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).

Person in the Trinity

All this was worked out in greater detail by Augustine. He does not derive the Trinity from the Father but from the unity of the divine essence, nor does he conceive of it as accidental but rather as an essential characteristic of the divine being. It belongs to God’s very essence to be triune. In that regard personhood is identical with God’s being itself. “For to God it is not one thing to be and another to be a person, but it is altogether the same thing” (De trin., VII, 6). For if being belonged to God in an absolute sense, and personhood in a relative sense, the three persons could not be one being. Each person, therefore, is identical with the entire being and equal to the other two or all three together.


Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: God and Creation, Volume 2, p. 303-304

Calvin on morality in the 21st century

Owing to the innate self-love by which all are blinded, we most willingly persuade ourselves that we do not possess a single quality which is deserving of hatred; and hence, independent of any countenance from without, general credit is given to the very foolish idea, that man is perfectly sufficient of himself for all the purposes of a good and happy life.


Calvin Inst 2.2.2

“by faith alone”

Paul does not teach a “faith alone” position, as I have sometimes heard it put. Rather, his is a “by faith alone” position. This is not just a verbal quibble; the “by” is all-important here. The faith by which sinners are justified, as it unites them to Christ and so secures for them all the benefits of salvation there are in him, that faith perseveres to the end and in persevering is never alone. It is, as Luther is reported to have said, “a busy little thing.”

@citation Richard B. Gaffin, By Faith, Not by Sight: Paul and the Order of Salvation (Paternoster, 2006), 105.


Muller on the 17th Century on Rational Faculties

Whereas the medieval doctors had assumed that the fall affected primarily the will and its affections and not the reason, the Reformers assumed also the fallenness of the rational faculty: a generalized or “pagan” natural theology, according to the Reformers, was not merely limited to nonsaving knowledge of God—it was also bound in idolatry. This view of the problem of knowledge is the single most important contribution of the early Reformed writers to the theological prolegomena of orthodox Protestantism. Indeed, it is the doctrinal issue that most forcibly presses the Protestant scholastics toward the modification of the medieval models for theological prolegomena.


Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, V1, p. 108


Legalism lacks the supreme sense of worship.


Geerhardus Vos, Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation: The Shorter Writings of Geerhardus Vos, ed. Richard B. Gaffin Jr. (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2001), 231.

Calvin on Desisting from Inquiry

Let us, I say, allow the Christian to unlock his mind and ears to all the words of God which are addressed to him, provided he do it with this moderation, viz., that whenever the Lord shuts his sacred mouth, he also desists from inquiry. The best rule of sobriety is, not only in learning to follow wherever God leads, but also when he makes an end of teaching, to cease also from wishing to be wise."


Calvin, J. (1997). Institutes of the Christian religion. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

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.