Friday, September 14, 2012

Why Learn?

The aim of knowledge is to grow more like Christ, giving him all glory. The educational aim for the Christian teacher should be primarily to point to Christ through whom all truth flows. Education institutions are to teach both general revelation (regarding the natural) and special revelation (regarding the supernatural). Because schools design cultures, Christian schools ought to teach both forms of knowledge through a biblical worldview.

If God created the world, then it must be the case that the world reveals something about him. That's not to say that everything perfectly reveals something about God because we do live in a fallen, corrupt state. However, that should not keep us from learning and studying further about the Creator who designed all things. Thus, when we study science, theology, or philosophy, the goal is to reveal something about the glory of God. That is valuable.

When it comes to reading Scripture, which is the very word of God, we aim to learn about him as well. Unlike the world we live in, the Bible is not corrupt. It is the inerrant, infallible Word of God (original autographs). Thus, when our churches and Christian schools teach, they teach to point to our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus. They are to teach both natural revelation and special revelation. It's important to have Christian schools and Christian educators because schools design culture. This is the very reason for the secular takeover of the public education  system in the West. 

What is Knowable?

There are two types of revelation, general and special. All learners can know general revelation because it has been revealed in the natural world. General revelation, therefore, is primarily sensory and discovered through sciences. Only some can know special revelation though. It is revealed by God through his Holy Spirit. The Christian learner should study both as he is able to know both.

Going back to the question of "What is Truth?" we learned recognized two kinds of truth: (a) natural; and (b) supernatural. Natural truth is observable by the human eye (or the aided human eye in the case of microscopic things). Supernatural truth, on the other hand, is recognized by experience and special divine revelation. For example, natural revelations are those things we can come to know through the use of empirical science as to where supernatural (special) revelations are those which God reveals to us. 

Scripture, being the very words of God, explain how God created everything originally good. Thus, it is also good (valuable) for us to study the natural world as well as theology and philosophy. By studying these things we can come to greater knowledge of God. At the same time, not all science, theology, and philosophy is true. Thus, we use the Word of God (the 66 books of the Bible) to discern what is truth. If it is true it will not run contrary to the Word of God.

If something does run contrary to God's Word, then there are three possibilities: (a) we have incorrect truth claims; (b) we have interpreted Scripture wrongly; or (c) we have incorrect truth claims and we have interpreted Scripture wrongly.

[Romans 1, 2; Matthew 28]

What are Values?

Values can only be found in God’s glory. They are determined by God who is the creator of all things. All things were created to glorify him. And all things were originally created good. God is good and defines what is good.

We do not live in a dualistic world, meaning, evil is simply a lack of good. Thus, when someone murders an innocent person, evil is not a thing that lives within the murderer, but rather, a lack of good within the murderer. What is good is determined by God. His character is the very definition of good. 

When people ask, "Can God logically commit evil?" it's like asking if God can make a rock to heavy for himself to lift or if he can make a squared circle. The answer is no. It's not that he is too powerless to create a rock too heavy even for him to lift, it's that the questioner has given a question that goes against the law of non-contradiction. Therefore, we can conclude, God, being holy and perfect, cannot commit evil because it goes against the law of non-contradiction. If he were able to commit evil (remember this is a lack of good), then he wouldn't be God. One of the requirements of God's character is that he is good.

If the God of Scripture exists, and I believe we have ample reason to believe this is the case, then we can expect that only that which he defines as being good is actually good. Those are the things of value.

[Romans 9, 11; Ephesians 1; Proverbs 16:33; 1 John; Genesis 1, 2]

What is Truth?

Truth is objective and determined by God. “All truth is God’s truth,” but not all claimed truths are actually true. Truth does not run contrary to what is spoken by God through his Word. Jesus Christ is knowledge and truth. General revelation tends to be truth that is universally recognized. Knowledge is truth. The truth is everywhere the same. Truth is objective and valued. Some truth and knowledge are so clear cut that issues will be agreed upon by the majority of all peoples.

For starters, truth is not arbitrary. Regardless of whether or not one recognizes truth as such does not change the "reality" of it at the end of the day. That's not to say that if you and I give two contrary sets of truth claims that we are both right. We could both be wrong, but we could not both be right. One of us would have to be wrong by necessity. 

Therefore, truth is not like some kind of moral zeitgeist of the day. It does not change from culture-to-culture or time period to time period. For example, today the world exists. That fact will not change tomorrow. It is logically conceivable that the world won't exist tomorrow, but it will not change the fact that the world exists today and it certainly doesn't change if you go to another nation or culture. The world still exists. That is a clear cut issue that no rational being can deny. The world exists.

[Genesis 1, 2; 2 Timothy 3; 2 Peter 1; John 10; Matthew 5; Luke 24]

What is Reality?

Reality is independent of the human knower. There are two distinct, but not separate realities. The natural reality is sensory while the spiritual reality cannot be empirically proven or tested. God is the creator of all things, natural and supernatural, with the exception of himself. God is uncreated. All things were originally created good until the fall when the serpent deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. All of humanity inherited a sinful nature and are fallen. Everyone is need of redemption to be restored.

Reality isn't brought about by experience and it certainly isn't created by human minds. At the same time, there are two aspects of reality: (a) the reality that is; and (b) the reality we experience. The "reality that is" simply means that this is the cold hard fact. It's sometimes empirically provable (natural) and at other times it is not (supernatural/spiritual). 

Because God created all things, he is the only one who has exhaustive knowledge about either natural or supernatural reality. He created all things and he created all things originally good. At the fall, man was deceived and sinned against a holy, perfect God. Thus, the first couple (and they are historic) brought sin into this world. All are infected. All are therefore separated from God. All are in need of a Savior.

[Genesis 1-3; Romans 3, 9; Deuteronomy 39:39; John 1; 1 John 1]

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Shot of Faith to the Head


Mitch Stokes has studied under some of the greatest Christian thinkers and philosophers alive today. His mentors are some of the most influential philosophers in the world, religious or secular. This book is self-defense training to build confidence for believers in the midst of a world that constantly attacks their faith.

Mitch Stokes has authored a fascinating book on apologetics. A Shot of Faith to the Head makes a wonderful addition to any library. I believe this book will be most suitable for younger generations who are facing the problem of New Atheism and a rise of agnostic friends more so than their parents. But, this is a great book for training up any person in apologetics.