Unique and Special
Emphases of Biblicalphilosophy.org
this site really different from other sites and other works in
the following are either unique to this site or receive special
emphasis here that is not found elsewhere under the banner of
There are ranked in no particular order except
for the first few discussed here.
These are introductions
and reviews, not substantive arguments.
Where possible, I have referred the reader to articles
that are more fully developed.
Biblical, not Christian, philosophy
sufficiency of Scripture
Philosophy of religion is
Biblical, theological definitions in the Glossary and elsewhere
Philosophical concept of “chance”
complete explanation and integration of faith and reason
Interdependency of metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics
discipline of logic does not belong in philosophy
Biblical anthropology must include The Fall and The Plan of
Philosophy and religion concern the same subject matter
rejection of “justified true belief” as a basis of knowledge
Definition of knowledge: that which occupies the mind
“Reformed epistemology” is not consistently Reformed
Westminster Confession is a truly Reformed epistemology
“gods of the philosophers” is not the God of the Bible
dialogue: Clarkians and Van Tillians
standard definition of “religion” is needed
truth is not God’s
Science is a philosophical “paper tiger”
empirical method is dangerous in the “human sciences”
Philosophy must be used critically
Christ as Logos must
be central to a Biblical philosophy
Biblical definitions are necessary in Christians in philosophy
apologetics rightly defined and directed?
Solipsism is a great “defeater” for all other philosophies
distinctives of Roman Catholicism and Protestant theology and
philosophy cannot be minimized
site is committed to the Reformed faith of the Westminster
persons and systems have some irrationality
have a complete system of ethics
is a certain immediacy to philosophy… impending death!
are no answers in philosophy!
site advocates and defends Biblical Christianity, as a whole,
not idea or concept that carries the label “Christian.”
The failure of most Christians in philosophy to advocate
and defend Biblical Christianity, as a unity, is truly
advocate and defend “classical theism”; they defend natural law
and natural theology; they allow discussion of almost any theme
that in any way is defensible as “Christian”; they lump Roman
Catholicism with Protestant and Reformed Christianity, as though
there were no significant differences; etc., etc.
This stance is why I entered the realm of “Christian
continue to stand amazed at the limited, if not neglect, of
Biblical revelation among Christians in philosophy.
For more on the misleading use of “Christian,” see
Explanation of "Christian."
site is concerned with
“Christian” appears in the title because “Christian”
ought to mean “Biblical.”
A Biblical philosophy posits the Bible as the very Word of God
written, as its first principle (most basic belief,
presupposition, foundation, starting point, axiom, and all the
other synonyms of this concept).
This position proposes a unique epistemology because
“knowledge” comes from God Himself.
It posits a metaphysics that God created everything, yet
He is distinct from that creation (transcendent) while remaining
active in its operation and teleology (immanent).
And, all that the Bible says is the basis for right and
These, then, are the three traditional divisions of philosophy:
epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics.
Within my aims, I offer
Inescapable Truths and a list of
Criteria by Which to Measure a Christian or Biblical Philosophy.
site posits the Sufficiency of Scripture.
Over the past several decades, Christians have often
stated that “The Bible is true about everything to which it
implication was that the Bible is true to the subjects about
which it spoke (mostly history and theology), but that there
were areas to which it did not speak, for example, science,
psychology, sociology, physics, and biology.
This concept was both limiting and seriously in error.
The language of science may not be the language of
Scripture, but what may and may not be done by science is surely
in Scripture: prohibiting abortion, euthanasia, cloning, sexual
promiscuity, and much more.
In particular, there has been the “two kingdoms” view in
which Biblical law does not apply to civil law and government.
Biblical law governs individuals, families, and the
church, but civil law must be derived from natural law.
What this site states is that “The Bible is true about
everything to which it speaks, and
it speaks to everything”—including
civil law and government.
Jesus Christ rules the heavens
and the earth.
As Abraham Kuyper said, there is nothing about which He
does not say, “Mine.”
And, as Kuyper further said, we are to “mine” the “gold”
of the Scriptures to apply to an entire world and life view.
