Pure Reason and Mystical knowledge in Christianity


By Fadi Abu-Deeb

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Introduction

It is claimed sometimes that Christianity can find a strong support from reason.  But reason, in the pure sense of the term, faces big problems.  And the question that emerges immediately is:  Can the reason be impure whilst the rationalistic approach is still valid?  On the other hand, if the reason cannot be sufficient for knowledge in general, and the knowledge of God in particular, what is the other way or method that gives validity to the spiritual knowledge and experience?

This research paper will discuss the meaning of reason and its direct link with formal logic.  It also goes briefly through the two big systems of knowledge:  The Coherence Theory of Truth, and The Correspondence Theory of Truth.  Unexpectedly, it will be shown how the reason and logic are so much linked to language.  Can the reason be valid as big support of any metaphysical certainty?  This will be answered in this paper.  On the other hand, it will appear obviously that the mystical element is always present in the process of knowing.  The mystical knowledge and approach will be the counterpart of reason of pure reason throughout this discussion.

 

Pure reason

What is reason?

Reason is the faculty that processes the data that comes through perception, logically and by using judgment, and it a test of coherence between the coming data and the conclusions.  Reason is also “the capacity for consciously making sense of things, applying logic, establishing and verifying facts, and changing or justifying practices, institutions, and beliefs based on new or existing information.”[1]  And in Merriam-Webster online dictionary it is defined as “the power of the mind to think and understand in a logical way.”[2]  From this it follows that this faculty relies basically on observation.  That does not mean that it is dependent totally on the senses, but it takes some observations from the realm of senses and apply it on the metaphysical realm.  For example, it is noticed in the empirical world that every effect has a cause, so it is inferred immediately that this works also for the metaphysical realm.

Moreover, reason is attached to logic.  K. R. Samples explains that “understanding the laws of logic and basic rules of argumentation greatly enhances a person’s thinking skills and thus promotes a more rational view of the world and life.”[3]  He continues to quote Aristotle in calling logic a “tool”, which is, according to Samples, “helps order thinking so a person can arrive at truthful, rational conclusion.”[4]  Reason usually functions. In the field of theory and philosophy, through two different theories of truth:  The Coherence Theory of Truth and The Correspondence Theory of Truth.

The Coherence Theory of Truth

                One of the basic rationalistic systems that validate- according to its adherents- reason as a path for attaining objective truths is The Coherence Theory of Truth.  It stands contrary to The Correspondence Theory of Truth.  The first states that all the truth-claims in it must be coherent and not contradicted.   According to Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “A coherence theory of truth states that the truth of any (true) proposition consists in its coherence with some specified set of propositions.”[5]  The second is about attaining correspondence between a name or a truth-claim and an object in the real world.  When it is taken from a Romanticistic idealistic critical perspective, it appears that the Coherence Theory of truth can be built on unreal ground (as a coherent fairytale for example).  Alison Stone clarifies this attitude:

[T]he Romantics deny that we can ascend to certain knowledge through a process of systematically correcting our errors. Although we endlessly strive to integrate our beliefs, these can never be definitively systematized due to our constant acquisition of new beliefs, which impact upon the entire fabric. For example, in Novalis’s version of this anti-foundationalist position, we cannot cease striving to know being, but this striving generates endless new finite judgments, each of which must be integrated into our existing body of judgments.[6]

 

            Therefore, it is like if the whole system is affected when a new question emerges.  Should the new answer fit in the system, or should the whole system be adjusted so that a question might be answered properly.  In both cases, truth can change with time.  It is like if a theologian wants to solve the problem of a biblical text on the basis of another idea in the system that says that the Bible cannot contradict itself.  But this latter idea is built on a particular kind of exegesis that interprets passages to fit the non-contradiction.  The Coherent Theory of Truth would be reduced to a system of circular reasoning.

