Thursday, February 28, 2013

A question for Bill Craig on the Inner Witness of the Spirit

I have some questions about Craig's "Holy Spirit Epistemology," which may not be quite the typical ones.

The picture that we often have of Craig's position is that while he is prepared to argue for Christian theism, he thinks even if he were to re-evaluate all the arguments negatively, he would still continue to believe, because of the inner witness of the spirit. When he says this we are inclined to picture an "inner voice in the head" that is going to continue to convince him that Christianity even though all the evidence points the other way.

If this is the picture, then I have a few problems with it. Although I believe myself to have the inner witness of the Holy Spirit, I don't find a clear voice in my head that I can always identify as the Holy Spirit, as it were, by feel. Consider an inner voice that told me to commit adultery. However, much it might feel like the Holy Spirit, I am sure Bill Craig would tell me that it can't possibly be the Holy Spirit, but probably has to come either from the flesh or the devil. He would direct me, no doubt, to the Bible's prohibition against adultery and argue that, no matter how strongly I felt that I should commit adultery, and no matter how much the feel of this prompting resembled the feel of other promptings to, say, help my neighbor, or go to church on Sunday, it cannot come from the same source. People who think the inner witness of the Holy Spirit tells them to commit mass murder, or violate any other of the Ten Commandments, have to be  mistaken. Something external to the inner voice, in this case Scripture,

I think it's a mistake to think of the witness of the Holy Spirit as an inner voice that some how goes on speaking within one's head regardless of what is outside of it. Rather, it has to operate, in large part, by calling our attention to things outside ourselves.

Is it reasonable to suppose that God might allow me, by honest reflection on the arguments about belief in God, come to believe that insofar as reason is concerned, none of the theistic arguments are good, and that some atheological arguments, such as the argument from evil, are good, but then enable me to continue believing because of an inner voice? I don't see the Holy Spirit doing that.

Craig does says this on his website.


Now it might be said, that God would, indeed, not permit a person to fall into circumstances where the rational thing for him to do is to apostatize and turn his back on God, but what God would do is provide sufficient evidence to such an individual so that he is able to defeat through argument and evidence the alleged defeater. I grant that such a view is possible (how could anyone who believes in middle knowledge think differently?). But as I look at the world in which we actually live, such a view strikes me as naïve.

The vast majority of people in the world have neither the time, training, nor resources to develop a full-blown Christian apologetic as the basis of their faith or to defeat the sundry defeaters which they encounter. I have been deeply moved by the plight of Christians as I have traveled abroad and seen the sometimes desperate circumstances in which they find themselves. In Europe, for example, the university culture is overwhelmingly secular and even atheistic. I met many theological students when we lived in Germany whose professors had exposed them to nothing but radical biblical criticism and anti-Christian scholarship. These students held on to Christian faith in spite of the evidence. It was far, far worse in Eastern Europe and Russia. I wish I could convey to you the spiritual darkness and oppression that existed behind the Iron Curtain during the days of the Soviet Union. I remember asking one Russian believer, "Have you no resources to help you in your Christian life?" He replied, "Well, there is an encyclopedia of atheism published by the state, and by reading what is attacked there, you can learn something. But that's about all." These bothers and sisters endured horrible oppression and atheistic indoctrination by the Marxist regime and yet did not abandon Christ. As I emphasized in my answer to Question #13, evidence varies from generation to generation and from place to place and is accessible only to those privileged few who have the education, leisure time, and resources to explore it. God has provided a more secure basis for our faith than the shifting sands of evidence and argument, namely, the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Now, admittedly different people have different intellectual needs which might be met differently. When I was in my teens and early twenties I used to get frustrated with many Christians who didn't seem to need to think critically about their faith as intensely as I did, but as I have gotten older I realize people have other fish to fry, and not everyone is cut out to be a philosopher. However, some of us, like Dr. Craig and myself, have been exposed to arguments for and against theism. Could a Christian decide, yeah, the cosmological argument is bad, the design argument in all its forms is bad, the AFR is bad, the historical evidence for the resurrection is poor, the problem of evil looks like a strong case against God, but I have this inner voice that tells me Christianity is true nevertheless. Or maybe a warm fuzzy feeling? Does the Holy Spirit work like that?  Remember I said that even those of us who believe we have the inner testimony of the Holy Spirit can't introspectively determine whether a voice inside our own head is the Holy Spirit of indeed from a less sanctified source.

