Apologetics - II - RR103A2
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(Introductory Speaker)….Thee for this day that thou hast given to us, we thank Thee for this further occasion of further study. For this special opportunity of having this visitor with us. We pray Thy blessing upon him that he may be granted insight from Thy Word as he speaks to us concerning this matter of Apologetics. And that Thou wilt guide and direct us and help us in all things to submit our minds and our thinking and our actions to Thy Word. And we ask it in Christ’s name, Amen
One thing I wanted to mention in opening with the class today was, Dr. Rushdoony, one of the questions I think that I have the greatest trouble in answering students is the question that you had put to you last time is the matter of, if we really believe in the inability of the unregenerate mind, it’s not the same as our mind, how can we appeal to it? That’s the question that there is a great deal of difficulty with, I think if you could elaborate on that for half of the starting point, and then go on with however you’d like to conduct the class then.
The question basically has to do with common ground. What common ground is there between the unregenerate man, and the regenerate man?
Now in terms of what Scripture teaches us, and very definitely in terms of what St. Paul declares after Moses, in the Song of Moses, Romans 1:18 following. The natural man, every man, knows the things of God visible and invisible. That God is the maker of all things. And he hold this truth, he suppresses it in unrighteousness. Everything in him witnesses to the truth. So that when you speak, though he resist you because of his sin, he still knows that you are telling the truth.
One of the fundamental principles of Apologetics that we must hold to is the noetic effect of sin. Now in the Aristotelian, Hellenic scholastic tradition, it is held that the mind of man is not tainted or affected by the fall. So that the mind of man can reason impartially and objectively in terms of all facts that are given. As Christians, we cannot hold to this without denying the faith. We must hold that the fall of man, that sin has tainted every aspect of his being. So that man as thinker refuses, absolutely refuses, to think as he should. His mind is depraved. It is twisted. So he rejects that thinking which leads to God. He suppresses the evidence in his own being that points to the Lord.
However, and this is the catastrophe for natural man, the only kind of thinking that brings a focus to his being is that which points to the Lord.
Let me illustrate with a very homely illustration.
My son had some car trouble not too long ago, and had a new motor put in his car. He is a student, he’s working his own way through college. He’s in his first year, he works four nights a week from eleven o’clock at night to seven in the morning at a grocery store, goes from there to class, so he is working hard, and getting good grades.
So, he got this new motor, and the car just did not work. It would sputter and cough and choke, it wouldn’t go anywhere. Well, when we drove back to the shop with it, they lifted up the hood and looked at it. It was obvious that whoever had assembled that new motor prior to its installation, must have had a few drinks. Because they had put the wrong carburetor for the wrong car on his car. Naturally, it didn’t work. [00:05:51]
Now this is the way the mind of the natural man functions
Now this is the way the mind of the natural man functions. Sin has deformed it. It cannot function properly. But when he thinks in terms of Scriptural thinking, suddenly everything works. It purrs. And the natural man knows this. And so when he resists, he is resisting everything that points to God. Everything that points to his own health. This is why, in one of the greatest texts of Scripture I think, one of the most powerful, Our Lord, speaking as wisdom, long before his incarnation, in Proverbs 8:36 said, by me kings reign. All they that hate me love death. He that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul. All they that hate me love death.
So that, the natural man, when he rejects the witness of the Gospel, is rejecting life. He is choosing death, he is wronging his own soul, he is unable to function. Everything in him, therefore, witnesses in your behalf. So that the proper Apologetic approach is not a rationalistic one, it is in terms of the whole counsel of God, it is in terms of the kind Apologetics that Van til has developed. You cut out the ground from under him. You demonstrate to him that his mind, his being could only function in the terms of the Law of God.
(Audience) When you think in terms of Scripture, then you work properly. But he has the natural ability to think in terms of Scripture. Can the natural man do this?
(Dr. Rushdoony) Ah yes. I don’t like the term ‘natural man’. I don’t think it’s biblical, really. ‘Fallen man’. The natural man was the man God created. Sin is not natural; sin is a deformation of man. God created man wholly good. Sin comes in as a deformation, and we are restored by God’s grace to that estate in which we were created. And we find the fulfillment of that in the new creation, you see. But the fallen man, yes. [00:08:55]
Dr. Rushdoony, in this Dr. Van Til uses the idea of a saw that’s set wrong, that cuts wrong, but it does have noetic effect of sin, affected his logic. This is a thing that maybe doesn’t come through clearly in some of his writings.
