Question re: Van Tillian presuppostionalism and contradictions

Status
Not open for further replies.

Davidius

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Mystery can mean "hidden", "unknown", "not revealed" - whether the terms are used they are implied. The "Mystery" is certainly revealed but it does not mean that all hidden things that belong to the Lord are.

Everyone can agree that those things hidden and belonging to the lord are mystery. But Van Til's position is that things revealed in God's Word are mysteries and apparent contradictions. Why call something an inexplicable mystery that is part of revelation?
 

Davidius

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
First, you write:

Then you back this claim up with this quote: “It is difficult indeed to escape the conclusion that by his refusal to permit the scriptural teaching of divine sovereignty and the scriptural teaching of human responsibility to stand alongside each other and by his claim that he has fully reconciled them with each other before the bar of human reason Dr. Clark has fallen into the error of rationalism.”

Your claim doesn’t follow from this quote. I pointed out before that even Van Tilians propose solutions to the problem of God's sovereignty and human responsibility. The point is that Clark seems to think he has fully reconciled them with each other before the bar of human reason. I think by saying fully reconciled, the author of this source means that there is no mystery.

Yes, that's what Clark said; there was no mystery for him. Why is it wrong for there to be no mystery for him?

Nobody is claiming that "anyone who tries to produce one is in grave error".

Ok, then change the quote to "anyone who claims to have actually produce one and is not 'caught up in the mystery'" is in grave error.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
David,

That's not the way in which CT was using it. Whether or not that's what Van Til means.

If you ask me: "Why did God elect you and not elect your Mother?"
I might say: "It's a mystery."

I'm not using the word as the Scriptures refer to the "Mystery" that has now been revealed.

Every time I've seen the term mystery used, and a person jump on its use, it's at the point of hidden knowledge. To start playing word police and point out that the Scriptures use it only in one way is the height of silliness for the same men turn around and then restrict the word "knowledge" in a way that the Scriptures do NOT.

They can't have it both ways.
 

B.J.

Puritan Board Freshman
Whats the difference between a Paradox and a Contradiction?

If I say:

"Jesus is God, and Jesus is not God."


That is a contradiction. A ~A


If I say:

"Jesus is God, and Jesus is man."

What I say here is "A -> B" and "A -> C"

Right? This seems to be a Paradox, and not a Contradiction.
 

Davidius

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
David,

That's not the way in which CT was using it. Whether or not that's what Van Til means.

If you ask me: "Why did God elect you and not elect your Mother?"
I might say: "It's a mystery."

I'm not using the word as the Scriptures refer to the "Mystery" that has now been revealed.

I see what you're saying and totally agree.

Every time I've seen the term mystery used, and a person jump on its use, it's at the point of hidden knowledge. To start playing word police and point out that the Scriptures use it only in one way is the height of silliness for the same men turn around and then restrict the word "knowledge" in a way that the Scriptures do NOT.

They can't have it both ways.

I'm still chewing on this and trying to understand fully.
 

Cheshire Cat

Puritan Board Sophomore
Why is it wrong for there to be no mystery for him?
He's not just claiming that there is no mystery for him. He's claiming that there is no mystery, and it is implied that if we too are smart enough, we would see that there is no mystery either. I've also commented on this line of thought in one of my posts in this thread. It is one thing to say that there is no mystery for me, and an entirely different thing to demonstrate that is the case.
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
Everyone can agree that those things hidden and belonging to the lord are mystery. But Van Til's position is that things revealed in God's Word are mysteries and apparent contradictions. Why call something an inexplicable mystery that is part of revelation?

You are making the assumption that the mystery is completely unrelated to the revealed. On what basis can you make the assumption that when you start to dig into the revealed that you will not at some point run into the hidden.

CT
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
Hey Brian,

I'll think I'll respond to you in two parts to keep my time on-line a little shorter.

Hello Anthony,



This does not necessarily follow. This is only the case if your own intellect is your highest authority. There is no issue if you submit your thinking to God’s word even though you cannot see how B does not entail ~A.

