Sunday, October 30, 2005
In his book, Dr. Sproul list 3 different type of certainty,
1. Philosophical/Formal Certainty
3. Moral Certainty
Today we will deal with the first.
Definition of Philosophical Certainty
“Philosophical certainty has to with formal arguments that are so logically tight and compelling that to deny the conclusion would be to yield to manifest irrationality or absurdity. This kind of certainty can be found only within the framework of the formal relationship of propositions.” –pg 102
Example of Philosophical Certainty
Dr. Sproul presents an example of philosophical certainty with a syllogism, which is a form of deductive reasoning consisting of a major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion.
Premise A: All men are mortal.
Premise B: Socrates is a man.
Premise C: Socrates is mortal.
“ If this syllogism the canons of logic dictates that if premise A is true and premise B is true, then the conclusion is necessarily, by resistless logic, true. Note, however, that the truth of the conclusion, though it flows irresistible from the premises, is still ultimately dependent on the truth of the premises.” –pg.102
Absolute Philosophical Certainty
Dr. Sproul then evaluates the idea if we can know anything with ABSOLUTE certainty by evaluating both premises.
First Dr. Sproul evaluates premise A by asking the question “do we know with ABSOLUTE certainty that Socrates was in fact mortal?”.
“Do we know with certainty that all men are mortal? If so, how do we know it? By reason? By sense perception? Could we possibly prove this statement to be true? To prove it absolutely we would have to examine every human being who has ever lived and is now alive to prove our claim…To know inductively that all men are mortal we would have to observe the death of all men, including ourselves! The only way we could have absolute that all men are mortal would be posthumously!” –pg.103
Dr. Sproul also evaluates the second premise, noting that this also lacks ABSOLUTE certainty.
“What about premise B?…We trust the reports of fallible men of antiquity for our information about Socrates. We have a high degree of probability that there was a Socrates but we lack absolute certainty.”-pg. 103
Only God has Absolute Philosophical Certainty
“As long as our capacity for knowledge is the slightest bit less than omniscient, then the problem of philosophical certainty will remain. Only a being who is omniscient can transcend the problem. In other words, only God can have philosophical certainty. Since we are not and cannot be gods, we are lift with philosophical uncertainty."-pg.104
Don’t ever allow anyone to require ABSOLUTE certainty for why you believe in God, or in anything else for that matter.
What type or kind of certainty must we have about God, His existence, the inerrancy of the Bible, and the revelation about Christ? Sometimes I think that some people demand a type of certainty that is unreasonable and one that they don’t personally require for anything else in life.
In the following days, I want to present some excerpts from R.C. Sproul’s book entitled “Scripture Alone: The Evangelical Doctrine”, where he deals with the meaning of “certainty”.
NBA 05-06 Predications:
Southwest: 1. Spurs 2. Rockets 3. Mavs. 5. Grizzlies 6. Hornets.
Northwest: 1. Nuggets 2. KG* 3. Seattle 4. Jazz 5. Blazers.
Pacific: 1. Kings 2. Suns. 3. Lakers 4. Warriors 5. Clippers.
Atlantic: 1. Nets 2. Celtics 3. 76ers 4. Knicks 5. Raptors
Central: 1. Pistons 2. Pacers 3. Cavaliers 4. Bulls. 5. Bucks.
Southeast: 1. Heat 2. Wizards 3. Magic 4. Bobcats. 5. Hawks
NBA Finals: Heat over Rockets
Rookie of the Year: Deron Williams (Utah Jazz)
Players to Watch: JR Smith (Hornets), Nate Robinson (Knicks), Larry Hughes (Cavs), and TJ Ford (Bucks)
It’s Danny’s Bday,
Everybody say “YEAH!!!”
Danny was born on Halloween
A day when he can dress like someone mean,
Or like someone on the Dallas Cowboys team.
It’s Danny’s Bday,
Everybody say, “YEAH”.
Danny was born with fat cheeks,
Like someone, who ate and drank all week,
Which is phatter than the skills of Chris Leak.
It’s Danny’s Bday,
Everybody say, “YEAH!!”
Danny was born without a mate,
But it’s not too late,
For his birthday, who will be his date?
Desiring God Radio - There's a series on Ruth entitled, “Ruth: Sweet and Bitter Providence”.
Renewing Your Mind – Dr. Sproul is doing a series on the book of Hebrews.
