They must have exhaustive knowledge

On what positive ground, we ask, do men stand when they, with such confidence and assurance, reject the traditional view of Scripture? The confident rejection of this view is unintelligible unless those who make it have themselves offered something better. More than that, such a rejection is without meaning unless men can show that they themselves have a final interpretation of the facts of the phenomenal world to offer. How do men know that the doctrine of creation out of nothing is not true unless they themselves can take us back of ‘history’ and tell us what is there? Or unless they can assure us that nothing is there. Karl Barth may assure us that he cannot believe in a speaking serpent any more than can anyone else. How does he know that God has not created the physical and animal world? How does he know that the phenomenal world works according to impersonal laws and is therefore not accessible to special intervention on the part of God? Again, Barth may assure us that the idea of temporal creation must be rejected because it is not possible to think of it in a logically coherent fashion. In doing so he rejects historic Christianity because it does not meet the false test of eighteenth-century rationalism. As for his own system, he would not for all the world have its truth or falsity tried by such a test. But more important than this inconsistency is the point that men who say that creation cannot have happened, that Christ cannot have passed into the clouds toward heaven, must themselves claim omniscience. They must have such an exhaustive knowledge of the facts of the phenomenal world, and of the possibilities behind these facts, as to enable them to understand all their relations to all other facts both past and future. They must be sure of what does happen in ‘ultimate reality’ in order to be able to say that God does not have anything to do with the origin and control of the phenomenal world.

– Cornelius Van Til, The Intellectual Challenge of the Gospel p.26-27

Continued in ‘God has exhaustive knowledge.’


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