Greg Smith Challenges Cody Libolt to Public Debate on Presuppositionalism, Will He Accept?

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I am hereby issuing a formal challenge to Cody Libolt. A young man who seems to fancy himself beyond all challenge and dispute. Who makes bold proclamations, oftentimes explicitly disparaging the intelligence, and sometimes by implication, the commitment to biblical truth, of anybody who would dare to question him and his proclamations.

My hope is that he and I can continue the discussion that began in the comment thread HERE.

My brother has plenty of time and energy to gallivant about the web blasting people like me, so in the name of Christian honor, one would assume that he also has the time and energy to meet a challenge from his Pulpit Bunker colleague who has for over 30 years held the position he so sneeringly rejects.

I will be forced to consider a refusal for any reason to be cowardice. When a man conducts himself as he has, and does, and then runs, bans and blocks when challenged, no other conclusion is possible.

I hasten to clarify, there is absolutely no personal animus involved in this for me whatsoever. This is purely about growing in understanding of and faithfulness to the truth as it is in Christ Jesus.

If Cody can demonstrate my error he will have my eternal gratitude and I will stand publicly corrected on my own Facebook page and in any group he wishes.

By the way, did you know Reformation Charlotte has a Christian gear and apparel store? Check it out at ReformedGear.com.

So little brother. Step up and let’s talk like a couple grown ups both of whom wish only for the glory of the Lord.

As per our previous discussion: As a Christian man, a reformed Christian man, why does 1+1=2? Please note, the question is WHY is this the case?

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57 Comments

  1. Thank you Jeff.

    Here’s how it is Cody. You are low hanging fruit brother. As am I. Nobody cares who you are and the big names are not going to give you the time of day. You need to face that.

    I am offering you far more than the time of day, Do well here and you will have not only have made your case, but you will have gained an ally. What a great link to send others to going forward.

    If not then you need to consider the possibility that you have been operating in error. If true, that won’t be the end of the world and it won’t kill ya. Take it from one who knows. As hard as it was, I have myself had to admit I was very wrong.

    I wish you could have been there when I first knew that the doctrines of grace were true. Standing in my bathroom in 1988, hands leaning on the sink, staring myself in the mirror with a knot in my stomach thinking of the people I would have to tell. One of the best things that ever happened to me.

    Anyway, let’s talk. You don’t seem to have a problem talking everywhere else.

  2. I do also hereby give Cody permission to post anything that happens in this exchange anywhere and everywhere he pleases with the only conditions being that it link back here and the defining context be preserved.

  3. //As a Christian man, a reformed Christian man, why does 1+1=2? Please note, the question is WHY is this the case?//

    Thanks for the question Greg.

    Could you please disambiguate?

    When you ask “why?” in this situation, which question are you asking?

    1) “What brought about this state of things?”

    2) “What brought about our knowledge of this state of things?”

    • What I’m asking for is, the reason that maths and logic exist at all and especially in so inescapable a fashion.

      As a Christian man, what is the ultimate source of this innate certainty that one added to one always gives us 2?

      We can forget about modified addition and quantum theory for now as I only ever get there with professing atheists anyway.

      Everybody, saint and sinner alike, knows THAT 1+1=2. What is the gospel answer as to WHY everybody knows that?

      • In Luke 12:56, Jesus says:

        “You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?”

        Whether people are believing or unbelieving, they know how to judge certain facts by observation.

        If your question is, “What brought about our specific knowledge of this or that state of things, such as our knowledge of mathematical principles?” then the answer is:

        //
        We have been so created, and the world has been so created, that we are able (whether we place our faith in God or not) to grasp many facts. All facts are revealed by God–by some way. Ways include Special Revelation and General Revelation. The *source* of all facts is God. When we grasp facts, we grasp them by the *means* that God gave us. That would be *reason* (meaning, a process of observation and logic).
        //

        If you are asking how people come to know that 1+1=2 in all cases, then you are asking about the foundations of inductive and deductive knowledge. I can explain those topics if you are curious.

        • Cody says: “Whether people are believing or unbelieving, they know how to judge certain facts by observation”

          Couldn’t agree more as far as this goes
          ———————————————–
          Cody says: “We have been so created, and the world has been so created, that we are able (whether we place our faith in God or not) to grasp many facts. All facts are revealed by God–by some way. Ways include Special Revelation and General Revelation. The *source* of all facts is God. When we grasp facts, we grasp them by the *means* that God gave us. That would be *reason* (meaning, a process of observation and logic)”

          Again, I agree with what you say as stated..

          Just to be sure I understand you though. In short, the gospel view is that every human being, saint and sinner, whether born in church or the rice paddies of inland China, knows THAT 1+1=2 because the one true and living God revealed in the ancient Christian scriptures made it that way. For now the details are unimportant, but is that right?

          Please indulge me in this bit of Socratic leading for the moment. I promise, you will be given every opportunity to question me as well.

          • //In short, the gospel view is that every human being, saint and sinner, whether born in church or the rice paddies of inland China, knows THAT 1+1=2 because the one true and living God revealed in the ancient Christian scriptures made it that way.//

            Your use of the word “because” is potentially ambiguous.

            Could you please disambiguate?

            When you use the term “because” in this situation, which kind of “cause” are you asking about?

            1) “What caused this state of things?”

            2) “What caused our knowledge of this state of things?”

            If you are asking about #1, then yes. All things (including our knowledge of mathematics) came about because God made them come about.

            If you are asking about #2, then there are two answers. In the immediate sense, our observing and reasoning brought about our knowledge of these things. In the more distant sense, God (who created the world as it is) caused these things to come about and he caused *our knowledge* of these things to come about.

          • For my purposes here it makes no difference whether #1, #2 or both. The bottom biblical line is that man is a creation of God, made in God’s image and likeness. Both the external universe and our internal consciousness are creations of this God. Regardless of the specific mechanism, it is by His design that we are unable to escape the mathematical certainty of one plus one equaling two.

            I’m sure you agree with that. Yes?

          • //By His design we are unable to escape the mathematical certainty of one plus one equaling two.//

            It depends on your meaning.

            If you are simply pointing out that you and I are rightly certain that one plus one equals two, and most other people in history have also been rightly certain of this fact, then I agree.

            The qualification is:

            People can escape such knowledge by ignorance, or by pretending, or by making up false systems of thinking. The knowledge that one plus one equals two is not knowledge we are born with. It is discovered. It can be evaded. It must be maintained by choice.

          • Answering as a Christian man, for yourself, where are the people who have LEGITIMATELY escaped the certainty of one plus one equaling two?

            Delusions of every conceivable variety can be found throughout history. I’m not asking about them. I’m asking YOU what YOUR answer is.

            I’ll rephrase again:
            Regardless of the specific mechanism, it is by God’s design that actually functioning, otherwise sane human beings, redeemed or not, are unable to escape IN TRUTH the mathematical certainty of one plus one equaling two.