The Correspondence Theory of Truth

            “The correspondence theory of truth is the view that truth is correspondence to a fact…the label is usually applied much more broadly to any view explicitly embracing the idea that truth consists in a relation to reality”.[7]  This theory would also fall short to attain an ultimate real knowledge, because it leads inevitably into skepticism about the external world, because the correspondence between the thought and the object in reality cannot be ascertained.[8]  For example, how can one find the link between “Socrates” and “Human being”?  What is the ultimate certain link that connects the name and the object?  It cannot be pure reason.

A Christian version of this theory is introduced by Cornelius Van Til.  For him there is no ultimate difference between a coherent and a correspondence theory of truth:

In a way it might be well for us to call our position the Coherence Theory of Truth because we claim to have true coherence. Whether we call our position a correspondence theory or whether we call it a coherence theory, we have in each case to distinguish it sharply from the theories that have historically gone by these names…For God coherence is the term that comes first. There was coherence in God’s plan before there was any space-time fact to which his knowledge might correspond, or which might correspond to his knowledge. On the other hand, when we think of human knowledge, correspondence is of primary importance. If there is to be true coherence in our knowledge there must be correspondence between our ideas of facts and God’s ideas of these facts. Or rather we should say that our ideas must correspond to God’s ideas.[9]

 

            But the problem here is not the assertion that each truth can be affirmed being founded on the ideas and truths in the mind of God Himself.  But still is that each truth known rationally to the human mind should pass through the channel of language, which makes it vulnerable, concerning the correspondence required between the word and reality, visible (physical or morale) or transcendent, and also because of the nature of language itself.  Because of that, Michael Dummett states that this theory can lead to an infinite regress, since every sentence needs to be verified as true by using it in another sentence which must be verified as true as well.[10]

Even a conclusion can be inferred logically but cannot be proven as representing the truth.  A syllogism can be logically put, but contains a premise which isn’t related to truth, for example the following syllogism is perhaps true but lacks correspondence to reality:  “All the pizzas in the universe are delicious”, “Mars is a part of the universe”, therefore “The pizza in Mars is delicious”.  Of course this conclusion is fallacious according to the test of correspondence with the natural world.  But it is rationally deduced, and the premises are not clearly fallacious, unless the term “universe” in the first premise is studied semantically.  But logically the deduction is true. 

But what about premises that contain words that claim to represent transcendent realities?  The rationalistic Christian thought says that every truth should correspondent with the mind of God, and it is founded on the eternal knowledge in the mind of God.  But the problem here is not to find the basis of truth, but on being certain of the existence of this truth, i.e. to be certain that this word is related to this truth or not.

Samples tries to affirm that Christianity can be compatible with this Correspondence Theory through claiming that it is compatible with some kind of scientific realism, because Cjristianity, he claims, believes that a time-space-matter universe is an authentic objective reality.[11]  But nevertheless, it is not obvious how this can support the Correspondence Theory, for a statement like “The dragon of strawberry flies around the Mount Everest every day at 6 p.m.” is a statement that supposedly happens in time-space-matter universe, without being proved by any evidence.

Logic is reduced to language

It is important, when speaking about reason and logic, to distinguish between many types of logic.  D. A. Carson introduces the distinction between four senses of logic               

…“logic” at the theoretical and symbolic level is a comprehensive term that refers to sets of axiomatic relationships, “an analysis and evaluation of the ways of using evidence to derive correct conclusions”;’ “logic” in common speech at a nontechnical level is a synonym for words such as “workable,.” “reasonable,” and the like-a logical plan may be a workable plan, an illogical step may be a rash step; “logic” sometimes means a formal presentation of an argument: for example, people engage in “logical argument,” whether or not there are fallacies in the steps they take; “logic” in common speech may refer to a set of propositions or even an outlook which may or may not be “logical” in the first sense. For example, we sometimes speak of “Western logic” or “Japanese logic” or “the logic of the marketplace” or “the logic of ecology.[12]

 

            It seems now that the sense of logic that is compatible with reason and reasonable arguments is the first and the third sense, i.e. those that correspondent to using evidences to derive conclusions, and the formal presentation of an argument without falling in fallacies, for the other two senses, related to workability or the common sense have a very loose relation to reason, because they may be led by intuition or even self-delusion or underestimation.

