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BIBLICAL CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS
AND ITS ORCHESTRA
I Peter 3:21
UNMUTED MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
There is, as has been noted long ago, an orchestra in this field of Biblical Christian. Apologetics. My own contribution was thought of as that of a piccolo.
It is pleasant to see the diversity of methods and the unity of the result.
The presentation in some detail of the method used here is to be found in What is the Chaff to the Wheat Chs. 3-4 and elsewhere.
One method - not the one in use here - is to request antithetical parties, relative to the Creator-Bible reasoning, to acknowledge their assumptions, and then let all see where the assumptions come from and to what they lead, and to what extent, if any, they are competent to do the job assigned BY REASON. In this, the point may be made that the final authority by its very nature cannot be established by something ELSE, so that it has to be self-authenticating; that the God of the Bible alone exhibits rational answers to all the questions to which any other option in presupposition does not, both as to its BEING used as the ground, and in its being exhibited in its results as such, and that hence there is no argument. Case closed.
This is sound as far as it goes, and final in its own line, except that it is possible to go too far and this quite unnecessarily, in the opening gambit. ALL do not act on some presupposition, assumption or other. For example the method used here does not do so. THIS is possible ONLY because the self-attesting God is there, but that is not made as an assumption, either putative or other; it is simply seen as a result. Where this is not so, this self-attesting finality in fact, then this is not a possible method. What in fact, by contrast, can only attest itself as an idea, fails doubly, neither being the self-proclaiming ultimate, nor a rational onset at all. That is always a crucial advantage of the truth, that you can take it from this or that angle, and it always asserts itself in the end.
In this theological set of 171 volumes, exhibited in one representative example in The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, a work of some 900,000 words (SMR), dealing in detail as well as scope and method, there is no preliminary assumption. The purpose is to show quite simply two things. First, that if you are going to use reason, there is only one result in this field that is rational, that meets the criteria of rationality; and that, when used in its own terms - those of logic - this procedure requires as a determinable result, the Bible as the Word of God. When this is identified, as shown, then it is self-defining, thereupon, as to what is its status, how God relates to it. It is found that internally it specifies its status as accurately depicting His thoughts under His supervision (cf. SMR Appendix D). The presentation in the Bible then has to be examined, in this method. It is simply a matter of investigation (cf. SMR Chs. 2-3, 8-10), is heuristic, not presuppositional. It is a matter of doing it and finding that this is so, as done in the trilogy just noted.
As Paul declares in Romans 1:17ff., the fact and divine nature of God is OBVIOUS. We act on that, and exhibit it, and proceed to the results in detail, even critically examining the reason with which, apart from other indexes, this is so. It is indeed obvious, and any endeavour to circumvent this is systematically slain (cf. II Corinthians 10:5ff.); but it is the word of God Himself, which gets the glory, Being written,it is THERE to be found, THERE being obvious, THERE attesting the Gospel of salvation, THERE predicting what the Messiah, God Himself in human format, deemed NECESSARY to be done, would do, and much of the format and function to be involved, including the date of the death for sin as a sin-sacrifice, to be involved*1, and now delighted in by many, and despised, ignored or excluded by more. The Messiah Himself came, was THERE, the summit of glory, expression definitive of the triune God (Hebrews 1, John 14, 1); and here is the coping stone of the arch of truth, that He who is it, became visible, audible, tangible, investigable, impactive and solicitous among men.
The procedure is then as outlined. WHEN you reach this book, the Bible, as a logical requirement in the case, and the only one meeting the rational criteria for its identification, THEN you test it (even the Bible tells you to do so, for it says, TEST ALL THINGS! - I Thess. 5). This too is done in field after field in the same trilogy (not least the reason for its length, or for that matter, a good part of the 171 volumes in the set of which SMR is a component - namely, In Praise of Christ Jesus). It is shown in much detail in the 5 or so million words of a couple of the items in this set, namely
Deity and Design, Designation and Destiny, and
Light Dwells with the Lord's Christ,
Who Answers Riddles and Where He is, Darkness Departs -
Bible or Blight, Christ or Confusion:The Comprehensive Written Resolution
of Man's Intractable Problems is Found Only in the Bible, the Word of God.
It is found that not only does the Bible meet challenges, but it has a surplus, as is natural for truth, in which more than mere answer to challenge is found; for indeed cohesion, complementarity of aspects, revealing depths which give perspective, such things occur repetitively, as in a word of a sovereign, not in this world, but over all that is. That is what you would expect and is further verification, at that level. Thus we start with reason and proceed to verification. We also move into the realm of validation and find that this alone passes that test, giving a species of trifecta, reason, verification, validation, each one allowing only one answer, in competitive mode; and in each case, it is the same at the finish: the Bible as a necessary word from God, alone verified as such and validated as such; and this is shown to be the only validatable*2 answer in the field.
