Facts and Presuppositions - RR101B3

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Lesson[edit]

Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Facts and Presuppositions
Course: Course - Epistemology
Subject: Subject:Philosophy
Lesson#: 3
Length: 0:59:28
TapeCode: RR101B3
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Epistemology(2).jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission.


[Rushdoony] Let us begin with prayer. Our Lord and our God, we give thanks unto Thee that Thou hast called us to the beauty of holiness, that Thou hast set before us a glorious calling and has beset us before and behind with Thy mercy. Fill us every with gratitude, our Father, for Thy sovereign grace, and grant that we serve Thee with joy and with thanksgiving, and that the glory of the Lord our God be upon us in all that we do, and that Thy grace and majesty be our constant witness, our consolation, our strength, and our joy. Bless us as we study the things that are of Thee, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Today we shall sum up and develop a little further some of the implications of the relationship of facts or factuality to presuppositions. Alfred North Whitehead, one of the great philosophers of this century, wrote in his Adventures of Ideas, and I quote, “So far as concerns methodology, the general issue of the discussion will be that theory dictates method, and that any particular method is only applicable to theories of one {?}. An analogous conclusion holds for the technical terms. This close relation of theory to method partly arise from the fact that the relevance of evidence depends on the theory which is dominating the discussion. This fact is the reason why dominate theories are also termed working hypotheses.” Unquote. Now what Dr. Whitehead said in this statement was in a sense what Van Till has said in his works, although approaching it from a completely anti-Christian position. He admitted very candidly that not only does your theory, your beginning faith, your presupposition, your given, determine your method, but it also determines what constitutes a fact. So that, as you approach the world, you see what constitutes a fact in terms, of that which is your starting point. [00:03:31]

I had a very vivid awareness of this when I went from...[edit]

I had a very vivid awareness of this when I went from a university atmosphere some years ago to an isolated Indian reservation to be a missionary. The reservation was a hundred miles from any town or bus or train line, and there was no paved road into the reservation. The Indians at that time in the early 40’s, since the West is young in a way that, say, Mississippi is not, or people in some cases could recall seeing their first white man come across the plain. The last battle between Indians and whites, was not too long distant, 1915. So past history was very, very young. And one of the things I came up against that was I thought was a fact was not a fact at all. The Indians, because they began with a different world of presuppositions, when they looked out at the same things I saw, and I could take time and tell you of incidents where a young Indian and myself would be involved in the same situation, and our account of the facts would be totally different, because he saw things from the perspective of an Indian, with the faith of an Indian. Whereas I saw things as a Christian. And what was conclusive to him made no sense to me. And what was conclusive to me made no sense to him. This is a continual problem. As long as they began with the same premise that their forefathers did, it was impossible for them to see anything as I saw it. The only way there could be any communication was not in terms of saying well these are the facts. We live in two different worlds. And the only way we could change one another was to change one another’s presuppositions. [00:06:28]

Sometimes it was rather startling to see how worlds...[edit]

Sometimes it was rather startling to see how worlds apart we were. One of the dearest of the old Indians there was Jenny {?}, who lived just in back of us, a hundred and twenty years old, and she knew what the cure was for having too many girls. After all, I have four girls and two boys. And she said oh she and her husband, they had too many girls, too many girls, one after another, three of them. So her husband had to have the answer, it was the evil spirits. So when the next girl was born, he immediately picked it up by the heels and bashed its brains out. That broke the power of the evil spirits and she said the next one was a boy, it was that simple. Now, there was no way to change Jenny {?} on that. Unless you shattered her presupposition, her religious premises, because all factuality to her was in terms of the power, and certain spirits that governed the universe. In other words, there is no arguing between people who are of different faiths, or different philosophical premises, because what is a fact to one is not a fact to the other. And so each one is convinced the other one the other one doesn’t see the facts. But the problem is that each begins with a totally different presupposition, a radically different faith as to what constitutes reality. And so they ask different questions, they begin at a different place. [00:08:39]

When I was taking philosophy at the University of California...[edit]