            This is not tough or deep brother 🙂 In YOUR view, Is this true or not?

          • If you are talking about logical, abstract relationships, 1 + 1 always equals 2.

            Adults can—and should—know this with certainty. It would be illegitimate or deeply ignorant for them not to know it.

            You asked where the people are who have legitimately escaped the certainty of one plus one equaling two. No one escapes certainty that one plus one equals two in a way that is *logically legitimate*.

          • I again could not agree more.

            No one, saint or sinner, legitimately escapes one plus one equaling two and this is by the design of the God of the Bible. Unless you are prepared to offer some other explanation for this being the case, I will assume that we are thus far on the same page on this point.

            Allow me to finish this line of questioning please and the next question will be yours.
            ———
            When asked this same question, that is, WHY does 1+1=2, do you suppose that, say Richard Dawkins or Bill Nye would also declare that this is by the design of the God of the Bible?

            That’s a super easy one my brother 🙂

          • There is your absolute ethical antithesis.

            Sinners and saints have at once both everything and nothing in common.

            Everything, due to both being image bearing creations of the same one true and living God, and nothing because the former are dead in Adam and the latter are alive in Christ.

            Even at the most basic levels of maths and logic ,the former starts with himself and the latter starts with God.

            Same “fact.”

            1+1=2

            Both KNOW this to be case. They can’t help it.

            The mind raised from death in sin into new and everlasting life in Christ KNOWS this is because the God of the Bible has designed him that way.

            The mind still dead in Adam pretends to know that whatever the explanation is, it’s anything BUT that.

            The sinner believes what he believes, not because he REALLY believes it, but in an attempt to escape from believing what we believe. Even his own sentient consciousness screams at him every second that God is his creator and he is morally accountable to him. He sinfully suppresses that inescapable truth in his own unrighteousness. Even when solving a first grade math problem.

            You have the floor.

          • I agree with most of what you said. Most Reformed Classicalists would.

            Two disagreements:

            You haven’t shown that the saints start with God in their knowledge.

            You also haven’t shown that the sinner doesn’t really believe what he believes.

          • I should have brought this up earlier. Can we agree on this general principle taken from the WCF Ch. 1 sect. VI ?

            “The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture:”

          • Reformed Classicalists would agree with most of what you said.

            Two disagreements:

            You did not show that the saint “starts with God” in the order of how he gains knowledge (whatever would mean).

            You did not show that the sinner does not really believe things he thinks he believes.

          • Sorry about the duplicate comment above. It wasn’t showing up earlier so I rewrote it.

            I agree with the WCF on all its points about epistemology and knowledge–and on most other points.

            The authors of the WCF were Reformed Classicalists, as was John Calvin.

            In the writings of Calvin and in the WCF you can see their epistemology at work in ways that offer a corrective to Van Til’s later innovations.

          • Cody says: “Sorry about the duplicate comment above. It wasn’t showing up earlier so I rewrote it.”

            No trouble. I have that issue with this site sometimes too.
            ——————————————————–
            Cody says: “I agree with the WCF on all its points about epistemology and knowledge–and on most other points. ”

            As do I. That makes one or both of us wrong. Which is why we’re here 🙂
            ——————————————————–
            Cody says: “You did not show that the saint “starts with God” in the order of how he gains knowledge (whatever would mean).”

            I said : “The mind raised from death in sin into new and everlasting life in Christ KNOWS [that 1+1=2] because the God of the Bible has designed him that way.”

            I also said above that: “No one, saint or sinner, legitimately escapes one plus one equaling two and this is by the design of the God of the Bible. Unless you are prepared to offer some other explanation for this being the case, I will assume that we are thus far on the same page on this point.”

            You seemed to agree with these two points. Are you now proposing that the God who is the author of this state of affairs, and who will not share His glory with another, is pleased to have His image bearing creatures look elsewhere than Himself as the source and standard from and by which all things are or can be known and defined in truth?

            Are you going to type on this page that the God of the bible expects men to begin without Him and on their own eventually concede that He exists and that He’s right?

          • //Are you now proposing that the God who is the author of this state of affairs, and who will not share His glory with another, is pleased to have His image bearing creatures look elsewhere than Himself as the source and standard from and by which all things are or can be known and defined in truth?//

            I will challenge a premise in the question.

            All truth is revealed by God. God created the world and made it accessible to us. God breathed out Scripture and made it accessible to us. He made these things accessible to us by some means. That means is our ability to observe and draw conclusions.

            God’s revelation (both Special Revelation and General Revelation) is the only *source* of knowledge that there is.

            Our reasoning capacities (our ability to observe and to draw conclusions) are the only *means* we have of accessing God’s revelation.

            Therefore, when you ask whether God “is pleased to have His image bearing creatures look elsewhere than Himself” I challenge the premise. There is nothing to see anywhere except that which God has revealed.

            To take seriously the idea that God is the source and standard of knowledge, we must take seriously all that he has revealed. It is no error for a man to look at all that God has revealed.

            //Are you going to type on this page that the God of the Bible expects men to begin without Him and on their own eventually concede that He exists and that He’s right?//

            We do not start in our knowledge with the idea that God exists. We start in our knowledge with the awareness of our surroundings and the awareness that we are conscious.

            To give God glory with our minds requires that we seek the truth and come to the conclusion in our own minds that God exists and that He is right.

            As a Reformed Classicalist, I believe that, before a person can do such a thing, he must have his heart changed by God and he must also hear the gospel preached. When a person hears the gospel and when the Holy Spirit regenerates his heart, he finds himself capable and willing to believe the truth of it.

            He ought to have known that the gospel was logically compelling before the Holy Spirit regenerated his heart. At that time, there was nothing specifically wrong with his cognitive abilities in themselves, but, having a heart that loved sin, he hated to affirm the truth about God, so he chose not to use his cognitive abilities (Luke 12:56, Romans 1).

            I am not claiming that men will “on their own eventually concede that He exists and that He’s right.” No one will sincerely concede that God is right unless the Holy Spirit regenerates him.

            It is unclear what it would mean for men to “begin without Him.” Men begin in a world that God is providentially revealing to them. On the basis of observations about this world and the things in it, including Scripture, men come to discover knowledge.

          • Cody says: “Our reasoning capacities (our ability to observe and to draw conclusions) are the only *means* we have of accessing God’s revelation.”

            I don’t DISagree with this, but our high powers of reason (by God’s design) are innate and must already be in place in us in order for us to draw conclusions from what we observe.

            Also, taking mathematics as an example, our powers of reason function even when not engaging external objects of knowledge for them to function upon.

            We don’t require any specific objects represented by the numerals 1 and 2 in order for our simple equation (1+1=2) to be true.

            We certainty have no external reference for the operators + and – or the = symbol in themselves at all.

            We don’t need one of some physical object and one more of that object, making 2 of them, in order for the equation to be true.

            Mathematics and logic function in us internally without any reference to the external creation at all. Of course they also DO function upon and in conjunction with the external creation as well.

