By Jim Pemberton
It was said by theologians in the Middle Ages that philosophy is the handmaiden of theology. It is recognized that philosophy generated religious movements and Christian theology, in particular, was forged on the anvil of clashing philosophical movement. While we are admonished by Paul not to be swayed by the philosophies of men (Col 2:8), it is precisely in observing where people have been led astray with philosophy that we have learned what the scriptures do not mean.
In this light, it is helpful to understand philosophy so as not to be held captive by it. And it is in the study of philosophy that we learn that there are helpful categories for helping us understand the Bible correctly. In this series, I will talk about the central categories that help give us a foundation for understanding. Then I will discuss at least one of the philosophical systems that are leading people astray today.
How Do We Know?
Perhaps the most foundational area of philosophical thought is epistemology. The word epistemology literally means the “study of knowledge” and it deals with theories of how we know things. Epistemology is the answer to the question, “How do you know?” Continue reading
by Ken Hamrick
Instead of arguing for or against the scientific evidence, or arguing the merits of possible exegetical ways to reconcile Scripture with a billions-of-years chronology, I propose that—for the sake of argument-–we eliminate the evidence question all together. We can do this by accepting all the scientific claims at face value, and still insisting on a recent supernatural creation out of nothing. In other words, we would not posit a young earth, but an old earth that was recently created by divine fiat. When God creates out of nothing, He is not limited to creating things “new.” God created Adam and Eve as physically mature adults and not as infants. He created mature, fruit-bearing trees for immediate food. “He made the stars also”—and made a universe with mature light-trails already existing so that the stars were already visible. All of these imply a time-consuming natural process that was well under way at the first moment of creation. God chose to create not at the beginning of these natural processes, but somewhere in the middle—as if these processes had been going on long before the moment of creation. Continue reading
by Ken Hamrick
“Young Earth” creationism (YEC), as part of the Christian faith, stands on certain presuppositions, such as the existence of God and the divine, verbal inspiration of Scripture. The kind of apologetic argument that acknowledges that such presuppositions are assumed, and does not attempt to prove them, is presuppositional apologetics. Such presuppositions cannot be proven else they would not be matters of faith but of science. Only God can prove such things to a man. No matter how well-intended, those apologists who try to prove such things to unbelievers are wasting their efforts. The proper goal of the apologist should be to establish the validity of the Christian worldview when it is given that our presuppositions are true, and not to try to prove that these presuppositions are true. Continue reading
by Ken Hamrick
As we approach 2014, Christianity is under attack as never before in this country. These are troubling times. The evangelical Church has always been in the minority, and the world has always been opposed to the Church; but, here in America, at least, the world seemed to tolerate the Church… until recently. While sinners disagreed with our faith, they had in general a certain grudging respect for the strength of our worldview—not that they admired it, but that they could not disprove it. The large numbers of those who attended a Christian church of some kind, together with the possibility that the Book on which our worldview is based might actually be true, served as a kind of collective conscience of our society. But something changed that. The collective conscience is being seared. The respect is gone, and the world’s tolerance for the true Christian faith is disappearing. Continue reading