The following are not in any order of importance or
priority. In fact, they could be said to constitute a
necessary whole with boundary conditions that are met by the
parts, even though they are necessarily incomplete in number and
1. No person can avoid determinism or predestination.
His only choice is the means by which he is predestined. No one
chooses their genes, their parents, or who teaches them early in
their early life. By the time of their “age of accountability,” all
choices are then conditioned (predestined) by those influences.
And without omniscience (knowing all possible options), the only
knowledge from which to choose comes from these unselected
Corollary. On this basis, at best, man only has
limited "free will." Any freedom is conditioned by what he
is and what he has been taught. This situation could hardly
be defined as "free will."
2. There are only two sources of morals and ethics, that is,
what is right and wrong. You believe in yourself or a source
outside of yourself that you totally trust. If you retain any
choice of what is right and wrong, then you are still in
control. If you yield completely to a source outside of
yourself, then your only task is to learn that source and obey.
The only trustworthy source outside of oneself is the Bible. So,
the only true source of right and wrong is the Bible.
Corollary: Lordship. The only lord that one will ever
worship is oneself or someone to whom one yields and gives total obedience. Only the God of the Bible has
the qualifications for such sacrifice.
Corollary: Since there are only two sources of
ethics, science ("what is") can never give an
"ought." See # 20 below.
3. Civil law is inescapably based upon ethics. (See the only
two possible sources of ethics above.) Thus, there are
only two choices for civil law: rule by man's law (autonomy or a
majority vote) or God's law, as found in the Bible.
4. Autonomy or infallibility of the self. (This aphorism could be considered a
corollary of “sources of morals and ethics” above.) You either
consider yourself infallible or you totally trust the knowledge
of someone else. Any knowledge about which you say, “That is not
right,” demonstrates you retain infallibility for yourself.
Corollary. Given the opportunity for such a power position, every person
(apart from a working of the Holy Spirit) would be a dictator and
tyrant. One need only note the vigor of any conversation about
politics. Without power being limited by others, each person would
implement total law and order according to their own ethical
5. Augustine of Hippo was correct, "I
believe in order to understand." Faith
(belief) is prior to reason, as first principles or first
philosophy. Thinking must begin somewhere, that is, a place
to start one's thinking process. Eventually, if searching
continues, each person will find what principle governs all
others: that will be his most basic belief or first principle.
Ultimately, there are only two faith positions: trust in one's
self or trust in God's revelation, the Bible. This
position is also one of presuppositionalism.
Faith and reason (logic) are an
inherent unity. Faith (belief) in a most basic
proposition comes first; for the Christian this belief is the
truth of the Bible. Once that belief is certain, then
reason (logic) is applied for "understanding." Thus, faith
precedes reason, but reason develops the full extent of what
that faith consists—all the truths about
God, his universe, and His plan for all peoples.
Reason. A statement of faith (a
proposition) must be reasonable, following the rules of logic
and grammar. That is, a statement of faith must be clearly
coherent and understandable to others.
6. The law of non-contradiction. Among competing statements of truth, only one or another not
considered can be true. Also, included here would be
the law of identity and the law of
7. The Bible is the only truth that any man
will ever know, and it is objective! "Objective" means that it exists outside of the self.
While subjectivity may affect interpretation, the objective
message has been settled for almost 2000 years. The
magnitude of this fact is lost in the common place of the Bible
Corollary: Every man, as a
unique subject, will have a different interpretation of God and
His Revelation on several points. No two people on earth
ever agree on everything in which each believes. However,
there are two points on which no compromise is possible: (1) the
66 books of the Protestant Bible, as discerned from the best
manuscripts and (2) the orthodox tenets of one's church.
Those of Reformed persuasion have recognized this reality in
their "freedom of the conscience," as illustrated in the
Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 20, Section 2.
See "Truth and Reality" below.
8. Truth and reality are the same; truth is
reality. "I am the way, the truth, and the
life." Objective and Subjective Truth are one and the
same in the Person of the Trinity. They know with any
distortion of objectivity, while they are themselves subjects.
"Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is One.
Corollary: See "The Bible is
the only truth ..." above. The mind of every person is
unique to the extent that he will different from every other
person on planet earth on several points of Biblical teaching.
While the Scriptures are objective, there is an interaction with
one's conscience that the Reformed, in particular, have long
9. Neither secular science nor creation science
is truth. Science is always temporary, inductive,
temporal, and limited to theoretical or experimental design.
At best it is only a probability.
10. That man is mortal has an immediacy that
philosophers do not seem to appreciate. That is,
decisions about life and death, right and wrong have an
immediate demand. Philosophers "fiddle" while
and death abound.
11. Philosophers seem unwilling to simplify and
condense. They seem unwilling to do the hard work
of actually constructing a coherent system, especially for the
"common man." They seem unwilling to write
simply and summarize. It would be greatly helpful if every
philosopher had a complete glossary and a comprehensive list of
12. Presuppositionalism. The most basic
belief of a lay person or a philosopher is stated as a
proposition. Because it is first (most basic), it is a presupposition.
