Van Til Quotes: on Objectivism

3 Jun

Oddly enough, over the course of years, I have come into contact with people over the internet, whom seem to be of the opinion that Van Til held to subjectivism rather than objectivism, when the truth is that he affirmed the reality of both. For the benefit of those who might bump into people of similar opinion, I would like to offer a couple of short quotes, which are but a needle in a haystack, an extremely small sample from the whole of his works. This quote is from his work “Reformed Epistemology” Chapter 9, a few paragraphs down:

“Before we can discuss the manner of the activity of the Holy Spirit we must therefore first study the manner through which objective validity comes within the reach of man again. We have already said that it is through the work of Christ. The incarnation and all the acts in the drama of Christ’s work are historical acts. The prophets of old, the symbolism that preceded Him, in fine, all the convergent lines of deed and word through which the Christ was prefigured were historical phenomena. This historical manifestation of redemption necessitated the externalization of the avenues through which God would give knowledge to man. Consequently if man was to have valid knowledge of God he could receive it through these channels alone. The Holy Spirit gives him no knowledge of God except that which is taken from Christ as revealed in the Scriptures.” – Cornelius Van Til

It is clear from the one quote above that Van Til does not deny objectivism, that we can actually factually know reality outside of our minds. What he is mostly concerned with is the manner through which we can know objectively. And because his answer is unashamedly distinctly Christian and  resolute, it is too much even for many “Christians” to swallow. As I mentioned above he affirmed both objectivism and subjectivism,  the following quote is from “Reformed Epistemology” Chapter 5:

“Only on the basis of a genuine Theism is God, as personal, the ultimate interpreter of that reality of which He is Himself the basis, thus assuring validity. And this demand of making God the starting point becomes the more urgent because of the influence of sin. Sin has broken all validity. It has shattered existence and broken universality. Only God can reassure us of a new validity made objectively possible and actual in the incarnation and crucifixion and applied subjectively again by the divine agency of the Spirit.” – Cornelius Van Til

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