I finished the course Evidence & Logic from the Koinonia Institute not long ago, and thought a review was in order.
The study materials used were the video briefing pack from Chuck Missler called Critical Thinking.
You can read all of my course reviews here.
Let’s get started….
Reasons I Took This Course
This course was available through Koinonia Institute and it was the next up in my customized study plan for KI.
I had high hopes for this course, hoping it would further solidify the foundation I have been laying in biblical studies, philosophy, and general research.
Unfortunately, I came away a little disenchanted with the content.
This course also served as a requirement for my uThM Program.
What I Liked About the Course
I do find the discussion portion of these courses beneficial, though this course in particular was formatted in the KWL format (what you already know, what you want to learn, and what you’ve learned). I’m assuming the shift away from actual Discussion Questions to this new KWL format was due to dropping enrollment (and income) for the organization and this new format allows them to create new courses without any real overhead.
With that said, the classic adage always applies, “what you put into it is what you’ll get out.”
Of course, the fundamental challenge with this adage is the course material in question does have to have some redeeming value to begin with. I could not say the adage applies to the Hacking Consciousness course from Stanford, since the entirety of its content is nothing but new age drivel camouflaged as objective knowledge.
Though this course is not quite that derelict as the Hacking course was, it is somewhat futile in its attempts to pass of human legalese as somehow pertinent to a faith in Christ.
It does bring up an interesting question, but I would wager, not by intention.
The question is: how efficacious is human logic and reason?
Can we ascertain the basic, fundamental knowledge of God by utilizing human reason and logic alone? The bible says no as its claim is the bible is “spiritually discerned.”
What good, then, is human reason and logic? I’m not really entirely sure.
Is godly understanding, spiritual discernment, simply awakened human reason or are they wholly and utterly distinct? Is the Spirit simply a key that unlocks the proper message, the gist that illuminates what would otherwise be basic human knowledge?
Furthermore, is our justice system modeled after God’s justice?
I would think not.
In fact, Christ seems to insinuate that claims are corroborated on the basis of two or three witnesses. But, isn’t that, too, godly wisdom given to man for the explicit context of human governing?
Will this be, necessarily, the standard of jurisprudence in heaven?
Again, I think most likely not. For God knows the beginning from the end. He knows our thoughts, or actions, the intents of our heart. Once perfection comes (Christ’s second coming) we will, likewise, “know as we are known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).
It is possible we will know more than even the angels know now. We might even know more than they do then (though, I am personally convinced we will join their ranks rather than create our own – Matthew 22:30; Revelation 19:10).
In fact, the bible is rather clear on this subject of human wisdom vs. the wisdom of God, “has not God made the foolish the wisdom of this world?” and “the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (1 Corinthians 1:20; 3:19).
It is clear, if you embark on a journey of sanctification on the processes, while on this earth, of becoming a son of God (which all who are saved will all become at the resurrection), they were are taking up a spiritual processes, one of inward transformation, with no pretense, no pomp, no physical requirements whatsoever (though there will indeed, inevitably, be physical manifestations).
Sanctification is a holy work of God through the Spirit. Human logic and reason have no hold here.
Here is a copy of my assignments for this course. I think, all things being equal, I got more out of the discussion question format, but this could easily be remedied by forming my own questions as I work through the lectures. Of course, since the lectures were less than adequate and wholly off the mark, I think my responses below are the best I could do, given the circumstances.
K – What I Already Know
I don’t have much in the way of formal training in logic or knowledge. A year of introductory philosophy as a freshman in college, a few books read over the years.
The majority of my formal education beyond high school has been in history (and with ill effective given the deplorable state of higher education in the US).
Most of my actual learning has been self-directed, through reading and free online classes over the last several years. I focus my work on biblical studies, consciousness, death, and metaphysical concepts.
I’m not certain, having glanced over the summary of this course, I would agree with the possible premise. I’m not an apologist, I do not like to make arguments, or try to persuade people. Humans are intelligent (well intelligent enough) to figure out for themselves what they need to do or how they should think. Likewise, I don’t agree that the gospel can be argued, though Paul does make claim to such, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2). This is very close to presenting an argument utilizing logic and reason, but is it for today? He goes on, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers.”