            I say the biblical conclusion is that it is this internal framework and power of rational thought that enables us, in contradistinction from all the rest of God’s creation, to reach advanced conclusions as the external creation enters our senses.

            I also say that the biblical conclusion, almost entirely overlooked by most classicists, is that man, as the pinnacle of God’s achievement in creation, is himself included in “what has been made” as we find in Romans 1:20. Indeed, not just included, but man as God’s highest creation most clearly evinces “His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature” above all else.

          • You and I hold different different ideas about Epistemology and about the theory of mathematics. I don’t know whether our differences on those topics are significant for this discussion.

            I agree that man is included in what has been made. As described in Romans 1, man learns much about God and morality by observing himself and other men.

            You still haven’t shown a couple of your assertions:

            1. That the saint “starts with God” (whatever that means) in the order of how he gains knowledge.

            2. That the sinner does not really believe things he thinks he believes.

          • Cody says: “1. That the saint “starts with God” (whatever that means) in the order of how he gains knowledge.”

            My point is that EVERYbody begins with God. Redeemed or not.

            I have a bunch of stuff going on right now. As soon as I possibly can I will answer this question and then your second one as well. Some clarification is indeed in order and you are right to ask.

            In the meantime, for the future, please be preparing your proof for the assertion that man does not “begin” with God. I know you’re convinced you already have the answer. You will not be shocked to learn that I am convinced you do not.

          • Cody says: “Our reasoning capacities (our ability to observe and to draw conclusions) are the only *means* we have of accessing God’s revelation.”

            I say that that very ability is itself revelation. Where do we see God’s greatest and highest achievement in creation? In man. Unless you are going to dispute that.

            What makes man, man? On the strictly biological level we are not much different than any other higher order mammal. An organic machine made up of water and chemicals animated by electrical impulses. They observe the same external creation we do.

            What makes man, man is his moral agency, that is, the ability to culpably uphold or violate God’s law, along with his high powers of reason and intellect. Components I would submit, that are two sides of the same coin and that uniquely fit him to stewardship over the rest of God’s creation. Sometimes including other men.

            However, both man’s moral agency and his high powers of reason are aspects of his ontology, his being AS man and are therefore internal to himself. His very knowledge of himself IS, by inescapable definition, knowledge of God.

            Everything I’ve just said is true of every child of Adam, whether redeemed in Christ or not.

            When I say that man “begins” with God in his process of rational predication, I don’t mean that in a chronological sense. God first, man next. No, I mean it in an ontological and epistemological sense. It is impossible for man to so much as be aware, even of his own consciousness without at once being aware of the God who designed that consciousness. God has left his signature and fingerprint on everything “which has been made” by Him. Most especially man. It is this knowledge which makes all other knowledge possible. (For a host of additional reasons as well btw)

            In the first of Romans, Paul says that fallen man knows this, but he suppresses that knowledge in sin. He goes to whatever lengths necessary to convince Himself that he is NOT a creation of this God and that he does NOT owe this God his moral obedience. As convincing a case as he may make to himself and to you, he cannot succeed. Unless God fails, because “that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.” (Rom. 1:19)

            To the man renewed in Christ, raised from death and bondage in the blindness of sin, he also knows this, but joyously and gratefully embraces it as the most precious of any knowledge he could have. Even if he does not articulate it in these explicit terms. Or he’s supposed to anyway 🙂

            Knowledge of God and knowledge of self are by necessity of divine design, inextricably bound up with and defined by one another. Neither is possible without the other. If this is true of knowledge of self, how much more true is it of knowledge of the external creation?

            If I’m understanding you correctly, you are defining “knowledge” as strictly that which is presented to man from the external creation, even while you attempt to include man himself in the category of “what has been made.”

            “Of course man has been made”, you say. He just has no knowledge of it unless it is presented to him from the external creation. Or so it seems.
            ————————–
            “I think, therefore I am.”

            Descarte was wrong.

            It should be:

            “God is, therefore I think.”

          • Greg, thanks for this explanation.

            You have addressed my question about how you conclude that the saint (and actually everyone) “starts with God,” and you have shown what you mean by that claim.

            We could discuss that claim in more detail if it seems helpful. There were around eleven ideas in your explanation that I would try to challenge or clarify. I agree with around half of the ideas you presented.

            The theory that man “begins” with God in his process of rational predication could itself make for big discussion. Do you have any sources for recommended reading on the idea (either sympathetic or critical)?

            Before we move ahead in the discussion, would you want to show your reasoning for the other idea I had asked about? (The idea that the sinner does not really believe things he thinks he believes?)

          • I won’t be sending you anywhere else. For now anyway.
            ——————————————
            Cody says: “Before we move ahead in the discussion, would you want to show your reasoning for the other idea I had asked about? (The idea that the sinner does not really believe things he thinks he believes?)”

            If, as Romans 1 teaches, God has made Himself inescapable in what He has made, that being everything except Himself, and especially man, then by God’s own decree and design, when a sinner says he doesn’t believe in the one true and living God, he is lying to himself. Suppressing that most foundational of all truths in unrighteousness.

            The man naturally generated from Adam “remembers” who and what he was before sin killed him, He still IS the image and likeness of his God, though warped in corruption, he tries with all his he might to forget. At the resurrection his self deluded folly will be stripped from him as he stands face to face with his creator.

            The new creature regenerated in Christ likewise remembers who and what he was before his new birth, try as he might to suppress him too. He still IS a child of Adam too. He will fight that righteous Romans 7 war while he remains in this flesh.

            The alternative is to say that God has done and is doing His best to make Himself known, but sinful man has triumphed in his campaign to defeat Him.

            What is your version?

          • Thanks Greg.

            I should have asked my question differently.

            You answered the exact question I asked, if reading that question just by itself.

            But I was hoping to hear the answer to a slightly different question.

            I had intended to ask your view on the following idea you had offered earlier:

            //
            The sinner believes what he believes, not because he REALLY believes it, but in an attempt to escape from believing what we believe. Even his own sentient consciousness screams at him every second that God is his creator and he is morally accountable to him. He sinfully suppresses that inescapable truth in his own unrighteousness. Even when solving a first grade math problem.
            //

            In the above, are you saying the sinner does not really believe ordinary items of knowledge like the answer to a math problem? So, for instance, he really doesn’t believe that 1+1=2?

            Did I misunderstand your claim? Would you want to explain that more?

          • Oh no sir. That’s not what I meant at all. Allow me to clarify.

            He absolutely believes, and that with the same degree of certainty that we believe, THAT 1+1=2.

            What he does NOT really believe, is any of his various explanations as to WHY 1+1=2.

            According to His creator, he KNOWS that he is wrong and that the living God IS THE explanation.. It is for this reason that he incessantly, and many times with impressive ingenuity, pretends ignorance of this fact of all facts by suppressing this unassailable truth in unrighteousness. Nothing could be clearer. GOD made it clear.

