The Bible As Truth -- By: Gordon H. Clark

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 114:454 (Apr 1957)
Article: The Bible As Truth
Author: Gordon H. Clark


The Bible As Truth

Gordon H. Clark

[Gordon H. Clark is Professor of Philosophy and Head of the Department at Butler University, Indianapolis, Indiana. His most recent book is A Christian View of Men and Things.]

In a game of chess a player can become so engrossed in a complicated situation that, after examining several possibilities and projecting each one as far ahead as he is able, he finally sees a brilliant combination by which he may possibly win a pawn in five moves, only to discover that it would lose his queen. So, too, when theological investigations have been pursued through considerable time and in great detail, it is possible to overlook the obvious. In the present state of the discussions on revelation, it is my opinion that what needs most to be said is something obvious and elementary. This paper, therefore, is a defense of the simple thesis that the Bible is true.

This thesis, however, does not derive its main motivation from any attack on the historicity of the Biblical narratives. The destructive criticism of the nineteenth century still has wide influence, but it has received a mortal wound at the hand of twentieth-century archeology. A new form of unbelief, though it maybe forced to accept the Bible as an exceptionally accurate account of ancient events, now denies on philosophical grounds that it is or could be a verbal revelation from God. So persuasive are the new arguments, not only supported by impressive reasoning but even making appeals to Scriptural principles which every orthodox believer would admit, that professedly conservative theologians have accepted more or less and have thus betrayed or vitiated the thesis that the Bible is true.

The Thesis of Biblical Epistemology

Because the discussion is philosophical rather than archeological, and hence could be pursued to interminable lengths, some limits and some omissions must be accepted. Theories of truth are notoriously intricate, and yet to avoid considering the nature of truth altogether is impossible if we wish to know our meaning when we say that the Bible is true. For a start, let it be said that the truth of statements in the Bible is the same type of truth as is claimed for ordinary statements, such as: Columbus discovered America, two plus two are four, and a falling body accelerates at thirty two feet per second. So far as the meaning of truth is concerned, the statement “Christ died for our sins” is on the same level as any ordinary, everyday assertion that happens to be true. These are examples, of course, and do not constitute a definition of truth. But embedded in the examples is the assumption that truth is a characteristic of propositions only. Nothing can be called...

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