The Existence of God: 3
We have presented two types of naturalistic arguments so far. We are touching on the a-posteriori or simply put inductive reasoning for the existence of God. A-posteriori or inductive reasoning is that which moves from effect to cause; consequence to antecedent; particulars to principal; and phenomenon to ground. Examples of a-posteriori or inductive reason are the cosmological argument
, teleological argument
, and the anthropological argument
We have already touched on the cosmological argument
remember the key word powerful
? We have also mentioned the teleological argument
the key word to remember for the teleological argument is intelligent
We will now touch on the anthropological argument
or moral argument
. One can almost hear the word anthropos meaning man, this a-posteriori reasoning is based on the constitution of man. (Acts 17: 29) Man has a personality
consisting of intellect
, and will
, therefore there must be a first cause of personality intellect
, and will
You see man is a moral creature with a sense of right and wrong, this being true, the first cause then must be a “Personality
” who determines what right and wrong is. There is, therefore, a moral law; accordingly there must be a law giver who possesses a personality consisting of intellect, emotion, and will.
The key word to understanding the Anthropological Argument is:Personality
The Existence of God: 2
The Teleological Argument
We have presented two types of naturalistic arguments a-posteriori or simply put inductive reasoning, and a-priori or deductive reasoning. We are presently touching on the a-posteriori or simply put inductive reasoning for the existence of God. A-posteriori or inductive reasoning is that which moves from effect to cause; consequence to antecedent; particulars to principal; and phenomenon to ground. Examples of a-posteriori or inductive reason are the cosmological argument, teleological argument, and the anthropological argument.
We have briefly explained the cosmological argument
. Remember the key word for the cosmological argument is powerful
. Now we come to the Teleological Argument
. The word teleological comes from Teleos which carries the meaning end, thus this is known as the doctrine of ends or the doctrine of rational purpose. This a-posteriori reasoning attempts to substantiate that any design points to an intelligent Designer, it builds upon the cosmological argument, but adds meaning and purpose (see Romans 1:18-20
The key word to understanding the Teleological Argument is:Intelligent
The Existence of God: 1
The ole Southern Presbyterian preacher Ben Haden
would often begin his sermons by saying, “Question:…”
followed by a pause then a question. Those who have heard him preach recall that he would ask a question then introduce two seemingly unrelated stories, then open the Bible (a third story) and say, "Let's talk about it..."
. He has an extraordinary talent of tying the three stories together by the close of his sermon and in so doing providing the tools for the hearers to answer the question. It will soon be obvious that I am not
Question: Does the Bible present a formal proof for the existence of God?
Rather it assumes the existence of God and that all mankind should know that He is. Proving axiomatic truth seems pointless. Contenders for the faith must take the high ground, declaring “There is one God!”
(cf. Genesis 1:1; Romans 1:18-32
) He has revealed Himself to us in nature and in His Word.
There are however, naturalistic arguments
for the existence of God. If you recall we asked, “What are some of the accomplishments of reason?”
The answer was, “Some achievements of reason are the naturalistic arguments for the existence of God”. I will explain them here to the best of my understanding for the purpose of informing us that they are out there. I do not think we will be quizzed on these terms in eternity, so they may be quickly forgotten, perhaps the sooner the better.
There are two types of naturalistic arguments a-posteriori
. First a-posteriori
or simply put inductive reasoning
for the existence of God. A-posteriori or inductive reasoning is that which moves from effect to cause; consequence to antecedent; particulars to principal; and phenomenon to ground. Examples of a-posteriori or inductive reason are the cosmological argument, teleological argument, and the anthropological argument; we will touch on these soon.
Then there is also a-priori
or deductive reasoning
for the existence of God which moves from cause to effect; antecedent to consequence; principal to particulars; ground to phenomenon An example of a-priori or deductive reason is the ontological argument; we will also touch on this soon, (stay with me here we'll get through this and perhaps have an "aha!" moment or two further on).Neither of these proves the existence of God.
Both, however, provide a predisposition to the fact of Theism (i.e. they set the stage for the natural mind to accept that God does exist that is if it does not do so already)! Both are insufficient to redeem, yet both are sufficient to condemn.