Your wording is a little trick here, but when you say "you cannot see how B does not entail ~A" then it seems inescapable that you believe B->~A. In other words, you believe that God has presented to you as truth something you also believe leads to a contradiction. That's impossible. You can not believe both if you also believe they lead to a contradiction. Either you believe A&B or you believe B->~A, but you can not believe both at the same time. And latter on you actually demonstrate this in your example.

I choose to believe A and B because God says A and B. I submit my intellect to this and assume that I am wrong to believe B entails ~A even though I do not understand how this is so.
And so you would be correct if you actually could do this. However, belief is not actually volitional. Sure, we work out our reasoning, and change our minds based on our reasons, but we can not decided to simply not believe something that we have reason to believe is false. So if you can not see how it is possible that it is not the case that B->~A, then you believe the B->~A. You are in a bad spot. If you can not resolve this, then you can not believe both A and B because you believe that lead to a contradiction.

The next part will be next. :)
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
Your example below is excellent and goes to illustrate my point - that you will not believe something in violation of reason.
Anthony, I need you to read this whole next section before firing off a response. Let’s say that you hold to two different beliefs…

P: All Gods are immortal.
Q: Apollo is a God.

Then one day you see Apollo die. That is to say, you know hold another belief…

R: Apollo is dead.

At this point, you now hold a set of inconsistent beliefs. You must give at least one of them up to avoid becoming irrational. For the sake of discussion, you are convinced that R is true. Which belief do you give up: P or Q? The answer is going to be the one that you hold to a lesser degree. Let’s say that is Q. You now believe ~Q and you remain rational. However, the basis for giving up Q is simply your commitment to R and P. Now, let’s begin to tie this illustration to the topic at hand. You believe…

A: X --> ~Y.
B: God always tells the truth.

Then one day God tells you…

C: X ^ Y

Just like the illustration above, you are now holding to an inconsistent set of beliefs. Which belief do you give up? Well, for the sake of argument (as we did above), let’s assume we are convinced of C. What do we do now? I suggest the only rational thing to do is to give up the belief in A even if we do not understand how X does not imply ~Y. The rational basis to give up A is because we hold to our belief in B much stronger. But our giving up of A is not because we are able to reconcile the apparent contradiction, but rather because we trust God more that there is no contradiction even tough we cannot see it.

And here we have it. You are not embracing the "apparent contradiction", you are removing it by reason. The contradiction is two fold. One is X-->~Y, and the second is (X&Y) and (X-->~Y). Now for you to embrace an apparent contradiction, you'd have to maintain a belief that X-->~Y at the same time as (X&Y). But by rejecting (X-->~Y) you have removed all contradiction in your belief system. Buy definition, you no long embrace the apparent contradiction.


But notice something here - you have not given any reason for believing X --> ~Y in the first place. Before, and still later in the post, you said you CANNOT see how it is NOT the case X--~Y. In other words, your reason tells you that the contradiction is unavoidable. It is not a simple statement that you have adopted implicitly. And here we have the problem with implicit faith.

If you believe A implicitly, then your belief is weak (if it exists at all). One clear reason against A will change your mind. It will be impossible to believe A implicitly against any reason that tells you A can not be the case.

And one of the strongest reasons that will cause us to reject a belief is contradiction - if belief A contradicts B, to claim to believe them both is impossible. It is impossible to belief A and ~A at the same time. It is impossible to believe (A&B) and ~(A&B). Either you believe there is no contradiction and (A&B), or you believe that ~(A&B) because B-->~A. It's impossible to embrace apparent contradiction because that is a contradiction in itself. It is a claim to believe what you also say you believe to be false.

So any any understanding of A & B that leads to B-->~A means that that understanding of A & B is not God's Word. Do you agree?

(I will continue).
 

Davidius

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
You are making the assumption that the mystery is completely unrelated to the revealed. On what basis can you make the assumption that when you start to dig into the revealed that you will not at some point run into the hidden.

CT

I suppose the answer to this question would have to be given on a case-by-case basis. But there are some things in scripture which are clearly delineated as kept back from us by God. I'm thinking of things like the general outworking of providence.
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
You are making the assumption that the mystery is completely unrelated to the revealed. On what basis can you make the assumption that when you start to dig into the revealed that you will not at some point run into the hidden.

