Naturalism Versus Supernaturalism
by Carlton Pruitt
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The Christian when arguing for the validity of the supernatural must always begin, for the sake of argument, with God. This is known as the presuppositional approach to apologetics. Supernaturalism says that reality is found in the supernatural God of the Bible and that only such a God as is revealed in holy scripture can allow for man's understanding or knowledge of anything.
It is interesting that the Bible nowhere seeks to prove God's existence but simply presupposes it in such verses as Genesis 1:1
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."
This is an assertion which requires faith and can not be proven says the rationalist or empiricist by the scientific method. However the scientific method itself is based on the assumption that knowledge is possible and that man can know certain facts about things but only as it passes through his finite grid of reason or experience. But the question arises what gives man the certainty or validity of knowledge? In other words how can we know anything? Is knowledge possible? These are epistemological questions and epistemology seeks to answer such questions.
According to the Christian faith all facts are God created and God interpreted. There are no facts which exist independent of God. All facts are what they are because God created them that way. Jesus said, "Without me you can do nothing." John 15:5
This means that all human potentiality rests upon the possibility found within God's will so that God is the source of all possibility as scripture affirms in Matthew 19:26 "With God all things are possible." The opposite is also true. Without God nothing is possible including man's reason or knowledge. In fact the very ability to reason is proof of God's existence for apart from God's existence man could never even reason or deny the supernatural.
Descartes was famous for his Latin phrase "Cogito Ergo Sum" I think therefore I am but Saint Anselm of Canterbury said more correctly and from a Biblical standpoint "I believe in order that I may understand."
Indeed this is what Scripture teaches in Hebrews 11:3 where it says "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God..."
By this scripture text we can also know that our faith determines what we believe the facts are. By this verse we also learn the truth that a Christian must believe in the doctrine of creation or else they do not have true faith. This faith is a faith that clings to the supernatural and this also includes all the miracles which were done by both God, man and Jesus Christ. All the Biblical miracles attest to the supernatural because these were not within the natural order of things.
For the Christian the existence of God is a fact just as the creation of the world is a fact because faith reveals this to be the case. The faith given to Christians is no less than the faith of Jesus Christ which justifies and gives saving knowledge. Nobody can be a Christian who does not believe in the creation. We find this truth taught in Hebrews
Faith determines reality and this is a supernatural faith that is given to all God's elect. There is a natural faith which occurs in nature and there is a supernatural faith which is both a work and a gift.
"This is the work of God that you believe." John 6:29
"By grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God..." Eph 2:8,9
In the natural realm 2+2 equals four simply because God created such facts or numbers to be what they are. In a universe created by a sovereign all powerful and all knowing God facts are never independent from the reality of God but rather are dependent upon God for their very existence. This also means that apart from God sinful man can not rightly doubt the existence of God without falling into a form of irrationalism. It is irrational for a sinner to say that the universe is mostly irrational but there exists a thin layer of rationality which makes some knowledge possible. The unbeliever who believes only in the natural assumes intelligibility in the universe to in order to deny intelligibility. Romans says the unbeliever knows God but that he suppresses or holds down this truth in unrighteousness. Romans 1:18
The Christian says man is sinful because of the fall and while he is able to reason and know things he can not know them truly without the revelation of God. This is why salvation in the Bible is a calling and a revelation according to Galatians 1:15-16 where we read:
"But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen..."
We also learn that without a faith in the supernatural it is impossible to please God and that before a person comes to God for seeking salvation he or she must believe that He is, that is, that God exists and that God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6
The presuppositionalist approaches knowledge with the belief that all that is knowable is revealed by an infinite God who has given man the ability to know and reason even though his reason is fallen and finite. Thus a belief in the supernatural is necessary in order for man to know anything because God who is a supernatural being has created knowledge and has revealed Himself to finite man. God is incomprehensible, that is to say, God can never be known in an exhaustive manner but He can be known if God has chosen to reveal Himself to finite man. Scripture affirms this revelation as found in Romans 1:19
"Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse."
The naturalist says that reality is found in nature apart from any supernatural expression of being. God, deity or the supernatural are excluded from the outset by the naturalist without any proof so that his world and life view or philosophy is faith based as well as the Christian's belief in God. The faith of the naturalist is a natural faith which doesn't save however whereas the faith of the Christian is a supernatural faith which comes from God who is supernatural. The naturalist can no more prove the existence of God than can the Christian who believes in a supernatural God or deity. Such a deity does however allow for a consistent and logical basis for any knowledge or reason and so the presuppositional approach seeks to start with a priori the existence of God knowing that apart from God man can not know anything including himself.
No matter how much a Christian argues for the so called proof of God's existence, the supernatural miracles found in the Bible etc the natural man will not receive them because they are spiritually discerned and only given to those with the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ. He may argue the inconsistent and illogical reasoning or thinking of the unbeliever but he will not argue him or her that is void of faith into the kingdom of God. Salvation is a gift given by God's sovereign grace to his elect chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world.
(Ephesians 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13)
Carlton Pruitt ministers the gospel to the Los Angeles area. Formerly a Hollywood actor (SAG member)and junk removal expert he now spends most of his time studying the scriptures, writing articles, hymns and poems and doing street preaching.
See his videos on http://www.youtube.com Type LAStreetPreacher in the search bar. CONTACT at Carlton2061@gmail.
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