Yes. He does go into that at one point, where he deals with the laws of contradiction and so on.
It has affected his logic, because, as he develops his logic, he develops it in terms of his own autonomy and his sovereignty. The Aristotelian laws of logic presuppose the natural man as the ultimate judge. So that, the law of contradiction in terms of Aristotle says in effect, what my net catch does not catch is not fish. What I say is a contradiction is a contradiction. You see.
And we must not be bound by the Aristotelian laws of logic, because the Aristotelian laws of logic presuppose the autonomy of natural man, ah, fallen man, as judge, as god. As his own principle of ultimacy. Now, Carnell, of course, is emphatic on using the Aristotelian laws of logic and he says, bring on your revelations, if they do not meet the standard of Aristotle’s logic then we will have none of them. But, he says, they pass. Oh, but says another Aristotelian who isn’t a Christian, I say they don’t pass. And my mind is just as ultimate as your mind. And where are you?
I’m having some problems with maybe ..(?).. words you’re using, when you say it doesn’t function, do you mean it can’t function ….(?) …. chemically. Or are you saying the result of its functioning are wrong?
Let’s say it malfunctions. Now, my son’s car was sputtering and going along. But it was not functioning in any true sense. So the fallen man is able to function in the sense that he works, he thinks, he produces the science, he invents, does some very remarkable things which is a witness to the fact that he is made in the image of God. But in spite of all this, he continually frustrates himself. And he denies the validity of what he does. We will deal with Einstein denying the validity of what he has done, this afternoon at four o’clock in Epistemology. He has to, logically you see. He cannot say that there is a truth apart from man. Well that’s not functioning properly. If you discover something of very great importance, and then say, but it isn’t true because it can’t be true, otherwise there’s a God.
So we’re talking about spiritual matters.
No. We’re talking about matters of science. Einstein had no concern with spiritual matters. But Einstein could not say that the work he did was true. He had to say it was false.
But still, behind this is a spiritual aspect. …(?)…. The scientific realm until he got to the part where he says, well, here. ….(?)…. For him to reach the point where he says there must be a God, he says, well no this is not true. So (?) scientifically (?) so behind this is a spiritual aspect.
(Dr. Rushdoony) Yes, yes. You’re right. Up to a point he functions on the assumption there is a God, there is a truth, to nature a law in nature, a God given order. But when he comes to the point where he must say, indeed there is an order and that’s why I can produce scientifically valid work, he says there is no order, there is no God, I have done nothing, it’s all a work of the imagination. It has no truth.
This is, I think, the reaction of ..(?).. Is it not? She is reacting somewhat to this precept of saying …(?)… I don’t see that. In a spiritual sense, no. …(?)… but in the physical realm, I think it’s science, and is a (?) activity..(?)… [00:14:15]
They are good, but they are built on presuppositions he cannot have. I’m glad you mention Ian Rand. Because Ian Rand, you see, begins with the self, the ego, that’s her basic premise. But she calls her philosophy objectivism, why? Because she knows the epistemological problem we’ve been talking about in the Epistemology class. I don’t know whether, you’re not, are you? Well, we’ve been dealing with the epistemological problem, the inability of man to demonstrate in terms of his unbelief that there is a real world outside of his mind. He cannot prove it without admitting there is a God. Because then he would have to say there is a pre-established order, a pattern in the universe, a God given eternal decree. So the natural man in terms of epistemology denies all this. And he would rather say there is no order, I don’t know whether the outside world really exists, I can’t prove it intellectually. There’s only brute factuality, in order to deny God. And yesterday in the Epistemology class I quoted (Latamere Lenning?) the Marxist. And Lenning, of course, as a modern philosopher and epistemologist who is in this tradition, does not want to admit that there is a real world out here, with order and law in it, because then he would have to admit God. Of course, he says, nobody except some kooks, like the Christian scientists or somebody in an insane asylum, will deny that there is a real world out there. But we cannot prove it, in terms of our atheistic premises. So what will we do? We will operate on the premise of naïve realism. We will take it by faith.
Plato, for example.