CT

Once you run into something, it's no longer hidden. :)
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
I do not think Van Til said that it was necessarily the case that God’s word appears to be self contradictory to us. If so, please provide the direct reference.
That is exactly his point. I believe he said all teaching of Scripture is apparently contradictory and that we must embrace those paradoxes. If he only meant that we are faulty people and will make mistakes in theology then we can agree - but he said we are to embrace those things we also believe are contradictory. This is simply a contradiction on Van Til's part. And some many Vantilians push this concept is one of the sorry results of this.

http://www.reformed.org/apologetics/index.html?mainframe=/apologetics/frame_vtt.html
Now since God is not fully comprehensible to us we are bound to come into what seems to be contradiction in all our knowledge. Our knowledge is analogical and therefore must be paradoxical.52
... while we shun as poison the idea of the really contradictory we embrace with passion the idea of the apparently contradictory. 53
All teaching of Scripture is apparently contradictory.54

It is a concept that many Van Tillian apologist are really saying was a bad choice or language on VT's part. It's not what he really meant, and he was just exaggerating because he said elsewhere we are to eliminate contradiction in our Christian system, no embrace it. The problem is, some people took what VT said and ran with it. Instead of correcting the concept of " embrace with passion the idea of the apparently contradictory", they are defending it as legitimate. So now we have intellectual pacifists who say that if something seems like a contradiction, then we should believe it anyway. But else where VT said if we find contradiction we should not rest until we have determined where we went wrong. We reject with passion any apparent contradiction.

VT contradicted himself so the Vantilian should decide which path is correct. Do we embrace the apparent contradiction, or do we assert that God's Word is internally coherent and never violates the laws of logic.

He did say that there are things in God’s word that appear contradictory, and I agree with him. You may not, but you have yet to bring the Trinity and Hypostatic Union together in a coherent manner that is not under-defined. It’s easy to avoid the appearance of contradiction if you leave things vague. For instance, if I under-define X so as not to end up with the conclusion X --> ~Y, then I can hold to and under-defined X and Y and say there is no contradiction. However, if I begin to get clear on what X entails, then I might get myself into trouble. This is akin to what the Council of Chalcedon did in terms of its definitions by way of negation.
And it is precisely that point where you know you are not understanding God's Word correctly - when your definition of X entails a contradiction of Y, then you have a wrong definition of X or Y. And if one claims there is an "apparent" contradiction, it demonstrates you have done just that.


Because we are finite creatures there are things about God we cannot ever know. If the resolution of some contradiction requires something belonging to this unknowable set of knowledge, then we are not able to resolve the contradiction.
But it doesn't start with a contradiction. You have already gone wrong when you discover a contradiction. If you are starting with God's Word, contradictions are impossible by definition. You can not deduce a contradiction from true premises. The problem is not a lack of information, the problem is a false premise that is not God's Word to start with. This false premise is probably some definition you are assuming. And you also know it is logically impossible to remove a contradiction with additional premises. Rather, you most remove the false premise that lead to the contradiction in the first place.

However, the contradiction is only apparent, but not actual. In God’s mind, there is no inconsistency. Is this situation possible? It seems so. The consistency of the Hypostatic Union and the Trinity are likely examples of this.
An example of logically coherent doctrine? Then there is not contradiction. An example of an apparent contradiction? Then you need to correct your assumptions of what the terms mean.

VT however insisted in defining terms so as to make them contradictory: God is one person, and three persons. Read the Frame article and he shows how VT was always fleshing out his doctrine in "paradoxical ways".

Anthony, please read me more carefully. I never said this was necessarily the case. Here is what I said, “With these underdefined terms it may be the case that we are not able to go any further and still avoid a contradiction.” I refer you to the second to last answer above.
And I say that if these doctrines are consistent with God's Word (and I believe they are), then it can not be the case the "we are not able to go any further and still avoid a contradiction". This may only be the case if the error lies in the formulation of the Doctrines themselves. If they are correct, then there is a way to go further and avoid contradiction. That is logically necessary because true premises can never imply a contradiction.


