Archive for the ‘Cornelius Van Til’ Category

Anyone who says, ‘I believe in God,’ is formally correct in his statement, but the question is what does he mean by the word God?

October 7, 2009

Anyone who says, ‘I believe in God,’ is formally correct in his statement, but the question is what does he mean by the word God? The traditional view assumes that the natural man has a certain measure of correct thought content when he uses the word God. In reality the natural man’s “God” is always a finite God. It is his most effective tool for suppressing the sense of the true God that he cannot fully efface from the fibers of his heart.

Cornelius Van Til Defense Of the Faith 2o3

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the existence of the God of Christian theism and the conception of his counsel as controlling all things in the universe is the only presupposition which can account for the uniformity of nature which the scientist needs

October 5, 2009

Says A. E. Taylor in discussing the question of the uniformity of nature, “The fundamental thought of modern science, at any rate until yesterday, was that there is a ‘universal reign of law’ throughout nature. Nature is rational in the sense that it has everywhere a coherent pattern which we can progressively detect by the steady application of our own intelligence to the scrutiny of natural processes. Science has been built up all along on the basis of this principle of the ‘uniformity of nature,’ and the principle is one which science itself has no means of demonstrating. No one could possibly prove its truth to an opponent who seriously disputed it. For all attempts to produce ‘evidence’ for the ‘uniformity of nature’ themselves presuppose the very principle they are intended to prove.” Our argument as over against this would be that the existence of the God of Christian theism and the conception of his counsel as controlling all things in the universe is the only presupposition which can account for the uniformity of nature which the scientist needs. But the best and only possible proof for the existence of such a God is that his existence is required for the uniformity of nature and for the coherence of all things in the world. We cannot prove the existence of beams underneath a floor if by proof we mean that they must be ascertainable in the way that we can see the chairs and tables of the room. But the very idea of a floor as the support of tables and chairs requires the idea of beams that are underneath. But there would be no floor if no beams were underneath. Thus there is absolutely certain proof for the existence of God and the truth of Christian theism. Even non-Christians presuppose its truth while they verbally reject it. They need to presuppose the truth of Christian theism in order to account for their own accomplishments.

Cornelius Van Til, The Defense of the Faith, 103, emphasis added.

All is yellow to the jaundiced eye

September 19, 2009

When man became a sinner, he made himself instead of God the ulimate or final reference point. And it is precisely this presupposition, as it controls without exception all forms of non-Christian philosophy, that must be brought into question. If this presupposition is left unquestioned in any field, all the facts and arguments presented to the unbeliever will be made over by him according to this pattern. The sinner has cemented colored glasses to his eyes which he cannot remove. And all is yellow to the jaundiced eye…the natural man may accept the “theistic proofs” as fully valid. He may construct such proofs. He has constructed such proofs. But the god whose existence he proves to himself in this way is always a god who is something other than the self-contained ontological trinity of Scripture…The Christian’s process of reasoning rests upon the presupposition that God, speaking through Christ by his Spirit in the infallible Word, is the final or ultimate reference point in human predication.

Cornelius Van Til, Defense of the Faith, P&R, 1955, p.77, 180

Faith in Evolution despite a lack of evidence

August 16, 2009

When Wiliam Bateson gave his famous address on ‘Evolutionary Faith and Modern Doubts,’ in which he boldly asserted that the origin of species is a question about which science knows nothing as yet, he guarded himself against any victory that the believers in special creation might draw from such a confession by saying, ‘When such confessions are made the enemies of science see their chance. If we cannot declare here and now how species arose, they will obligingly offer us the solutions with which obscurantism is satisified. Let us then proclaim in precise and unmistakable language that our faith in evolution is unshaken.”

Cornelius Van Til, Eternal Life: The Full-Orbed Life, in Foundations of Christian Education, P & R, p.124, ed. Dennis Johnson.

Van Til was referring to: Bateson W., “Evolutionary Faith and Modern Doubts.” Address to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 28 December, 1921, Science, vol. 55, p.55.