Well, yes, in a sense, Plato posited on faith, a realm of ideas and universals and a realm of matter. On faith. So they took, instead of God on faith, the material world on faith. Lenning and Plato. They cannot account for the world. They cannot account for it. So they either deny it’s there, or say we’ll accept it in terms of naïve realism.
Oh yes. The noetic effect of sin, and I have a section on this in my book, The One And The Many, this is a little plug, is this. The effect upon knowledge of man’s fall. In the Hellenic-Aristotelian scholastic Armenian tradition, man’s mind, and sometimes man’s will, with a few thinkers, has not been affected by the Fall. The rest of man has been. But his reason is immune to the Fall. Therefore he can think just as good since the Fall, as before the Fall. And therefore if you present man with the right kind of reasons, you’ll make a Christian out of him in effect. In other words, he can be saved by knowledge. This is what it amounts to. We will be dealing with this point precisely in Epistemology this afternoon. Faith and knowledge. Now, faith and knowledge in terms of Scripture are inseparable. But no man is saved by knowledge. No man is saved by reason. Man’s reason is as Fallen as the rest of him, in fact man’s reason is at work to subvert the knowledge of God, to hold it down, to deny it, to suppress it. So, this is what the noetic effect of sin means. The fact that knowledge is tainted. That knowledge is perverted by the fact of man’s Fall. if you deny that sin has a noetic effect, you’re saying, in the Aristotelian-Tomistic tradition, that sin has not hurt man’s reasoning, and that man can reason just as clearly when he is Fallen as before his Fall.
Noetic is spelled N O E T I C.
Periodically you hear people say that the human responsibility and the (?) of God run in parallel lines, and cannot be brought together. (?) by what standard (?) Christ co-existing at the same time within the framework of God being the creator. Can you elaborate on that a little more?
Yes. That’s a good question, and a very important one for us to understand. The greatest statement of this is in the West Minster Confession of Faith on God’s Eternal Decree. Now, God is the first clause. God also has primary and absolute freedom. Everything that God possesses is absolute. This is why, because God is God. He predestines all things that come to past. Now man is created in the image of God. He is the image-bearer. Man is a secondary cause. Not primary. Man has a secondary freedom. The freedom of a creature. Now, I do not have the freedom to say, go to now, next year I think I shall be twenty-nine again. I don’t have that freedom. Nor do I have the freedom to say, or to have said, I would like to be born at such and such a time, or to postpone my life since I don’t like the prospect for the next couple of years, and step back into the picture at such and such a time. Or, why wasn’t I born into a millionaire family? It would have solved a lot of problems for me. You get the point.
I can’t do those things. There is a whole world of things I cannot do. Now this no inhibition on my freedom, is it? Do you feel inhibited and un-free and a slave because you cannot be sixteen again? If you would ask my wife, she would also tell you that I’m no plumber. It’s a problem if anything goes wrong with the plumbing. A real problem. It’s an expensive problem, because we call someone in.
I’m not free to do a lot of things that I would rather do, than pay somebody else to do. I am free to be only what God created me to be. It’s a secondary freedom, there’s no violence upon me, you see. Now if you were to tell me, quit speaking now, I’m full gone, and tell me you’re tired of hearing what I’m saying and you don’t agree with me, this would be an imposition upon my freedom because I want to speak. But I am free to that which God created me to do. And even though everything that I am, he predestined the very hairs on my head. There is no violence done to me, I am free to be that which I was created to be. I have responsibility. I have a moral accountability. Now there is a mystery here, and will never understand it unless we have the mind of God, which we will never have. But the fact is that mine is a secondary causality and a secondary freedom, and the only way you can have any kind of freedom on the Created area, is on a secondary basis.
To illustrate, Greek philosophy could not expect this. Greek philosophy held to a very different picture. It believed that man was his own god. And as a result, Greek philosophy set out to exult the man god. Of primary freedom. Primary freedom as essential to him.