The Cosmological Argument
Remember this word: Powerful
The first of the two types of naturalistic arguments a-posteriori; inductive reasoning for the existence of God that we will look at is the cosmological argument
(cf. this fine article
). Its etymology is cosmos
meaning universe. The universe is an effect that has a probable cause (see Hebrews 3: 4;
and Psalm 19: 1-6
). This a-posteriori reasoning attempts to demonstrate that God is omnipotent or all powerful. This argument will not necessarily take us to the God of the Bible, because some may say,
1. Matter is eternal (eg. Atheism) or
2. Matter is an effect (i.e. it came by chance, force, or God plus natural forces, or God alone).
3. Matter is an effect that must have a cause and the effect is dependent on the cause for its existence, nature cannot produce itself out of nothing.
All of the blather aside the key word to understanding the cosmological argument is:Powerful!
Sources of Knowledge 4: Conclusion
Sources of Knowledge 4Conclusion
We have seen that to rely on our intuition
, and reason
may provide some glimpses of truth about God, but where in the world can we find life giving truth
, life living truth
, truth that enables us to know God? Can we arrive at truth that is practical for time and eternity? Some have suggested ultimate truth comes by divine revelation. I say, “Amen!” Let's define that, Divine Revelation is that which comes directly from God to man.
On the negative side divine revelation is not
determined by human intuition
, whatever your experience with that is, I do not recommend intuition on which to hang one’s eternal life upon. Divine revelation is not
based on human tradition
. God did not confer with the Council of Trent, the Westminster confession, nor any Baptist confession (helpful to us as they may be). Divine revelation is not
achieved by human reason
or any effort on our part. Stack all these up and they are all become nothing compared to divine revelation which is something that God has chosen to give to man for His own glory.
We will sketch out two aspects of divine revelation here general revelation
and special revelation
. My hope is that we become confident that divine revelation is the only truth on which we must rely.General Revelation
means that, “God reveals Himself through the universe, nature, and creation”
(A. Fruchtenbaum); or as another respected theologian has said, “General revelation is the discloser of God via nature, the constitution of man, and providential history whereby all people gain an awareness of God [according to] Romans 1:19-20; 2:14-16; Acts 14: 17;”
(L. Pettigrew). See also Millard J. Erickson’s Christian Theology pp. 153-155Special Revelation
means, “God reveals Himself in special ways outside or apart from the universe, nature, and creation.”
(A. Fruchtenbaum).“God's discloser of Himself and His way of Salvation at specific times to particular people, including explanation of this discloser (see Hebrews 1: 1-2; and Romans 10:15,17;) This is done through words (esp. the Scriptures
).” (L. Pettigrew).“If you think about it, all revelation to man, general and special, is through God's words (Gen. 1: 3; John 1:1-3, 14). He created the universe and set the seasons and course of nature through His spoken Word (Gen. 1:31-2:1; Ps 19; Col. 1:15-17). He communicated to Mosses and the prophets many times through the spoken Word. Jesus is called the Word of God and is indeed the Living Word. The Scriptures from the first verse to the last verse is God’s written Word. All things that were formed by His Word are sustained by His Word (Col. 1: 17).”
(J. Wendell Cole)
There are some limitations of divine revelation. These limitations are the human will
(unyielding, stubbornness), unbelief or disbelief
, denial of the truth
, resistance to the truth
, false teachers and teachings concerning the truth
, faulty interpretation of the truth
, willful ignorance of the truth
, and sin
we may say that while intuition, tradition, reason, and general revelation alone can be useful for pointing up that there is a God. They are, however, inadequate sources for knowing God. To know God depends on special revelation and this special revelation is complete in the Bible.
It was the ultimate mission of Jesus Christ who said, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."
The purpose of this study is that we may grow in our knowledge and love of God. It must be cautioned, however, that even demons know who Jesus is and said, “Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth?”
(Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34) My prayer is that we may enjoy getting to know God better not just learning facts about Him.The next few posts we will consider: The Existence of God
Sources of Knowledge 3: Reason
Sources of Knowledge 3 Reason
The third source of knowledge that many rely on is reason. Reason is closely related to Rationalism in that they both rely on the human mind.
We covered this on an earlier post Six Attitudes Toward the Bible
Contrary to the rational of a few, reason is one attribute that separates the human kingdom from the animal kingdom. Reason is the highest capacity in man to learn things about God apart from special revelation, here man uses his ability to think logically.
