2 Timothy 3:16-17, “16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
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I. Our Message
(1) The Bible: The apologist’s message, ultimately, is nothing less than the whole of Scripture, applied to the needs of his hearers. (p. 31, Loc. 1453).
- What about the atheist? Preach and apply the whole of Scripture to them.
- What about the person in a cult? Preach and apply the whole of Scripture to them.
- What about the lukewarm Christian? Preach and apply the whole of Scripture to them.
- What about the person in another religion? Preach and apply the whole of Scripture to them.
- What about a Christian with wrong beliefs and practices? Preach and apply the whole of Scripture to them.
- Any further scenarios? Preach and apply the whole of Scripture to them.
(2) Christianity as a Philosophy: I mean that Christianity provides a comprehensive view of the world (a worldview).
- It gives us an account not only of God, but also of the world that God made, the relation of the world to God, and the place of human beings in the world in relation to nature and God.
- It discusses four things, (1) Metaphysics (the theory of the fundamental nature of reality), (2) Epistemology (the theory of knowledge), (3) Values (ethics, aesthetics, economics, etc.) and (4) the gospel (the good news about Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. (pp. 31-32, Loc. 1453).
- Christianity therefore competes with Platonism, Aristotelianism, empiricism, rationalism, skepticism, materialism, monism, pluralism, process thought, secular humanism, New Age thought, Marxism, and whatever other philosophies there may be—as well as other religions, such as Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. (p. 32, Loc. 1469).
II. Four Components of the Christian Worldview
(1) Metaphysics: The theory of the fundamental nature of reality.
- God, the Absolute Personality: God is “absolute” in the sense that he is the Creator of all things and thus the ground of all other reality. As such, he has no need of any other being (Acts 17:25) for his own existence. He is self-existent and self-sufficient (“a se”). Nothing brought him into being; he always was (Pss. 90:2; 93:2; John 1:1). Nor can anything destroy him; he will always be (Deut. 32:40; Ps. 102:26–27; 1 Tim. 6:16; Heb. 1:10–12; Rev. 10:6). His existence is timeless, for he is the Lord of time itself (Ps. 90, esp. v. 4; Gal. 4:4; Eph. 1:11; 2 Peter 3:8). He knows all times and spaces with equal perfection (Isa. 41:4; 44:7–8). In the words of answer 4 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, “God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.” (p. 34, Loc. 1500).
- Distinction Between God (Creator) and Creation: According to Scripture, God is both transcendent and immanent. His transcendence is simply the fact that he is radically different from us. He is the Creator and we are his creatures. He is absolute, as we saw in the previous section. We are not. Even his personality is different from ours, for his is original and ours is derivative. God is wholly personal and in no way depends on the impersonal, while we are dependent on impersonal matter (the “dust,” Gen. 2:7) and forces to keep us alive. God’s immanence is his involvement in all areas of creation. Because he is absolute, he controls all things, interprets all things, and evaluates all things. Because of his omnipotence, his power is exerted everywhere. (pp. 39-40, Loc. 1615).
- Sovereignty of God (Molinism): The belief concerning God’s foreknowledge and man’s freedom that is based upon God’s middle knowledge (what men would freely do in all circumstances). Biblical examples: Deuteronomy 28:51-57, 1 Samuel 23:8-14,Proverbs 4:11, Ezekiel 3:6-7, Jeremiah 38:17-18, Matthew 11:23, Matthew 12:7, Matthew 17:27, Matthew 23:27-32, Matthew 24:43, Matthew 26:24, Luke 4:24-44, Luke 16:30-31, Luke 22:67-68, John 15:22-24, John 18:36, John 21:6 and 1 Corinthians 2:8.
- Argument for Molinism
- Premise 1: If there are true counterfactuals of creaturely freedom, then God knows these truths.
- Premise 2: There are true counterfactuals of creaturely freedom.
- Premise 3: If God knows true counterfactuals of creaturely freedom, God knows them either logically prior to the divine creative decree or only logically posterior to the divine creative decree.
- Premise 4: Counterfactuals of creaturely freedom cannot be known only logically posterior to the divine creative decree. (From premises 1 and 2, it follows logically that…)
- Premise 5: Therefore, God knows true counterfactuals of creaturely Freedom. (From premises 3 and 5, it follows that…)
- Premise 6: Therefore, God knows true counterfactuals of creaturely freedom either logically prior to the divine creative decree or only logically posterior to the divine creative decree. (And from premises 4 & 6 it follows…)
- Conclusion: Therefore, God knows true counterfactuals of creaturely freedom logically prior to the divine creative decree. —which is the essence of the doctrine of divine middle knowledge.
- Source: Craig, William Lane. Four Views on Divine Providence (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology) (Kindle Locations 1795-1804).
- Rejection of Calvinistic Compatibilism
- Premise 1: An agent S is morally responsible for an action A only if doing A is ultimately up to S.
- Premise 2: A is ultimately up to S only if determinism is false.
- Conclusion: Therefore, S is morally responsible for A only if determinism is false.