And the thesis of Greek philosophy was know thyself. Not no god, but know thyself, after all if you are god, then the most important thing for you to do is to study yourself. But the tragedy of Greek thought was that it ended up with total pessimism and cynicism and despair. Because man very quickly felt that, well here I am, the free god, the lord of creation. God over all. But my environment limits me. So I’m not entirely free. The stars, because they came to believe in astrology, limit me, my hereditary limits me, my wife limits me, my children limit me. Now, I’m not joking. This is the way they began to think, so there was nothing but pessimism and cynicism and despair. [00:26:23]
There’s a very interesting book on this subject, contrasting
There’s a very interesting book on this subject, contrasting these two. It’s written by a man who’s not a Christian, he’s a classical scholar, I think he died recently. Charles Norris Cochrane. Christian And Classical Culture. It’s now available in an Oxford university paperback for two forty-five. The book may be in your library. Charles Norris Cochrane. Christianity And Classical Culture. It’s quite a remarkable book, because what this scholar does, is to say, here’s a strange thing. When the Church fathers came to do battle with the philosophers of Greece and Rome, the philosophers of Greece and Rome were defending the freedom of man, the Church fathers were defending the freedom of God and were saying that man is totally predestined by God. And, he said, what happened? As it wound up, it was these men who were producing free men who were standing up to the world, and these men who were winding up saying man is nothing but a slave. And it all began by exalting man to the place of God, and here, only when man was put under the predestination of God and made a secondary cause, and given a secondary freedom, that he had any freedom at all. And that’s what they want. So, as he traces the matter intellectually, he says, it’s no wonder the Christians won, they were the only ones with a doctrine of freedom. They had a doctrine of freedom because they believed in predestination. Now if you want a good popular statement of that, concerning what’s happened since the Reformation, Betner’s Reformed Doctrine of Predestination gives you a good statement.
But here you have it philosophically represented by a brilliant classical scholar.
I don’t want to go off on a wild tangent, but briefly, tell me, what your reply would be to someone saying predestination …(?)…
Yes. I would say, on the contrary, it makes him a free man, and your attitude makes man into nothing. Because when man tries to be that which he is not, the first cause in the universe, his own god, it’s a pretension that is the same as insanity. So when you tell me that you are not predestined by the absolute God, you are saying that you are sovereign. And I say, that if you feel that you are god, you belong in an institution.
You see, I’m not asking that you be snotty to people, unless they get impertinent. And then pin their ears back. Do it kindly and firmly, but tell them off. We must get over the idea that we are going to bring people into the Kingdom of God by being nice. It’s not niceness that wins people to Christ. It’s the Holy Spirit.
One of the first things I learned in the ministry, which was a tremendous blow to my ego, and then a tremendous comfort to me, I had a situation where this one family called me in, they had a problem with their daughter. And they asked for my counsel, and they were ready to follow it, they were desperate. And everything I counseled backfired. It was one mess after another; I can’t begin to tell you what a horrible series of blunders it was. I thought the counsel was good, it was the kind of counsel I’d given again and again, I thought it was good, Godly counsel, but everything backfired. Everything turned out horribly, monstrously wrong. The ironic part of it was that out of that horrible mess, that I just don’t want to get into, it’s painful to recall now twenty years or more later, but the girl is a Christian, and the parents became Christians almost immediately, and all I could say was that it was of the Holy Spirit. But, you know, that was a tremendous lesson to me, because I was in so many other situations that I felt I’d really contributed my nickels-worth. Well, every nickels-worth that I contributed in that case was a slug.
So, just proceed in terms of the Word of God, and a plain spoken reckoning with the realities of the situation. The Holy Spirit is going to do it, not you.
Along this line, I think there has been a hesitation, in any ?, to bring up the subject of the sovereignty of God because it’s vintage, to ….?…. to Him. And the idea has been, well, I don’t want to offend Him. Yet this is the very heart of the presentation. And our defense is the same. That God is self-sufficient, and their reaction and (?) to that, is only that which the Fallen creature will do. And to me, of course I’ve just come to the Reformed faith in the last few years, and it was offensive to me. But when I saw who God was, I mean, it made a difference, and I’ve noticed, in my evangelism, presuming God is sovereign, that people have come to know Christ in a genuine conversion through the Holy Spirit. It may be that even after I talked to them, and they went at it, and they went back and studied it, and found out who God really was.
Right. Whit, you are so right, we must always begin with the sovereignty of God. Because if we don’t, we are really falsifying the picture. And, of course it’s offensive to them. I’m a Christian to whom the doctrine is very clear. But I still must confess, because I’m far, far from perfectly sanctified. There’re times when it’s offensive to me, when I’d like to nudge God a little bit and say, couldn’t you let me run things for about five minutes? I could straighten out a lot of things.
