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Notes for "Christian Civilization is the Only Civilization"



Part I:

[1]  “Myths About Past (Quasi-) Christian Civilization,” http://www.christianciv.com/MythsPastChristianCiv.htm.

[2]  The Twentieth Century was also the occasion of the largest slaughters of human life in the history of the world.  Over 100 million people were killed by Communist, officially atheistic, governments.  Islamic governments were second in the number of people they killed.  (See Twentieth Century Book of the Dead) Atheists respond that Stalin and his partners in crime had a “religious” devotion to communism, that Hitler campaigned as a Christian candidate and followed the teachings of Martin Luther in slaughtering the Jews, and that medieval Christian persecutors would have killed at least as many as the communists if they had had modern technology at their disposal.  In other words, the atheists want to claim that they are responsible for all the good stuff (i.e. scientific advances) in the twentieth century and religion is responsible for all the bad stuff.  My aim in this essay is, from the philosophical perspective (as opposed to the historical), to show the opposite: Atheism is responsible for the bad stuff, and Christianity is responsible for the good stuff.

[3]  The historical contribution of Christianity to science is addressed in “The Light Has Come:  The History of Christian Contributions to the Progress of Civilization,” http://www.christianciv.com/LightHasCome.htm; and some myths of past Christian suppression of science are addressed in “Myths About Past (Quasi-) Christian Civilization.”

[4]  Noah’s son Shem was still alive when Abraham was born.  The accuracy of Biblical chronology has been accepted by Christians for practically all of church history.  In the Nineteenth Century gap thinking (imposing gaps of indeterminable lengths of time into various points in Biblical chronology) became the rage among Evangelical theologians, largely in a misguided attempt to accommodate ancient pagan records.  For a defense of the traditional gapless view, see James Jordon, Biblical Chronology, at http://www.freebooks.com/docs/_newsbc.htm.

[5]  See Greg L. Bahnsen, Theonomoy in Christian Ethics.

[6]  Mark Twain, "Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar," Following the Equator (Hartford, Connecticut: American Publishing Co., 1897).

[7]  Frederick Nietzsche, Antichrist:  Attempt at a Critique of Christianity (1895).

[8]  Wolman v. Walter, 433 U.S. 229 (1977)

[9]  Preface to the second edition of Critique of Pure Reason (1787)

[10]  See Cornelius Van Til, An Introduction to Systematic Theology (Phillipsburg, NJ:  The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1974), 12-13; and Greg L. Bahnsen, Always Ready:  Directions for Defending the Faith (Texarkana, AR:  Covenant Media Foundation, 1996), 193-201.

[11]   See Sigmund Freud, Totem and Taboo; Civilization and Its Discontents; The Future of an Illusion. 

[12]  The only worldview that might be said to be more rationalistic is a pantheism in which all that exists is the one, absolutely rational God.  But then every mind would be eternally omniscient, and there would never be disagrements among people about ethics, philosophy, or which football team was better.  According to Christian doctrine, pantheism was once true.  Prior to the creation of the world, only God existed—all that existed was God.  But this pantheism is not the historic pantheist view, in which the divine being is not an absolutely rational mind but rather an impersonal principle of unity.  

[13]  Cornelius Van Til, Christian Apologetics,  63.

[14]  David Hume is a famous example of a philosopher who argued from instances of imperfection to the non-existence of a perfect God.  John Stuart Mill argued that God was perfect, but He must be finite, given the imperfection of the world.  Hume and Mill were both strict empiricists in their theory of knowledge.  They attempted to derive universals from the particulars of sense experience.  This theory of knowledge is reflected in their argument against a perfect, absolute God.  I show below that their theory of knowledge failed, undermining the very possibility of knowledge.

   Alleged imperfection in the natural world plays a significant role in the argument for Darwinian evolution.  As Cornelius G. Hunter shows in his book Darwin’s God (Grand Rapids, MI:  Brazos Press, 2001), Darwinianism is a theodicy for natural evil.  Darwin held a view of God common in the Victorian era in which he lived, that a perfect God would create nature to exhibit perfect efficiency and lack of cruelty.  Darwin reasoned like Mill that God’s perfection could be preserved only by limiting God:  Natural laws that are put in place by God but that act independently of Him are responsible for the form that nature has taken.  The Victorian view is inconsistent with the Biblical view that a perfect, sovereign God ordains an imperfect world:  Job 39:13-18, Isa. 45:7, Psalm 50:11, Matt. 6:26.   Also see Gary North , Dominion Covenant: Genesis (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1987), 410.

