Can We Know that Christianity is True? (Part 4)

In part 3 of this series we saw that generic theistic belief–general beliefs about God–can be warranted. The basic idea is that, if theism is true, God would have likely created within us a sensus divinitatis (a mechanism that produces beliefs about God). Beliefs produced in this way meet the conditions of warrant outlined in part 2. So then generic theistic belief can be warranted. The next question we want to tackle is whether full-blown Christian belief can be warranted, beliefs about sin, atonement, the resurrection, and so on.

Setting up the Account

Here’s how the story goes. According to Christianity, God is a rational being with intellect (beliefs and knowledge), affections (love and hate), and has the ability to form aims and intentions. We humans are created in God’s image; that is, we were created with these attributes in varying degrees. However unfortunate, we have fallen into sin and require redemption. The consequences of sin are tragic. Firstly, our affections toward God are warped–instead of loving God above all, we now love ourselves. Secondly, our sense of the divine (our sensus divinitatis) is broken and in need of repair [1].

Since we cannot overcome sin on our own, we are in need of a savior, someone to save us from the effects of sin. Fortunately, God sent a remedy into the world through His divine Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus came, in part, to restore and repair the broken image of God in us.

Now, God could have conveyed this message of salvation a million different ways but this is how He did it according to the Christian story. First, He supervised and divinely inspired the collection of writings we call the Bible. Second, He sent us the Holy Spirit. Third, through the inner witness of the Holy Spirit, we come to see that the central Christian claims are true.

More on Sin

A common question that arises in this context is how sin originated. Was it through Adam (Original Sin) or is it some sort of disposition inherent in human nature? This question, while interesting, is not relevant. All that is relevant for our purposes is that we are currently in such a predicament. One need only look to the twentieth century for a confirmation of how sinful we as a species really are. Instead of seeking first the Kingdom of God, we seek first the Kingdom of Me, Myself, and I.

Warranted Christian Belief

Recalling the Christian story outlined above, we see that God has communicated His message to us by a 3-step process. First, he supervised and inspired the Bible, a collection of books or writings that has both a human and divine author. The second element in the process is the action of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit restores or repairs the damages of sin (both affectual and intellectual). It is by the work of the Holy Spirit that Christians come to believe in the great truths of the Gospel.

The third element is the production of faith. On this account, faith is principally the work of the Holy Spirit; it is a supernatural gift from God. Beliefs about the truth of Christianity, therefore, are not brought about by way of any natural process. They involve the work of the Holy Spirit.

Given this model, Christian belief will meet the conditions of warrant: they are produced by a belief producing process that is functioning properly in an appropriate environment according to a design plan successfully aimed at the production of true beliefs.

In summary, Christian belief can be warranted and likely is warranted if Christianity is true.

Part 1 – – Part 2 – – Part 3 – – Part 4

[1] On this account, the “condition of sin involves damage to the sensus divinitatis, but not obliteration; it remains partially functional in most of us.”

About the Featured Image

Taken somewhere in Israel on a recent journey. Just outside of the frame is a life-size replica of Moses’ tabernacle (to be shown later). It was also claimed that the Israelites would have camped in this very area on their way to Jerusalem. Pretty cool stuff.


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