Knowing God in the Sphere of Nature (Full)

Recently, I’ve finished a blog series in which I examined how the nature of our physical world demonstrates the existence of God. The goal of this mini-series was to answer two basic questions: (1) Why do you believe that God exists? (2) Why do you believe that God can be known by us? The central thesis of this series is that God has intentionally designed our world (and the universe in general) to declare His glory and to make Himself known. In other words, God clearly reveals His unsearchable wisdom, His inexhaustible knowledge, and His power through His works of creation and providence (cf. Romans 11:33-36; Romans 1:20). In this blog series, I addressed some of the implications of modern scientific theories in theoretical physics (such as big bang cosmology, the standard model of particle physics, and quantum theory) which serve to illustrate this thesis. This post breaks up that series into five basic parts:

 

Part I: Knowing God in the Sphere of Nature

Part II: The Evidence of God in the Origins of the Universe

Part III: Contingency, Complexity, and the Existence of God

Part IV: Providence and the Scientific Method

Part V: The Ultimate Fate of the Universe

Van Til: Futile Self-Deception in Covenant Beings

“No rational creature can escape this witness. It is the witness of the triune God whose face is before men everywhere and all the time. Even the lost in the hereafter cannot escape the revelation of God. God made man a rational-moral creature. He will always be that. As such he is confronted with God. He is addressed by God. He exists in the relationship of covenant interaction. He is a covenant being. To not know God man would have to destroy himself.. He cannot do this. There is no nonbeing into which man can slip in order to escape God’s face and voice. The mountains will not cover him; Hades will not hide him. Nothing can prevent his being confronted ‘with him with whom we have to do.’ Wherever he sees himself, he sees himself confronted with God” (Cornelius Van Til, The Defense of the Faith, pg. 176).

Van Til: Beams Under the Floor

“Our argument as over against this would be that the existence of the God of Christians theism and the conception of his counsel as controlling all things in the universe is the only presupposition which can account for the uniformity of nature the scientist needs. But the best and only possible proof for the existence of such a God is that his existence is required for the uniformity of nature and for the coherence of all things in the world. 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 beams were not underneath. Thus there is absolutely certain proof for the existence of God and the truth of Christian theism. Even non-Christians presuppose its truth while they verbally reject it. They need to presuppose the truth of Christian theism in order to account for their own accomplishments” (Cornelius Van Til, The Defense of the Faith, 125-126).

The Christian Conception of Being – Cornelius Van Til

“Such then, in broad outline, is the Christian conception of being or the Christian conception of metaphysics. We may speak of it as a two-layer theory of reality. When men ask us, What is, according to your notion, the nature of reality or being?, [sic] we shall have to say that we cannot give an answer unless we are permitted to split the question. For us God’s being is ultimate, while created being is, in the nature of the case, derivative” (Cornelius Van Til, The Defense of the Faith [Fourth Edition], 52-53).