[15]  Eckart Förster, "How are Transcendental Arguments Possible?", quoted in The Standard Bearer: A Festschrift for Greg L. Bahnsen,  84.

[16]  The “ontological Trinity” is God as He is in Himself.  This is to be distinguished from the “economical Trinity,” which is God as He relates to the world (such as the role of the 2nd person to die for humanity’s sins, and the role of the 3rd person to bring conviction of sin).  As for the charge of contradiction in the doctrine of the ontological Trinity, there is none because God is one and three in different senses (though at the same time).  It is true, however, that the Bible does not tell us exactly what properties of each person of the ontological Trinity are unique to that person and which properties are shared.  At any rate, the individual persons should not be distinguished in such a way that makes their unity impersonal and God’s knowledge of Himself and the world less than exhaustive.  That would put Christianity in the same leaky, irrational boat as atheism, with its ultimately impersonal universe.  See Cornelius Van Til, An Introduction to Systematic Theology (Phillipsburg, NJ:  Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1974),  229-30.

[17]  Charles Norris Cochrane, Christianity and Classical Culture:  A Study of Thought and Action from Augustus to Augustine (London: Oxford University Press, 1968), 436-37.

[18]  Ibid.,  vi.  It is true, of course, that the early church did not fully and consistently grasp this view of the relationship between God and nature.  The early church endured many major and minor heretical movements.  There were Christians who viewed religion as more of an escape from the world than as a presupposition by which to interpret the world, just as there are today.  But the view expressed by Cochrane is the one defended in this essay.

[19]  IST,  20.

[20]  Cornelius Van Til, An Introduction to Systematic Theology, (1974), 102

[21]  Van Til, A Survey of Christian Epistemology,  217.

[22]  Van Til, A Survey of Christian Epistemology,  144:  "It is all too clear that we cannot well attribute the predicates of white and black  to the same immediate subject without reducing human speech to a meaningless series of vocables"

[23]  Hegel, Phenomenology of Mind (1807), "Preface"

[24]  Van Til, The Protestant Doctrine of Scripture, Vol. 1 of In Defense of the Faith/Biblical Christianity (Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1967), Ch. 2.

[25]  Van Til, A Survey of Christian Epistemology, xii.

[26]  IST,  167.

[27]  Van Til, The Case for Calvinism (Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1979),  141-42.

[28]  Critique of Pure Reason, A 51/B 75.

[29]  Although Kant described his own view as a Copernican Revolution in philosophy, the Christian view I am presenting here is better compared to Copernican’s revolution than Kant’s.  Copernicus dethroned man and his earthly habitation as the geographical center of the universe, whereas Kant placed man’s autonomous mind at the rational center.  The view I present places God at the rational center and man as a “satellite” around God.

[30]  David Hume, Treatise on Human Nature, ed. L.A. Selby-Bigge (Oxford:  Clarendon Press, 1951; first published in 1739),  269.

[31]  Bertrand Russell, Human Knowledge:  Its Scopes and Limits  (New York: Clarion Books, Simon and Schuster, 1948),  xv-xvi.  Quoted in Greg Bahnsen, “Pragmatism, Prejudice, and Presuppositionalism,” Foundations of Christian Scholarship, Gary North Ed. (Vallicito, CA:  Ross House Books, 1976),  243.

[32]  “Meek” does not mean wimp; it means humble before God, which is the basis for being bold before the world.

[33]  Van Til, The Protestant Doctrine of Scripture, Ch. 2.

[34]  Van Til, Christianity in Conflict, Vol. II, Ch.1, sect. 3.

[35]  See Answers for more on alleged contradictions in the Bible.

[36]  Van Til, A Survey of Christian Epistemology, Ch.16.

[37]  See Dr. Greg Bahnsen, tapes __ in the Philosophy of Christianity course lectures at www.cmfnow.com.

[38]  IST,  102-03.

[39]  Thomas Aquinas argued for “analogical” reasoning rather than univocal or equivocal reasoning, but in terms of his commitment to the Greek view of the one and the many, his analogical reasoning is just a mixture of univocal and equivocal reasoning.  To the extent created things are like God, they are ontologically one with God.   To the extent things are different from God, they are independent of God, taking part in matter, the principle of individuation, of which God has none in His being.   This contrasts with the Christian view of analogical reasoning, in which both the unity and diversity aspects of created things are ontologically distinct from God, but both aspects, on a finite level, reflect God their Creator, the Ultimate One and Many.