I would argue that time has already come. You will be arrested for preaching in public in the UK. China is back at persecuting the church. In Muslim countries you can get the death penalty for believing in Christ.
Likewise, I do not agree everyone is called to preach, to argue for the faith (1 Corinthians 12:15), but rather we should strive to “live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18), but “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).
This is not to say there are not evangelists, apologists, teachers, or any other kind of work in Christ. But, likewise, there is not a singular gift for us all.
Logic is of particular interest for me in my current research, as is reason, especially given the world’s insistence that this is all there is – facts, natural process, repeatability – laying their own foundation in the sand to then erect all the more fantastical mythos of origin.
Though, I don’t believe their needs to be an argument against this. It is as it is. The argument is not against the lost world, but for the word of God. Seek the genuine article and you will then be able to easily root out the counterfeit. This is severely lacking in the world today, the bible relegated to the bookshelf or hospital night stand.
But, it is a sign of the times. The witness has gone out into all the world (Romans 10:18) and God draws those to Christ who are his (John 6:44; 2 Timothy 2:19) for it is not us who make the choice, but Christ who decides (Romans 8:30; Philippians 2:13).
We are to strive in this life to understand the full knowledge of Christ, “no longer tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 13-14).
Our work is the revealing of the Sons of God (Romans 8:14, 19).
W – What I Want to Learn
I would like to be exposed to the ideas of logic and reason from an academic standpoint, since I’ve had very little formal training in the subject.
I’m hoping this course, along with the other resources I’ve collected for my Logic and Reason Specialization, will help me establish a firm base from which to explore the more complex topics of metaphysics, philosophy, death, and consciousness, while finding the interconnected nature of this kind of truth with the biblical text.
L – What did I learn in Session 1?
There is a crucial idea here in the question: What do I know? Everyone apparently asks it of themselves and most everyone seems to think they know what they know, and with great certainty, yet we find time and time again how little we actually know, how deceived we find ourselves – deceived by the world, deceived by the devil, deceived by ill motivated others.
More than by anyone or anything else, though, we are constantly being deceived by ourselves. Through observation bias, confirmation bias, presupposition and more often than we like to admit, psychological malediction or outright psychosis.
To examine oneself, to ask the question “what do I know?” is to determine rather what we do not know. Despite the modern apologetic attempt to get with the times, faith and reason are inverse from one another. All the knowledge in the world will not bring you to a sustained faith in Christ. This results from something other than logic. Something other than reason. It is not reasonable to believe in Christ today or expect a literal resurrection at some point in the future (though a few of us still do). In fact, there is no logical or rational process by which one can come to such a conclusion. Science (what passes as logic and reason to the world) has proven God does not exist, has illustrated and declared the bible to be mythic fiction, fantasy, foolishness.
Man has, at least in his own eyes an estimation, evolved beyond the antiquated shadows of the cave and have stepped into the full light of the sun. Not the son the brings life, but the light that illuminates man’s glory and vanity.
But, even God admits of his creation, “they can do anything they desire to do” (Genesis 11:6).
These leave us in a predicament, though. How do we employ logic and reason toward the things of God?
Is there any hope that we can know something? Anything? How can we determine if we are not just still deluding ourselves, seeking out our own self-gratification, fulfilling our own perceived needs?
I believe this is what Paul instructed us to find out when he said, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). He knew the weight of the task before us, and all the more the perpetual blindness of our fallen natures (Philippians 3:8). But, he also knew the stakes, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).
And, how do we, then, go about this task, taking the first steps of a journey fraught with such dire risk and horrendous odds stacked against us?
We do so in faith, as he says, “whatever is not from faith is a sin” (Romans 14:23).
And, it is a different logic and a different reason than that of the critic, the disbeliever. For we begin where they have stumbled (Isaiah 28:16; Romans 9:33), at the bible, the metaphysical message transmitted to us over the course of more than a thousand years, by the hands of countless faithful, borne by the Holy Spirit who is our logic and our reason and our teacher (John 14:26).
