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Starting With I Am 

And a gift for someone. See bottom of the post for details.

Continuing on where we left off on Friday, quoting from The God Who Is There: Finding Your Place in God’s Story by D. A. Carson:

But the first half of the 1600s witnessed the rise of what is now called Cartesian thought (under the influence of René  Descartes and those who followed him). The traditional way of thinking about knowledge changed. More and more people based their knowledge on an axiom that Descartes made popular: “I think, therefore, I am.” Every first-year philosophy student today is still introduced to Descartes’s axiom. Descartes himself thought that this axiom was a foundation for all human knowing. After all, if you are thinking, you cannot deny your own existence; the very fact that you are thinking shows that you exist. Descartes was looking for a foundation that Christians and atheists and Muslims and secularists and spiritual types could all agree was indisputable. From this foundation and other approaches, he then gradually built up an entire system of thought to try to convince people to become Roman Catholics.

But notice how his axiom runs: “I think, therefore I am.” Two hundred years earlier, no Christian would have said that very easily because God’s and God’s absolute knowledge were already givens. Our existence was seen as dependent on him, and our knowledge a mere tiny subset of his. It was very widely thought proper to begin with God, not with the “I” in “I think, therefore, I am.” If we exist, it is because of God’s power. Our knowledge, even our existence, is finally dependent on him. But this side of Cartesian thought, we begin with “I.” I begin with me. And that puts me in a place where I start evaluating not only the world around me but also morals and history and God in such a way that God now becomes, at most, the inference of my study. That changes everything.

But the Bible does not run along those lines. God simply is.

That everything starts with God is one of things that Genesis 1-2 tells us. You’ll also recognize these two posts as an apologetic for presuppositional apologetics. Or, as some like to call it, Biblical apologetics—apologetics that start with God simply is.

I’m giving away one copy of The God Who Is There: Finding Your Place in God’s Story by D. A. Carson. To enter the draw for the free book, click through to fill out the entry form.

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Sunday's Hymn

Jesus Lives, And So Shall I

Jesus lives, and so shall I.
Death! thy sting is gone forever!
He who deigned for me to die,
Lives, the bands of death to sever.
He shall raise me from the dust:
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives, and reigns supreme,
And, his kingdom still remaining,
I shall also be with him,
Ever living, ever reigning.
God has promised: be it must:
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives, and by his grace,
Vict’ry o’er my passions giving,
I will cleanse my heart and ways,
Ever to his glory living.
Me he raises from the dust.
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives, I know full well
Nought from him my heart can sever,
Life nor death nor powers of hell,
Joy nor grief, hence forth forever.
None of all his saints is lost;
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives, and death is now
But my entrance into glory.
Courage, then, my soul, for thou
Hast a crown of life before thee;
Thou shalt find thy hopes were just;
Jesus is the Christian’s Trust.

—Christian F. Gellert (1715-1769), Translated by Philip Schaff (1819-1893)

Listen here.

Other hymns, worship songs, sermons etc. posted today:

Have you posted a hymn (or sermon, sermon notes, prayer, etc.) today and I missed it? Let me know by leaving a link in the comments or by contacting me using the contact form linked above, and I’ll add your post to the list.


This Week in Housekeeping

Recently updated Theological Term of the Week posts:


  • Updated the definitions to add a slightly different kind of legalism: “the inclination to regard things that Scripture has not commanded or prohibited as God’s precepts.” This addition was suggested in the comments by Kane Augustus.




God Simply Is

From The God Who Is There: Finding Your Place in God’s Story by D. A. Carson, on one thing about God that we are told in the first two chapters of Genesis, or at the very beginning of the Bible:

God simply is. The Bible does not begin with a long set of arguments to prove the existence of God. It does not begin with a bottom-up approach, nor does it begin with some kind of adjacent analogy or the like. It just begins, “In the beginning God” (Gen. 1:1). Now, if human beings are the test of everything, this makes no sense at all because then we have the right to sit back and judge whether it is likely that God exists, to evaluate the evidence and come out with a certain probability that perhaps a god of some sort of another exists. Thus we become the judges of God. But the God of the Bible is not like that. The Bible begins simply but dramatically: “In the beginning God.” He is. He is not the object whom we evaluate. He is the Creator who has made us, which changes all the dynamics.

…Right through the early part of the Renaissance (roughly fourteenth to seventeenth centuries) and down through the time of the Reformation (sixteenth century), most people in the Western world presupposed that God exists and that he knows everything. Human beings exist and because God knows everything, what we know must necessarily be some small subset of what he knows. In other words, all of our knowledge—because he knows everything—must be a subset of what he knows exhaustively and perfectly. In this way of looking at reality, all of our knowledge must come to us in some sense by God disclosing what he knows—by God disclosing it in nature, by God disclosing it by his Spirit, or by God disclosing it in the Bible. That was simply presupposed.

Then everything changed—in Western historical thought, that is. I’ll post what follows on Monday.


Round the Sphere Again: St. Patrick's Day Freebies

To celebrate the day, three free Easter hymns from Keith and Kristyn Getty.

Michael Haykin’s lecture “Remembering Patrick and His Confession” (downloadable PDF).