Thursday, December 31, 2015

Book Recommendation: Concerning Religious Epistemology

I heartily recommend the book by James Emery White entitled What Is Truth? (Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman, 1994.) By the way, he's not the same J. White, who has launched multiple criticisms against Jehovah's Witnesses, Muslims, Mormons and others.

White's book deals with the religious epistemologies of Cornelius Van Til, Francis Schaeffer, Carl F.H. Henry, Donald Bloesch, and Millard Erickson. I have found the book extremely helpful in matters related to the theory of religious knowledge, and I especially connect with the epistemic system of Carl F.H. Henry as delineated in his magnum opus God, Revelation, and Authority. Concerning the law of non-contradiction, Henry writes: "Without noncontradiction and logical consistency, no knowledge whatever is possible" (Qt. in White 103). He adds: "whatever violates the law of contradiction cannot be considered revelation." But why? Because "the God of biblical revelation is the God of reason, not Ultimate Irrationality; all he does is rational" (103).

So contrary to what some may assert, the law of contradiction (or non-contradiction) is not a man-made law. Neither Zeno nor Parmenides nor Aristotle created this "law." Henry concludes that God Himself is behind the law of contradiction (non-contradiction), and Henry is not alone in this regard.

One twentieth thinker, J. Mortimer Adler, also has written that the law of contradiction is an observation about real life: it is not simply a formal rule of human logic that has no applicability to ontology. Or as Henry puts matters--without the law of noncontradiction and without logical consistency, "no knowledge whatever is possible."

Another observation worth noting is this one: "Christian theology denies that the human mind or human reasoning is a creative source of revelational content; its proper role is not to fashion revelation or truth, but rather to recognize and elucidate it" (Henry qt. in White 95). Cf. Henry's God, Revelation, and Authority 1:41ff.

Compare Romans 12:1.

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