Redemptive Necessity of the Christian Moral View

“But I would encourage many of you to think about this—it has concerned me for a number of years, not just looking at my own method, but wondering what my students might do. It’s sometimes possible to present the transcendental argument, the precondition of intelligibility argument, in a way that seems to leave out the redemptive work of Christ. Ask yourselves, how do we more sufficiently and consistently incorporate that in the argument? I have some hints, and I’ll share one or two of them here, but I think that’s something if there are people here who really wanted advance this school of thought, and our faithfulness, you can work on that. It’s, uh, it is of interest that many times presuppositionlists can get into debates. We debate things like the inductive principle, the laws of logic and moral absolutes. Evidentialists may seem more “Christian” than us because their debates talk about the resurrection of Jesus, don’t they? Now I don’t believe that the impression that one is like more deistic and the other more specifically Christian is correct. But it would be very good for Van Tilians, or presuppositionalists, to work more on that. And part of it’s going to require us to look more into this area of philosophy of psychology—which you get…I’ve begun some work in terms of self-deception. We have to ask ourselves if…if Christianity is, as the epistemological argument says, the precondition of intelligibility, we have to ask, why is it that men don’t come to that conclusion? What has kept them from coming to that conclusion? Why don’t they just naturally see this, you know, and admit it? But that will lead us to talk about something in human nature that’s warped its reasoning about science and logic. That is to say, we’re going to have talk about there’s something radically wrong—morally wrong—something disobedient about humans. And the very fact that we have arguments in philosophy in itself shows our perversity. So that if anyone has been able to come  to the truth about the preconditions of intelligibility, given what we have to acknowledge about the human condition, they can only come to that through the revelation and the work of Jesus Christ. We don’t, uh, that’s just…that’s a program to develop. The reason I want to push that is because we want to make very clear that we have not done our work as apologists if we just get people to say, “Well, you know, in order to be a good scientist, I’m going to have to admit there’s a creator.” Because ultimately the Bible says, being a scientist, you need to bow to Jesus Christ. He needs to be your Savior intellectually, morally, eschatologically. And I think that would be well worth somebody…I can’t do it, Mr. Frame can’t do it in one lifetime. But if you want some…I think Mr. Frame would agree with that. But I think we need to do a lot more work on the redemptive necessity of the Christian moral view.”

(Bahnsen, Answering Frame’s Critique of Van Til)


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