God is entirely uncaused, self-sufficient, and completely independent of all things in His being and actions. He needs nothing and owes nothing to anyone or any thing, for by Him all things were created, and upon Him all things depend for everything.
Romans 11:35-36: “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen”
Psalm 90:2: “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”
Isaiah 40:13-14: “Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD, or what man shows him his counsel? Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding?”
Acts 17:24-25: “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.”1
Everything in the universe was created by God and exists by the ongoing exertion of His power.2 The implications of this basic truth are universal and all-encompassing, applying to all things. For instance, as God is the designer, creator, and sustainer of all things, so the nature of God, mankind, and reality are determined by God alone. So also all authority, truth, and knowledge are determined by God, as well as how we should live in His universe. Therefore, a proper understanding of all things depends upon a proper understanding of the perfections of God.
Thus, in examining perfections of God as the foundation of apologetics, we examine them as the foundation of a proper understanding of the nature of God, mankind, and reality (metaphysics); ultimate authority, truth, and knowledge (epistemology); and how we should live (ethics). Apologetics, as well as all theology, philosophy, and science, concern these fundamental topics. Therefore, the big questions concerning God, life, and the universe are answered by the Creator and Sustainer of life and the universe. All issues are ultimately theological.
Before God created the heavens and the earth, nothing existed but God alone. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit alone existed eternally in perfect joy and fellowship, in need of nothing. The universe, including all time, matter, space, and energy were spoken into existence by God.
Therefore, the universe has a beginning and is not eternal. “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible” (Hebrews 11:3). God spoke and brought all things into being, and upholds them by the “word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3). Speaking of the Son of God, “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3). “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17).
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place (Acts 17:24-26).
The eternally self-sufficient God designed and orders all things for His purpose, working “all things after the counsel of His will,” to bring about the praise of His glory in the salvation of His people (Ephesians 1:11-12).
As the source, designer, and sustainer of all things, God is both the author and sustainer of all “natural” or physical laws of the universe, by which the universe is ordered and governed. We do better calling “natural” laws divine laws, for apart from the ongoing power of God in ordering even the smallest measure of matter and energy in the universe, no such laws would exist. In fact, such “laws” are not really laws at all if by “laws” one means they exist and operate apart from God’s ongoing power. The uniformity or “laws of nature” are no more than God ordering the various aspects of the universe in a particular manner for a particular time. What we observe and discover in science is how God currently orders and sustains the matter and energy He created. What we call “miracles” are merely God doing something different than what we normally see Him do in His ongoing, providential ordering of the universe. God alone determines what is possible and impossible in the universe, not those who observe and discover how God orders and sustains it. To deny the possibility of miracles is to either deny God’s existence or deny His control over the universe He orders and sustains. Because God orders the world one way today does not preclude His ordering it differently yesterday or tomorrow. Miracles will be addressed in greater detail in the discussion of God’s omnipotence.
Moreover, uniform and universal “laws” are inexplicable apart from God creating, ordering, and upholding them. Apart from God, no reasonable explanation for the fixed and predictable operations in the universe is possible. Deny God as behind all things and you are left with random chance as the explanation of a universe of ordered and uniform laws.
In the same way, the uniform and universal laws of logic3 are inexplicable apart from God. Random chance produces no uniform and universal laws. Rather, the laws of logic reflect the order and coherence of God’s thought and are easily explained on that basis. And while unbelievers use logic to deny the existence of God, logic itself is evidence of the existence of God. Issues related to random chance, logic, and the necessity of God’s existence will be discussed further below.
Thus, the fact that the universe depends on God for everything is foundational to right reason and a key component of a God-honoring worldview. Yet, even Christians do not always appreciate the importance of this point. We are so accustomed to God’s consistent and rational governing of the universe that we sometimes take His work in ordering and sustaining it for granted, as if the physical laws of the universe operate independently of God. After all, everything appears to work the way it did yesterday, last year, or a thousand years ago. We scientifically study the universe and develop accurate physical explanations of how it all operates, including the stars in the sky, our own physical bodies, and the smallest atomic building blocks of matter. We have used that knowledge to achieve great things for the benefit of mankind. Yet, we can sometimes forget that all these things are ordered and sustained by the ongoing power of God.
And while we are mindful of our tendency to wander from the path of the Chief Shepherd in issues of piety and obedience, we sometimes miss that piety and obedience also involve how we think about God and His world. As our sin displays a practical atheism in exalting our will over God’s will, so we exhibit a practical Deism in viewing the universe as begun by God but operating according to independent physical laws. As Christians we acknowledge and study physical laws, but we properly understand them as the display of God’s ongoing ordering and sustaining of the universe, and not the product of random chance.
When we think of our dependence upon God, we usually think of our dependence for physical life and sustenance.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:13-16).
God not only created the human race in creating Adam, He individually formed each one of us in the womb and ordained the very days of our life. The hairs of our head are numbered (Matthew 10:30), while the food on our table gives clear witness to the bountiful hand of God’s providence (Acts 14:17). And as Paul preached at Mars Hill, even some unbelievers acknowledge their dependence upon “God” for life: “in Him we live and move and have our being, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are His offspring’” (Acts 17:28). Moreover, our dependence upon Christ for our salvation is the central doctrine of our faith.
A bit less familiar and understood, however, is our dependence upon God for all truth, knowledge, and authority. In the same way we sometimes overlook God’s ongoing ordering and sustaining of the universe, so we often discount the importance of our dependence upon God for all truth, knowledge, and authority.
To begin, as God created, orders, sustains, and rules over all things, He is the ultimate authority and source of all truth. No higher authority or standard of truth exists in the universe. All things have their beginning and ongoing existence by God’s creating and sustaining power, so God alone knows completely and comprehensively why and how all things exist and work together. God alone views and understands all things from an objective vantage point, for He is not part of the universe He created and upholds (more about this under omniscience). God’s explanation is always true.
Next, we depend on God for the ability to see and understand truth. Apart from God giving us the ability know and understand Him and His universe, we could know nothing. Yet, He created us in His image, in personal relationship with Him, with the ability to know and understand Him. God was able to speak directly to Adam and Eve in the garden, because God created them with the ability to know and understand Him through His personal presence and spoken, intelligible language.
Moreover, our dependence upon God for His revelation to us through language preceded the fall of mankind into sin. We know that sinners require God’s special revelation in spoken and written language to understand Him and His world correctly. Apart from His special revelation in language, we would never view Him or His world correctly, as fallen people suppress the revelation of God in all things from a heart of hostility toward God. As Adam avoided God in the garden following his sin, so all people seek to avoid God and suppress the clear, comprehensive, and convincing knowledge of God in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18-22). Yet, even prior to Adam’s sin, both Adam and Eve required God’s special revelation in language to relate to God and know His will for them. The command to cultivate the garden was given in language, as was the all important command to not eat the forbidden fruit. Thus, God’s special revelation in language (now given to us in Scripture) is necessary for us as created and dependent upon God for all things.
Accordingly, we depend upon God for the content of truth and knowledge. We can observe the world and speculate about the ultimate nature of God and the universe, but the effects of our fall into sin have made our interpretations untrustworthy. Indeed, “He who trusts in his own mind is a fool” (Proverbs 28:26). We lack proper, unbiased objectivity. Apart from God’s explanation of Himself and His world, we will interpret all things to suit our own desires.4 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
Additionally, we lack the necessary capabilities to interpret the ultimate nature of God and His world correctly. We are constrained by time, space, and our limited abilities. We are limited to three dimensions, five senses, and seventy or so years on this earth. How can people so limited make true statements about the ultimate nature of God and reality apart from God’s explanation?5 The universe is a big place, and some of us have never been out of our hometown or country, let alone to the end of the universe and beyond. As God transcends the universe He created, we could not describe or know Him accurately without His revelation. God’s admonition to Job is instructive in this regard.
Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me.
Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38:2-7).
Created, dependent, and finite people are unable to make true and authoritative statements concerning the ultimate nature of God and the universe apart from God’s revelation.
It follows, then, that truth is what God says it is, or that which corresponds to God’s explanation of Himself and His universe. Our knowledge is derived from God and not original to ourselves. We observe and interpret reality, and insofar as our interpretations are correct, they are nonetheless interpretations that depend on God as the source of all truth, as the giver of our ability to see and know truth, and as the ultimately authority and standard of truth. We may discover truth, as we do in conducting science, but God is the source of it.
Therefore, God has provided that we can know truth as He desires us to know it. Created in God’s image, we can know truth as God knows truth, both accurately and in agreement with His knowledge. Nonetheless, our knowledge differs from God’s in that our knowledge is dependent upon or derived from God’s knowledge, and subject to human limitations. In contrast, God’s knowledge is independent, original, eternal, and infinite. As we differ from God as finite and created by God, so our knowledge differs from God’s knowledge in its quality and quantity (to be discussed further under omniscience).6
As God is the creator and owner of all things, and the source and standard of all knowledge and truth, so He determines our ultimate purpose, meaning, and the moral standards by which we are to live. Our purpose is determined by God’s purpose in creating us. As He owns us, His purpose is to be our purpose. God alone determines right and wrong. All these things are rightfully God’s prerogative as the creator and owner of all things.
Conversely, no purpose, meaning, and moral compass or standard exists apart from God. Apart from God, morality is reduced to relativism with no ultimate right or wrong, with human opinion elevated to the highest moral authority. People are thus free to do as they please. Of course, atheists and agnostics often have well-developed moral principles by which they live, but only because they do not fully live according to the implications of their atheism and agnosticism.7 We can thank God that evolutionists do not generally live according to the fundamental tenet of the theory. Of the many catalysts of the Nazi reign of terror we can identify, the application of the evolutionary principle of the survival of the fittest would certainly be near the top of the list.8 No God means no ultimate standard of right and wrong, no ultimate accountability, and no ultimate consequences for bad behavior, with predictable results.
Thus, as summarized in the following diagram, mankind, as created, ordered, and sustained by God, depends upon God for everything.9
In defining God’s self-sufficiency, we noted that God needs nothing and owes nothing to anyone or any thing, for by Him all things were created, and upon Him all things depend for everything. God exists and has always existed eternally in perfect happiness. Nothing could be added to God to increase His happiness, as nothing could be added to improve perfection. Yet, the fact that God created people to be in a loving relationship with Him raises the question of why He created us, especially in light of His self-sufficiency. Why would God create anything if He needs nothing? Moreover, creation and redemption as the means by which the Father blesses the Son with the gift of a bride (the church as the bride of Christ) appears similar to God creating Eve because “it is not good for the man to be alone.” Could it be that “it is not good for God to be alone” is the reason God created us? Unlike Adam, however, God has never been alone. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit exist eternally in a perfect fellowship of love. Further, as God is perfectly self-satisfied, He can never be in need or create anything to satisfy a need in Him. Rather, He created us out of the overflow of His goodness and self-sufficiency.10
As God has no lack or need, He depends upon us for nothing and owes us nothing. In creating mankind and the universe, He remains independent and able to do as He pleases with what He created and owns. As the potter has the right to do as he pleases with the clay (Romans 9:20-21), so God is free to do all things “according to the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11).
In stark contrast to God, mankind owes God everything always. We have nothing that we did not receive, and can receive nothing unless God gives it to us.11 Created by God and dependent upon God for all things (to whom God owes absolutely nothing), mankind is obligated to God for all things always. Moreover, all love, honor, and worship are necessarily proper to a God of such infinite excellence. Thus, mankind was created in a covenant relationship with God, with responsibilities and obligations appropriate to the nature of the relationship. We are to do all after the council of God’s will.
Therefore, the minimum requirement for one created in such a covenant relationship with God is perfect love and obedience.12 We can merit nothing from God, while all good things we receive from God are gifts. Even if Adam should have obeyed in the garden and been confirmed in eternal life, he would have been given eternal life by the gracious arrangement of God only, which God was under no obligation to initiate and bestow.13
The implication of our debt to God in the face of arguments impugning God for His judgments and the calamities in the world are profound. In light of our rebellion against God, every breath we breathe is by the mercy of God in not giving us what we deserve, and every good we receive is by the grace of God in giving us what we do not deserve. And while mysteries remain, we have a proper starting point to engage difficult questions: God owes us nothing while we owe God perfect love, honor, and obedience. Thus, more appropriate than asking why bad things happen to good people is asking why such good things happen to those who willingly disregard their absolute and unending obligation of perfect love and obedience to their infinitely excellent and benevolent Creator. Why does God love those who shout for His death while He offers them eternal life? Our every sin is a cry of “crucify!” and our indifference a cry for Barabbas. Why should anything good happen to us apart from God’s grace?
God created us in His image and we bear what are sometimes called the “communicable” attributes of God. We share in aspects of the nature of God, but not in the same quality or degree as God. The clay bears the fingerprints of the Potter as the genius of the Artist can be seen in His handiwork. Yet, the clay is not the Potter or the Potter the clay. In bearing God’s likeness we remain eternally dependent upon God while God remains eternally independent and distinct from His creation. God in His perfect self-sufficiency will never be constrained by the limitations of His creatures. And though God created all things from nothing, and nothing has its existence apart from God creating and sustaining it, all created things remain distinct from God forever.
Moreover, the redeemed have been married into the family of the Trinity as the bride of Christ. And as is fitting for such an eternal relationship, we shall be made like Christ, “for when he appears we shall be like Him” (1 John 3:2). Nonetheless, we will not be Him. And though we have “become partakers of the divine nature” as redeemed in Christ (2 Peter 1:4) and will display that divine nature to a significantly greater extent in the glories of Heaven, we will never be God. Even in our glorified state in eternity, we will remain creatures of God, dependent upon God for all things. And while our holiness will shine like the brightness of the sun, we will nonetheless be reflecting the glory of God in and through us, not our own glory.
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1), “the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:3).
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened (Romans 1:18-21).
The evidence for God’s existence, genius, and power is so clear, comprehensive, and convincing, that all people are without excuse for not giving God honor and thanks. As the genius of a Rembrandt or Michelangelo is evident in their work and clearly distinguishable from the finger painting of a child, so the genius of God is unmistakable as behind all of His works. The evidence is so convincing that Scripture tells us that unbelievers “know” God, even while they suppress that knowledge from a heart of hostility toward God.14 Such knowledge lacks the intimate, loving aspect of the believer’s knowledge and seeks to destroy the true knowledge of God in the world. In contrast, believers rejoice in their knowledge of God and seek to increase it. And as the evidence of God surrounds the unbeliever at every turn, suppression of that knowledge is a full-time job. The theory of evolution is founded upon this suppression of the obvious truth of God, contrary to the clear testimony of created reality.
Further, God “did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17). Every trip to the supermarket, every meal, every bite from an apple or candy bar gives clear witness to God and our debt to Him. Every cloud or raindrop declares His goodness.
The knowledge of God extends beyond our surroundings into the recesses of our being, for God has written His law upon every heart.15 All people have a sense of God’s existence, an inescapable knowledge of God within their own conscience and consciousness. Many will go to great lengths to deny this, yet the most hardened atheist cannot escape it. Perhaps this is no more clearly seen that in the deathbed quotes of some of the greatest antagonists of Christianity. With respect to Voltaire, Herbert Lockyer wrote that he “used his pen to retard and demolish Christianity. Of Christ, Voltaire said: ‘Curse the wretch!’” He boasted that “in twenty years Christianity will be no more. My single hand shall destroy the edifice it took twelve apostles to rear.” But on his deathbed, Voltaire’s knowledge of God tormented his soul.
I am abandoned by God and man! I will give you half of what I am worth if you will give me six months’ life. Then I shall go to hell; and you will go with me. O Christ! O Jesus Christ!
The nurse who cared for Voltaire is reported to have said, “For all the wealth in Europe I would not see another infidel die.”16 William Pope, another ardent atheist was said to lead a group “who ridiculed everything religious. One of their exercises was to kick the Bible about the floor and tear it up.” Yet, those who were with Pope when he died “spoke of it as a scene of terror.” Pope is reported to have said,
I have no contrition. I cannot repent. God will damn me. I know the day of grace is past…You see one who is damned forever…Oh, Eternity! Eternity! …Nothing for me but hell. Come, eternal torments…I hate everything God has made, only I have no hatred for the devil –I wish to be with him. I long to be in hell.17
However people may attempt to suppress the knowledge of God, “a sense of Deity is indelibly engraven on the human heart.”18 Even the most ardent advocates of the theory of evolution, with its central principle of survival of the fittest, have a moral code that belies their explanation of their existence. Atheists go to great lengths to claim a moral code of living, even while their worldview denies an ultimate basis for one. God’s law on the heart explains the atheists’ need to justify their unbelief by pointing to their moral code of living, as if they needed to justify the legitimacy of their unbelief. All of this is because God has written His law upon every heart.19
When we speak of God’s “special” as compared to His “general” revelation, we refer to God’s specific acts and communications to people within history at specific times, as compared to His “general” acts of revelation in creation, conscience, and His ongoing provision of good things. Most particularly, special revelation refers to Scripture, itself special revelation and the written account of God’s acts of special revelation. Just as God’s creating and sustaining activity bear the distinct marks of their divine author, so Scripture, the very word and words of God, bears the clear, comprehensive, and convincing marks of its divine author. In speaking of Scripture and the Gospel, Edwards writes:
The divine glory and beauty of divine things is in itself a real evidence of their divinity, and the most direct and strong evidence….We cannot rationally doubt but that things that are divine, and that appertain to the Supreme Being, are vastly different from the things that are human: that there is a God-like, high, and glorious excellency in them, that does so distinguish them from the things which are of men that the difference is ineffable; and therefore such as, if seen will have a most convincing, satisfying influence upon any one that they are what they are, viz., divine.20
That people reject the authority of Scripture, as they reject the testimony of creation, providence, and their own conscience, is not an issue of evidence, but of the heart. As Christ said, “If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority” (Acts 14:17). The heart unwilling to do the will of God will not see Scripture as the divine revelation of God’s will.
All that God does bears the distinct marks of His divine power and genius as a work properly bears the marks of its author. All His works display the beauty of His excellence as part of His ultimate purpose in all things. The universe is the setting and stage for the accomplishment of God’s ultimate purpose to display His excellence in and through the person and redeeming work of Jesus Christ. He is “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Hebrews 1:3). Christ, God the Son, is the highest and supreme display of God’s excellence. “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Colossians 2:9). Christ displays the infinite excellence of God in His condescending to an infinite degree to take upon Himself a human body and nature, and in suffering infinite wrath for the infinitely unworthy. The perfections of God were never so clearly displayed than in the obedience of Christ to death upon the cross at Calvary. In the redemption of sinners in and through Christ we see the divine excellence of God’s perfect justice, holiness, love, mercy, grace, wisdom, power, and knowledge, et al. “In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:4b-6).
The world is the stage upon which the ultimate display of God’s excellence in the person and redemptive work of Christ takes place. The Gospel events are accomplished, in part, through created things, while the calling of the elect takes place in time in the created realm. All things are for the ultimate purpose to display God’s infinite excellence in and through the person and redeeming work of Christ.21 “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36).
For good reason, God tells us, “The fool says in his heart, ‘there is no God’” (Psalm 14:1, 53:1). Apart from the terrible eternal consequences of unbelief, the clear, comprehensive, and convincing nature of the evidence renders all unbelief blameworthy and foolish. I can remember one particular encounter with an unbelieving friend in a beautiful backyard garden, complete with flowers, trees, sunshine, and food on the grill. As we spoke, using the mind and reasoning God gave us, breathing the air God created, in an amazing body He formed in the womb for us, in a beautiful setting where the creative genius of God was most pointedly displayed; my friend challenged me to provide evidence for God’s existence. And so it is with all unbelievers. They breathe and see the trees bending in the wind and ask for evidence of air. Where in the universe does evidence for God not exist? The very question reveals a heart in need of repentance and faith. Unbelief is sin because it is a choice of the will contrary to the evidence. To the extent that unbelief is rooted in a lack of evidence it would be reasonable and innocent. The problem would lie with God’s inadequate provision of evidence, and not the response to the evidence in the heart of the unbeliever. But Scripture clearly teaches that the responsibility and guilt of unbelief lies with the unbeliever. The clear evidence is suppressed from hostility to God and the implications of the existence of God on their life. All arguments for the existence of God, like all of the evidence of God that surrounds the unbeliever at all times, will be viewed in a manner that justifies unbelief. And while belief in the specifics of the Gospel of Christ requires the special revelation of Scripture, the unwillingness to worship, give thanks, or actively pursue a right relationship with God is willful and blameworthy. Unbelievers know better, despite their objections to the contrary.
It follows, then, that how one views and interprets God and His universe is an ethical issue, determined by one’s nature. Believers rightly view the world as created and sustained by God. We love the marks of God’s genius on His entire created universe and gladly accept the implications of our dependence upon God in all things. In contrast, unbelievers suppress the evidence for God and the truth of God in Scripture in unrighteousness, according to their hostility toward God. At the heart of the sinful response to God is a desire to be independent of God, to be one’s own authority. The marks of God’s genius and lordship in the universe continually call this sinful desire to account, reminding would-be-independent sinners of their responsibility before God, and their sin of ignoring Him. Yet, “Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them” (Romans 1:32).
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed (John 3:19-20).
The clear, comprehensive, and convincing evidence for God in the universe is the proverbial rain on the parade of unbelief, the ubiquitous killjoy of the rebel’s assumed independence. Therefore, unbelievers will not view the evidence with neutral objectivity. They refuse to do so, as the implications of a right interpretation are too great for their desire for independence from God. All evidence of the existence and nature of God will be suppressed. One of the more pointed illustrations of this reality is the acceptance of the theory of evolution. Apart from the severe lack of any true scientific evidence for the theory, the idea that universal and uniform laws are founded on random chance and that everything came from nothing is absurd. Yet, the irrationality of believing such an impossible and unscientific explanation of the universe is understandable, given the antipathy people have toward the obvious explanation and its implications for their assumed independence from God.
Consider the crowds shouting hosanna! at Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. A short week later they shouted “crucify him!” Yet, most, if not all of the crowd was familiar with the many convincing miracles of Christ before they shouted for His death. Many ate of the loaves and fishes. Some knew Lazarus and saw his empty tomb. Scripture tells us that multitudes were amazed and gave glory to God for the many miracles of Christ in His three and a half year ministry. The shouts of crucify were not from a lack of evidence. The crowds were easily swayed when they saw their conqueror of Rome under the power and punishment of Rome.
The world will be interpreted according to one’s desire to love and honor or avoid and reject God. Disinterested, neutral, and objective observers of the universe do not exist. One’s explanation of how one knows anything (epistemology) will be determined by one’s view of God, either positively or negatively. This applies to everyone.
The existence and attributes of the eternally self-existent and self-sufficient creator are independent of His creation. God is who He is regardless of what we think He is. Yet, as obvious as this simple truth may appear, the history of the world tells us it is scarcely accepted or appreciated. From the Garden of Eden to the present day, God is treated as the clay in the sinner’s hands, made into whatever image suits the potter. The golden calf in the Sinai desert was merely a variation of a universal theme. And while we may not physically carve a block of wood or silver into an object of worship, we do so mentally when we imagine a god that suits our self interest, as if thinking makes Him so.
Yet, anything and everything mankind may imagine about God has no effect on the nature and existence of God. Even what professing believers may imagine and record about their experience with God over the centuries has absolutely no effect upon the nature and existence of God. God is who and what He is regardless. And as we depend on Him for all knowledge and truth, we know the nature and works of God correctly by what He has chosen to reveal to us in Scripture.
Therefore, should the whole world follow after atheists like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, God and His promises remain unaffected. Should the entire academic community and cultured despisers of Scripture and the Gospel laugh at our “naïve” and “foolish” faith in Christ, God and His truth endure forever. Christ told us that the way to eternal life is narrow and that few people find it (Matthew 7:13-14), and that if people hated Him they will hate us also (John 15:18-21), so we need not be intimidated into compromising or denying our faith by the strength and popularity of unbelief. The fear of man is a snare (Proverbs 29:25), while God remains our sure and firm foundation. “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8b ).
As created and sustained by God, the existence and attributes of His creation are wholly determined by God. And like the existence and attributes of God, they are unaffected by human perception and beliefs. The objective reality of God’s creation is independent of our perception of it, as real things exist by God’s creating and sustaining activity, not our perception. For those who believe in God, this appears as an obvious truth, hardly worth mentioning. But, in attempting to account for reality apart from the assumption of God as the source and sustainer of all things, the question of the real existence of things apart from our perception becomes a philosophical conundrum. The problem is typically illustrated by the well-known question, if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there it hear it, did it make a sound? Centuries of philosophical discussion have yet to produce an answer upon which all philosophers agree. Like the chicken and the egg conundrum, the question poses significant problems if God is not presupposed as the foundation of all of reality. Yet, when we properly acknowledge God as the source and sustainer of all reality, no such conundrum exists. God made the tree and the sound it makes, and each exist regardless of our perception because their existence depends upon God.22 And whether or not someone is present to hear the tree fall, God hears it. He is ultimately behind the tree and the sound it makes in falling, and He is the one who gives us the perception of it. God’s universe and everything in it have objective, real existence because they are created and sustained by God, and not because God gave us the ability to perceive them. If God were to create a universe with no one to view or hear it, it would still exist because God created and sustains it.
Moreover, unbelievers may deny the reality of angels and demons, but their existence and nature are not determined by what people believe. People may imagine that there’s no heaven or hell, and it may even be “easy if you try,”23 but their existence is not determined by what anyone believes. Imagine what you will, but the human imagination does not determine the existence and nature of what God created and sustains in His universe. All people will one day be confronted with reality as God has determined it to be, regardless of what they imagine it to be.
In a sense, the present point is merely a restatement of the first words of Scripture, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” God alone determines reality. We observe, make judgments, and discover truth about the reality God created, but we do not determine that reality.
Life begets life, while nothing begets nothing. Nothing can exist or have meaning apart from God creating, ordering, and sustaining all things. Given the universe as it exists, God must exist. Apart from acknowledging God as the source and sustainer of the universe, all things are rendered random chance occurrences without meaning and purpose. All is reduced to absurdity.
For the sake of argument, imagine that God does not exist (even thinking that God does not exist proves that He exists, as will be discussed below). Assume that all matter and energy came from nothing or have existed for all of eternity. Founded upon random chance, all things in this universe are random chance occurrences amidst a sea of unrelated random chance occurrences. Now imagine unrelated random chance occurrences attempting to interpret and explain other unrelated random chance occurrences. Now imagine some of the problems with such a universe.
First, how can a random chance occurrence, itself without meaning or purpose, attribute meaning or purpose to other random chance occurrences? All things are unrelated as existing randomly and by chance. No basis for meaning and purpose for anything is possible.
Second, how does one random chance occurrence interpret another random chance occurrence? Everything continually changes in a universe of random chance such that nothing exists in the same form or relationship to other random chance occurrences from one moment to the next. Both the examiner and the object examined are in flux and will not be the same thing from one moment to the next. How does the interpreter in flux examine the object in flux, when neither will be the same nor even exist from one moment to the next? Meaningful interpretation of reality would be impossible.
Third, on what basis can one random chance occurrence describe another? Language assumes continuity of meaning from one moment to the next. If all is random chance in flux, how can a term with a specific meaning apply to something that will not exist as the same thing from one moment to the next? Language would be meaningless in such a universe.
Fourth, like language, truth requires continuity of meaning and existence. But, how can something be true of something that will not be the same thing in the next moment? Nothing could be said about anything except the fact that nothing can be said about anything. If nothing remains as it is, and what anything will be in the next moment cannot be predicted, how could a random chance occurrence know anything to be true of anything? Truth and knowledge would be impossible.
Fifth, thought would be impossible, as it not only requires the distinct ordering and continuity of language and knowledge, it requires the ordering and continuity of the cells of the brain, none of which are possible in a random chance universe.
Unbelievers will object to this line of reasoning by pointing out that the universe reflects none of the above characteristics and therefore has none of the problems as stated. The universe is well-ordered and things exist today as they existed yesterday and will exist tomorrow. The sun still rises, the world still exists, and the “laws of nature” operate uniformly and universally, they will say. And indeed, all of this is quite true, but only because God exists. The world as we know and interpret it could not exist apart from God. Given the nature of the world as it is, God necessarily must exist. The world, as we know it, can only be accounted for by the God of Scripture. Random chance simply cannot account for the nature of the world. It is impossible that God does not exist.24
Ironically, God must exist for unbelievers to deny His existence.25 Dr. Van Til often used the illustration of a child he observed slapping her father in the face. As the child could only slap her father because he was holding her in his lap, so unbelievers can only deny God’s existence because God created, orders, and sustains the universe and the people in it.26 Such is the nature of unbelief. The mind, thought, and language by which unbelievers deny God only exist because God exists. Interestingly, when atheists debate Christians over the existence of God, they lose the debate by showing up.27 By using their mind and language, by assuming meaning and continuity in the universe, by using the uniform and universal laws of logic, etc., they presume the existence of God. Indeed, by the time atheists think to deny the existence of God, they have already presumed His existence.
Atheists deny God but expect to wake up in the morning as the same person in the same house.28 They look in the mirror and expect to see the same face. They use language and expect that the things that words refer to today will be the same tomorrow. Atheist or agnostic, all people are practical believers in God. People simply cannot live as a random chance occurrence in a random chance universe. Life, as they live it, would be impossible. No purpose or meaning could exist. Nonetheless, people live and have meaning and purpose precisely because they do not live in such a universe, because God orders and sustains all things.
So, when atheists point to their moral standards of conduct, or affirm order, purpose, and meaning in life without God, they presume God in denying Him. Apart from God, they could do neither.29 Or, as Van Til put it, “unless its truth [the “Christian position”] is presupposed there is no possibility of ‘proving’ anything at all.”30
Not all scientists affirm the existence of God, but all scientists presume His existence. Science is impossible in a random chance universe. In addition to the reasons noted above, uniform and universal laws upon which science is based are incompatible with random chance. Pure random chance occurrences measuring and interpreting random chance occurrences cannot do science as we know it. Without uniform and universal laws, no experiment could be conducted. Measurements and definitions would be worthless, as nothing would be the same from one moment to the next. And even if an observer were to exist long enough to observe and interpret the objects of a random chance universe, nothing could be described, for nothing would be the same from one moment to the next. No outcome could be predicted or replicated. Knowledge, truth, and language would be impossible. All would be flux.
Nonetheless, science is conducted with great success and benefit to humanity, as a world of uniform and universal laws is assumed by scientists. Such a world is only possible because God exists as the creator and sustainer of all things. Like the child that can slap her father because he holds her on his lap, so some scientists use science to deny the God who makes science possible. Atheistic scientists presume God’s existence in order to deny Him.
The familiar chicken and egg conundrum asks the question, what came first, the chicken or the egg? One cannot answer “the chicken came first” because the chicken came from an egg. Conversely, one cannot say “the egg came first” because the egg was laid by a chicken. Apart from God creating the chicken or the egg, no answer of the conundrum is possible.31 A reasonable account for the existence of the chicken or the egg is impossible apart from the existence and creating activity of God. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth,” including the chicken that laid the egg.
Moreover, all of life is the chicken and egg conundrum. No reasonable account for the existence of any life form is possible apart from God as the source of all things. For instance, what came first, the mother or the baby? All mothers were once a baby, while all babies have their birth through a mother. The same goes for dogs, cats, whales, bugs, birds, and even to plants. Plants come from seeds, but seeds are produced by plants. The same problem exists with the building blocks of life. For example, DNA is required for life to exist, but DNA can only be produced by life. What came first? As with the people, animals, and plants, no answer is possible apart from God. The problem is further compounded by the necessity of both a father and a mother to produce offspring. Where did the father come from? He, too, was once a baby who himself required a father and a mother. Life as we know it without God as its source is quite impossible. Thus, even ignoring the lack of objective, verifiable, and repeatable scientific evidence for the theory of evolution, the impossibility of the theory is demonstrated by something as simple as a chicken and egg.
The same difficulty is found in the various attempts of Western philosophy to answer the deepest questions about reality. The impossible task of philosophy to explain the universe and answer its deepest questions can be traced to the necessity of God as the source and ground of reality as we know it (for specific problems with the philosophical schools of Empiricism and Rationalism when they proceed according to atheistic assumptions, see Appendix A). Questions cannot be answered when the only possible answer is denied or ignored at the outset. Like the mathematicians trying to solve 2+2 without 4, ultimate questions become unsolvable without God.
To argue that God probably exists is to grant the possibility that He does not exist. And to the extent that God’s non-existence is possible is the extent that unbelief is justified. For the sake of illustration, assume that a percentage could be applied to the probability of God’s existence as proposed by a given set of arguments. For example, assume an apologist can show an eighty percent probability that God exists. In such a case, unbelief is twenty percent justified. Further, if unbelievers are unfamiliar with the arguments giving an eighty percent probability of God’s existence, their unbelief is further justified. As illustrated below, to the extent that objective proof is lacking, unbelief is justified.
Thus, if the existence of God can only be shown to be probable, then the problem of unbelief is not primarily the will suppressing the truth in unrighteousness (as Scripture teaches), but a lack of data. Calls to repent are unjustified until unbelievers are given sufficient schooling in the various arguments for the existence of God. In contrast, Christ and the apostles assumed that people were accountable for their unbelief. The first spoken sentence of Christ in the Gospel of Mark includes a call to repent and believe the Gospel. No course in apologetics was required before He called them to account for their unbelief. Ultimately, arguments for the probability of God deny Scripture’s testimony that God has revealed Himself clearly, comprehensively, and convincingly, such that all are without excuse for not seeking Him and giving Him thanks. If God can only be shown to probably exist, God is at least partially responsible for the unbelief He condemns because He did not provide enough evidence.32
With respect to believers, an eighty percent probability of God’s existence means a twenty percent chance that God does not exist and our faith is worthless. Therefore, twenty percent of a believer’s faith must be blind and unjustified faith, a leap in the dark. Blind faith or a lack of assurance would be twenty percent justified, as illustrated below.
Odds would be one in five that Christianity is a hoax. Complete assurance of salvation would not be justified, as we are merely gambling on the better odds. Doubt becomes reasonable, justified, and necessary. The promises of God become “mostly sure,” some rock, some sand. Indeed, for those unfamiliar with the arguments of apologetics that provide for our hypothetical eighty percent assurance will have even less assurance. Perhaps they are only fifty, thirty, or ten percent justified in their faith. Are true faith and assurance, then, only to be found at the end of a seminary education in apologetics? The testimony of Scripture and the faith of the saints would deny this. Edwards speaks to this point clearly.
It is certain that such an assurance [of the truth of the Gospel] is not to be attained by the greater part of them who live under the gospel, by arguments fetched from ancient traditions, histories, monuments.
And if we come to fact and experience, there is not the least reason to suppose that one in a hundred of those who have been sincere Christians, and have had a heart to sell all for Christ, have come by their conviction of the truth of the gospel this way. If we read over the histories of the many thousands that died martyrs for Christ since the beginning of the Reformation, who have cheerfully undergone extreme tortures in a confidence of the truth of the gospel, and consider their circumstances and advantages, how few of them were there that we can reasonably suppose ever came by their assured persuasion this way; or, indeed, for whom it was possible reasonably to receive so full and strong an assurance from such arguments! Many of them were…children, and the greater part of them illiterate persons, many of whom had been brought up in popish ignorance and darkness, and were but newly come out of it, and lived and died in times wherein those arguments for the truth of Christianity from antiquity and history had been but very imperfectly handled. And indeed, it is but very lately that these arguments have been set in a clear and convincing light, even by learned men themselves: and since it has been done, there never were fewer thorough believers among those who have been educated in the true religion. Infidelity never prevailed so much in any age as in this, wherein these arguments are handled to the greatest advantage.”33
In context, Edwards here addresses the self-authenticating nature of Scripture and the obvious evidence of its truth and divine nature, denied only by those blind to the objective marks of its divine authorship. He later affirms value in the learned arguments for the truth of Christianity in “ancient traditions, histories, monuments,” but subordinates them to the primary witness of Scripture itself, the witness providing a sure and complete assurance. The witness of creation is no less conspicuous in proclaiming its divine origin (see Appendix B for a more detailed comparison between justified and unjustified faith).
Accordingly, as it is impossible for God not to exist, so it is unreasonable that God only probably exists. “It is as unreasonable as a child asking whether he has parents and, after looking at the evidence, concluding that he probably has!”34 The evidence for His existence is so clear, comprehensive, and convincing that faith is fully justified, assurance is meant to be complete, while unbelief if blameworthy and without excuse.
“Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
1 See also Job 41:11, Psalm 50:10-12, Exodus 3:14, John 1:3.
2 Sin is the one and only exception. Sin has its beginning in the will of mankind.
3 This is not to say that all philosophers and logicians agree on every point, as evidenced by the various types of logic. But, it is to say that the great majority acknowledge a significant body of universal and uniform laws on which they agree and depend for reasonable thought, discourse, and science.
4 Proverbs 16:2: “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirit”
5 This is a central aspect of Van Til’s apologetic and a key argument against both atheism and agnosticism. How could one of such human limitations possibly say that God does not or could not exist, or make any definitive statements about God at all? For a simple and practical treatment of the implication of this basic truth see Biehl, What’s in the Box?, unpublished manuscript.
6 A significant and protracted controversy erupted between Cornelius Van Til and Gordon Clark concerning God’s incomprehensibility and knowledge, including and the correspondence of human knowledge with God’s knowledge. While I am greatly simplifying the complexity of the debate, central to the controversy was Gordon Clark’s contention that Van Til’s qualitative and quantitative distinction between human and divine knowledge implied that human knowledge of truth was impossible. While not without ambiguous language, Van Til affirmed human knowledge of truth concerning God and His world, as derived from God’s revelation of truth, while maintaining a proper distinction between the created being and God. And while other factors may have contributed to the heat and duration of the controversy, including “unclear polemics on both sides,” as Bahnsen put it, it appears that Clark did not fully understand Van Til’s qualification of human knowledge in emphasizing the distinction between the Creator and creature. See Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apologetic, 225, fn 147; 227, fn 152; 228, fn 159; 231, fn168; 242, fn 194; Van Til, An Introduction to Systematic Theology (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 1974), 159-173; John Frame, The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1987), 29-40.
7 They “borrow” the morality of Christianity, or live within a culture that has vestiges of Christian morality built into its mores and traditions. In any event, they have a God-given conscience with the law of God written on their hearts, even if they insist on denying the God who gave it to them. See Romans 2:14-15. This will be more fully discussed in the chapters that follow.
8 Reflecting his hatred of Christian morality and his exaltation of power, the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche represents a more consistent application of atheistic and evolutionary principles than other philosophical views. In reading Nietsche, one can easily see the soil in which the evils of eugenics, Aryanism, and the Holocaust took root. In The Anti-Christ, he wrote: “Good” is “everything that enhances people’s feeling of power, will to power, power itself,” while the “bad” is “everything stemming from weakness.” “Happiness” is “the feeling that power is growing, that some resistance has been overcome. Not contentedness, but more power; not peace, but war; not virtue, but prowess….The weak and failures should perish: first principle of our love of humanity. And they should be helped to do this. What is more harmful than any vice?—Active pity for all failures and weakness—Christianity” (4, §2). “The Christian idea of God—God as a god of the sick…is one of the most corrupt conceptions of God the world has ever seen” (15, §18). Friedrich Nietzsche, The Anti-Christ: A Curse on Christianity, in The Anti-Christ, Ecce Homo, Twilight of the Idols, and Other Writings. Ed. Aaron Ridley and Judith Norman, trans. Judith Norman. Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 9-10, §11.
9 Diagrams with circles were standard fare in apologetics courses at Westminster Theological Seminary, a legacy of Van Til, who often used them to illustrate the relationship of God and mankind. I first saw them used by Scott Oliphint.
10 In speaking of the pleasure God has in creating people and communicating to them His holiness and happiness, Edwards writes, “’Tis no argument of the emptiness or deficiency of a fountain that it is inclined to overflow.” In other words, that fact that God created us does not argue that He created us to meet a need or deficiency in Himself. Rather, He created us from the overflow of His goodness. Jonathan Edwards, “Dissertation Concerning the End for Which God Created the World,” in Ethical Writings, ed. Paul Ramsey, vol. 8 of The Works of Jonathan Edwards (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989), 448.
11 Paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 4:7 and John 3:27, respectively.
12 To be discussed further under God’s righteousness.
13 See Craig Biehl, The Infinite Merit of Christ: The Glory of Christ’s Obedience in the Theology of Jonathan Edwards (Jackson, MS: Reformed Academic Press, 2009), 100-101.
14 Romans 8:7, Colossians 1:21.
15 See John 1:9; Romans 1:19, 2:14-15.
16 Herbert Lockyer, All the Last Words of Saints and Sinners (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1969), 133.
17 Lockyer, Last Words, 132-133.
18 Calvin writes, “All men of sound judgment will therefore hold, that a sense of Deity is indelibly engraven on the human heart. And that this belief is naturally engendered in all, and thoroughly fixed as it were in our very bones, is strikingly attested by the contumacy [defiance] of the wicked, who, though they struggle furiously, are unable to extricate themselves from the fear of God. Though Diagoras, and others of like stamp, make themselves merry with whatever has been believed in all ages concerning religion, and Dionysius scoffs at the judgment of heaven, it is but a Sardonian grin; for the worm of conscience, keener than burning steel, is gnawing within them.” Calvin, Institutes, 1.3.3, quoted in Cornelius Van Til, Introduction to Systematic Theology, 88.
19 See Romans 1:32, where we read of the most depraved of sinners understand that “those who practice such things deserve to die.”
20 Jonathan Edwards, The Religious Affections (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1986), 224, 225. Cf. Jonathan Edwards, Religious Affections, ed. John Edwin Smith, The Works of Jonathan
Edwards, vol. 2 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1959), 298, 299. Hereafter the Banner of Truth and Yale versions will be designated by “BT” and “Yale,” respectively. “The gospel of the blessed God does not go abroad a-begging for its evidence, so much as some think; it has its highest and most proper evidence in itself.” Edwards, Religious Affections; BT, 233; Yale, 307. Calvin writes, “Scripture exhibits fully as clear evidence of its own truth as white and black things do their color, or sweet and bitter things do of their taste.” John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, vol. 1, trans. Ford Lewis Battles, ed John T. McNeill (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960), 1.7.2.
21 The background of this brief discussion of God’s purpose to display His glory through the person and work of Christ in redeeming unworthy sinners, can be seen in the exposition of Jonathan Edwards’ understanding of the ultimate purpose of God in Biehl, The Infinite Merit of Christ.
22 This is not to deny the existence of complex issues with respect to perception and truth, or that different people will view things differently, according to a myriad of different factors. Yet, it is to say, that the ultimate existence and nature of anything is determined by God alone, and not our perception, and that many of the difficulties surrounding this particular philosophical discussion stem from attempting to answer it apart from presuming God as the source and sustainer of all things.
23 So said John Lennon is his popular song, Imagine.
24 Van Til writes, “We cannot prove the existence of beams underneath a floor if by proof we mean that they must be ascertainable in the way that we can see the chairs and tables of the room. But the very idea of a floor as the support of tables and chairs requires the idea of beams that are underneath. But there would be no floor if no beams were underneath. Thus there is absolutely certain proof for the existence of God and the truth of Christian theism.” Cornelius Van Til, The Defense of the Faith Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 4th ed., ed. K. Scott Oliphint, 2008), 126. This type of argument for the existence of God is sometimes called “arguing from the impossibility of the contrary” and is a central and critical aspect of Van Til’s apologetic approach. See Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apologetic; 6-7, 621.
25 Bahnsen notes, “The most compact and dramatic way of summarizing Van Til’s apologetic that I have seen (or can imagine) is simply these three words: ‘Antitheism presupposes theism.’ From A Survey of Christian Epistemology, In Defense of the Faith, vol. 2 (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1969), xii; quoted in Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apologetic, 113.
26 See Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apologetic, 712.
27 I once heard Dr. Bahnsen relate the story of a debate he had with an atheist, where he made this very point by telling his opponent that he lost the debate by showing up.
28 Thanks to Scott Oliphint for illustrating this insight.
29 A few are willing to admit that a universe founded upon random chance renders all things meaningless and without purpose, but they are the rare exception.
30 “My Credo,” in Jerusalem and Athens, ed. E. R. Geehan (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1971), 21; quoted in Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apologetic, 113.
31 We know God created the chicken first from Scripture.
32 This raises the question about the provision of the Gospel to unbelievers, their responsibility for believing it to be saved, and their judgment for not believing it. Could not God be blamed for not providing the Gospel to everyone in the world? Scripture clearly teaches that God is just in all His ways, and never makes a wrong judgment. In the case of those who never hear the Gospel, Scripture says they will be judged for suppressing the evidence they have been given, the evidence they suppress in unrighteousness. No one will ever be judged who desired to know God, but was hindered by a lack of evidence. In the end, Scripture tells us that no one, apart from the grace of God, seeks after the true God of Scripture apart from God’s grace.
33 Edwards, Religious Affections; BT, 231-232; Yale, 305.
34 Cornelius Van Til, The Reformed Pastor and Modern Thought (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 1971; reprint, 1980), 33.