We cannot use human logic or human rationale to interpret or seek knowledge of the only living God. Human knowledge is faulty. A great example of this is textual criticism which argues the oldest is the closest to the original. In theory, and in many instances, this is correct. But, this is not necessarily correct in all cases, and is certainly not correct when it comes to the biblical text.
Just because something is old does not mean it is reliable and just because something is new doesn’t mean it is reliable. You see this time and again in the church, as parishioners chase after the newest fad, the newest study, the newest invention and doctrine of men.
Rather, you must test everything. Paul urged them, “if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other [in the Greek here it actually says anything beyond – including gospel+ doctrines] gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8).
We must handle the bible with care. We must interpret with great soberness of mind, with great reluctance, for “no temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
It is not just oldest is best. We must take into account the context of the object in question. We must consider where it was found, in what context it was found in, what as been said of it in that context, what its detractors say about it and why, and who are its proponents.
The Critical Text of the bible was championed by whom? Westcott and Hort. All well and good, until you dig just beneath the surface and discover these men were not believers at all, but were spiritualists and occultists.
Paul reiterated the caution, “test all things, hold on to what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). The goal is to mature in Christ, not remain on the milk indefinitely. We are to advance beyond the first principles, the basic elements of the faith, beyond the fleshly arguments already hashed over (that we keep rehashing ad nauseam), and go on toward perfection (Hebrews 6:1). By doing this, we are on our way toward “speaking the truth in love” and “no longer [acting as] children, carried about by every wind of doctrine” that we might “grow up in all things in him” (Ephesians 4:14-15). For, in this we, “no longer walk as the [lost], in the futility of [our] minds, with a darkened understanding, alienated from the life of God, because of their ignorance, blinded, calloused, and overcome with sinfulness” (Ephesians 4:17-20).
The world’s knowledge is not genuine knowledge. We cannot (and should not) attempt to utilize their faulty knowledge to win them over to a God they deny.
The knowledge of God is greater, different, unique, mystical, other-worldly and so far distanced from the foolishness the world totes as enlightened wisdom.
In the lecture the presenter makes his case by ascribing judicious arguments and definitions to the bible. This is not necessary and can be dangerous.
There is legal precedent in the Kingdom of God, but it is not of this world. It is not a replica of man’s legal system.
At the great white throne, I am convinced, there will be a court proceeding, but it will last for eons. How much time, really, will be required to adjudicate every deed a person has done, and to do so for every person that has ever lived or will ever live?
And, it will be wholly unlike our current, faulty justice system. At the great white throne, no one will raise an objection to the charges. No one will be able to claim they are innocent.
Everything will be established on the basis of two or three witnesses (Matthew 18:16) who stand as indictments, and believers will judge angels (1 Corinthians 6:3), and whole generations will judge other generations as will individuals (Matthew 12:41-42).
It will be here that vengeance will be delivered and the world will be repaid for what it has done (Romans 12:19).
There will be no piecing together a case from the fragmented evidence available, for God knows all things. He knows what we’ve done. He knows what we are thinking. He has counted the hairs on our head.
We should not mistake his justice for a kind of worldly justice for they are unequivocally two very different things.
L – What did I learn in Session 2?
I have to say, I’m a little surprised by the content of this course. I think I was expecting something completely different.
It’s an interesting concept, the two distinct methods of reasoning: deductive and inductive, going from general to specific or specific to general.
I can see how cherry picking verses is, indeed, inductive reasoning, going from a specific verse and deriving from it a generalized belief.
But I would argue against the idea that reason is a valid means to bring about faith.
We cannot talk our way into salvation, or talk others into it. No amount of logic or reason will convince someone.
We can’t forget, “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). Paul clearly states here, the foolish man “cannot know” the things of God. It is not possible for him to know them. The only possible way to know them is to first receive the spirit of God, to be reborn of the spirit (John 3:3). The only way to be born again is to be predestined, called (Romans 8:29-30). This is not a work of man, or an exercise in intellect or reason or logic, it is a work of God (John 6:44). This is not a human effort. It is not possible a human can bridge this gap between us and the Lord. It is a supernatural, mystical action completed entirely upon our behalf.