When I was taking philosophy at the University of California, one of the interesting statements made by the professor, who became later a chancellor of the university, in the course of a discussion, which had to do with the book that had been published not too long previously by a distinguished physicist, Sir Arthur Eddington. I’d like to read to you a passage from Eddington, because it is so revealing. Eddington says in his book The Nature of the Physical Universe, and I quote, “Traveling back into the past, we find a world with more and more organization. (Let me say parenthetically, if the Second Law of Thermodynamics is true, this has to be true) If there is no barrier to stop us earlier, we must reach a moment where the energy of the world was wholly organized with none of the random elements in it. It is impossible to go back any further under the present system of natural law. I do not think the phrase ‘wholly organized’ begs the question. The organization we are concerned with is exactly definable, and there is no limit at which it becomes perfect. There is not an infinite series of states of higher and still higher organization, nor I think is the limit one which is ultimately approached more and more slowly. There is no doubt that the scheme of physics as it has stood for the last three-quarter of a century postulates a date at which either the entities of the universe were created in a state of high organization, or pre-existing entities were endowed with that organization which they have been squandering ever since. Moreover, this organization is admittedly, this organization is admittedly the antithesis of chance. It is something which could not occur fortuitously. It is one of those conclusions from which we can see no logical escape, only it suffers from the drawback that it is incredible.” [00:11:37]

Now what was Eddington’s problem? He said logically...[edit]

Now what was Eddington’s problem? He said logically if what we have discovered about physics is true, there had to be a moment of creation. But for me, logically this is incredible. So he winds up coming to a conclusion which he says on his presupposition he has to reject, because there is no God. That’s by definition. Now of course, the professor as he commented on this, he said it’s all in the state. He said if you raise certain questions, you are stepping out of the boundaries of your presupposition, and you get yourself in trouble. Therefore, he said, never, if you’re talking with anyone who is an intelligent Christian, raise the question of where has the universe come from, because he’ll push you right back to God. So he said, just tell them, oh but I take the universe as my given, my presupposition. You take God for your presupposition, I take the universe, I don’t see why I have to begin with anything else. And this was his position as a pragmatic naturalist. Of course, he had to admit, he could not prove that the universe existed. In terms of epistemology, he had no knowledge of it. But it was going to be his given and he was not going to allow anyone to challenge that presupposition, because if you did, if you raised questions about it, and asked him where did it come from, where is the source of the order, then you would raise questions he could not answer. In other words, our presuppositions determine what the facts are. [00:13:47]

Thus the problem that confronts all non-Christians...[edit]

Thus the problem that confronts all non-Christians and every inconsistent Christian is, how can brute facts ever be anything more than brute facts? Now we saw that for modern philosophy, since Descartes, the universe is divisible, reality is divisible between mind, or logic, and facts, which are brute facts, and there is no way of us knowing those things in any objective, true, or valid sense, because we are locked up in our minds, our sense impressions are second hand. We have no way of knowing that there is anything out there, we take it by faith as it were. Now, these facts are for them not God-created, they just are. They’re a product of chance. If they’re a product of chance, they’re totally {?} to reason, they’re meaningless, they’re irrational. Now how can brute facts ever be anything more than brute facts? How can you have science, if by definition of the world of brute facts has no law, no order, no rhyme nor reason to it, it is full of chaos. For us as Christians all facts are God-created, the facts of history and of nature alike, and they are totally governed by God.