Philosophy of religion is primarily and almost exclusively
Christianity in the West.
The various terms used for philosophy of religion are
natural philosophy, natural theology, natural law, philosophical
theology, philosophical theism, theistic philosophy, and others.
However, until the rise of Islam in the late 20th
century, philosophy of religion in the West was
The use of these other terms obscures the dominance of
Christianity in philosophy, history, sociology, art, and indeed,
all the scholarly areas of discussion.
Even Descartes, Leibniz, Kant, Hegel, and others speak of
“God” in the generic sense, apart from Biblical revelation, they
are speaking of the God of Christianity (even though they may
not be speaking of the God of the Bible, that is, a failure to
be Biblically consistent with His attributes and His plan of
salvation). I have
to credit Scott Oliphint for first planting this idea in my mind
in Reasons for Faith:
Philosophy in the Service of Theology, 13).
However, I have made this concept more central to my
writings than perhaps he or anyone else has.
Without definitions philosophy cannot take place.
In fact, no communication can take place.
Virtually all philosophers, including Christians, have
only brief or no glossaries in their books.
Further, there are few specifically Christian
dictionaries of philosophy—none that are truly Biblically based.
Perhaps, if there were more focus on definitions, some
issues might become clearer.
At least the student could get a more precise grasp on
what the author was saying.
Biblical, theological definitions.
Some words that I have developed which very few others
have are: love, faith (fideism, belief, believe), justice,
truth, Biblical Christianity, Christian, chance, and many
Philosophical definition of “chance.”
In all the discussions and debates about creation and
evolution, I have never seen anyone define “chance” as “nothing
plus nothing is always nothing.”
More discussion of faith than any
other website. It is quite amazing that the word
"faith" is discussed so obtusely by both professionals and
laymen who are Christian leaders. On this site, one of my
central concerns is faith—generic faith,
religious faith, philosophical faith, and Christian faith.
If we do not understand faith, simply and comprehensively, we
cannot understand the Christian faith. I have written
a book on faith. and I have much discussion of faith on this
site. See the Table of Contents for this site under "Faith
complete explanation and integration of reason and faith.
I am not sure that more confusion in philosophy
exists anywhere than in discussions of reason and faith.
inseparable; they are inescapably interdependent.
On the one hand, to make a statement of faith that is
intelligible involves considerable reason in the choice of
words, sentence structure, and order of words.
On the other hand, the statements in a reasoning process
begin with statements that cannot be proven—starting point,
first principle, presuppositions, foundations, properly basic
beliefs, axioms, etc.
I find this situation quite amazing that philosophers who
are supposed to be “lovers of wisdom” and logical thinkers make
such incoherent, illogical, and irrational statements about both
faith and reason.
Likely, the separation of peoples into “faith-groups” and
“non-faith groups” is based in this confusion.
And, this placing of faith-groups into a ghetto has
almost physically, geographically forced Christians into a
George Barna got it right on one occasion—all peoples are
faith-based, even those most atheistic!
The place to start is to consider the idea of
Then, continue reading all discussion of faith in that area of
Then, these are some discussions of this issue
that you might find helpful.
Faith: The Confusion...
All Arguments Are Based Upon Faith
Generic Faith: A Prerequisite to Understanding Biblical Faiths
is more complex and extensive than is usually discussed.
Reason is not the simple exercise of logical syllogisms,
logical fallacies, or rules of inference.
It is much more complex and is interdependent with faith.
Reason Fully Explored...
Interdependency of metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics.
Often, discussions of these branches of philosophy focus
on each as though they were independent of each other.
One may be chosen as the primary basis for the others.
For example, “what we can really know” would seem to
Or, what we are (metaphysics) determines what we can
know. Either or
both of these will determine what we think is right or wrong.
And so on.
But I contend that these are inseparably interdependent.
Other terms that might apply include interconnectedness,
interrelated, or coinherent, but they really “inter-depend”
upon each other.
For some idea of these connections, use the Search Feature on my
site to search “interdependent” and “interdependency.”
discipline of logic does not belong in philosophy.