Sure we can. However, in this case it seems the only way not to end up with inconsistency is to under-define terms. If you disagree, then go ahead and start defining the terms I asked you to define in my last post.

Sincerely,

Brian

I am not the one claiming there is a apparent contradiction here. And I've already presented both doctrines in a coherent manner. I'll go back and maybe paste it in here after I finish this post. In the mean time, you could show what make these doctrines appear contradictory.


This is what I wrote:
The Trinity: God is one in essence, and three in persons.
Hypostatic Union: Jesus is both fully God and fully man.

Now I haven't joined these two statements into a single argument because they are not using the same terms in the same sense. I did not say simply that "Jesus is God", but more specifically that "Jesus is fully God". To me this means that Jesus is one person of the Trinity. He is also (according to the doctrine of the Trinity) one in essence with the Godhead.

As you can see, I did go further when I said that Jesus is fully God means Jesus is one person of the Trinity.

I suspect Brain that you will have a hard time presenting an explanation of the Trinity and Hypostatic Union that contains any contradictions and you also agree with. Unlike Van Til, you tend to avoid the appearance of contradiction.
 
Last edited:

Brian Bosse

"The Brain"
Hello Anthony,

I think I will take your lead and not try to deal with everything in one post. However, I would like you to respond to this post when you can. In other words, don’t wait for my other posts. This post is the essence of my position.

Several times your use of the phrase “apparent contradiction” was different than mine. This is causing us difficulty. So, I will define it in as precise a manner as I can, and will you it consistently throughout this post and in all future posts. I will ask you to use it in the same sense as I define it.

Apparent Contradiction: P and Q are apparent contradictions to person A if and only if person A cannot see that it is not the case that P entails ~Q or that Q entails ~P.

Observation 1 (OB1): If P and Q are apparent contradictions to person A, then it is not necessarily the case that P and Q are actual contradictions.

Actual Contradiction: P and Q are actual contradictions if and only if P entails ~Q or Q entails ~P.

Observation 2 (OB2): Actual contradictions are objective and apparent contradictions are subjective.

Observation 3 (OB3): Since apparent contradictions depend on the epistemic status of the subject, it is not necessarily the case that if P and Q are apparently contradictory to person A that P and Q are apparently contradictory to person B.

Assume person A does not see that it is not the case that P entails ~Q. As such, P and Q are apparently contradictory to person A. Assume that the only way for person A to see that P does not entail ~Q was if person A knew R. Assume that person A cannot know R. As such, P and Q would always be apparently contradictory to person A. Assume person B knows R. Assume person B, because he knows R, can see that it is not the case that P entails ~Q. Assume that person A believes person B to be infallible and truthful. Person B tells person A that P and Q. Because person A believes person B, then person A believes P and Q even though P and Q are apparently contradictory to person A.

Anthony, I have laid out my position in a somewhat formal manner. The only way for you to dismiss this is to show that it is incoherent. If you cannot show that this is incoherent, then you have no rational basis to dismiss this. So, before we move forward to your previous posts, please comment on this one.

Your Friend,

Brian
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Observation 2 (OB2): Actual contradictions are objective and apparent contradictions are subjective.

Hello Brian,

The problem here is that Van Til maintained "paradox" in relation to the objective revelation of God irrespective of the person's understanding of it. He adopted a methodology which requires the theologian to think paradoxically because the revelation of God is fitted to creaturely limitations. In his case, the objective becomes the basis for self-consciously thinking in terms of contradictions.
 

Brian Bosse

"The Brain"
Hello Matthew,

The problem here is that Van Til maintained "paradox" in relation to the objective revelation of God irrespective of the person's understanding of it.

I am not sure what you mean by this. It would be my position that it is possible that God would reveal something that is apparently contradictory to us. However, we accept that it is not an actual contradiction based on who God is. An example of this would be the Hypostatic Union and the Trinity especially when taken together. I believe there is no actual contradiction. But I may never be able fully grasp this. Nothing in God's revelation is inconsistent. If Van Til said otherwise, then I disagree with him.

He adopted a methodology which requires the theologian to think paradoxically because the revelation of God is fitted to creaturely limitations.

