CA5 – What the Bible presupposes as facts
© Jeff Stacey | Last updated: 11 May 2020
In the Bible the existence of God is simply assumed to be fact Genesis 1:1. So also are actions by Him in a whole unseen spiritual realm. For example, the Bible contains accounts of miracles that it presents as genuinely historical. People also had “divine encounters” and often received specific messages from God. Many of these messages are even recorded as words actually spoken by God.1
When trying to understand the Bible, these kinds of presuppositions have to be respected. Yet they may differ from common experience and thinking, or from our own ideas. But their necessary acceptance is stated explicitly and even forcefully throughout the Bible itself Hebrews 11:6. Similarly, the OT Book of Proverbs is based on the assumption of having deep respect for God: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 2:2,5, 3:7, 10:27, 14:27, 23:17. Indeed those who are committed to belief in God (in biblical terms) are contrasted with those who are not, as complete opposites: wise vs foolish Proverbs 1:7, righteous vs wicked Psalm 1:1-2,3-4,5-6, understanding vs ignorant 1Corinthians 2:12,13,14.
This kind of absolutism is characteristic of the Bible. It relies upon the concept of truth. Jesus repeatedly began His teachings with “I tell you the truth…” (30 times in Matthew’s Gospel, 13 in Mark, 10 in Luke and 25 in John). He stressed its central importance for all people John 14:6, 3:21, 4:24, 8:31-32, 16:13, 17:17. By definition, truth cannot be other than absolute. The Bible assumes that truth is an expression of God’s perfection.
Obviously this all poses great challenges to anyone’s personal presuppositions about God, life and reality. We may even be unaware of our own presuppositions until the Bible challenges them!
1. See [OTB7(c)]. The Bible often refers to “The Word of God”, as a summarising term for what has been recorded in the Bible, for example Isaiah 40:8, 1Thessalonians 2:13. (Return to reading).