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



Below are several recent posts on this subject which I made to email discussion groups.


In several recent posts I stated that Creation Week must be regarded as an archetypal paradigm, i.e. that God’s work of creation is a model which man is expected to follow in his work. The Fourth Commandment clearly states that the reason why man is supposed to work for six days and then rest on the seventh is because this is what God did during Creation Week. Now there is a great significance in this which is not usually noted when this is discussed.
The Hebrew verb for work or labor (abad) which is used in the Fourth Commandment (Ex 20:6) literally means “to serve”. Work or labor is to be regarded as service -- we are supposed to serve one another and, in so doing, thereby also serve God. It is very significant that Moses was instructed to tell Pharoah -- “Let My people go that they may serve Me” (the same verb, abad, is used here) and that the Ten Commandments are prefaced by God referring to Himself as “The Lord thy God which brought thee out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage”. So, as free men under God we are to serve God by laboring in works of service to others by following after God’s pattern during Creation Week in which He served man by creating a home for man to live in. Most English translations of Gen 2:8 say that God “put” man in the Garden of Eden. The literal translation of the Hebrew verb here is “caused to abide”. That is, God made the Earth as a home for man, an abode for man, a place in which to abide. This is the service which God did for man during Creation Week -- he created the Earth as a home for man to live in. Luke’s genealogy of Christ concludes (Lk 3:39) by referring to Adam as “the son of God”. Therefore God as Father created the Earth as a home for his son, Adam. This is the example we fathers are to follow by creating homes for our sons.

OK, now do you see why this is so important? Do you understand now what an archetypal paradigm means? The reason God took six days to create the world was NOT because he NEEDED that much time to do it. That is preposterous -- He could have done it in a split second. Also, did He get tired afterward and is that why He took a day of rest? What a laugh!! NO. The reason He did His creation work in six days and then followed that by a day of rest was because He was establishing thereby a pattern for us to follow in our weekly cycle. Man not only was created in the image of God; He IS the image of God, the finite reflection of God, the creaturely ectype of God. Therefore he is intended to follow God’s pattern.

I think one of the reasons we have missed this is that we regard the Fourth Commandment as only teaching us to rest on the Sabbath. It does say that, of course, but that is not all it says -- it also tells us to do six days of work serving others following God’s pattern of His six days of work serving us by creating a home for us.

God’s grace and God’s love did not begin in the New Testament -- it has been there since The Beginning. Amen.





In my recent post on Creation Week as Archetypal Paradigm, I stated that (1). God purposely took six days to do His work of creation followed by one day of rest in order that it would serve as a model for man to follow -- man too should do six days of work followed by one day of rest; and (2). that just as God did a service to man during Creation Week (by creating a home, i.e. an environment, for man to live in), so men should do their work as a service to other men. Now let us look at another very important factor here -- creativity.
The reason that God decided to create and was able to create the world is that He has a creative nature. There is a mystery in HOW God created, but there is no mystery as to WHY He created. Creation is what you expect a creative person to do. Francis Schaeffer liked to say that the reason men can be creative is that they are created in the image of a Creator! Now if Creation Week indeed serves as Archetypal Paradigm for man, then this means that man not only has been given the ability to create but that the creatures God created in His cosmos are to serve as the models for human art works. God’s cosmos is very orderly, very beautiful, and contains an enormous variety, and shows that God has a great imagination. Therefore our human art works likewise should be orderly, beautiful, variegated, and imaginative. And we should be creative not just in the arts but in all that we do, even if it is a mundane thing like organizing an office.

This subject is very important not just for the reasons noted but also for showing that the principles and rules for Christian reconstruction are found throughout the Word, not just in those sections usually designated as law. The very opening chapters of the Bible contain an archetypal paradigm for us to follow, as I have shown. Now, if we do not see it that way but just see it as info on how the world got here, then we will miss the principles I have been discussing.

OK, one more thing before I sign off. Remember when I said that God did not need to take six days to create but did it for the sake of serving as a pattern for man? Well, you see, the whole cosmos and everything in it is the way it is so it can serve as the home for man and for the education and training of man. God did not HAVE to create it this way -- He did it this way for the purpose noted. There have been all kinds of rationalistic nonsense about how if God is infinite, the universe must be infinite or that this must be the best possible world if God is perfect, etc. God created the world for a purpose -- to serve as the home for man and for the education and training of man so that it is the best possible world FOR THAT PURPOSE. Also, there are things God has been criticized for by those saying it would be better to have done it this way or that. But you cannot discuss what is best in a vacuum. You first must define the purpose. So, in conclusion, God created the cosmos the way He did so it would serve His purposes for man and He took six days to do it in order to provide the model needed for man. Do you see what I am saying here? This is really important stuff which is rarely discussed.