Now this, the great thrust of Dr. Van Till, that brute factuality is an impossible problem for modern philosophy, brought on some severe criticism in the mid-50’s from some men who were ostensibly of the Reformed faith, but actually had rather Thomistic presuppositions, thus a Christian Reformed thinker, Cecil De Boer in 1953, wrote in criticism of Van Till, and I quote, “The new apologetics maintains the unbeliever, in rejecting supernatural revelation rejects the first premise of all true reasoning and cannot therefore cannot hope to come to a true conclusion. He may be as logical in his argumentation as he pleases, but since he is simply out of touch with reality, his reasoning cannot but end in sheer illusion. Therefore, he cannot really be said to know anything truly. In short, unless I know God truly, I cannot know anything truly. It is evidently useless then to argue that because a man does not accept the Christian religion, he cannot really, that is ultimately, metaphysically, distinguish an egg from a cucumber. That kind of thing gets one nowhere, and there is no earthly excuse for it except possibly as an undergraduate exercise in making purely nominal and academic distinctions.” Now that’s an amazing statement is it not? He doesn’t say Van Till is wrong, but he says all right so you’ve proved that the natural man, the philosopher in terms with his presuppositions, if he’s honest then, cannot tell the difference between an egg and a cucumber. The only way he can know reality is to sneak in God and say there is law out here, but in terms of his own thinking there is no law. But this is a purely technical and academic conclusion, however true. But is it? Is it not one of tremendous importance? To be able to tell the natural man that in terms of his presuppositions he can know nothing and even to quote him in terms of his own statements that knowledge is impossible, is certainly a tremendous thing, a tremendous witness to the fact that without God, we have no foundation, no ground to stand upon. [00:19:12]

And is it not a very important fact, that modern man...[edit]

And is it not a very important fact, that modern man being in that position with regard to brute factuality is falling apart. Psychologically, intellectually, culturally, his world is collapsing around him. In fact, what we have in the case of De Boer, was a fine case of camel swallowing. This is not an undergraduate exercise, it’s a problem of reality. If I live in a world that I don’t even know is real, I am in a bind. And this is why, in our modern world, the idea of dropping out is so popular. Why not? The next conclusion of modern education, of modern philosophy is that you don’t know anything that reality itself is unknowable and the reaction of youth is what’s the use? Drop out. There is nothing meaningful left, so why join in the rat race just to get rich. What for, if life isn’t worth living? Of what value are riches, of what value is establishment, of what value is the family, of what value is morality, of what value is anything? Thus the idea of brute factuality has been a very serious burden for modern philosophy. It has been its nemesis, how to cope with it? It eliminates the God of Scripture, it says that all factuality lacks any pre-established pattern or meaning. All facts are isolated, meaningless, totally autonomous, and anarchistic facts. So you have anarchistic man in an anarchistic universe. The existentialists have pushed this to the limit. We shall be dealing with other existentialists, yesterday we dealt with Camut. We’ll deal more with Sartre subsequently. But Sartre says that man only has being, he has no nature, because there is no nature in existence, or essence. What does he mean by that? He says, all that we can say about man or anything in the universe that is that it is. “Cogito Ergo Sum” Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am.” And so the only knowledge we have, says Sartre, is that I am. But I have no essence, I have no nature, that is, by essence is meant a pre-established pattern or meaning. There is no God to give a pre-established meaning or pattern to my life, or to any life in the universe. And so, Sartre says, man is alone. Man must seek to make his own essence, to do his own thing, to create a pattern himself for his life to develop, as the hippies have said, his own lifestyle. You create your own pattern. But how do you get a pattern out there in reality? How do you put a pattern on the sun, the moon, the stars, on nature? By definition, there is no pattern there. This constitutes for them a problem. Now, what Van Till says in his Epistemology is that the consistent Christian must demand that man be consistent to their premises. If you believe that the world is brute factuality, then you have to say you can have no science, renounce your science. Don’t sneak God into the picture, into the laboratory and talk about the possibility of scientific law or talk about the Second Law of Thermodynamics because that’s impossible. On your premises, if it’s brute factuality, there can be no essence, no pattern. [00:24:24]

There can be, you see, no neutrality, all positions...[edit]

