Ultimate Rational Incomprehensibility

God is incomprehensible to us because he is ultimately rational. It is not because God is irrational that we cannot comprehend him; it is because God is rational, and in the nature of the case, ultimately rational, that we cannot comprehend him. It is not because God is darkness that he is incomprehensible to us, but it is because he is light, and, in the nature of the case, absolute light. God dwelleth in a light that no man can approach unto. We are not blind because of the light of God; it is only in God’s light that we see light.

 

Cornelius Van Til, An Introduction to Systematic Theology (The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company: Phillipsburg, NJ, 1979).

Ancient Greek Contribution

The [Ancient Greek] national spirit did make its contribution—a great contribution—to the coming of the kingdom of Christ, but only in spite of itself, as an incendiary on a boat can be used also to clean its deck.

 

Van Til, Who do you say that I am?

Ignoring God

...God would not feel very kindly disposed to those who ignore him. Even in human relationships it is true that to be ignored is a deeper source of grief to him who is ignored than to be opposed.

 

Van Til, C. (1969). A Survey of Christian Epistemology. The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company: Phillipsburg, NJ.

Brute Facts

We appeal to facts, but never to brute facts. We appeal to God-interpreted facts. This is simply another way of saying that we try to discover whether our hypothesis is really in accord with God’s interpretation of facts.

 

Cornelius Van Til, Christian-Theistic Evidences (The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company: Phillipsburg, NJ, 1978), 73.

Ultimate Presupposition

The natural man will invariably employ the tool of his reason to reduce these contents to a naturalistic level. He must do so even in the interest of the principle of contradiction. For his own ultimacy is the most basic presupposition of his entire philosophy. It is upon this presupposition as its fulcrum that he uses the law of contradiction. If he is asked to use his reason as the judge of the credibility of the Christian revelation without at the same time being asked to renounce his view of himself as ultimate, then he is virtually asked to believe and to disbelieve in his own ultimacy at the same time and in the same sense.

 

Cornelius Van Til, The Defense of the Faith (The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company: Philadelphia, 1955).

Names and the Nature of God

The names of God reveal to us something of the nature or essence of God. They cannot reveal this nature fully, but they nevertheless are expressive of something of that nature.

 

Cornelius Van Til, An Introduction to Systematic Theology (The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company: Phillipsburg, NJ, 1979).

Unified Knowledge

The unity and organic character of our personality demands that we have unified knowledge as the basis of our action. If we do not pay attention to the whole of biblical truth as a system, we become doctrinally one-sided, and doctrinal one-sidedness is bound to issue in spiritual one-sidedness. As human beings we are naturally inclined to be one-sided. One tends to be intellectualistic, another tends to be emotional, and still another tends to be activistic. One tends to be only prophetic, another only priest, and a third only king. We should be all these at once and in harmony. A study of systematic theology will help us to keep and develop our spiritual balance. It enables us to avoid paying attention only to that which, by virtue of our temperament, appeals to us.

 

Cornelius Van Til, An Introduction to Systematic Theology (The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company: Phillipsburg, NJ, 1979).

Personality is More Than An Adjective

He is one person. When we say that we believe in a personal God, we do not merely mean that we believe in a God to whom the adjective “personality” may be attached. God is not an essence that has personality; He is absolute personality.

 

Cornelius Van Til, An Introduction to Systematic Theology, p.364

Systematic Thinking

It is a God-given duty that we should take the content of Scripture and bring it together into a systematic whole. It is plain that we are required to know the revelation that God has given us. Yet we would not adequately know that revelation if we knew it only in its several parts without bringing these parts into relation to each other. It is only as a part of the whole of the revelation of God to us that each part of that revelation appears as it is really meant to appear. Our minds must think systematically. It is with our God-created minds, which must think systematically, that we must rework the content of revelation.

 

Cornelius Van Til, An Introduction to Systematic Theology (The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company: Phillipsburg, NJ, 1979).

Human Comprehension

It is evidence of a false intellectualistic ideal for science to wish to have a comprehensive understanding of the facts of the universe. It is because man wants to be as God that he tries to understand facts comprehensively. Then when he finds that his universals are not comprehensive he concludes to agnosticism. He takes for granted that if he cannot catch the facts in his net completely, God is confronted with the same limitation.

 

Van Til, C. (1978). Christian-Theistic Evidences (p. 125). The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company: Phillipsburg, NJ.

Absolute Personality

If, in God, being and essence are really coterminous, we have before us an absolute personality. There is then no distinction between absoluteness and personality. God does not merely have personality, but is absolute personality.

 

Cornelius Van Til, An Introduction to Systematic Theology, p.346