But when it comes to Christianity, even the two senses that are related to reasoning prove fatal in bringing any kind of certainty to basic Christian doctrines, such as trinity or incarnation for example.  So it seems that Christianity cannot rely on pure reason for certainty, especially in the important matters that constitute the core of the divine knowledge, because reason needs language.  More than that, it is dependent basically on it, and until now it seems that there is no clear link that connects tightly semantics and reality. Thus, a different kind of knowledge should be introduced into the scene.

Even in a consideration of a very famous premise in the traditional syllogism of Socrates will die because he is human, since all the human beings are mortal, reason will prove disable to give certainty.  How can a person be certain that Socrates is a human being (or a man).  Is it through rationally deliberate process of knowledge, or through intuition or tacit knowledge?  If it is the first choice then one must give an exhaustive account about the psychological, biological and experiential characteristics of Socrates before conceding that he is a man.  But obviously this is not the case.

Another example is that reason through logic, and perhaps mathematics, says that the universe is finite spatially as it is created.  But what might be true in equations and reasoning cannot be even imagined without contradiction and a violation of reason.  If the universe ends in a certain point or extent, a wall metaphorically, then what is behind this wall?  Any kind of speech will not be able to offer any image or concept apart from a “place”, which will also be a “universe” or a “space”.  So reason cannot be taken apart from imagination that might contradict reality.

George Berkeley finds that it is evident that language plays a vast and vital role in inventing terms for things that do not really exist.  He asserts that the reason of thinking that “Matter”, and other abstract ideas, exists as inert substance outside of any perceiving mind is language, and reason that employs it.[13]  He declares that “it is a clear consequence that if there had been no such things as speech or universal signs there never had been any thought of abstraction.”[14]  In other words, Berkeley leads to the conclusion that many objects exist, just as linguistic phenomena, without any evidence of its real existence.

To get rid of the deception and misguidance of language, Berkeley goes far in asserting that any object does not exist at all outside a perceiving mind.  He, Therefore, denies that things “can subsist without the minds which perceive them, or that they are resemblances of any archetypes existing without them.”[15]  As a result, real things are just those “ideas imprinted on the senses.”[16]  That means, that a person would know anything because God or the Supreme Spirit imprints the knowledge on the senses, not because any inert substance or essence.  This is precisely the “mystical” element that links the object to its meaning.  For Berkeley, any other way of granting the existence of unthinking inert substances is a gate to skepticism.  He justifies this by demonstrating that the claim that unthinking objects can subsist without the mind means that they are not ideas imprinted on the senses by a Supreme Soul

So long as men thought that real things subsisted without the mind, and that their knowledge was only so far forth real as it was conformable to real things, it follows they could not be certain they had any real knowledge at all. For how can it be known that the things which are perceived are conformable to those which are not perceived, or exist without the mind?[17] 

 

 This leads to the uncertainty concerning how the substance is linked to its meaning, and as a result to understanding.  Here it becomes evident that the person who perceives needs a “mystical” element, or the link between the subject and the object, and between the object and its very meaning or the semantic symbol or word that represents it (apart from inner independent qualities of a supposed substance or essence).  In Berkeley’s terms, this mystical element is the ideas imprinted by God on the senses.

Reason is replaced by intuition

As seen before, pure reason lacks, at least, the last ring of the chain, that is, the element that links the object with the idea or the word that expresses a concept or an idea- the link that gives the rational certainty that “Socrates is a man”.  Rene Descartes offers a very plain and clear example for the need for this element that lacks explanation.  For him they are clearness and distinction, hence he states explicitly that he uses the method of geometry to speak in certainty about Soul and God.

