Apologetics to the Glory of God

An Informal Introduction to Covenantal Apologetics: Part 26 – Omniscience and unrelated objects.

By C.L. Bolt

There appears to be no universal consent on any fact of existence. Facts do not speak for themselves but they must be interpreted. If this were not the case then everyone would agree, but we have noted already that they do not.

Individuals have made mistakes before concerning the interpretation of facts. Why not again? How does someone know that she is not making a mistake even now? There are things that people feel extremely certain of, then a new fact comes along and overturns everything that is believed so strongly. What is to guarantee that there is no fact out there which you have not discovered and never will which would completely overturn everything you currently believe to be true?

In order to know anything on a model for knowing which starts with the subject, the subject must know everything. Omniscience, that is, the knowledge of everything, does not give us hope regarding merely certainty, but regarding the possibility of knowledge itself per our concerns above. Hence the appeal of both skepticism and subjectivism. The skeptic rejects omniscience and admits that we know nothing and admits that we do not even know that we know nothing. The subjectivist claims to know everything, defining himself as omniscient. We see here the consistency of both skepticism and subjectivism if one is to begin with the subject of knowledge rather than with God. Both of these positions are nonetheless self-defeating, and since there is no such thing as a self-consistent skeptic or subjectivist, both are likewise, in the end, self-refuting.

God possesses omniscience; God possesses the knowledge of everything. God alone sees how all of the facts to be known are related and how we as the subjects of knowledge are related to those facts. God not only knows, but has created and controls. We have discussed this before. However, God also reveals His knowledge in His Word.

The Global Positioning Sensor (GPS) in your car understands the relationships between the roads wherever you may venture. You do not. Suppose you boldly venture out onto 75 South when you should have remained on 64 East to get home. Once you have started out on the wrong road you will find other roads and signs and land markers that look similar enough to the ones you would have found on the correct route. You may proceed to drive in the completely wrong direction for an hour or more before you finally realize that you are lost. Now you will have to take a parkway leading you through coal mines into an eleven hour trip when you could have made the trip in seven!

Some people are lost and never realize it. Some people do realize that they are lost, but they refuse to rely upon their GPS to get out of the predicament. Others want nothing to do with a GPS. One quick and easy turn is all that it takes to send someone in a completely wrong direction without that person ever turning back, realizing the mistake, or being able to know current location. The unbeliever threw the GPS away at the start of the trip and is lost in a never ending web of winding roads. The unbeliever should be willing to admit this like the skeptic and the subjectivist; he rarely does.

The Christian has the Word of God to provide the first principles for predication. God created, controls, and knows the mountain paths and city highways and has told us enough about them in His Word that we need not fear getting started off on 75 when we should have remained on 64. We know the Word of God and derive things from the Word of God in a manner sufficient for knowledge. We need not know everything in order to know anything, because God knows everything and has revealed some of it to us. God cannot get it wrong; God knows how all of the facts are related to one another.

But here we see a massive assumption that has run throughout our argument. The Christian claims that the facts – the objects of knowledge – are related to one another because the Christian claims to know God. The non-Christian does not, and so there is no reason to assume that the objects of knowledge are related to one another. For the sake of our argument from the necessity of omniscience for knowledge we start with the assumption that facts are related such that even one newly discovered fact can overturn our previously held knowledge of others, but even granting this assumption is granting more than the non-Christian can rightfully claim.

It is no doubt amazing that the Christian is ever asked incessantly for “evidence” for the Christian faith when the non-Christian has never yet established that there would be any relation at all between any evidence and the truth of the Christian worldview. Why should we assume that evidence is related to truth claims, or that evidence relates to other evidence? Why should we assume that any fact is related to any other fact at all? The non-Christian has a long way to go before he can begin to move in the first place. We will push forward to look at some more specific examples of the problem of connection between the objects of knowledge in the non-Christian worldview.

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2 responses to “An Informal Introduction to Covenantal Apologetics: Part 26 – Omniscience and unrelated objects.”

  1. ZaoThanatoo Avatar

    The omniscience-precondition-for-knowledge argument is one of my favorites. You’re still sore about that whole GPS misdirection thing, eh? Ha ha. 🙂

    So HOW do you think a subject gains knowledge of omniscient God’s self-revelation without regress into subjectivism?

    1. taco Avatar

      Romans 1 tells us how. God reveals it in creation of all that is around a subject and in the creation of the subject itself.

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