In his recent Inerrancy and the Gospels: A God-Centered Approach to the Challenges of Harmonization, Vern Poythress emphasizes the personalism of the biblical worldview. There’s a Trinitarian root to this point:
“Each person of the Trinity has his distinct personal perspective on knowledge. God the Father knows all things by being the Father, and in being the Father he knows the Son. The Son as Son knows the Father, and in doing so knows all things. Similarly, the Holy Spirit knows all things in connected with his distinctive role of searching ‘the depths of God.’”
Poythress draws this crucial conclusion:
“Personal perspectives are therefore inherent in knowledge at the deepest level, the divine level. By implication, personal, perspectival knowledge of truth among human beings belongs to the very character of truth; it is not a distortion of an original allegedly impersonal truth.” In particular, this point applies to the variations in the gospel accounts: The perspectives of the human writers “belong integrally to the account and must not be viewed as ‘imposed’ on originally impersonal facts” (p. 34).
In their insistence on the “objectivity” of truth, Christians have sometimes forgotten this. The view that there is an objective truth that is free of all personal perspective is inherently anti-Trinitarian. So is the notion that there is a single and simple perspective on truth; as Poythress says, there is always already, before human knowers know, a triple perspective on truth.
posted by Peter J. Leithart on Friday, October 12, 2012 at 4:34 pm
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