1. a branch of philosophy that investigates the origin, nature, methods, and limits of human knowledge. In other words, what is our understanding of how we can actually know something?
This past Sunday, Lynn preached from 2 Peter 1:12-21 where Peter gives us a Christian epistemology; or how a Christian knows what a Christian knows.
Peter started with the fact that he was an eyewitness of Christ’s majesty (1:16). The secular humanist, the naturalist, the materialist, as well as the Christian would agree that we can know something if we see it. If you come to Sunday School this Sunday and read the beginning of Nancy Pearcy’s Finding Truth, you’ll be encouraged to hear to what lengths God has gone to give visible evidence of his presence and power.
Next Peter says that he “heard” a voice from heaven saying, “this is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” While hearing is another ‘sense’ like seeing, What we see (taste, touch, hear, smell) is not all there is. This was a supernatural voice from heaven! Christians believe in the material world as well as a supernatural world (God, angels, demons, heaven and hell) and God has acted in such a way that we can know this.
The highest peak of Peter’s epistemology is when he said that we have something more sure- more sure than what we see or feel: the word given to us through the Bible. This is an amazing claim coming from a man who had so many close and personal interactions with Beloved Son. Peter assures us that we, too, have all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, even though we never physically saw Jesus while he was on the earth or heard a voice from heaven speak audibly.
The Christian accepts that the highest way for someone to know something is for God to reveal it to his people.
The Christian never denies the natural world, nor ignore their senses or their ability to reason. But a true follower of Christ would keep as their highest point of knowing anything to be the revealed word of God.
Questions for application:
How do you determine what you know to be true? Is it only what you see or hear? Is it how you feel?
Do you “develop” your own personal sense of truth- based on your environment or experiences? Or, like Peter, do you look to what is more sure – the living and active word of God?