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Thread: The Bible proves itself

  1. #1
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    The Bible proves itself

    If someone were to say that the Bible proves itself to be the word of God by recording various prophecies and their fulfillment, would this consistent with the presuppositional approach to apologetics?
    Last edited by cih1355; 01-02-2008 at 12:48 AM.
    Curt

  2. #2
    An argument from the fulfillment of prophecies is an evidential argument, but as long as the apologist takes into account the fact that unbelievers presuppositions influence what they deem as 'evidence', then yeah, it can be used in a presuppositional approach to apologetics.
    Caleb
    Trinity Baptist Church
    Spokane, WA

  3. #3
    Not strictly. A presuppositional approach assumes the truth of scripture and demonstrates the impossibility of knowledge without this assumption. In presuppositionalism, the internal consistency of Scripture is an assumption, in evidntialism, it is one of the things to be proved. A presuppositionalist might defend the internal consistency of Scripture as a way of defending one of their assumptions, but they wouldn't use this to prove the truth of Scripture, the way an evidentialist might, only to negate an attempt to prove the falsity of scripture. And they would not seek to use external sources to prove the truth of it.

    Also, this is my first post in philosophy/ apologetics; pleasee all go easy if I am mistaken.
    T W Hopper
    Member, Presbyterian Reformed Church
    Currently between churches since PRC closed here - attending Crossroads Christian Church.
    Canberra, Australia.

  4. #4
    Timothy, I think you are confusing presuppositional arguments with the approach itself. Also, presuppositions can be proved, unlike axioms. If in order to make sense of any fact, one must presuppose God's existence, then of course we can use external evidence in support of biblical claims.
    Caleb
    Trinity Baptist Church
    Spokane, WA

  5. #5
    see Calvin's Institutes 1.8. Unsurpassed!
    Independent Baptist Church (NE England, nr. Durham)

  6. #6
    Another great book on the inerrancy and infallibilty of Scripture is E.J. Young's "Thy Word is Truth"

    Jeff Wyman
    Little Farms Chapel OPC, Coopersville, MI
    www.calvinseminary.edu

    Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. - James 1:12 (ESV)

    Selig ist der Mann, der die Anfechtung erduldet; denn nachdem er bewährt ist, wird er die Krone des Lebens empfangen, welche Gott verheißen hat denen, die ihn liebhaben. - Jakob 1:12 (LUT '45)

  7. #7
    Hello Caleb,

    Also, presuppositions can be proved, unlike axioms.
    It almost seems oxymoronic to speak of a "proven" presupposition. A presupposition is a "pre" -supposition. Of course, you may be using the term in a different sense than I am. I think of presuppositions as something assumed by which other things are proved, and itself is not proved. One can present arguments for and against certain presuppositions. As to whether or not this constitutes a proof depends on how broadly you are using the term 'proof'. However, if you use it in a broad sense, then one can easily apply this to an argument justifying a certain axiom.

    What do you think?

    Brian
    Brian Bosse
    Rincon Community Church
    Tucson, Arizona

  8. Of course, we need to establish how the term "prove" is being used here. Does it mean "mathematical Euclidean certainty?" Or does it mean "the evidence points strongly in this direction?" The presuppositionalist takes the truthfulness of the Bible as his first axiom, actually. It is not provable in the first sense. It is provable in the second sense, since there is evidence that points that way. However, in discussing this with a non-believer, the non-believer will not be convinced by that. He will only be convinced of the truth of Scripture by the Holy Spirit working. The presuppositionalist will instead argue that the presupposition of the Bible being true is consistent with how the Christian lives, sin and all. Then he will argue that the unbeliever has to borrow from the Christian's presupposition even to live life. Certainly, a complete rejection of Christian presuppositions results in complete contradiction between how the unbeliever lives and what he believes. Exploring that inconsistency is one of the best ways to knock down an unbeliever's walls against the Gospel.
    Rev. Lane Keister
    Teaching Elder, PCA, Winnsboro, SC
    http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com
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  9. #9
    If I am correct about the pressupositional methodology, one cannot prove scripture. Insted scripture is axiomatic and the reference point for all revelation and truth. Yes, evidence is important such as the arguments for creation, prophecy, archeology but ultimately one is relying soly on faith (given by Gods reedeeming grace) and working forward to show that scripture is further reliable with evidence. Evidentialists start backwards, they say that scripture must be proven and then the evidence is so overwheliming that one must accept it hence why this method is the preffered method (as far as I know) in arminian camps.
    Julio Perez
    Branch of Hope OPC

