In this episode, professor Owen Anderson and I talk about apologetics, natural law, and even metaphysics! In addition, we talk about some of the ABCs of what sin is.
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Ben MacGown says
I feel like this helped clarify what you mean by natural law a little bit. Based on my understanding of it, I agree that natural law can be used to appeal to non-Christians as a middle ground in politics. My concern is that on issues that the Bible speaks on, shouldn’t special revelation take precedence over general revelation in informing Christians’ own approaches to politics? We agree that the Mosaic law has been abrogated and that the civil laws contained therein cannot be applied directly in our current time, but aren’t the broad principles that are the foundation of those laws still applicable? As an example, Leviticus 19:9-10, if applied directly, would not be particularly helpful in our current day (because of urbanization), but shouldn’t it be applied as a broad principle for informing policy (or even best practice for business)?
Hi Ben, thanks for your comment and questions. Can you give me an example about where special revelation would take precedence over general revelation in politics? I agree with you about the idea of general principles from the law continuing to be helpful.
Ben MacGown says
The obvious example would be abortion. Its hard to argue from a purely scientific approach that unborn children are persons that need to be protected, but the scripture clearly indicates that human beings are image bearers of God even from the womb.
For context, my comment here is a follow-up to comments that I made on Mr. Graham’s last post on legalism and antinomianism.
Dr. Owen Anderson’s apologetic method is interesting, but I think his “proof” of general revelation is flawed for one pretty obvious reason.
Anderson claims two things. First, he claims to show “clarity” which, to him, means logical necessity. Second, he claims to take a non-empiricist approach and rejects inductive / probabilistic arguments. That is, he starts from first principles (the laws of thought) and through a series of steps, claims to show that God exists, by a process of a priori elimination — he eliminates alternatives that are impossible, e.g., “no being is eternal” to show what must (necessarily) be true. His approach is purely deductive, and isn’t meant to rely on induction / probabilistic empirical inferences. In fact, in his book The Clarity of God’s Existence, he explicitly rejects apologetic methods that appeal to induction and plausibility / probability. He says these approaches reject “clarity”, which, again, means showing logical necessity (the only real way to “know”).
However, one of the steps in his proof is that “matter is not eternal”. He attempts to “prove” this by appealing to inductive inferences. The problem is that you can’t establish logical necessity (or logical impossibility) by appealing to empirical / inductive inferences. Anderson has no way around this problem. Therefore, his “proof” fails.
For references, see Anderson’s book The Clarity of God’s Existence, or Surrendra Gangadean’s book Philosophical Foundation, page 53.