Some Thoughts on Epistemology by


 Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life:  no man cometh to the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).

    Since God alone determines what is true, the fact that Christ claimed to be the truth is a testimony to His deity, for only God can make that claim. In fact, if God did not have the power to determine what is true, He would be limited by what is true. And, if God was limited He would not be God at all, for the truth, or the one who did determine the truth, would be the real authority, and thus the real God. That is why the heart of Satan’s rebellion against God involves the exaltation of falsehood, Satan is a liar because he wants to make himself into the one who determines what is true (John 8:44, Isaiah 14:12-14).

    Because God determines what is true, the future events predicted in Scripture will come to pass, not because God happened to know the future, but because that is what God has decided shall happen. In saying this, I am not saying that God wants all of the evil that will take place to happen, or causes it. Instead, I am saying that the evil that comes to pass will be allowed to happen in order to reveal the consequences of sin. Nevertheless, God will be working in the midst of those events to deliver those who repent, from sin and from the wrath that shall be poured out on all who reject God’s mercy. In fact, the only reason that He has not destroyed the world long before now, is because He is giving us a chance to repent.


    Since God determines what is true and man is limited by it, truth has an objective existence outside of man. In short, truth is the reality that God has established. Therefore, all of our learning and groping after knowledge is, at best, nothing more than an attempt to discover what God has decided. For that reason, true learning can only take place when we are willing to correct our opinions by conforming them to the revealed Word of God (2Corinthians 10:5, Isaiah 8:20). The difficulty lies in the deceitfulness of the human heart (Jeremiah 17:9). Because of sin, it is much easier to deceive ourselves, twist the facts, and ignore any truths that are not to our liking than it is to be honest and objective. In fact, that is why cults explain away any Bible passages that do not fit their theology, and evolutionists explain away any facts that do not agree with their ideology.


    According to the Bible, reality exists on two levels: the spiritual level and the material level. Moreover, in designing us to function on the material level God gave us five senses that enable us to take in knowledge from that realm. We can see the material universe, we can feel it, smell it, taste it, and hear it. Furthermore, the knowledge that these senses convey to us is objective in the sense that others can see, hear, touch, taste, or smell the same things. Using those senses we can observe, measure, and analyze the world around us. However, the Bible makes it clear that there is a whole realm of existence that we are not even aware of. In order to understand just how limited our senses are, try to imagine what existence would be like if you did not have any the five senses. In other words, what would life be like if you did not have the ability to see, hear, smell, feel, or taste. In such a situation you might imagine that other people exist, but without the ability to see them, hear them, smell them, feel them, or even taste them you could never be sure. Without the five senses your mind would not have any way of receiving one bit of objective verifiable data. Therefore, while it would be absurd for any man to assume that all of reality is limited to what can be ascertained by those five senses, just because our knowledge is limited to those five, speculation about a sixth sense is absurd. In fact, we know that those who claim a sixth sense are deceiving themselves (or being deceived by Satan) for the knowledge they claim to have is not objective or verifiable. In fact it is clearly evident that they are calling subjective impressions knowledge, and that is dishonest. Apart from a miracle, spiritual reality is totally outside of man’s realm of knowledge (2Kings 6:17).

    That being the case, it is absurd for any man to imagine that he can discover the truth about God by philosophizing (Romans 1:20-22). While sound reason tells us that God must exist (for every design, there is a designer), apart from Scripture we have no way of knowing who God is or what He is like. Therefore, if we are to know anything about God, God must reveal it to us, we cannot discover it by speculation. In order to clarify what I mean, compare speculating about God with speculation as to who my neighbors might be. Just as it would be foolish for you to try to learn something about my neighbors by philosophizing, it would be equally foolish to think that you can learn anything about God by philosophizing. There is a limit to man’s knowledge, and a wise man will not deceive himself into thinking that he can know more (Romans 1:20-22).

    Since God brought the Bible into existence to testify of Christ, and it is only through faith in Christ that we receive eternal life, only those who accept what the Bible says and look to Christ for salvation are truly wise (1 John 5:13, Acts 4:12). In contrast, those who reject the testimony of Scripture, and wind up in hell because they think that they are too smart, or too highly educated to believe the Bible, are the greatest fools on earth (Proverbs 28:26, 1Corinthians 1:27, Psalm 14:1). Through the Bible, the Holy Spirit speaks to our heart in words that are objective and verifiable, and when we acknowledge our sin those words assure us of God’s mercy and forgiveness in Christ (Romans 10:14-17, 1 Corinthians 1:22,23, Matthew 4:4, Ezekiel 13:3).


    While God has given us the ability to reason, that ability not only has limitations, but is also hindered by the deceitfulness of the human heart (Jeremiah 17:9). Therefore, even though God’s gift of reason gives us the ability to draw valid conclusions from specific information, it is easy to err. When it comes to Bible interpretation, men often read unscriptural assumptions into the text, jump to conclusions not warranted by the words, or simply explain away passages that do not agree with their own ideas. For that reason, it is important for us to bind ourselves to the facts, and not let our imagination run wild. In order to have the truth, our thinking must be in accord with the written Word of God (2Corinthians 10:5, Romans 12:2, Isaiah 8:20).

    In order to illustrate our need for divine guidance, I might compare our ability to reason with a straight line. In fact, we generally reason in a straight line, from premise to conclusion. However, God’s wisdom is so far above our wisdom, that comparing it to our reasoning would be like comparing a straight line to a circle. They are as different as night and day! Nevertheless, just as an octagon is closer to a circle than a square, reasoning that proceeds carefully, one step at a time, is closer to the truth than reasoning that ignores the details and proceeds in 90 degree jumps. For that reason, we must constantly guard against the sinful desire to assume knowledge while jumping to unwarranted conclusions, or conclusions that contradict Scripture (Isaiah 8:20).


    While Post Modernism is the latest “intellectual” fad, it amounts to little more than a glorification of ignorance. In fact, I sometimes wonder if those who deny the existence of objective truth are really sane. Nevertheless, it is fairly evident that they do not actually take their own rhetoric seriously. Although, they are prone to jump to conclusions without making any effort to eliminate error, their actions are not consistent with their philosophy. For if they really believed that truth was just a matter of opinion, they would never go to a doctor or stop at a red light.