In crafting my maiden-voyage post for this series, I had a number of things in mind. Some ended up reading my mind (poor souls) pretty well, while other nascent thoughts were left on the dusty shelves. To save you a click, here it was:
To profess certainty, non-Christians must feign omniscience.The first thought touches on what I might call the "Far Side of Neptune" argument.
Christians begin with the confession that they (1) do not possess omniscience, but (2) are by grace confidants of the only one who does possess it.
Thus Christians alone not only can be, but are obliged to be, humbly certain.
So, how many facts are there, in the universe, total? More than ten? More than a trillion? More than ten decazillion, cubed? Of course, we could never even guess the number — let alone their nature — of all facts.
That being the case, who can say with certitude that one fact, existing only ten miles under the surface of the far side of Neptune, and only within an eight-inch radius, would not change everything we think we know about... any given subject? One can scoff, he can dismiss, he can bluff... but he can't answer that question. He cannot honestly say that he knows for a certainty, one way or the other, that some fact not yet in evidence would not constitute a transformative, revolutionary revelation.
Yet nobody lives with such uncertainties. Nobody speaks exclusively in the subjective mood. We love the indicative, even more than we should.
So we announce that (say) evolution is an undeniable fact, that the world is X-zillion years old, that homosexuality is not a chosen behavior, that the unborn are not human, that this or that is right or wrong. We speak as if from a perspective of not only omniscience, but omnisapience; as if we both possessed and understood all facts... even though neither is true.
someone has to keep pointing out the emperor's illusory garb: unless the speaker has an infinite grasp of both the identity and the meaning/significance of every last fact in the universe, he has no right to speak with certainty.
Yet the unbeliever regularly does so speak. He does not possess omniscience. He merely feigns it. His intent is to cow opposition (and quiet his own conscience [Rom. 1:18ff.]) by a show of bravado. As we have seen, the tactic often works in the short run.
A second idea lurked under the surface: "Thus Christians alone not only can be, but are obliged to be, humbly certain." The Christian, insofar as he actually practices the faith he professes, necessarily affirms the inerrancy of Scripture as the very word of God. In so doing, he claims to possess a revelation from the only one who actually does know and understand absolutely everything that exists, since He is the Creator of absolutely everything that exists.
Ironically, however, there are those who (A) claim to be Christian, but (B) choose to feign uncertainty on unpopular issues where the Bible is pretty clear.
Because (to allude to another terse post that could have been developed further), if God actually has spoken, everything changes.
In sum: the person who denies God's revelation is obliged to speak uncertainly about everything; the person who affirms God's revelation is obliged to speak certainly about some things (Amos 3:8; Acts 4:19-20; 5:29; 1 Cor. 9:16).
The strange thing is that one so often sees the exact reverse.