes me think!”

    Glad to be of service! I’ve provided some comments under each of your points.

    “A)
    Empiricism is no more dangerous than any other worldly philosophy (no safer either.) The problem comes from supposing that any knowledge at all comes from sensory input. Knowledge is from God. And the axiom of empiricism is initiated without empirical data: it contradicts itself at the very start.”

    You seem to be drawing a false dichotomy between knowledge from the senses and knowledge from God. This is a confusion between the source and the means by which we come in contact with the source. It’s like saying that if you tell me something over the phone that I need to choose between knowledge coming from you and knowledge coming from the phone. If you define ‘empiricism’ so narrowly as only to include those who believe that the only source of knowledge is through the senses than yes it would be contradictory and unbiblical. However, Scripture itself legitimizes sense date. (1 John 1:1-2; Rom 1; Ps 19; Ps 94:9-10) It is possible to affirm innate knowledge and empirical knowledge consistently.

    “B.
    First, inductive conclusions CAN count as knowledge – but only if they are *perfect* inductions.
    However, part of the problem (as always) is a misunderstanding of terms – or, a crossing of definitions. What I mean by knowledge almost certainly is not what you mean by knowledge. When I use the term ‘knowledge’ I specifically mean the truth. A person does not ‘know’ that 2 + 2 = 5. They may have that *opinion* but this is as far as I will grant that particular understanding: any content of a mind that is not true is opinion. When that opinion can be verified by the source of all knowledge (that is, if it coincides with what God knows) it then changes from opinion to knowledge.
    The reason than an imperfect induction cannot be true (counted as knowledge), is because there is no way to know that the next encounter of the particular instance will fit the particulars required: that next crow may be green, for all we know. In fact, the idea of color is part of why empiricism fails – more later.
    A perfect induction can certainly be knowledge: suppose an exhaustive count of every occurrence of the word ‘king’ is located in Scripture. This is knowledge because the case is ‘enclosed’ – there has been an accounting of every instance.”

    Yes, knowledge must be true. You cannot ‘know’ something that turns out to be false. You seem to hold that unless we can have absolute certainty then we cannot ‘know’ it. Of course this rules out empirical data and inductive reason since it is defeasible (as illustrated by your cow example) but it also rules out deductive reasoning. Here’s why: unless you’re God you can’t know everything; there is a possibility that you are being deceived. Can you know that 2+2=4 with absolute certainty? Well... strictly speaking, no. You could be being deceived by the Cartesian demon. Or you could have a strange brain lesion that makes you think that 2+2=4 is just obvious when really 2+2=5. In essence, the problem is that your rational faculties could be rendered unreliable in some way. (Plantinga has tons of examples like these that are often quite humorous!) Now does the fact that we cannot ‘know’ that 2+2=4, in the absolute sense, require us to say that we do not ‘know’ in some lesser sense? I see no reason to doubt that. Provided that the God of Scripture exists and, in his grace, has not allowed my faculties to go wonky I can have warrant that 2+2=4.

    There’s also a problem with the ‘king’ example. How did you come to know what a ‘king’ is? How do you know that you are reading the Bible? Presumably it is through your senses but this is what you are trying to avoid but perhaps you address this further on...

    “C:
    Not everything must be deduced from Scripture, but all truth must. I can easily argue that “all kings have four wings – there is a king, therefore he has four wings.” Valid deduction, but not from scripture. What I argue is that Scripture is the only source by which we can verify that something is *true* – otherwise, we must hold it to be an opinion, until we meet in the next life, where the source of all truth will be much more readily available.”

    Again, if everything must be deduced from Scripture then how do you know that you exist? Are saved? Are sitting at a computer? Speak English? Own a Bible? None of the answers to these questions can be deduced from Scripture.

    “D:
    It is most certainly my opinion that I sit before my computer! But…maybe this is a dream! This cannot be proven empirically.”

    Excellent! You are aware that your senses can be deceived! Hopefully you now realize that so can your reason.

    “E.
    Ever read Augustine’s De Magestro? However, note that the existence (or supposed existence) of black marks on paper can in any way transmit knowledge to me. If that were so, language would be meaningless, no? I cannot read Chinese, but I do know that there are Bibles translated into Chinese. If that knowledge were transmitted by marks on the page, I’d receive that knowledge with no problem….but…I have to *understand* (an intellectual concept) the Chinese alphabet in order to read the collections of black marks – and even more, I’d have to know what those black marks *symbolize*. The meaning is not in those marks. It is in my mind – and Christ, not blotches of color (if that exists) places the meaning there.”