Reason is a characteristic belonging to God in perfect form. Reason gives order to the universe in the sense that is understandable to man. God did say, “Come now, and let us reason together..."
He wants us to use our heads for more than carrying a bucket of bolts or a box of rocks. I know a delightful sister in Christ who is a fine example of reasonableness. She has designed her entire blog on this idea. She is also consistent in living with Isaiah 1:18 in mind as well. Her blog is on my sidebar or you can click here
. She would enjoy visiting with you.
What are some of the accomplishments of reason
? Some achievements of reason are the naturalistic arguments for the existence of God. I am looking forward to covering these naturalistic arguments in our studies on the Existence of God very soon at The Earnest Contender Blog.
Some provisions of reason
are that it is first of all reasonable. Secondly reason is demonstrable. For example by reason, one can demonstrate theories and ideas in a logical manner to bring others into an understanding of the said theories and ideas. Reason, therefore, is demonstrable. Did you like my demonstration? ;~) Reason is also logical. Last, but not least reason is philosophical, for example it is philosophical in its arguments in favor of the existence of God (this will become more clear when we do our study on the Existence of God).
There are some limitations of reason
. The biggest one is that it can not provide a personal relationship with God. It is my desire that you dear reader have a personal relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ our Lord. This involves faith, not reason.
If you are not sure that you have a right relationship with our Creator or if you would like to know how you may begin a relationship with God, feel free to use my comment section or email me from my profile section here
. I would love the opportunity to show you from the Bible how you can become a child of God.
Sources of Knowledge 2: Tradition
Sources of Knowledge 2Tradition
What is meant by tradition? Tradition is handing over or handing down customs, beliefs, or stories, from generation to generation.
There are basically two traditions of Theology the modern view and the biblical view.
Modern View is that we began with polytheism and progressed to monotheism.
Biblical View is beginning in monotheism we degenerated to polytheism
Tradition has some merit, and theologically it has more weight than intuition
, but in the end it is another poor source of authority to rule ones life. Yet, there are many who put their complete trust in tradition following inventions of men rather than the Word of God. There is large cult built on tradition. Tradition can be helpful, but there are some definite limitations of tradition. Tradition tends to deny, the perspicuity (clarity) of Scripture, the priesthood of the believer, and the autonomy of the local church. Further, tradition can and does transmit both truth and error.“Tradition is a wonderful servant, but a horrible master.”
Here are some traditions invented by the Church of Rome and the approximate dates they were canonized. I barrowed these from Bartholomew Brewer, a man who had quite an impact on my life as a new believer you can find his complete tract here
1. Presbyters first called priests by Lucian 2nd c.
2. Sacerdotal mass instituted by Cyprian 3rd c.
3. Prayers for the dead A.D. 300
4. Making the sign of the cross A.D. 300
5. Wax candles A.D. 320
6. Veneration of angels, dead saints, and images A.D. 375
7. Mass became a daily ritual A.D. 394
8. Beginning of exaltation of Mary, term "Mother of God” first applied to her by Council of Ephesus A.D. 431
9. Priests began to wear special clothing A.D. 500
10. Extreme Unction (Rite of Healing) A.D. 526
11. The doctrine of Purgatory by Gregory I A.D. 593
12. Latin used in worship A.D. 600
13. Prayers offered to Mary, dead saints and angels A.D. 600
14. First man to be proclaimed Pope (Boniface III) A.D. 610
15. Kissing the Pope's feet A.D. 709
16. Temporal power of Popes, conferred by Pepon, King of the Franks A.D. 750
17. Veneration of cross, images, relics authorized A.D. 786
18. holy water, mixed with pinch of salt, chrism, and blessed by a priest A.D. 850