So I wonder if this picture of Craig's position is really what he thinks, or is it a straw man?






32 comments:

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

Victor --

Nice post.

Are you worried WLC will pull a John Loftus on you by responding with invectives, various "challenges" and "open letters to Victor Reppert," personal attacks, and other irrelevant responses that have nothing to do with the topic? ;-) And then blame *you* when fellow Christians and atheists criticize *his* behavior?

(For the record, in case anyone [not Victor] didn't get the sarcasm, the above is a sarcastic question.)

Walter said...

Continuing to believe despite contrary evidence is the hallmark of a fideist. There is little difference in principle between Craig's inner witness and the "burning bosom" of the faithful Mormon.

BenYachov said...

@Walter

The Mormons got it from John Calvin who came up with it as a replacement for the Authority of the Church.

Martin said...

Walter,

>Continuing to believe despite contrary evidence is the hallmark of a fideist.

There can be first-person evidence that trumps third-person evidence. Someone could show you a bloody knife with your fingerprints on it as evidence that you murdered your mother ten minutes ago, and yet this will not outweigh your internal, first-person memory and conviction that ten minutes ago you were quietly eating lunch and reading the newspaper and could not possibly have killed your mother.

From an objective, third-person standpoint, the evidence is against you but you would be perfectly rational to still believe that you did not.

So, no, this is not the hallmark of a fideist at all.

Walter said...

Martin,

Alvin Plantinga defines fideism as someone who “urges reliance on faith rather than reason, in matters philosophical and religious” and who “may go on to disparage and denigrate reason.”
Now clearly Craig does not disparage reason because he presents many reasons to adopt his faith, but Craig believes that reason must always remain a servant to faith. So even if all "third-party evidence" weighs against his faith, Craig will still believe because his inner feeling of certainty is trumping that evidence. That is still a form of fideism.

As far as your example above, I agree to an extent. We can have the first-person evidence of our memories that we did not commit the crime, but if *objective* evidence continues to mount against us, we need to entertain the possibility that our memories might possibly be in error.

Doubting Marcus said...

Craig is right about one detail though, not everyone has the time to investigate the arguments for Christianity. He thinks this means Christians can rely on the "inner witness of the holy spirit" as proof of Christianity but an analogous argument could be used to justify a Muslim staying a Muslim or a Hindu staying a Hindu in spite of never looking for rational reasons or despite evidence to the contrary.

As I've heard it said, it's impossible to investigate all mutually exclusive religious claims in any serious depth so requiring any depth of investigation is demonstrably unfair. This isn't a problem if you believe those who seek the truth won't be punished but Craig is firmly of the opinion only Christians escape hellfire. In other words the behavior he endorses for someone initially convinced of the truth of Christianity would get someone initially convinced of Buddhism sent to hell (in his eyes).

Martin said...

Walter,

>“urges reliance on faith rather than reason, in matters philosophical and religious” and who “may go on to disparage and denigrate reason.”

I don't see how my example is "faith", though. It is not faith, but reason that allows your first-person evidence to trump third person evidence. You have good reason to believe your memories are reliable, that you are not psychotic or on drugs, and so on.

Walter said...

I don't see how my example is "faith", though. It is not faith, but reason that allows your first-person evidence to trump third person evidence

In your example a person would have faith that his or her memory recall was veridical. Let's say that the prosecution not only has a knife with your bloody fingerprints, but they also have two eyewitnesses who spoke to you at the scene of the murder, a videotape showing you committing the murder, while wearing a set of clothes that you own. At some point, as the objective evidence continues to mount against you, your faith in your own memory recall should rightly be shaken.

