PAPER NO. 50
COMMON GROUND – PART I
Common Ground in its most basic sense is the set of conditions necessary for thought and discourse.
Common Ground consists of Reason (objectively), Integrity (subjectively) and Rational Presuppositionalism (methodologically), all of which lead to the Principle of Clarity, necessary for inexcusability: some things are clear; the basic things are clear; the basic things, about God and man and good and evil, are clear to reason.
- It is self-evident that we think: we form concepts, judgments and arguments, the forms of all thought; a concept is expressed by a word or term, which assumes rationality; the rational use is not the non-cognitive use of words; the cognitive is most basic.
- It is self-evident that there are laws of thought: identity (a is a), non-contradiction (not both a and not-a at the same time and in the same respect) and excluded middle (either a or not-a); the laws of thought are properly called the laws of reason or reason-in-itself.
- Reason as the laws of thought is the test of meaning: if a law of reason is violated then there is no cognitive meaning (no distinction between a and not-a); if there is no cognitive meaning then truth, in any form, is not possible.
- Reason is ontological—it applies to being as well as to thought: there are no square-circles, no being from non-being, no uncaused events; it applies to all being, to the highest being, to God’s being; since God’s being is eternal, reason-in-itself is eternal.
- Reason in man is natural: it is the same in all men as the light of nature; this light is that by which we see, with the mind, that is, understand; both the book of Nature/general revelation and the book of Scripture/special revelation are clear to reason and can be understood by all who seek.
- Reason is man’s essence as rational animal: reason distinguishes man from animals; his essence is fundamental to all other aspects of his being; reason in man cannot be denied without sinking into meaninglessness. The good for man must therefore be rational, not mystical.
- Reason in man is transcendental—authoritative: it cannot be questioned but makes questioning possible; reason as the laws of thought is self-attesting; only reason is self-attesting.
- Reason is the first form of the Word of God that comes to man: the life of the Logos, the eternal Word of God, is in all men, made in the image of God, as the self-attesting light of reason. The Word of God in its fullness is Truth in its fullness and makes God fully known (John 1:1-18; 17:17).