In the conflict which nowadays rages on all sides, and which is frequently represented as a conflict between science and faith, physics and theology, the principal difference, therefore, does not concern the question, What is nature? but rather this other one, What is God? If possible, this will be still more clearly seen if we call attention finally to the problem of motion. Nothing proves more clearly that this problem cannot be solved than the fact that philosophy throughout the ages and among all nations and down to the present day divides itself into two tendencies. With Zeno, “becoming” is sacrificed to “being,” or with Heraclitus, “being” to “becoming.” In point of fact, we can spare neither, for “becoming” presupposes “being.” There can be no question of change if there is no identity and continuity of the subject. But monism cannot accept this differentiation, endeavors to reduce motion to rest or rest to motion, and thus once again sacrifices the facts of reality to a play of ideas. And by this endeavor it gets, at every subordinate point which is raised by the problem of motion, in an impasse which has no outlet.
– Herman Bavinck, The Philosophy of Revelation: The Stone Lectures for 1908-1909, Princeton Theological Seminary (New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1908), 96-97. (Read online at Google Books or Internet Archive.)
Monism does not exist here, and if it nevertheless be sought here, it can bring us nothing but confusion. Eternity and time, immensity and space, do not differ quantitatively but qualitatively. And since the words “absolute,” “eternal,” “immense,” “infinite,” are predicates, and, when substantivized, form only empty abstractions, they presuppose a transcendent subject, differentiated from the world, to whom they belong. That is to say, physical science, which thinks through its own conceptions, and fathoms its own nature, issues in metaphysics and rises straight to God.
– Herman Bavinck, The Philosophy of Revelation: The Stone Lectures for 1908-1909, Princeton Theological Seminary (New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1908), 90. (Read online at Google Books or Internet Archive.)
No-human being can escape making an assumption about the nature of possibility at the outset of his investigation. All men have a priori assumptions in terms of which they approach the facts that confront them. The Christian frankly admits that his a priori is the assumption of the existence of the ontological Trinity, the temporal fiat creation of the universe, and man’s creation in the image of God. The non-Christian has a different sort of a priori. Every non-Christian has an a priori. And the a priori of every non-Christian is different, radically different, from that of the Christian.
Books by Van Til
The better theologians of the church have constantly sensed the fact that the theistic argument must not be used univocally. They have sensed something of the fact that all the theistic arguments should really be taken together and reduced to the one argument of the possibility of human predication. Intelligent predication about anything with respect to nature or with respect to man were impossible unless God existed as the ultimate reference point of it all. God, as self-sufficient, as the One in whom the One and the Many are equally ultimate, is the One in whom the persons of the Trinity are interchangeably exhaustive, is the presupposition for the intelligent use of words with respect to anything in this universe, whether it be the trees of the garden or the angels in heaven.
Books by Van Til
The God who created and sustained us is also he who re-creates us in his image. Grace, though superior to nature, is not in conflict with it. While restoring what has been corrupted in it by sin, it also clarifies and perfects what is still left in it of God’s revelation. The thinking mind situates the doctrine of the Trinity squarely amid the full-orbed life of nature and humanity. A Christian’s confession is not an island in the ocean but a high mountaintop from which the whole creation can be surveyed. And it is the task of Christian theologians to present clearly the connectedness of God’s revelation with, and its significance for, all of life. The Christian mind remains unsatisfied until all of existence is referred back to the triune God, and until the confession of God’s Trinity functions at the center of our thought and life.