Logic is a discipline that applies to all areas of
scholarship. By its
location in philosophy, logic seems restricted only to
only those who study philosophy usually study logic.
Logic needs to be taught possibly as early as 6th
grade (American system), and certainly in high school and
college with some breadth and depth.
Of course, what is taught should be appropriate for age
levels and could be made quite interesting with all the examples
everyday in public
discourse of faulty logic.
I am amazed even in college, graduate school, and
seminary at the amount
of material taught, but how little is taught about how this
knowledge can be examined for its coherency and rationality.
Also, neglected is
how to make decisions with this knowledge.
What use is raw knowledge without the skills of thinking
to determine whether it is true, useful, and consistent?
(I have written no lengthy article on this subject.)
Biblical anthropology posits a concept that appears nowhere else
in religion or philosophy: The Fall.
There are many questions about man that simply are not
addressed by most beliefs.
Why does an individual man have strong tendencies to both
good and evil? Why
are some dominated by evil, even to the extent of mass murder by
the millions? Why
does the problem of theodicy even exist: a good God with
absolute power in the face of extreme evil that is both natural
and man-caused? If
The Fall is not a major focus of any philosophy that claims to
be Christian, it denies the essence of what it claims to be!
And, in addition to posing the problem, the answer in
definition of evil.)
Philosophy and religion are concerned with the same issues:
metaphysics (origins, matter, being, reality), epistemology (how
do we “know,” what is truth, language), and ethics (right and
wrong). It is quite
amazing that philosophy and religion are categorized as though
they were separate entities.
I venture this definition of philosophy: man seeking
meaning to the just-stated issues apart from Special Revelation,
or seeking what is “ultimate concern” apart from God having
spoken inerrantly in the Bible.
rejection of “justified true belief” as useful to epistemology.
The problem here is a that a standard is needed by which
to determine each word in the phrase.
Who determines criteria of justification.
“Self-evident” was refuted centuries ago; one can pursue
an authority, but there is no authority in philosophy; and so
on. Of greater
consequence, who determines what is truth?
Correspondence, coherence, pragmatic, other?
And, there is really little agreement on what a belief
is. Is it
restricted to “religious” belief or all beliefs?
Do faith and belief mean the same thing?
Continuing this theme…
offer a new definition of knowledge: that which occupies the
mind. Truth and
belief become separate issues and are most easily discussed
without the complexity of a triple-term.
For more see
Knowledge: A New Look at an Old Subject.
“Reformed epistemology” is neither Reformed nor faithful to a
The Reformed faith has taken a backward step in there
not being a greater outcry from the Reformed community over this
term. It is not
Reformed because it does not start with Scripture and with a
Biblical definition of God, as its first principle.
It is not faithful to a Biblical epistemology because the
role of Special Revelation as the ultimate ground of knowledge
is not central to its epistemology.
I have several references that critique Reformed
epistemology as a separate section in my
Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) is perhaps the best
The WCF starts with the 66 books of the Bible as its
first principle—its most basic belief.
It establishes deduction over induction, “deduction by
necessary consequence”—the law of non-contradiction (Chapter 1,
Section 6). Then,
it posits the God of the Bible—not some general theistic
concept—in some detail.
Chapter Three and Five establishes the meaning of
individuals and history.
Chapter Four concerns metaphysics, cosmology, and
Chapter Six explains a disruption of that original
anthropology and explains theodicy—the problem of good and
evil—the only sensible explanation in the world of religions and
philosophy to explain the extreme poles of man’s behavior.
Ethics, a major division of philosophy, is discussed
primarily in sections of the Larger and Shorter Catechism on the
And, much more.
While it is extremely doubtful that the founding father intended
the WCF to correspond to philosophical concerns, its form fits
those concerns, as well as creating a theological masterpiece.
gods of the philosophers are not the God of the Bible!
It is virtually beyond my comprehension that modern
Christian philosophy discusses “god” and “theism” as though
there were a generic variety who (or what) is the same for all
persons. The god of
Descartes, Kant, and Kierkegaard are neither the same god, nor
the God of the Scriptures.
“Classical theism,” commonly used by many Christian
philosophers, is not Biblical theism.
