Friday, February 05, 2016

Thoughts On Thought and How God Wants Us To Think

From a battered, torn, folded manuscript scribbled on in the barn by Peter in July 2015. All errors are my own. Read at your own risk.

Thoughts On Thought and How God Wants Us To Think

A Christian is not simply a person carrying around a certain set of propositions that he believes are true. It is partly that, but thinking like a Christian involves knowing God and lovingly speaking on His behalf.

People today seem to have a different mode of thinking than people did back in Bible days. If you look at the children of Israel in Egypt and the pagan nations of Canaan, you notice a common fear of "the gods" by the pagans, or "The Lord God" of Israel, right? This fear someone higher than man is something that seems to have been bred out of us in modern days.

When someone talks about the weather, we don't usually credit it first of all to personal forces, right? Why is that? Is it because science has eliminated the need for God? No. It is only the common unbelieving frame of thought that we have caught in our age. Dr. Cornelius Van Til stresses the change that happened at the time of Immanuel Kant in modern philosophy. Kant wasn't the first to think this way, but his ideology caught on in popular philosophy.

For me, it helps to follow trains of thought back in history to see where they developed from and who is behind it. Van Til does just that in his books. Taking insights from "A Defense of the Faith," "The Case for Calvinism," and "A Christian Theory of Knowledge," Van Til has showed me how post-Kantian thought is drawing upon the same non-Christian method as Aristotle and Satan. Aristotle is known for his logical method, and was an early greek thinker. Aristotle's method of explaining God and the world drew upon two concepts that he assumed were eternal. This may be hard to grasp, but it's worth a try. Read on and give it some thought!

Basically, for Aristotle there are two abstract concepts; forms and contingencies. These concepts had existed forever and weren't necessarily created by God. The first was the concept of form. Pure form. Once you have heard the second you may be able to see where this is going. For now, just think of form all by itself.

The second concept Aristotle needed in his method was contingency. Pure contingency. Taking pure form and adding pure contingency, you get the possibility of what Van Til called, "brute fact." This may take time to sink in, but it is worth understanding so you can avoid the sin of thinking this as much as possible.

So with the possibility of brute fact, there was then the possibility of eternally existing principles which could be equally true for God and equally true for man. The way Van Til said it, "That which holds a finite man imperfectly, is one and the same with that which holds an infinite God perfectly." In other words, there was a blank space of abstract no man's land, where you could, as it were, pencil in God, and pencil in man. There was an environment surrounding God and man with certain laws that each may appeal to. This is where the ground gets shaky. Because of this no man's land that encompasses both God and man, the laws of that tract of land, such as logic, were eternally co-existing with God. God did not necessarily create the laws of logic, he has co-existed with logic as a little god beside Him. Logic then, was identical for God and man. And with logic being identical, then all knowledge too was identical for God and man, and man was lifted up into oneness of being with God.

This lifting up of man to be one with God in knowledge, means that he must also be a god, since you cannot separate knowledge from being. This train of thought leads right into Plato's scale of being, and fits into Roman Catholic theology and Armenianism.

Do you follow me? I know it is hard to grasp, especially for us living in times where modern post-Kantian philosophy is normal.

True Christianity denies all other gods and receives the personal revelation of God in scripture as the only special communication to man by God. There is no brute facts in God's world. No pure forms or contingencies. The world is beaming forth the personal Word of God. Nature speaks God's praise because it is in Him, of Him, and through Him. There isn't any truth that stands abstractly apart from personal covenantal communication. When we know the Truth, we are knowing Jesus Who is the Truth.

I hope you don't gloss over this and I'd encourage you to crack open a philosophy book by Van Til and start drinking in a dose of medicine for a mind that is infected with popular sin. The reward for a transformed sight and view of the world is worth it. It is not less than what God has commanded by our being born again and renewed in His image.

All for now,