Thursday, May 8, 2008

Being Precedes Knowing

There always seems to be this great divide between secular knowledge and the knowledge of the things of God. Soren Kierkegaard’s philosophy lent itself to create a schism between faith (religious knowledge) and reason (secular knowledge). He posited that it was satisfactory for the two to contradict for the one need not be rooted in the other in a coherent fashion. Prior to this time period, philosophers searched for a unified world view to explain all of reality. They presupposed a unified reality and attempted to develop a worldview that corresponded to it. Yet Kierkegaard decided to divide knowledge into two streams avoiding the conflict altogether. Henceforth, presuppositions began to change. It was allowable for reason and science to diverge from faith and science began to be supreme over the religious world. Man became the measure of all things. Man’s reason was supreme and autonomous. Science was the discipline by which man could attain knowledge and that science was disengaged from God’s truth as man studied the world to learn about man and not to learn about God.

Eventually, man got disillusioned by the quest for reason and began to posit that it’s all meaningless. Man is no longer the measure of all things, for there is no measuring stick. There are no standards by which to measure. Postmodern philosophers such as Derrida, Focualt, and Rorty began to suggest that all of life is textual and can be analyzed linguistically and found meaningless. There is nothing to support philosophy, science, history, language. There is nothing behind it, they claim. Its support structure has been pulled out from under it because knowledge has nothing that it can rest upon to gain its meaning.

Unless, of course, God really does exist and as James Sire writes in Naming the Elephant, “we can understand the universe because an understanding God made it to be understood.” Or like John Henry Newman says, “Religious Truth is not a portion, but a condition of general knowledge.” Thus God must precede knowledge. Being must come before knowing. God must be in order for language, history, science, art, music, and life to have any purpose at all. Otherwise we are only blobs of matter, so to speak, as the evolutionist maintain. Or as the popular atheist, Richard Dawkins, laments we are merely “dancing to our DNA.”

We know deep in our souls that there is more to life than being meaningless collections of cells dancing to our DNA. We know that we have purpose as we are on a journey looking for that purpose. We value life, because God gave meaning to our lives. Our value comes from Him and all of our desires, hopes, and dreams come from Him. We can know this world around us because He has made it knowable. In Him we live, and move, and have our being.

Moreover, in Christ we find the fulfillment of all life. John 1:3 says, “Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.” He is the author of all creation and the only way to learn about that creation is through His Truth. Faith and reason are inseparable for it is all rooted in Him and when we try and divide it is when we create great errors of thinking. All of life must be measured through Him and cannot be disengaged from His Truth. It is only possible to know anything at all because God exist. He is the one we need to know in order to see all else clearly.

C.S. Lewis rightly puts it this way, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

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