A similar rejection of antithesis is found in the writings of one of the leading analytical philosophers of our age, Stephen Toulmin. In Toulmin's The Return to Cosmology , which addresses the interplay of science and the theology of nature, Toulmin argues, in the face of the modern antagonism to the idea, that questions of the universe as a whole and man's place in it should not be dismissed.
Toulmin wants to return to comprehensive questions about the nature of the universe as a whole, to cosmological reflection which benefits from the dual input of natural science and religious philosophy.
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At the very end of the book, where he discusses "The Future Cosmology," he makes the following observation: "If there is to be a renewal of contacts between science and theology along the lines suggested here -- if the cosmological presuppositions involved in talking about the overall scheme of things are to be scrutinized jointly from both sides of the fence -- we shall quickly encounter some knotty problems of jurisdiction.
The cosmology whose pursuit he endorses, therefore, is one which will not offend "the natural reason" of man. In the second to last paragraph of his book he writes:. Toulmin immediately states that his fully ecumenical enterprise -- what he calls a "theology of nature accessible to the common reason" will not bring universal support due to the intolerance of "fundamentalist theology. Would it bring us an assured knowledge of the grand scheme of things and man's place in the universe?
In the very last paragraph of his book, Toulmin asks, "Just how far, then, can the natural reason alone inform us in detail about what the overall scheme of things -- the cosmos, or Creation -- really is? Toulmin, the philosopher, has thus returned -- along with the theologian Macquarrie -- to the irrationalist modern tendency toward uncertainty and skepticism. The questions are so tough that nobody can really know for sure.
The substitute for a distinctively Christian answer turns out to be, as always, the eschatological cop-out invoked by autonomous thought: answering the ultimate questions must ever remain a task for the future. The modern repudiation of the antithesis between the regenerate and unregenerate minds, between the Christian worldview and its competitors, is itself ironically a reiteration of that very antithesis.
Macquarrie's promotion of religious relativism and Toulmin's rejection of any distinctively Christian cosmology both take their stand over against the Christ speaking in the Scriptures. Contrary to the thesis proclaimed by Christ, the modern man asserts its anti-thesis. The God-ordained "enmity" between belief and unbelief cf.
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Genesis cannot ever be successfully overcome. In its effort to supplant it, unbelieving scholarship simply ends up supporting it. However, that such a vain effort to eliminate antithesis between Biblical Christianity and its opponents is made by worldly scholars should come as no surprise. After all, respect for, and condoning of, that antithesis would be implicitly self-condemning. John tells us that it is precisely an escape from God's condemnation which unbelievers seek.
The remarkable thing is that even professedly "Christian" scholars would likewise make the vain effort to eliminate the antithesis between Biblical philosophy and unbiblical speculation.
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The penchant of modern theologians and churchmen to ignore the inherent antagonism between the perspective of God's holy word and the perspectives developed by men who suppress or dispute Biblical truth agonized Van Til to the depth of his God-fearing soul. By stressing commonality rather than conflict, such theologians surely find themselves more pleasing to men, said Van Til, but they do so at the price of coming under the displeasure of God -- the God who, in the garden of Eden, Himself imposed the inescapable enmity between His people and the world.
Thus in The Great Debate Today , Van Til eschewed the lead of liberal and neo-orthodox pundits in order to follow Augustine, teaching that the "City of God" and the "city of man" stand over against one another in their total outlook with respect to the whole course of history. In the Reformed Pastor and Modern Thought ,  Van Til argued against the apostate and man centered ecumenism of contemporary speculation -- an ecumenism which, to be consistent, must acknowledge that even the radically anti-Christian proposals of Teilhard de Chardin and the God-is-dead proponents about whom, see Van Til's analyses in separate pamphlets from , should not be kept out of the church cf.
Toward a Reformed Apologetics. In books such as The Sovereignty of Grace  and The New Hermeneutic ,  Van Til warned against the synthesis between Christianity and post-Kantian thought which is the dangerous drift in the teaching of the later Berkouwer and Kuitert. We cannot help but notice, then, that the message of antithesis is disregarded by worldly thinkers and theologians of perspectival synthesis. However, the one who above all wishes to see a dissolving of the antithesis of regenerate and unregenerate thinking in favor of synthesis, ecumenism, and a "common faith" of an autonomous or humanistic character is the one upon whom that antithesis was originally pronounced as a curse -- Satan himself cf.
Genesis This is, in fact, his most effective tool against the redemptive plan of God and the maturation of the Messiah's kingdom. This is his "last, best hope" that the gates of hell might after all prevail against the church of Christ cf.
