Some Thoughts on Christian Epistemology

Recently at the apologetics conference, I heard a great talk on problems of Open Theism and how God is truly timeless. I heard it expressed in a way I never had before and it really left me thinking. I have also been reading Gordon Clark’s “Thales to Dewey” with the constant debate between rationalism and empiricism. How do we know what we know?

Now what I am about to put forward here is just speculation. However, it could help spark someone else’s thoughts. Maybe someone will comment the missing piece. Rest assured, I have no conclusions definitely and I will spend much more time pondering this. I’m wanting to invite you along on this journey though and you can get a glimpse into what’s going on in my mind. (Some of you, I anticipate, are getting nightmares now.)

I believe that God experiences everything in the eternal now and knows everything in the eternal now. Right now, God is creating the world, seeing his Son die on the cross, and unleashing judgment on those sinners who haven’t repented at the great white throne judgment, as well as enjoying eternity with you and I.

Now how about our knowledge? Plato’s idea is that we know because we saw the forms in between our lives. Now it’s not likely he believed in reincarnation, but that is just the best possible theory he had at the time for explaining how we know the eternal ideas called the forms.

Aristotle was different. Aristotle thought that information came through the senses mostly. Now Plato was not against sense experience. Plato was against the idea that all knowledge came through that for he thought there were many things you do not know through your senses.

Augustine came and said that the forms were eternal ideas in the mind of God and since we are in the image of God, we are given that knowledge when we are born. It is not explicit though. It is implicit within us and when certain triggering events come along, we recognize them.

Then Aquinas came and Christianized Aristotle and again returned emphasis to the senses. This led to Locke with his theory of the blank slate or “Tabula Rasa.” This was eventually followed by Berkeley who denied the reality of the material world, the skepticism of Hume, and the idea of Kant that we can’t know the reality of external things in themselves.

I see this as a type of natural progression of the idea as one who gives more credence to Plato’s theory of knowledge than Aristotle’s. I ponder though how it went with Berkeley. We are told by the skeptical community that morality is relative, which is to be put in contrast to things that are objective, like science.

But why should we on the basis of naturalism see science as objective? Why should we believe that senses that are the result of an accident can tell us about the nature of the external world? Why should we believe it even exists? If we can’t know the things in themselves, then how can we know they even exist?

Now this is my theory. Things exist and are true because they are eternally true in the mind of God. What that means is not that the objects are eternal themselves, but that God knows time and he knows the way things are at each moment in time. Whatever is before me is there based on the knowledge of God.

This also means that it is based on relationships. Now there is naturally a relationship between everything. My computer exists. There is a subject and a predicate there. The computer is that which partakes in existence. This is also why my epistemology is specifically a Christian epistemology as the God of Christianity exists eternally in a relationship.

Thus, truth is eternally known in the mind of God and when we discover truth, we are simply discovering that which God affirms as true. It will also have to be a Trinitarian concept. I’m not even sure if truth can truly exist in a universe from a monad god. I have far less basis in a naturalistic universe.

Again, these are just my thoughts. Do I have a reconciliation of predestination and free-will yet? No. I’m still chewing on that and maybe in some time I will post some thoughts on it. These are just the ideas I have now, and I certainly hope that there is something to them.

Support Deeper Waters on Patreon!