[40]   Michael Butler says that the transcendental argument for God's existence and the traditional arguments can both be said to deal with "intelligibility," but in two different ways.  Using the analogy of a jet engine, he points out that a jet engine can be unintelligible in the sense that a person may not know how a jet engine works, but the jet engine can be intelligible to that same person in the sense that the person knows what a jet engine is and can use the term in communication.  The traditional approach assumes that non-Christians can talk intelligibly about the universe, and the traditional argument merely shows who makes the universe work.  In contrast, the aim of a transendental argument is to show that we cannot talk intelligibly about the universe unless God exists.  Butler says that this analogy applies to Aquinas' cosmological argument.  (Michael Butler, "The Transcendental Argument for God's Existence" in The Standard Bearer:  A Festschrift for Greg L. Bahnsen, ed. Steven M. Schlissel (Nacogdoches, TX:  Covenant Media Foundation, 2002),  81.)  I think that Butler accurately describes the arguments of many Christians with a philosophical system less developed than Aquinas', and it may accurately describe Aquinas' five proofs in their immediate context.  However, Aquinas' epistemology might be said to be transcendental in requiring God as an abstract universal for the possibility of knowledge.  But even if Aquinas' approach can be called transcendental, it is a bad transcendental argument because the Greek form/matter dialectic, in which God is viewed as an abstract universal, undermines the possibility of knowledge.

[41]  Van Til, A Survey of Christian Epistemology,  21.

[42]    Take note what I am not saying about probabilistic arguments:  1) that an argument for the existence of God must prove every attribute of God, 2) that probabilistic arguments are inappropriate for proving things other than the existence of an absolute God, such as whether a particular event was a miracle or the product of natural laws, and 3) that the there will always be certainty that every attempt to state the argument for God's existence was done correctly.  Aquinas' arguments are sometimes said to prove God's probable existence, not because the conclusion only probably follows from the premise, but because it doesn't prove every attribute of God, so it could be compatible with some non-biblical views of God.  The problem is not that Aquinas doesn't prove every attribute of God' by his arguments, but that the nature of the God he proves — an empty universal — is inconsistent with the nature of the God of the Bible.

[43]   “The innate and the acquired knowledge of God may, accordingly, be said to be correlative to one another. Neither of them is intelligent by itself. To say that innate knowledge is intelligible by itself is to fall back upon a Cartesian or Platonic basis. To say that the acquired knowledge is intelligible by itself is to fall back upon a non-Christian empiricism. They are mutually interdependent.” Van Til, An Introduction to Systematic Theology, 197.

[44] See James Jordan, The Law of the Covenant:  An Exposition of Exodus 21-23 (Tyler, TX:  Institute for Christian Economics, 1974), 42-45, 50-52.

[45]  See Alvin J. Schmidt, Under the Influence:  How Christianity Tranformed Civilization (Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan Publishing House, 2001)  125-150.

[46]  Herbert Schossberg, Idols for Destruction:  Christian Faith and Its Confrontation with American Society (Nashville:  Thomas Nelson, 1983).

[47]   Van Til, An Introduction to Systematic Theology,  202ff.  He says that he defends and defines these attributes in terms of the “originality of God” ( 205), which is equivalent to the terms “absolute” and “concrete universal” as I have defined them.

[48]  See Van Til, An Introduction to Systematic Theology, 79-80.

[49]  See note 15 on the necessity of not denying the exhaustiveness of God’s knowledge in distinguishing the individual persons of the Trinity from each other.

[50]  Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga describes how he thinks the historical accuracy of the Bible should be empirically evaluated:  “First, of course, the case in question couldn’t in any way rely on the thought that the Bible is in some special way inspired by God; for these purposes, we should have to treat it exactly as we would any other ancient volume.  We should have to follow the example of those Scripture scholars who try to determine (for example) what actually happened with Jesus – what he preached, whether he arose from the dead – without making any special theological assumptions about the reliability of the Bible or the person of Jesus.  They bracket any such theological beliefs they may have and then try to assess the historical case or evidence for such claims as that Jesus actually asserted that he was the divine redeemer, or the claim that he died and came back to life.”   Alvin Plantinga, Warranted Christian Belief  (New York:  Oxford University Press, 2000),  272.  Plantinga then says that the teachings of the Bible would be difficult to prove by such a method, and he argues that Christians are largely within their epistemic rights to believe “by faith” the truth of the historical events in the Bible despite their lack of proof by means of this “neutral” empirical method (cf. 420-21), but he is saying that any historical proof of the Bible would have to follow this method.  But given that God is the precondition for rationality, to suspend belief in God entails suspending belief in the ability to gain knowledge of historical facts, which, of course, would sink the whole project.

