Tonight we’ll have Josh Nelson bringing the word for our meeting. Next week I hope to finish the series on epistemology. In the meantime, I saw this passage from John Frame’s The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God that summed up so much of what we’ve been saying that I had to post it here. Wade through the philosopher talk to get to the good stuff.
When non-Christians argue that God is unknowable, they generally appeal to the limitations implicit in human knowledge. They claim, with Hume, that our knowledge is limited to sense perception or, with Kant, that we can only know “appearances” or “phenomena,” not reality itself. Or, with more recent (but currently unfashionable) positivism, they argue that we know only what can be established by a certain kind of scientific method. Thus God either must be unknowable (the non-Christian transcendence standpoint), or He must fit within the realms of finite sense-perception – “phenomena” or science – and thus be less than the biblical God (the non-Christian immanence standpoint); or else we must bounce arbitrarily back and forth between these two positions (the approach of modern dialectical theology and philosophy).
It is certainly true that our knowledge is finite. The agnostic has recognized that in some measure, though he illegitimately uses it for his own purposes. But the limitations of human knowledge are, we will see, very different from the kinds of limitations supposed by Hume, Kant, and the positivists.
For now, however, we should simply remind ourselves who the Lord is. Because He controls all things, God enters His world – our world – without being relativized by it, without losing His divinity. Thus in knowing our world, we know God. Because God is the supreme authority, the author of all the criteria by which we make judgments or come to conclusions, we know Him more certainly than we know any other fact about the world. And because God is the supremely present one, He is inescapable.
God is not shut out by the world; He is not rendered incapable of revealing himself because of the finitude of the human mind.
On the contrary, all reality reveals God.
The agnostic argument, then, presupposes a nonbiblical concept of God.
If God is who Scripture says He is, there are no barriers to knowing Him.