When the mind sees that the idea of triangle contains having-three-angles-equal-to-two-right-angles, it becomes convinced that any triangle does have three angles equalling two right angles. And the mind is arguing in the same way when, seeing that the idea of supremely perfect being contains existing-necessarily and-eternally, it concludes that a supreme being does exist necessarily and eternally.[18]

 

After all, pure reason allows, according to its own principles derived from modern observing methods and inductive approaches, to claim a kind of ability to interpret with certainty, to a certain extent at least, why it has arrived at this or that conclusion or maxim.  He says that he just accepts things that he can never doubt it at all:

 

[I will] never to accept anything as true, when I did not recognise it clearly to be so, that is to say, to carefully avoid precipitation and prejudice, and to include in my opinions nothing beyond that which should present itself so clearly and so distinctly to my mind that I might have no occasion to doubt it.[19]

 

            But is not it some kind of intuition?  He continues to declare that the laws observed in nature should also be considered valid and true in other spheres of the existent world:

I have always remained firm in my resolve to assume no other principle but that which I have just used to demonstrate the existence of God and of the soul, and to receive as true nothing which did not seem to me clearer and more certain than the demonstrations of the geometers had done before ; and yet I dare affirm that not only have I found within a short time the means of satisfying myself with regard to all the principal difficulties which are usually treated of in philosophy, but also that I have remarked certain laws which God has so established in nature, and of which he has implanted such notions in our souls, that after having duly reflected on them, we cannot doubt that they are exactly observed in all which is or which happens in the world.[20]

 

            These declarations from the method of Descartes are so important, because they demonstrate how the rationalistic method, which depends on reason, looks at reality as one unit in which all realms can be treated in the same way, using the same measurements.  But this very previous statement of Descartes indicates that observation is correlated with speculation.  Because how can one know that the laws of nature, which also have notions in the soul, should be applied everywhere?

            Another strange result of the Cartesian affirmation is that it ends up converting the “reason” into a mere intuition.  The true idea is that can be conceived as a simple unity, immediately, without employing the volitive faculty in mind.  Descartes explains the role of this “intuition” is discerning true from false:

I cannot conceive God except as existing— it follows that existence is inseparable from Him, and thus that He truly exists. Not that my thought could make that to be, or that it imposes any necessity on things; but, on the contrary, the necessity which is in the thing itself, that is to say, the necessity of the existence of God, causes me to have this thought, for I am not at liberty to conceive a God without existence, that is to say, a sovereignly perfect being without a sovereign perfection, as I am at liberty to imagine a horse with wings, or without them.[21]

 

            In other words, when a mental image or concept does not need to be perceived and then reasoned through volitive faculties of imagination, thereby it seems as constituted of parts which can be added or removed (a winged horse is an image, where the wings can be added or removed volitionally), then it is an image or a concept that expresses reality.  It is a sheer intuition!

            If the intuition is powerfully present in the rationalists like Descartes, and the link between the objects and the ideas is still missing, apart from a mystical notion as Berkeley’s, so the search and digging in mystical knowledge appear as a great necessity.

Mystical knowledge

Mystical knowledge is obtained differently from that which is obtained by reasoning and pure logical thinking, despite the fact that is not totally separated.  The form of thinking that leads to this mystical knowledge is radically “other”.  Imagination and introspection here are the main operating faculties.  It can be built upon certain given experiences or upon a mixture of fantastic thought and higher intellectual processes.  That does not mean that imagination is a generator of illusion, but it is the faculty of thinking not on the basis of pure logic or closed group of lingual tools.  Rather, it gives to itself a room for behaving freely from pre-determined dogmas- or certain explanations of dogmas- and certain presuppositions concerning the nature and limits of revelation.  Its validity in the religious world generally, and Christianity in particular, can be grounded on the fact that this kind of knowledge has led the church from the documented beginning of the church and has  a tremendous role in establishing, enlivening and enhancing the life and role of Christianity in many aspects.  One can notice that even the pure rationalist- if one exists- uses imagination to suppose things, as seen for instance in the Cartesian rationality.