We can have primary sources and secondary sources, but we cannot treat the bible as either. It has elements of both, yet it is otherworldly. It contains within it such information and has been internally designed in such a way as to negate human origin. It is metaphysical, metacorporeal. It is beyond human wisdom, beyond human logic or reason, yet simultaneously, it does not just fulfill, it far exceeds all of these standards.
The grounding rule from the biblical text is as Jesus stated from the Law, “by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established” (Matthew 18:16). This is the rule established by God for the Israelites (Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15), then again by Christ for the church (Matthew 18:16), and again by Paul for the church (2 Corinthians 13:1; 1 Timothy 5:19) and ultimately for the judgment to come of all the living and the dead (Matthew 12:41-42; Revelation 20:11-15).
With the faulty logic of men, it is possible to be wrong, it is possible to be deceived. If Fox News and PBS report the same information, it would stand to reason it is reliable. But there is a possibility it is not. In addition, if they both get information A correct and it proves reliable, in no way does it lend credibility to Fox News or PBS in the future, since they are prone to unreliable reporting with the very next report.
There will be none of this unreliability at the judgment. No one will be arguing for their innocence. There will be no defense to be made. We are all guilty. We will all know we are guilty and we will all know why each other is guilty. We will all know the punishment fits the crime. We will no longer see our reflection as if in a mirror dimly.
God makes it clear from his Word, “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Now, concerning the idea that truth is somehow correlative to age or to frequency, this is a preposterous statement if we do not take into consideration the context of the given truth.
If I have four copies of the book of revelation and a word is missing in three out of the four texts, but it is found in the fourth text, does that mean the three texts are correct and the fourth is incorrect? How do we know? Does the mob rule?
Should this even matter?
Do we discard the fourth text in favor of the other three? Do we discard the three and hold to the fourth? Or, rather, should we exercise prudence, include the three in our rendering and note the subtraction of the fourth in the footnote?
It is better to include all and cite the variance than mutilate the text. This was my argument when researching the KJV-only controversy several years ago.
It does not matter what conclusion you come away with, the text should provide all variances since there is no way to be certain which one is correct.
Including all the text and marginalizing the variant is what the NKJV does while remaining readable. The NIV does the opposite, mutilating the text while footnoting the majority.
Of course, this can all be averted by reading the text in the original Greek, but an argument arises when deciding which underlining Greek text to read from. It could even be said reading from the NKJV is more accurate than reading from the Textus Receptus since the NKJV contains both the TR and the Critical text. The reader of the NKJV comes away better informed than the Greek TR reader.
This, of course, can be resolved by abandoning dependence on any one text, utilizing digital technology and choosing whatever text you like for your devotional reading, but for actual study, having all the major sources available at once (again, a great cloud of witnesses).
Another topic brought up in the session was the impossibility of pleasing God without faith. Apparently, faith is required, for if we come to God we must believe he exists (Hebrews 11:6).
I wonder why this is?
Why must faith factor in? How is faith a crucial (the crucial) component to God’s pleasure, his approval of us? What is it about faith that triggers this response in him and why does our lack of faith trigger the opposite response? Why does he reward those who diligently seek him? (Hebrews 11:6).
Surely, the angels, likewise, exercise a certain kind of faith. For they do not know all things as God does (Mark 13:32). But, they are immortal. They are Sons of God. What we will one day become, at least like them (Matthew 22:30).
But they at least no longer exercise the faith as humans do (Hebrews 11:1). They know that God is real. They stand in his presence. They present themselves to him collectively, as a counsel they gather and work and reason with him (Job 1-2; Psalm 89:1; 1 Kings 22:19-23).
But, they, too, apparently, at least some of them, will one day meet the same fate as the lost from the earth (Psalm 82:7; 1 Corinthians 6:3).
But, this evidence we now exercise, and likewise, the faith of the angels (which they can apparently lose – Genesis 6:2; Jude 1:6; Revelation 12:8-9) is in no way like the human evidence we talk of today.
Our evidence is faulty, is subject to deception. It is illusionary, and often based on an ill-conceived premise of both origin and the fundamental rules of reality.
The world clings desperately to naturalistic determinism, despite all the problems it causes, simply because the alternative (judgment and ultimate authority of a living God) is beyond their comprehension or willingness to accept. They would rather burn for eternity than bend the knee.
