A Hypothetical Apologetic?

In taking Scripture as an absolute presupposition and standard for thought, the Christian apologist ought to maintain that there are no possibilities outside of what God is and decrees to be. It is never possible for God to be other than the type of being He is portrayed to be in His self-revelation. Because he does not presuppose the certain truth of the Bible at the very start of his apologetic (de facto and in principium) Clark (a self-professed Calvinist) is willing to reduce the whole system of Christian truth revealed by God therein to a possible accident!

“Strange accidents do indeed occur, and no proof is forthcoming that the Bible is not such an accident. Unlikely, perhaps, but still possible” (“How may I know the Bible is Inspired?”, Can I Trust My Bible?, 24 Gordon Clark)

Because Clark has this illegitimate notion of possibility in his apologetical system, a notion which lies behind even his beliefs about God and God’s Word, it is inevitable that he should cease to be a genuine presuppositionalist. By not viewing the the truth of Scripture as a presupposition that that is absolutely necessary, Clark reduces the status of the Bible to a hypothesis. The truth of Scripture is not taken to be the case at the outset, so that only later are a man’s thoughts to submit to it. The Christian alternative is one of many possibilities to be explored and evaluated.

~Greg Bahnsen (Presuppositional Apologetics: Stated and Defended; ch 4, pg 146)

This is from Bahnsen’s critique of Gordon’s Clark’s putatively presuppositional apologetic. Note that he takes Clark’s ultimacy of possibility over God to be a capitulation. This is instructive.

RazorsKiss

RazorsKiss


6 Comments

Christopher G Weaver

You know Razorkiss, I was curious about what you thought of this argument:

(1) If the early admissions of your post are correct (i.e., there being no other “possibilities” a part from what God has decreed), then there are no truth-conditions for counter-factual conditionals.

However,

(2) The counter-factual conditional: If it were the case that not-p, then it would be the case that falsum (or “bottom”) is logically equivalent to necessarily p.

(3) There is some necessarily true proposition p.

(4) Therefore, there is a true counter-factual viz., If it were the case that not-p, then it would be the case that falsum.

(5) Therefore, there are truth conditions for at least the counter-factual that is (4).

(5) Therefore, your admissions above (i.e., there being no other “possibilities” apart from what God has decreed) is false.

Thanks for your response.

Christopher G Weaver

Correction:

(6)* Therefore, your admissions above (i.e., there being no other “possibilities” apart from what God has decreed) is false.

RazorsKiss

I think that’s a very good illustration of the necessity of Sola Scriptura as our fundamental presupposition for thinking, and all of life. I’ll leave it at that.

Shotgun

I think if we’re left with a “truth condition of falsehood” as the only possibility outside of the Christian God (or His decree), then we’re in great shape…and are simply stating…(in a rather dry and unpoetic way) the Biblical truth of God’s aseity.

Then again…I could be totally wrong.

Christopher G Weaver

Thanks Razorkiss, I appreciate your sincere reply.

So, would you take yourself to be one who denies any of the premises above?

Forgive me if I’m ignoring the: “I’ll leave it at that” locution, because I’m not quite sure how your response is apropos, unless you are suggesting that the logical consequences [technical use of the phrase here] of our use of the nonbasic source of knowledge that is scripture are irrelevant.

Thanks again, even if you do not respond.

Shotgun

Mr. Weaver mis-stated (6) as well…

To be accurate, he should say:

(6) Therefore, your admissions above (i.e., there being no other “possibilities” apart from what God is and decrees to be*) is false.

But, then…does the argument still follow?

Is the counter-factual that is (4) a possibility apart from what God is?


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