Futile Disputes

In his introduction to Apologetics, Professor Frame told us that the Van Til vs. Clark debate was a futile discussion that only led to chaos in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC). The disputation concerns whether we think like God (Clark) or our whether our thoughts will never be similar to God because of the Creator/Creature distinction (Van Til). As anyone familiar with Professor Frame will guess, he believes that both Van Til and Clark were right in different ways/senses. Professor Frame continues to display a form of Orthodox irenicism that begs to be heard in the evangelical church (particularly in the Reformed community). Such minute issues are mere bagatelle in the spectrum of eternity.

About Uri Brito

I am the Pastor of Providence Church (CREC) in Pensacola, Fl.
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8 Responses to Futile Disputes

  1. amazedbygrace says:

    How can man think like God when he is an enemy of God? Unless “like” is a mystical term.To think like God would require man to be like God.Men are little god makers that are fashioned from their own minds.Thinking futile thoughts are not Godlike.

  2. U.T. Brito says:

    Thanks for bringing up that point. The issue for Clark was the preservation of our faith. In other words, Clark wanted to avoid skepticism. His point was that if we saw a blue sky, then God must see the sky as blue as well. The blue sky for us would never be a purple sky for God. Clark was concerned that if we saw or thought about truth (Jesus is God) then that had to be the same truth God saw and believed. Clark was well aware that no one knew Christ better than the Father, but the issue is that the truth about the universe that we see was the truth that God saw. Of course, you may be aware that Clark saw almost no value in general revelation, but that’s another discussion. Let me know if this helps.

  3. Laurence O. says:

    I appreciate the latter part of your post (as echoes of Titus 3:9 ring in my heart’s ears). God, save us seminarians from ourselves!

  4. amazedbygrace says:

    It depends apoun whether God sees like we see. This is an anthropomorism. Gods mind has perfect thoughts that are not idle but active. He doesnt waste His time. God is involved in every detail of His creation as the hair on the head.Im not convinced God sees as we see because of this mode of being that transends all created things.Does His being pleased come from His seeing his creation of the original thought that predetermines its end?

  5. U.T. Brito says:

    I concur with your analysis that God’s mind is not idle but active. But remember that neither are our minds idle. Our minds function in ways that are limited but yet reflect the imago dei. As for your question: “Does His being pleased come from His seeing his creation of the original thought that predetermines its end?” frankly it is too speculative. But I would assume that God takes glory from His thoughts whether they have been made in time (which is absurd to some, but cautiously accepted by others) or in eternity past.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I agree that our minds reflect the image of God and that it is limited but how much of mans mind reflects the image of God in its darkened state? The pre fall state was that man reflected his image. How many thoughts are honoring to God after that fall? There is that image of the original but the production of that original is evil continually. There is a moral responsibility of personal evil that is attributed to man which does not reflect that image. It is the action of that original that is not an image of God. The punishment that the moral law demands is not just on the action but on the original.

    Where does the corrupted image which incites wrath as pleasing God begin and the image as original as pleasing God end?

    If the work of Christ in time was predetermined then how could His thoughts be original in time? There is much mystery here and i only say that we need embrace the absolute soveriengty of God lest we entertain semi-palegainist ideas.

  7. amazedbygrace says:

    That post above is mine.

  8. U.T. Brito says:

    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’d recommend you look at 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 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 on.
    Here are at least three ways in which man thinks God’s thoughts after him.
    see Frame 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 sam ethings, 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.
    I hope we can continue to discuss this matter.

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