That’s the sinful urge in me. But with regard to the sovereignty of God, if I may take a little time to tell you a couple of incidences, we can go from Apologetics to witnessing. When I first went to the mission field, after finishing seminary, to an Indian reservation, the most isolated reservation in those days in the country, a hundred miles from any paved road in those days, there’s a paved road in there now. I was the only missionary in the area, and as a result, I had more funerals in those eight and a half years than most ministers have in a lifetime. I had, I think, five hundred some funerals. Every Indian, every rancher, I helped lay out the bodies, and stored them often in the house until we could take care of them and shovel them under. Had everything to do, besides performing the service. And I called on hundreds of hundreds of people who were sick and dying. Well, I believed in predestination, but it was something of a problem. It’s a knotty, hard doctrine to talk about. That was my attitude. But I found as I was dealing with the sick and dying, that it was the only doctrine, ultimately, that I could talk about. Because as they asked me about why, why am I going through this long period of agony and suffering. Why is this happening to me? I could only appeal, and the only argument that made sense, was the sovereignty of God. His eternal decree. And Romans eight twenty-eight.
That’s why I was so deeply, deeply, deeply grieved by that horrible Arminian article in The Journal, not too long ago, on Romans 8:28. And I am very happy, and it’s a witness to the Church, that they had more letters of protest about that article than any other article they’ve every published. Thanks be to God. [00:36:11]
Any rate. So I was telling them, I don’t know the reason for it, you can’t feel it as joy, but we are told in Scripture that we can count it all joy. Why? Because God makes all things work together for good to them that love him. To them who are the called according to His purpose. So I said, you may not know why in time, or you may. But you will surely know an eternity, the purpose for it, and you will see, since the very hairs of your head are all numbered, there’s nothing purposeless. Well, the joy they felt at knowing it wasn’t senseless, you see, they were suffering, but their suffering would have been twice as great if it were meaningless, if it were senseless. If it were pointless. But know that in the providence of God it was going to add up to good, that was joy. And I understood why Calvin said it was for the comfort of the saints, this doctrine. [00:37:25]
The other incident was a very dramatic one
The other incident was a very dramatic one. I went to the hospital, I was told that there was this woman, a very wealthy woman, a spoiled woman, was dying. Somebody ought to witness to her before she died. So I went there, it was to a Catholic hospital, and the sisters were very co-operative always with me. And I was told she was in a coma. But I had learned by that time, people who were in a coma very often are still able to hear. I’ve had enough of them recover and tell me so. So I went in, and I read some Scripture, and I said, I don’t know whether you can hear me or not, but this is what the Word of God declares, and this is the way of salvation. And I prayed and left. A time or two her eyes flickered open. I went back the next day, and she was in bed, sitting up, ready to greet me. She knew I’d been there, and she said as she heard me pray she knew the Lord was going to hear. Well, within a week, the only problem that was keeping her from going home was that there was no one to take care of her when she went home. And as soon as they found a companion and a nurse, she was to go home. So I was reading some other passage of Scripture, and I don’t recall what it was, and it had to deal with the sovereignty of God. And she objected to it. And I tried to explain it to her, and she said, I don’t like that. Do you mean to say that God could have healed me, and could have said no to me? And I said, of course. God can say no to us in-spite of anything we may want. She said, well I don’t like that kind of a God. And I said, there is no other God. And she turned her face to the wall and wouldn’t listen to me anymore. So I left, I came back the next day, she was in a coma, and dead by night. It was that dramatic.
It is a remarkable doctrine. It’s something we’ve got to promote first and last, because people can experience a lot of things, they like what they get from the Lord, but they haven’t taken the Lord, just his gifts. And the doctrine separates the wheat from the chaff.