[51]  Rousas John Rushdoony, By What Standard?:  An Analysis of the Philosophy of Cornelius Van Til  (Vallecito, CA:  Ross House Books, 1958),  187.



Part II: A Critique of Specific Disciplines and their Christian Reconstruction



[1]  A Kantian dialectic tension between the one and the many is evident in Nietzsche's philosophy of art.  In The Birth of Tragedy Nietzsche described the source of art as a duality between Apollonian thinking and Dionysian thinking.  Representational art is under the restrains of Apollinian thinking, which is controlled by attention to the distinctions between appearances, whereas abstract art rejects Apollo in favor of Dionysus, a metaphor for non-rational, primordial unity.  The two approaches are in tension, but they both are necessary to produce the greatest art. 

[2] Gunther Stent, The Coming of the Golden Age: A View of the End of Progress  (Garden City, New York: Natural History Press, published for the American Museum of Natural History, 1969),  98.  Quoted in Gary North, Moses and Pharaoh, 148 n.13.

[3]  Van Til, An Introduction to Systematic Theology,  66-67.

[4]  R.J. Rushdoony, Infallibility:  An Inescapable Concept (Vallicito, CA: Ross House Books, 1978),  34-38.

[5]  Jesus attacked the religious leaders of his day with vicious sarcasm.

[6]  See Rushdoony, Infallibility: An Inescapable Concept.


Civil Government and Law

[7]  Van Til, Christian Theistic Ethics,  134.

[8] The most famous modern exchange between these two schools of thought is the one between the positivist H.L.A. Hart in “Positivism and the Separation of Law and Morals,” 71 Harvard Law Review 593-629 (1958), and the natural law advocate Lon L. Fuller in “Positivism and Fidelity to Law – A Reply to Professor Hart,” 71 Harvard Law Review 630-672 (1958).

[11]  The Apostle Paul said, “For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die” (Acts 25:11).  The Bible says that nature cannot be considered normative because since the Fall, nature has been cursed, particularly sinful humans (Gen. 3:14-19).

[12]  Oliver Wendell Holmes, “The Path of the Law,” 10 Harvard Law Review 457, 457-478 (1897), at http://www.constitution.org/lrev/owh/path_law.htm.

[13]  Ibid., 469.

[14]  Ibid., 460.

[15]  Ibid., 468, 477.

[16]  Ibid.,  470.

[17]  See Gary North, "The Hermeneutics of Leviticus 19:19 - Passing Dr. Poythress' Test,"  in Theonomy:  An Informed Response, ed. Gary North  (Tyler, TX:  Institute for Christian Economics),  255-294, Greg L. Bahnsen, Theonomy in Christian Ethics, By This Standard:  The Authority of God’s Law Today, and No Other Standard:  Theonomy and its Critics.

[18]  R.J. Rushdoony, Introduction to E.L. Hebdon Taylor, The New Legality (Nutley, New Jersey:  Craig Press, 1967),  vi-vii.  Quoted in Gary North, The Dominion Covenant:  Genesis (Tyler, TX:  Institute for Christian Economics, 1987), 265.

[19] Islam, although similar to Christianity in many ways (being a Christian heresy), it results in a statism similar to Marxism, given that dieing as a martyr in a holy war is the only guaranteed ticket to heaven and given that forcing outward submission to Allah is sufficient to claim to have made a convert to Islam.



[20] Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Book VIII, 1782.  Rousseau first became famous with his essay Discourse on the Sciences and Arts (1750), in which he argued that science and the arts tend to corrupt the moral life.

[21] See John Zerzan, "Time and It's Discontents," at http://www.insurgentdesire.org.uk/time.htm.

