Apologetics to the Glory of God

God Is Not Whacky

As presuppositionalists we take the whole of the Christian worldview and set it against those positions which are opposed to it. Claims must be understood within the contexts of the views from which they originate. For the Christian this means, among other things, that he or she should be familiar with Scripture. Our apologetic is based upon our theology, not the other way around. An example of the necessity of familiarity with Scripture for the apologetic endeavor may be seen in instances where an unbeliever makes the argument that the Christian has no reason for thinking that future experiences will resemble past ones due to God constantly ‘meddling’ with the courses of nature and history.

To this we respond that God is not whacky. God does not provide signs in an arbitrary fashion. Signs are denoted by their extraordinariness, difficulty in terms of human ability, and theological meaning. Thus by nature signs are rare. More importantly, signs are redemptive acts of God and hence are accompanied by the communication of the truth of God to us. Arbitrariness is excluded from a scheme wherein the redemptive acts of God are without exception found alongside Word interpreting them. This is to say, the revelation of God as verbal communication always accompanies the revelation of God as redemptive acts of signs. Generally God verbally prepares people for a sign before performing it and then interpreting it. Scripture presents a completely different view than the one advanced by those who oppose the Christian faith by proposing that God might arbitrarily wreak havoc upon the regularities necessary to our sanity in claiming to know things about ourselves and the world.

For an example of a sign accompanied with verbal interpretation we may turn to a portion of the account of water being turned to wine in the Second Chapter of John.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
John 2:7-11 (ESV)

This first sign of Jesus was not performed with the sole result that the guests of the wedding would have something else to drink. More relevant to our concerns, the sign was not performed with the result that the people present were overcome with confusion. There is nothing in the text to indicate that epistemologies contingent upon regularities were destroyed. Rather, the text indicates that those present for the sign found it extraordinary which presupposes such epistemologies. John interprets the sign as being a manifestation of the glory of Jesus with the result that people believed in Him. These statements do not necessarily constitute the full interpretation of the sign and it should not be assumed that such interpretations are this easy to find in every instance of a sign being performed. When recognition of the closed canon of Scripture is brought to bear on the defense offered here we effectively silence the argument presented against our position.

What has been demonstrated is a need for familiarity with Scripture if one is to engage successfully in apologetic argument. This need becomes especially clear in light of the challenge presented regarding signs. While it is true that appeals to past experience involving faulty expectations provide no argument against regularities it is also true that the appropriate Christian response to the challenge presented in the introduction may go much deeper.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *