I gotta have my orange juice.

Jesu, Juva

Van Til on belief in God

with 2 comments

Perhaps you think that the only real reason I have for believing in God is the fact that I was taught to do so in my early days. Of course I don’t think that is really so. I don’t deny that I was taught to believe in God when I was a child, but I do affirm that since I have grown up I have heard a pretty full statement of the argument against belief in God. And it is after having heard that argument that I am more than ever ready to believe in God. Now, in fact, I feel that the whole of history and civilization would be unintelligible to me if it were not for my belief in God. So true is this, that I propose to argue that unless God is back of everything, you cannot find meaning in anything. I cannot even argue for belief in Him, without already having taken Him for granted. And similarly I contend that you cannot argue against belief in Him unless you also first take Him for granted. Arguing about God’s existence, I hold, is like arguing about air. You may affirm that air exists, and I that it does not. But as we debate the point, we are both breathing air all the time. Or to use another illustration, God is like the emplacement on which must stand the very guns that are supposed to shoot Him out of existence. . . . My whole point will be that there is perfect harmony between my belief as a child and my belief as a man, simply because God is Himself the environment by which my early life was directed and my later life made intelligible to myself.

— Cornelius Van Til, from the excellent essay Why I Believe in God

Written by Scott Moonen

December 12, 2006 at 1:11 pm

Posted in Quotations

2 Responses

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  1. that whole essay is excellent. especially:

    “I contend that you cannot argue against belief in Him unless you also first take Him for granted. Arguing about God’s existence, I hold, is like arguing about air.”

    this concept checkmates the idea of man’s rationality as the ultimate measuring-stick. it’s uncomfortable (but necessary) to assess the depths of our contamination by man-centered ideas.

    paul

    December 15, 2006 at 1:53 pm

  2. This is so good. I just got Oliphint’s new book “Reasons for Faith: Philosophy in the Service of Theology”. He is deeply influenced by Van Til and I can’t wait to read it.

    stephen clark

    January 13, 2007 at 1:11 am


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