            The problem is not that God is hidden (not that you’re saying it is) He can’t be escaped. Even at the level of man’s own existence and consciousness.

            The problem is man’s necrotic moral blindness in sin.

          • Okay, thanks Greg. I see what your view is on this.

            I agree with you that man’s observations about himself and about other men are part of what God has revealed, and I agree that we learn about God from these things.

            You and I may disagree about the relative weight to assign man’s observations of his own being vs. his observations of the rest of the world. For instance, it seems that the fact of “God’s eternal power” (Rom 1:20) would be more immediately obvious from observing the size of the world than from observing oneself. But I don’t know that the topics were are disagreeing about would hinge on that issue.

            I would not downplay the significance of man’s observations about himself. As I’m sure you and I agree, man’s observations about himself are essential to the meaning of what Paul is discussing in Romans 1. For instance, in Romans 1:32 we find: “they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death.” From this verse, we see that the knowledge that God has revealed to man is knowledge of the moral status of specific sinful actions and of the just consequences of those actions. There you and I find much to agree on.

            I’m thinking through a next direction for discussion. I would like to ask your view on the meaning of Romans 1:20.

            Here’s verse 18-20 in the NIV for context.

            18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 

            19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 

            20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

            (I’m not a champion of the NIV, but I tend to start with it when there is a question about the meaning of the words because it does aim for simplicity. Then I look at other translations to compare. I do not know any Greek. Please let me know if you believe there is a different translation that is better on this passage, and we can talk about that one.)

            On the view you’re describing, could you elaborate on how you understand the three verses? Most specifically, I would like to know your view on the meaning of “from what has been made” in verse 20.

            When the passage teaches that “since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities… have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made…” how do you understand this expression “from what has been made”?

            Do you understand it as meaning that each man has immediate, self-evident knowledge similar to the knowledge that we have when we open our eyes and when we know that we have opened our eyes and that we are seeing? Or is this *complex* knowledge, gained by integrating more than one fact together?

            I ask these questions because it sounded to me that the kind of knowledge you described would be “immediate,” knowledge, but in Romans 1 and also in Acts 14 and Acts 17 we find Paul describing knowledge of various complex things. I can explain more, but I’d like to know your thoughts on what I’ve asked so far.

          • Cody asks: “I would like to know your view on the meaning of “from what has been made” in verse 20. ”

            Everything except Himself “has been made.” Everything.

            “His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature,..” is a sort of short list of categories describing the revelation that God has made of Himself to man through “what has been made.” I weight the categories of creation, that is, “what has been made”, according to the weight that the rest of scripture gives to them.

            Man is clearly the highest and crowning achievement of God in creation because man uniquely IS the image and likeness of God’s ” invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature,..” We are finite derivative replicas of Himself. This is applicable to no other category of “what has been made.” Therefore I give this truth the same weight that scripture does.

            God surely is gloriously revealed in every part of His creation, but nowhere with the same glaring clarity as in man.
            ——————————————–
            Cody asks: “Do you understand it as meaning that each man has immediate, self-evident knowledge similar to the knowledge that we have when we open our eyes and when we know that we have opened our eyes and that we are seeing?” Or is this *complex* knowledge, gained by integrating more than one fact together?

            Neither. It is more foundational, that is, more epistemological than that. Both the opening of one’s eyes and the assembly and assimilation of complex knowledge from the external creation depend upon the kind of knowledge I’m postulating in order to be accessible or intelligible to us. A deaf, dumb and blind man has this knowledge. It is in man’s very sentient, rational consciousness that we find the clearest revelation of the God who has made himself inescapable to us.

            ——————————————–
            Cody says: “…in Romans 1 and also in Acts 14 and Acts 17 we find Paul describing knowledge of various complex things. ”

            Paul did not advocate, and therefore neither do I, that we avoid an appeal to the mighty miraculous works of God or His self revelation in nature. It’s not either or. It’s a matter of which governs the other. God’s self revelation in nature and miracles has no meaning in the minds of any of God’s creatures except man. Because only man has the internal knowledge I’m preaching that gives intelligibility to external knowledge you’re preaching.

            In my view, the NASB is the best overall modern English translation. It’s my favorite anyway. The passage from Romans 1 you cite is accurate in the NIV.

            I know just enough Koine Greek to fumble through, use the tools effectively and not be snowed by somebody who knows less than myself or has an agenda. I am not implying that that is you.

          • If I understand correctly, you are claiming that man’s knowledge of God is more foundational than complex knowledge (knowledge gained by integrating more than one fact together), and it is more foundational than self-evident knowledge (the kind a person has when he knows his eyes are open or he knows he is seeing something).

            This claim raises several questions:

            1. Just to double check: Is your claim here different from the idea that man infers God’s existence from the *fact* of his awareness of his own conscious and his awareness of his own soul?

            2. Are you claiming man always has the knowledge of God (it is innate and it is not something man “comes to” but instead it is something he always has)?

            3. Are you claiming that this view of man’s knowledge of God is compatible with (or even supported by?—or proven by?) by the text of Romans 1:20? If so, could you explain where you find this view in Romans 1:20? Or could you explain where in Scripture you do find this view?

            4. If all the above is as you say it is, and if people are “without excuse” (vs. 20) for rejecting the knowledge of God, then do you believe there is a *means* by which people can *distinguish* between true beliefs and false beliefs about God, such that they are “without excuse” for failing to do so? A quote from Jacob Brunton is helpful here: “If you’re not *able* to differentiate between true beliefs about God and false beliefs about God, then are you really without an excuse if you are not holding true beliefs?” If man is *able* to differentiate between true beliefs about God and false beliefs about God, then what is the *means* by which he does this?

            5. If your account of man’s knowledge of God is true, and if “it is in man’s very sentient, rational consciousness that we find the clearest revelation of… God,” then could you explain whether (and how) you see Paul using this fact in his apologetic encounters in Acts 14 and Acts 17?

          • I am assuming that we already agree on the foundations of the faith. Especially as expressed in the reformed standards.
            http://tiribulus.com/wordpress/reformed-standards/

            In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

            Everything except God Himself has been created by Him. He is therefore revealed in ALL things.

            Man as the unique morally accountable image bearer of this God in all of creation, most clearly reveals Him.

            Let’s stop there for a moment. Do you deny this?

          • I agree with the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith and also with the other reformed standards where they do not disagree with the 1689, with the exception that I may find the 1689 overly specific in its requirements on Sabbatarianism.

            I have looked at the matter, and on the issues we’re discussing I have no major disagreements with Calvin or the other reformers, that I am aware of.

            I affirm that:
            -In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
            -Everything except God Himself has been created by Him. He is therefore revealed in ALL things.

            You asked if I affirm that “Man as the unique morally accountable image bearer of this God in all of creation, most clearly reveals Him.”

            I consider your formulation here to be ambiguous.

            Man’s own nature does clearly reveal *aspects* about God not revealed by other created things.