Satan gladly works through the polemics of autonomous philosophers and relativistic, ecumenical theologians to badger or tempt God's people to compromise "the antithesis" in their reasoning and scholarship, and he would especially have us lay aside any theoretical or practical application of the fact that the unbeliever's "enmity" against God and His people comes to expression precisely in his intellectual life or thinking.
Satan does so just because the Bible's message of redemption, as well as the historical work of Christ and His Spirit in establishing God's kingdom, both presuppose a powerful, systematically basic and intrinsic antithesis between the cultures of regenerate and unregenerate men. Bahnsen enters into an extended critique of Francis Schaeffer's notion of antithesis. Bahnsen argues that "one might think, then, that we would welcome any Christian scholar or writer who makes the summons back to antithesis central to his encounter with modern culture.
But, this is not entirely the case. In a rather odd way, some conceptions of the antithesis can unwittingly, but, nevertheless, truly work to undermine the very antithesis which is presented in and essential to the Biblical viewpoint Moreover, Bahnsen argues, Schaeffer not only offers a false conception of antithesis, but he also seriously misconstrues the nature and importance of the philosophy of Hegel. Schaeffer embarrassingly imputes various blatantly "unHegelian" views to Hegel. Christian scholarship must rise above this sort of mistake. Antithesis will publish Dr.
I, No. Abraham Kuyper well understood that all men conduct their reasoning and their thinking in terms of an ultimate controlling principle -- a most basic presupposition.
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For the unbeliever, this is a natural or naturalistic principle, in terms of which man's thinking is taken to be intelligible without recourse to God. For the believer, it is a supernatural principle based on God's involvement in man's history and experience, notably in regeneration -- perspective that provides the framework necessary for making sense of anything.
These two ultimate commitments -- call them naturalism and Christian supernaturalism -- are logically incompatible and seek to cancel each other out.
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They must, as Kuyper argued in Principles of Sacred Theology , create "two kinds of science," where each perspective in principle contradicts whatever the other perspective says and denies to it the noble name of "science. And thus the unbeliever is bent on distorting, reinterpreting, or rejecting any evidence or argumentation which is set forth in support of, or which is controlled by, the believer's ultimate commitment.
To be consistent, the unbeliever cannot even allow for the possibility that the Christian proclamation is true. There are two fundamentally different worldviews in terms of which men conduct their thinking and in terms of which they understand the use of reason itself. Let's just take that word "reason" for a moment.
In the generic sense "reason" simply refers to man's intellectual or mental capacity.
Christians believe in reason, and non-Christians believe in reason; they both believe in man's intellectual capacity. However, for each one, his view of reason and his use of reason is controlled by the worldview within which reason operates. A worldview is, very simply, a network of presuppositions which is not verified by the procedures of natural science, but in terms of which every aspect of man's knowledge and experience is interpreted and interrelated. The unbeliever's worldview, according to Kuyper, is characterized by being autonomous.
That is, it is characterized by self-sufficiency or an independence from outside authority, especially any transcendent authority one that originates beyond man's temporal experience or exceeds man's temporal experience. The autonomous man, as Van Til puts it, wants to be "a law unto himself. Rationalism is humanistic or autonomous in its basic character, maintaining the general attitude that man's autonomous reason is his final authority -- in which case divine revelation may be denied or ignored in whatever area a person is studying.
For this reason the apologetical strategy that we see illustrated in Scripture calls for argumentation at the presuppositional level. When all is said and done, it is worldviews that we need to be arguing about, not simply evidences or experiences. When Paul stood before Agrippa and offered his defense for the hope that was in him, he declared the public fact of Christ's resurrection.
We see that in Acts , There is no doubt that Paul was adamant to proclaim the public facto of the resurrection of Christ: "for the King knows of these things unto whom also I speak freely; for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him, for this has not been done in the corner" v.
However, what you must make note of is the presuppositional groundwork and context which Paul provided for his appeal to fact. The very first point Paul endeavored to make in his defense of the faith was not an observational truth about what was a public fact, but rather a pre-observational point something that preceded observation and is not based on observation -- a transcendental matter about what is possible. Thus we read in verse eight: "Why is it judged impossible with you that God should raise the dead? God was taken as the sovereign determiner of what can and what cannot happen in history.
Paul then proceeded to explain that the termination of hostility to the message of the resurrection requires not that we consult more eyewitnesses, but rather requires submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ vv. And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecuteth. The unbeliever, like Paul, must understand who the genuine and ultimate authority is: It is Jesus whom the unbeliever would persecute.
Paul went on to explain that the message he declared called for a "radical change of mind. The unbeliever must renounce his antagonistic reasoning and embrace a new system of thought. His mind must be turned around, and thus his presuppositional commitments must be altered.