On the Epistemology of Theology (How do we know what we know about God?)

From the days of Adam and Eve to the present a battle has been raging in the hearts, souls and minds of every human being (including you) concerning the Epistemology of theology. How do we know what we know about God? Although numerous specific answers have been supplied to this question, each of these answers falls into only two categories. These categories are as follows: A. Our own natural reason aided by our experience and empirical observations as well as the observed experience, observations and reason of other human beings and B. what God has chosen to reveal concerning Himself. From these two sources flow everything we think, know and believe concerning A. who God is, B. who we are and C. the nature of the relationship between God and people.

How do we know what we know about God? This question is of the absolute, utmost importance. It is my contention, the earliest contention of the church and the clear teaching of scripture that the one and only true source of our knowledge of God lies solely in what God has chosen to reveal concerning Himself. It is from God’s revelation alone that we learn and understand that in the beginning God created, that He has created us, and that we are created to be His. It is from God’s revelation alone that we learn and understand that their is but one way to be saved – namely through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for us. Some articles of faith such as the justification by grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ are revealed to us only in the Bible while others are revealed to us through natural law/creation. For example a non Christian who has never read the Bible before might very well know that he or she is guilty of wrong doing because God has placed his law in the hearts of every person. Further, a person might come to understand that their is a creator by observing the intricacies of the natural world. Nevertheless, what we do know about God, ourselves and our relationship to God is solely what God has chosen to reveal.

Why is this so important? Why does it matter? It matters because from the time Eve bit the fruit in the Garden of Eden to the present our fallen, sinful nature has rebelled against what God has said. God said, “Do not eat” but “She saw that it was desirable.” Our reason suggests, “If I am guilty of sin, then I will make up for it.” God says, “You are guilty of sin but I have chosen to forgive you through the death and resurrection of my son.” Human reason desires to enthrone itself, to make itself the judge and arbitrator of truth. But all in its kingdom live in condemnation, deception and death.

That is why Christ and His apostles continually point us God’s Word. That is why Christ, when preaching to his disciples points them repeatedly to the scriptures. That is why Peter, Paul and all the evangelists continually say, “It is written.” God’s Word tells us that we have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Our consciences confirm that – if they don’t our spouse or parents can! But the wonderful news that we know only from God’s Word (and which runs contrary to all human reason and all the wisdom of this world) is that God has chosen to forgive our sin through the suffering and death of His Son Jesus Christ. 

 

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