Divine self-testimony and the knowledge of God

International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 74 (3):279-295 (2013)
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Abstract

A proof is offered that aims to show that there can be no knowledge of God, excluding knowledge based on natural theology, without divine self-testimony. Both special and general revelation, if they occur, would be forms of divine self-testimony. It is argued that this indicates that the best way to model such knowledge of God is on the basis of an analogy with knowledge gained through testimony, rather than perceptual models of knowledge, such as the prominent model defended by Plantinga. Appropriate causal chains and reliable cognitive processes only seem at best to ensure that a belief proposed for acceptance is the belief the testifier wants accepted; they do not ensure that it is rational to accept the belief. This particularly applies where there is much at stake, where it seems rational to seek some form of evidence, if available. Some brief comments are made on Trinitarian self-testimony. Another model of the ‘inner witness’ is briefly sketched out, based on the analogy with conscience. This model may capture some of the features of Plantinga’s approach, but leaves room for a free rejection of divine self-testimony, in a way that the perceptual analogy does not. A point connected to Plantinga’s aims is then made about the link between evidence, value and divine self-testimony, in relation to religious experience. Finally, it is suggested that the earlier proof may apply in a particular sense to all knowledge of God, including that based on natural theology

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Citations of this work

Hiddenness of God.Daniel Howard-Snyder & Adam Green - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Divine hiddenness and the opiate of the people.Travis Dumsday - 2014 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 76 (2):193-207.
Divine hiddenness and the one sheep.Travis Dumsday - 2016 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 79 (1):69-86.

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References found in this work

Testimony: a philosophical study.C. A. J. Coady - 1992 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Warranted Christian Belief.Alvin Plantinga - 2000 - New York, US: Oxford University Press USA.
Warranted Christian Belief.Alvin Plantinga - 2000 - Philosophia Christi 3 (2):327-328.
Testimony: A Philosophical Study.C. A. J. Coady - 1992 - Philosophy 68 (265):413-415.

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