Saturday, January 17, 2009
VAN TIL CIRCLES AND THE STORY OF LIFE
image source: http://www.christianciv.com/VT_Diagrammed.html
I am reading a book by John M. Frame on the thoughts and teaching of Cornelius Van Til. The above diagram is what Van Til wrote on the chalk board all the time illustrating the basic two world views held by men today. The one big circle illustrates non-biblical worldviews, everything is together. No distinction of God as creator or person. The two-circles show what the Bible teaches. The tri-une God of the universe called everything into existence for His use and glory. Then He chooses to reveal Himself to us (the lines). The resulting application of these worldviews is dramatically different!
The more I read Dr. Frame (and I am also listening to him RTS Apologetics from Itunes U) the more I am overwhelmed at the incredible majesty and depth of this seemingly simplistic drawing.
Of all the good points- the one that has somehow struck me the most is the 'Personhood' of God. Our God has personality! In an age of CSI, where we bow at the altar of test tubes, computers, and techno gadgets- the God of Supreme Personality crashes through in a flood of love, communication, and truth.
Dr. Frame lays this out almost like it is no big deal...but in our world, THIS IS THE BIG DEAL!
Here are some of these crucial points from Dr. Frame:
' There are personal things and impersonal things. People (personal) and trees/rocks(impersonal). The Bible teaches that the impersonal things were made by a Person, for His use. The personal is more fundamental than the personal. But the non-christian does not have this reference, impersonal things are more fundamental. Scientists or philosophers assumes the most complete explanation of things is to reduce them to matter and motion. Your decisions of the will are merely products of molecules and chemicals with input from experiences. In their world, they think to explain things by reducing to the impersonal. (Then they have 'facts', which is the important stuff. For example, in science, the cause of things as starting with a person cannot be accepted because that goes outside science or the bounds of rationality or investigation.)
But in the Christian worldview, the most fundamental elements are personal: things like love, covenants, trust, justice, peace, are fundamental and lasting.
The non-Biblical view sees these things as ephemeral: they will all be wiped away in the impersonal process of nature.'
I am excited to continue into the study of Christian epistemolgy, theories of transcendence, etc. But in my studies, I pray that I will never lose that contact point of my Father being the Supreme Person. Absolute Holiness, but One who offers relationship! Lord, please let that relationship be as a good son and not a rebellious, cold, unreliable enemy.
Our studies and theology are not conventional gadgets to take out play with and put away. They go beyond the mind, soften the heart, and get us into the story of the God of Victory and Love. This is not a cold test tube tale, it is a drama, full of conflict and courage- love and healing, hope and joy. What makes movies meaningful?- All of the elements allow the story to touch deeper. We don't walk out and say, 'those were impressive wires and computer chips'- we are impressed with it as a story it resonates somehow in the soul.
More to come.....