Wednesday, July 5, 2006


“In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Col.2:3)

They are like noses; we all have them. Presuppositions, I mean. But some (again, like noses) are easier to spot than others. The Oxford English Dictionary defines them as being “suppositions antecedent to [preceding] knowledge.” For a more enlightening and, for our purposes, more precise, definition, however, I offer my older son’s:

What are presuppositions? They are beliefs that stand behind all that we know. Presuppositions are beliefs that can’t be “proved” in that sense that “proof” is used today. But they are beliefs in terms of which we judge other beliefs; they are our final authority. They contest all things, but they themselves are incontestable…The thing that you never question, back of everything else, is your actual presupposition. [1]

It should be obvious to any thinking person that we all come equipped with presuppositions, but I had a Biology teacher insist that he came to his acceptance of evolution completely unbiased—with no preconceived ideas. Yet, after he had given numerous suggestions as to the origin of life, and I suggested God, he insisted, vehemently and illogically, “Anything but God!” If this is not a bias, I don’t know what is.

Actually, I think this goes beyond bias to presupposition. And I think there is a difference. By this I mean a bias is a seed thought that, because of external pressure, leans in one direction as it grows. This can sometimes be remedied with time. A presupposition, on the other hand, is the ground in which the seed has been planted, and, in this case, a transplant is the only remedy. Not just a change of mind, but a whole new mind, is required.

Speaking of the unregenerate man, David says, “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek God: God is not in all his thoughts” (Psl. 10:4). God is never one of his multiple choice answers to any of the questions of life. I am not saying that a lost man or woman is unintelligent or incapable of understanding the workings of God’s creation, or even His ethical standards. I am only saying that “through the pride of [their] countenance,” they assume that their own reasoning or experience was the source of this knowledge. This is their presupposition (or should I say “pre-superstition”).

For the child of God, however, Paul’s affirmation in Colossians 2:2-3 is the basis for everything that can or will be known. The mind of God, Divinely incarnate in His Son, and Divinely inspired within His Word, is the fountain head of all knowledge. This is our presupposition. And, I repeat, to go from theirs to ours requires more than just a change of mind. Apologetics may serve to change someone’s mind, and that is a good thing. But it is not enough. A change of presupposition is required, and that takes regeneration—God’s mind in place of ours.

When you thank God today for the new heart and the new life He gave you (You will, won’t you?), don’t forget to thank Him for your new mind, as well. Don’t ever take it for granted, because…you only presuppose God because He presupposed you.

[1] Sandlin, Andrew: from an explanation and critique of the philosopher, David Hume.

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