Grace to You – Dr. MacArthur is doing a series called “ A Plea for Purity”
White Horse Inn – Dr. Horton and the guys are doing a series called ”Is the Reformation Over?” with special guest Mark Noll, the historian.
Al Mohler Show had some interesting topics last week including, “How Do Christians Deal With Halloween?”
Friday, October 28, 2005
Last Sunday School, I don't think I was too clear on describing the phase "fall short of the glory of God" in Romans 3:23. My friend ,Geoff, on his blog has written a short article entitled "Beauty in God's eye", which may help.
Check it out here:
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Nancy Pearcy, author of Total Truth, is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. Below is my summary/outline of her article called “Why Judges Makes Law: The Roots and Remedy of Judicial Imperialism”, which deals with the problem of the judicial system interpreting and making new laws.
The entire article can be found at: http://www.pearceyreport.com/archives/2005/09/post_2.php
1. The Problem: "Whether Judges should interpret the law or make new law"?
“There is a delicious irony about the Supreme Court's taking up a case that involves one of the most contentious legal issues of our time: whether judges should interpret the law or make new law.”
2. History of Judicial Usurpation
"(Prior to 1800) The concept of obligation was thought to derive from the inherent rightness or justice of the law, and the role of judges was not to make law but only to discover and apply pre-existing rules."
"By 1800, however, these classic concepts of law had been largely abandoned. To accord with a political system of popular sovereignty, law was redefined as based on will of the people. Popular consent was extended from the political sphere to the legal sphere. Yet the idea that law is an instrument of will was a two-edged sword, for it also meant that law could be shaped by the will of the judge intent on molding legal doctrine according to public policy goals."
3. This Approach to the law was influenced by the Pragmatic Philosophy which is rooted in Darwinism
"This approach to the law received its most influential philosophical justification in the writings of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., an important founder of a school of thought known as legal pragmatism. Legal pragmatism traces its origins to the early decades of the 20th Century when America was wrestling with the implications of Darwin's theory of evolution. Holmes was one of a group of scholars whose goal was to work out the implications of Darwinism for an overarching philosophy of life, which came to be called pragmatism."
"The development of American legal philosophy underscores the crucial role played by the Darwinian view of origins in every area of thought. Darwinism is not only a biological theory; it is also the basis for a comprehensive worldview--implying a new philosophy of mind, knowledge, morality and law. In modern society, science is given authority to tell us "what really is," with the result that philosophy and the humanities adapt to its vision of reality. Thus a direct line connects Darwinism to both the postmodernism of Richard Rorty and the pragmatic moral skepticism of Richard Posner. In these philosophies, the only objective and absolute truth is that there are no objective and absolute truths. In essence, the death of God substitutes for the existence of God, in the sense that it functions as the one fundamental truth that cannot be doubted"
4. Is the Law Only a Product of Cultural Evolution?
"In his highly influential 1897 essay "The Path of the Law," Holmes even reduced law to a summary of the social and economic policies shown scientifically to work best. As he put it, "The man of the future is the man of statistics and the master of economics." Law was redefined as a tool for identifying and manipulating factors aimed at creating social harmony and progress."
"In short, law was little more than a tool for social engineering, using the coercive power of the state to enforce the policies deemed by bureaucrats to be most desirable. To quote Holmes again, the justification for a law is not that it is consistent with universal principles but "that it helps bring out a social end which we desire."
"In short, for Holmes law is not based on any eternal or divine moral law; it is strictly a product of cultural evolution, and it functions as an instrument of social policy".
5. Pragmatism leads to the Separation of Morality (And God) From Law
"Pearcy quotes Richard Posner (a neopragmatists), "The only warrant for believing that there is a moral law that is 'out there' in the very strong sense claimed by a Plato or an Aquinas," Posner says, "is a certain type of religious faith, the faith in a Supreme Lawgiver and in a spiritual reality as real as a material reality." But this position Posner excludes by definition, without any argument, from academic discourse: "religious arguments are not a part of academic moralism." In a recent essay, he writes that a pragmatist judge facing a new situation for which there is no clear legal precedent "does not look to God or other transcendental sources of moral principle." For Posner, the only sound basis for a legal rule is social advantage;"
"The chief theoretical failing of pragmatism is that its only measure for evaluating law is whether it "works"--whether it achieves desired social goals: It offers no transcendent principles by which to say whether those goals themselves are good or bad. "
6. The Battle Against Darwinism is the key in Defeating Judicial Imperialism
"Thus if conservatives want to make a thorough-going critique of what Kristol and Bell denounce as "judicial supremacy," we must begin with Darwinism as a scientific theory. Philosophical and moral critiques of pragmatism have been offered by several philosophers, from Bertrand Russell to Ronald Dworkin. But such critiques will remain ineffective if Darwin described what is in fact the case in nature: If natural forces alone produced the human mind, for example, then we must accept the naturalistic and reductionist conclusion that the mind is merely a tool adapted for survival--along with the relativistic and skeptical implications this has for morality and law. Thus we need to be prepared to take the intellectual battle into science itself. The controversy over Darwin versus design is not a peripheral issue but lies at the heart of the cultural crisis of our day."