There can be, you see, no neutrality, all positions rest on a fundamental presupposition, or faith. And so we push the natural man to the end resolve; the conclusions of his faith. Our presupposition makes factuality intelligible. The presuppositions of the natural man make the most ordinary facts unintelligible. As Van Till says, and I quote, “The answer to this question cannot be finally settled by any direct discussion of facts. It must, in the last analysis, be settled indirectly. The Christian apologist must place himself upon the position of his opponent, assuming the correctness of his method merely for argument’s sake, in order to show him that on such a position the facts are not facts and the laws are not laws. He must also ask the non-Christian to place himself upon the Christian position for argument’s sake in order that he may be shown that only upon such a basis do facts and laws appear intelligible. To admit one’s own presuppositions and to point out the presuppositions of others is there to maintain that all reasoning is, in the nature of the case, circular reasoning. The starting point, the method, and the conclusion are always involved in one another.” Unquote. That’s what Whitehead admitted, and then hurried on to forget what he had admitted. You see, what this amounts to is, simply another way of saying philosophically that we walk by faith. That our fundamental philosophical starting point is an act of faith. That atheism is an act of faith that there is no God. And that it’s the most stupendous act of faith of all because it flies in the face of everything in all creation where all things are revelational of God. Thus for the unbeliever to assume when he goes into the laboratory that there is a uniformity of nature or that there is any kind of rationality in the universe, is a violation of his premise. He has nothing but meaninglessness in the universe. To quote Van Till again, he writes and I quote, “Over against this Christian theistic position, any non-Christian philosophy virtually denies the unity of truth. It may speak much of it and even seem to contend for it, as idealistic philosophers do, but in the last analysis non-Christian philosophy is atomistic. This follows from the absolute separation between truth and reality that was introduced when Adam and Eve fell away from God. When Satan tempted Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit he tried to persuade her that God’s announcement of the consequences of such an act would not come true. This was tantamount to saying that no assertion about a rational scheme could predict the course of movement of time-controlled reality. Reality, Satan practically urged man, was to be conceived of as something that is not under rational control. Every non-Christian philosophy makes the assumption made by Adam and Eve, and is therefore irrationalistic. This irrationalism comes to most consistent expression in various forms of empiricism and pragmatism. In them predication is frankly conceived of in atomistic terms.” There is no connection between logic and fact, between the mind of man and the outside world. And yet men wants reality, he wants to be able to function in this world. How does he answer this? [00:29:33]

I dealt with what the three major schools of philosophy...[edit]

I dealt with what the three major schools of philosophy have done with this problem yesterday, let me cite today a variation of these which is Marxism. Now Marxism has been faced with this same problem, and Lenin was very much aware of the problem of philosophy; of epistemology. After all, how could he go out and preach communism as the truth and demand that people follow this banner that they held aloft and say, this is the way, walk ye in it, when there could be no truth, when there could not even be the knowledge that there was anything outside of your mind, or that the other person existed, in terms of modern philosophy. And it was the philosophy of which Marx and Lenin were a part of, they belonged to that tradition. Well, Lenin in Materialism and Empirical Criticism wrote as follows, and I quote, “The naïve realism of any healthy person who is not an inmate of an insane asylum or in the school of the idealist philosophers consists in this, that he believes reality, the environment, and the things in it to exist independently of his perception. Independently of his conception of himself in particular, and of his fellow men in general. Our sensations, our consciousness, is only a representation of the outer world. But it is obvious that although a representation cannot exist without someone for whom it is a representation, the represented thing exists independently for whom it is a representation. The naïve belief of mankind is consciously taken by materialism as the basis for its theory of knowledge.” Now, what Lenin said here is, philosophically in terms of our epistemology, we cannot prove anything exists out there. But actually, no one but people in an insane asylum or some kooks like Christian scientists deny that there is a material world. So, while philosophically we cannot give an iota of evidence for it, we must say it is real. Well now philosophically we’ve proved it isn’t real. So how can we say it’s real? Well, we go on the basis of naïve realism. We say the naïve experience of the unsophisticated, unphilosophical man is truth. Of course this is a copout, isn’t it? You are denying precisely everything that you have maintained. You’ve worked hard to prove that there can be no God because there is no reality out there, none that has any essence, any pre-established pattern, there may be facts there, but they are brute facts; meaningless facts without any law, without any relation to each other. So after you’ve worked yourself in that bind, and you have the position of total impotence, what do you do? You say, we will go on the basis that naïve realism is true. We won’t rock the boat, we’ll say it’s out there. [00:33:42]

But they still take another position...[edit]