Mike Darus said...

It may be that the participants in this blog are more likely to rely heavily on reason and evidence to form their views of what is true. It would be naive that everyone has the same personal epistemology. In fact, it is difficult to live consistently with an evidence-only standard. Relationships will not tolerate it. Even more telling, it is seems impossible to attain enough knowledge to live every aspect of our lives based on a complete knowledge of the relevant facts. Truth be told, we believe and act in dependence on authorities, third party documentation, intuition and best guesses. We make decisions based on multiple epistimological resources. This does not make us practical fideists. It makes us multi-dimensional. Reason Alone may be the doctrinal statement of the skeptic, but it is not widely held nor easy to hold consistently.

Walter said...

Reason Alone may be the doctrinal statement of the skeptic, but it is not widely held nor easy to hold consistently.

We all rely on trusted authorities for some of our beliefs, and this is indeed a form of faith. Faith has its proper place, it needs to exist somewhere in the golden mean between the opposite extremes of fideism and evidentialism.

grodrigues said...

@Walter:

"At some point, as the objective evidence continues to mount against you, your faith in your own memory recall should rightly be shaken."

Ok, but if "faith in your own memory" is shaken, then not only is the memory of you being at your home sipping tea while the murder took place is questionable, but also the memory of yesterday the prosecutor showing you a tape of you murdering someone is questionable. Why question the reliability of one specific memory and not the other? And if all memories are questionable, then where does that leave the poor man?

Walter said...

Why question the reliability of one specific memory and not the other?

Frankly, if I have no memory of committing the murder but there exists an obscene amount of evidence for my guilt, then I would probably begin to question my sanity.

All of this is kinda beside the point. I grant that a Christian with no understanding of apologetics is rational in their faith, but rational does not necessarily equal true. A Muslim or Mormon can claim their own beliefs as properly basic and therefore rational, but the only way I can see to judge who is correct, if any of them are, is to evaluate the evidence of each respective claim.

Matt DeStefano said...

Is the claim here seriously that the conviction of the Holy Spirit is as veridical as my memory of what I was doing ten minutes ago? You can't earnestly be claiming that the two are similar.

Good question, Victor. Do you think that there is another way to interpret what Craig is saying? I can't see of any other way, especially given the video and discussion that I link to here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2013/03/the-holy-spirit-and-the-affect-heuristic/

Martin said...

>At some point, as the objective evidence continues to mount against you, your faith in your own memory recall should rightly be shaken

True, but irrelevant to the point: first person evidence can outweigh third person evidence.

Just noting that third person evidence can also outweigh first person evidence does nothing to refute that point.

Martin said...

Matt,

>Is the claim here seriously that the conviction of the Holy Spirit is as veridical as my memory of what I was doing ten minutes ago? You can't earnestly be claiming that the two are similar.

I would like you to show me where I claimed that.

Martin said...

BTW, there is an interesting post on the Prosblogion concerning this topic:

http://prosblogion.ektopos.com/archives/2010/02/what-is-it-like.html

Matt DeStefano said...

Martin,

Of course it wasn't claimed directly. Walter is responding to a thread about Craig's Holy Spirit Epistemology (HSE) by saying "continuing to believe despite evidence is the hallmark of a fideist" and went on to compare HSE to the burning bosom of Mormon theology. Your response was that first-person evidence can trump third-person evidence.

Unless you were introducing a red herring, it stands to reason that you think conviction of the Holy Spirit is the type of first person evidence that trumps third-person evidence. Memory isn't a relevant example here, because our memory is confirmed by third-person evidence on a consistent basis.



Martin said...

Matt,

>it stands to reason that you think conviction of the Holy Spirit is the type of first person evidence that trumps third-person evidence.