[22]  Separation:  Francis Schaeffer, Genesis in Space and Time (Downers Grove, IL:  InterVarsity Press, 1072), pp. 98-100.  Restoration:  Francis A. Schaeffer and Udo Middelmann, Pollution and the Death of Man (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1992 [1970]), pp 63 ff.  But see Timothy R. Terrell, “Ugliness or Ignorance? Francis Schaeffer on the Environment” for corrections on Schaeffer's views on economics.  Biblical property rights and pollution:  Gary North, Tools of Dominion:  The Case Laws of Exodus  (Tyler, TX:  Institute for Christian Economics, 1990), Ch.18 and E. Calvin Beisner, Prospects for Growth: a Biblical View of Population, Resources, and the Future (Crossway Books, 1990).



[23] This socialist method of calculation of value is impossible even given a rational world in which unity and diversity are equally ultimate:  See Ludwig von Mises, “Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth” (1920), http://www.mises.org/econcalc.as

[24] North, The Dominion Covenant,  334-35.

[26] Søren Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript, David F. Swensen and Walter Lowry, trans. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1941), 318.

[27] North, The Dominion Covenant, 340.

[28] Stanley L. Jaki, Science and Creation: From Eternal Cycles to an Oscillating Universe (New York Science History Publications, 1974).

[29] Ibid.,  126-30.  See also:  Edward Banfield, The Unheavenly City (Boston:  Little, Brown, 1970); Helmut Schoeck, Envy:  A Theory of Social Behavior (New York:  Harbourt, Brace & World, 1970); T. Bauer, Dissent on Development:  Studies and Debates in Development Economics (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1972), and Equality, The Third World and Economic Illusion (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1981); and David Chilton, Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators (Tyler, TX:  Institute for Christian Economics).

[30] This distinction between the promise of wealth for every individual at all times and the promise of wealth for a Christian civilization or society is often missed by atheists, who claim that, for example, Mother Theresa’s poverty refutes the Biblical promise of the godly being blessed by wealth.  (Actually, Mother Theresa is not the best example.  She won the Nobel Prize, accompanied by a million dollar award).

[31] Gary North, Heirarchy and Dominion: An Economic Commentary on First Timothy  (Harrisonburg, Virginia:  Dominion Educational Ministries, Inc., 2003),  383, at http://www.demischools.org/timothy.pdf.

[32] Ibid., 64.

[33] Note that I am not claiming that the Christian solution to the problem of the one and the many decides the issue of whether socialism or capitalism is the best economic system. Christianity provides the possibility of objective value that both socialism and capitalism need. There is psychological unity over time, minds are not isolated worlds, there are objective values, etc. Whether one or the other is the correct economic system will depend on which one is more efficient in terms of God-ordained values and ends. Biblical law places a high value on personal property rights (Commandments 8 and 10) and warns that a tax rate of ten percent is tyrannical (1 Sam. 8), which would not allow a socialist redistribution of wealth. That there is a constancy to human nature and the world makes socialism more of a possibility than the atheist worldview would allow. But there is still the question of whether capitalism or socialism has the better means of gaining knowledge of people's needs and the knowledge to allocate resources to meet those needs. The capitalist mainly gains knowledge of the needs of people through profits. If people do not want to buy his goods or services, he knows that he needs to change how he does business. He may also do market research, but the validity of that will be determined by whether the research enables him to increase profits. The socialist planner could also do research to determine needs and resources. He could constantly send questionnaires to everyone in the country and ask what they want, what their labor skills are, and what physical production resources exist. But that research will not be confirmed by knowledge from profits. The decentralized free market cannot gain perfect knowledge either, but its division of mental labor makes it more efficient than central planning. And then there is the question of motivating people to make the goods or offer the services that people need. Money motivates people to work. "The love of money is the root of all sorts of evil" (1 Tim. 6:10), but it is not evil to expect to be monetarily compensated based on the value of the work that you do: "The laborer is worthy of his wages" (1 Tim. 5:18).



[34]  William M. Blake, “Van Til’s Vision for Education,” in Foundations of Christian Scholarship:  Essays in the Van Til Perspective, edited by Gary North (Vallecito: CA, Ross House Books, 1976), 111.

[35]  Ibid., 114.

[36]  Ibid., 108.

[37] Van Til, The Dilemma of Education (Philadelphia:  Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1956), p. 33; quoted in Blake, “Van Til’s Vision for Education,” p. 112.

[38] Cf. Van Til, “An Uncertain Sound: An Evaluation of the Philosophy of Hendrik Hart” (Philadelphia: Westminster Theological Seminary mimeo, 1971), under “Hart Leads Us Back To Butler.”

[39] Van Til, A Survey of Christian Epistemology Ch. 2.