What do you mean by "to think paradoxically"? When I accept apparent contradictions, I am not accepting an actual contradiction. I trust God that propostions such as "one being can entail more than one person" are consistent even though I cannot see how it is not the case that "one being necessarily entails one person."

In his case, the objective becomes the basis for self-consciously thinking in terms of contradictions.

I think I need examples of what you mean by this. If my thinking that the proposition "one being can entail more than one person" is consistent is a representation of "self-consciously thinking in terms of contradictions," then I am cool. If you mean something else, then I probably disagree with Van Til.

Sincerely,

Brian
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Brian, It appears that you are in disagreement with VanTil's basic assumption that because man knows analogically he must reason paradoxically. Because that is the case please disregard my application of your consideration to Van Til's thought.

If the thread is permitted to move away from Van Til, I would be interested in learning how you arrive at two propositions which can appear contradictory. That is, given that the Bible does not teach these propositions in so many words, and you require some use of reason to arrive at the conclusion that the Bible teaches these propositions, how does a rational mind conclude that the Bible teaches each proposition in the form that requires an apparent conflict with what the rational mind already knows. Isn't it the case that an inference must be good as well as necessary? Blessings!
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
Brian, It appears that you are in disagreement with VanTil's basic assumption that because man knows analogically he must reason paradoxically. Because that is the case please disregard my application of your consideration to Van Til's thought.

What does reason paradoxically mean?

If the thread is permitted to move away from Van Til, I would be interested in learning how you arrive at two propositions which can appear contradictory. That is, given that the Bible does not teach these propositions in so many words,

I think the point being asserted is that the Bible does teach both propositions in at least some form. The problem is that we may not have the info on what that form is.

and you require some use of reason to arrive at the conclusion that the Bible teaches these propositions, how does a rational mind conclude that the Bible teaches each proposition in the form that requires an apparent conflict with what the rational mind already knows. Isn't it the case that an inference must be good as well as necessary? Blessings!

An apparent conflict exists if you cannot fully expound why two things are not actual contradictions. I would point to the trinity being one. I'm thinking we may be using terms differently. Would you not call the doctrine of the trinity an apparent contradiction? If not, what would you call it?

CT
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
What does reason paradoxically mean?

That is a question to which one receives different answers from Van Tillians; but basically if the illustrations of Van Til are anything to go by, it means to think in terms of irreconcilable differences like God's sovereignty and human responsibility in recognition of human limitation. Something like Edwards' doctrine of philosophical necessity would then be ruled out as a means of explaining how the two function co-ordinately. That is, the idea of categorising the differences, or limiting their scope, so that they are not seen to be in conflict with each other in reality, would be regarded as out of the question. We must be content to say God ordains sin on the one hand, but yet is not the author of sin on the other hand, without alleviating the tension of those two statements, but use the tension as a means of insisting on the creature's dependence on the Creator.

I think the point being asserted is that the Bible does teach both propositions in at least some form. The problem is that we may not have the info on what that form is.

Yes, but my question is, How do you *know* the Bible teaches both propositions? You have used reason to derive each proposition from the Bible. How then can reason be violated in maintaining two things which it considers contradictory.

An apparent conflict exists if you cannot fully expound why two things are not actual contradictions. I would point to the trinity being one. I'm thinking we may be using terms differently. Would you not call the doctrine of the trinity an apparent contradiction? If not, what would you call it?

First, to answer the question -- there is nothing contradictory in the Trinity because we do not say there are three in the same sense as there are one. There are three persons, but one infinite, eternal, and unchangeable essence. Yes, there is something beyond reason in the Godhead's mode of existence, but there is nothing in the mind which recoils at the idea.

