Sunday, December 18, 2016

Faith the Only Reliable Epistemology: It's Got to Be Faith, pt. 3

Part One     Part Two 

Charles Wesley wrote the hymn lyrics:
We know, by faith we know,
If this vile house of clay
This tabernacle, sink below
In ruinous decay;
We have a House above,
Not made with mortal hands;
And firm as our Redeemer's Love
That heavenly fabric stands.
"We know, by faith we know."  By faith we know God and in God is all knowledge and wisdom.  By faith we know, since the curse, because our faculty to see has been ruined and because what we're seeing is a disturbed scene.  The world is not a closed environment -- there has been intrusion.
Evidence presented in court is only relevant if it can be shown to have been involved in a crime and to have survived intact until considered by the judge and jury. . . . Disturbed evidence refers to any item of evidence that has been interfered with in some way, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
Evidence collection requires the evidence not be intruded upon, cannot be contaminated by outside sources, degraded, or destroyed.  That describes, however, what has occurred unceasingly during the entire history of mankind, since the curse, either through the divine intervention of God or the debilitating effects of sin.

In the comment section of part one of this series, Jon Gleason proposed a third reason sight can't be trusted.  He wrote:
Even if our sight were clear, even if the forensics hadn't been trampled:
Our sight is limited. 
Pre-fall Adam's sight had not yet been muddled by sin, and the "crime scene was clean." Yet, he also needed faith, for he could not see everything. 
Even if we somehow could be sure we were seeing clearly, we still would need faith for the things that are beyond our sight. There is a spiritual realm and spiritual truth of which we simply must be told. All we could see of that realm, even if our eyes were working right, would be shadows and reflections. We might be able to see that the heavens declare the glory of God, if we were looking at them clearly, but we could not see Him without Him telling us who He is.
Adam and Eve overestimated their abilities as well, and failed.

Knowledge is transcendent.  It is with God, separate from the finite and the ruined world in a place of pristine purity.  God is outside of His creation, separate or holy, where the knowledge is kept pristine, unspoiled, unlimited, and with the proper perspective (cf. James 1:17-18).

Will Jesus Christ return?  He will.  Scripture says He will.  Sight or experience says that He will not return, because "all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation" (2 Pet 3:4).  Is that true?  It isn't, but it is the perspective of someone with spoiled sight in a disturbed scene.  What is Peter's answer?  He goes to scripture:  "be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour" (2 Pet 3:2). Scripture and faith supersede sight and evidence.

What are the applications?  There are many, but I want to deal with what might seem to be the most controversial.  They have been made controversial by those professing to be believers, but who have relied on sight or evidence for their "knowledge," even though scripture has spoken.  Faith is what pleases God.  He doesn't want to be doubted by our sight.  He wants to be believed.  That's what pleases Him.

What does God say?  He says He preserves every Word of God for every generation of people.  Jesus says He will send the Spirit and He will lead His people into all truth.  Men like James White are saying there isn't evidence, and they mock the biblical position.  He doesn't believe God.

We'll proceed with this line of thought in the next part, Lord-willing.


James Bronsveld said...

The irony with men like James White is that there actually is plenty of evidence supporting the doctrine of word-perfect preservation, but because they can find a few small instances where the evidence seems to contradict the doctrine, they are entitled to reject the doctrine altogether, substituting it with their incredibly faithless positions.

Kent Brandenburg said...


I think it's true.

Anonymous said...

"I know nothing by myself. .."
Paul (I Cor 4:4)