            But God’s self-revelation in other created things is not *less clear* than his self-revelation in man.

            Important knowledge about God is revealed by the rest of creation. It is to the rest of creation that Paul tends first to point (in Acts 14 and Acts 17, for instance).

          • Cody says: “Man’s own nature does clearly reveal *aspects* about God not revealed by other created things.

            But God’s self-revelation in other created things is not *less clear* than his self-revelation in man.”
            ——————————-
            Let’s say then, “most fully.” Nowhere are God’s “.. invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature,..” more FULLY revealed than in man as His very image and likeness.

            It is by definition impossible for any self revelation of the eternally perfect, all powerful and immutable God to be in any way UNclear. it can by His will be incomplete, but not unclear.

            Nowhere else in all of creation do we find the direct personal and moral character and nature of the living God revealed, because nowhere else do we find His very image and likeness imprinted upon and LIVING in that creation. Galaxies and sunrises are not alive. Animals are alive, but they do not bear His image and likeness.

            Acts 17 for instance, after declaring that God has made the world and all things in it, Paul gets specific with:

            He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, vv 16-17

            He goes on later in the chapter:
            28-for in Him we live and move and have our being, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ 29-“Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man.

            Again the apostle appeals to the being and nature of man as the magnificent revealer of the being and nature of God. Even going so far as to quote the phenomena of Aratus, their fellow Greek thinker from 300 years earlier showing that they already know in essence what he’s preaching to them. As fellow image bearers, they are in that sense also God’s children.

            We’ll have to go with that for tonight. I’m old and tired 🙂

          • Cody, can we agree at this point that whichever, if either of us, is correct on the topics immediately at hand, must of necessity be correct on the entire enterprise of biblical epistemology?

            It seems unreasonable to assert that one can be incorrect on God’s revelation in man to man and yet still be correct on the rest of the topics directly related to and spawned from that topic.

          • //

            Again the apostle appeals to the being and nature of man as the magnificent revealer of the being and nature of God.

            Cody, can we agree at this point that whichever, if either of us, is correct on the topics immediately at hand, must of necessity be correct on the entire enterprise of biblical epistemology?
            It seems unreasonable to assert that one can be incorrect on God’s revelation in man to man and yet still be correct on the rest of the topics directly related to and spawned from that topic.

            //

            I would not agree to that idea.

            Being right about one foundational issue would not prove that one is right about other ideas.

            Neither does being wrong about one foundational issue prove that one is wrong about specific other ideas.

            People are capable of being inconsistent. One of us could be mistaken in some way about the foundational topic immediately at hand (a little or a lot mistaken) and yet also be more correct than the other about one or another important claim about the broader topic of biblical epistemology.

            That said, if someone makes an error in one foundational question, that does suggest at least a possibility that there are other errors in derivative questions. I can go with you that far.

            On the question of God’s general revelation and the relative importance of what God reveals via the nature of man himself vs. by the nature of the rest of the created world, I believe we are closer than it might seem.

            My position is:

            -God reveals much important truth to man by what he can observe outside of himself.

            -God also reveals much important truth to man by what he can observe directly about himself, by introspection.

            -God also reveals much important truth to man by what he can observe about mankind, existing with other people and interacting with the rest of the created world.

            This last item is important. We gain knowledge about God and about morality by observing the interaction of men with other men and with the world.

            There is not much (maybe even nothing) that a man could know if he had not first observed something outside of himself.

            Here’s why: To become aware of the fact that one is conscious (and thus, that one is a “self”), it is logically necessary to be conscious of some *thing*. For instance, a baby opens his eyes, brings them into focus, and learns to distinguish between one object and another. Before a person can reach the level of consciously identifying *that* he is conscious of some thing, logically he first has to actually *be* conscious of some thing. Only then he can become conscious of the fact that he is conscious, and that he himself is a “self” with an identity.

            The point of all the above is simply to say, man can learn about God by learning about his own nature; but he learns about his own nature by observing how he interacts with other things beside himself.

            I would like to explain what I’m claiming here in reference to Romans 1, Acts 14, and Acts 17.

            In Romans 1:29, we learn that a man with no access to Scripture is able know that it is a sin to murder. And he is able to know that such a sin is deserving of death (verse 32).

            I want to point out that this knowledge would seem to require a multi-step process of grasping and integrating several different facts. To hold ideas about murder and about justice, we need to assemble many observations and we need to make inferences. A man who comes to know that it is a sin to murder is a man who has already come to know that there is such a thing as “other people” and “myself” and “killing” and “living” and “good” and “bad” and other simple concepts like that.

            Therefore Romans 1:29 is an example of God revealing truth to people by General Revelation, through what man can observe about mankind, with a man interacting with other people and interacting with the rest of the created world.

            Likewise, the kind of knowledge of God that Paul describes in Romans 1:20 seems to be the kind that would come by a multi-step process of inference. It is knowledge “from” what has been made. I do grant that Paul is including man himself as one of the things that has been made, and surely Paul would agree that the nature of “man himself” reveals much about God in a unique and important way. But we have no indication in Romans 1:20 that Paul intends to refer *only* to man and not to the other things that have been made and to the interactions between all these things.

            Importantly, Romans 1:20 suggests that man has knowledge of one thing (God) “from” knowledge of some other “things” (plural). If knowledge of several things yields knowledge of another thing, then this knowledge is inferential (complex, multi-step) knowledge.

            There is additional evidence in Romans 1 and in Acts 14 and Acts 17 to support the idea that the knowledge of God is complex knowledge, gained by integrating more than one fact together, leading to an inference.

            For instance, in Romans 1:20 when Paul says God’s invisible qualities “have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made,” Paul refers to both “the creation of the world” and to “the wrath of God… being revealed from heaven.” The created world and the heavens are topics that tend to come up whenever Paul is showing pagans the truth about God. We should not find this pattern surprising, because “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1b).

            Compare Paul’s comments on General Revelation in Romans 1 with his comments on General Revelation in Acts 14:15b-17.

            Here is the passage, for reference:

            Acts 14:15b-17

            15b We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. 

            16 In the past, he let all nations go their own way. 

            17 Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.

            Here again, Paul draws people’s attention to the things that have been made, including things other than man himself. He mentions the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them. He mentions the seasons, the rain, and the crops and food. Then, in light of these things, Paul mentions the joy that men take in them. Therefore, again we have an example of God revealing much important truth to man by what he can observe about mankind, existing within a society and interacting with the rest of the created world.

            From Acts 14:15b-17 we know Paul considers these blessings to be God’s “testimony” (verse 17). This particular testimony is not seen merely “in man” or seen merely “in the world.” The testimony is seen in the *relationship* between man and the world.

            Similarly, in Acts 17:24-30 Paul points out that the facts about the created world and about the nature of man himself in that world, when considered together, give testimony to God’s own nature and authority:

            24 The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 

            25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 

            26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 

            27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 

            28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

            29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. 

            30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.