Second, to apply the doctrine of the Trinity to my initial query -- From where does the idea of the Trinity come? It is undoubtedly the case that the interpreter uses hermeneutical rules in order to arrive at the conclusion that there is one God. He uses the same rules in order to conclude that there are three persons who are called God in the Scriptures. But one of the hermeneutical rules he ought to be using is the principle that Scripture interprets Scripture, that is, it cannot contradict itself. If so, he could not possibly arrive at conclusions which require him to embrace a contradiction, apparent or otherwise. So the apostle Paul, in Gal. 3, shows clearly that the law could not serve to make a person righteous by appeal to the fact that Scripture hath concluded all under sin. It must be therefore that the law serves another purpose subordinate to the promise which God gave Abraham, that is, it is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. At no point did the apostle consider that the two could exist in tension, but presupposes that there is a perfectly reasonable explanation, whereby the two ideas can be made to co-ordinate with one another.
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
That is a question to which one receives different answers from Van Tillians;

Since various people interpret a number of historical figures differently, (for example Calvinists have a number of interpretations of Calvin on different issues), I think we should skip that.

but basically if the illustrations of Van Til are anything to go by, it means to think in terms of irreconcilable differences like God's sovereignty and human responsibility in recognition of human limitation. Something like Edwards' doctrine of philosophical necessity would then be ruled out as a means of explaining how the two function co-ordinately.

You need to show why I would have to reject any view of Edwards in order to accept Van Til's view. The problem is that any explanation or solution basically just pushes the problem back a step, until one eventually just says, "God says so or God willed to do so".

That is, the idea of categorising the differences, or limiting their scope, so that they are not seen to be in conflict with each other in reality, would be regarded as out of the question.

I dont see how you can ultimately limit the scope and maintain the validity of systematic theology. If one has a system with mystery then one cannot just say, "The mystery/apparent contradiction etc. only lives over there". It has to flow through throughout the system.

Because I maintain that an apparent contradiction exists someplace does not mean that I cannot live consistently with both sides of the apparent contradiction. For example with Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility.
I can advocate executing murderers for their crime, and still pray that God will sanctify me to rest in divine providence, both shining and frowning. I cannot reconcile both sides but I can live with them both.

We must be content to say God ordains sin on the one hand, but yet is not the author of sin on the other hand, without alleviating the tension of those two statements, but use the tension as a means of insisting on the creature's dependence on the Creator.

If you disagree that any solution ends at "Because God said so, or Because God wills to do so", then I would be happy to see it.

Yes, but my question is, How do you *know* the Bible teaches both propositions? You have used reason to derive each proposition from the Bible. How then can reason be violated in maintaining two things which it considers contradictory.

I still do not see where reason is being violated, therefore I do not see how the rest follows.

First, to answer the question -- there is nothing contradictory in the Trinity because we do not say there are three in the same sense as there are one.

I agree and so would Van Til.

There are three persons, but one infinite, eternal, and unchangeable essence.

Alright which would work out the same as saying, The trinity is one person in one way and three persons in another. This is considered an apparent contradiction because one cannot fill out how the one is different from the three. Do you have any problem with what I have just written besides, your not liking the terminology?

Yes, there is something beyond reason in the Godhead's mode of existence, but there is nothing in the mind which recoils at the idea.

Alright.

Second, to apply the doctrine of the Trinity to my initial query -- From where does the idea of the Trinity come? It is undoubtedly the case that the interpreter uses hermeneutical rules in order to arrive at the conclusion that there is one God. He uses the same rules in order to conclude that there are three persons who are called God in the Scriptures. But one of the hermeneutical rules he ought to be using is the principle that Scripture interprets Scripture, that is, it cannot contradict itself.

One should and hopefully one does use such a rule. But using that rule would not change anything written to this point.

If so, he could not possibly arrive at conclusions which require him to embrace a contradiction, apparent or otherwise.

At this point, it really seems that the entire argument is the terminology.

So the apostle Paul, in Gal. 3, shows clearly that the law could not serve to make a person righteous by appeal to the fact that Scripture hath concluded all under sin. It must be therefore that the law serves another purpose subordinate to the promise which God gave Abraham, that is, it is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. At no point did the apostle consider that the two could exist in tension, but presupposes that there is a perfectly reasonable explanation, whereby the two ideas can be made to co-ordinate with one another.

I might not say that the explanation is reasonable, I would however say that the explanation is not against reason.

