Perspicacity and Ignorance

If I assert that there is a black cat in the closet, and you assert that nobody knows what is in the closet, you have virtually told me that I am wrong in my hypothesis. So when I tell Mr. Black that God exists, and he responds very graciously by saying that perhaps I am right since nobody knows what is in the “Beyond,” he is virtually saying that I am wrong in my hypothesis. He is obviously thinking of such a god as could comfortably live in the realm of chance. But the God of Scripture cannot live in the realm of chance.[1]

But what, you may ask, is the response if the claim is that “I don’t know what is in the closet?” Well, it depends on whether you’re expected to know what’s in the closet, doesn’t it? Knowledge, of course, has a moral element to it. If it has been revealed, we’re expected to know it.

Take this for example;

Scripture teaches perspicuously.
Doctrine X is taught in Scripture.
Doctrine X is taught perspicuously.

So, if you’re agnostic to Doctrine X, then you are either 1) Wrong, as ignorance is inconsistent with Christianity 2) Denying the perspicuity of Scripture. Now, are there doctrines which contain elements of mystery? Sure. But that’s precisely the point. Some doctrines are a mystery. We know that they are true, for instance, but do not know the “how”. Take the Trinity. We know that God is three in person, and one in being. We know a lot about the “that”, in fact. We do not, however, know the “how”. This does not negate the fact that we are responsible for the “that”, while not responsible for the “how.” Why? Because “that” is revealed, and revealed clearly. “How” is not revealed, and therefore we are not responsible for believing it. Agnosticism is not tenable as a Christian position – on any topic revealed in Scripture.

  1. [1]Van Til, Defense of the Faith, (4th Ed), 328

4 Comments

Nextor

Thanks for covering perspicuity – ive noticed that a few of the counters against presuppositional apologetics isn’t actually an attack on that – its either an attack on sola scriptura, or the perspicuity of scripture. Funny how it brings out the post-moderns who would not really openly attack those doctrines.

RazorsKiss

It’s the same way with other branches of theology, too. It’s done piecemeal, most often, so it’s only seen as a pattern if you have a sufficiently wide range of topics you deal with, or deal with doctrine systematically. It’s also a good argument against dealing with facts atomistically.

Nextor

“Well, it depends on whether you’re expected to know what’s in the closet, doesn’t it? Knowledge, of course, has a moral element to it. If it has been revealed, we’re expected to know it.”

This is genius – Luther wrote something very similar as he would sometimes be plagued with evil speculations – eg in regards to the doctrine of election. His simple response was along the lines of ‘where is the command in scripture where I am to know fully this thing?’ Luther has been such a help for me!

When you say “It’s done piecemeal, most often, so it’s only seen as a pattern if you have a sufficiently wide range of topics you deal with, or deal with doctrine systematically. It’s also a good argument against dealing with facts atomistically.”

What exactly do you mean?

Mid-May 2012 Presuppositional Apologetics Links from the Web! « The Domain for Truth

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