            In Paul’s view, the very fact of *mankind’s existence on the earth* (vs. 26) amounts evidence of God’s activity sufficient that men would “seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him” (verse 27).

            General Revelation (in this case, the observable fact of the very existence of mankind on the whole) is taken to be evidence of enormous weight.

            Paul takes it for granted that his Athenian listeners know there is a greater being (“we are his offspring”) from whom we each live and move and have our being. Paul believes his listeners will themselves admit this is so. He makes his argument depend on this (already accepted) premise when he argues: “Therefore since we are God’s offspring…”

            From these facts, Paul makes his case that idol worship is an act of willful ignorance. Men should recognize that the divine being (the right object of worship) is the being who himself designed man, not some object that man himself can design.

            In each of the three passages I discussed above (Romans 1:18-32, Acts 14:14-28, and Acts 17:22-31), Paul made the case that the knowledge of God is easily accessible to people by way of inference from the things that have been made (including man himself, the world, and man’s interactions with the world).

            In each case, the moral condemnation comes specifically because the people *are* able to make the inference and yet they make the choice not to.

            Compare Luke 12:56 and Matthew 16:3, in which Jesus calls people hypocrites for being able to use logic, yet acting like they are not able to when faced with facts about God.

            The three chapters above all provide examples of what it can mean for God’s invisible qualities (including his eternal power and divine nature) to be clearly seen, being understood from what has been made. In each passage, Paul speaks of things that men ought to observe and that they ought to make interferences from in order to come to the conclusion that the world was created by a divine, eternally powerful being.

            Paul says the unbelievers are without excuse (vs. 20) *because* they suppress the truth (vs. 18-19). Jesus explains the idea in John 3:20: “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.”

            When a man stays in the darkness and suppresses the truth, Paul teaches that he is condemned specifically *because* of how he handled the truth about God, communicated to him from the things that have been made. Paul’s entire argument assumes that people are capable of differentiating between true and false beliefs about God.

            That is why I brought up Jacob Brunton’s point in an earlier comment. It is worth repeating: “If you’re not able to differentiate between true beliefs about God and false beliefs about God, then are you really without an excuse if you are not holding true beliefs?”

            Men have the intellectual ability to observe the facts and to make correct inferences leading to understanding of God. That is what Paul describes in these passages: He describes the way in which all men ought to infer knowledge of God from *all* the things that have been made.

            Men *choose* not to use their intellectual abilities. Thus they are condemned on the basis of their morally wrong choice to not follow the “plain” observed facts (Romans 1:19) to where they are “clearly seen” to be leading (Romans 1:20). The intellectual capacity for this knowledge of God, and the immoral suppression thereof (Romans 1:18) is the basis of Paul’s argument that men are “without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

            I believe I have now provided sufficient explanation of my understanding of the concept of General Revelation, based on Scripture.

            I would like to draw your attention to the questions I had asked earlier:

            //

            If I understand correctly, you are claiming that man’s knowledge of God is more foundational than complex knowledge (knowledge gained by integrating more than one fact together), and it is more foundational than self-evident knowledge (the kind a person has when he knows his eyes are open or he knows he is seeing something).

            This claim raises several questions:

            1. Just to double check: Is your claim here different from the idea that man infers God’s existence from the *fact* of his awareness of his own conscious and his awareness of his own soul?

            2. Are you claiming man always has the knowledge of God (it is innate and it is not something man “comes to” but instead it is something he always has)?

            3. Are you claiming that this view of man’s knowledge of God is compatible with (or even supported by?—or proven by?) by the text of Romans 1:20? If so, could you explain where you find this view in Romans 1:20? Or could you explain where in Scripture you do find this view?

            4. If all the above is as you say it is, and if people are “without excuse” (vs. 20) for rejecting the knowledge of God, then do you believe there is a *means* by which people can distinguish between true beliefs and false beliefs about God, such that they are “without excuse” for failing to do so? A quote from Jacob Brunton is helpful here: “If you’re not *able* to differentiate between true beliefs about God and false beliefs about God, then are you really without an excuse if you are not holding true beliefs?” If man is *able* to differentiate between true beliefs about God and false beliefs about God, then what is the *means* by which he does this?

            5. If your account of man’s knowledge of God is true, and if “it is in man’s very sentient, rational consciousness that we find the clearest revelation of… God,” then could you explain whether (and how) you see Paul using this fact in his apologetic encounters in Acts 14 and Acts 17?

            //

          • Cody says: “But we have no indication in Romans 1:20 that Paul intends to refer *only* to man and not to the other things that have been made and to the interactions between all these things.”

            I’ll begin this response by pointing out that I have never asserted the above and have in fact asserted the exact opposite above on this very page. Here for instance:
            https://reformationcharlotte.org/2020/03/20/greg-smith-challenges-cody-libolt-to-public-debate-on-presuppositionalism-will-he-accept/#comment-114

            Greg says above: “Paul did not advocate, and therefore neither do I, that we avoid an appeal to the mighty miraculous works of God or His self revelation in nature. It’s not either or. It’s a matter of which governs the other. God’s self revelation in nature and miracles has no meaning in the minds of any of God’s creatures except man. Because only man has the internal knowledge I’m preaching that gives intelligibility to external knowledge you’re preaching.”

            That addresses much of your latest response.
            ===========================================
            Cody quotes Jacob Brunton as saying: That is why I brought up Jacob Brunton’s point in an earlier comment. It is worth repeating: “If you’re not able to differentiate between true beliefs about God and false beliefs about God, then are you really without an excuse if you are not holding true beliefs?”

            My brother we preach every day that man in his unregenerate state is without the ability to choose repentance and salvation and is yet also without an excuse for not doing so. This is not because he sees Christ crucified in nature.

            Man in his unregenerate state has been given enough true knowledge by general revelation to condemn him, but not enough to save him. ANY knowledge given by God must by definition be true. That’s all I’ll say about this now, because it is a distraction at this time.
            ===========================================
            Cody asks: “3. Are you claiming that this view of man’s knowledge of God is compatible with (or even supported by?—or proven by?) by the text of Romans 1:20? If so, could you explain where you find this view in Romans 1:20? Or could you explain where in Scripture you do find this view?”

            I have explained this extensively above in previous posts for all who would care to look. 🙂
            ============================================
            Cody asks: “5. If your account of man’s knowledge of God is true, and if “it is in man’s very sentient, rational consciousness that we find the [fullest] revelation of… God,” then could you explain whether (and how) you see Paul using this fact in his apologetic encounters in Acts 14 and Acts 17?” (editorial update mine)

            Paul assumes this fact everywhere as I have also explained above in previous posts. Whenever Paul addresses unbelievers from what could be called an apologetic stance, he does so assuming his own teachings in the 1st 3 chapters of Romans.
            =============================================
            Cody asks: “1. Just to double check: Is your claim here different from the idea that man infers God’s existence from the *fact* of his awareness of his own conscious and his awareness of his own soul?”