- Source: Craig, William Lane. Four Views on Divine Providence (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology) (Kindle Locations 3203-3205).
- Calvinism Makes God the Author of Sin
- Premise 1: Nothing that God unconditionally wills is evil.
- Premise 2: God wills unconditionally everything that happens.
- Conclusion: Therefore, nothing that happens is evil.
- Source: Craig, William Lane. Four Views on Divine Providence (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology) (Kindle Locations 3235-3236).
- More study, http://www.reasonablefaith.org/molinism-vs-calvinism
- The Trinity: The Christian God is three in one.
- He is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There is only one God (Deut. 6:4ff.; Isa. 44:6). But the Father is God (John 20:17), the Son is God (John 1:1; Rom. 9:5; Col. 2:9; Heb. 1:10ff.), and the Spirit is God (Gen. 1:2; Acts 2; Rom. 8; 1 Thess. 1:5).
- The Nicene Creed says that they one “substance” and three “persons.” All three have all the divine attributes. All three are “Lord/Yahweh.” (p. 44, Loc. 1710).
- Argument for Molinism
(2) Epistemology: The theory of knowledge.
- God is not only omnipotent, but also omniscient. As we have seen, he controls all things by his wise plan. Hence, he knows all things (Heb. 4:12–13; 1 John 3:20).
- All our knowledge, therefore, originates in him. Thus, “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov. 1:7). God is not only the origin of truth, but also the supreme authority for knowledge. Authority is part of his lordship. God has the right to command and be obeyed. He has, therefore, the right to tell us what we must believe.99 Fallen man wants to think autonomously, subject only to his own criteria of truth, free to ignore those of God. But God’s grace takes away our bondage to autonomous ways of thinking and enables us instead to think according to God’s Word (Jer. 31:31ff.; Matt. 11:25–28; John 17:3; 1 Cor. 2:6–16; Eph. 4:13; Phil. 1:9; Col. 1:9ff.; 3:10; 2 Tim. 2:25; 2 Peter 1:2ff.; 3:18; 1 John 4:7).
- The Holy Spirit illumines our minds to know the truth (1 Cor. 2:12ff.; 2 Cor. 4:6; Eph. 1:17ff.; 1 Thess. 1:5; Heb. 6:4; 10:32). The fear of the Lord leads to knowledge and wisdom (Prov. 1:7; parallels). (p. 48, Loc. 1778).
(3) Values & Ethics: How we determine what is morally right and wrong, along with our obligations to do what is right.
- Ethics investigates such matters as good and evil, right and wrong. Like Christian metaphysics and epistemology, Christian ethics is distinctive. God is perfectly good and just (Gen. 18:25; Ps. 145:17). As Lord, he is, as we have seen, the supreme authority over his creatures. Under “Epistemology” we saw that God is the supreme criterion of truth and falsehood. Under “Ethics” we must observe that God is also the supreme standard of what is good and evil, right and wrong. And he has expressed his standards in his words to us (Deut. 4:1ff.; 6:4ff.).
- Unbelievers, we are told, know not only of God’s existence, but also of his standards, his requirements (Rom. 1:32). Yet they disobey those laws, and, further, seek to evade that responsibility (Rom. 1:26–32). (pp. 49-50, Loc. 1814).
(4) Gospel: The goodnews about Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.
- Christianity is not just an alternative to the secular philosophies or a set of moral standards better than those of current society. It is gospel, good news. In this respect, too, it is unique—a genuine alternative to the conventional ways of thinking. Scripture teaches that human beings, made in God’s image, sinned against him (Gen. 3:1ff.). We today bear the guilt of Adam’s first sin (Rom. 5:12–19) and the weight of our own sins against God (Rom. 3:10ff.).
- Our problem, therefore, is not finitude (as we are told by some pantheists, New Age thinkers, and the like), and the solution to the problem is not for us to become God. Nor is our chief problem to be found in our heredity, environment, emotional makeup, poverty, or sicknesses. Rather, the problem is sin: willful transgression of God’s law (1 John 3:4). According to Scripture, existing evils of heredity, environment, sickness, and so on are due to the fall (Gen. 3:17–19; Rom. 8:18–22). And what is the solution? “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Jesus died for our sins and was raised for our justification (Rom. 3:20–8:11; 1 Cor. 15:1–11).
- The scriptural directive is not for us to work harder to achieve God’s favor (Rom. 3:20), but to accept God’s mercy through Christ as a free gift (Eph. 2:8-10). (pp. 50-52, Loc. 1837).
III. Related Videos
- Worldview, by Watermark Church, https://youtu.be/_eQSuFdkIRA
- Worldview, by Truth Project, https://youtu.be/Txez9sJUtaE
- Worldview, by Impact 360 Institute, https://youtu.be/VXnSE0uvwzM
IV. Review Questions
- What is the foundation of the presuppositional apologist’s message?
- What is another way of describing what we mean by “Christian Philosophy?”
- What are the four components of the Christian worldview? Briefly describe each one.