One may ask: But have you not chosen reason itself as an assumption ? Not at all. IF we are going to reason together, or argue, or be reasonable, or rational, then this is self-defining. It is not an assumption, any more than air is an assumption for an aerial contest. It is the raison d'Ítre for the contest, the nature of it, the point at issue. What does one find by reason ? If you are going to make this sort of investigation, the case is as stated. If one had desired instead, to discover what is found if you use irrationality, it would similarly have been the chosen point to test. That is all. Dreams are diffuse so that in this latter case it would be variable and irrelevant to truth. In the former case, however, the result is definitive.
Here the task is to show with reason where it leads, and then to find with discovery what this is; and then to test what it is shown to be, to ascertain whether it confirms its logical status by its explorable features; for if it did not, we would lack. If it does, and in fact, to the extent and the exuberance with which it does, then we so far from lacking, that in this contest, test, voyage of discovery, we are replete. There is neither circularity nor assumption: there is test, the application of reason, its exclusions, its validation and as to its results, their verification. In this last category. It is this discovered word of God, required by reason, supplied by its own Source, confirmatory and validatory, which enables the exposure both of truth and the ground for the exclusion by valid reason, of empty alternative grounds, of all else.
Does this glorify reason ? Once again, not at all. Like arms and legs, it is a given. What it does, when used, has to be found out; and when this is found, in this case, by the profound mercies of God, God who made us in His image, Himself is found Though it is more or less normal, having found the result, to avoid it, as someone would be avoided by many, to whom they owed money; this has nothing whatsoever to do with the result, but rather confirms it; for the Bible makes the point precisely to this effect. Man with the truth obvious, says Paul in Romans 1, seeks to wrestle it to the ground, prefers in his foolish rebellion and arch assertion, to become foolish and worship created things when the Creator is logically inevitable!
This wilful and arbitrary result in the hearts and wills of man, in significantly large but by no means overpowering degree, not merely has nothing to do with the logical case. In fact, it confirms it, all over again, with precisely that inexhaustible exuberance that truth exhibits. Since God indicates such an attitude and its grounds, in the Bible (cf. Romans 1:17ff., Ephesians 2, 4:17ff.), on the part of those deceived and to be deceived (cf. Jeremiah 5, Isaiah 1, II Peter 2, II Thessalonians 1-2, Matthew 24:24, John 14:30), and that in fact it is this which will prove decisive in the termination of this Age, with His return to rule before the universe itself is deleted (Matthew 24:22,35, Jude), this is merely one more harmony in the truth and refutation of the spurious.
Moreover, it is not reason which this glorifies; for it is simply a given used as to its effectuality, but God whom it indicates all over again, since this feature in man is coherent with every other one indicative of the cause of man's existence (cf. SMR Ch. 5 for example), his Creator, both in the field of reason and that of revelation. While the latter takes precedence, it is this discovery of where it is, which even the most wilful is quite powerless to prevent, when rationality is applied, so that revelation is found, applied and used as a searchlight to shine on and give perspective to all the ways of man, as far as history reaches, modern developments apprise and systematic search exhibits ( cf. REASON, REVELATION and the REDEEMER). .
We are thus, in the nature of this case, using reason to test its result and to see if it may be confirmed. If we are not to use reason, or if rationality is despised, then the methodological residue is insanity, or inanity, or irrationality, or words without significance, or point, and that, it has its place, for those who study that sort of thing; but it is not there that one looks, when one is interested in finding truth and establishing it. Reason indeed is present and even inherent in the definition of terms, characterisation of each grammatical concept and application to reality*3. Abort it, resort to misalliance contrary to it, pursue its obstruction and you end in such clouds of contemptible chaos of thought that comedy here allies with corruption*4.
The vital necessity of pursuing rationality is attested, then, not merely in its total triumph in discovering the decisive divine revelation which answers the longings, lunacies and powers of man, to explain all things and exhibit that it is not an intellectual problem, per se, but a spiritual one which is in the midst of this race, as its most crucial failing. It is shown here, but also in this, that once you turn from this task, either with incoherent rashness or dissolute division, your very structure of thought is voided! Reference *4 gives further attestation of this.
If one wishes to be dumb and irrational, then, whether inferentially or intentionally, that is interesting, but not to the point at issue. It also precludes argumentative debate, competition; for what is inoperative can do nothing.
In terms of reason, only this way works, its ardent, implacable pursuit, abandoning dabbling. It is in meeting the criteria of reason that discovery of coherence, explanation, harmonious perspective, explicatory power comes, through the revelation thus sited, in the Bible, as shown in SMR, for example. This in turn allows the mode for confirmation, being eminently testable, and designably so (cf. Isaiah 41:21ff., 43:8ff., 44:24ff., 48:3ff.).
