Similarities in God’s thoughts and Man’s thoughts: A few observations

This is based on a discussion on the Gordon Clark v. Van Til debate in the OPC in the 1940′s. For further background see my paragraph entitled: Futile Disputes, and peruse through the comments for context.

Dear brother, let me write once again in order to further our dialogue. I get the impression that you have not read Gordon Clark, or further, that you are not familiar with the Clark v. Van Til debate. If you are not, I would recommend reading selected portions of John Frame’s Doctrine of the Knowledge of God for a great summary. To facilitate let me list you a few of Frame’s reasons for similarity in God’s and man’s thought in defense of Dr. Clark. Remember, Dr. Clark wanted to avoid any form of skepticism for the Christian. In other words, if man could not think as God thinks then we have no certainty to rely upon. John Frame is not defending all of Clark’s theses, but he is concerned to accentuate some validity in Clark’s “propositions” (no pun intended).

Here are at least three ways in which man thinks God’s thoughts after him.
see DKG pg.26
1) Divine and Human thought are bound to the same standard of truth. This, even Van Til agreed on, proving that he and Clark simply talked passed each other (as Professor Frame pointed out in class). “God’s thoughts are self-validating; man’s are validated by God’s. Thus they are both validated by reference to the same standard, divine thought”(26 – DKG).

2) “Divine and Human thought may be about the same things, or as philosophers say, they may have the same “objects.” When a man thinks about a rose and when God thinks about it (God is always thinking about it since He is eternally omniscient), they are thinking about the same thing.”

3) “It is possible for man’s beliefs, as well as God’s, to be true. A true belief that will not mislead. God’s beliefs do not mislead Him, and true human beliefs do not mislead human beings… if there is no truth, or if man’s truth is “wholly different,” wholy disanalogous, from God’s, then knowledge is impossible.”

So you see, it is sufficiently plausible to assume analogy upon God and man’s knowledge for knowledge to be justifiable, and of course, I would defend on the basis of Frame’s analysis that it is sufficiently plausible to assume disanologies between God and Man as Van Til affirmed.
I hope we can continue to discuss this matter.

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About Uri Brito

I am the Pastor of Providence Church (CREC) in Pensacola, Fl.
This entry was posted in Anthropology, John Frame, Van Til. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Similarities in God’s thoughts and Man’s thoughts: A few observations

  1. Anonymous says:

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  2. amazedbygrace says:

    I understand the premise of the argument. I have a few questions tho. It has been stated that we think like God instead shouldnt it be that we think as God created us to think. Wouldnt that be a more accurate statement.

    If we think like God then wouldnt we participate in His predetermined thoughts?

    Is man purely ignorant?

    Isnt all true knowlege revealed knowlege?

    I dont know if the book is on line but it would be better from my stand point to quote some of it for the sake of discussion. Or you could just paraphrase it.

  3. ABG says:

    Quote -God’s beliefs do not mislead Him, and true human beliefs do not mislead human beings… if there is no truth, or if man’s truth is “wholly different,” wholy disanalogous, from God’s, then knowledge is impossible.”

    That is why it is essential for God to reveal Himself to man to give that divine light that man does not possess?It does not exist in man so it could be looked at as wholly different?

  4. abg says:

    Does the image of God in man apply to unregenerate man.

  5. U.T. Brito says:

    ABG ASKS: Does the image of God in man apply to unregenerate man.
    I think that is a great question. The Reformed understanding of Scripture affirms that all men are created in God’s image (Gen. 1:26-28). All believers and unbelievers alike are affected by the fall. Though unregenerate are in God’s image, they do not share the benefits of a new life (II Cor. 5:17), nor are their minds renewed (Romans 12:2), nor are they capable of doing such (Romans 8:7-8). But to answer your question directly, even the unregenerate experience God’s power (Romans 1) and understands that there is a God, so that the very image of God leaves him with no excuse (Rom. 1). Hope this helps.

  6. abg says:

    Thats because the image of God is connect with the revealing of God. It is that revelation that is put into effect not at the transforming of a man, but at its actual inscription.That revelation proclaimed has a profound effect on the unregenerate even tho they do not accept that revelation.[Simon the Sorcerer] It is the point of contact of that revelation that is the precondition of saving faith.It is associated with the actual transformation.

  7. abg says:

    What do you think about this statement? Mystery is the vital element of Dogmatics. It is true that the term “mystery” in Scripture does not indicate abstract-supernatural truth in the Romish sense; nevertheless, the idea that the believer would be able to understand and comprehend intellectually the revealed mysteries is equally unscriptural. On the contrary, the truth which God has revealed concerning himself in nature and in Scripture far surpasses human conception and comprehension. In that sense Dogmatics is concerned with nothing but mystery. [4]

  8. abg says:

    Can a persons understanding of a truth be a revealed grasping of the truth at the SAME TIME it is a mysterious grasping?

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