(From Norman Geisler’s “Big Book on Apologetics)
Realism is the view that there is a reality external to our minds that we can know. This view is opposed by skepticism, agnosticism, and solipsism. Christian realists believe that there is an infinite Spirit (God) and a real, finite world comprised of both spirits (angels) and human beings. In contrast to dualists, realists believe that all finite beings are created and not eternal. Contrary to idealists (e.g., George Berkeley), they believe that there is a real, extra-mental, material world.
Realists also believe that there is a correspondence between thought and thing, between the mind and reality. For classical realists, such as Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, this correspondence is made possible by means of first principles of knowledge. Since Immanuel Kant, it has been customary to distinguish critical realism from classical realism. The former begins with the premise that we know the real world, and the latter senses an obligation to prove we do. To state it differently, the post-Kantian realist sees a need to address Kant’s agnosticism, since the Kantians do not believe we can know reality.
Knowledge of Reality. What is at question is whether our thoughts correspond to the real world. Or, more basically, whether the principles by which we know are adapted to reality. Without such principles of knowledge, classical realists believe that our knowledge of the real world is impossible. Aristotle and Aquinas, for example, held that there are undeniable first principles by which the real world can be known.
Classical realists believe first principles are self-evident. That is, once the terms are known, it is clear to a rational mind that they are true. For example, once we know what wife means, it is self-evident that “all wives are married women.” However, for classical realists such as Aquinas, self-evident does not necessarily mean a priori or independent of experience. For the realists, first principles are known because the mind knows reality. In fact, these epistemological principles have an ontological basis in reality.
Without such valid principles of knowing reality, it is impossible to really know. There must be a relationship between thought and thing, between the principles of knowledge and the object of knowledge. But what is it, and how it can be established? This is the critical problem for a critical realist. Hence, realists reject both skepticism and agnosticism.
Always keep Jesus in your heart and on your mind.
God is testing us every day and has given us the right to make our own choices. Do you know which ones are the right choices in Gods mind?
Fear God, love God, honor God, and trust God with all your heart, mind and soul and you will receive and experience the joy of the promises of God’s blessings in His time.
Prayer: Father in heaven, I praise You for Your Son and the Holy Spirit. I praise You for giving Your wisdom to Norman Geisler to write his article ”Realism.” Please bless those who have read this article for they too are seeking Your righteous truth and understanding.
May God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and Christianity be our guiding lights for eternity. Let it be Your will Lord not mine. Please come Lord Jesus.
I pray in Jesus sweet name and to His glory through the power of the Holy Spirit,