Tuesday, February 27, 2007

More from Francis Schaeffer

It would be hard to overestimate the impact that Francis Schaeffer's work has had on my life - either directly, or filtered through the many other people who he influenced during the 20th Century. I included a link in the post below to a website which gathers together various items relating to him. Here's a quote from it which pretty much represents my thoughts on philosophy/religion.
Basically, the biblical perspective is this. First, there is an infinite-personal God who exists and who has created the external universe, not as an extension of His own essence, but out of nothing. Something of the nature of this created universe can be found out by reason because that is the way the infinite-personal God has created it. The universe is neither chaotic nor random, but orderly. Cause and effect is real, but this cause and effect is not in a closed system, but rather in an open system -- or, to say it in a different way, it is a cause-and-effect system in a limited time span. Though this universe has an objective existence apart from God, it does not operate solely on its own; it is not autonomous. God is not a slave to the cause-and-effect world He has created, but is able to act into the cause-and-effect flow of history.

Second, God has made man in His own image, and this means, among other things, that man too can act into the cause-and-effect flow of history. That is, man cannot be reduced to only a part of the machine; he is not an automaton.

Third, not only can God act into the world, but He is not silent; He has spoken to men in the historic, space-time situation. The Bible and Christ in His office of prophet have given a propositional, verbalized communication to men that is true about God, true about history, and true about the cosmos. This should not take us by surprise, for if God has made man in His own image and has made us so that we can verbalize facts propositionally to each other on a horizontal level of communication, then it is natural that the infinite God who is personal would also communicate vertically to man in the same way. Of course, we must be careful to make a distinction here. Although God has not given us exhaustive knowledge (only He is infinite), He has given us true knowledge (what I have often called true truth)-- true knowledge about Himself, about history, and about the cosmos.

Fourth, the universe as it is now is not normal; that is, it is not now as it was when it was first created. Likewise, man is no longer as he was when first created. Therefore, from God's side there is the possibility of a qualitative solution for man as he is now and for man's cruelty, without man ceasing to be man.

(Francis A. Schaeffer, The Church Before the Watching World, Ch. 1)
Here's another quick quote ....
When all is done, when all the alternatives have been explored, "not many men are in the room" -- that is, although world-views have many variations, there are not many basic world-views or basic presuppositions.