Presuppositions, then, are the assumptions we make in order to be able to hold some fact to be true. We cannot go on indefinitely saying, “I know this is true because…” In the end we must come to that which we accept as the final authority. By definition a final authority cannot be proven as an authority on the basis of some higher authority. The highest authority must be self-attesting. Only God is such an authority.
The presuppositions we must make in doing biblical theology are those of Christian theism. The alternative to this is to accept the presuppositions of some form of humanism. Either we work on the basis of a sovereign, self-proving God who speaks to us by a word that we accept as true simply because it is his word, or we work on the basis that man is the final judge of all truth. The Christian position, to be consistent, accepts that the Bible is God’s Word, and that it says what God wants it to say in exactly the way he wants to say it.
Thus, when the biblical theologian sets out to describe the theology that is in the Bible, he must understand the presuppositions that he accepts as the basis of his method. Many of the bible theologies that have been written over the past hundred years have been shaped by the presuppositions of humanism. In such cases the Bible is not allowed to speak for itself, but is subjected to a continuous assessment on the basis of human reason, which is seen as quite independent of God.
The presupposition of an independent and self-sufficient human reason has resulted in the writing of biblical theologies that tend to be descriptions of the supposed development of religious ideas among the biblical people. Such descriptions are complicated by the refusal to accept the Bible’s own testimony of the history of Israelite faith. When evolutionary philosophy was popular it was applied to the biblical documents to test their historical accuracy. The assumption was that religious ideas undergo a natural development from simpler to more complex forms. The possibility was excluded that the God of the Bible actually exists and reveals himself in the way the Bible depicts. Man is in control of the whole process of knowledge-gaining and God is only a religious idea that many people hold in varying forms.
I need help in understanding this section. I am okay with it until the third paragraph. My question is this: what are some of the many “bible theologies written over the past hundred years” that have been shaped by the presuppositions of humanism? What are these “writing of biblical theologies that tend to be descriptions of the supposed development of religious ideas among the biblical people”, that are “complicated by the refusal to accept the Bible’s own testimony of the history of Israelite faith”?
I would like to know because if it has been around for the past hundred years, it would have been instrumental in shaping my thoughts, and I would need to know in order to correct my understanding to a biblical theology that will take on a Christian theism and not humanism.