If he chooses any statement (proposition) upon which to base
that original statement, that more basic statement becomes his
first principle (presupposition). For example, the
statement, "Facts speak for themselves," is a presupposition by
the evidentialists. Presupposition is always and
inescapably prior to evidential or empirical claims.
Every person starts with an absolute—a most
basic belief. Whatever first principle a person
chooses is his absolute because it controls all knowledge
that that person considers to be true.
The particular of saved or unsaved. Being
regenerate or unregenerate casues a presupposition
concerning the Bible, as either Spirit-breathed and the very
Word of God or just another source of knowledge among all
the others. Again, there are ultimately only two
systems of belief.
Corollary. Circular reasoning cannot be
avoided. Since a true first principle is one upon
which all one's other beliefs are derived, and true first
principles are not provable, all systems of knowledge are
built upon circularity. The difficulty is getting one
person to move to another's system in which argument can be
made. In Biblical regeneration, the person is
convinced to believe that the Bible is true.
13. At least one absolute exists.
Since "There are no absolutes" is self-refuting, there must be
at least one absolute. The same applies to "There is no
14. No one lives consistently with the beliefs
of irrationalism, postmodernism and Eastern religions.
All peoples on planet earth plan their days on a regular cycle,
a dependable universe, being able to communicate with others,
and interact in the marketplace.
Postmodernism: For all their
talk of narrative, the hermeneutics of suspicion, the
impossibility of language, etc, the postmodernists use
propositions, persuasion, language, etc. to present and defend
their views. They cannot live and function with coherence
of their own beliefs.
15. A person cannot consist of just
chemicals or material substance. Over the course of one's
life, virtually all molecules in a person's body are
replaced. If memory or thought were linked only to those
chemicals, then all memory would disappear. Who and
what a person is, then, cannot be dependent upon those
chemicals, thereby necessitating a spiritual (soul, mind,
heart) component of every person that does not change.
16. The philosophy of a theologian will
unavoidably affect his theology. The
empiricist will give credence to experience, psychology,
sociology, experts, and emotions on a par with, or even
above, Biblical truth. The rationalist will trust in
apologetics to convince others of the truth of Christianity,
deny the necessity of presuppositions (even will operating
on his own axioms), and use philosophy to integrate or
interpret Biblical truth. The fideist
(presuppositionalist, foundationalist) of Scripture, if
consistent and coherent, will develop his theology
systematically and accurately.
17. A philosophy that has not been worked into
a system is no philosophy at all. Then, that system must
cohere at every point in the system. This failure
means two things. (A) Philosophers
advocate a non-system that will have incoherencies. That
is, they advocate an incoherent system and isolated facts.
(B) They fail to see that any Christian (Biblical) system must
be one as God is One, "Hear O Israel, the LORD our god is one!"
18. "I do not
believe ... that a Christian philosophy now exists
that is reasonably
adequate for the needs of the modern Protestant theologian."
(John Frame, The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, page
318.) Frame wrote this statement in spite of a (more or
less) positive review in his Appendix on the Reformed Epistemology
of Plantinga, Wolterstorff, et al. Frame's statement is a
telling indictment of the prolific efforts or a plethora of
Christians in philosophy, including the Society of Christian
Philosophers and the Evangelical Philosophical Society.
19. A Christian philosopher and his theology
are inescapably interdependent. For example, an
Arminian will defend free will, as in incompatibilism, in both
his theology and his philosophy. One who is consistently
Reformed will defend free will, as in compatibilism, and as
posited by the Westminster Confession of Faith: "God hath endued
the will of man with that natural liberty, that it is neither
forced, nor, by any absolute necessity of nature, determined to
good, or evil" (Chapter IX, 1).
20. "What is" can never provide an ought.
Neither empiricism nor its supersensible counterpart ("the
sciences") can derive an ought. Scientific research
studies "what is," but an "ought" can only come from personal or
social opinion. (Of course, the ultimate "personal"
opinion is that of God Omnipotent.) When scientists
(including psychologists and sociologists) say that something
"ought" or "ought not" to be, they have moved from the realm of
their expertise (science) to the realm of personal opinion.
They have no more authority than the "man on the street" and
infinitely less than God speaking through His Word.
No morality in an accidental universe.
Life that evolved from "chance" of random events can produce not
right and wrong. If everything is an accident, then there
can be only accidental thoughts. Rational minds cannot
exist and neither can morals or ethics.
21. Some kind of innate knowledge and ability
to formulate categories is requisite to any knowledge at all.
A movie camera with no film or storage media
would be unable to capture images. So, there must be a
structure by which images are stored. Further, recorded
movies can only play back what they recorded. They cannot
name or categorize objects. Tabula rasa is
unimaginable with today's knowledge of technology. While
the particulars of innate knowledge (categories, logic, concrete
knowledge, etc. may be debated, the fact of innate knowledge is
22. Truth resides apart from rationalism and
empiricism, realism and idealism, and faith and reason.