And this is the part that ? bothers me. The comfort of the saints first came when you spoke of that, that is huge, but the second lady and others who are laying dying, and you know that the Word has come to them time and time again through the years, with no effect. How do you go to that, to those persons and you offer again Christ, and there is no response. And this lady, I presume, had turned her back…
Oh, she died unregenerate, there isn’t the slightest doubt in my mind, and I think, particularly guilty before God because she had been really, miraculously, snatched back from the grave for a time. Well, the thing is, the results are not ours to worry about, the duty is ours. And I think one of the weaknesses we have is, we feel we have failed if we haven’t won everybody we witness to. And that’s not our business. So whether it’s in Apologetics, or in evangelism, whether it’s from the pulpit or whether it’s on a campus, you make your witness in terms of the sovereign God and His Word. And you leave the results to God. That’s His province. Not ours. It isn’t that you have failed, it is what God has determined.
Do you think it for …(?)… do the Arminians have a different god, (?) they don’t declare God is the really, the absolute God? (?) perspective of those people who do acknowledge Christ, in other words, they believe on a Christ, ? salvation, yet they don’t believe in the God that we believe. Is that saying they aren’t really, you know, regenerate or not? ?
Well, of course, by their fruits shall ye know them, but in many of these cases, well I could name someone who, well, to cite an example, some years ago in a California city, I had the misfortune, I had to take part in the (ministerial?) association, I didn’t want any association with them, but it was a part of the requirement when I first went to that church that I was to try to co-operate for a while. So. I was made President of the ministerial association, and there was this city-wide campaign, and it was a horrible thing, I won’t go into the evangelist, he has since died, and it was a mess from start to finish in terms of the financial operation and so on. But, I made a study of the, all those who came forward. And followed through in all the churches that they had gone to, or had any connection with. And it was an Arminian campaign, and what we saw, was these were people who went forward every time there was an evangelist that came into the community, some of them, say, ten or fifteen times. I don’t think they were ever saved. [00:43:46]
Now, there are people who, at this point, schizophrenic
Now, there are people who, at this point, schizophrenic. Now, Wesleyanism. There’s no question that Wesleyan theology is humanistic, at critical points. There’s no question in my mind that John Wesley had some horrible, horrible things to say, he was so hostile to the doctrine of the sovereignty of God and predestination. And you can read the debates there, Augustus Toplady who wrote Rock of Ages, was the great opponent of Wesley. Incidentally, there’s a marvelous, marvelous story about Toplady. Once when he was preaching the sovereignty of God in South Asia. And one woman collared him after the, I believe it was a woman, after the meeting and said, Mr. Toplady, do you mean to tell that if you were God, you would send people to hell, just because you had decided before all eternity that they were going to hell. Would you do that? Would you be a merciful god if you did a thing like that? And he said, madam, when I am God, then I will tell you.
Now, all the same, the interesting thing is that the sovereignty of God is in Charles Wesley’s hymn. So there is a deep cleavage there, in original Wesleyanism. But, the fact is, that in methodism it has gone to seed in the social gospel. The humanism has come to the fore. And in Wesleyan fundamentalism the whole emphasis is on the salvation of man. Now that’s humanism. And if your preaching is primarily geared to the saving of men, you’re putting your emphasis in the wrong place. It has to be primarily on the sovereignty of God. Secondarily on man. And I think that will give you more zeal, and far more power in your ministry.
I just thought of something. In regards to Romans eight twenty-eight, how does the Armenians, (?) you say what they’re saying is supposed to be (?), and yet …(?)….
Well, he’s very inconsistent. As I believe it was Warfield, said long ago, every Christian who prays believes in the sovereignty of God when he prays. Otherwise he would not pray.
If you could give me one more word on the first question that (?)
Surely. That’s a basic one here today.
