PMW 2020-059 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
This is the fourth and concluding article on worldview apologetics.
Presuppositions Make a Difference
Reality (Ontology). When asked to give the basis and starting point for the orderly universe and all external reality, the Christian points to the self-contained, omnipresent all-powerful, all-wise God of Scripture.
When the non-Christian is asked to give the basis and starting for the orderly universe and external reality, he points literally to nothing. All has risen from nothing by the irrational mechanism of chance. When asked if something can miraculously pop into being from nothing in an instant the non-Christian vigorously responds in the negative. Instant miracles are out of the question! But when asked if something can come out of nothing if given several billion years, the non-Christian confidently responds in the affirmative. As Van Til, has noted, the non-Christian overlooks the fact that if one zero equals zero, then a billion zeros can equal only zero.
Thus, the Christian has a more than adequate reason for the universe, whereas the non-Christian has no reason whatsoever.
Knowledge (Epistemology). The Christian establishes his theory of knowledge on the all-ordering omniscient God of Scripture. God has instantaneous, true, and exhaustive knowledge of everything. And he has revealed to man in the Bible comprehensive principles which are clear and give a sure foundation for knowledge. Such a foundation insures that what man does know (although he cannot know all things) he can know truly. Knowledge does work because man’s mind as created by God is receptive to external reality and is given validity by God Himself.
As It Is Written: The Genesis Account Literal or Literary?
Book by Ken Gentry
Presents the exegetical evidence for Six-day Creation and against the Framework Hypothesis. Strong presentation and rebuttal to the Framework Hypothesis, while demonstrating and defending the Six-day Creation interpretation.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
On the other hand, the non-Christian must establish his theory of knowledge on the same foundation upon which he established reality: nebulous chaos and irrational chance. If followed out consistently the non-Christian theory of knowledge would utterly destroy all knowledge, causing it to drown in the turbulent ocean of irrationalism. There is no reason for reason in the non-Christian system. The concepts of probability, possibility, order, rationality, and so forth, are impossible in a chance system.
Thus, the Christian has a sure foundation for knowledge, whereas the non-Christian has none.
Morality (Ethics). When we consider the issue of moral behavior—how we shall conduct ourselves—again the question must be settled in terms of one’s system.
For the Christian, morality is founded upon the all-good, all-knowing, everywhere present, all powerful, personal, and eternal God of Scripture. His will, which is rooted in his being and nature, is man’s standard of right. Since God is all good (Psa. 119:137; Mark 10:18b) and all-knowing (Psa. 139:2-27; Prov. 15:3), moral principles revealed in Scripture are always relevant to our situation. Since God is eternal (Psa. 90:2; 102:12), his moral commands are always binding upon men.
For the non-Christian there is no sure base for ethics. Since reality is founded on nothing and knowledge is rooted in irrationalism, morality can be nothing other than pure, impersonal irrelevance. In such a system as presupposed by non-Christian thought there are no—there can be no—ultimate, abiding moral principles. Everything is caught up in the impersonal flux of a random universe. Random change is an ultimate in such a system, consequently ethics is reduced to pure relativism. Non-Christian thought can offer no justification for any moral behavior whatsoever.
Purpose (Teleology). To the question of whether or not there is any significance and meaning to the universe and to life, the Christian confidently responds in the affirmative. There is meaning in the world because it was purposely and purposefully created by and for the personal, loving, all-ordering, eternal God of Scripture (Neh. 9:6; Psa. 33:6-9). Man came about as the direct and purposeful creation of the loving God (Gen. 2:7). Furthermore, man was assigned a specific and far-reaching duty by God on the very day he was created (Gen. 1:26-29). Man and his task must be understood in terms of the eternal God and his plan rather than in terms of himself and an environment of chance and change.
Non-Christian thought destroys the meaning and significance of man by positing that he is nothing more than a chance fluke, an accidental collection of molecules arising out of the slime and primordial ooze. Man is a frail speck of dust caught up in a gigantic, impersonal, multi-billion year old universe. That, and nothing more. As the famous Twentieth Century atheist Bertrand Russell put it:
“The world is purposeless, void of meaning. Man is the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; all th devotion, all th inspiration, all th noonday brightness of human genius are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system. Only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair can the soul’s habitation be safely built. From evoltion no ultimately optimistic philosophy can be validly inferred.” (Russell, Mysticism and Logic [New York: Doubleday, 1917], 45-46)
Calvin and Culture: Exploring a Worldview
Ed. by David Hall
No other Christian teachings in the past five hundred years have affected our Western culture as deeply as the worldview of John Calvin. It extends far beyond the theological disciplines.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
To the question concerning which system is the most adequate to explain external reality, the possibility of knowledge, a relevant and binding ethic, and the significance of man, the answer should be obvious. Actually the defense of Christianity is simple: we argue the impossibility of the contrary. Those who assault the Christian system must actually assume the Christian system to do so. In fact, atheism assumes theism. If the God of Scripture did not exist there would be no man in any real world to argue—there would be no possibility of rationality by which an argument could be forged, and there would be no purpose in debate!
Charles Darwin stated it well in his personal letter to W. Graham on July 3, 1881:
“But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has always been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?” (Francis Darwin, ed., The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin [New York: Basic, 1959], 1:285)
Paul also spoke well when he declared in Romans 3:4, “Let God be true and every man a liar.”
The God of Scripture, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is the ultimate and necessary foundation for a rational, coherent worldview. Every other system is built upon a lie. The Christian system begins with: “In the beginning God.” And from that foundational reality, all the rest of a rational worldview falls into place.