[40]  See for example, the standard text on medical ethics by Tom L. Beauchamp and James F. Childress, Principles of Biomedical Ethics, 3rd edition (New York:  Oxford University Press, 1989).  In their chapter "Types of Ethical Theory" they say:  "In light of the tests developed in the previous chapter, we will now consider which type of ethical theory, if any, is most satisfactory.  This chapter concentrates on two types of ethical theory:  consequentialist and deontological. . . .  The most prominent consequentialist theory is utilitarianism , and we concentrate exclusively on this form of consequentialism." (25)  They then treat Mill and Kant as the most representative advocates of each theory.  While pointing out the faults of each, the authors recognize the need for each, and attempt "a process of reasoning that is consistent with both rule-utilitarianism and rule-deontological theory" (62)  Both without a foundation in the Concrete Universal, their method is an ad hoc solution of following rules until "the situation" says not to (since situations don't speak, that would mean until they will follow the rule until they don't want to follow the rule).

[41] Van Til, Christian-Theistic Ethics, (Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1980), 37.

[42] Immanuel Kant, Foundation of the Metaphysics of MoralsSecond Section.

[43] Mill, Utilitarianism, Ch. 1, at www.utilitarianism.com/mill1.htm

[44] Mill, Utilitarianism, Ch. 4, at www.utilitarianism.com/mill4.htm

[45] Van Til, Intellectual Challenge of the Gospel, 33.

[46] That God does foreordain the responsible acts of men, both good and evil, should be clear from Scripture.  Acts 2:23 says that God foreordained Christ’s death, yet those who killed him were “wicked.”  In Romans 9 the Apostle Paul says that “He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardens” (v.18) and this does not depend on “him that wills” (v.16).  If this were not clear enough, Paul anticipates the objection that this absolves humans from moral responsibility (v.19), not by saying that he was misunderstood about teaching exhaustive predestination, but by denying that humans have a right to question God’s choices in His exhaustive predestination (v.20).

[47] See “Answers to Arguments Against Christianity” for more on the problem of evil.  Briefly, as Hume presented the problem, it is a straw man.  Hume interpreted “God is good” to mean that “God puts an end to evil to the extent of his ability.”  But the Bible does not teach this about God.  God, in fact, foreordains evil.  He raised up Pharaoh for His own purposes (Rom. 9).  Without Hume’s interpretation of God’s goodness, no contradiction is generated from God also being all-powerful and from evil existing.

[48] Harold S. Kushner, When Bad Things Happen to Good People  (New York:  Avon, 1981),  51-55.

[49] Arthur Allen Leff, “Economic Analysis of Law:  Some Realism About Nominalism,” 60 Virginia Law Review (1974),  454-55.

[50] Kai Neilson, “On Being Skeptical About Applied Ethics,” in Clinical Medical Ethics:  Exploration and Assessment, Ed. Terrence F. Ackerman and Glenn C. Graber, et al. (Lanham, MD:  University Press of America, 1987), 95, 107.



[51] Herbert Schlossberg, Idols for Destruction, 27-28.

[52] Historians who use these new abbreviations are like modern women who express their rejection of patriarchy by using their maiden name rather than their husband’s last name.  They forget that their maiden name is their father’s last name, and if they continued back in their genealogy they would find that the mother of all living received her name from her husband.

[53] See Stanley L. Jaki, Science and Creation: From Eternal Cycles to an Oscillating Universe (New York Science History Publications, 1974).  Thomas Cahill says the ancient view of cyclical history is so foreign to us, and the linear view of history presented in the Bible is so ingrained in the modern consciousness, that “at this point it might as well have been written into our cells as a genetic code.”  Thomas Cahill, The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels, (New York, NY:  Nan A. Talese, 1998), 5.

[54] Thomas Aquinas: Summa Theologiae, Part I, Question 12, Article 12:  “God is a supremely simple form, as was shown above (Question [3], Article [7]). . . .  Reason cannot reach up to simple form, so as to know ‘what it is;’ but it can know ‘whether it is.’”

[55]  See Van Til, Introduction to Systematic Theology,  211-15; and Vern S. Poythress, “A Biblical View of Mathematics,” in Foundations of Christian Scholarship,  176-86.



[56]  Dan Schiller, Objectivity and the News:  The Public and the Rise of Commercial Journalism  (Philadelphia, PA:  Univ. of Penn. Press, 1981), 7.

[57]  Marvin Olasky, Prodigal Press:  The Anti-Christian Bias of the American News Media  (Westchester, IL:  Crossway Books, 1988), 17-18.