But they still take another position. The great premise of Hegel, and Karl Marx was a follower of Hegel, and {?} is a follower of Hegel. Now the principal of Hegel is simply this, truth, all we know is mind or logic, we don’t know this world of brute factuality, but let’s forget about that. Hegel’s great principle was, the rational is the real. The rational is the real. So Karl Marx said amen. Until now, he declared, this {?}. It has been the principle of philosophy to try to understand the world. That’s impossible. We will change the world, we will remake it. We will be the creators of the world. So the function of philosophy is not to raise intellectual questions, it is to create a revolution that will make the world in man’s image, in the image of man’s mind. So, what for me is logical, what for me is rational, is therefore the real. Now maybe it isn’t today but it’s going to be tomorrow. I’m going to make it the reality. Of course some of you may be familiar with one of the major leaders of the student revolution in recent years, he was very active on the floor of the Democratic convention not too long ago; Jerry Reubin, R-E-U-B-I-N. His book entitled Do It, it’s a good Hegelian book. And what does he say, for him this, in very crude naïve terms, is the reality, the rational is the real. And he says, we act out our fantasies and turn them into reality. Now that’s the premise of the student revolution. We act out our fantasies and turn them into realities. We want a perfect, let’s get on the march for it. We’ll make it, because we believe it. The power of positive thinking, ever heard of that? Norman Vincent Field probably never looked inside of Hegel. I’ve met the man, chatted with him, I wonder if he even knows Descartes, Berkley, Hume, and Kant’s works. But he’s a thorough going Kantian and Hegelian. A good first cousin to Karl Marx, even though he is politically very conservative by the way. Why? The power of positive thinking, the rational is the real, your thinking makes it so. [00:37:14]

I know some years ago I upset Karl Henry and the others...[edit]

I know some years ago I upset Karl Henry and the others that Christianity Today, because Doctor Kick made the mistake of, just before he left there, to ask me to review one of Field’s books. I had a lot of fun with it, especially the section about positive thinking helping you catch more fish. And it created quite an explosion on the part of Karl Henry, he was not happy about the review. And I was never asked to review another book by Christianity Today, which was just as well. But you see, the power of positive thinking is a product of this whole epistemological development. What we contend with every day, it’s a product of epistemology. What’s happened to the pulpit, it’s a product of this development. How much solid teaching is there, preaching in the pulpit, on the sovereignty of God, the doctrine of limited atonement, justification by sovereign grace, the implications of the doctrine of creation, and so on and on, the fundamental doctrines of Scripture, a lot of what you get is oriented to man. And a lot of it is really kind of self help psychology, you’re locked up in this world you see, locked up in it. And the mind of God and the Word of God are very {?} to it unless they say something about how I can live today and how I can feel today, and will there be something to make me feel good today. This is all closely related to the world of epistemology. [00:39:31]

Now Van Till, as he comments on the matter of brute...[edit]

Now Van Till, as he comments on the matter of brute factuality, and I quote, “It is impossible to reason on the basis of brute facts, everyone who reasons about facts comes to those facts with schematism into which he fits those facts. The real question therefore, is into whose scheme the facts will fit, as between Christianity and its opponents. The question is whether our claim that Christianity is the only framework into which the facts will fit is true, or not. Christianity complains that unless we presuppose the existence of God, in whom as the self-sufficient one, schematism and fact, fact and reason, apart from and prior to the existence to the world are co-terminate, we face the utterly unintelligible brute fact. Now one emphasis we are going to make before the course is over, is that there are no brute facts in the universe, because there are no brute facts for God. God does not confront anything in the universe that is alien to himself. Everything is totally his product, his creation, therefore totally absolutely under His law, a part of His eternal decree and counsel. Moreover, and we shall come to this point again, because it is so central, given the absolute sovereign predestinating God of Scripture, by whom all things were made, and without whom was not anything made that was made, the only kind of word such a kind of God can speak, is an infallible word. Now I cannot speak an infallible word. I do not have absolute control over all things. Therefore I cannot look a year ahead or two days ahead and tell you what’s going to happen, it’s not under my control. If I can predict, it is within very limited bounds that, Lord willing, I am going to be here through next week Friday. But even with regard to that I cannot speak absolutely with certainty, I may be dead before then. We have no way of speaking infallibly. Because factuality is not of our making or under our control. Moreover, man’s doings are of the Lord, how then can man know his own ways? I not only do not know the world around me, except partially, I do not know myself, my own potentialities. So my ability to predict, or to speak a certain word, is really an impossibility. But a God, who is absolute and sovereign, who has made all things, who knows all things, the only kind of word He can speak in is an infallible word. It is impossible for God to have any other kind of word. This is why all why non-Christian religions do not have a revelation, an infallible revelation. [00:44:04]

