Friday, December 24, 2010

Paper: The Apologetic Import of the Autopistia of Scripture

I have just received my other paper back. The paper is entitled The Apologetic Import of the Autopistia of Scripture. Barring formatting changes, the paper is presented as submitted, here.

An excerpt:

In apologetic endeavors, the question of authority or the ground of knowledge is an important one. How can one know what is the truth? For a Christian, not only do we ponder over the question of how we can know what the truth is, but the question of how truth and Scripture relate to each other is equally pertinent.

In this paper, I would like to defend the thesis that the doctrine of autopistia or the self-authenticating nature of Scripture substantiates the proper foundation or ground of knowledge which is the Scriptures themselves, and that this can be used profitably in the realm of apologetics. To this end, firstly, I will put forward the proposition that the foundation for the framework of all knowledge is the Scriptures themselves. Secondly, I would show how the doctrine of autopistia can be used to substantiate it. Thirdly, I would proceed from there to suggest a method to apply this fact in the realm of apologetics.


These would be extremely pertinent I think:

There is therefore no shame and no need to hide the fact that the Christian epistemology is circular, for all epistemologies are likewise circular. ...


What is the import of this doctrine [of autopistia] in apologetics? Since all epistemologies are circular, the fact that the ultimate authority of the faith appeals to itself is actually self-consistent with its own claim to be the ultimate authority. Although it is most definitely not sufficient to prove the faith, as if apart from the work of the Spirit anyone can be argued into the kingdom, the coherency of the Christian system is a work of beauty indeed.

Along these lines, we have a platform to critique rival epistemologies. Empiricism can be critiqued because there is nothing in empiricism to validate empiricism as a valid epistemology. Rationalism can be similarly critiqued since formulae such as Cogito Ergo Sum (I think therefore I am) are not inherently found in reason but reasoned out in order to support rationalism. In other word, reason itself never claimed to be an ultimate authority in any sense. Rather, it is fallen men who cling on to reason as their ultimate authority since that is internally all they have, and they therefore make reason their ultimate authority by an irrational leap of faith.


Joel Tay said...

A think a sound first principle will require that it is circular.

But are all epistemologies circular? If we can find contradictions within the system of an epistemology, such that it is no longer self-coherent, how can it be circular?

PuritanReformed said...

All are formally circular, but whether the circularity is rational or not is another question; the argument made is formally circular even if the argument can be later proven to be invalid and/or unsound.