Yet one may say, very well, you are using the inherent necessity for discourse in this field to this end, but what if, though it be successful, coherent and singular in its movement to the end you note, so that it has no competition rationally whatever, yet it is not true ? What if, in short, nothing be true, and you are merely, despite attesting the ONLY way that works to satisfy reason as to your result, you also do not match fact, fail.
Firstly, however, if nothing were true, then there could be no approach to challenge that would be true; and hence such challenge would be invalid by its own claims in its own model, suicidal before battle. That would become a presupposition and it would mean that the case of the one resting on it COULD NOT be true. That ends the challenge.
Secondly, the testing first of reason, and then in confirmation, of revelation so indicated, is part of the due challenge, and it is here that contrary and irrational concepts, extraditing reason and portraying results without regard to what they actually are, becomes merely a flirtation with imagination, rationally irrelevant.
That is part of the validation process and, like the rest, has to be done, as in SMR, allied with TMR and with various other exhibits. As to method, it appears in What is the Chaff to the Wheat! Chs. 3-4, as noted, for overview.
The fact then becomes simply empirical in this continuation of the method. If therefore the Bible, as logically indicated and required (the conclusion in view from such sources as have been noted and are amplified in the 171 volume set), be the word of God; if reason demands this: then the empirical must attest it. We must be well rounded. Nothing must be left undone. With truth, all things cohere and attest; for nothing can be against what is the actual case, to limit it or qualify or refute. If it were, then it would not be the actual case. It is as simple as that.
Investigating the Bible, considering the challenges, esteeming carefully the assaults, the invidious, the insidious or the frank question, for all have to be considered if relevant and rational (surprisingly few reach these realms but some do), we find empirically that it meets the challenges. We find that it also meets in the same superabundant manner, those which we, by our own method, have to propose, in fidelity to truth, to see the competence and power of the speaker of the Bible, as claimed, in what He declares, states, delivers. Not only does reason REQUIRE the revelation found only in the Bible in written form, for man; but it rejoices to validate it and so itself, in the process.
Thus there is survey of the speech found in the Bible, of the declarations, so that these things may be duly discerned the knowledge, where it comes into the issue; and this is especially so with the predictions which are profound, vast in time and detailed in manner. These are verified, their status resolved. Thus, the more hopelessly beyond human power, the more intense, correlative and broad spreading the coverage in advance of what is to be, in the Bible, the more obvious the majesty of the Speaker, and the more damaging any ONE error in thought would be, were it possible to occur in the mind of the Maker, for ALL the rest of the predictions based on it or moving through it. Such constraints make all the more conformable to truth, the empirical status of the statements made. Accordingly, their implications are duly realised.
Reason then requires it; verification confirms it; validity attests it; and there is in these realms no competition. Such is the overview in this field here made, in view of other methods, which can take their place in the apologetic orchestra, making for a delightful sound together in harmony.
This, then, purely on the matter of method, and in order to show a couple of instruments in the orchestra of Biblical Christian Theism, exhibits some of the diversity of method which reaches the same result, whether through a joint presuppositional procedure for any competitor in the field (not the method used here, but in line with the one accessed by others, such as Dr Jason Lisle in his work, Ultimate Proof of Creation), or a non-presuppositional procedure as is the case here, in this site*4A. Whichever way, among several, you go, the same result is reached (cf. Let's Be Reasonable, for God is! Ch. 2). You can make a presupposition which is intrinsically rational in that it is not based on anything else, or not make one at all, and yet find it. Each way moves to the same end.
TURNING TO THE PISCINE: APPOSABLE CLAWS
In this method, in addition, there are, like two apposable claws, two mutual constraints. First, as above, there is the due impetus that reason requires to the Bible as the word of God, such that there alone can reason have its due rational outcome as a matter of investigation. As to reason, it is in this, avoided in effect as defunct, or else used as dynamic. It is avoided directly, or indirectly, or else it moves to this end. On the other side, if reason itself is to have basis, as well as application, so that not only is the Bible the ONLY RATIONAL RESULT, with no competitors, but the NECESSARY CONDITION of rationality, so that without its presence there would be NO rational validation, no establishment of reason itself, merely a series of antithetical propositions, leaving a demand not met in terms of what reason insists on, a vacuity where there should be an entity, what then ? Then man would be in a delirium of squalor, an antilogy of constraints; in fact, he would be precisely where he would be if reason were not followed to revelation AND FIND IT.