My point was simply that Craig's HSE is not obviously irrational. Most people (atheists, mostly) who hear it instantly take it to be obviously irrational. Who would continue to believe in spite of the evidence? But I showed how that is not necessarily the case.

In the murder example, if one were introduced to evidence such as a video tape of you doing the murder, witnesses, and so on that strongly show that you did indeed commit the crime, then I think in that case it would be some degree of irrationality for you to continue believing it. So it is only irrationaly to allow first person evidence to trump third person evidence if that third person evidence is very strong. So in Craig's case, one would have to show something like the non-existence of God, or the dead body of Jesus, and things like that in order to have a parallel case showing Craig to be irrational.

Walter said...

So in Craig's case, one would have to show something like the non-existence of God, or the dead body of Jesus, and things like that in order to have a parallel case showing Craig to be irrational.

Craig has basically claimed that such evidence would not change his mind, and this is why people claim that his HSE flirts with fideism.

Papalinton said...

Victor

The message I receive most clearly from this OP is the highly problematic nature of the notion of the 'inner witness of the holy spirit'. 



It seems neither you nor WLC have a satisfactory explanatory grasp on what it is that differentiates the 'inner witness of the holy spirit' from the voice in one's head.

You at least have attempted to ground the concept within, or to tie it back to a naturalistic template such as your very reasonable, "People who think the inner witness of the Holy Spirit tells them to commit mass murder, or violate any other of the Ten Commandments, have to be mistaken. Something external to the inner voice, in this case Scripture," and "Rather, it has to operate, in large part, by calling our attention to things outside ourselves, " suggest. 



WLC by contrast, remains uncompromisingly fixated to the little voice in his head in spite of the mountain of evidence before him to the contrary. Not a perspective one would generally characterize as rational on this matter. 



What is often missed, or more likely eschewed by believers is the historical context which gave rise to idea of the 'inner witness of the holy spirit'. It is definitively theological in scope and nature, a religious concept, its lineage traced through the historical roots of religious thought and practice to a time when ignorance and superstition were as ubiquitous as wind, rain and fire within the primitive social explanatory framework. It was then and remains today, an aphoristic catch-all for expressing what we now know [through psychology, psychiatry, and the various neuro-sciences] as simply the emotional attachment to and psychological comfort of our imagined rightness. And we also know, from mountains of evidence, how scattergun and sketchy this intuitive rightness is at the best of times. 



The other aspect of the opaque nature of what is meant by the ‘inner witness of the holy spirit’, comes in your comment, ” However much it might feel like the Holy Spirit, I am sure Bill Craig would tell me that it can't possibly be the Holy Spirit, but probably has to come either from the flesh or the devil.” How and who determines what comes from the ‘holy spirit’, the ‘flesh’ or the ’devil’? Theology provides no answer. One man’s claim of the ‘holy spirit’ is another man’s claim of the ‘devil’. This ideological double jeopardy has been the cornerstone of the Christian charge of heresy for millennia. And this scenario equally applies today as it ever has since the christian mythos was being forged over the three centuries leading up to the Nicean Conference. Who is to say the 'inner witness of the holy spirit' in Pat Robertson, or that in Benny Hinn, or Joel Osteen or Victor Reppert or Albert Mohler is really that of the spirit, or the flesh or the devil?



CONT.

Papalinton said...

CONT.

Victor, I would be very happy to hear from you about this. It is a sermon on the seven characteristics in distinguishing the ‘inner witness of the holy spirit’ from simply the voices in your head.

"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: --Romans 8:16 [KJV]

And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth THE SPIRIT of his Son into your hearts,
CRYING, Ab-ba, Father.—Galatians 4:6 [KJV]

When the Holy Spirit speaks to your spirit, you do not hear an audible voice. This is what people call “the inner witness”. The voice of the Holy Spirit to your spirit creates a quiet assurance—a relaxed knowing about something.