    I have not read De Magestro but I’m beginning to think that I should get on it since every Clarkian I have ever met has recommended it to me. I don’t know how you know that there are Bibles translate in Chinese since it can’t be deduced from Scripture but I think we’re both getting tired of this objection so I’ll move on. Of course the meaning isn’t in the marks! Aquinas would never have said that! Perhaps a Quinean or some other naturalistic empiricist would but these are the radicals.

    “F.
    Well, God certainly does, because it is part of the sum total of all of His knowledge. However, I ‘see’ what you are saying. I am not arguing that the senses are not a *means* by which we can gain knowledge of God – what I am saying is that the senses do not provide ANY data. All they do is help us recall data that is in our minds. Here’s a quote I had on a notepad – note sure where I found it – will post that if I do find it again… “…All speech or communication is a matter of words, and words (even those found in Holy Scripture) are signs, in that they signify something. When signs are used, the recipient, in order to understand, must already innately know that which is signified. Apart from this innate knowledge signs would be meaningless…”
    Christ, “…that was the true Light which, coming into the world, gives light (photizei [enlightens] – no Greek on this page) to every man….” (John 1:9) I hope that you will *see* the *light* of my argument!”

    I’m afraid that I’m still in the dark! :P So my senses are a means of knowledge yet they do not provide any data? That seems contradictory (perhaps even paradoxical!). This whole thing about senses helping us to recall data is just silly. It’s really unbecoming to a rationalist like yourself! You take something completely intelligible - we receive data from our senses and our minds process it and turn it into concepts - and replace it with this mystical doctrine of recollection. This is Plato. Not the Bible.

    “G.
    My argument is that while we can certainly form opinions of everything around us, unless we turn to God for the truth (which is communicated to us ‘sola scriptura’) we cannot *know* the truth. It isn’t simply for a knowledge of God rather than opinions, it is in order to move from opinion to knowledge about everything.”

    I’ve addressed most of this above but I will say that this is surely not how the Reformers understood ‘sola scriptura.' They believe that we could know all sorts of things that are not spoken of in Scripture but that it was the only infallible source.

    “I.
    I’d say that they are the ONLY place to look for God. Otherwise you end up (at least, you should) with Aristotle’s deity. He was one of the best the world could offer. When I say I reject his ideas, I do not reject his genius! But see: 1 Cor. 3:19-20.”

    You should consider reading The Reformed Objection to Natural Theology by Michael Sudduth. He would help you to clarify your thinking on this topic since it is certainly not true that empirical knowledge only gets you Aristotle’s deity. He has many helpful things to say that even a Clarkian should be able to accept. But try to get it from the library since, like all textbooks, it’s crazy over-priced!

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  • Guest - David Taylor

    Hi David!

    "...You seem to be drawing a false dichotomy between knowledge from the senses and knowledge from God. This is a confusion between the source and the means by which we come in contact with the source..."

    While I understand your point, I do believe you missed mine. My argument is that there IS no other source of knowledge but God. I draw no false dichotomy, for I argue that there IS no knowledge from the senses. The senses NEVER are a source of knowledge.

    "...If you define ‘empiricism’ so narrowly as only to include those who believe that the only source of knowledge is through the senses than yes it would be contradictory and unbiblical..."

    That is the definition of empiricism: the empirical presupposition is (colloquially) "All knowledge comes from the senses." Anything else is a mix and match form: choosing 'what seems right to the heart of a man.' You may choose parts of rationalism, parts of empiricism, parts of Scripturalism, parts of van Tillianism, but note: the parts that are false are false, regardless of the truth of other parts. And the danger is that any conclusion based upon this logic is by its very nature false. Any syllogism with one true and one false proposition results in a false conclusion.

    "...However, Scripture itself legitimizes sense date. (1 John 1:1-2; Rom 1; Ps 19; Ps 94:9-10) It is possible to affirm innate knowledge and empirical knowledge consistently..."

    Again, we disagree: I see no 'legitimization' of sense data in any of those passages. What I see is the legitimization of the senses; but this in no way takes the additional step necessary to prove that the senses posit data. But perhaps we are arguing using a differing definition of the word 'data.'

    In particular, however, the Romans 1 (I assume 18-19) portion, is noteworthy: it especially informs us that we get NOTHING that is not from God, and even warns us of what happens when we begin to assume otherwise.

    You write "...you seem to hold that unless we can have absolute certainty then we cannot 'know' it..."