The god of Islam and of Judaism is not the God of
are defined totally differently.
For a Biblical definition of God, see Chapter Two of the
Westminster Confession of Faith.
For a contrast of the “gods of the philosophers,” see
Gods of the Philosophers and Theologians.
The laws of noncontradiction, identity, and excluded
middle necessarily exclude that these “gods” are one and the
same or that there can be such a thing as “classical theism”
because (1) there are not two gods of any religion who are the
same, and (2) there are no two “gods” of philosophers who are
for dialogue, dampening of intensity, and a decrease in polemics
among Clarkians and Van Tillians!
This appeal is hidden among so much on this website, but
Gordon Clark, Cornelius Van Til, and their disciples (used
loosely—see below) are far and away beyond other Christians in
philosophy for the past 100 years.
Both camps have accused the other of principles and
statements that would lead to liberalism and heresy—neither has
happened. Clark and
Van Til are united in heaven—their followers need to work on a
unity on earth.
They have the best systems for what ails mankind today.
They need to war with the world, not with each other.
For a discussion of these and other warring debates, see
this landmark article by John Frame:
Machen's Warrior Children.
for a standard definition of religion.
Again, it is amazing to me that “religion” is used as
broadly as it is.
If a word means anything or everything, then it means nothing.
“Religion” is that word.
If one looks at all the characteristics of all the
beliefs and activities that come under the label religion, one
will find that many are contradictory.
Islam posits monotheism, while Hinduism and Animism posit
a infinite number of metaphysical entities.
Christianity posits an afterlife in heaven or hell, while
many other “religions” posit nothingness or a blend into the
Existentialism’s subjectivity opposes the objectivity of the
And on and on.
What most clearly must be faced is that Jesus posited
“the (only) way, truth, and the life.”
Either Christianity is true and all other “religions” are
false or the law of contradiction fails.
That any “religion” other than Biblical Christianity has
any semblance of truth is a denial of this “true religion.”
The lack of any attempt to define “religion” is a denial
of exacting philosophical scholarship and a characterization of
the looseness in which philosophical concepts are managed by all
those in these fields.
truth is not God’s
truth—at least as it is usually presented.”
Many Christian scholars like the phrase that “All truth
is God’s truth.”
But I have yet to find one who uses this phrase to outline a
process that defines how truth, other than God’s Word, can be
there is not much that all philosophers agree upon, there is
almost universal agreement among them that empiricism
(induction—inferring from the specific to the general)
What it determines is probability, and often probability is only
“possibility” or just preferred opinion.
I have written a 25-page
treatise on truth which has a detailed outline as a Preface
from which one can choose certain topics.
I have another
substantive article on empiricism.
Science is a paper tiger, as far as its ability to attack, or
offer substantive arguments against, Christianity.
Many students at the high school and college level
are intimidated by professors who challenge their faith with all
the achievements of modern science.
However, all arguments from secular scientists are easily
refuted, if some basics of the scientific endeavor are known.
(1) David Hume was a definitive agnostic, but even he
stated that “what is” can never determine an “ought.”
That is, no observation or empirical data can yield any
ethics. Thus, man
may be technologically “able” to go to the moon and back, but
that ability in no way determines whether he “ought” to go to
the moon. (2) The
“scientific method” is surrounded by “faith” (subjective)
does a theory to research come from?
What parameters do I choose to consider or ignore?
What instruments do I use for observations?
Who pays for my work?
Should this work be done?
What conclusions can I draw from this work?
the empirical method “works” great in the more objective
sciences (e.g., physics and mathematics), but is considerably
misapplied to the more subjective sciences (e.g., psychology,
sociology, and medicine).
is not “science.”
When “science” investigates areas that involve humans, it loses
most of its determinacy.
Individuals make choices!
They choose to obey or not to obey: God’s commandments,
their parents, their teachers, policemen, their doctors, or
They have strong good and evil motives.
They are unpredictable.
Etc., etc. I
have already commented that an “is” cannot determine an “ought.”
That over 50 percent of marriages fail does not mean that
they should fail.
