Francis-Schaeffer

In part three of The God Who is There, Schaeffer addresses how historic Christianity differs from the new theology. Here, Schaeffer discusses three basic differences: the personality of man, the communication of God to man and the dilemma that man finds himself in is moral failure. Below I will simply provide some quotes from Schaeffer on these issues.

The Personality of Man:

“The biblical Christian answer takes us back to the very beginning of everything and states that personality is intrinsic in what is; not in the pantheistic sense of the universe being the extension of God (or what is), but that a God who is personal on the high order of Trinity created all else.” (p. 93)

In response to the position of Sir Julian Huxley that God is dead but live as if He were alive because it is better for mankind, Schaeffer states: “These thinkers are saying in effect that man can only function as man for an extended period of time if he acts on the assumption that a lie (that the personal God of Christianity is there) is true. You cannot find any deeper despair than this for a sensitive person. this is not an optimistic, happy, reasonable or brilliant answer. It is darkness and death.” (p. 95)

On the centrality of personality to the Christian worldview: We tend to give the impression that we will hold on to the outward forms whatever happens, even if God is really not there. But the opposite ought to be true of us, so that people can see that we demand truth of what is there and that we are not dealing merely with platitudes. In other words, it should be understood that we take this question of truth and personality so seriously that if God were not there, we would be among the first to have the courage to step out of the queue.” (p. 96)

The Communication of God to Man:

” Why should God not communicate propositionally to the man, the verbalizing being, whom He made in such a way that we communicate propositionally to each other? Therefore, in the biblical position there is the possibility of verifiable facts involved: a personal God communicating in verbalized form propositionally to man – not only concerning those things man would call in our generation :religious truths,” but also down into the areas of history and science.” (p. 99-100)

“It is plain, therefore, that from the viewpoint of the Scriptures themselves there is a unity over the whole field of knowledge. God has spoken, in a linguistic propositional form, truth concerning Himself and truth concerning man, history and the universe. Here is an adequate basis for the unity of knowledge…..The unity is there because God has spoken truth into all areas of our knowledge….To say that God communicates truly does not mean that God communicates exhaustively……though the infinite God has said true things concerning the whole of what He has made, our knowledge is not thereby meant to be static. Created in His image, we are rational and, as such, we are able to, and intended to, explore and discover further truth concerning creation.” (p. 100)

The Dilemma of Man a Moral Failure:

In answering the new theologies answer to the dilemma of man in the world: “The new theology has no answer to the dilemma either. Its followers are caught equally in Camus’ problem and Baudelaire’s proposition. All that is reasonable in their position, based on observing the world as it is, says God is the devil. Nevertheless, because they do not want to live with this conclusion, by an act of blind faith they say God is good. This, they say, is what the ‘scandal of the cross” is – to believe that God is good against all the evidence open to reason. But this is emphatically not the ‘scandal of the cross.” The true scandal is that however faithfully and clearly one preaches the gospel, at a certain point the world, because of its rebellion, will turn from it. Men turn away in order not to bow before the God who is there. This is the “scandal of the cross.” (p. 111)

“God can know about things that are not actualized. For example, He knew all about Eve, but she was not actualized until He made her. The same thing can be true in the area of morals. When man sins, he brings forth what is contrary to the moral law of the universe and as a result he is morally and legally guilty. Because man is guilty before the Lawgiver of the universe, doing what is contrary to His character, his sin is significant and he is morally significant in a significant history. Man has true moral guilt.” (p. 115)

Advertisements