The question is, “How can I distinguish the voice of this inner witness? Are there any features that I must look out for? What differentiates the inner witness from an ordinary thought?” There are seven characteristics you must look out for:

1. The inner witness is different from reasoning thoughts.
It is not mental knowledge or logical reasoning. If what you are having is just an ingenious idea, then it’s probably not the inner witness.

2. The inner witness is not a physical feeling.
You will not have a physical feeling per se, since the inner witness is the voice of the Holy Spirit to your spirit. If someone claims that he has a physical feeling in his big toe or his liver that is probably not the inner witness!

3. The inner witness is best identified by eliminating other voices.
A great secret to identifying the inner witness is to eliminate other voices. Ensure that it is not your flesh that wants to do something. Make sure that it is not just a reasonable proposition. There may be some good reason and some good feelings when the Spirit is leading you, but make sure it is not just that!

4. The inner witness is an impression of peace.
The inner witness is an awareness of peace. It is the peace of God that is beyond (passes) understanding, reasoning, logic and physical things.

As you develop spiritually, you will become aware of the peace of God as a method of direction. You will say, “I don’t have peace about this!” At other times you will say, “Even though it sounds odd, I have a peace about this issue. I know it shall be well with me.”

The Apostle Paul described the phenomenon of the inner witness, the peace of God, “an umpire”. It means “to arbitrate”, “to direct” and “to govern”. God is using peace to direct and govern you.
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.--Colossians 3:15.

5. The inner witness is a strong conviction.
The inner witness makes you certain about what the Lord is saying. You begin to have a quiet assurance and confidence about the will of God. Once again, this is not easily explained. Do you think people who give up their lives for the Gospel can explain what they are doing? You cannot easily explain the faith you have! You cannot always explain the convictions you have!

Papalinton said...

CI+ONT.

6. The inner witness is repetitive.
The inner witness is the repeated voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart.

And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Ab-ba, Father.--Galatians 4:6.

As the Spirit cries continually, it creates an impression in you. You begin to have a conviction about certain things. You begin to now that you know. One characteristic that I have noticed is that the voice of the Spirit is repeated over and over. This happens over several weeks, months and even years.

7. The inner witness is an inexplicable knowing.
After you have heard the voice of the Spirit several times, you begin to know what to do. It creates in you “a knowing”. Sometimes, people ask me, “How did you know what to do?” Sometimes, all I can say is, “I just knew.”

When you take a decision, watch out for that quiet assurance of peace in your heart. That is the Spirit of God, leading you into the will of God for your life."

[It can be found at this address: http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/7-characteristics-of-the-inner-witness-dag-heward-mills-sermon-on-doing-gods-will-153395.asp ]

Do you subscribe to them? Are they kosher? [to use a good old Jewish idiom]. Is this the definitive answer to identifying the 'inner witness of the holy spirit'?

John W. Loftus said...

Nice post Victor. Norman Geisler agrees with you.

Lowder and I are at odds, that's for sure. And surprise, he doesn't understand why, which is surprising to me! You see there is a difference here. You have highly recommended Bill Craig's work, and written for him. You are dealing with one of his main arguments too, one that he uses in every debate. By contrast Lowder is a nitpicker, picking on a previously unavailable self-published work containing an argument I used that merely served as an introduction to what I had to say on the topic, and who subsequently wrote a few posts that I showed were based on straw men. He even duplicitously full supported the civility pledge and Keith Parsons rebuttal. WTF? Now he's at it again with another one, this time a disanalogy. My argument cannot be nitpicked because it is a cumulative case one, and everything I say is defended by scholars. Lowder is an enabler who grants too much to believers. No wonder he’s liked by them. And he doesn’t think faith is irrational or that religious faith qua faith is always a bad thing, something that if said so openly would lose credibility among atheists. I"ve come to the conclusion Lowder is a wannabe without any educational credentials. Wanna be’s usually attack me. But no atheist scholar with any credentials has done so.