19. Veneration of St. Joseph A.D. 890
20. College of Cardinals begun A.D. 927
21. Baptism of bells instituted by Pope John XIII A.D. 965
22. Canonization of dead saints by Pope John XV A.D. 995
23. Fasting on Fridays and Lent A.D. 998
24. The Mass developed gradually as a sacrifice, attendance made obligatory 11th c.
25. Celibacy of priests declared A.D. 1079
26. Rosary adopted (pagan) by Peter the Hermit A.D. 1090
27. The Inquisition instituted by Council of Verona A.D. 1184
28. Sale of indulgences A.D. 1190
29. Seven Sacraments, defined by Peter Lombard 12th c.
30. Transubstantiation, defined by Innocent III A.D. 1215
31. Auricular confession (Rite of reconciliation) of sins to a priest instead of God, instituted by Innocent III A.D. 1215
32. Adoration of the wafer (called the Host), decreed by Pope Honorius III A.D. 1220
33. Scapular invented by Simon Stock of England A.D. 1251
34. The cup forbidden to the laity at communion by Council of Constance A.D. 1414
35. Purgatory proclaimed as a dogma by the Council of Florence in A.D. 1439
36. Tradition declared of equal authority with the Bible by the Council of Trent A.D. 1545
37. Apocryphal books are added to the Bible by the Council of Trent A.D. 1546
38. Creed of Pope Pius IV imposed as the official creed in place of the original Apostolic Creed A.D. 1560
39. Immaculate Conception of Mary (not virgin birth) proclaimed by Pope Pius IX A.D. 1854
40. Syllabus of Errors proclaimed by Pope Pius IX and ratified by the Vatican Council; condemned freedom of religion, conscience, speech, press and scientific discoveries which are disapproved by the Roman Church; asserted the Pope's temporal authority over all civil rulers A.D. 1864
41. Infallibility of the Pope in matters of faith and morals proclaimed by the Vatican Council A.D. 1870
42. Assumption of Mary proclaimed by Pius XII A.D. 1950
43. Mary proclaimed the "Mother of the Church" by Pope Paul VI A.D. 1965
These were barrowed from a tract written by Bartholomew Brewer you can see it in it’s entirety here
Instead of obeying the Bible which commands, "Come out from among them and be ye separate..."
(2 Corinthians 6:17
) there are some Christians who feel in practice and/or name that they must or need to “reform” the Church of Rome (thus the name Reformation) and she will be OK again. Shame!
Perhaps my friends who say they are Reformed can begin to see why I eschew the idea of Reformation and the name Reformed Christian. If you are among the reformed tradition why not try something radical for Christ, separate from the dusty "old time religion". I know this is a difficult step, but I am confident that God will bless you for it.
Sources of Knowledge: Intuition
Sources of KnowledgeIntuition
What is meant by intuition
? Intuition is that which the normal or natural mind assumes to be true. The key word is "assumes
". Yes, I do believe in a woman’s intuition. There are times when my wife just has a “feeling” about something, perhaps it's minor and on more than one occasion we have been in the midst of making a major decision; she will alert me that, "Something is not right here". When we have committed a matter to the Lord in prayer, and she questions a direction I think we ought to go we pause for more prayer. God is faithful in directing us, and I thank Him for the caution He gives us because of the intuition of my wife.
Is there such a thing as intuitive truth? Sure there is!
Is it ever wrong? Yes! We can not; we must not rely on intuition.
Some intuitive truths include, time and eternity
; right from wrong
; mathematical exactness
; self existence
; existence of matter
; and even certain things about God
.These intuitions can and should be tested.
Here are some "tests" of intuitive truth; it must be universal
; it must be common to all man
; it must be self evident
); it must be self efficient
. Having tested the value of intuition there are yet some limitations of intuition because intuition is not inspiration
, therefore is limited as to what it communicates. Intuition is not verbal
; therefore it does not speak in words. Finally intuition is not always precise
, it has certain ideas but it can be distorted too.Intuition is poor source of authority.
Theologically I do not recommend hanging ones hat on intuition, and yet there are many who do. Dear reader if you are among them or if you are following those who do I urge you to be a good Berean. The Bereans, you may recall, searched the Scriptures daily to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth (see Acts 17:11
). We have this same privileged responsibility and high calling today more than ever. It is proper for us to thank God for intuition and nonetheless continue to "...earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."
) This is clearly revealed in the Bible. Ya feel me?
In His fellowship,
TAKE TIME TO BE HOLY
“Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.”
bio("William D. Longstaff","l/o/longstaff_wd")William D. Longstaff
bio("George C. Stebbins","s/t/e/stebbins_gc")George C. Stebbins
Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.
Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.
Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.
Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.
