Building on a Sure Foundation
René Descartes intentionally doubted everything he could possibly doubt until he reached the point where he realized there was one thing he couldn’t doubt. He could not doubt that he was doubting. To doubt that he was doubting was to prove that he was doubting. No doubt about it.
From that premise of indubitable doubt, Descartes appealed to the formal certainty yielded by the laws of immediate inference. Using impeccable deduction, he concluded that to be doubting required that he be thinking, since thought is a necessary condition for doubting. From there it was a short step to his famous axiom, “I think; therefore I am.” At last Descartes arrived at certainty, the assurance of his own personal existence.
The lesson we learn from Descartes is this: When assailed by doubt, it is time to search diligently for first principles that are certain. We build upon the foundation of what is sure. This affects the whole structure of apologetics. It is a matter of order.
Coram Deo: Reflect on what Paul calls the foundational principles of Hebrews 6:1-3. Do you have a good basic understanding of these principles?
1 Corinthians 3:10-11: “According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
1 Timothy 6:18-19: “Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”
2 Timothy 2:19: “Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are His’ and, ‘Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.’”