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

John Loftus:

Lowder and I are at odds, that's for sure. And surprise, he doesn't understand why, which is surprising to me! You see there is a difference here. You have highly recommended Bill Craig's work, and written for him. You are dealing with one of his main arguments too, one that he uses in every debate. By contrast Lowder is a nitpicker, picking on a previously unavailable self-published work containing an argument I used that merely served as an introduction to what I had to say on the topic, and who subsequently wrote a few posts that I showed were based on straw men. He even duplicitously full supported the civility pledge and Keith Parsons rebuttal. WTF? Now he's at it again with another one, this time a disanalogy. My argument cannot be nitpicked because it is a cumulative case one, and everything I say is defended by scholars. Lowder is an enabler who grants too much to believers. No wonder he’s liked by them. And he doesn’t think faith is irrational or that religious faith qua faith is always a bad thing, something that if said so openly would lose credibility among atheists. I"ve come to the conclusion Lowder is a wannabe without any educational credentials. Wanna be’s usually attack me. But no atheist scholar with any credentials has done so.

I can understand how it could be incredibly threatening to a narcissistic atheist's ego to have a fellow atheist publicly criticize one's arguments, even when such criticism is well-intended. It is always unfortunate when narcissists rage in response.

Let's put this into perspective. A narcissistic atheist, N, publicly states he respects another atheist, O, and his work. He even invites O to join his blog and contribute to one of his books. Some time later, O makes an argument X. Another person, O, criticizes X. In response, N does the following.

(1) N posts an "open letter" to O.
(2) In a series of posts, N heaps verbal abuse, including name calling, profanity-laced insults, attacks N's credentials, on O.
(3) N complains that O's criticism's of X have caused other people to question N's credibility.
(4) N tries to trivialize the importance of X, claiming it is (a) not one of N's main arguments, (b) is part of a "cumulative case" argument, and (c) it was published in an obscure book that few people have read.
(5) Likewise, N tries to diminish the significance of O's criticisms by labeling them "nitpicking."

It doesn't take a professor of logic to figure out that (1)-(4) are all irrelevant responses. In particular, (4) misses the point. The fact that an argument was published in an obscure book has nothing whatsoever to do with the soundness, correctness, or cogency of that argument. Nor does it mean that such an argument is off-limits for critical scrutiny. Ditto for the argument's not being one of N's main arguments.

As for it being part of a cumulative case argument, this is also irrelevant. All of O's criticisms of X apply to N, even when construed as a part of a cumulative case argument.

As for (5), that N dismisses the flaws as "nitpicking" suggests that N simply doesn't understand the significance of the flaws in X.

(to be continued)

Jeffery Jay Lowder said...

(continued from first comment)

Again, (1)-(5) are a distraction from the real issue. Any neutral third party observer familiar with the relevant facts will recognize that the root issue is neither X nor O's criticism's of X, but N.

In light of the variety and severity of N's verbal abuse on O, an ideal observer would conclude that the best explanation is that N is exhibiting behavior consistent with a diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). This would explain not only the behavior seen after O's criticism of X, but also the black-or-white, extreme "splitting" exhibited by N against O.

In response to O's private attempts to reach out to N, N sadly (but predictably) raged against O, just as N will very likely rage against O any time O enforces firm boundaries and refuses to play N's narcissistic games. Indeed, in order to protect N's fragile ego, N, like all narcissists, will probably dismiss O's points about NPD as "pseudo-psychological" babbling, because N cannot tolerate anything N deems a threat to his ego, even when O is N's friend and O wants the best for N.

N will feel extreme anger towards O, possibly even *hating* O. On the other hand, though O will find N's behavior frustrating at times, O knows that N's behavior has nothing whatsoever to do with O and so O will not get hooked by N's antics; in fact, O will believe more than ever N is not himself. O will continue to hope that N will get help, even if N continues to attempt to demonize O.

