Van Til Tool

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

Monday, June 23, 2008



By Forrest Wayne Schultz
In my Epistemology Position Paper I make it clear that I repudiate Van Til's notion of Biblical antinomies because it is out of accord with the Van Til Perspective itself. I am not the only Vantillian to do so. I was still wrestling with this when I read Robert L. Reymond's epistemologicl masterpiece The Justification of Knowledge. This helped solidify my position. In this great work Reymond begins by giving Van Til well deserved credit for developing what we now call the Van Til Perspective. Having done so, Reymond then goes on to criticize Van Til for holding to the Biblical antinomies notion. The sections quoted below are written for that purpose. I would ask everyone reading this to pay very careful attention to what Reymond says, because this is a very important matter.
Here is a direct quotation from Robert L. Reymond's The Justification of Knowledge (Presbyterian & Reformed Pub. Co., 1976)

"Job 11: 7-8; Psalm 145:3; Isa 40:28; Romans 11:33; and I Timothy 6:16, while certainly affirming the immensity of God, need mean for epistemology simply that men, beginning from themselves and refusing the benefits of revelation, cannot, as Paul declares in I Corinthians 1:21, by their own wisdom find God; or conversely, that men are dependent upon divine revelation for a true and proper knowledge (Cf. Delitzsch's remarks on Psalm 145:3 in commentary on that Psalm, III, 389). Deuteronomy 29:29; Matthew 11:27; Luke 10:22; and John 1:18; 6:46 (Cf. vs. 45) actually teach that men by revelation can know God and His thoughts truly to the degree that He reveals Himself in Christ and in His words. Finally, Isaiah 55: 8-9...actually holds out the real possiblity that men may know God's thoughts and encourages them to turn away from their own thoughts and to learn God's thoughts. Consider the immediate context. In Is 55:7 God calls upon the wicked man, the man of iniquity, to forsake his way and thoughts. Where is he to turn? Of course, to the Lord (vss 6, 7) ! Why must he forsake his way and thoughts in turning to the Lord? 'Because,' says the Lord, 'my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways, my ways.' (vs 8). The entire context, far from affirming that God's ways and thoughts are beyond the reach of man, to the contrary, expressly calls upon the wicked man to turn away from his ways and thoughts in order to learn God's ways and thoughts. In so doing, the wicked man gains divine thoughts and ways, which are so much better and so much more enduring than his own. ... These verses teach, then, the complete opposite of what generally they are made to teach. ... Delitzsch, in my opinion, rightly interprets these verses:

'The appeal, to leave their own way, and their own thoughts, and yield themselves to God
the Redeemer, and to His word is...urged on the ground of the heaven-wide difference
between the ways and thoughts of God and the despairing thoughts of men... . On
what side the heaven wide elevation is to be seen is shown by what follows. They
(God's thoughts) are not so fickle, so unreliable, or so powerless.'
Commentary on Isaiah, II, 358

The analysis of these verses of necessity has been brief, but the student of apologetics may rest assured that...some of them expressly declare that in dependence upon God's propositional self-revelation in Scripture, men can know some of God's thoughts truly, though, of course, not exaustively, that is, they can know the revealed proposition. the same sense that God knows it, that is, univocally." (Emphases his) (pp. 102-103)

"Now while I readily concede that it is possible for the erring exegete so to interpret two Scriptural statements that upon completion of his exegesis he possesses contradictory statements, I totally reject the notion that he will have interpreted them correctly. He will have either completely missed the intent of one (or both) of the statements or he will have brought together two statements that in no way pertain directly to each other. ... To affirm otherwise, that is, to affirm that two Scriptural statements that relate to the same theological question, when properly interpreted, can be...contradictory. ..and yet to make christianity and the Bible upon which it is based irrational and strikes at the nature of the eternal Logos who speaks throughout its content. God is Truth itself, Christ is rational, neither can lie, and what they say is self-consistently non-contradictory. Furthermore, if truth may appear to be contradictory, the detection of real falsehood is impossible! Consequently, better would it be to resolve the contradiction through further study, admitting until such resolution is achieved that one has not properly understood one (maybe both) of the Scriptural statements, that is admitting that the contradiction is due to human ignorance or some clarifying datum, than to imply that God, when revealing Himself to men in Scripture, actually teaches in the name of truth what, when properly understood, will appear to the rational mind as contradictory. " (pp. 104-105)

Reymond ends this paragraph with the warning that a failure to heed his counsel will be tantamount to a capitulation to "Barthian irrationalism" .


  • At Tuesday, January 05, 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!


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