John Robbins Not So Quick Quote
In light of Covenant Seminary professor of Old Testament Dr. “Jack” Collins’ reply to a review by Rachel Miller that I linked below, and some of the subsequent discussion to the blog where his reply was reprinted, I thought the following not-so-quick quote from John Robbins was in order. I think it is also pertinent to some of the discussion following my post below; “Van Til and Natural Theology.”
There are two basic forms of Christian apologetics: evidentialism and presuppositionalism. The evidentialist form holds that Christians ought to try to prove the existence of God and the veracity of the Bible on the basis of premises that all men will accept, such as the reliability of sense perception. The presuppositionalist method holds that the existence of God and the inerrancy of Scripture are to be assumed as indemonstrable axioms; they cannot be proved, and it is both impious and stupid to try.
Involved in the evidentialist method, although the evidentialists may be reluctant to admit it, is the necessity of redefining key terms. We have seen how the scientific creationists have attempted to redefine “academic freedom” and “creation,” emptying the latter of almost all Biblical content. But this redefinition of terms may also be clearly seen in the best evidentialist apologete of them all, the thirteenth-century Roman Catholic Thomas Aquinas. Thomas held that one could prove the existence of God in five ways, and the first and more manifest way was the way of motion: “It is certain, and evident to our senses,” Thomas wrote, “that in the world some things are in motion.” From this axiom that he considered indubitable, Thomas at tempted to deduce an Unmoved Mover. He concluded his proof by saying, “And this everyone understands to be God.” But Thomas’s unmoved mover is the unmoved mover of the pagan Aristotle. It is no more the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, it is no more Jesus Christ, than scientific creationism is the Genesis account of creation. Writing in Latin, Thomas referred to his unmoved mover and his first cause as neuters. They are “It.” God is not neuter. God is not an “It.”
The reason that both philosophical giants like Thomas Aquinas and lesser men like the scientific creationists must redefine their terms is their common method of apologetics evidentialism. One cannot deduce the God of the Bible from any secular axioms, whether those axioms be common sense, scientific evidence, or simply sense perception. It is logically impossible. One of the first rules of logic is that terms must not appear in the conclusion of an argument that did not first appear in its premises. If the terms are not in the premises, they logically cannot show up in the conclusion. Even Thomas Aquinas admitted that he believed in creation only because God revealed it. But the scientific creationists are not quite so wise as Thomas.
… It has taken only a decade for Biblical creationism to turn into scientific creationism. Many Christians are not yet aware of the change. The scientific creationists have a pecuniary interest in keeping them uninformed of the change. But the ramifications of the change are extensive, and its implications are lethal. Once the axiomatic acceptance of Scripture as inerrant is abandoned, the surrender to paganism is sure and swift. The Bible and the Bible alone is the source of truth. It is in the Bible alone that we read about creation. Neither science nor Aristotle has anything to say about it. Science is ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of truth. [Read the rest of The Hoax of Scientific Creationism]