Human Knowledge: Not comprehensive, but still true

“One of the points about which there has been much confusion when we speak of the objectivity of human knowledge is whether human knowledge of the world must be comprehensive to be true. Sometimes it is said that though we cannot hope to obtain comprehensive knowledge of God we may hope eventually if not now to have comprehensive knowledge of the things of this universe. But we believe that just for the reason that we cannot hope to obtain comprehensive knowledge of God we cannot hope to obtain comprehensive knowledge of anything in this world.

Not as though anything in this world is infinite as God is infinite and for that reason not fully comprehensible, for it is not the infinity of things in themselves but once more the infinity of God that makes it impossible for us comprehensively to understand things in the created universe. The reason for this is not far to seek. The things of this universe must be interpreted in relation to God. The object of knowledge is not interpreted truly if though brought into relation with the human mind, it is not also brought into relation with the divine mind. God is the ultimate category of interpretation. Now we cannot fully understand God’s plan for created things and so we cannot fully understand things.

We see then that our knowledge of the universe must be true since we are creatures of God who has made both us and the universe. Then too our knowledge of the universe cannot be comprehensive because our knowledge of God cannot be comprehensive.”

(Van Til, The Defense of the Faith, 43-44)

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