That most people cheat on their income tax does not make it
right. That a
person was abused by their parents does not allow them to abuse
others. That a
medical procedure “is” available does not mean they it “should”
be used. Etc., etc.
site is more critical of philosophy
per se that is the
majority of Christians in philosophy.
I am more forthright about what philosophy is and is not.
(1) Philosophy is almost entirely a secular enterprise.
As such, it is basically anti-Christian and
anti-Biblical. In a
sense, it is understandable that Christians who receive their
training in secular institutions tend to “integrate” their
Christian beliefs with secular views.
(2) Even those philosophers who seem “friendly” towards
God, e.g., Berkeley, Descartes, Kant, Kierkegaard, and Tillich,
discuss a god who is not the God of the Bible.
See “gods of the philosophers above.”
(3) Philosophy is virtually anything that anyone wants it
to be. Like
“religion” (see above), philosophy is so broad that it means
almost nothing except perhaps what any unregenerate person
of Philosophy over Three Millennia.
Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, is
language, light, logic, rational thought, wisdom, and many other
attributes of knowledge.
Some recent philosophers (Gordon Clark, Ronald Nash, Carl
F. H. Henry, John Frame, and Vern Poythress, for example) have
emphasized Christ as
Logos, the Greek word usually translated “Word” (John 1:1).
But this emphasis is less common today among Christian
However, this concept is central to epistemology because Christ
is the creator of language itself, He “enlightens” every man
(John 1:9), He is the focus of those who are “born-again” (John
3), and He has spoken in word form from Genesis 1:1 to
Revelation 22:21. A
Christian epistemology that does not mention
Logos as central to
its development is not
a truly Christian concept.
Biblical definitions are necessary.
I find the situation amazing that Christians in
philosophy and theology frequently do not have glossaries in
their books nor do they give careful and detailed definitions of
words that are common to the Christian faith: faith, belief
(believe), love, truth, God, etc.
For example, D. A. Carson wrote the book,
The Difficult Doctrine of
the Love of God and never (as far as I could determine)
defined love! Alvin
Plantinga wrote his lengthy trilogy without a Glossary.
I wrote my book on faith because I never found a helpful
and Biblically accurate definition of faith.
These scholars are supposed to be our teachers, but
without basic definitions, discussions flounder and require
hours of searching to try to find their definitions—if they have
them! I would like
especially to see definitions of faith, love, truth, knowledge,
mind, spirit, soul, and heart which are basic to the Christian
faith, but rarely are given concise, portable definitions for
the laymen and professionals.
This lack may be the greatest reason for confusion among
(See apologetics below.)
Apologetics … for whom?
There seems to be an almost endless discussion of
definition is not a problem: the defense of the faith.
But almost all apologetics today is written to
Apologetics written to Christians is education and edification,
Who attends apologetics conferences?
Thus, they are not apologetics conferences, but education
conferences. Now, I
do not necessarily object to these teachings, but those teachers
should be more honest about what is being done.
I wonder whether Christianity might be advanced to a
greater extent, all this effort were truly apologetic—directed
and engaged with unbelievers.
Recognition of the great defeater of solipsism.
In the last few months, I have come to see solipsism as
one of the greatest obstacles of philosophy.
Solipsism is the question of how I can know that other
minds exist, since no earthly person can do a “mind meld,” as
the Spock of Star Trek fame is able to do.
The only way to know with certainty that other minds
exist is the testimony of a person who has actually “entered”
other minds. As
Christians, we know not only the One who knows all minds better
than those minds themselves (Jeremiah 17:9-10), but Who created
and predestined those minds (Acts 2:23)!
By contrast, Plantinga only comes to a probability
conclusion that other minds exist in his
God and Other Minds.
Catholicism and Protestant (at least Reformed) Christianity will
be kept distinct.
For sure, Christianity is ruled by pluralism when those
who are Reformed teach at Catholic universities and those who
are Catholic teach at Protestant universities.
This pluralism may be the greatest indictment of the
modern “Christian” philosophical enterprise that it fails to be
precise in its definitions and delimitations.
Clearly, Catholic and Protestant (at least Reformed)
theology and philosophy are incompatible.
