Thursday, July 29, 2010

God's Knowing and Man's Knowing

In reading posts at Biologos I have been struck by the biblical scholars who seem to suggest that their apprehension of truth is of higher authority than what is revealed in God's Word. In other words, when something in the Bible does not comport with their intellectual or sentemental categories they simply dismiss it as error, myth, or even immoral.

Cornelius Van Til built an apologetic around the notion of antithesis - the idea that there is a God-imposed and therefore fixed conflict between the people of God and the unregenerate (Gen 3:15). This antithesis extends to every realm of being, including the intellectual. Therefore the unregenerate mind while able to grasp facts cannot fully integrate those facts or understand their ultimate meaning. This is the clear teaching of Scripture. The unregenerate cannot and will not accept the things of God for they are spiritually discerned (Isa. 44:18; 1 Cor. 2:14). What is more, he will always take the facts that he can know and twist them into a justification for his idolatry (Romans 1).

It seems to me that the biblical scholars writing for Biologos are demanding that the Bible be subject to unregenerate and unbelieving standards of epistemology. As a result whatever portions of the Bible which do not yield to these unbelieving standards must be dismissed. This agenda is not even veiled. It is stated by at least one of these scholars that they will only believe those portions of the Bible which are intellectually satisfying. It is quite breathtaking.

Van Til addresses the issue quite powerfully:

As God has self-contained being and all other being has created or derivative being, so also God has self-contained and man has derivative knowledge. In contrast with this all forms of non-Christian epistemology speak first of knowledge in general and introduce the distinction between divine and human knowledge afterwards. It is true that there are forms of non-Christian epistemology that speak of the divine knowledge as though it were wholly other, qualitatively different, from human knowledge. So there are also forms of non-Christian metaphysics that speak of God's being as wholly other, as qualitatively different, from man's being. This is notably the case with the Theology of Crisis, [neo-Orthodoxy, Karl Barth, etc.] informed as it is by a skeptical theory of knowledge. But when this God, whose being and knowledge is said to be who wholly different from the being and knowledge of man is, as he must be, brought into contact with the being and knowledge of man, there follows a fusion of the two. Either God's being and knowledge are brought down to the level of the being and knowledge of man or the being and knowledge of man are lifted up to the being and knowledge of God. There is always the same monistic assumption at work reducing all distinctions to correlatives of one another...

Hence man's dealings in the realm of truth are not ultimately with God but with an abstraction that stands above God, with Truth as such. For apologetics it means that the basic principle of the non-Christian conception of truth cannot be challenged. According to this most basic assumption it is man rather than God that is the final reference point in all predication...

A moment's reflection upon the fall of man in paradise will prove this to be true. In paradise God said to man that if he ate of the forbidden fruit he would surely die. The truth about the facts in the created universe, Adam and Eve were told in effect, could be known ultimately only if one knew their relationship to the plan of God...God did not, because he could not, look up to an abstract principle of Truth above himself in order, in accordance with it, to fashion the world.

- Christian Apologetics, pp. 31-33

It is profoundly significant that Biologos and their biblical scholars deny the historicity of Adam and Eve and the fall. Indeed, this fact alone says MUCH about their basic assumptions about the capacity for the unregenerate and unbelieving mind to subject to its own standards the revelation of God.

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