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Knowing God: The Existing One
In my ongoing study of epistemology -- how we know what we know -- I was reading some comments by a "Clarkian" (a person who follows Gordon Clark's epistemological model), who was arguing that a phrase such as "the sky is blue" is an axiom that can neither be proven or disproved. He argues against the classic Christian epistemology which starts with "God is", or "God exists" hence the entire point of the "I AM THAT I AM" statement from God when Moses asked Him his name in Ex 3:14.
Couple this with Romans 1:20 which says:
We see that God is making the case that He is the AXIOM.
However the Clarkian continued in his argument of "The Bible is the Word of God written". Of course it is, no Christian would say otherwise. But before that proposition there is the question of God. The very mention of Him, even within the Clarkian axiom reveals there is a precedent axiom -- GOD. It is senseless to say, "The Bible is the Word of God written" without defining WHAT a "god" is. Perhaps a Clarkian would object that we can't know that apart from the Bible, yet clearly even the Bible says we can and MUST "clearly see" God's invisible attributes and understand by the things made/existing even His eternal power and Godhead. Not acknowledging this much, humanity is without excuse. And, this bears itself out as almost every, if not every culture has a concept of divinity.
NOW.... we get the proposition of the Clarkian: "The Bible is the Word of God written". Contained in that proposition is this challenge to people who ALREADY are assumed to accede to the axiom of "God(s) exist".
THE CLARKIAN CHALLENGE CORRECTLY PRESENTED
We see Paul arguing in this exact same manner in Acts 17:22-28 --
Paul didn't start with, "The Scriptures are the Word of God" however he does acknowledge the Athenians natural awareness of divinity and then DECLARES to them the God of the Bible without once telling them to go confirm it in the Hebrew Scriptures. He presupposes they ALREADY believe in god(s). He even cites their own pagan sources.
All of this does NOT deny or negate that YES -- The Bible is the Word of God written. Of Course. But it seems the Clarkian likes to use this truism in a myopic manner. I even have one Clarkian that follows me around the Internet trying to claim I don't "have a command of the material" when it comes to this topic.
Clarkians often call themselves "Scripturalist" when in fact they are Textualists. That is, they argue; and quite unbiblically so that God can't be known outside of the Bible. YET, the Bible itself says not only is He known before a person even cracks open the Bible, but that He is revealing Himself so much that if a person still doubts there is god(s), then they are without excuse.
Clarkians posit an absurdity of circular reasoning. What they advocate isn't really axiomatic at all. To accede to the proposition that "The Bible is the Word of God written", MUST FIRST presuppose the person...how shall I say?...has a command of the material that GOD IS -- that is "God exists" and following that; that the Bible is His Word written.
Lastly, the poignant phrase found throughout that Bible; The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge presupposes before a person BEGINS to "know" anything; they first FEAR the Lord. As you can see, it keeps coming back to the FACT that it all must start with GOD IS the I AM THAT I AM -- The Existing One.
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