CT
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
... But one of the hermeneutical rules he ought to be using is the principle that Scripture interprets Scripture, that is, it cannot contradict itself. If so, he could not possibly arrive at conclusions which require him to embrace a contradiction, apparent or otherwise. .....
:amen: and :amen: :up: :up:
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
First, to answer the question -- there is nothing contradictory in the Trinity because we do not say there are three in the same sense as there are one.

I agree and so would Van Til.


Nope. That's where Van Til would strongly disagree. Van Til said very clearly that God was both one person and three persons and not in two sense but in the same sense. This was one of the points Van Til stressed to justify his on position that we must embracing "apparent contradictions". And notice there is nothing apparent in the contradiction - it is quite explicit and real.
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
Nope. That's where Van Til would strongly disagree. Van Til said very clearly that God was both one person and three persons and not in two sense but in the same sense. This was one of the points Van Til stressed to justify his on position that we must embracing "apparent contradictions". And notice there is nothing apparent in the contradiction - it is quite explicit and real.

Where did he say it was in the same sense? You should be able to easily quote it.

CT
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
Where did he say it was in the same sense? You should be able to easily quote it.

CT

" Rather, "We do assert that God, that is, the whole Godhead, is one person."

Van Til, An Introduction to Systematic Theology, 229.

Let us look at some specific examples. With regard to the doctrine of the Trinity, Van Til denies that the paradox of the three and one can be resolved by the formula "one in essence and three in person." Rather, "We do assert that God, that is, the whole Godhead, is one person."55 Van Til's doctrine, then, can be expressed "One person, three persons" -- an apparent contradiction

http://www.reformed.org/apologetics/index.html?mainframe=/apologetics/frame_vtt.html
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
" Rather, "We do assert that God, that is, the whole Godhead, is one person."

Van Til, An Introduction to Systematic Theology, 229.

No problem here, and no problem in the Frame quote. So again a quote should be very easy. I am not asking for that much. Why are you making it so hard?

Something along the lines that God is one person and three persons in the same way and the same sense.

CT
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
No problem here, and no problem in the Frame quote. So again a quote should be very easy. I am not asking for that much. Why are you making it so hard?

Something along the lines that God is one person and three persons in the same way and the same sense.

CT

Just gave it CT. It wasn't hard, it was very easy.
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
Where did anyone say or imply, "in the same way and the same sense"?

Break it down for me.

CT

For more context (so you know I'm not taking things out of context):

Even more perplexing is Van Til's attitude toward the logical consistency of Christian doctrines. We have seen earlier that Van Til affirms the "internal coherence" of the Christian system and attacks positions which introduce contradictions into that system. The natural assumption is that this coherence is a logical coherence. Doesn't he say that "The rules of formal logic must be followed in all our attempts at systematic exposition of God's revelation, whether general or special"?51 And yet at the same time Van Til teaches that the Christian system is full of "apparent contradictions":

Now since God is not fully comprehensible to us we are bound to come into what seems to be contradiction in all our knowledge. Our knowledge is analogical and therefore must be paradoxical.52
... while we shun as poison the idea of the really contradictory we embrace with passion the idea of the apparently contradictory. 53
All teaching of Scripture is apparently contradictory.54​

Let us look at some specific examples. With regard to the doctrine of the Trinity, Van Til denies that the paradox of the three and one can be resolved by the formula "one in essence and three in person." Rather, "We do assert that God, that is, the whole Godhead, is one person."55 Van Til's doctrine, then, can be expressed "One person, three persons" -- an apparent contradiction. This is a very bold theological move. Theologians are generally most reluctant to express the paradoxicality of this doctrine so blatantly. Why does Van Til insist on making things so difficult? In the context, he says he adopts this formula to "avoid the specter of brute fact." (Brute fact, in Van Til's terminology, is uninterpreted being. )

http://www.reformed.org/apologetics/index.html?mainframe=/apologetics/frame_vtt.html


Here's the break down:

"We do assert that God, that is, the whole Godhead, is one person." (VT) and the "one in essence and three in person" leads to what Van Til calls an "apparent contradiction" if and only if "three in person" and "God is one person" is in the same sense. If they are in any sense different then there is no contradiction, apparent of otherwise.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top