    This appears to be a false argument, for it seems to declare that it I believe it is impossible to know that a cow is a cow unless I know ALL that God knows about cows. And this is most likely an impossibility (I am not clairvoyant, I do not know how much knowledge we will have after Christ returns.) Your argument would be, then, that unless we know ALL of the facts with absolute certainty, then we have no knowledge at all. But this is not my argument. We can know SOME things without knowing ALL.

    Deductive reason is not ruled out for we have the Scriptures. (Note: 'the Scriptures' means all of the data that is found the Bible, not the book I hold in front of me.

    Your argument: "...Here’s why: unless you’re God you can’t know everything; there is a possibility that you are being deceived..."

    First comment - this is so for all that men do: you have no means of determining (even with your senses) that you also are not deceived. The sense of 'reality' is an assumption. It is impossible to refute the notion that you were simply created five minutes ago along with all of your memories. Because this is so, your first objection refutes too much, including itself.

    "...However: Can you know that 2 + 2 = 4 with certainty?..."

    Yes. The actual knowledge is that X + X = 2X. The number chosen for X is irrelevant. Now we may well have all kinds of problems, mental or otherwise: but we are not the source of knowledge, God is, and the Scripture is His Word. In the Scripture, we find in numerous places that X + X = 2x. Hence, we can conclude from this that 2 + 2 = 4. Infirmities, confusion, and so on, are irrelevant. MAN is not the judge of what is true, God is. While it is QUITE true that our rational faculties could be rendered unreliable in some way (in fact, I would argue that this itself is a large portion of sin) this does not infer that therefore God's rational faculties are impaired. Man did not create God in His image! My argument is not found in the rationality of man, but in the certainty of God, and in the fact that we are His image.

    "...There’s also a problem with the ‘king’ example. How did you come to know what a ‘king’ is?..."

    The concept of a 'king' is quite clearly defined in the Scriptures: a cursory read of 1 Samuel 8 gives a good idea, of which we can make all kinds of further deductions - moreover, the Scripture relates all kinds of stories about kings... Since the Scripture is God's word, we can be safe to assume that what it says about kings is the definition of a king.

    "...How do you know that you are reading the Bible? Presumably it is through your senses but this is what you are trying to avoid but perhaps you address this further on…Again, if everything must be deduced from Scripture then how do you know that you exist? Are saved? Are sitting at a computer? Speak English? Own a Bible? None of the answers to these questions can be deduced from Scripture..."

    Actually, the process of deducing that I exist is quite simple - Scripture declares that man is created, is rational, and that God speaks with him. The Bible declares that the Holy Spirit dwells within individuals, and that Christ enlightens every man (individual) in the world. It declares that the Holy Spirit teaches us according to the information we receive from Christ, and it declares that we 'come to know the truth.' Moreover, our growth as Christians is entirely dependent upon thinking more and more like Christ (we are to 'have His mind'). I note these things within my self, therefore I can deduce that I exist.

    As for your other objections (how do I 'know' that I am sitting at a computer, or speak English, or any other thing, these start as opinions, but we can readily learn from Scripture that people own things, create things, and so on. Please do not misunderstand me: I am not arguing that we do not have senses. I am arguing that the ONLY place we can know that something is truth is the Bible - at least, until Christ returns.

    "...Excellent! You are aware that your senses can be deceived! Hopefully you now realize that so can your reason..."

    Absolutely, which is why I must turn elsewhere for my information. I cannot know the truth, period, unless it is given me by God. I am not a rationalist, I am a Scripturalist. And it is because the senses CAN be deceived that empiricism is false. There is no means by which ANY truth can be known by sensation. At best it can only supply sensations that we then INTERPRET.

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  • Guest - David Taylor

    Book II (sorry about this length!)

    "...I have not read De Magestro but I’m beginning to think that I should get on it since every Clarkian I have ever met has recommended it to me..."

    Both Luther and Calvin allude to it as well...

    "...I don’t know how you know that there are Bibles translate in Chinese since it can’t be deduced from Scripture but I think we’re both getting tired of this objection so I’ll move on..."

    You are arguing specific principles from a general argument. Just because the Bible doesn't tell us 'specifically' whom to marry, this does not negate the fact that it tell us 'generally' whom to marry!

