10 Reasons to Reject Scripturalism:  A Response Part 7 of 10

By C.Jay Engel and Luke Miner

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5.Part 6.

Objection 7

The occasionalist psychology of belief is in conflict with Scripturalists reliance on the internalist constraint on knowledge. If someone (including the non-Christian) has knowledge simply in virtue of God producing a true belief in him, then additional constraints on knowledge are superfluous. In particular, the idea that someone must know how he knows p or that he knows p, in order to know p, is falsified by occasionalism. Therefore, much knowledge can be had by a person quite apart from that person assuming the Christian worldview. Of course, if God’s producing a true belief in someone is not sufficient for the production of knowledge, then occasionalism isn’t even a theory of knowledge at all.

Answer

This objection hinges on a misunderstanding of Scripturalism.  We reject the view that “someone must know how he knows p or that he knows p, in order to know p” and the idea that one must “assume the Christian worldview in order to have knowledge.”  Since these are the views that the objector seems to take issue with, this is no objection against Scripturalism.

Elaboration

In Part 4 of this series, we explained why it is incorrect to charge Scripturalists with believing that one must know how he knows P in order to know P.  Furthermore, as we showed in Part 5, Scripturalists are not occasionalists.  

As a side note, the objector may think that it is important to affirm that other non-presuppositionalists can have knowledge.  We heartily agree.  As reformed theologians, we believe that no one is saved apart from saving faith (i.e. saving knowledge) being granted to them by the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, all believers, whether empiricists, rationalists, irrationalists, etc, all believers have knowledge, even if they refute themselves by espousing inconsistent epistemologies.

Additionally, we can see how our denial of the idea that one must “assume the Christian worldview in order to have knowledge” might come as a surprise to people who have been introduced to Clark through the lense of Van Tillian presuppositionalism.  Clarkian Presuppositionalism teaches that a belief is known if it is both true and was obtained by a method that is guaranteed to exclude error.  So, if God communicates a belief from His mind to our mind, that belief is known, by definition.  The objector is correct that no other constraint is required.  However, we do believe that one should assume that the Bible is the Word of God if he wants to construct a good defense of his faith.  Perhaps the Van Tillians blur the lines between Epistemology and Apologetics when/if they say that one must assume the Christian worldview in order to have knowledge.  It might be a little better to say, as some of them do, that one must assume the Christian worldview in order to justify his claim to knowledge.  However, this is probably impossible to prove.  Rather, what we really say is that one can justify his claim to knowledge if he takes “The Bible is the Word of God” as his axiom (i.e. his presupposition), and, as apologists and evangelists, we try to show how knowledge would be impossible if other worldviews (as many as we know of) are true.

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