[58]  Michael Schudson, Origins of the Ideal of Objectivity in the Professions:  Studies in the History of American Journalism and American Law, 1830-1840 (New York:  Garland Publishing, 1990) 182-183.

[59]  Schudson, Origins of the Ideal of Objectivity in the Professions, 167.

[60]  Schiller, Objectivity and the News, 86

[61]  Ibid., 83.

[62]  Olasky, Prodigal Press, 26-30.

[63]  Schudson, Origins of the Ideal of Objectivity in the Professions 252.

[64]  Olasky, Prodigal Press, 63-65.

[65]  Ibid., 64.

[66]  See Ibid., 59-68.

[68]  Herbert J. Gans, Deciding What's News:  A Study of CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, Newsweek, and Time, (New York:  Pantheon Books, 1979),184.

[69]  Schiller, Objectivity and the News, 5.

[70]  Van Til, Introduction to Systematic Theology,  14-15.

[71] Van Til, A Survey of Christian Epistemology, 21; quoted in Olasky, The Prodigal Press, 215 n.11.



[72] For more on the Christian philosophy of mathematics, see Poythress, "A Biblical View of Mathematics,"  158f.; and James Nickel, Mathematics:  Is God Silent? (Vallecito,CA:  Ross House Books, 2001), 229-33.



[73] Van Til, Psychology of Religion (Nutley, NJ:  Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1972), p.71.

[74] Ibid., p. 70.

[75] Ibid., p. 73.

[76] Note that physical resurrection is the ultimate hope of Christians (1 Cor. 15).  The separation of soul and body at death is a temporary, abnormal state of affairs.

[77] Sigmund Freud, “Why War?” (1932) in Collected Papers V (New York:  Basic Books, 1959),  273-287; quoted in Rousas J. Rushdoony, Freud (Phillipsburg, NJ:  Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1978), 48.

[78] Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion (Garden City, NY:  Doubleday Anchor Books, 1927), 92; quoted in Rousas J. Rushdoony, Freud, 44, cf. 48.

[79]  Sigmund Freud, “The Resistances to Psycho-Analysis” (1925) in Collected Papers V, p. 170; quoted in Rushdoony, Freud, 45.

[80]  Sigmund Freud, Letters of Sigmund Freud, Ernst L. Freud, editor, (New York:  Basic Books, 1960), 12; cited in Rushdoony, Freud, 12.

[81]  Ibid., 423f; quoted in Rushdoony, Freud, 41.

[82]  David Bakan, Sigmund Freud and the Jewish Mystical Tradition (Princeton, NJ:  Van Nostrand, 1958), 127; cf. 159 f.; cited in Rushdoony, Freud, 37.

[83]  Sigmund Freud, A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis, Joan Riviere trans. (New York:  Garden City Publishing Co., (1920) 1938),  375-77; cited in Rushdoony, Freud, 41.

[84] Rousas J. Rushdoony, Revolt Against Maturity:  A Biblical Psychology of Man (Fairfax, VA:  Thoburn Press, 1977), 6.

[85] See Van Til, Psychology of Religion,  138, 154.  Cain being the one who murdered his brother Abel because God accepted Able’s sacrifice and not Cain’s (Genesis 4).

[86] Dr. Greg Bahnsen,  The Crucial Concept of Self-Deception in Presuppositional Apologetics,”Westminster Theological Journal LVII (1995).

[87] Jay Adams, Competent to Counsel (Nutley, NJ:  Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1970); and Rousas J. Rushdoony, Revolt Against Maturity,  163ff.

[88] Francis Shaeffer, Pollution and the Death of Man:  The Christian View of Ecology (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1972).

[89] Jesus offered personal reward, “treasures,” as a motivation for heaven (Matt. 6:20), and he threatened the torment of hell for disobedience (Matt. 13:42, 24:51; Luke 13:28, 16:23).  The question this has raised is whether this means that human pleasure is being exalted above God and the moral rightness of the standard.  Do people become Christians merely out of fear of hell or hope for personal reward rather than repentance for sin and love for God?  In Christian-Theistic Ethics, pp. 57-58, Van Til points out that, since men are in rebellion against God, men will not obey God out of love for God in order to obtain the personal reward.  The motivation to achieve the heavenly reward will always be accompanied by the motivation to please God as well.