It is therefore with an exquisite delight, first that we are so made that such revelation is discoverable with certainty, secondly that God issued it at all, for our need, thirdly, that He made it coherent with itself, investigable reality and the ground and light for its understanding, and finally, that He humbled Himself, as there indicated, to confirm it all in Person, in the greatest enterprise, the greatedst fulfilment of prior prophecy, the greatest task with the greatest results of all time, not excluding creation itself! (cf. Galatians 6:14).
Just, however, as reason exhibits and exposes the fact that there MUST be a self-defining, impenetrable, unique communication from that God Almighty to man, so finding it, it yields to revelation so found, in view of its demonstrable source, and gives Him glory for being and acting accordingly. To whom reason points with necessary perseverance, to be muted by disregard, or fulfilled in this, to Him the glory goes. To Him the mind comes, and in Him the will bows at His majesty, competence, humble holiness and glorious greatness; but if not, then with a discarded reason, it remains in incoherent incompetence, lurking in darkness. It is not for nothing that Christ declared this, that "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life," and again, "I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work" (John 8:12, 9:4).
Let us review the negative, for this positive, what it would have been. Had there BEEN no Bible, no definitive, authoritative, demonstrable, unique formulation and information for man as to the mind and the will of God, then reason would become itself invalid, caught in its own inadequacies, and the world an inglorious testimony to logical solecism, wrought by nobody, ourselves in our very construction of mind and ability, requiring such and not able to confirm this. Reason would have become like a declaration of discovery without the discovery, a Copenhagen of contemptible assertion with no relevant, practical result.
Thus not only is the only RATIONAL result, as one pursues reason with due regard to its nature and necessities, this, that God Almighty is and the Bible is His word, but in the very mode of approach to this, one finds that it is the only VALID result for reason, and it is a validating result for it; for without the presence of this book, reason itself, though attesting ONLY the Bible, would be disgraced, demanding what would not be there. As it is, the fact that what it demands IS there, not only putatively, demonstrably in that it MUST be, but actually in that it IS, what is now found ? It is this: that there is provided a glorious communion of rational demonstration and validation of rationality jointly; and with it, what life is, what it is for, how it is formulated and where it is to go, both in destiny and in opportunity.
It is crucial never to forget this, however: it is ONLY BECAUSE God being there, and is ABLE to cover the case, and has done so, that is this so. The wonder is the correlation of creation with revelation, reason with truth, obligation with opportunity, diagnosis with remedy, provision with profundity, scope for salvation with deliverance from degradation, for the race, for every and any one in it, who receives this offer, this Gospel, this core of practicality at the outset for every one in this our race (John 1:12-14, Titus 2-3). When therefore one surveys (and is surveyed by the living God in these terms), what is the difficulty in worship! It becomes as natural as necessity while remaining as free as liberty. Its realism is infinite; its avoidance all but inconceivably mean.
Let us review then one of the results, in method. The phases of approach make a trilogy. Reason demands the word of God, and this is no other way for its outcome, so that this result is the only RATIONAL one. Secondly, reason's requirement is practically and actually met; the plan of rationality flies. Its demand and factual provision, the necessity FOR such a communication as the Bible and the presence of the same independently of this necessity, in historical fact: these are two meeting dynamics. Together almost as if one, move reason and reason's quarry duly announced. If you like, at this other level, it is like the case of Einstein when the application of his concept was verified when a certain bending of light was discovered in an actual case. Whatever certainty he may have felt in some parts of his ideas, here was a verification. Here however, it is not a phase of a theory which is validated, in that what it required is found; but reason itself!
It is not a mere question of one result of one theory being verified at its own level; it is the inherent nature of reason as sound in its rationality, that is verified. Again, the scope of the verification is IN ITSELF self-attesting. It, once more independently of the other results of method, with reason, has qualities which not only permit but require such a basis as is prescribed by reason. Thus SOLE RESULT FOR RATIONALITY, CONFIRMED RESULT FOR VALIDITY and INHERENT QUALITY FOR AUTHENTICITY of this result: all these things cohere. The Bible becomes the focus, and through its revelation, its core in Jesus Christ.
Nothing is left out. If we are going to be rational, a definitive expression of the will and mind of God to man is required. If we are going to examine reason for validity, this also is that. What it rationally requires is what is actually found. Then again, what rationality insists on and history duly provides, that is the fulfilment of reason in the Bible, this in itself has the authenticity of quality, moving in spheres not otherwise accessible, as the icing on the cake.
Nor is this all. WERE we to seek to remove the very integrity of reason, as an assault on its relevance to truth, in this method it is shown that no non-self-invalidating method is available. Nothing, however irrational, moves to anything. Blind to reason as is such negativity, it is also bound to nothingness in attainment.
