More on witches and ghosts from Herman Bavinck

Within an hour of yesterday’s post on Bavinck, I read something similar a few pages on:

One arrives at metaphysics, at a philosophy of religion, only if from another source one has gained the certainty that religion is not just an interesting phenomenon– comparable to belief in witches and ghosts– but truth, the truth that God exists, reveals himself, and is knowable.
(Reformed Dogmatics, p. 74)

In other words, if you don’t start with God there is not really any way to get to God.

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Bavinck lays it all out

Theology as a particular science assumes that God has unmistakably revealed himself; in other words, it assumes the existence, the self-revelation, and the knowability of God and therefore proceeds from a highly significant dogma. . . . If religion is not just a psychological and historical fact, like belief in ghosts or witches, for example, but rests on truth and has an absolute value, then a thinker who views and studies religion in that sense will always end up with God.
(Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics trans. John Vriend, vol. 1 p. 37-38)

One of my modest goals for the new year is to read through Herman Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics. I “budgeted” 6 days a week, which only requires I read 8-9 pages a day. In other words, it is a very attainable endeavor and you should consider doing it yourself. Anyway…

I am thoroughly enjoying the journey. This quote just made me shake my head and enthusiastically proclaim, “Yes!” Bavinck isn’t here addressing the dispute between evidentiary and presuppositional apologetics, but I think it works. In context he is speaking of the source and aim of dogmatics– whether it is the revelation of God, or the experience of faith. So I think some parallels can be drawn. I just see the whole evidentiary method rather pointless: especially from Reformed folk. If you believe God has sovereignly elected people to salvation, why wouldn’t you believe that God would use the confident proclamation of His word to convict that person? By trying to argue for the truth of God, Scripture etc., you really are just putting The Faith on the level of ghosts and witches.