We conclude, then, that the “objection” before us is unsound in all of its three forms.  Human language may convey the infallible word of God, because God is lord – even of human language! Yet, God also draws near in love and judgment to His creation. The Biblical theology of the immanence of God is expressed as what is called the hypostases: the union of Christ's human and divine nature. Transcendence is about the unknowability of God; it says God is other than all creatures and beyond our capacity to grasp. On the other hand, religious language is in some respects very “ordinary,” very similar to other language.  It is not a technical, academic language like that of physics or philosophy; it is the language of ordinary people.  It is not restricted to some limited and distinctive compartment of human life; rather it enters into all human activities and concerns.  We pray for the healing of a loved one, for help in a business crisis; we seek to “eat and drink to the glory of God.”18  I We believe that our faith “makes a difference” in the real world, that God can enter into all the affairs of our life and make his presence felt.  In this respect, the “action of God in history” is like the action of anyone in history.  God can change things, can make them different.  And what he does does not occur unless he chooses to do it.  God makes a difference, and in that sense he isverifiable – much as the existence of any person is verifiable (or so, at least, it appears to the simple believer! All rights to this material are reserved. ).  Few religious people would claim that their faith is a blind leap in the dark.  They have “reasons for faith.” These reasons may be the technical theistic arguments of the philosophers, or simply the childlike appeal to experience, “He lives within my heart.” One who really believes (as opposed to one who merely drifts along in a religious tradition) believes for a reason, because he thinks God has somehow made his presence felt, because God now makes a difference – to him! Flew, therefore, does not succeed in showing religious language to be “cognitively meaningless”; and therefore he fails to show that human language cannot speak of God.  But what of the third form of our objection? What of Karl Barth?  Should we simply leave him behind? 15 ‘Thomas McPherson, “Religion as the Inexpressible,” New Essays in Philosophical Theology, ed.  Antony Flew and Alasdair MacIntyre (London: SCM Press, 1955), pp. Theologically, it refers to God’s existence within the universe. Only Christianity affirms both, especially as we see in the incarnation. 23 Rom. 1: 19-21a; note the phrase gnontes ton theon, “knowing God.”. Someone may object that for many people their religion is not their most basic commitment.  A man may mumble through the church liturgy every Sunday while devoting his existence almost exclusively to acquiring political power.  For him, surely, the liturgy does not express his “basic commitment.” True; but that is because there is something wrong!  A man like this we call a hypocrite; for the liturgy is intended to express basic conviction and our fanatical politician utters the words deceitfully.  He does not really “believe in God, the father almighty” in the sense of biblical faith, though he says he does.  His real faith is in something else.  The man is a liar.  But his lying use of the language does not change the meaning of it, which is to confess true faith in God. Enemies of some theology! 3 One of the sharpest debates was over the status of the verification principle itself.  Surely it was not to be regarded as a tautology; but it did not seem to be “verifiable” either in any quasi-scientific sense.  Was it then to be dismissed as “cognitively meaningless”?  Ayer himself (see above note) came to the view that the verification principle was a “convention” (see his introduction to the anthology Logical Positivism [Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press, 19591 P. 15).  He maintained that this “convention” had some basis in ordinary usage, but admitted that it went beyond ordinary usage in crucial respects. – not of Otto’s theology, nor of Barth’s, nor of Buber’s (to which McPherson refers in a footnote), nor (I would judge) of the broad tradition of dialectical and existential theologies of the twentieth century.  In positivism and in these modern theologies, God belongs to the sphere of the unutterable, and human language (when “cognitively meaningful”) belongs to the sphere of the humanly verifiable. Let us then consider the Flew problem and the Barth problem as one. Hegel serves as the model of immanence within the nineteenth century. Both views claim Scriptural support.  Barth can appeal to the basic creator-creature relationship as presented in Scripture: man is a creature; his ultimate trust must rest solely in God.  To put ultimate confidence in something finite is idolatry.  Human words are finite.  Therefore to put ultimate confidence in Scripture is idolatry.  And in a fallen world, such confidence is all the more foolish; for human words are sinful as well as finite.  Sinful speech can never perfectly honor God.  The Gospel precisely requires us to disown any claim to perfection, to confess the inadequacy of all human works, to cast all our hope on the mercy of God.  How can we put ultimate trust in human words and in God’s mercy at the same time? A Transcendent God. This, then, is the second form of the objection which I stated at the beginning of the paper, the second way in which human language is said to be disqualified as a medium of divine speech.  Let us briefly examine the third form of the objection before presenting our response: 3.    The third form of our objection is more distinctively theological.  Karl Barth, for example, suggests on theological grounds that human language is unfit to convey truth about God: The pictures in which we view God, the thoughts in which we think Him, the words with which we can define Him, are in themselves unfitted to this object and thus inappropriate to express and affirm’ the knowledge of Him.11, The Bible, further is not itself and in itself God’s past revelation, but by becoming God’s Word it attests God’s past revelation and is God’s past revelation in the form of attestation…. (c) Nor is imprecision necessarily a fault.  “Pittsburgh is about 300 miles from Philadelphia” is imprecise in a sense, but it is a perfectly good sentence and is in no usual sense untrue.  An “infallible” book might contain many imprecise-but-true statements of this sort.  Granting, then, that there is a sense in which language never conveys the “whole truth,” we need not renounce on that account any element of the orthodox view of biblical authority. Barth’s argument essentially reverses this picture (derived from Scripture) of God’s transcendence and immanence.  To Barth, God’s transcendence implies that he cannot be clearly revealed to men, clearly represented by human words and concepts.  This view of God’s transcendence contradicts the view of God’s immanence which we presented.  Similarly, Barth has a view of God’s immanence which contradicts the view of transcendence which we presented.  To Barth, the immanence of God implies that words of merely human authority, words which are fallible, may from time to time “become” the word of God.  Thus the only authority we have, in the final analysis, is a fallible one.  The only “word of God” we have is a fallible human word.  God does not make authoritative demands which require unconditional belief; he does not determine the presuppositions of our thought; he does not resist all falsification – rather he endorses falsehood and sanctifies it. 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