Towards a Coherent
Biblical and Reformed Philosophy: The Bare Bones, Stark Reality,
and Some Whimsey!
Philosophy Sets the Agenda, But Scripture Is the Ultimate
The following is still under
construction, but I wanted to "get it out there," as I develop
A logically consistent Biblical philosophy is
quite simple. Its
foundation is first the Scriptures and from that truth, the
character of God Himself.
All the cognitive gymnastics that both Christian and non
Christian philosophers go through are doomed to incoherency and
irrationality (Bible says “foolish”).
Let me warn you, however, that such a system
is “harsh” at first glance.
God does what He wants, when He wants, where He wants,
and with whom He wants.
From our perspective, He is whimsical!
From His perspective, He is perfectly and logically
The following was intended to be one page.
It rapidly expanded into
much more. It
is still under construction, but I wanted to “put it out
there,” as one of my major projects.
Comments are welcome.
The format is in outline
does a Biblical philosophy differ from Biblical theology?
(1) It seeks to address the priority questions of
philosophy, instead of the priority questions of theology or
Scripture. (2) Its
format is determined by philosophy.
(3) Revelation is the final and complete authority.
The attempt of philosophy to answer “ultimate” questions
apart from Revelation is futile and sinful. (4) It does not use
“Christian” or “Christianly,” as a defining adjective, but
merely for ease of communication.
(5) It allows the Sovereignty (Predestination) of God in
all thoughts and things, including salvation.
(6) It is not an apologetic, but instructive to
Christians. (7) It
demonstrates forcefully the superiority of Christianity over all
other religions, as the only religion.
(8) It recognizes that “philosophy of religion” is really
the “philosophy of Christianity.”
(9) The structure of language and knowledge is founded on
God’s mind: Christ as the “Word,” enlightening every man (John
1:9); the Holy Spirit in regeneration; communication within the
Trinity; etc. (10) It is
not as concerned with the history of philosophy because man’s
mind in philosophy cannot begin to compare with the
understanding that God gives in Revelation.
(11) It rejects
“classical theism” and any other “theism” that is not Biblically
derived ((e.g., as stated by WCF, Chapter 2).
Starting point (arché), first
philosophy, first principle, most basic axiom. The Word of God is true and the only
source of truth: ultimate and absolute authority, governs
every area of study, coherent as metaphysics and epistemology,
the only system of noncompeting ethics (individual, family,
social groups, and civil government),
Character of God.
God speaks “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
most important subject to which the Bible speaks is the nature
of God and the nature of man.
The first characteristic of God for man is that he speaks
The Truth and the only one who speaks truth.
The first characteristic of man is that he is either
regenerate or reprobate.
The most central figure in the Bible is the Lord Jesus
Christ, as both Savior and Lord.
Comprehensibility vs. incomprehensibility.
What is it about God that we do not understand?
His ability to create and sustain… a form of idealism?
We can understand something of creation when we write fiction—creating
a world and characters that has details and facts of our own
See Vincent Cheung.
Analogy must have univocity.
For man to have knowledge and truth, there must be univocity of
God's words and definitions at some points. Otherwise, the
simple statement, "For God so loved the world..." has no world
(the entire Creation, including persons) as a referent ... no world, no Christ to save it.
The axiom and first principle: All the theorems that follow
here are derived from this one theorem.
Theology and philosophy are under the highest control.
Medicine Under the Authority of Scripture.
The law of noncontradiction: derived from Scripture and the
test of coherency for one's entire system. Coherence must
be the test of any system of truth.
Epistemology is answered in John 1:1, 9.
The only truth that can be known is that contained in
the 66 books of the Bible. We can only know the universe
empirically, which is not truth but technical competence.
(See below.) Like the
ding and sich, the
exact mechanism of knowledge cannot be known.
We do know that knowledge may be innate, acquired from
others, learned discursively through reason, or learned
mystically. Christ enlightens
all men (John 1:9). God never
intended man to know Him apart from Revelation,
Vincent Cheung, page 7.
Metaphysics is answered by Genesis 1:1.
