Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Bible and Epistemology.

Atheist Dr. McCormick states "But let’s consider what reasons we might have to thinking that the book [the Bible] contains the words of God. A temptation would be to point to the book itself and the claims that it contains about the book coming from God. But we can all see the flagrant circularity of that view: Why do I believe that the Bible is the word of God? Because the Bible says it is. And why do I believe that there is a God? Because the Bible says that there is." This claim just stated is clearly an example of an atheists prejudice towards the Bible. Atheists treat the Bible like any other ordinary book, but they neglect the fact the Bible claims to be the very Words of God:

“All Scripture ( clearly identified as the Old and New Testament) is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work..” 2 Timothy 3:17-17 ESV

Atheists have a bias towards the Bible because they believe God does not exist, and miracles are impossible, thus according to their worldview the Bible cannot be what it claims to be the very Word of God. But as a Christians we must exploit this bias and ask for justification (or reasons) for such beliefs.

As Christians our epistemology (theory of knowledge) is founded on God and His Word, so we believe the Bible is the Word of God because God says it in the Bible. Now atheists will charge Christians with the fallacy of circular reasoning (begging the question) as quoted, but Christians must point out that everyone commits this fallacy when it comes to epistemology. For example, if an atheists final authority at deciding what is true and what is false is himself he too is committing the fallacy. We must declare that if God testifies of himself (in special revelation specifically the Bible) or says something through the means of men (2 peter 1:19-21) we would have to believe it on his authority because there is no higher. Thus God’s Word is self authenticating in other words “ if God says it that settles it.” For if Christians tried to prove the Bible to be God’s Word by science or history that would be the ultimate authority and standard of truth not God. Furthermore, we believe the Bible is the Word of God because to every believer God reveals this to them by the illumination of the Holy Spirit, but obviously non-Christian will scoff at this, however, it is true.

Atheists often claim there is no evidence to prove that Jesus was even a real historical figure. This is a clear prejudice against the Bible because what is the New Testament? As Dr. Greg Bahnsen remarks:

“I have even heard some people mouth the radical opinion that "we have no literary or historical basis for believing that Jesus of Nazareth actually ever lived"! Can you spot the obvious indications of prejudice here? Such a criticism simply takes it for granted that the Bible itself should not be taken in any way as a literary source of historical information -- contrary to the general practice of even unbelieving historians of the ancient world. Moreover, such criticism does not show familiarity with the secular allusions to Jesus in ancient literature -- such as the reference by the Roman historian Tacitus to "Christus" who suffered "the extreme penalty ... at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate" (Annals 15.44), or the reference by the Jewish historian Josephus to James "the brother of Jesus, who is called Christ" (Antiquities 20:9), etc. Criticism like this usually ends up telling us more about the critic (e.g., his prejudices, what he has not been reading) than about the object of his criticism.” (

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