John W. Loftus said...

Lowder, take your condescending pseudo-psychological bullshit and shove it.

Responded to me. Tell us all your educational credentials, okay? What are they? You can start by telling us any psychological degrees you have and how you can diagnosis someone by proxy, when you have never talked with him personally. And you can state for the record why you only post such things here on a site where I have developed over time little respect for the people who comment here rather than you own blog. Lastly, tell everyone what you think of faith and the harms of religion. Go ahead. It's not hard for an honest person. Until you do so kiss my ass.

John W. Loftus said...

Jeff, I just saw where you recommended my new book. Okay, thanks. I would really like to put this behind us, really. I merely commented on your first comment here, probably spoken out of your own frustration.

Can we have a truce?

I think you know where I stand now. And I know where you stand too.

However, with that being said, I would like for you to answer my questions please.

MikeB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MikeB said...

Hello Prof. Repert,

Hello.

You said "I think it's a mistake to think of the witness of the Holy Spirit as an inner voice that some how goes on speaking within one's head regardless of what is outside of it. Rather, it has to operate, in large part, by calling our attention to things outside ourselves," and I have a question.

Did C.S. Lewis believe that everything has some hidden meaning or purpose?

Is that what he's hinting at in this passage from Perelandra?


""It is not for nothing that you are named Ransom," said the Voice. And he knew it was no fancy of his own. He knew it for a ver curious reason--because he had known for many years that his surname was not derived from ransom but from Ranolf's son. It would never have occurred thus to associate the two words. to connect the name ransome with the act of ransoming would have been for him a mere pun ... All in a moment of time he perceived that what was, to human philologists, a merely accidental resemblance of two sounds, was in truth no accident. The whole distinction between things accidental and things designed... was purely terrestrial. The pattern is so large that within the little frame of earthly experience there appear pieces of it between which we can see no connection, and other pieces between which we can... Before his Mother had borne him, before his ancestors had been called Ransoms, before ransom had been the name for a payment that delivers, before the world was made, all these things had so stood together in eternity that the very significance of the pattern at this point lay in their coming together in just this fashion." (Pg. 125.)

Lewis also seems to have said something like this in "God on the Dock."

"These things are no accidents. With Him there are no accidents. When He created the vegetable world He knew already what dreams the annual death and resurrection of the corn would cause to stir in pious Pagan minds, He knew already that He Himself must so die and live again and in what sense, including and far transcending the old religions of the Corn King. He would say 'This is my Body.' Common bread, miraculous bread, sacramental bread – these three are distinct, but not to be separated. Divine reality is like a fugue. All His acts are different, but they all rhyme or echo to one another."

So would Lewis have believed in "The Bible Codes" if he were alive today?

Would he (or did he) believe in gematria?

Was he really saying there are no such things as coincidences or accidents?

Papalinton said...

Victor
I would appreciate a response to questions I have asked in relation to the 'inner witness of the holy spirit'.

Claims are made and it is important to establish the legitimacy of these claimed truths.

Victor Reppert said...

I'm skeptical of the sermon's advice on the way to determine what the voice of the Spirit is. If it were that easy, Christians would be better at listening to the Spirit. I think the criteria are often connected to one's prior understanding of what God wants.

Papalinton said...


"I'm skeptical of the sermon's advice on the way to determine what the voice of the Spirit is. If it were that easy, Christians would be better at listening to the Spirit. I think the criteria are often connected to one's prior understanding of what God wants. "

As we go forward would believers ever concede that what we understand as the 'inner witness of the holy spirit' is simply the rationalizing mentation that all self-conscious beings carry out? This seems to accord closest with the research data gathered so far Contrast this with centuries of apologetical research and scholarship which has yet to satisfactorily substantiate even one distinguishing or characteristic element that comes anywhere near close to differentiating the distinction between the 'inner witness of the holy spirit' and the thinking process .