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Bosse View Post
    It almost seems oxymoronic to speak of a "proven" presupposition. A presupposition is a "pre" -supposition. Of course, you may be using the term in a different sense than I am. I think of presuppositions as something assumed by which other things are proved, and itself is not proved.
    I have often read in discussions of TAG that God is the presupposition of 'X'. But isn't the point of this to prove God's existence?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Bosse View Post
    One can present arguments for and against certain presuppositions. As to whether or not this constitutes a proof depends on how broadly you are using the term 'proof'. However, if you use it in a broad sense, then one can easily apply this to an argument justifying a certain axiom.
    I think you are correct. If I am using proof in such a broad sense (which I am), then it could also apply to axioms. Its just that I don't think people think axioms can be proved, which is no doubt because they are using a narrower definition of proof.
    Caleb
    Trinity Baptist Church
    Spokane, WA

  11. #11
    This may sound a bit over-simplistic: One way to help in our perception is that Scripture is not meant to prove anything. Scripture proclaims truth. All of life and creation proves Scripture is true. To get into a discussion over what Scripture proves is futile. To show how what is provable proves Scripture to be true is edifying and can be convicting.
    For the Glory of our King,
    Joe Johnson
    Slave of Christ, husband, father, grandfather and TMS graduate. Personal website - SoundLife.org
    I do not know, and I do not say, that a person cannot believe in Revelation and in evolution, too, for a man may believe that which is infinitely wise and also that which is only asinine. ~ CHS

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy William View Post
    Not strictly. A presuppositional approach assumes the truth of scripture and demonstrates the impossibility of knowledge without this assumption. In presuppositionalism, the internal consistency of Scripture is an assumption, in evidntialism, it is one of the things to be proved. A presuppositionalist might defend the internal consistency of Scripture as a way of defending one of their assumptions, but they wouldn't use this to prove the truth of Scripture, the way an evidentialist might, only to negate an attempt to prove the falsity of scripture. And they would not seek to use external sources to prove the truth of it.

    Also, this is my first post in philosophy/ apologetics; pleasee all go easy if I am mistaken.
    I wasn't thinking of internal consistency as a standard that proves Scripture. I wasn't thinking of external sources that would authenticate the Bible. I was thinking of one part of Scripture proving another part of Scripture.
    Curt

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by cih1355 View Post
    I wasn't thinking of internal consistency as a standard that proves Scripture. I wasn't thinking of external sources that would authenticate the Bible. I was thinking of one part of Scripture proving another part of Scripture.
    Do you mean 'is Scripture self-testifying? -does the Bible claim to be God's Word and true?
    R. Anthony Coletti
    Midway Presbyterian Church (PCA)
    Jonesborough, TN
    [i]et venite et arguite me dicit Dominus[/i]

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Civbert View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by cih1355 View Post
    I wasn't thinking of internal consistency as a standard that proves Scripture. I wasn't thinking of external sources that would authenticate the Bible. I was thinking of one part of Scripture proving another part of Scripture.
    Do you mean 'is Scripture self-testifying? -does the Bible claim to be God's Word and true?
    Yes, I meant that the Bible is self-testifying. I was thinking that biblical prophecy is self-testifying.
    Curt

  15. #15
    Hello Anthony (Civbert),

    It is good to see you.

    Sincerely,

    Brian
    Brian Bosse
    Rincon Community Church
    Tucson, Arizona

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by SoliDeoGloria View Post
    If I am correct about the pressupositional methodology, one cannot prove scripture. Insted scripture is axiomatic and the reference point for all revelation and truth.
    I think the presuppositionalist argument would say that unless you accept the bible as true you cannot ultimately make sense out of life, ethics, science, or anything. The proof of scripture then involves assuming that the bible is false and finding out whether or not you can make sense out of life, ethics, science, and etcetera given an antibiblical starting point. There are only two choices. If the antibiblical choice fails, you must accept the biblical one.