            Man does not infer God’s existence or anything about it. God’s existence is the necessary “un-inferrable” intellectual and moral condition upon which any inference whatsoever depends. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would never leave Himself at the mercy of anything so flimsy and unreliable as man’s, especially fallen man’s, inferential abilities.

            The other side of this coin, which I also mentioned in previous posts, is that man also does not infer his own existence. Both his own existence and God’s are at once utterly inescapable to him. Neither the knowledge of self nor the knowledge of God is possible one without the other. As yet again, I have said in previous posts.
            ============================================
            Cody says: “This last item is important. We gain knowledge about God and about MORALITY by observing the interaction of men with other men and with the world.

            There is not much (maybe even nothing) that a man could know if he had not first observed something outside of himself. (emphasis mine)”

            Romans 2:
            12-For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law;

            13-for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.

            14-For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves,

            15i-n that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,

            16-on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

            Except that the writer of at least 13 books of the New Testament canon says that they can and do brother.

            The law, given to the Jews by external special revelation (those under the law) is written by God’s own design, on the hearts and consciences of us gentiles (those without the law by external special revelation)

            Explain to me please how the man having never externally heard of the bible, the God revealed therein, or sin and salvation in Christ, KNOWS that there is even such a thing as truly right or truly wrong. He absolutely does know there is, but how? By watching other sinful men?
            ===========================================

          • Greg, thanks for the interaction with my questions.

            I have written out ideas on how to respond to each of your points. Before moving forward, I would like to clarify a point about your response to my fourth question. Since both of us are Reformed, we agree, of course, that an unregenerate man is *morally* unable to choose to love God. Is it your position that an unregenerate man *is* or *is not* intellectually able to differentiate between true and false beliefs about God? Or said another way, is the unregenerate man making a *choice* to suppress that knowledge?

            (Keep in mind that Reformed Classicalists would hold that an unregenerate man *is* intellectually able to differentiate between true and false beliefs about God, and yet he chooses not to do so because “everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.” Such a man is without excuse *because* he has the intellectual capacity to understand, and yet he makes the immoral *choice* to suppress that knowledge.)

          • Cody asks: ” Is it your position that an unregenerate man *is* or *is not* intellectually able to differentiate between true and false beliefs about God? Or said another way, is the unregenerate man making a *choice* to suppress that knowledge?”
            ————————–
            Yes, he is able to intellectually, AND morally differentiate between true and false beliefs about God. All that God has revealed of Himself, in man, through man and to man is inescapable to every child of Adam. God Himself has seen to it.

            All that God has revealed of Himself in every particle of the external creation is also inescapable to every Child of Adam. God Himself has seen to that as well.

            Every bit of God’s general self revelation, internal and external, is by his own perfect design, both true and inescapable.

            What unregenerate man cannot know from general revelation are particulars like the triunity of God’s being and the fact that an ancient Jewish man born God, from the city of Nazareth, is the only savior from the sinful suppression of truth he won’t naturally want salvation from. Knowledge of those saving truths, among others, require special revelation, which bless His holy name, the Lord our God has provided in His inscripturated Word.

            Romans 1 clearly proclaims that unregenerate man knows enough to be without excuse, while Romans 10 proclaims: “14-How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?”

            Paul, in the same book, ^^^clearly declares that fallen man both knows God by general revelation in one sense (ch. 1) AND that fallen man has not heard God in the saving sense due to the absence of someone preaching the Word to them, thus bringing them God’s special revelation. (ch. 10)

            In short, yes. Unregenerate man chooses to delude himself into believing in ANY god, or no god at all rather than submit to the Lordship of the one true and living God in Christ.

            This is the volitional motion of a will bound to a nature dead in sin. As the standards quite rightly teach.

          • Okay, that’s helpful to understand.

            We are on the same page about a majority of these topics relating to soteriology.

            We agree that the unregenerate man is intellectually capable of differentiating between true and false beliefs about God.

            At some point we could further discuss the means by which he would be able to differentiate it, were his will not bound to a nature dead in sin. Before moving in that direction, I should bring up some premises that I’m operating on.

            Below is something I believe. Could I ask your thoughts these ideas?

            //

            The primary reason for people’s condemnation is not that they failed to accept the gospel.

            It is that they failed to love and obey the God revealed to them in General Revelation, and in many cases also in Special Revelation. This is why we need the gospel.

            Logically, if the gospel is the solution to sin, then the rejection of the gospel cannot have been the main sin that the gospel was given to remedy.

            Rejecting the gospel is the *final* sin leading to condemnation, not the first sin leading to condemnation.

            Romans 3:10-12 says:
            “Both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written:
            “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.
            “All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.

            All non-Christians are condemned for their rejection of General Revelation. This is the sin that people repent of when they accept Special Revelation and when they say they need Christ.

            //

            Do you agree with these ideas?

          • All children of Adam are conceived and born dead in sin. Sinners don’t become condemned by a particular attitude or action. Including rejecting the gospel. Every attitude and action is a symptom and natural outworking of what they are as already condemned children of Adam. It is the various flavors of Peleagianism that reject this.

            Dogs beget puppies, cats beget kittens and sinners beget “sinnerlings”.

            They’re rejection of God’s crystal clear and spotlessly true general revelation demonstrates this fact. They are without excuse. They will never be able to say God was hidden to them.

            http://tiribulus.com/wordpress/westminster-confession-of-faith-of-1646/#6

            This will not change unless and until they are born again as children of God in Christ, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, their darkened minds having thus been enlightened in His glorious and eternal truth.

          • It sounds to me like we agree on these topics.

            It is possible that when I said. “All non-Christians are condemned for their rejection of General Revelation,” you took that to mean they are condemned only for their action. But I did not intend to imply that idea. I think you and I would agree non-Christians are condemned for *being* the kind of people who would do such a thing. A person’s actions proceed from his identity.

            I agree with Romans 5:15 when it tells us the many died through one man’s trespass. Verse 19 makes it clear that Adam’s disobedience resulted in all people being made sinners.

            I think you and I agree that a person’s rejection of God’s crystal clear and spotlessly true general revelation *demonstrates* the fact that he is a sinner by nature. As John 3:19-20 points, out, the sin manifests itself in various ways: loving the darkness, doing evil, and hating the light for fear of being exposed.

            You and I also agree that “unregenerate man knows enough to be without excuse.”

            Could you share your view on how this last idea is so? I presume you would agree that the unregenerate man has the intellectual ability to distinguish between true and false beliefs about God. If so, then what is the means by which he would distinguish the true beliefs from the false ones (were his will not in bondage to sin)?

          • Cody asks: “Could you share your view on how this last idea is so? I presume you would agree that the unregenerate man has the intellectual ability to distinguish between true and false beliefs about God. If so, then what is the means by which he would distinguish the true beliefs from the false ones (were his will not in bondage to sin)?”
            —————————–
            Let’s get to the bottom of this by trying a little role playing game here.

