Released: May 6, 2014 By: Daniel Whyte III
Our Reasons to Believe Scripture passage for today is 2 Corinthians 10:5. It reads, "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."
Our Reasons to Believe quote for today is from J.C. Ryle. He said, "If the Bible is not the Word of God and inspired, the whole of Christendom for 1800 years has been under an immense delusion; half the human race has been cheated and deceived, and churches are monuments of folly. If the Bible is the Word of God and inspired, all who refuse to believe it are in fearful danger; they are living on the brink of eternal misery. No man, in his sober senses, can fail to see that the whole subject demands most serious attention."
Our Reason to Believe powerpoint today is titled "Partial Overlapping" from "The Handbook of Christian Apologetics" by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli:
Most people would agree with us that the fifth position that faith and reason partially overlap is the most reasonable and correct one. It distinguishes three different kinds of truths:
a. truths of faith and not of reason,
b. truths of both faith and reason, and
c. truths of reason and not of faith.
Truths of faith alone are things revealed by God but not understandable, discoverable or provable by reason (e.g., the Trinity or the fact that Christ's death atoned for our sins). Truths of both faith and reason are things revealed by God but also understandable, discoverable or provable by reason (e.g., the existence of one God, or an objective moral law, or life after death). Truths of reason and not of faith are things not revealed by God but known by human reason (e.g., the natural sciences). If this is the correct position, it follows that the Christian apologist has two tasks: to prove all the propositions in class b and to answer all objections to the propositions in class a.
We cannot prove the propositions in class a (e.g., the Trinity), but we can answer all objections to them. For example, suppose a Unitarian objects to the Trinity because "it splits God into triplets." We can show that this is a misunderstanding; it does not mean three Gods, but one God in three Persons. Or suppose a logician says it is a contradiction to call anything both one and three. We can reply that God is one nature, not three, and three persons, not one. This is not a contradiction, any more than we are: we are two natures (spirit and animal, mind and matter, soul and body) but one person.
Christian thinkers do not all agree about how many of the propositions of faith can be proved by reason, but most have held that some could (thus apologetics is possible) but not all (thus apologetics is limited).
The doctrine of the Fall teaches that human nature, and thus human reason is corrupted, but still valid and usable---like a crippled body. It can walk, unlike rocks, but not well. We must distinguish reason de facto ("in reality," or "in fact") and reason de jure ("by law," or "by right"), or reason in its everyday use and reason in itself, or reason improperly used and reason properly used. Used properly, it is powerful but not all-powerful. Reason can persuade you to walk to the beach, but you must make the leap of faith into the sea of the living God. Fideism says it can't even bring you to the beach; rationalism says it can put you into the sea.