Without reason, rationality, in consistency, neither words nor coherence nor language would be possible. Indeed it would be an intellectual black-hole if reason failing, it had no validity. Thus Kant's contraptions*4, the concept of adding causation by improvisation, cannot work: this is begging the question. If there is no causation, then causation cannot be accounted for: to assume it subjective or incidental, not valid in its own form, this is to remove the ground for its accounting. How can you assess the cause of causality, if you in order to do so, use that very thing! What is this ? Is it intended as a year 12 exhibit of begging the question! If you must USE it to account for its genesis, then you merely exhibit the fact that it is invulnerable to such attack. You then simply not only beg the question, but use the rejected! Any such type of approach is inherently self-invalidating.
What therefore reason requires, itself invulnerable to reasonable attack, is what reality provides, thus linking the two; and what reason finds is thus its own validation, lest any should be able to say that while it is the only result for reason, that the Bible should be, and be what it says it is, yet reason itself is not thereby shown true. Reason is in fact validated in its daring to require revelation such as we have in the Bible, and receives the authentication of its validity in so doing. And this, let us be very clear, it results from the actual fact that God being there, did so provide what man could not.
What then ? It is not only the necessary result of reason, with no escape either in successful assault on reason or on its demonstration of necessity, in its integrity or validity; it is the available result. Such a revelation as this uniquely is, HAD to be there for rationality to survive; and being there, is rationality's validation. No reason can be adduced against it, and whatever it is and says, this is of necessity the case.
A SPLENDID INDEPENDENCE
It is in this sense independent of whatever may be found in it; but in the exhaustive pursuit of testing all things, one finds that its perspective is harmonious in glorious consistency, explicatory in fearless boldness and splendid coverage, uniting what man finds disparate in staggering felicity, giving base and basis for all thought that would investigate and understand life, history, will, wisdom, the material, the volitional, the beautiful, the sinfulness of sin and the wonder of God in His dealings with man. It has no self-contradictions in its premises, meets every facet and aspect of the case, and in so doing, does it surpassingly, defining what it is, why it is there, what results from it, how it may be tested, so becoming not only a validation of reason, but a display of the majesty of divine communication.
Just as Jesus, the Christ, God the sent (Isaiah 48:16, Psalm 45, Zechariah 12:10, Philippians 2, Revelation 2, 5), made Himself humble, yet PERSONALLY as in all things, without sin, experienced the clamour of the incarnated format, flesh, so His written word came through appointed messengers, the prophets, humble in disposition, estate, yet PROPOSITIONALLY without lapse. What they had to do in this field, they did, the Holy Spirit their resource, the word of God their deposit, the composition of all their words, the wonder. In their reception, the work of God at that level (I Corinthians 2:9ff., I Peter 1, II Peter 1, Matthew 5:17ff., Isaiah 34, 59), they give such a thrusting harmony, such a bold composition that the very diversity becomes a splendour in itself, an attestation of that wonder which is creation, and this the more, when it is God Himself who speaks and confers His concepts, words, perspectives and instructions on man.
Is there another who can do such things ? Is there one who can so speak ? SHOW ME, the God of the Bible challenges: where! What ELSE has done this, retrospectively and prospectively showing what is, what is to be, what has been! (Isaiah 41, 43, 45, 48).
In this method, then, there are NO presuppositions, but what is found is merely the exhibition of what is the result of this God-given faculty, reason, which points unswervingly to this God-given facility, the Bible: and thus a series of ultimates in harmony attests what nothing else could, would or does. If reason is used, this is the result; if reason is attacked, this is the result; when reason is followed here is the reality on which it insists; in the reality, here is the qualitative minimum surpassed and uniquely found in the arena of the self-verifying, validating.
What has to be (rationally), is; what is, this has to be from God both consequentially and qualitatively; and when either reason or revelation from God-Almighty to man, is assailed, as if to be disjoined from validity, whether a priori or a posteriori, then there is a nul result. The cynics are caught in this mudslide, and the sceptics spin the tyres on it (cf. SMR Ch. 3).
Thus whether the procedure be in presuppositional terms, directly, a priori, or in post-nuptial terms, a posteriori, whether using reason to affirm and exhibit under test, or to find as part of the available powers provided, and discover under test, the result is one. The very diversity of ways helps to focus the peak of truth on which both must and do rest.
Again, when what must rationally be (this happening to be the domain of disquisition or challenge as the case may be), is what actually is, and when what has no comparison, it applied: the net result is the same. Without such a reality to be met, being found, discovered through logical necessity, or presupposed and tested, there is no accounting for all that is. With the insistence on reason for its trials in rationality and validity, there is a confirmed accounting for all that is, and an exclusion of anything else. In other words, move by one aspect of what we are, and you find only one result, the rest demonstrably irrational and so removed in a rational contest, at the outset. Do it in procedural process or in elevated challenge, test it one way or the other: you get nowhere without the thing itself, the God of creation and revelation and His actions; and everywhere in so magnifying and allowing His gifts and graces to be used under test, focussing the realities so clear, so inevitable and so wonderful.
