To my horror, I just read Lane Keister’s New Year’s eve blog offering. Here it is in its entirety:
This is from Berkhof’s Introduction to Systematic Theology.
The Word of God presupposes the darkness and error of the natural man, and would therefore contradict itself, if it submitted itself to the judgment of that man. It would thereby acknowledge one as judge whom it had first disqualified (p. 172).
In other words, reason cannot prove the trustworthiness of Scripture. This is because reason only comes packaged in damaged goods. Even the regenerate person still has sin clinging to his reason. How could any untrustworthy instrument prove perfection to be correct? To do that, we would ourselves have to be more foundational than the Bible. No, the Bible is our axiom.
It’s hard to imagine a more vicious attack on the integrity of the Scriptures and the Reformed system of faith than what Keister has written above. While Keister’s post exudes piety and humility, consider the reverse. If the Scriptures were irrational and violated the laws of logic, specifically the law of contradiction, would they still be trustworthy? I don’t see how? Yet, for Keister reason is not a tool by which we can discover the trustworthiness of Scripture and he confuses the laws of logic with errors in logic due to sin. Further, and what Keister seems to forget, while axioms cannot be proven, they can be dis-proven and if the Scriptures violated the rules of right reason then it’s hard to see how they could still be considered God’s Word. The God of Scripture is not a God of confusion, Lane Kesiter and Louis Berkof notwithstanding.
Contra Keister (and Berkof) Gordon Clark argued:
…the law of contradiction cannot be sinful. Quite the contrary, it is our violations of the law of contradiction that are sinful. Yet the strictures which some devotional writers place on “merely human logic” are amazing. Can such pious stupidity really mean that a syllogism which is valid for us is invalid for God? If two plus two is four in our arithmetic, does God have a different arithmetic in which two and two make three, or perhaps five? – An Introduction to Christian Philosophy
Speaking of the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Divines’ belief in the logical consistency of all of Scripture, Clark notes:
The consent or logical consistency of the whole is important; for if the Bible contradicted itself, we would know that some of it would be false. – What Do Presbyterians Believe
And, finally, concerning the importance of the logical consistency of Scripture that attest to divine inspiration, Clark writes:
If, nonetheless, it can be shown that the Bible — in spite of having been written by more than thirty-five authors over a period of fifteen hundred years — is logically consistent, then the unbeliever would have to regard it as a most remarkable accident . . . Logical consistency, therefore, is evidence of inspiration. – God’s Hammer