Introduction to Theology Proper
The topics that will be discussed in this introduction of Theology Proper are a Definition of Theology Proper, Sources of Knowledge of Theology Proper, and Concluding remarks about Theology Proper.Definition of Theology Proper
Here is a definition of Theology Proper. Theology Proper is a scientific investigation of what may be known of the existence, persons, and characteristics of the Triune God: Father, Son, and Spirit; apart from their works. (This study, however, may include some of His works.)
_________________________________Sources of Knowledge of Theology Proper
What is the source of knowledge of God? Some rely on intuition
, some on tradition
, to others reason
is the source of knowledge. What about you? This question is
for you. Perhaps you are among those of us who shout, “Divine revelation of course!”
That’s good, let’s define that together shall we? Brothers and sisters in Christ, we cannot afford to sluff off our privileged responsibility and reasonable duty to proclaim “…the faith which was once delivered to the saints.”
(cf. Jude 3)
Imagine that you are on the way to a Bible conference. Sitting in the back seat of a car, you find yourself listening into a conversation between a stalwart fundamentalist and his protégé. The voice of the more mature saint makes this surprising declaration “Ya know Ernie; there are just too many flat nosed preachers today.”
The curious young Bible student inquires of his respected mentor, “Wha da ya mean Clarence?”
“Well Ernie, in the Book of Leviticus [Ch.21], God is explaining the rules of separation for his priests. There is mention [v.18] that a man with any blemish should not offer the bread, one such blemish that is spoken of is a flat nose.”Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God. For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous…
(Lev.21:17-18)…they must not serve at the altar, at either of the altars, nor be admitted to attend or assist the other priests in offering sacrifice or burning incense…
(Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible,1662 - 1714)
“Oh!” exclaims the budding preacher from Texas, as if for a moment a switch was tripped and a light came on “…but what do you gather from that?”
“You see Ernie, some feel that the term ‘flat nose’ in Leviticus refers to a cleft pallet, that may or may not be the case, either way the nose is the apparatuses to facilitate the sense of smell and taste
. Those with a ‘flat nose’ were forbidden to perform certain duties to God because of it. Today there are a number of preachers who go sniffing around theology as though it were a smorgasbord.” Taking a few rapid sniffs as a living illustration Clarence continues, “Mm, Mm, get a whiff of the Bible. That smells good.” Sniffing again into the air he continues, “What’s that, German relativism.” Sniff, sniff, “…and that, French rationalism, and that, Secular humanism. Mm, Mm, I can hardly wait, season it all with Roman tradition, ooh what a treat! We can call it religious ecumenism...”
There are preachers today that have no discernment about good or bad theology. They go around smelling and tasting piles of doctrinal dung. They sincerely do not even know that they are eating and therefore they continue to feed there flock a variety of garbage. Their sniffer is broke, it’s snuffed out. Their taste buds are shot, they have become tasteless. They have a spiritual cleft pallet and are indeed “flat nose preachers”. It is a sobering reality that there are some popular speakers infecting the theological arena with the rotting stench of legalism and others with the creeping crud of liberalism. The Bible is good so long they can pile it on or mix it into it into the buffet of their own interests. It suits them fine as long as they can take liberty to pick and choose from its sacred texts, cutting out, as it were with a penknife what is relevant for their own personal gain. In some cases to make a name for them selves, we can find them demanding more from the world than Christ Himself would, while in other cases adopting a "live as you please" attitude so long as you’re positive and help build a crystal empire on earth.
New Evangelicals are in the business of trying to unite these flat nosed thoughts with biblical and balanced, old line Fundamentalism. Success is not an option to these infiltrators; it is a must, and many brethren have been poisoned by their philosophy not being aware of the venomous ingredients found in their various views.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have a task before us just now in 2007. The clarion has sounded sharp and shrill and we too must be clear. Clear in our understanding
. Clear in our teaching
and clear in our preaching
as purveyors of the truth. Pilot asked Jesus, “What is truth?”
Evidently he knew full well Jesus was the way, the truth, and the life, for he went back out and declared to those gathered, “I find no fault in Him at all.”
(Jn. 18:38) The question put before us is, "What is the source of truth?"
We will examine various opinions so that we may be prepared to discern the difference between a wholesome theological banquet, and some of the less savory errors that have been introduced and included in our victuals at our love feasts in our local churches. Remember we have the privileged responsibility and reasonable duty to proclaim the faith which was once delivered to the saints
, and we cannot afford to be slothful. (cf. Jude 3)
In His fellowship,