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The Function of Philosophy and Theology

Scott_OliphintI came across what seems like a simple question “Logic to interpret Scripture or Scripture to interpret logic?” The question on its face seems simple. The question makes some poor assumptions and therefore while simple in form, it’s simplicity exposes poor thinking. In the assumptions that are given, it poses logic against Scripture. From the questioner’s point of view, when you are interpreting one, you are therefore not using the other. I want to use their terms to illustrate the problem with the question.

When you use your logic to interpret Scripture. It is therefore by implication that Scripture therefore cannot at the same time interpret your logic. When you are using logic to interpret Scripture, what you are doing in reality, is using your thinking and rationalizing to determine if something is true or false.

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The Failure of Philosophy is God’s Wrath Manifested

cornelius-van-til-01Reading through Bahnsen’s book Van Til’s Apologetic. If you have been wanting to dive into Van Til, wanting to get into a deeper understanding of Presuppositional Apologetics, or if you are into philosophy and want to view some of the challenges of history through a Reformed lens, this book is a must read. Van Til’s Apologetic is definitely technical and at times you may be reminding yourself of previous terms already defined. However, Van Til has a way of saying the same thing 30 different ways. If you don’t understand what his point is initially, stick with it and he’ll get it to sink in eventually.

One of the interesting sections is in the section “The Epistemological Failure of Unbelief” which is in chapter 5 “The Apologetical Side of Epistemology”. In the section “The Epistemological Failure of Unbelief” there is a section of interest to me “The Condemning Testimony of the History of Philosophy”. Van Til here writes: “Has not the whole of the history of human philosophy shown that if the ‘facts’ of the world were not created and controlled by the redemptive providence of God, they would be utterly discrete and therefore undiscoverable? Has not the whole history of philosophy also shown that when man regards his logical powers as positively legislative for reality, he winds himself into a knot of contradictions? Has not the history of thought displayed the fact that if man takes the laws of logic as negatively legislative with respect to the facts with which they deal, then his logic and his reality stand over against one another in an absolute contrast, or else, when they do come into contact, they immediately destroy one another?” (403) (more…)