“Ultimate” understanding of the “whys” of the
universe (gravitation, laws of motion, chaos theory, quantum
mechanics, etc.) is simply that God posited these properties in
His creation. There are no "natural laws," only the
regularity in operation of the universe that allows man to
develop science in order to fulfill God's Creation Mandate,
given to him in Genesis 1.
Ethics is answered by all the instructions of the Old and New
There is no Euthryphro dilemma: God determines and proclaims
what is right and what is wrong according to Himself.
There is no authority higher than God.
Logic is how God’s mind works.
Man can reason because God reasons. Man is made in the
image of God. Without logic (coherence of definitions and
grammar) there is no communication.
The Bible is a unity that reflects the unity of God.
There are no true contradictions in Scripture. Apparent
contradictions may be beyond human understanding, but may also
be resolved by further study and reflection.
Language. Communication is possible by language.
This theorem includes
all the standard rules of language that are necessary for
understanding and judgment.
Not perfect, but precision is sought.
God developed language.
It is one of, if not the primary, characteristics of man
that is the Image of God.
Language requires all the standard rules of definition and
God is Sovereign because He is omnipotent.
He predestinates ALL things for His own glory.
He is righteous because everything that He does is
everything that He does is “right,” then He is perfectly Wise,
predestinates all one’s thoughts, words, and actions.
This proposition is the only one that can be concluded
from Total Predestination and the control of men’s minds
in Scripture (Pharaoh, Potter and clay, crucifixion of Jesus,
etc.). John Frame
Men are not robots.
Robots have no self-consciousness.
Somehow, God has created a mind that is contained as the
same person through great physical changes: conception, prenatal
growth, birth, infancy, childhood, adulthood, old age, and in
Robots do not feel; humans feel, and feel powerfully.
Humans experience a complexity that would never be
possible for machines.
Robots would still inhabit a universe created by God.
Man cannot create a universe for robots.
3.2.4 Humans have a physical body far too
complex to be created by man.
Men are given the great status of watching God’s Demonstration
in history. It
is his “show,” not ours.
We are privileged to experience the joys and sorrows of
our part in that Grand Demonstration.
predestinates the regenerate and the reprobate,
sometimes called "double predestination."
Salvation is by regeneration which is totally of the Holy Spirit
There is no mystery here. Election is simply God
exercising His sovereignty in the salvation of some persons.
Regeneration cannot be reversed, as human birth cannot.
The Holy Spirit is omnipotent.
Thus, “perseverance” of the saints is certain.
There are no “second” causes in the universe.
There are subjects and events that act under God’s control.
God is never “passive” or “permissive,” as the universe would
collapse at the moment that He became so.
There are mediators (agents, subjects) through whom or which God
The “necessity” that men have free will in order to be
responsible is a philosophical myth.
The only requirement for men to be held responsible is for God
to require it of them.
There is no justice “above” God to whom to appeal!
Responsibility does not necessitate ability.
Supralapsarianism is the only possibility.
Infralapsarianism is contradictory to Total Sovereignty.
All glory is His because He predestines all things and events to
which glory could be given!
The cosmos is not mechanistic, it is Personal.
See Gary North,
“Evil” does not exist from God’s perspective.
See reference to
Frame interview above… then go down to responder “Joshua” below
“God is righteous by definition.” Cheung,
Author of Sin
God is working “all things for His glory.”
His glory cannot include evil.
Evil is man’s perspective.
(predestinating) will must be distinguished from His
prescribed, preceptive, legal) will.
His decretive will is what actually will occur in
declared will is that attitude and behavior which is His
standard for mankind.
responsibility does not require
ability. (See 3.6
“Where sin abounds, grace much more abounds.”
Without sin, how would we understand the grace and mercy of God?
How would the reward of
heaven be a better place?
God is righteousness.
5.1 Traducianism is necessary because creationism would require that
He create a sinful soul: guilty in Adam, disposed to sin, and a
sinner in action after birth.
God is omnipotent
Cause and effect.
All events in the universe are related.
To know one cause, it is necessary to know all causes and
God is the cause.
The cause of all human thought and behavior is ultimately
from God. Free
will must be redefined to mean that freedom is fulfilling God’s
“Free will” in the sense of most philosophers and common
parlance would require both omniscience and omnipotence.
