According to Calvin, God’s revelation to man is always and everywhere clear. It is sin that makes men pervert the revelation of God. It is because men are sinners that their “theology” is evil. Sin makes man spurn the love of God and merit his wrath, thus every man, says Calvin, is walking in the way of death. His is a downward journey on the staircase that leads to eternal separation form God. But God in his grace has sent his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to be the redeemer of the world. He himself tells us about his work of redemption. He who knew no sin was made sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. He gives us his Spirit so that, though of ourselves we would spurn this redemption, he enlightens our minds and quickens our hearts to receive it. Thus redemptive revelation, as well as foundational revelation, is self-authenticating. We must take Christ at his word. If we do so, then our reason will truly be set free. Then we can anew enter upon the task of glorifying God in science and in art, in philosophy and in worship. And then we are on the staircase that leads to his presence in glory forevermore.
– Cornelius Van Til, The Case for Calvinism p.23
The Bible is thought of as authoritative on everything of which it speaks. Moreover, it speaks of everything. We do not mean that it speaks of football games, of atoms, etc., directly, but we do mean that it speaks of everything either directly or by implication. It tells us not only of the Christ and his work, but it also tells us who God is and where the universe about us has come from. It tells us about theism as well as about Christianity. It gives us a philosophy of history as well as history. Moreover, the information on these subjects is woven into an inextricable whole. It is only if you reject the Bible as the word of God that you can separate the so-called religious and moral instruction of the Bible from what it says, e.g., about the physical universe.
– Cornelius Van Til, Christian Apologetics p.19
(The Defense of the Faith p.29)
The non-regenerate man seeks by all means to “keep under” this remnant of a true theistic interpretation that lingers in his mind. His real interpretative principle, now that he is a covenant-breaker, is that of himself as ultimate and of impersonal laws as ultimate. It is he himself as ultimate, by means of laws of logic that operate independently of God, who determines what is possible and probable. To the extent, then, that he proceeds self-consciously from his own principle of interpretation, he holds the very existence of God, and of the creation of the universe, to be not merely improbable, but impossible. In doing so he sins, to be sure, against his better knowledge. He sins against that which is hidden deep down in his own consciousness. And it is well that we should appeal to this fact. But in order to appeal to this fact we must use all caution not to obscure this fact. And obscure it we do if we speak of the “common consciousness” of man without distinguishing clearly between what is hidden deep down in the mind of natural man as the revelation and knowledge of God within him and what, in rejecting God, he has virtually adopted as being his final interpretative principle.
– Cornelius Van Til, An Introduction to Systematic Theology p.82-83
Scripture teaches us to speak and preach to, as well as to reason with blind men, because God, in whose name we speak and reason, can cause the blind to see. Jesus told Lazarus while dead to arise and come forth from the grave. The prophet preached to the dead bones in the valley till they took on flesh. So our reasoning and our preaching is not in vain inasmuch as God in Christ reasons and preaches through us. Once we were blind; God reasoned with us, perhaps through some human agency, and we saw.
– Cornelius Van Til, An Introduction to Systematic Theology p.69
We must set the message of the cross into the framework into which Paul set it. If we do not do so, then we are not really and fully preaching Jesus and the resurrection. The facts of Jesus and the resurrection are what they are only in the framework of the doctrines of creation, providence and the consummation of history in the final judgment. No man has found this framework unless he has been converted from the other framework through the very fact of the death and resurrection of Jesus as applied to him by the Holy Spirit and His regenerating power. It takes the fact of the resurrection to see its proper framework and it takes the framework to see the fact of the resurrection; the two are accepted on the authority of Scripture alone and by the regenerating work of the Spirit. Half-way measures therefore will not suffice; the only method that will suffice is that of challenge of the wisdom of the world by the wisdom of God.
– Cornelius Van Til, Paul at Athens.
In this excerpt from the lecture series ‘Christ and Human Thought‘, Van Til stresses the importance of recognising that a starting point, method, and conclusion are always involved with one another. There is no neutrality in the starting point and method that both Christians and non-Christians use to come to their conclusions. Fundamental to the Christian position is a philosophy of fact that is not shared by the non-Christian. Every fact is a created fact and is in accordance with the providence of God. Van Til also gives a brief outline of what Greg Bahnsen has described as the ‘two-step procedure’. We stand on the non-Christian position for argument sake to show that it leads to absurdity. We then invite the non-Christian to stand on our position to show how it, and it alone, accounts for reality.
The excerpt is taken from the lecture ‘Christ and Human Thought: Church Fathers, part 2‘ from around 24:50.