When our Lord appears to Saint John at Patmos, and...[edit]

When our Lord appears to Saint John at Patmos, and says, “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last,” he goes on to make a very remarkable statement of tremendous import. “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending,” says the Lord, “which is, and which was and which is to come, the Almighty.” And the last part, our Lord quoted in part an inscription, a very famous inscription from an Egyptian temple. Plutarch records that we have evidence of it from a number of sources, what did this temple say? The god of the temple said “I am, that which was and which is, and all languages shall come, and no man knows my name.” The whole emphasis there was on the unknowability of God. God is that which comes and develops with time, and therefore God himself doesn’t know what is in tomorrow. And then the sentence goes on, “And no man can {?} of the unknown.” Totally unknowable, no prediction possible. When Arius fought against the Orthodox Christians, the Song of Thalia which he invented as the creedal basis for Arianism. In my book, The Foundations of Social Order, I cite that song. The essence of it was that God was and is unknowable, because He is being which is developing and there are surprising in God’s being for Himself, so how can you name God because He may be the reverse tomorrow of what he is today. And Karl Barth, when he speaks about the freedom of God, and incidentally, he absolutely denied the idea of sovereignty and power of God. The freedom of God means that He can be different today from what He is today. So that maybe the Ten Commandments were fine for the Old Testament period, but perhaps we’re coming into a period where whatever God there is has another word, and thou shalt kill and thou shalt commit adultery might be a part of that other word. You have at best in Barth, if there is any God in Barth, mostly it’s the limiting kind, is limited, developing God. Now such a God can have no infallible word, so that it is only in the Bible that we have the claim that here is revelation, infallible revelation. Because only in the Word of God you have a God who is absolute and sovereign, and therefore, all things being totally in His hands and under His control, He can speak concerning all things, He is “He which was and which is and which is to come, the Almighty, the judge of all things”. Now we will return to this fact later, but we’re laying the groundwork now because it is of such central importance to the epistemology. We have a trustworthy God, therefore we have trustworthy revelation, we have a trustworthy universe which we can know. Now we don’t know it exhaustively, this is impossible for the mind of man. But remember, one of the very remarkable statements that the apostle John makes in his first epistle, in 1 John 2:20, “But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.” Know all things? I don’t know every fact, you don’t know every fact under the sun, we will never know. But, we know that in principle because God is true to Himself in His Being and in His creation, so that while our knowledge of God is not exhaustive, it is trustworthy. And our knowledge of the world is far from is exhaustive, it’s trustworthy. God is true to Himself. He doesn’t contradict Himself from one day to the next in the world of nature, or in history, or in His revelation, or in His being. Thus instead of beginning with brute facts, we begin with the absolute and sovereign God who gives us an infallible word, and we have trustworthy conclusions, trustworthy knowledge. [00:50:33]

Modern science is built on borrowed capital, it’s already...[edit]

Modern science is built on borrowed capital, it’s already been {?} Christian, and more specifically, modern science is Puritan, it’s not an accident that the Industrial Revolution, which was sparked by a great many inventions, began in England in Puritan soil, and developed so thoroughly in America on Puritan soil. Because it was the Reformed faith that undergirded the tremendous Industrial Revolution and the development of modern science, and without it, it was waning. Because when you have world of brute factuality, as Van Till said, “the addition of a million zeros will still produce only zero.” This is the world of brute factuality. It adds up to a big zero. [00:51:43]

Now before we conclude, briefly, tomorrow we shall...[edit]

