“Sproul Sunday” RC Sproul: Four Steps Backwards – Defending Your Faith Part 4

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Uploaded by on Jan 6, 2012

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Epistemology is the study of how people know what they know. There have been many approaches to this, and some utterly fail to give any certitude to us in the areas of faith.
Why do some theories of knowledge fail and others succeed? And why is this important to Christianity? This study begins to answer that question by establishing four nonnegotiable presuppositions about knowledge.

1. To value the science of epistemology.
2. To become familiar with the terms surrounding elementary epistemology.
3. To apply the four basic principles of knowledge to our own ideas and the ideas presented to us by the world.

Argument: An argument consists of one or more premises and one conclusion. A premise is a statement (a sentence that is either true or false) that is offered in support of the claim being made, which is the conclusion.
The latter is also an idea that is either true or false.

I. What is epistemology?

a. How do we know what we know? How can we verify or falsify claims of truth?
b. Do we know only through senses or mind? Or formal proofs, such as mathematics?
c. As this relates to apologetics, it raises the question of what the “real” way is to prove the existence of God, the way that carries the most certitude.

II. Epistemology and Apologetics

a. How do the opponents of theism establish their negative case against the Christian faith? Almost all attack four foundational principles of knowing:-
i. Law of Non-Contradiction
ii. Law of Causality
iii. Basic Reliability of Sense Perception
iv. Analogical Use of Language
b) Certain presuppositions or assumptions must be analyzed concerning these four ideas. We do this by asking:-
i. What premises are asserted by opponents?
ii. What premises are assumed by Scripture?
iii. If these four concepts are negotiable, then not only theology but all sciences are rendered moot, or, at best, unreliable.

III. Conclusion: There is an analogy between Creator and creature that makes the epistemological assumptions of God our own.

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