I would discount the theory that our faith fills in the holes in the evidence that human logic and reason leave open.
This would mean our foundation for faith is human logic and reason. Our belief in Christ would be relegated to another gospel entirely.
This is not a team sport.
We are not playing on an US vs THEM checkerboard, hoping to score against our rivals. In fact, the war was not with us at all, it was a war fought between angels and the side that revolted against God’s authority and has already lost.
Our battle is now with those who have lost the war, as they are crazed with great anger at their loss, awaiting the end.
Likewise, our battle is with the curse, that subjects us to our fallen natures, despite being born again and indwelt by the spirit of God.
This is our sanctification.
It is a battle within. To conform our thinking and our being and ourselves to the model and being of Christ.
It is not about organizations or institutions or theology courses or education or how many people we “lead to the Lord” or how many hours we devote to the church program.
The idea that fallen man’s wisdom, his logic and reason, has anything to do with God’s wisdom is preposterous.
The wisdom of God is foolishness to them. Man’s reasoning is futile.
We are to establish everything first on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, with Christ the chief cornerstone.
The word of God is spiritually discerned, not understood through human logic or reason.
We are drawn to Christ by the Father. We cannot come to a saving grace unless we have been called.
Our model is not human wisdom or knowledge or logic, but the first century church, and for us, the Word of God.
Most, if not all, of church history is an example of what not to do, rather than an example of what we should be doing.
In the end, I would not recommend this course. It is unnecessary and seemingly a bit of filler or a means to generate yet another product which can be peddled like so much human ware. We are cautioned by Paul not to peddle the word of God (2 Corinthians 2:17).
Rather, I would recommend accepting what the bible says about logic and reason, that there are two distinct types: man’s reason and God’s reason. Maybe it is correct to say that God’s reason is man’s reason enlightened, or maybe they are mutually exclusive. Either way, it is certainly the case that we cannot come to a saving grace in Christ by man’s intellect alone. It is a work of God.
Until my next review…..
Please consider supporting my writing, my unschooled studies, and my hermitic lifestyle by purchasing one or more of my books. I’m not supported by academia or have a lucrative corporate job – I’m just a mystical modern-day hermit trying to live out the life I believe God has called me to. So, any support you choose to provide is GREATLY appreciated.
Excerpt from Seeking Light Aurora:
Thomas opened the front door of the diner and leaned inside, holding himself up by the door frame.
“What’s the matter?” Terrance said, looking away from Peg and Carol. They were all huddled together at the counter.
“Her truck is still freaking out. I’ll try to keep her busy for as long as I can, but I’m running out of ideas.”
He looked over at Derrick who was quietly sitting at the back booth reading one of his books.
“You’ve got to keep her busy,” Terrance said. “We don’t have any other choice.”
“Look –” Thomas hesitated. “This isn’t all on me you know. I’ve already told you. I don’t know jack shit about trucks or engines. I’m sure as hell not a mechanic.”
“It’ll be fine,” Peg said.
“We all know there’s nothing I can do to fix that truck.” Thomas was shaking his head. “She’s going to figure out that something’s up. What if she starts asking questions?”
“Stall her,” Terrance said. “We just have to keep her busy for a little while. Remember, whatever it takes.”
“But, what about –” Carol had tears welling up.
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” Terrance said. “We’ve all been through this before.” He looked at Thomas. “Just take a deep breath and relax.”
“Relax my ass,” Thomas said. “Save that bullshit for her, okay?”
“Just keep her occupied in the garage as long as you possibly can. She’s focused right now on getting her truck fixed, so use that.”
“Whatever you say.” Thomas pushed off the door frame and let the door close behind him.
“It’s not going to work,” Carol said. “She’ll figure out something is wrong and that will be it.”
Terrance put his hand on Carol’s arm, gently trying to reassure her.
“It’ll work, Carol,” he said. “Have faith. It’ll work. Whatever it takes.”
Buy my book Seeking Light Aurora to find out what in the world is going on at this strange, out of the way diner in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness!
But, you better strap in, because this is definitely not child’s play. People are getting hurt right and left – it just might be you next!