    The Bible clearly states that God created the diverse languages as a barrier for mankind. The use of language can easily be deduced from Scripture, as well as the idea that there are varying languages. Since we know that language truly exists (and is not simply an opinion - because the Bible says so) we can easily "see" that some language we don't understand exists. We use names to distinguish things symbolized (all words are names used to symbolize - hence as Augustine argues, all words are nouns...but you'd have to have the pleasure of reading the book to relish that gem.) Hence, "Chinese" is a word we use to delineate (although colloquially) that particular language, which, as we've preciously found - is part of the division God created.

    "...Of course the meaning isn’t in the marks! Aquinas would never have said that! Perhaps a Quinean or some other naturalistic empiricist would but these are the radicals...."

    This is EXACTLY what Aristotle argues - even as he argued that value is objective. *Hence the idea of the Tabula Rasa.* The blank slate, that the SENSES fill up with data. The knowledge IS in the 'marks'!

    Moreover if you then do not hold to the idea that the meaning isn't in the marks - then whence is it? Where is this meaning, if not from God? Does man create knowledge?

    "...So my senses are a means of knowledge yet they do not provide any data? That seems contradictory (perhaps even paradoxical!)..."

    I do not argue that the senses are a means of knowledge, they are tools we use. A sense is no more a means of knowledge than a hammer. At best they are used with deliberation (an intellectual act) by which we stir up the knowledge of another. The argument is that the senses do not transmit knowledge.

    "...This whole thing about senses helping us to recall data is just silly. It’s really unbecoming to a rationalist like yourself! You take something completely intelligible – we receive data from our senses and our minds process it and turn it into concepts – and replace it with this mystical doctrine of recollection. This is Plato. Not the Bible..."

    First, I am not a rationalist. I am a Scripturalist. I choose that name because a Rationalist, by definition, assumes that truth is derived or known from the workings of mans mind. I argue that truth exists only in God's mind, and that any truth we can learn must be given us by God.

    Second, the notion that we receive 'data' (again, possibly a misunderstanding of the term) from our senses and our minds process it - *is NOT that to which I have been objecting*. If by data you mean that we sense splashes of color (whatever that is - wave lengths? vibrations?) and occurrences of sounds (again - vibrations? ethereal disturbances?) and that we process these things intellectually, then I would say we have no disagreement - nor would any other Scripturalist. Where we would disagree is that there is ANY possibility of understanding that what we processed is in any way TRUE, unless verified by God's Word. If it cannot be verified by God's word - but does not contradict it, then we can at least rest that our opinion might be true - and that God might verify that for us in the age to come.

    This is no "mystical doctrine of recollection." It is entirely Biblical. John 1:1-9 clearly demonstrate that the 'Word' IS the light that enlightens all men. We are not born 'tabula rasa' - we are born able to think. Not clearly, and quite limited at first, perhaps. Plato argues that the Ideas are eternal and self sustaining. Even 'god(s)' partake(s) of these Ideas. But the Scripturalist argues that ALL knowledge (that is, ALL truth) resides in God - or, is God (is not God the truth?) and that if we know anything, we share that knowledge with God, and that EVERYTHING else that we hold in our minds is false.

    Third, this is a very slippery evasion upon which you have commenced! While earlier you wrote "...It is possible to affirm innate knowledge and empirical knowledge consistently..." - thereby demonstrating that you believe that not only is some knowledge innate - but you also argue that some knowledge is NOT innate. (It comes from elsewhere?) And you define it as 'empirical' - that is, from the senses. And yet here you point out that this is not knowledge (which 'isn't in the marks') - well, if it is not 'in the marks' but also not innate - then whence does it come? If it is what we receive, and our mind then turns into concepts: perhaps we need definitions of the terms 'concepts' and 'receive', etc!

    "...I’ve addressed most of this above but I will say that this is surely not how the Reformers understood ‘sola scriptura.’ They believe that we could know all sorts of things that are not spoken of in Scripture but that it was the only infallible source...."

    And I argue that as "the only infallible source", we cannot be assured that ANYTHING we name 'knowledge' can be correctly assumed to be so, unless it can be either directly found, or deduced by good and necessary consequences from that infallible source. While what we understand MAY WELL BE TRUE - we cannot be assured of this *for now* unless the Scriptures verify it for us. To the extent that anyone (Reformers included) try to assume that something they know is true, even though the Bible does not provide this information, is treading dangerous ground. I am not too proud to claim that while I may opine that something is true, it is merely my opinion until God Himself proves otherwise.

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  • Guest - Eric Landry

    David and David,

    This thread may only be interesting to the two of you. Perhaps you should trade email addresses and take the exchange off-line?

    Eric Landry
    White Horse Inn

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  • Guest - David J. Houston

    I think your right, Eric!

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