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Is there ever a time or an occasion when we should lie? What about when your girlfriend asks you if you think she is fat? What about during World War 2, when some people were hiding Jews from the Nazis in their house?
Below are some points for reflection from John Murray's "Sanctity of Truth"
The entire article can be found at : http://www.the-highway.com/truth_Murray.html
1. The Foundation of the "Sanctity of Truth" is that God is Truth
"We are thus getting to the basis and heart of the question of ‘truth’. God is ‘the truth’, truth absolute, ultimate, eternal, in contradistinction from all that is relative, derived, partial, and temporal."
"When we speak, therefore, of the sanctity of truth, we must recognize that what underlies this concept is the sanctity of the being of God as the living and true God. He is the God of truth and all truth derives its sanctity from him. This is why all untruth or falsehood is wrong; it is a contradiction of that which God is. And this is why God cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18; cf Romans 3:4).’
2 A Christian Practices Truthfulness
"As untruth is the hallmark of impiety, so truth is the insigne of godliness. This is true, first of all, in respect of knowledge. No words of Scripture are more relevant than those of our Lord himself. ‘This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent’ (John 17:3). ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father but by me’ (John 14:6). ‘If ye continue in my word, then are ye truly my disciples; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’ (John 8:31, 32). To know God is to know the truth; to be established in the faith and obedience of Christ is to know the truth. To know the Holy Spirit and to be indwelt by him is to be guided into all truth; the Spirit is ‘the Spirit of truth’ (John 16:13). "
3. There's a Difference between Truthfulness, Falsehood, and Concealment
"It is quite true that the Scripture warrants concealment of truth from those who have no claim upon it. We immediately recognize the justice of this. How intolerable life would be if we were under obligation to disclose all the truth. And concealment is often an obligation which truth itself requires. ‘He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets; but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth a matter’ (Proverbs 11:13). It is also true that men often forfeit their right to know the truth and we are under no obligation to convey it to them."
"But these facts of the right and duty of concealment and of forfeiture of certain rights are not to be equated with our right to speak untruth. Forfeiture of right to know the truth and the right of concealment in such cases do not mean that our obligation to speak truth is ever forfeited. There is a chasm of difference between the forfeiture of right to know the truth, which belongs to one man, and the right to speak untruth on the part of another. The latter is not an inference to be drawn from the former. Those who argue for the right to speak untruth on the basis that others have forfeited their right to know or be told the truth have committed an egregious logical error and have sought to justify a deviation from truthfulness which the Scripture does not support."
4. Love and Truth Are Not an Antithesis
"No claim is more basic or ultimate than that of truth. We cannot regard any other sanction as higher on the altar of which truth may be sacrificed. By what warrant may we plead, as many have done,14 that love is a higher end out of consideration for which untruth is sometimes justifiable and dutiful? Is life itself more sacred than truth? God is love (I John 4:8, 16). But God is truth also (cf John 1:5; John 1:9; 17:3; I John 5:20; John 14:6; I John 5:6). Love and truth do not conflict in him and his truth is never curtailed or prejudiced in maintaining and promoting the interests of his love. God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son and sent him into this world of sin and misery and death. This was love. But nothing could be more significant than this that when the Son came and was embarking upon the climactic commitment of his mission he said: ‘For this end am I born and for this purpose am I come into the world, that I might bear witness to the truth’ (John 18:37)."
"Truthfulness in us is derived from, and is patterned after, ‘the truth’, and ‘no lie is of the truth’ (I John 2:21). It is because untruth is the contradiction of the nature of God that it is wrong.15 Truth and untruth are antithetical because God is truth. And this is the reason why truthfulness and untruth do not cohere."