It is just as important to have a Christian theory of knowledge as it is to have a Christian theory of being. One cannot well have the one without at the same time also having the other. Modern thought is largely preoccupied with the theory of knowledge. As Christians we shall therefore find it necessary to set the Christian theory of knowledge over against the modern form of the non-Christian theory of knowledge. Even so we shall have to make it plain that our theory of knowledge is what it is because our theory of being is what it is. As Christians we cannot ask how we know without at the same time asking what we know.
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If the being of God is what, on the basis of Scripture testimony, we have found it to be, it follows that our knowledge will be true knowledge only to the extent that it corresponds to his knowledge. To say that we do not need to ask about the nature of reality when we ask about the nature of knowledge is not to be neutral but is in effect to exclude the Christian answer to the question of knowledge.
That Singer [a University of PA philosophy prof.] has in effect excluded from the outset the Christian answer to the question of knowledge appears from the fact that in his search for an answer to this question he affirms that we must go to as many as possible of those reputed to have knowledge (p. 5). The notion of going to One whose opinion may be more valuable than the opinion of others is not even considered. In paradise, Eve went to as many as possible of those who were reputed to have knowledge. God and Satan both had a reputation for knowledge. Apparently God did not think well of Satan’s knowledge and Satan did not think well of God’s knowledge, but each thought well of his own knowledge. So Eve had to weigh these reputations. It was for her a question as to, How do we know?
The problem that Eve faced was a difficult one. God told her that she would surely die if she ate of the forbidden tree. Numerically there was only one in favor of one and only one in favor of the opposite point of view. Thus she could not settle this matter of reputation by numbers. She herself had to decide this matter of reputation by a motion and a vote. God claimed that he was the Creator. He claimed that his being was ultimate while Satan’s being was created and therefore dependent on God’s being. Satan said in effect that she should pay no attention to this problem of being. He told her that she should decide the question, How do we know? without asking the questions, What do we know? He said she should be neutral with respect to his interpretation and God’s interpretation of what would take place if she ate of the forbidden tree. Eve did ignore the question of being in answering the question of knowledge. She said she would gather the opinions of as many as she could find with a reputation for having knowledge and then give the various view presented a fair hearing.
We should observe that in doing what she did Eve did not really avoid the question of What do we know? She gave by implication a very definite answer to that question. She made a negation with respect to God’s being. She denied God’s being as ultimate being. She affirmed therewith in effect that all being is essentially on one level?
At the same time she also gave a very definite answer to the question How do we know? She said we know independently of God. She said that God’s authority was to be tested by herself. Thus she came to take the place of ultimate authority. She was no doubt going to test God’s authority by experience and reflection upon experience. Yet it would be she, herself, who should be the final authority.
Van Til, Defense of the Faith, 4th ed, 55-58.