By C.L. Bolt
One way to think of skepticism is as a problem of connection. There are assumptions all throughout our thinking that some things are related to others. What is meant by this will become more clear as we move on, but for now we can think of three main “points” being connected to one another in the Christian worldview. God is one point and can be thought of at the top of a triangle. The subject of knowledge is the bottom left hand point of the triangle. The subjects of knowledge are the knowers; they are people like you and me. The bottom right hand point of the triangle is the object of knowledge. Included in the category of objects of knowledge is everything we know and can ever know. There is a sense in which God and other subjects might be thought of as objects of knowledge too, but this is not important for our illustration. The three points mentioned here are thought to be connected to each other by virtue of the claims of the Christian worldview.
The Christian believes that God has revealed Himself in His creation. We are created in the image of God, and Scripture is His special revelation to us. God has gifted us with the faculties of reason, memory, senses, etc. such that we can come to adequately understand and know ourselves (subject), His creation (object), and ultimately Him (God). Every fact of existence finds its meaning and place in the all-encompassing plan of God. We are created in line with this plan as well. We are, as it were, at home in the world. Recall again that the presupposition of the Christian worldview is a sufficient condition for human intelligibility. It is to be taken as a whole due to the authoritative nature of the One who reveals it. We accept Christianity by faith. We do not have faith in nothing, but rather in the self-revealing, self-attesting, self-authenticating triune God of Christian Scripture. For the Christian, all three points of the triangle are thought of as being connected by virtue of the truth of the Christian worldview; God has revealed Himself. God holds the triangle together.
Now we enter the skeptic’s challenge. How is the non-Christian to contend that the three points of God, subject, and object are connected to one another to complete the triangle? The non-Christian ultimately wants to start with the self (subject) as a final authority in matters of truth and epistemology. Whereas God is the important point in the Christian worldview that connects all of the dots, the non-Christian cannot, in terms of her non-Christian starting point and epistemology, connect any of the dots.
The non-Christian cannot know God on her own terms. We discussed this in greater detail in the part of the introduction concerning the refutation of arguments for Christianity. It was only in terms of presuppositions that we saw evidences and arguments as constituting reasons for believing that God exists. The non-Christian, starting with the self, cannot get to God. God must reveal Himself to us, and that is exactly what He has done. We must accept God’s revelation of Himself upon His terms and not our own. Arguments for God which start from the subject will end with the subject.
The non-Christian cannot know the object of knowledge on her own terms. The non-Christian, starting with the self, cannot get to the object of knowledge. There is nothing which connects the subject of knowledge to the object of knowledge. Arguments for knowing objects which start from the subject will end with the subject.
We have only begun to scratch the surface of skeptical worries that are essentially problems of connection. Here we have mentioned that neither God nor objects can be known according to the non-Christian epistemology. There is nothing to connect the subject to the object of knowledge. We will discuss this more in the next part. Eventually we will come to see that not only are there problems of connection between the three points we have mentioned here, but there are problems too with connections within the subject of knowledge and between the objects of knowledge. That is, not only does skepticism call into question the big picture of how subject and object are related, but it likewise calls into question the nature of the subject and the nature of the relatedness of the objects of knowledge.