“The beginning of the system proper is, in other words, the exposition of the two principia. Scripture and God, as identified, but not fully defined or exposited, in the prolegomena. The question that arises immediately upon the identification of the two principia of foundations: should the system proceed from its ontic to its noetic foundation, or should it proceed from its noetic to its ontic principium? The noetic or cognitive foundation depends for its existence upon the existence and activity of the ontic, or essential foundation: there could be no Word of God without God. But the essential foundation could not be known if it were not for the cognitive foundation: there could be no knowledge of God without God’s self-revelation….[T]he Protestant orthodox almost invariably adopted the noetic or epistemological pattern and moved from Scripture, the principium cognoscendi, to God, the principium essendi.”
Richard A. Muller, “Holy Scripture: The Cognitive Foundation of Theology,” Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993), 150.