Van Til Tool

Using the Van Til Perspective as the tool to discover what life means and how it ought to be lived.

Saturday, June 07, 2008



In his allegory The Pilgrim’s Regress, C. S. Lewis shows that the way to defeat the Freudian notion that God (as Father) is a psychological projection of one’s (human) father is by the ability to distinguish between a copy and the original. Freud wrongly regarded the human father as the original and God as the copy. The Bible rightly shows that God is the Original and that humans are “copies” of God, created in the image of God. In fact, the Biblical definition of man is the creaturely image of God. Van Til placed a great stress not only upon the Creator/creature distinction but also upon the all important point that this distinction consists in man’s being a finite analogue of God. Van Til went so far as to state that man is a finite replica of the being of God insofar as this is possible for a creature. That is, man is as much like God as it is possible for a creature to be. In short, God is the Original, man is the creaturely copy of the original.

Humanists very often posit a reversal of this all-important truth: they regard man as the original and God as the copy. Freud was not the only one to do this. Another example was Ludwig Feuerbach, who claimed that God was a sociological projection, i.e. God is created by a society to embody its ideals.

While this kind of stuff is to be expected from humanist thinkers, it is surprising to also find this notion among Christian thinkers. According to this notion many Biblical statements about God are dismissed as “anthropomorphic” language. Take, for example, the Biblical term “the Hand of God”. Most Christian Bible commentators say that such a term is not meant literally because God does not have hands. Do you see what they are doing? They are regarding the human hand as the original and God’s hand as the copy. To them a real hand is the human hand and therefore it is only a figure of speech to say that God has hands. This is radically false. Human hands are a finite, creaturely copy of God’s hands. God can do much more with His hands than we can do with ours. God’s hands are the Original hands and are the definition of all that a hand can be. Our human hands are creaturely copies of God’s supreme all-powerful hands and are not nearly as handy as God’s hands. Therefore it is literally true to say that God has hands, namely He has divine hands. It is also literally true that men have hands, namely human hands, which are creaturely, analogous copies of God’s Hands, which are the Original hands.

Rightly regarding God as the Original and man as the copy is a very important feature of the Biblical principle, emphasized by Van Til, that God is the ultimate reference point and the only proper starting point for all predication. This principle, which is at the heart of the Van Til Perspective, was clearly recognized and followed by other great twentieth century Christian thinkers such as C. S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, and R. J. Rushdoony. It is absolutely essential for straight thinking in all areas of the Christian world-view and in the Christian reconstruction of all areas of life. Amen!




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