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.