“Epistemology issues” (3)

W. Gary Crampton writes:

==Scripturalism, then, teaches that all of our knowledge is to be derived from the Bible, which has a systematic monopoly on truth.==

Is Crampton saying that the knowledge of how to paint is to be derived from the Bible? If the knowledge of how to paint is not derived from the Bible, then can knowledge of how to paint really be called “knowledge”? Or, does one simply say, I “feel” or have the “opinion” that I have acquired the knowledge to paint from this book, “painting for dummies”?

==Notice the universals in these two statements: “all,” “complete,” “thoroughly,” “every,” “whole,” “all,” “nothing,” “at any time.” The Bible, infallibly, and the Westminster Assembly, in compliance with the Bible, both teach the all-sufficiency of Scripture. According to the Reformation principle of sola Scriptura, neither science, nor history, nor philosophy is needed to give truth.==

Give truth concerning what? Matters of reality, sin, salvation, God, who is Jesus and what did He do? Of course. But what if you want to learn the truth about how to knit together a blanket? More importantly, can the Bible give truth if your physical eyes that are reading the Bible cannot be trusted?

==When man interacts with God’s creation, which demonstrates His glory, power, and wisdom, man, as God’s image, is forced, in some sense, to “think God.” The visible creation itself does not mediate “knowledge” to man (as in the epistemology of Thomas Aquinas), for the visible universe sets forth no propositions. Rather, it stimulates the mind of man to intellectual intuition (or recollection), who as a rational being is already in possession of apriori, propositional information about God and His creation This apriori information is immediately impressed upon man’s consciousness, and it is more than adequate to show that the God of the Bible is the one and only true God.==

It seems correct to say that the visible creation *in and of itself* does not mediate knowledge since there is an inextricable link between the creation that is seen with the senses and the “innate equipment” that interprets what it sees. This “stimulating” of the mind of man is confusing in light of the view that no knowledge comes through the senses.

==Since all knowledge must come through propositions (which are either true or false), since the senses in interacting with creation yield no propositions, knowledge cannot be conveyed by sensation. Rather, as noted above, the senses apparently stimulate the mind of man to intellectual intuition, to recollect the God-given innate ideas that man already possesses. Gordon Clark used the illustration of a piece of paper on which is written a message in invisible ink. The paper (by illustration, the mind) might appear blank, but in actuality it is not. When the heat of experience is applied to the mind (as when heat is applied to the paper), the message becomes visible. Human knowledge, then, is possible only because God has endowed man with certain innate ideas.==

Now here is something that confuses me. Crampton states that the senses stimulate the mind of man to intellectual intuition. Let’s use an example of a very hot and humid day. Would Clark or Crampton trust their senses when they tell them how hot it is? If both of them feel the extreme discomfort, will they do something about it? Will they seek to cool themselves down? Would they say that they *know* it is hot? Or, would they say that while they may not *know* with metaphysical certitude that it is hot, they nevertheless believe that their *possibly erroneous opinion* that it is hot is a sufficient reason to seek a cooler climate?

Are Crampton and Clark saying that the senses do not give knowledge apart from the “God-given innate ideas”? Maybe I’m really confused, but it seems Crampton would agree that the senses DO play a role in conveying knowledge. As far as I understand, while man remains in a physical body, there is no separating the “God-given innate ideas” from the senses of sight, hearing, smelling, touching.

Advertisements