Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Blaming The Enlightenment

One of the clever Emerfibs that goes all the way back to Stan Grenz is the notion that doctrinal certainty is not an Early Church idea. I agree. But for different reasons. The Emergents tell us that the idea of confidence in the correspondence theory of truth and the doctrinal certainty it implies (if you believe the Bible) came from the Enlightenment.

Bunk. Long before DesCartes, Jesus quoted Isaiah, David, and Moses as absolute proofs of all sorts of things. The idea of doctrinal certainty came from God Himself in the Garden, when He warned Adam about eating and dying. It was true. Ask Adam.

Here is a quote from Morris Kline describing just what was going on in the European religious mind as a result of the discovery that nature followed physical laws that could be expressed mathematically:

Nature is simple and orderly, its behavior regular and necessary. It acts in accordance with perfect and immutable mathematical laws. Divine reason is the source of the rational in nature. God put into the world rigorous mathematical necessity that humans, although their reason is related to God's, reach only laboriously. Mathematical knowledge is therefore not only absolute truth, but as sacrosanct as any line of the Scriptures."

Kline, Morris; Mathematics and the Search for Knowledge;
Oxford Press; 1985; page 95.

Kline is a secular writer and wrote a secular history. He is unbiased and he makes plain what Christians have known for millenia. Doctrinal certainty comes from Scriptures, not Newton or Galileo. The certainty that came as a result of modern scientific advance had to do with nature, not religious doctrine. If anything, the advancements in science came (for men like Galileo) as a result of their belief in an immutable, intelligent God. Not the other way around.

So the next time a postmodern religionist says that you are only certain about doctrine because you have bought into modern thought, ask him what he did during history class.

In Christ,
Phil Perkins.

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