Dr. Craig's Inner Witness of the Holy Spirit.

Let me add to what Michael Martin wrote on “Craig’s Holy Spirit Epistemology,” Here.

Dr. William Lane Craig argues that Christians should start with faith in the Christian God. Why? “We know Christianity to be true by the self authenticating witness of God’s Holy Spirit.” What does he mean by that? “I mean that the witness, or testimony, of the Holy Spirit is its own proof; it is unmistakable; it does not need other proofs to back it up; it is self-evident and attests to its own truth.” Hitchhiking on the philosophical work of Alvin Plantinga’s defense of the a properly basic belief in God, and citing the Bible (Gal. 3:26; 4:6; Rom. 8:15-16; I John 2:20, 26-27; 3:24; 5:7-10), Craig writes: “I would agree that belief in the God of the Bible is a properly basic belief, and emphasize that it is the ministry of the Holy Spirit that supplies the circumstance for its proper basically. And because this belief is from God, it is not merely rational, but definitely true.” [Apologetics, (pp. 18-22)].

Does Dr. Craig mean to say that he cannot be wrong? I think so. He knows Christianity is true. With this understanding he has insulated himself from any and all objections to the contrary. Dr. Craig knows he’s right because he knows he’s right, and that’s the end of the matter. Since he knows he’s right, Christianity is true.

But consider first the content to this inner self-authenticating witness. Does his inner witness of the Holy Spirit lead him to believe that all of the traditional Christian doctrines are true, as he understands them? Does this entail he has the correct understanding of things like God’s foreknowledge, predestination, eschatology, and Calvinism? Are his specific views on the Deity of Christ, baptism, the atonement, the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the grave, and his second coming all the correct ones? What is the particular content of this self-authentication from the Spirit? There must be some content to the witness of the Spirit that gives him assurance he’s right, and where does he learn this content? At what point does it stop and he’s left on his own to work things out from reading the Bible? Furthermore, does this inner witness tell him that his views on the self-authenticating testimony of the Holy Spirit are true?

So what is the actual content of this God experience? Where did this content come from, and how coherent is this content? That’s what I want to know, and I believe Craig will have no real satisfying answer to these questions, at least not to third person outsiders like myself.

And what about the coherence of the inner witness of the Holy Spirit of the things he has led Bill Craig to believe? An eternally uncreated Triune being (3 in 1?) who has always existed as he is (with no growth, for he was always perfect), with all power (but doesn't use it like we would if we saw a burning child), all knowledge (since he never learned anything), and who is present everywhere (a non-embodied being?) is just is too complex of an entity to believe in. And in the New Testament (which surely forms the content of this witness, and not the witness of the Spirit itself) we find an Incarnate Son of God who atoned for our sins (even though no one has yet made any reasonable sense of either an incarnate God or how his death atoned for our sins). Those who disbelieve go to hell (however conceived), making the problem of evil for a good omnipotent God impossible to solve (even though without a belief in hell it's insoluble anyway).

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