            Boris Mouravieff explains the negative role of abandoning introspection as a primary source of knowledge in Western (rationalistic) civilization:

If we follow up this interior observation, this introspection, without prejudice, we will soon constate, not without surprise, that our I, of which we are so consistently proud, is not always the same self: the I changes. As this impression becomes more defined we begin to become more aware that it is not a single man who lives within us but several, each having his own tastes, his own aspirations, and each trying to attain his own ends. Suddenly we discover within us a whole world full of life and colours which until now we had almost entirely ignored…So we come to appreciate the value of introspection as a method of practical work which permits us to know ourselves and enter into ourselves. As we gradually progress, we become more clearly aware of the real situation in which we find ourselves.[22]

 

            Thus introspection, which is a pre-logic component of knowledge, and sometimes it is an alternative way, because it is the element that allows the person to realize the biases that might affect or control the reason.  The introspection is a primordial and indispensable stage of knowing the self.  It is a natural and axiomatic stage in the mystical knowledge.  Isaac the Assyrian, a seventh century theologian and monk, asserts the inevitability of this stage.  He prompts the Christian believer to enter to himself to find the way to heaven.  It is a kind of knowledge that should be obtained first:

Strive to enter the shrine within you and you will see the shrine of heaven, for the one is the same as the other, and a single entrance permits you to contemplate both. The ladder leading to that kingdom is hidden within you, that is, within your soul: cleanse yourself from sin and there you will find the steps by which to ascend.[23]

 

            The knowledge, then, which is obtained from this kind of spirituality, proves itself to its exerciser, who feels no need to explain it systematically to people who don’t get it by their own practice.    Mystical knowledge does not concern itself with the burden of proof, because it trusts that the person who does not reach the higher spheres of union with God through gnosis can never benefit from any kind of reasonable arguments or discussions.  This gnosis is something like the new birth.  No reason can prove it or explain it in logical or reasonable terms.

Connaturality and the ascension to gnosis

Supporting mystical knowledge, Thomas Aquinas introduces the concept of knowledge through connaturality, distinguishing it from the scientific knowledge that uses reason.  William Johnston explains this term in this way:  to “co-nature” with the object is to embody it in the self.[24]  Johnston adds that “knowledge through connaturality is of special importance when we come to speak about God.  For the one who loves knows God, the one who does not love does not know God.”[25]  This knowledge is a gift of the Holy Spirit according to Thomas Aquinas.[26]  This knowledge obtained from a substantial and prominent kind of experience “patiens divina”, which denotes the suffering of the mysteries of Christ in prayer.[27]

            Maximus the Confessor, an Eastern Orthodox theologian, affirms also the existence of three consecutive stages of knowledge or salvation.  It is obvious that none of these stages employs reason and logic in the rationalistic sense.  Maximus explains these three stages to attain knowledge, whereas the nous (mind) practices the virtues correctly, it advances in moral understanding. When it practices contemplation, it advances in spiritual knowledge. The first leads to discrimination between virtue and vice; the second leads to the inner qualities of incorporeal and corporeal things. Finally, the nous is granted the grace of theology when it is taken up into God and with the help of the Holy Spirit discerns the qualities of God.[28]

            This idea of gradual ascension to the knowledge is found also in the writings of one of the greatest spiritual teachers in Eastern Christianity, Isaac of Nineveh (the Syrian).  He also explains in similar terms about knowledge or gnosis.  According to him knowledge falls in three levels:  the natural knowledge which is related to visible things, the spiritual knowledge that cleaves to invisible beings, and then the highest level, which is the supernatural or divine (agnostic, according to an English translation) knowledge.  This third type of knowledge is revealed in the soul without matter, in a sudden work of grace, unexpectedly, without a cause and without meditation on it.[29]  The reason then may be used in the first and second level of knowledge which employ the senses and the intellect, to know things and to think about abstractions.  But when it comes to the agnostic knowledge of God, the reason ceases to be of a benefit.

