“Epistemology issues” (1)

==As I reading almost every article you wrote in the OTC discussion forum ,I think that you were almost never wrote about “epistemology” issues ,that is the question : is there such thing as the biblical christian doctrine of true knowledge which is absolutly antithetical toward the unregenerate-unbeliever view of knowledge ?==

Chris: Some time ago on the OTC list Marc, Samuel, and I had a lengthy discussion on Clark and Robbins’ epistemology — the epistemology of those like Clark and Robbins’ was found to be absolutely antithetical to Biblical Christianity. Some of that discussion can be found here:


Toward the end of the aforementioned link, Marc wrote the following:

==John Robbins calls himself a “Scripturalist.” Yet his view that one’s senses can never be trusted and that one never gains knowledge through the senses is actually anti-Scripturalist. A true Scripturalist is one who believes that God’s Word that is PREACHED and READ and HEARD is the means of gaining knowledge.==

And then Marc summed up with this:

==The view of John Robbins (which came from the view of Gordon Clark) is damnable. It destroys the certainty of the Word of God, the certainty of gospel doctrine, the certainty of judgment, the certainty of assurance, and the certainty of preaching. It hacks down the very foundations of Christianity. God gave us senses as a means through which to obtain truth. And true Christians are CERTAIN that what we are reading is the Word of God, are CERTAIN of essential gospel doctrine, are CERTAIN when we judge those who confess a false gospel to be lost, are CERTAIN that we are saved, and are CERTAIN that preaching is a means of conveying the truth.==

Chris: For Robbins and Clark, you could not have the “true knowledge” that you were actually reading the Bible since they believed the senses do not convey “true knowledge.”

“O Timothy, guard the Deposit, having turned away from the profane empty babblings and opposing theories of the falsely named knowledge, which some asserting have missed the mark concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen” (1 Timothy 6:20-21).

The word translated, “opposing” is antithesis in the Greek; “knowledge” is gnosis and “falsely named” is pseudonumos in the Greek. The knowledge is not false in the metaphysical sense, as if it were not real knowledge. It is knowledge falsely named because it is antithetical (contradicts) to Scripture — these opposing (Greek, “antithesis”) theories and profane empty babblings are in opposition to the faith.

Obviously, atheists and agnostics have a different standard and reject the Biblical one. Empiricists like John Locke who said that man is born with a blank mind (i.e., tabula rasa) rejects such passages as Romans 8:7 that teach that there is an inborn or innate enmity in the unregenerate (even upon conception in the womb). Clark and Robbins profess adherence to the Biblical standard but their rejection of the senses conveying any knowledge whatever is, in my view, a form of skepticism or agnosticism (I can expound on that further if you’d like).

==Do you believe that the popular slogan -all truth is God ‘s truth- is a biblical view ?==

Chris: It depends on how the phrase is defined. For some might say that since “all truth is God’s truth,” then all true and edifying writings, whether in Scripture or not, must in some sense be inspired by God. Obviously, this view would twist the meaning of “all Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16) and makes no distinction between truth and inspiration (e.g., all that is God-breathed is true but not all that is true is God-breathed).

But if by “all truth is God’s truth” means that since man is created in the image of God (cf. Genesis), then the truth that 2+2=4 is God’s, then I think that’s Biblical. I’m not exactly sure how to give a detailed explanation of how 2+2=4 is “God’s truth,” other than to appeal to passages teaching the image of God in man. Also to passages teaching God giving certain “innate equipment” by which they are able to learn, reason, perceive, acquire knowledge, etc.:

“But it is a spirit in man giving them perception, even the breath of the Almighty” (Job 32:8).

“He who chastises the nations, shall He not punish, He who teaches man knowledge?” (Psalm 94:0).

Acts 17 says that in Him we live and move and have our being. Romans 1:18-19, 32 and 2:14-15 speak of certain innate knowledge that is suppressed and distorted in all kinds of ways by the unregenerate man.

“For God’s wrath is revealed from Heaven on all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, holding the truth in unrighteousness, because the thing known of God is clearly known within them, for God revealed it to them. For the unseen things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things made, both His eternal power and Godhead, for them to be without excuse. Because knowing God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful. But they became vain in their reasonings, and their undiscerning heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became foolish and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into a likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things” (Romans 1:18-23).

Chris: Whatever any unregenerate theologian, philosopher, medical doctor, or scientist says that happens to be true, they will always be suppressing, twisting, and distorting this truth (e.g., how they can know this given their God/Bible-rejecting presuppositions). For example, if an atheist says murder is wrong (a true statement), he cannot account for why it is wrong and his “defense” of it being wrong while rejecting the Bible is a splendidly inconsistent display of suppressing the truth in unrighteousness.

==Does the historical debates between rationalism vs empiricism & realism vs idealism means anything at all in your own epitemology position ?==

Chris: You will have to define exactly what you mean by rationalism, empiricism, realism, and idealism.

Col 2:3 says: in [Jesus Christ] are hidden ALL the treasures of wisdom & knowledge. If that verse really means that ALL & EVERY real wisdom & true knowledge are HIDDEN in Christ ,then what about all true propositions in science & philosophy (if there is truth in that fields) ? What is the meaning of “hidden” in greek ? And if in Christ alone are all true knowledge exists,then it is necessarily implied that out of Him there is NO true knowledge at all about anything in the visible world ,that is all theory of science are simply FALSE ,do you agree with this conclusion ?

Chris: I think that the treasures of wisdom and knowledge in the context of Colossians 2:3 is limited to knowledge that comes upon regeneration — knowledge that Christ praised the Father for hiding from the wise and prudent of this world and revealing it to babes. I think the knowledge of Col. 2:3 is limited to the knowledge of the glory of God seen in the face of Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Cor. 3 or 4). And thus, I think “hidden” means that it is hidden from the unregenerate but revealed to the regenerate saints (the elect of God).

I agree that IN CHRIST ALONE is the true knowledge of the gospel (i.e., the message of His Person and His Work) and that all knowledge that opposes, contradicts, or exalts itself against this true gospel knowledge is false. But I do not believe the Clarkian/Robbins spin put on Colossians 2:3.