Rationalists failed to accept empiricism. Empiricists have
failed to accept rationalism. Idealists fail to accept
realism. Realists fail to accept idealism. Fideists
have failed to accept rationalism. Rationalists have
failed to accept fideism. If each opposite is
incompatible, then combinations of each will not work either.
Thus, truth resides apart from each of these philosophies and is
found in Special Revelation.
23. Life cannot come from non-life.
Those believing in evolution want to say that life came from
non-life, but that belief is impossible. The most simple
living cell (or virus) manifests a complexity and metabolism
that is not even conceivable in the physical world.
Probability and long time intervals cannot apply here.
There is an impenetrable barrier between life and non-life.
Were the atheists not dependent upon this proposition to deny
God, life arising from non-life would be laughable.
Minimally, it is foolish... the fool has said in his heart that
there is no God."
Some characteristics of life.
Life involves complex metabolism. For animals, it involves
movement. For most living things, life includes
reproducing its own kind. Life assimilates both inorganic
and inorganic materials as food. After using them, waste
is produced. All life exists in the complexity of life on
planet earth and in the universe. Thus, life arriving from
non-life is totally unreasonable and not even within the realm
24. It is possible to communicate with
language. For all the arguments on the inadequacy
of language, it is language that is used to deny the possibility
of language! Billions of communications by word, writing,
and other means occurs daily, if not hourly. Are their
problems and complexities of language? Of course.
But let us not deny the tremendous pragmatic value of language.
25. We can trust our senses most of the time!
God has given us wonderful senses and a "real" world that
corresponds beautifully to them. The problem, as in
discussions of empiricism above and elsewhere, that our sense
experience cannot tell us what is right and wrong (ethics).
Neither is it a foundation for truth (knowledge) because truth
must have a foundation that is infallible as it presents itself
to our understanding. Also, we must always be aware of the
occasional fallacy (the black swan and other entities) that
intrude into an otherwise orderly and predictable world.
Anti-empiricists (including myself), however, have perhaps been
too critical of empirical and experiential reliability. On
a day to day basis, such knowledge is necessary and expeditious.
Everyone just needs to learn where it is helpful and be aware of
its potential for harm. (That this concept is #25
demonstrates that I have been too harsh in the past.)
26. The hermeneutical circle of the postmoderns is
valid. One of the greatest truths of postmodernism
(yes, I can recognize truths there!) is the hermeneutical
circle. While many evangelicals, and my brothers Reformed,
like to speak of objective eisegesis, no one can never entirely
remove his or her personal presuppositions from one's hermeneutics. With
the hermeneutical circle, one goes to Scripture (or any other
source of knowledge), learns something, and this new knowledge
inescapably causes his next visit to the same text (or any other text) to be
changed by the perspective of that change in his or her
27. Matter had a beginning or is eternal.
Leibniz had it right, "Why is there something rather than
nothing?" Either matter is eternal, and therefore, the
cause of all things, or matter had a beginning and was created
by a power greater than it. For all the Big Bang
theorists, both Christian and pagan, inescapably there had to be
"something rather than nothing" for the Big Bang to occur.
And, necessarily, there had to be a First Cause to create
matter--the Creator with all the attributes given to Him in the
28. Emergence is God hidden in plain sight.
With all the effort expended on the "hiddenness of God,"
emergence places Him in plain sight. Emergence is the
great leap of properties of the whole when contrasted with its
parts: atoms and atomic particles, living cells and an (as yet)
unknown complexity of subcellular parts, tissues made up of
millions of cells, organs and their tissues, a whole creature
and its organs, the solar system and its planets, the universe
and its (almost) infinite structures, and more, much more.
For all the discussion of supervenience, boundary conditions,
organizing principles, and intelligent design, it is inescapably
the God of Christian Scripture that makes emergence possible
because everyone agrees (by definition) that emergent properties
cannot come from the parts of the whole. That conclusion
rules out natural properties, so one is left with a supernatural
explanation, and from an "inference to the best explanation,"
that God is necessary.
Wager on the transcendent. George
Steiner's "wager on the transcendent" in his boo, Real
Presences, has a similar origin in thought to that of
emergence. How can language, art, and other "human" values
and meaning exist with the immanence of the supernatual, i.e.,
Nihilism is the belief that there is no meaning in the
universe. This statement is an oxymoron—a
contradiction. The statement itself is presenced to
have meaning—to promote a worldview to others. Thus, it is
self-contradictory and meaningless. By the law of
noncontradiction, its opposite is true: “there is meaning in the
universe,” so let us be on the search for finding it!
The idea of "inescapables" came from R. J. Rushdoony's
Infallibiilty: An Inescapable Concept.
These "inescapables" are an ongoing work. If you have
suggestions for additions or disagreement with those posted,
please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.