            Back to the idea of connaturality, Novalis, a German poet and Philosopher, speaks about something similar when he puts the feeling as basic component in all experience

Novalis, believe that feeling (Gefühl), whereby things are given to us or sensed by us, forms a component in all experience.  Since everything that we feel has this character of being given, givenness constitutes a general character which pervades all of these felt things. This single, all-pervasive, character is the unitary being of these.[30]

 

            In other words, a person does not reason to know that a given object exists, because he/she feels its existence as given.  Perceiving the self as a self (self-consciousness) is included in such kind of feeling.  The subject-self feels the common ground that makes the object-self to be identified with it.  And since “this common element must precede the subject/object division, it must be the undifferentiated unity of being.”[31]  In a Christian context, it may be valid to say that this unitary being is God.  God, then, is felt, where it manifests itself primordially as the mystical element that bestows meaning and tacit understanding that gives language and perception their necessary connection with reality and truth.

 

Rationalists may abandon the feeling, on the basis that it lacks the certainty that leads to the flourishing of faith that affects the personal action on the personal and societal levels.  But as Mouravieff puts it, the transition from knowledge to action is something that related to being, not to the lack of rational base.[32]

Escaping the limitations and the traps of language

Language is a challenge that demonstrates itself in reasoning and in testing the coherence of a system by using basic laws of logic.  The law of non-contradiction, for instance, is one of the domains that lean heavily on language.  R. C. Sproul explains this law as follows:  “A cannot be A and non-A at the same time and in the same sense or relationship.”[33]  Although this is a true and basic law of life, but it is, from a practical perspective, linked to the use of language.  A man cannot be tall and not tall in the same time and in the same sense. He can be tall according to a certain standard (e.g. compared to his family or to the medical science statistics) and not tall according to another standard (e.g. as a basketball player).  This law of logic can be exposed to complicated situation for judging, when one of the statements is stated differently, yet it still implies a contradiction.   For example, instead of saying the man is not tall, it can be stated that the man is a one who is very suitable to be a good actor as one of the seven dwarfs in the movie “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”.  In this case, the two statements are not contradicted from the first look.  The second statement needs now a certain process of interpretation and verification to know if it is compatible with or contradictory to the statement that affirms that the man is tall.

But how can this case be managed when the statements speak about metaphysical realities?  A vast work of interpretation must be elaborated before any chance of decision can be reached.  And sometimes the result cannot be decisive and satisfying if the facts that are at stake are obscure and abstract.  Mouravieff quotes Talleyrand to declare that the language was given to the human being to conceal his thoughts.[34]  He asserts that “the perceptions of the higher intellectual centre are of a transcendent order, the messages of this plane of Consciousness cannot be expressed in human language.”[35]

In this plane of consciousness the language cannot be but an obstacle that obscures the understanding if its words are taken rationally, i.e. studied semantically through a maze of conflicted opinions.  Besides, the link that guarantees the transition from the reality to the utterance is still lost or falling short to express the apprehended truth that inspires the action or the intuition without being known rationally or expressively.  Mouravieff also states that the higher emotional center of a person is a state that needs a poetic language to convey spiritual truth or knowledge, full of images and metaphors, just like the language of the book of Revelation.[36]

All of these difficulties do not dismiss the reason as untrustworthy totally, but it refers to the fact that Christianity cannot be supported by reason, when it comes to the core issues.  K. R. Samples admits this limitation by stating that “pure rationalism and irrationalism…are incompatible with the Christian worldview.  Mystery always accompanies divinely revealed truth…”[37]

Conclusion

This research paper is an attempt to introduce a complementarian use of pure reason and mystical knowledge.  It engages in discussing the nature of reason and rationality, through their two big systems:  The Coherence Theory of Truth and The Correspondence Theory of Truth.  It also discusses some of the fatal shortcomings of logic, and the role of language and semantics problems concerning the relation between the meaning and the object.  In summary, it seems there is an obvious missing link, which cannot be explained through pure reason, between the object and the idea or the word.  In the end, Rene Descartes opens the gate, perhaps unintentionally, for the intuition and the mystical knowledge, when he stresses on the role of clearness and distinctness in mind, in identifying the reality and truth.