    Now, unbelievers of all sorts do make sense of life, ethics, etcetera, but presuppositionalists argue that they do this because they are using borrowed capital from a biblical worldview.
    Chris
    Independent Baptist
    Michigan
    Layman

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by cih1355 View Post
    If someone were to say that the Bible proves itself to be the word of God by recording various prophecies and their fulfillment, would this consistent with the presuppositional approach to apologetics?
    It would be consistent within a presuppositional approach. God conscends in his word to give us evidence. He speaks, then acts, then speaks again to explain the fulfillment. It would be part of it's self-authentication. But this will not "prove" it is the word of God to an unbeliever. Only the testimony of the Holy Spirit can do that. Note the WCF chapter 1. Both the "evidential" and "presuppositional" arguments are there but they use the evidence in reference to self-authentication.

    WCF Ch. 1.5
    We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to an high and reverent esteem of the holy Scripture;(a) and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet, notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth, and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts. (b)

    a. 1 Tim 3:15. • b. Isa 59:21; John 16:13-14; 1 Cor 2:10-12; 1 John 2:20, 27.
    Patrick
    MDiv, RTS Jackson
    Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church (OPC), Lisbon, NY

    "He does well, that discourses of Christ; but he does infinitely better, that by experimental knowledge, feeds and lives on Christ." Thomas Brooks.
    "Let us not please ourselves that we have deep understandings, but let us shew our understandings by our practice." Richard Sibbes

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by SoliDeoGloria View Post
    If I am correct about the pressupositional methodology, one cannot prove scripture. Insted scripture is axiomatic and the reference point for all revelation and truth. Yes, evidence is important such as the arguments for creation, prophecy, archeology but ultimately one is relying soly on faith (given by Gods reedeeming grace) and working forward to show that scripture is further reliable with evidence. ...
    This would be Clarkian presuppositionalism.
    R. Anthony Coletti
    Midway Presbyterian Church (PCA)
    Jonesborough, TN
    [i]et venite et arguite me dicit Dominus[/i]

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Neopatriarch View Post
    I think the presuppositionalist argument would say that unless you accept the bible as true you cannot ultimately make sense out of life, ethics, science, or anything. The proof of scripture then involves assuming that the bible is false and finding out whether or not you can make sense out of life, ethics, science, and etcetera given an antibiblical starting point. There are only two choices. If the antibiblical choice fails, you must accept the biblical one.
    This would be Bahnsen/Van Til type presuppositionalism - the TAG (Transcendental Argument for God).
    R. Anthony Coletti
    Midway Presbyterian Church (PCA)
    Jonesborough, TN
    [i]et venite et arguite me dicit Dominus[/i]

  20. #20
    The presuppositionalist defends the logical consistency of scripture and refutes claims made from other disciplines used by unbelievers to attempt to contradict scripture, but none of these things are used as "proofs" that the bible is God's Word. Hence such defenses can be consistent with presuppositionalism if used correctly.
    Davidius
    Husband of Emily
    Member of All Saints Anglican Church - Chapel Hill (AMiA / Anglican Church of North America)
    Student: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, German and Classics

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Puritan Sailor View Post
    It would be consistent within a presuppositional approach. God conscends in his word to give us evidence. He speaks, then acts, then speaks again to explain the fulfillment. It would be part of it's self-authentication. But this will not "prove" it is the word of God to an unbeliever. Only the testimony of the Holy Spirit can do that. Note the WCF chapter 1. Both the "evidential" and "presuppositional" arguments are there but they use the evidence in reference to self-authentication.
    I believe all presuppositionalist agree that evidence (e.g. prophecy fulfillment and archaeological data, etc) can be used to support Scripture, or to defeat counter arguments. However, evidential arguments are not essential or necessary for presuppositionalism.
    R. Anthony Coletti
    Midway Presbyterian Church (PCA)
    Jonesborough, TN
    [i]et venite et arguite me dicit Dominus[/i]

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