PAPER NO. 54
FROM FOUNDATION TO FULLNESS
A Biblical Worldview for Maturity, Fruitfulness, Unity and Fullness
Common Ground: the set of conditions necessary for thought and discourse.
- Reason in itself is the laws of thought; in its use it is formative, critical, interpretive and constructive; in us it is natural, ontological, transcendental and fundamental.
- Integrity is a concern for consistency—logical and existential; it is necessary and sufficient for knowing clear general revelation.
- Rational Presuppositionalism tests basic beliefs (presuppositions) by reason for meaning; if we can agree on what is more basic we will agree on what is less basic.
- The Principle of Clarity affirms: some things are clear; the basic things are clear; the basic things (about God and man and good and evil) are clear to reason.
- There must be something eternal: the ontological argument argues from logos (reason) to ontos (being).
- ‘Eternal’ is our most basic concept. What is eternal is minimally without beginning and without end in time, or, is outside of time.
- There are four propositions on the eternal: A: all is eternal; E: none is eternal; I: some is eternal; and O: some is not eternal. I and E, and A and O, are contradictories.
- None is eternal implies all came into being, from non-being, which is impossible; therefore, its contradictory some is eternal must be true.
- No being from non-being is clear to reason, by which we distinguish being and non-being. This is not yet proof that only some is eternal.
- Only some is eternal: what is eternal brought into existence (created ex nihilo) what is not eternal.
- Matter exists vs. ordinary idealism.
- Matter is not eternal (the material world is not self-maintaining).
- The soul exists (the mind is not the brain; and, there is not one mind only).
- The soul is not eternal (it grows in time).
- Special Creation
- Man is created a body/soul unity, a rational animal, made in the image of God, with the capacity to know God by understanding oneself and the creation.
- The moral law is written on the heart of man (structured into human nature).
- Good for a being is according to its nature; evil is what is contrary to its nature.
- Good for man as a rational being is the knowledge of God through the work of dominion, which is corporate, cumulative and communal.
- The Problem of Evil
- If God is all good and all powerful why is there evil?
Moral evil is to neglect, avoid, resist and deny reason regarding what is clear about God.
Natural evil is suffering from circumstance: toil and strife and old age, sickness and physical death, intensifying through history from time to time.
If God is all powerful he could create a world without natural evil; if God is all good he would create a world without natural evil; if he could and would then he must have; and if he must have then he did.
- Moral evil is not original; it is permitted in order to deepen the revelation of God’s nature unfolding in providence.
- Natural evil is not original; it is imposed, to restrain, recall from and remove moral evil.
- Natural evil is not punishment, which is inherent, but a call back from moral evil.
- The Necessity for Redemptive Revelation
- Natural evil, understood from general revelation as a call back (mercy), requires special (redemptive) revelation to show how God can be both just and merciful to man in moral evil.
- Redemptive revelation must be consistent with what is clear from general revelation (creation–fall-redemption); if it is not consistent then it is not special revelation.
- Redemptive revelation must show how mercy does not set aside but satisfies divine justice.
- Only God, who is both just and merciful, can show how his mercy satisfies his justice.
- Only Genesis is Special Revelation
- Only Genesis affirms creation–fall–redemption; no other source does.
- Only Genesis shows how God is just and merciful in the curse and promise.
- The seed of the woman (Christ) in the place of Adam, is to undo what Adam did—through vicarious atonement, signified in the coats of skin, and do what Adam failed to do—rule to make God known, signified by crushing the head of the serpent.
- Only Genesis, and what builds on creation–fall–redemption, qualifies as the Word of God in scripture or special/redemptive revelation.
- Christ has come
- The curse and promise is unfolded in all of Scripture, awaiting fulfillment in Christ.
- Christ came in fulfillment of and to fulfill all of Scripture.
- By his incarnation, obedience, crucifixion and resurrection, Christ accomplished redemption, according to Scripture.
- Christ, given all authority, sent the Spirit, at Pentecost, to apply redemption, by making disciples of all nations, currently in progress.
- The Historic Christian Faith
- The Spirit guides the Church into all truth (John 16:12-13). In response to challenges, the Church leaders (pastor-teachers), after much discussion in its councils, come to agreement, summed up in its creeds, for the unity of the faith (Acts 15, Ephesians 4).
There have been seven major councils and creeds so far in Church history:
- The Council of Jerusalem (ca. 51 A.D.) answered a Hebraic literalist view of the sacraments.
- The Apostles’ Creed (ca. 180) answered the worldview of Greek dualism.
- Nicea (325) answered misunderstandings of the Trinity and of unity of diversity.
- Carthage (ca. 385) affirmed the canon of the New Testament. The Old Testament canon, before Christ, was affirmed by the Jews.
- Chalcedon (451) answered misunderstanding of Christ as fully God and fully man, having two whole natures, in unity, without conversion, composition or confusion.
- Orange (529) affirmed the fall of man and the sovereignty of God’s grace in redemption, against all degrees of Pelagianism.
- Westminster (1648) summed up more consciously and consistently the earlier creeds of the Reformation, building upon the Historic Christian Faith of the earlier creeds through Orange.
- What disregards and fails to build on the Historic Christian Faith have divided the Church and have brought widespread apostasy.
- Modern skepticism and secularism vs. the Church’s fideism and otherworldliness, resulted in post-modern multicultural pluralism and culture wars, leading to cultural decay, nearing collapse. The Church must respond. The foundation must be laid more deeply, on solid rock.
- Complete the work!
- From Genesis to Revelation, the promise of redemption stands firm. There will be a spiritual war, age-long and agonizing, in which good will overcome evil (Genesis 3:15). Revelation, in its set of seven visions, each of the entire Church age, affirms that good will overcome evil (chapters 6-20).
- Based on the cornerstone of clarity and inexcusability (Romans 1:20), the Church is to demolish arguments and every pretension raised up against the knowledge of God (II Corinthians 10:4-5). Christ, out of whose mouth goes a sharp sword, leads the Church, united in faith, in this spiritual war (Revelation 19:11-21).
- The work of dominion, given in the Garden of Eden, will be completed, signified in the Sabbath (Genesis 1:24-2:3). All believers who have died await the completion of the City of God by believers yet to come (Hebrews 11:39-40).
- Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever, in all that by which he makes himself known, in all his works of creation and providence (SCQ 1, 101; WCF 4.1, 5.1). The outcome of glorifying God is the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9).