Proverbs 16 continued; The primacy of the word, epistemology and apologetic

The theology of “word” (logos in Greek, davar in Hebrew) is central to the faith.  Proverbs 16:20 along with 2 Tim 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:19 promise that as “we give attention to the word, we will find good” (Proverbs 16:20).  That “good” is clarified by the 2 Timothy and 2 Peter passages.  These passages show us that the word is inspired by God, through His Spirit, originating in Him, enlivening the lives of His people to both have written it (ie the Bible) and to actively live it (Titus 3).  But what is the “word”.  Throughout scripture, when taken in context, word implies God’s spoken word, Jesus, and the grammar and syntax of the Bible.  What all 3 of these uses have in common is that the ultimate expression of a “word encounter” is not knowledge in and of itself but personal life changing experience with God through Christ.  Word is vehicle for encounter with Jesus (when spoken and written, “propositional”) or encounter itself (the ministry and person of Jesus breaking through time and space and touching one’s heart and life, “personal”). 

With the above as a backdrop, I have formulated the views below:
1. Epistemology-how we come to know what we know: REVELATIONAL
a. Because of our inherent sinful nature, humans do not posess a metaphysical a priori or a “rational contact point” with God…We are utterly lost.
b. “Spiritual longing” is a desire humans have for what only God supplies but is not a desire for God Himself. We perceive a general revelation
but then promptly proceed to suppress it in true “idolatrous fashion” (Romans 1). The search for God begins, not ends, at conversion.
c. The Kantian view of “understanding” through a “synthetic unity of apperception” describes how we think sensually in our physical world.
The only sensual apriori’s are synthetical apperception, space and time…This is the scientific/medical sphere. Synthetical apperception or our rational
thought process is God’s image in us, give by Him to us, which allows us to “understand as empiracly reasonable” His enlivening of our spirit to new life
when He calls us. This is my extension of Kant’s principle.
d. The Kantian view of “reason” through application of a posteriori logic/deontology is how we think and may act in an ethical sphere.
e. The Kantian view of “reflecting judgement” is how we can relate the scientific and ethical spheres. This involves seeing nature as purposive/
teleological for purposes of our cognition and not for deriving a metaphysical object.
f. The Barthian views of revelation breaking through krisis and the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit further empower, enliven and enlighten
our reason in THE most dramatic way. This is how God breaks through our sensual (and fallen) understanding and brings people to Himself through
The Word, Jesus Christ.

2. Apologetic-demonstrates a posteriori for our faith’s reality: PHENOMENOLOGIC
a. The ground of religious validity is a posteriori personal experience and a posteriori internal consistency.
b. Internal consistency is understood as both ethically acting in accordance with our faith principles and demonstrating their reasonableness by historical
evidence (historical revelation and scriptural reliability) and rational proofs of God’s existence especially cosmologically.
c. A priori rationalism is not an effective approach to apologetics in and of itself. God can be and is directly known, not simply rationally inferred.

3. Kant describes how “our fleshly nature” thinks and may ideally act. Barth describes that “our redeemed fleshly nature” can be enlightened, renewed and empowered to think and act in a spiritual way. The “how” is in God’s hands and the “word encounter”.

4. Thus it is not a “spiritual life of faith” that is irrational. But a man, who in the face of imago dei’s testimony of rationality sees internally consistent Revelation and rejects it, that is irrational. Calling the rational irrational is the epitomy of irrationality.


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