Man’s Analogical Knowledge

2. The logic of Van Til’s analogical knowledge

2.1 There are certain questions any epistemological theory must answer:

(a) What is the subject of knowledge? (That which knows.)

(b) What is the object of knowledge? (That which is known.)

(c) How does a subject acquire an object of knowledge?
(The mechanism of knowledge acquisition.)

2.2 The logic of Van Til’s analogical knowledge is rather simple.

The creator-creation distinction is an ontological distinction between God and his creation.

Van Til’s applies the creator-creation distinction to all three epistemological questions above.

Thus, for Van Til:

(a) The creator-creation distinction implies that the subject of knowledge is ontologically different: God is uncreated Creator but human persons are created creatures.

(b) The creator-creation distinction implies that the object of knowledge is ontologically different between creator and creature: The object of God’s knowledge is uncreated but the object of human’s knowledge is created.

(c) The creator-creation distinction implies that the mechanism of knowledge acquisition is ontologically different between creator and creature: The mechanism of knowledge acquisition for God is uncreated but the mechanism of knowledge acquisition for human persons are created.

2.3 As a good Reformed believer, Van Til also believes that human persons are created in the image of God.

As an image-bearer of God, human persons as knower reflect God as knower.

How do human persons reflect God epistemologically?

Van Til calls this relation “analogical”.

“Analogical” is meant to convey the idea that there are both similarities and differences between God as knower and human persons as knower.

There are similarities because human persons are created in the image of God and therefore reflect God as knower.

There are differences because human persons are created in the image of God and therefore there is an underlying ontological difference between the creator and creature as knower.

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