By: Elias Ayala
(M.A.T. & M.DIV)
“The Scripture does not depend for its truth on anything other than itself. It is not true because it accords with some higher standard. It is true because it is God’s Word, and God’s Word is true because He says it” -Dr. John Frame
In the above quote, Dr. Frame correctly recognizes the authoritative place the scriptures hold within the Christian’s worldview. On Christian theism, there is no higher authority than God Himself. We see even within the pages of the Bible God swearing by Himself since there is no higher authority to which one can appeal. God says unto Abraham, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son…” (Genesis 22:16). If there is no higher authority than God Himself, then surely His revealed Word bears the same ultimate authority since it springs forth from His very Spirit, which carries men along to speak the words of God (1 Peter 1:21).
Taking the authority of scripture within an apologetical context, surely, it would be pointed out, that such an understanding of the authority of God’s Word would commit one to the logical fallacy of “circular reasoning”. The fallacy of circular reasoning is committed when one assumes the truth of the very thing one seeks to prove. This is indeed fallacious when engaging in argumentation. However, circular reasoning is not always a fallacy. When one is debating issues of ultimate authorities, circular reasoning occurs of necessity. When considering the issue of “world-views” (that intellectual lens with which all of reality is interpreted), everyone has at the most fundamental level, that intellectual bedrock upon which all else is built upon. For instance, how does one prove the validity of sense perception? Well, one must assume the reliability of sense perception in order to prove the reliability of sense perception. How would one prove the reliability of the laws of logic (i.e. The laws of thought: Law of identity, Law of Non-contradiction, and the Law of Excluded Middle)? One must must assume the reliability of the laws of logic in order to even argue for the reliability of the laws of logic, since argumentation itself presupposes the validity of those laws. In like fashion, every worldview perspective has an axiomatic ultimate authoritative foundation.
For the professing Christian, our ultimate authority is the Triune God of the scriptures. The creator and sustainer of all things has provided us with a revelation that is firm and sure. From an intellectual stand point, the Bible provides us with all the necessary ingredients for a rational and coherent worldview. It is upon this bedrock that the believer must hang his or her intellectual hat. For only the Christian worldview founded upon the sure Word of God, can a rational and coherent worldview be built. Furthermore, it is only within the revealed worldview expressed in scripture that the believer can mount a cogent intellectual onslaught upon unbelieving thought.
Because the nature of the disagreement between the believer and the unbeliever is one of fundamental, bedrock, ultimate foundations, the Christian must challenge the unbeliever at that fundamental level, while standing firm on God’s revealed foundation. Although this will be expounded upon in a later post, it is upon this revealed foundation that the believer can intellectually couch truth, logic, science, philosophy, history and all other areas of knowledge acquisition. Thus, let the believer rest assure that the firm foundation of God’s Word is strong enough to carry the weight of any intellectual onslaught the enemy can throw at it.