This THEN has the practical result of the Bible, self-attesting, and in this providing the ultimate validation of the reality of our creation by this proclaimed God; for what it demands via the component of reason, in its insistence on rationality, is what He provides, and what He provides is sui generis, in the domain of deity, in quality found as an extra confirmation in collaboration with the rest.
Put it yet again slightly differently. Reason in this way requires that God is and has spoken; and were this not met by the verification, its validity would be gone. As it is so met, its validity is confirmed. As nothing else meets the test initially of rationality, so likewise nothing else provides, eventually, the validation. Thus what is not biblical in its basis, whether by presupposition, the method we do not use, or by demonstration, the method we do use, ends in precisely the same place.
There is no other place in solution or salvation alike, but that of God Almighty, author of decisive speech to man in the field of rationality and remedy, as demonstrated in SMR: what He has GIVEN us attests it necessarily (as Romans 1:17ff. affirms); and this necessity is confirmed in actuality.
What then ? Antecedently to finding the Bible, in a given excursion, the power to reason in rationality demands such an actuality. It MUST be; or else ALL argument wouuld be found to rely on what is de-confirmed as valid. That in turn would have left truth available to no one. In practice, it would be what it is not, praise God; yet for all that man often acts as if it were so. Thus, anyone saying that it is true that truth is unavailable to anyone would be guilty of irrationality, affirming what he denies, a case of self-contradiction. The staggering tangle of irrationality is in such ways exposed to contempt, as is fitting in what mocks God. In affirming its desire, it deconfirms its own validity, and ends in mere bluster and fuss.
TRUTH IS NO TOY
You can't toy with truth: you take it where it goes, or are involved with inscrutable, fruitless antilogies, antinomies and confusion (as in *2 below).
What then, had this adventure, this voyage, this method, this procedure NOT found the Bible, not achieved validation of reason, not been triumphant ? How great would be the loss, and how crucial therefore is the actuality of the find of this confirmation, validation ? What if it had been NO, it is not found ?
If this were so, the bleeding remnant of reason would be lying for the hyenas to devour. You could affirm nothing except as a noise. Those who act on any other basis are thus irrationalists on the one hand, putting their tradition above what reason requires, and victims of a semantic annulment, so that mere sensation replaces the rationality of speech itself. Speech INCORPORATES the conditions of reason in its implicit categorisation and characterisation, logical coherence in turn implicit in this; so that if reason is denied, so is the speech with which to assert it. This, the option of the unbeliever, would have been the requirement of all! Praise God that He is faithful, both in the way He has made us, the gifts given IN us and FOR us, being sent TO us!
Moreover, what is true of reason, is no less true of causality, itself incapable of dismissal by reason, and of being sundered from the necessity of God, on the one side and on the other. In the demonstrable truth, all aspects work, function collaterally, coherently, validly, answering all questions of system, method and logic emphatically, as nothing else even begins to do*5.
Reason itself demands revelation, and revelation confirms it, being THERE. God is there; reason, his creation in man from the Logos, is there; validation is found in revelation being there; verification is found in what is there, both in its claims and in its quality. You may prove it and rely for outcome on such revelation being there; you can assume it and rely for outcome on the revelation which, being there, allows you to call attention to the failure of all else. It is what the BIBLE can do, which enables this or that approach to generate its power, exhibit the privilege of the mind of the Almighty and abash claimants without quality.
So powerful is the truth, that like Mt Everest, you may approach it from this col or that; in the end it is the summit which declares itself, by whatever method may come up. Were it not there, the efforts would be farce. Since it is, the comings have something to reach: and this is so whether the idea of the mountain be a presupposition to attest its worth, an a priori approach, or a constraint of reason, which finds its outlet there, an a posteriori approach. You can, in short, try and validate what is provided, in the case of reason, finding what answers all and excluding processively what answers nothing, or you can assume it and find it does just this same thing. It is the fact that it is there that generates validity for both methods, and permits exclusion for all else, for each.
Assume what you see as necessary, or find it from necessity, with the option of self-invalidation of reason as a payment if you should fail: in either case, in the end, there IS what is required to cover reality IN EXISTENCE, this same Bible; and it is this which allows either method to succeed.
