Monday, June 30, 2008

The Place of Reason In Apologetics

The explicit statements of Scripture, inferences from the truths of Scripture, and the approved examples of certain Biblical figures, all make it evident that reason has a place in apologetics, but its place varies according to the different senses of the word.

If by reason we mean the internal coherence of God's mind, which for us translates as the revelation of God found in the pages of Scripture, then reason is criteriological and thus occupies the highest place in apologetics. If, on the other hand, by reason we mean the use of our minds in the presentation of God's truth or in formulating arguments for God truth, then reason occupies a subordinate position. Such reasoning is to take as its starting point the truth of God's word, is to reason according to the method laid down in God's word, and is to conclude where God's word concludes. Reason in this sense is a tool to be used by the apologist in a way that is faithful to God.

Autonomous reasoning, that is, reasoning that does not take God's word but something else as normative - whether that laid down by a false god or some other creature - is anathematized in Scripture and philosophically collapses as arbitrary upon analysis.

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