            Let’s pretend that I’m an unbeliever for a minute. I’m asking you to prove to me that I am a sinner in need of salvation in Christ.

            I’m playing devil’s advocate. I want you to PROVE” to me, without any reference to your eyerollingly idiotic book of primitive unenlightened superstitions, that because my first mother who was made from a man’s rib listened to a talking snake, I am headed to eternal damnation, the only escape from which is a jew who died 2000 years ago.

            Prove that to me.

          • Greg, thanks for the reply.

            I had been asking your view on a specific question:

            “What is the means by which a person would distinguish true beliefs from the false ones (were his will not in bondage to sin)?”

            This is the kind of question that any epistemological perspective would probably have straightforward answer to.

            The role-play idea seems like a potential change in subject.

            Would you be willing to explain your view on my question?

          • Cody asks: “What is the means by which a person would distinguish true beliefs from the false ones (were his will not in bondage to sin)?”

            The image and likeness of God.
            ===========================================
            Cody says: “The role-play idea seems like a potential change in subject.”

            No, it is THE subject. We are talking about apologetic method, which by definition means we’re talking about every area of theology.

            Make your Christian case to me as a devil’s advocate atheist and we WILL cover everything else… in action.

          • Greg, I take your public response here as well as your private comment to me today as indicating that you are unwilling to explain your view without the role play.

            I have participated in this discussion out of a desire to answer a strongly worded insult to my character. You seem now to be trying to force me into a role play scenario rather than being willing to simply name and defend your own premises. I am not interested in that kind of thing at this time.

            I have been doing this discussion because I want to expose your view as false and your derogatory claims about my character as false.

            So far you have offered no satisfactory substantiation for the main claims that differentiate your view from mine, nor any cogent refutation of my view, nor even much sign that you can identify our points of agreement and difference. The discussion has gone on long enough that it has become dubious whether you intend to offer a reasonable demonstration of your claims.

            Should you ever choose to offer that substantiation in the form of an essay or book, you can reach me at Cody@ChristianIntellectual.com.

            ChristianIntellectual.com is also the place where you can find my premises named and defended.

            These will be my last public remarks on this discussion. I appreciate the time and effort you have put into the discussion. I may publish an unaltered version of the discussion at some point and perhaps offer my reflections.

          • I have answered ALL of your questions. Repeatedly and in detail. Both from scripture and from the reformed standards. I have given you far more time to question me thus far than I questioned you. Anyone interested can see that for themselves in all of the above.

            Now it’s time to see your method in action. Bring in Brunton, Matheson, anybody you want. I will, as a pretended atheist, take you all on at once in Jesus name.

            I stood up for you when I was told you were going to do this.

            I was told by some people who’ve spent much more time watching you than I have, some you don’t even know, that as soon as you were cornered, you would run away. You are making them right.

            I wanted this somewhere other than Facebook because you have no way to erase the existence of this conversation like you do every time somebody exposes your inability to make your case.

            Your entire self proclaimed mission is built upon paganism, You’re going to learn that the hard way. Rand is just a symptom.

            If you do not put your money where your mouth is, I’m going to follow you around and link people back here where they can see what you do when not self insulated and surrounded by your yes men. If you think this makes me an enemy, you are sorely mistaken.

            Very disappointing brother. You have no idea how much I wanted to believe you were better than this.

          • And he blocks me on Facebook. My friends were right 🙁

            This is where we are folks. 🙁

            My invitation remains open and I fully reiterate my brotherly love and high hopes for Cody’s future as a man of God in the service of Jesus Christ.

          • Cody has blocked me after this last comment and proceeded to engage in thinly veiled attacks behind my back so I will document all relevant information related to this in comments here. he has put up a ridiculous and pretentious article here:

            https://medium.com/p/e008bbe2391b/responses

            With him, you never know how long anything said by anybody who challenges him will survive, so I’m copying my responses here on this page.
            ———————————-
            My first response is as follows:
            “I’m pretty sure this comment won’t survive long, if this blog is not fully insulated by moderation, but I was told before you and I started that you run from anybody who constitutes a threat to your campaign of self exalting arrogance brother.

            You proved them right :(”
            ———————————–
            He then wrote that weal addendum to which I responded with the following:

            Cody says: “Here are some selections from what Greg Smith has said about me publicly as of today:”

            And I stand by everything I said. This wouldn’t be happening if you hadn’t run away. The reason men have to chase you around is because you run away from everybody.

            You run away whenever it’s clear that you don’t have a way to prevail. I’m just the latest. 

            You ran me in circles answering the same questions over again and then when I challenged you to demonstrate your apologetic method in action, you blocked me and started to talk behind my back where I couldn’t answer. I’m just the latest for that too. 

            You are an arrogant, self important young man who is simply not up to any meaningful challenge. If this were not the case, you wouldn’t run away like you always do. This haughty pretense you allege in the above article is cover for cowardice. You know it, I know it and most importantly of all, God knows it.  
            And another thing. All I said to you privately was that I was disappointed. That’s it. I didn’t even get five minutes to respond any further because you had already blocked me.

            We both know that if I had gone along with your wishes in the beginning to do it on your Facebook page, (to “promote your platform” as if you had one) the entire existence of that exchange would have been erased by you. 
            You and I are a lot alike little brother. Left to myself, I’m just as arrogant and self important as you are. That’s why you don’t see me out there all that much. I was doing this before you were born and by God’s wisdom and mercy, I’ve learned my lesson. 

            Like I said before. Yours is coming. The Lord our God will not share His glory with another.

  4. Hi Greg,
    Nice to meet you. I’m a Classicist and I’d be delighted to have a conversation. I’d prefer a live format, if that’s alright with you. When is a good time?

    • Listen friend, i don’t know you at all and I mean no offense by this.

      I am not looking for fights in general and I have nothing to personally prove to anybody.

      I took time out of a very busy life to take this up because I have a specific purpose with Cody and his crew.

      I’ll respectfully pass thank you.

      • I’m not meaning to be bombastic. I simply asked for a conversation. Do you not think your perspective can stand the scrutiny?

  5. The following is my response to Jacob Brunton from here:
    https://www.facebook.com/YourVeryGoodFriendCodyLibolt/posts/10157540668513823?comment_id=10157545837778823

    I said I would meet you halfway and I am. I have read the article you linked me to here:
    https://christianintellectual.com/immovable-mover/
    =======================================================
    Imagine we are on a transatlantic flight from New York to London in a Boeing 737 with 3+3+3 seating layout. I am an unbeliever in the window seat, Cody is sleeping in the middle seat next to me (he can join us when he wakes up. I’ll want my pillow back too 🙂 ) and you have the aisle seat. (or whatever)

    I was reading a copy of The Harvard Business Review on my phone and you politely introduced yourself as Jacob and I returned the cordiality. We have been engaging in small talk and you are looking for an opportunity to send me your article –

    “The Immovable Mover — An Argument for the Egoist God ”

    You take it from there please. How would you witness to me using your article?

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