The presuppositional method has an advantage in that it heralds the point that those who oppose God are making presuppositions (that don't work); the reason-revelation-validation method has the advantage that it needs not even a presupposition, so obvious is the manifest deity, showing more directly the intrinsic glory of God: this being the result of the reality that is there. Were this not so, neither the one nor the other would be able to demonstrate either the singularity or the necessity that the Bible is the only authorised word of God Almighty to man.
As in an orchestra, these can all be used to make a symphony together with a rich melodic and penetrating spirit. The instrument here used also enables us if desired, to deal separately; but it is equally ready for other attestation so that the thing may in many cases become joint.
That is: if you do it this way, this is the result; that way, that is the result. The results are the same, and each avenue has its charm and variety.
This, then, is not to exclude the value of other approaches, for some may be excellent and a great testimony; but it is to present a direct line which brings out directly the immense magnificence of the truth, and impels the mind to consider the majesty which is found only in Him who, as demonstrated, IS it! It is inescapable; and whatever psychic scudding may do, this does not influence at all what is the truth. You may run from it, amble away, look scathingly at it over your departing shoulder, smoulder at it, revile it, try to pat it on the head, or take any other action; but nothing ever alters it.
It stands alone; and it is personal as the demonstration shows, so that like an author with a book, there is what is the basis, writer, maker, construer and constructor, creator in short, and there is what is created. The failure to see such simple things is traced out in Romans 1:17ff., both as to the reason for it, and the results from it, in a virtually clinical mode, so that the results appear as a syndrome, a spiritual one. The course of the disease following this unrestrained rebellion against the word, will and ways of the Creator is traced there as it has been traced in history; and the same kind of death-rattle morally, socially, spiritually is found here, as is found militarily, politically and environmentally in Matthew 24, for the end product of this childishly construable charade.
TRUTH, TRENDS WITHOUT AMENDS, TRUCULENCE AND PEACE
Currently, as on the one hand you come towards the end of Romans 1 in its characterisation of avoidance of God, the God of the Bible, and towards the end of the Age as defined by the Bible (cf. SMR Chs. 8 - 9, Answers to Questions Ch. 5), and on other other, as in Luke 21 and Matthew 24, to other components, there arises a matter of profound and relevant interest. The prognosis, as it moves to its culmination in kind, resembles the spiritual and moral state of this Age, both in the one phase and in the other, with a duality, indeed a plurality of conformity to the progrnosis.
The trends that are marked in it as it deteriorates (parallel to any other disease), exhibit themselves like actors on stage, to the very cadences of their (ungodly) speech. What is shown to have happened in kind, prescribed as what must happen in kind, and further, indicated what WILL happen in kind (around 2000 years ago, and more in many of the Old Testament predictions) is precisely what is happening in empirical fact. As the unsightful error of man, the perspective shedding blindness of man rises to its crescendo, so do his problems, moral, psychological, social, political, military, financial pollution. Indeed, as the error comes to its final repose, like a corpse of a regretted victim of lung cance, so do the exact symptoms display themselves.
Just as there are certain signs as that end draws near - and the parallel, in the course of this Age, is intense, and like the other, not attractive in its symptoms - so the tensions mount and the results of tensions mount, as cause becomes effect, and effect a new cause in a virulent circle (cf. Luke 21:11ff.,25ff., Revelation 9)
In the meantime ?
Serenity is found in the all-sufficient God who whether assumed and found as self-declarative of what alone meets all things in reason and heart and spirit and every facet and feature of mind, or demonstrated direct. There lie exposed His word and His salvation in His inexorably attested Book, the Bible; and this serenity may be found because He has not only place but power, not only reality but grace, not only available intimacy but effectuality; and when He is found, then He is loved, for hatred obscures, and dislike disfigures; and He loves. Man is made for love: the love of truth, of peace, of grace, of beauty, of reality which things, despite the sometimes severe chastisements given to our race, are a wonder past all that we do or can make.
The love of God inserts vitality, comprehensibility and spiritual ability, as love tends to do, when coupled with wisdom and thoughtful understanding. When man does not love, or his love is ill-founded, that of a severed self-made foundling, then it is a case not only of warping of soul but of the specific, its love.
This brings on an array of harassments, as may be expected in the misuse of anything, but the more especially anything ... anyone, personal. It is all there, the blessing available and the disfigurement done, both in and of the Christ as Saviour, bearing the sin for all and any, who put their trust in Him, and of man, sundering from the resources of his own spirit, and so disfiguring none more than himself. There is the attestation, revelation and application of what He has done for us as defined in His word, the Bible, and reciprocally, that of man where he declines the arrest of his decline, or even disdains the very idea, when he will not repent (Luke 13:1-30).
Mercifully, Christ as exposed in His word, in history and in the application to the hearts of His people, has arisen and will return, the features for this latter development being now in place to an almost total degree (SMR Chs. 8 - 9, Answers to Questions Ch. 5).