During the past twenty years or so there has been a lot of discussion among physicists concerning The Anthropic Principle, which is the very obvious and very profound rule that the laws of nature must be such as to allow men to exist or we would not be here to study them. It turns out that this principle places some very strict limits on the amount of variation allowable in these laws and in the values of the various physical constants. Since God designed the universe to be the home of man, the Anthropic Principle is the result, i.e. the laws and data of physics must be such as to provide a cosmos in which man can live.
Two centuries ago this same principle was propounded with respect to terrestrial environments by Christian geographer Karl Ritter on page 104 of Volume I of his book Die Erdkunde (Berlin, 1817) in this magnificent sentence: “In all the phenomena of nature and history the influences of this terrestrial arrangement and its conditions are prominent everywhere, since it was prepared from the beginning as the place for the display of nature and her powers, as the bearer of peoples, as home, dwelling place, and temporary arrangement for the development of the human race, which cannot be imagined without this arrangement.” (my translation) It is noteworthy that Ritter recognizes the very important but often neglected point that the Earth is not only the home of man but that it also has been designed for the education and training of man to enable him to fulfill his destiny as the image of God having dominion over the Earth as the vicegerent of God.

OK, now my point here is that the creationist vs. evolutionist debate should not just be seen as an argument over how the cosmos got here -- did God put it here or did it get here by chance evolving from some kind of primordial stuff. The debate is also over the very essence and meaning of the earth and the universe. The earth and the universe is man’s HOME -- man BELONGS here because the cosmos was designed and created specifically to serve as the home of man. The “mechanistic” cosmology or any other kind of cosmology (such as the gnostic cosmology) in which man does not feel at home is false.
All right, now let’s tie all this together. The Christian Anthropic Principle includes these points: the earth is the home and school of man; the six days God took to create it (and the rest of the cosmos) followed by His one day of rest was done by Him to provide a pattern we are to copy -- each of our weeks is to be six days of work followed by one day of rest; God’s service to man here is to be the model for our service to one another, and God’s creativity is to serve as a model for our creativity; and the specific laws of nature and the specific environments of Earth and the cosmic environment of outer space were planned by God to fulfill His plan for man’s life in the cosmos.

The Christian doctrine of creation is not complete if any of these points are omitted.






Because God has caused man to abide in the world, he is at home in the world and his epistemic equipment (sight, hearing, etc.) has been given to him to enable him to receive information about the world. Because man is already “tuned in” to the world, he must not and need not seek out some kind of Archimedean Point as a means of gaining knowledge. One of the greatest of all epistemological blunders ever was Plato’s infamous “Cave” parable, which claims that man’s senses deceive him as to the nature of reality and that in order to obtain truth he must forsake them as shadowy illusions and that he can only attain to the truth by ascending out of the cave up into the realm of light, which process has come to be known by philosophers as the seeking out of an Archimedean Point above reality, which is needed to know the truth about reality. Because God has given men the epistemic equipment to know reality, man is already tuned in to reality, and does not need to escape from sense data by any such Archimedean Point ascensions.

Back in the late 60s some of the hippies talked about “tuning in”. We do NOT need to tune in. We are already tuned in -- this is the epistemological implication of the creationist doctrine that God has caused man to abide in the world. We do not need to “tune in”. We are already tuned in. What we need to do is to pay attention to what we are receiving. It is not as though the radio is turned off or tuned to the wrong station. The radio is on and we are tuned in to the right station. What we need to do is to pay attention to what is being broadcast!

Amen !!





God is a Person. Since man is the image of God, men are persons. Human artifacts were made by persons, namely men. Man and nature were both made by God, Who is a person. Therefore every being is either a person or has been made by a person. Therefore all truth is truth about persons and their creations. Truth, of course, is objective, not subjective, i.e. it is true whether we know it or not, whether we believe it or not and whether we like it or not. But truth is also personal in the sense noted above, i.e. all truth is truth either about persons or about their creations.



That’s some pretty heavy stuff, I think, so it is now time for a bit of creationist humor.
Here is the first one:

Q. What do creationist teenagers say about the age of the Earth?
A. The Old Earth Sucks !
The Young Earth Rocks !

Here is the second one:
Q. What was the first thing Eve did after she was created?
A. She looks over and sees this guy standing there and goes over to him and says,
“Who are you? I don’t know you from Adam!!”.
Q. How did Adam respond?
A. He responded by uttering the first palindrome in history: “Madam, I’m Adam”.


  • At Friday, October 10, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Data being enough exists in order to state that the anatomy of human body underwent sudden (not evolutionary) changes over the centuries.


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