Mystical knowledge is the knowledge that cannot be explained through reasonable arguments.  It begins with the self to reach God. It usually relies on kind of mysterious association between the subject and the object, termed “connaturality”, whereby the subject identifies himself, somehow, with the object, through love and intimacy, to obtain an inexplicable knowledge of it.  The mystical knowledge yields to intuition and given-ness of things as valid, rather necessary, means of engaging in reality and truth.  It transcends language and the infinite regress that can be generated by reasonable methods of searching for truth and reality.

It is important for the church to find a formula to not underestimate the fatal shortcomings of pure reason, even when it is hidden under title or categories of doctrine.  The mystical knowledge is a part and parcel of any faith, especially when this faith stands upon a basis of personal relationship and love.

 

 

[1] “So We Need Something Else for Reason to Mean,”  International Journal of Philosophical Studies 8: 3, 271-295, quoted in Wikipedia.  “Reason.”  Accessed on 19 October, 2014.  Available on: <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reason&gt;

[2] Merriam- Webster Dictionary.  “Reason,”  Available on: < http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reason&gt;

 

[3] Kenneth Richard Samples, A World of Difference:  Putting Christian Truth-Claims to the Worldview Test, 41.

[4] Ibid., 47.

[5] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “Coherence Theory of Truth.”  First published 3 September, 1996; substantive revision 27 Mars, 2013; accessed on 2 November, 2014.  Available on:

< http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/truth-coherence/#Ver&gt;.

[6] Alison Stone, “Being, Knowledge, and Nature in Novalis,”  Journal of the history of philosophy 46:1, January 2008: 145.

[7] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “Correspondence Theory of Truth.”  First published 10 May, 2002; substantive revision 2 July, 2009; accessed on 26 October, 2014.  Available on:

< http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/truth-correspondence/#9.1&gt;.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Cornelius Van Til, A Survey of Christian Epistemology, 4-5.

[10] Michael Dummett, Frege: Philosophy of Language, 442-44.

[11] Samples, 271.

[12] D. A. Carson, Exegetical Fallacies, 92.

[13] George Berkeley, A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge, sec. 18, 11.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid., sec. 90, 47.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid., sec. 86, 45.

[18] Rene Descartes, Principles of Philosophy, 1: 14, 4.

[19] Rene Descartes, “The Discourse on Method,”   The discourse on method and metaphysical meditations, translated by Gertrude Burford Rawlings, 22.

[20] Ibid., 48.

[21] Rene Descartes, “Metaphysical Meditations,”   The discourse on method and metaphysical meditations, translated by Gertrude Burford Rawlings, 192.

[22] Boris Mouravieff, Gnosis: Study and Commentaries on the Esoteric Tradition of Eastern Orthodoxy- Book I: The Exoteric Cycle, Translated by S. A. Wissa, 4.

[23] Nikiphoros the Monk, “On Watchfulness and  the Guarding of the Heart.”  Philokalia, V4, 202.

[24] William Johnston, Mystical Theology:  The Science of Love, 50.

[25] Ibid., 52.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Maximus the Confessor, Four Hundred Chapters on Love,  2: 26. Philokalia, V2. 69.

[29] Two translation are used here:  Isaac of Nineveh, Mystic Treatises, translated by A. J. Wensinck , 253;

 اسحق السرياني، نسكيات، ترجمة اسحق عطا الله، 237.

 

[30] Stone, 144.

[31] Ibid., 146.

[32] Mouravieff,  18.

[33] R. C. Sproul, Defending Your Faith:  An Introduction to Apologetics, 31.

[34] Mouravieff, 163.

[35] Ibid., 180.

[36] Ibid.

[37] Samples, 267.

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