There is an end; just as there was a beginning. In the end, He who made it in the beginning (cf. John 1:1-14), brings to an end the inveterate misuse of liberty; for then, with His own, there is a love which has neither desire nor action in that realm.
In the meantime, not in factitious serendipity, but in spiritual serenity, even amid spiritual wars and in the midst of the follies which sadly molest this world, even killing and murdering millions within it, there is the wonder of wisdom, the glory of His mercy and the imponderable delight of knowing Him who made one, gave salvation and will end the process with the culmination fit for such a beginning. To know Him, it is delicious, as He is delightful, not in some maudlin fashion, but in a masterful one which is yet both intimate and salutary, gracious and humble, majestic and infinitely wise (cf. Jeremiah 17:7ff., 9:23-24).
See Christ the Citadel ... Ch.2, Highway of Holiness Ch. 4,.
See for example:
Deity and Design, Designation and Destiny, Section 8 in particular, TMR Ch. 5 and references there to be found.
Jesus Christ, Defaced, Unfazed: Barrister of Bliss 4,
Deity and Design ... Ch. 2.
and again Evidence and Reality Ch. 6.
On the impact of symbols of command deployment, operational words, and all that is involved, see News 94 with The Wit and the Wisdom of the Word of God Ch. 2.
On the musings in futility of evolutionists themselves in their barren domain, see
Dancers, Prancers, Lancers and Answers Ch. 5;
Message of the Words of God to Man in the World Ch. 7 (touches hierarchical classification, Denton, in his Evolution: A Theory in Crisis) .
Repent or Perish Ch. 2, Barbs... 6-7,
Deity and Design, Designation and Destiny esp. Section 8,
Repent or Perish Ch. 7,
Christ Incomparable ... Ch 2,
Spiritual Refreshings ... Ch. 9, *1,
It Bubbles ... Ch. 9, *1A,
The Meaning of Liberty and the Message of Remedy Chs. 2 , 11).
See Predestination and Freewill Section 4, SMR Ch. 5, and Indexes.
Presuppositionalism has this major defect: that we deal with what is comparative. Although one side of the affair is able to be shown to fail logically, while the other is not so subject, and stands alone, it lacks the directness of what God declares to be manifest, which needs assume nothing, and following the grace of reason, confirms the same and the results, on pain of invalidating reason and so all contrary methods. Finding as the great discovery, what reason requires, invalidating all else systematically, then it provides test for what is found, as that same object, the Bible, insists; and then being verified, and validity being singularly with it, we have one result. It has occasioned no special sophistication, depends on nothing, is activated by the use of what is freely given us, the lack of which in itself defaults all contrary argument at that very point, and finding the way to God finds God according to the published way.
This is by no means to deprecate other options; but it is to affirm the significance of this one, and that it is necessary to keep it in mind in the apologetic orchestra. Praise God for such simplicity, which in passing, exhibits on all sides, the vanity and futility of every attempt to bypass a reason for the faith, substitute for it something else as competition. In this field, there is no competition. The truth is manifest. It manifests itself in verification constantly, being undergirded, confirmed, validated, verified, singing with the majesty of the Lord.
A further concern is this. Some speak of presuppositionalism as if it were rather more than one method of apologetics, whereas that is what it is; and so begin to use language which has a distinct flavour of this world. Thus, it becomes almost common to hear people say this: You have your prejudices and presuppositions. These may be shown up. I have mine, Let us be frank about this.
Now this appears far from saying, Sinner that I am, and lacking in perfection, I am alas capable of prejudice; but this is not systematically so. I love, follow and have the truth in Christ Jesus, my Redeemer, whereas it is readily shown that what is not of this genre, does not have it, and hence is systematically prejudiced. Truth liberates; error binds. The truth makes you free, no bond inherent, so that whatever your personal failings, these like disease or distemper, may be added or subtracted, but are no more the essence of the case. As followers of Christ, we DEAL in the truth, as bees in honey. It is our heartland, homeland and site both of repose and action, just as bees with their honey.
On ultra-presuppositionalism, see Possess Your Possessions Volume 9, Chapter 2, which gives some overview of the situation.
LIGHT DWELLS WITH THE LORD'S CHRIST
WHO ANSWERS RIDDLES
AND WHERE HE IS, DARKNESS DEPARTS
Bible or Blight, Christ or Confusion:
The Comprehensive Resolution of Man's Intractable Problems
is Found Only in the Bible, the Word of God
A Pair of Volumes: Opus 128 and 129, of some 2.3 million words.
See also Deity and Design ...DEITY AND DESIGN, DESIGNATION AND DESTINY.