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Faith "vs." Reason
How We Know What We Know...

F. Earle Fox
Listen to "Faith & Reason United" Audio of Fox's Talk

"Intelligent Design" Conference
Biola University, La Mirada, CA, April 22-24, 2004

[NOTE:   Below is an outline (so rather skimpy) of my talk.  The core of the material can be found in The Authority of the Bible in a Scientific Age -- Part I  and  Part II --  

The conference subject was "Intelligent Design & the Future of Science".  I.e., design of the cosmos, which is the only alternative to theories of "evolution" as an explanation of why things are the way they are.  Darwin did not invent "evolution" as a cosmic theory.  Every pagan and secular theory of the origins of things has been some form of evolution rather than creation.  (For additional background, see the Worldview Library on the difference between the Biblical and the Secular/Pagan worldviews.)

However, the issue, it must be pointed out, is not really "evolution".  God's created world "evolves", i.e., goes through change from immature to mature.  Persons and relationships grow that way -- and these are the essence of the Biblical cosmos, not of the secular or pagan cosmoi. 

The real issue is chance vs. design, precisely the topic of the conference.  Is the evolution and development of the cosmos a chance product or is it designed?  It is chance or intentional? 

The debate is absolutely crucial for the future of Western Civilization -- indeed, of world civilization.  It will determine whether Western Civ. heads more deeply back into paganism, or whether the Biblical worldview, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ will recapture Western Civ. and the rest of the world.   Creation ex nihilo and some form of evolution are the only two choices we have for explaining the nature of things in the cosmos. 

The conference was astonishing.  It was the first conference I have attended in 50 years of such things -- including considerable time in the academic life, and 42 years as an Episcopal priest -- which showed serious evidence that the Church will recover its intellectual credibility.  The conference was attended mostly by scientists, many of extremely high quality.  The theme constantly harped on was "honest discussion of the issue", a response to the consistent refusal to have such discussion in many scientific journals and, most pointedly, in our government-run school system. 

Christians have no right to force their views on anyone.  That is by the principles of God.  But Christians are required to force (if necessary) an honest and level field for discussion -- so that the truth can be known.  Science, the search for truth, is a requirement of Christian evangelism. 

Religion was not a main theme, but it was clear that most of the attendees were Christians who were not shy about sharing their faith, and who were committed to doing so reasonably. 

Audio tapes of the conference will be purchaseable from the Biola University website (www.Biola.edu/) when they are ready for sale.   See www.biola.edu/id for info on the conference (as long as it remains up).   Video tapes will be available from

See also Evolution vs. God and Intelligent Design & Christian Intellectual Credibility  
E. Fox]

I. The Reasonable Bible

Epistemology = key problem of Western Civ.
            How do we know when we have the truth?   massive Christian failure

God & Bible thought (by secularists) to be enemies of truth --
        For 600 years, Christians done little to disabuse them of this error.

Worldview = 2nd key problem --
            2 basic choices: Biblical vs. Secular/Pagan
                    Only Biblical is logically consistent and can account for empirical facts


Job (one of earliest books, pre-Hebrew origins)

        Theme -- "I want to talk to God about this!!!"

23:6-7 "Would He contend with me in the greatness of His power?
No; He would give heed to me. There an upright man could
reason with Him, and I should be acquitted for ever by my judge."

Suggests all the due process and freedoms given in American Constitution.

I Kings 18:17-40 Elijah ca 900 BC - 5 centuries before Socrates, Plato, Aristotle
            2 centuries before Homer...

            astonishing appeal to logic & empirical evidence  --  rough & ready science

Isaiah 43:8-13 - "Let all the nations gather together...." Open contest -
            Which God can keep his promises...??

            "'You are My witnesses,' says the Lord."

            What is a witness? someone with a testimony

Isaiah 1:18 "Come, let us reason together..." Consistent (if unspoken) theme...

    Why is God committed to "reasoning together"?

Creating freewill covenant -- "I will be your God & you will be My people..."
requires full disclosure of parties and conditions --
& freewill acceptance. Must persuade reasonably.

Revelation -- personal information knowable only by self-disclosure
        plans, intentions, faithfulness, righteousness, attitude
        a very reasonable process in any personal relationship.

Everyone invited, but only those who want in are accepted.
i.e., who really want the persons, terms, & conditions.

Covenant built on freedom - top to bottom
        "Ordered freedom" -- ordered by truth, righteousness, & love
                in that order -- Not: "If it feels good, do it." or "Follow your bliss..."

Law -- directed at will -- will can choose in only one direction at a time --
        thus law must be clear, logically consistent -- not "ineffable", "mysterious".

        Requires objective truth and objective morality -- based on purpose for existence

Law = discipline of freedom -- builds structure in which alone persons
can be in relation without self- or social contradiction


II. Two Crown Jewels of Western Civ. --

(1) Science & (2) Due Process in Civil Law
        both about truth-seeking, both gifts directly from God
        both require Biblical worldview to surface at all, and to survive

    Pagan/secular worldview cannot sustain either over long run.

        But Christian community (for 600 years) has managed to reject both,
                and thus put them into hands of enemy -- who are destroying them & West. Civ.

    God holds intellectual high ground, not secular philosophers
            quite capable of taking any of them on - on any level playing field.

    Problem not God - but that we do not show up for reason-together discussion

World, not God, declines to live in the light.
Living in light = basis of freewill covenant.
World tilts playing field --
God rarely has level field on which to approach world

            "Come, let us reason together..." thus always leads to crucifixion

Science & due process (politics) draw control-minded like bees to honey --
            e.g., History of American public education....
                neither public nor education --
                mind-control under guidance of elite cartel
                of world's most highly skilled psychologists

Rarely engaged in honest discussion -- rather, spiritual warfare.
            Rom 1:18 ff. 1st step of Fall = subversion of truth...
            Will always show up in subversion of science and civil law

    First rule of spiritual warfare =
            Commit to truth at any cost, establish honest rules of discussion
            i.e., due process (science & civil law)

Bible not philosophical book -- but book on relationships -- freewill covenant

        John Macmurray -- "All thought is for the sake of action,
            all action is for the sake of relationship.

        God -- Goal of all life = relationship -- two Great Commandments

                Thought, action, relationship -- all require consistent truth.


III. What is Faith?

Ontological definition of truth = "what is" -- What is there whether you like it or not.
what you bump into when you wake up in the morning


Four levels of faith

1. Openness to truth
2. Personal trust -- "I trust you..."
3. Creedal, intellectual content -- Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian faiths
4. The blind leap -- What we do when we run out of evidence... 

    How do we know anything at all -- about any subject at all?
            by observation (experience in broadest sense),
            and by reasoning from our observations.

Faith #1 = Openness to truth --
a belief that there is a truth, and that
(1) accurate observation and
(2) careful reasoning from observations will lead to truth.

The dynamics of these 4 levels

        #4 becomes leap into light, not dark.

Faith = the operational definition of truth --
        Truth is what you bump into when you operate by all 4 levels of faith

How different from methods of science?

Biblical respect for objective truth was foundation of all science
            yes, aided and inspired by Greek philosophy, etc.
    but Hellenic worldview could not sustain objective truth
        & thus could not be basis of science.

Back to Elijah -- that great OT philosopher...

Listen to Audio of Fox's Talk (Faith & Reason United) and

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