[90] Many Christians will be scandalized by my measuring love for God by obedience to God’s law, but Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15); and 1 John 5:3 says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.”

[91] Dr. William Coulson worked with Dr. Rogers in a therapy program with an order of nuns in the 1970s.  He describes the consequences:  “The IHMs had some 60 schools when we started; at the end, they had one. There were some 560 nuns when we began. Within a year after our first interventions, 300 of them were petitioning Rome to get out of their vows. They did not want to be under anyone's authority, except the authority of their imperial inner selves.”  Dr. Coulson is Roman Catholic, and this experience has led him to repudiate Rogerian therapy.  See  http://www.cfpeople.org/Apologetics/page51a080.html.

[92] See Rogers, C. (1951) Client-centered Therapy: Its current practice, implications and theory. Boston: Houghton Mifflin; Rogers, C. (1961) On Becoming A Person: A Therapist's View of Psychotherapy. Boston: Houghton Mifflin; Rogers, C. (1980) A Way of Being. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

[93]  Van Til points out that even before the fall, God gave Adam moral direction by means of positive revelation.  The truths that could be deduced from nature as revealing a God who is necessary for the possibility of rationality were not sufficient to give Adam all the moral direction he needed for life.  Such a deduction could not reveal, for example, which tree in the garden would result in death, and which was the tree of life.  God had to explicitly tell Adam.  By all indications, God’s choice of which tree was off-limits was arbitrary.  The evil was not a substance in the fruit of that tree that infected Adam and Eve; the evil was a choice on the part of Adam and Eve to disobey God; therefore any tree would do as the one designated as off-limits in God’s test of obedience to Adam and Eve. (Christian Apologetics, 30).

[96] Kai Neilson, “On Being Skeptical About Applied Ethics,” in Clinical Medical Ethics:  Exploration and Assessment, Ed. Terrence F. Ackerman and Glenn C. Graber, et al. (Lanham, MD:  University Press of America, 1987), 107-08.

[97]  A.J. Ayer in The Revolution in Philosophy, ed. Gilbert Ryle (New York: Macmillan, 1960) p. 86; quoted in Van Til, Christian Theistic Evidences (Nutley, NJ:  Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1978), p. 143, 146.

[98] This illustration is from Imre Lakatos, "Falsification and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes" in Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge, edited by Imre Lakatos and Alan Musgrave (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1970).  Also see Willard Van Orman Quine, “Two Dogmas of Empiricism.”  Lakatos argues that the falsification criterion fails as a self-sufficient tool for gaining scientific knowledge because “the prime target remains hopelessly elusive” to “the arrow of modus tollens.”  The problem can be illustrated with the following well-known Aristotelian syllogism:  All gods are immortal; Apollo is a god, therefore Apollo is immortal.  But what if Apollo dies?  That could mean either that Apollo is not a god or that all gods are not immortal.  That could be expressed as:


1. If all gods are immortal and Apollo is a god, then Apollo is immortal.

2. But Apollo dies (is not immortal)

3. Therefore it is not true that all gods are immortal and Apollo is a god.

4. Either all gods are not immortal or Apollo is not a God.


In symbolic logic this would be:


1. (p & q) -> r

2. ~ r

3. ~ (p & q)        1,2 MT

4. ~p v ~q           3   DM


Faced with counter-evidence to "r," one cannot say beforehand which of the other two beliefs, "p" or "q," any particular person will give up. Because people do not have just one belief, but rather a network of beliefs, counter-evidence can be diverted to hit the target of a less strongly held belief in order to preserve a more strongly held belief.

If either p or q could be proven to be necessary truths, then modus tolens would have to point to the non-necessary one as the false one; but the naturalistic, empiricist worldview of modern atheism excludes absolutes like necessary truths.

[99]  Eventually, logical positivists tried to state their position as that any belief system is scientific as long as it merely involves an appeal to empirical facts.  But that allows most religions, especially Christianity, to count as scientific.

[100]  The humanist goal of human omnscience was celebrated by the French scholar Comte de Buffon (1707-1788):  "There is no boundary to the human intellect.  It extends in proportion as the universe is displayed.  Hence man can and ought to attempt everything:  He wants nothing but time to enable him to obtain universal knowledge."  Quoted in John C. Green, The Death of Adam  (Ames:  Iowa State University Press, 1959), 154.  More recently some have edicted that human minds will eventually evolve into omniscience by becoming integrated into a computer.    See http://www.vexen.co.uk/religion/God_AI.html.