Totally free will requires one to know everything in
the universe and all past and present things also.
Then, once a decision is made, there must total power to
Otherwise, the will is limited by limited knowledge and limited
will” then becomes “limited will.”
So, “free will” is really a false understanding of being
free. This position
is also consistent with the determinism of nature and nurture.
No one chooses their innate abilities or their early
nurture. Upon those
two foundations, all future decisions become necessary and
dependent upon those decisions.
Soteriology: regeneration, justification, sanctification,
and perseverance are all of God.
A man is dead
in sin and in regard to eternal life.
This deadness is separation from the life of God by a
chasm that can only be bridged by God.
His only faith can be in himself.
The Arminian position that man must have saving faith on
his own before
regeneration is impossible.
The highest good that a person could ever achieve would
be to have saving faith in God and His Word.
If he is able to achieve that on his own, why does he
need God in the first place.
Justification requires that God’s perfect justice be
satisfied. Only God
can satisfy His own justice, thus, requiring that God in Christ
be the sacrifice and payment for man’s sins.
The Catholic doctrine that nothing that Christ did is sufficient
within itself for salvation, merely getting one started towards
salvation, makes His work incomplete.
Sanctification and perseverance is all of God.
“Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for
God is at work in you to will and to do His good pleasure”
Metaphysics. The physical (material) universe is founded
upon the spiritual (immaterial) universe (Acts 17:28;
Hebrews 1:3, 11:3)
See cause and effect
Kant was right, man can never know the
ding an sich (the
thing in itself).
Man has not and will not find ultimate answers and
has found his search for these ultimates to be frustrated in
human DNA, subatomic physics, origin of the universe, the
psychology of man, and virtually every other of human endeavor.
Empiricism is valid for that which God intended: The
The reasoning of empiricism (including the scientific
method) is frequently abused by both Christians and
It is always probability, never certain.
Only faith can be certain.
The great problem with empiricism is that man has tried
to find truth with it.
All logic textbooks and professors teach that induction
(empiricism) finds probability, not truth.
Anything probable is not truth.
Then, why do so many people say that “science”
(empiricism) will find the answers to man’s problems.
competence is not competence in truth.
No “is” can determine an “ought.”
(Hume) Science can only describe what is and make
associations that are presumed to be cause and effect.
It can invoke no morality or ethics.
Dynamite can be used for positive ends, as well as
murder. Aristotle’s four
causes: material, formal, efficient, final.
Anthropology and soteriology: Creation Mandate, The
Fall, Preface to Messiah (Old Testament), Life and Work of Jesus
Christ, Kingdom of God, and Heaven
See above on regeneration and other steps of the
Christ enlightens the minds of all men, not in
regeneration but in common grace (John 1:9).
The Holy Spirit is the teacher of the regenerate.
Regeneration imparts no knowledge with the act itself.
Faith is the disposition to act according to some
knowledge with an expected outcome that is determined by the
truth of the knowledge.
There are two categories: saving faith and generic faith
(everyday decisions and the basis of all knowledge).
Rational language structure must be present for faith to occur.
Then, a position of faith is challenge by rational
faith and reason are interdependent.
Faith always, necessarily, inescapably precedes rational
must always start
somewhere, i.e., a
Definitions: love, faith, gospel… which to list here?
?? Creation Mandate=Great Commission=Kingdom of Heaven,
Philosophy of religion, natural philosophy, natural theology,
Christianity is the focus, not “religion.”
Definition of religion
Gods of the philosophers, not the God of Biblical
God’s use of cryptic teaching… what?
Parables, proverbs, poetry, difficulty of words (faith,
love, etc.), innate knowledge (Romans 1).
The following two books approximate and are
mostly consistent with my thoughts.
They are also concise. Both are available at
The third resource is described.
1. Gordon H. Clark,
2. W. Gary Crampton,
The Scripturalism of
Gordon H. Clark.
3. Westminster Confession of Faith: Chapters,
Larger and Shorter Catechism.
The most concise, but comprehensive, systematic theology
ever written, and possibly the most complete ethics every
written (Q/A on the Larger and Shorter Catechism).
Online at www.opc.org