Christian Theology, Biblical Theology

"You are no longer under law but grace; therefore, sin shall not have dominion over you" "The grace of God has appreared teaching men to say no to sin"

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Can You Ever Know Truth

Sinners walking by faith every day of their lives just as much as the believer does with God


I was listening to RC Sproul discuss Bishop Barkley and his views of John Locke and his empiricism. Most unbelievers are notoriously empiricists in their views of knowledge and reality. Locke made popular the correspondence theory of truth and also distinguished between primary and secondary properties of matter. Barkley discusses Locke’s correspondence theory of truth which states “Something is true if it corresponds to reality”. Now this sounds nice and neat doesn't it? If I form the proposition “there is a red automobile in my garage”. So long as there is in reality a red automobile in my garage then my proposition is true. Putting aside this trite example what Barkley really gets down to is this: Since we only have access to the extended world through our senses; who’s to say what reality is? Whose to say that what I see is a car? What if some angelic being appeared to me and explained the true essence of the matter that I perceive as a car? What if a color blind person told me that the car is not red but gray?

This is the first landmine that the unbeliever steps in every day; if there is not an objective being who knows reality, then all their science collapses and their pursuit for truth is nothing more than a fool’s errand because as long as our knowledge of the extended world is limited to our senses and observations, then it will always be subjective.

The correspondence theory of truth not only suffers the fatal flaw of subjectivity but it also begs the question or is circular reasoning; because we are declaring a proposition true and then assuming the truth of reality.

The real clincher is when Barkley rightly points out that all observable properties of matter that we know of are secondary or dispositional and we can never know if we have observed the essence of something or merely observing it's secondary properties or dispositional properties. So once physicists discover what subsumes an atom such as a quark, how will they know that they have arrived at the essence of matter? Maybe there is something that subsumes a quark and then something that subsumes that...The answer is “they can’t” ever know when they have come to know the essence of something or if they are merely observing "another skin of the onion". So what this boils down to is that everything that we observe in live we are really observing the behavior of its unknowable essence. Is this starting to sound like the design argument that we are often railed for? Yet every person employs this argument or principle every day in every aspect of science and life. They put faith in the effects of the unseen essence and live their lives accordingly. Just as we Christians put our faith in what we observe to be true from the unseen God.

I found this very useful in that we can show the unbelievers that as we observe the dispositional aspects of the world, we can infer a Designer, just as they observe the dispositional properties of matter and make their inferences. I used to joust with unbelievers about my not having enough faith for evolution but now I can share with them that we are all believers and each of us walks by faith daily! And their science and every aspect of the mundane requires the same exact faith and argument from design that we exercise when we place our faith in God.

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