(Audience) (?) I cannot understand about that point, the point that he’s talking about, (?) starting point. People that are Christian but not Christian. And I know that it’s not (?)… it’s difficult …(?)…
Yes. The starting point. What is the starting point? Well, the scholastic philosophers says the common ground, the starting point with the natural man is reason. You appeal to his reason. The implication of that is then reason is the means of salvation. Which we cannot accept Scripturally. That’s impossible. Utterly impossible. Now, there are others who say that the starting point is to appeal to the self-interest of man. Now in the economic sphere there have been some who have built a doctrine of economic and political salvation on the concept of self-interest. And in the religious sphere there are those who built a whole doctrine of psychological salvation, that is man being saved because psychologically every person has an impulse to wholeness. To health. This is their thesis. And therefore by appealing to their self-interest to develop themselves, and Christ is the means to their development. You can redeem them. So you say, this is the common ground. And we can go on and list means of establishing a common ground or a starting point. But what Van til says the only common ground is that God is our creator. And he has made all things. So that when I talk to you, I’m not talking to someone who has no connection with God. The one thing that ties us both together, supposing we were total enemies, totally alien to each other, totally hostile, we’re still bound by the fact that we’re both made in the image of God. That God’s law is written on the fibers of our being. And that we can, as we talk to each other, have that as our starting point. That God made us. That God’s law, his being, everything about Him is witnessed to in every fiber of our being. So that the knowledge of God is inescapable knowledge. We’re suppressing it, we’re holding it down in unrighteousness. So, what Van Til says is, we must bring men to epistemological self-consciousness. We must make them aware of that fact in them. The stones shall cry out, even the stones, Our Lord said. [00:50:45]
And St. Paul declares that the creation is so totally God’s, that the very creation around us, underneath us, groans and travails, waiting for our redemption. For the new creation. Now of course some say that’s impossible, but if the ground beneath my feet responds in the terms of gravity, it certainly responds in terms of God’s Word here. And if the flower turns when I put it near the window, it doesn’t show its flower to me, it shows it to the sun, I keep turning the pot around and the flower keeps turning the other way from me. I want to see it, but it turns the sun. The whole creation, everything in you and me and the unregenerate man in spite of himself, turns to God. And it requires everything in man to hold it down in unrighteousness.
Now when the unrighteous forsake the Lord, what happens? It’s not that they just leave God, and they have everything else. The greatest poem here that illustrates this point, which is Scriptural, which St. Augustine developed in the first book of his confession, and which then a great Catholic poet developed in one of the perhaps greatest single Christian poem ever written. Francis Thompson. The Hound of Heaven. How many of you know it? Good, I’m glad that a fair number of you do. And what Francis Thompson does there is to describe his own experience. I have fled Him down the nights and down the days and down the labyrinthine arches of the years. And he describes himself forever hiding, running away from God. And everywhere he feels God pursuing him. He tries to find refuge in friends, but everything in the world of nature, of friends, of man, of children, of the dust under his feet, witnesses to God. So that the witness of God is everywhere. All things betray thee when thou betrayest me. So, when man denies God ultimately he denies the whole world. So the picture of hell that we have in Scripture is very important. Very important. Hell is total isolation, there is no community in Hell. When you deny God you also deny the world of friends and of man and of people. You live in an existential world, you are your own universe. There’s no one else. There is weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, and gnawing of worms, the fire. What does that all signify? That’s imagery for total isolation, the burning of conscience, the total gnawing of guilt, so that man in Hell is totally, eternally alone. Having abandoned God, he’s abandoned all things. All things. He is his own god, his own world, forever.
C.S. Lewis has a good sentence, I believe it’s in The Great Divorce, in which he says, Heaven is the habitation of those who say to God, Thy will be done. Hell is the habitation of those to whom God says, thy will be done.
What are your views on the ..(?)..
Well, I’m trying to phrase them without being profane. I believe in literal six-day creationism. I see no ground exegetically saying anything but that it’s a twenty-four hour day. Now I have fairly close contact with the men who put out the Creation Research Journal. Are you familiar with that? It’s put out by a group of scientist, founded by Dr. Walter Lambert, a geneticist formerly at the University of California of Los Angeles, and then chief of research for the Germaine laboratory. And here is a man who has won eleven international prizes in genetics. He’s a top man in the field. And the interesting thing is he says, it is impossible, absolutely impossible, it has to be six days, a sudden dramatic thing. There is no other way for accounting for it.
If I may just take one minute more, a couple of years ago I had the privilege of having very close contact with a research scientist for the Rocketdyne Rocket company, Rocketdyne Inc. He is now working on a federal grant, the whole purpose of which is to study the origin of the oceans, which he says took place almost overnight with the Flood. And he has produced such dramatic evidence of it, and he holds the six day creationism that Script’s laboratory, and a number of the top scientific agencies, have asked the federal government, which has given it, a big grant to enable him to pursue his research. And he says it is impossible to account for anything except in terms of something happening dramatically, as Scripture describes. He was not a Christian a few years ago.
(Audience) We have the Journal in our library too.
It is well worth reading. [00:57:09]