Archive for August 8th, 2011

In Rousas Rushdoony’s work, The Biblical Philosophy of History, he makes an interesting observation and argument that is a great application of Presuppositional Apologetics. I thought it was so good that I have to share it, and is a good example of the interplay between theology, philosophy, history and the doctrine of man, God and nature.

Rushdoony notes the predominate non-Christian position concerning man and nature:

If man is the creature of nature, then, however much you may hope to dominate and control nature, he still basically its creature, condition by nature and subordinate to it. It is significant that, despite the dreams of total control, the psychologies formulated by non-Christian man are passive psychologies. Man is made a product of his heredity and environment. His mind is passive and malleable. The mind of man has been compared to a blank sheet of white paper, and his net nature seen as neutral. This neutral, bland man receives sense impressions from the world and responds to them and is conditioned by them [Rushdoony, The Biblical Philosophy of History, (Nutley, New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1969), 12-13].

Then Rushdoony contrast this with the Biblical perspective:

Man is not passive in his relationship to nature; rather, nature is passive in relationship to man. Nature was passive in receiving the consequences of man’s fall, and nature is passive today as man’s sin lays nature waste. Nature will be passive again in receiving her sabbath rests from man’s hands, and it will be finally shared passively in man’s glorification (Rom. 8:19-22). Man is passive in relationship to God, and man’s sin and ruin are due to his attempt to free himself from this passivity and to become independent and autonomously active and creative. The non-Christian doctrine places man under nature and seeks to place him over God; the Biblical doctrine places man under God, and over nature in Him. Thus, the consequences of every philosophy of history which denies the God of Scripture, HIs infllible word and His creative act, is to open the way for the terror of man under nature and under the divine and messianic state. [Rushdoony, The Biblical Philosophy of History, (Nutley, New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1969), 14].

Rushdoony then takes the nonbeliever’s presuppositions to it’s logical conclusion:

The factuality of non-Christian philosophy is impersonal factuality at best and basically meaningless brute factuality. Thus, the best interpretation of reality which evolutionary philsophers of history can give man reduces history to sub-personal and sub-human forces. For the Darwinist, history is the product of impersonal biological forces; for the Marxist, the forcees are economic, for the Freudian, psychological and unconscious. Not only is the meaning of history de-personalized, but man is de-personalized as well. Man begins by asserting the supremacy of his autonomous mind and reason and ends in total irrationalism. As Van Til has often stated the fate of rationalism is total irrationalism, and irrationalism.

Every non-biblical philosophy of history ends by destorying both man and history. It begins by striving to give a better meaning to history than the one eternity provides, and it ends by robbing history of any human meaning and man of his manhood. In taking counsel against God and HIs decree, man effectually hurt only himself, not God. In rebelling against the kingship of Christ over history and in seeking to establish his own autonomous kingship, man reduces himself to the state of a slave. [Rushdoony, The Biblical Philosophy of History, (Nutley, New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1969), 14-15].


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