The five solas
of the Protestant Reformation and the Council of Trent form an
unbridgeable gap between the two belief systems.
In philosophy, the gap is not as great, but Catholicism
is clearly dependent upon the Thomist system of philosophy
(empiricism), as Protestant theology (at least historically) is
(I cannot help thinking in this context that a
failure to teach and understand logic may explain the
Protestants and Catholics in philosophy by each other.
Theology should only be deduction from Scripture—truth
deducted from truth.
Philosophy without Scripture is left with only personal
opinion and its derived fallacies and induction—both a
foundation of sand.)
site is committed to the Reformed faith.
Perhaps, I have attempted the impossible—a sort of
generic approach to Biblical philosophy.
I did not want this site to be overtly, quickly
identifiable with Reformed Christianity by the initial visitor
because the logical (coherent0 approach to Scripture can only
arrive at the Reformed position best represented by the
Westminster Confession of Faith.
The word “Christian” in its title has been minimized
everywhere here. It
is used to attract visitors in the hope that I can get them
thinking logically and Biblically before they realize my most
basic beliefs! That
intention could be conceived as dishonest.
But I hope that it is more consistent with being “wise …
and harmless” (Matthew 10:16).
But, here at least and overtly, I am stating my position!
My basic beliefs (first principles) would be (1) the
inerrancy of the 66 books of the agreed-upon Bible, (2) the
theorems deducted from that Bible, and (3) the Westminster
Confession of Faith as the best summary of those theorems.
The philosopher in whom I hold the highest regard is
Gordon H. Clark, but I value all the other philosophers for
Reformed faith who heavily engage themselves with Scripture and
logical deduction, such as Cornelius Van Til, Greg Bahnsen,
Robert Reymond, and John Frame.
The best website that reflects my Biblical and
theological systems is that of The Trinity Foundation (although
I distant myself from many of the conclusions and caustic
attacks of the late John Robbins).
persons and systems are irrational to some degree.
Ah, who else has admitted this limitation?
Only the Scriptures are fully, logically coherent, but
even they must be interpreted.
All humans are finite, and while I agree that valid
reasoning from the true propositions of the Bible are as true as
the words of Scripture itself, we all err frequently.
The challenge is to challenge each other to greater
consistency, but even that cannot be done, if we argue from
My premises are stated above.
I will only accept challenge on those premises.
But I have here and openly stated that I will sometimes
site along with
includes a complete system of ethics.
Not many Christian philosophers today have a
relatively complete system of ethics in their writings, even
though traditionally ethics is one the three major divisions of
fact, the majority of my life’s work has been in ethics—medical
or bioethics—and have only lately come to focus on philosophy
is a certain immediacy to philosophy… impending death!
I have been on a college campus attending classes this
past year (Spring 2010).
There have been two deaths of from a population of about
5000. These were
young people—intelligent, highly motivated, beginning careers,
and the love of their parents.
Dead; life over.
On this campus were they confronted with answers about
eternity? Was there
an immediacy of concern in this “higher institution of
(1) An institution that claims to be a “university” in all that
term means which does not
immediately teach its students that they are mortal, that
mortality means that they will face eternity, and that a
decision about that eternity is the most important one that they
will ever make can never be a “university” in the highest sense
of that meaning.
(2) Any Christian, and this site is mostly directed to Christian
philosophers, who does not have some immediacy in his writings,
including a simple method by which his readers are forced to
face the issues of mortality and eternity, is only discussing
trivial issues. The
Bible speaks clearly and simply here.
There is a Heaven and Hell; there is salvation
immediately available in Jesus Christ.
It seems reasonable to hope that Christian philosophers
would keep this immediacy prominent and simplistic in their
meandering thoughts about complex issues that
do not involve
are no answers in philosophy!
Both Peter Inwagen and Scott Oliphint have recognized
that secular philosophy (there is really no other kind) has
produced no answers in metaphysics or epistemology.
And, certainly there is no agreement in ethics.
So, why do Christian philosophers continue as though
there are answers? (Reference
to Inwagen and Oliphint is in Oliphint’s
Reason for Faith, 37,