Now before we conclude, briefly, tomorrow we shall go into the matter of faith and factuality; faith and presuppositions. Facts and presuppositions were our concern today. But tomorrow we’ll deal more specifically with faith and knowledge, faith and its significance philosophically is developed by one of the greatest philosophers of the Church, a man who had a profound influence on the Reformed thinkers, Saint Anselm. Perhaps some of you may want to do your paper on Anselm. Now a few more hints with regard to your papers I indicated, I do want you, when you do your paper, to read at least one of these two books, Van Till’s A Christian Theory of Knowledge, or his A Survey of Christian Epistemology. If you want to do it on Van Till, you must read both of these works on epistemology. Then I deal with Van Till’s epistemology in my By What Standard. You can follow some of the leads of Van Till’s chapters to determine the area you might pick. We dealt with Camus yesterday, you might analyze Camus from the standpoint of a Reformed epistemology. Or study Saint Anselm. We will some of the {?} of Justin Martyr in his thinking. And various others. So give it some thoughts between now and the first week. We have time for just a couple of questions I believe. No questions? [00:53:38]

[Audience member] You said something right at first...[edit]

[Audience member] You said something right at first, but the fact that starting from different presuppositions {?} there will be no great {?} for it {?}. Frances Schaeffer criticizes Van Till, {?} Van Till assumed that {?}

[Rushdoony] Yes, there are inconsistencies, but in terms of Van Till, we do not find the common ground in terms of the inconsistencies because what governs a person is not his inconsistency but his basic faith. The common ground rests in the fact that all man are created by God, and therefore have the inescapable witness of God in every fiber of their being. So we push them in terms of their presuppositions and we have a basis of appeal on the fact that they are God’s creatures. Yes?

[Audience member] I don’t know how long ago this was, but Chicago, Dr. Montgomery down at Trinity {?} They seemed to use facts an awful lot to the point {?} seems to have a case going {?} awful lot of facts {?}

[Rushdoony] John Warwick Montgomery believes that the facts are there for everybody and all you have to do is to prove the resurrection and he has a pamphlet out that {?} put out, prove to people that the resurrection actually happened, and they will become Christian. In other words, he’s going to save them by knowledge, which I do not believe is possible. And how are you going to get a scientific team to be able to go back to Jerusalem and examine the facts of the resurrection as they occurred on Resurrection Day. So, while we believe the evidence for the resurrection is real, we believe it because first of all we have faith in God. Now, when you came to a knowledge of the faith, you came as of a {?} person, there was a great deal perhaps that at first you did not believe in the Bible. But as you grew in faith, because your presupposition was in a sovereign God, all these things fell into place. You believe them. Well, the bell has rung. Well, if these are brief questions, let’s take about two minutes. [00:56:46]

[Audience member] You quoted your professor talking...[edit]

[Audience member] You quoted your professor talking about Arianism, he made a mistake, he should have stuck with the universe, the existence of the universe. If you do this you won’t run into this problem. I don’t understand how he could live with himself if he already admitted that he had to have this false presupposition for his system to make sense even to himself.

[Rushdoony] Well of course that is the sinner’s problem. That is why we have a crisis today, the sinner is having trouble living with himself.

[Audience member] But this man apparently recognizes his own problem.

[Audience member] And yet he’s going to insist on studying man.

[Rushdoony] Right. He was taking Lenin’s perspective, I can’t prove a thing, but I’m going to make my fate this. Anything as long as God is not allowed in. Yes, very quickly.

[Audience member] You said earlier that there {?} an unbeliever cannot distinguish between a cucumber and a

[Rushdoony] An egg. This was the Boers way of summarizing Van Till.

[Audience member] Well, do you believe an unbeliever couldn’t distinguish between a cucumber and an egg?

[Rushdoony] Practically he does because he’s still God’s creature. But theoretically he has no way of distinguishing them. In fact, he doesn’t even know if they exist, you see, that’s the point. Of course he knows, when he looks at an egg and a cucumber what they are. But he cannot prove that there is a real egg and a real cucumber out there or what the difference is because for him there is no possible way of saying there is any order, any differentiation in the universe. That’s his problem, it’s theoretical. Practically he knows, but theoretically he denies it if he’s consistent.

[Tape ends]