First Chapter of “He is there and He is not silent” by Francis Schaeffer

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This book will deal with the philosophic necessity of God’s being
there and not being silent, in the areas of metaphysics, morals, and
epistemology.
We should understand first of all that the three basic areas of
philosophic thought are what they have always been. The first of
them is the area of metaphysics, of “being.” This is the area of what
is—the problem of existence. This includes the existence of man,
but we must realize that the existence of man is no greater problem
as such than is the fact that anything exists at all. No one has said it
better than Jean-Paul Sartre, who has said that the basic philo-
sophic question is that something is there rather than that nothing
is there. Nothing that is worth calling a philosophy can sidestep the
question of the fact that things do exist and that they exist in their
present form and complexity. This is what we define, then, as the
problem of metaphysics, the existence of being.
The second area of philosophical thought is that of man and
the dilemma of man. Man is personal and yet he is finite, and so he
is not a sufficient integration point for himself. We might remem-
ber another profound statement from Sartre that no finite point
has any meaning unless it has an infinite reference point. The
Christian would agree that he is right in this statement.
Man is finite, so he is not sufficient integration point for him-
self, yet man is different from non-man. Man is personal in con-
trast to that which is impersonal, or, to use a phrase which I have
used in my books, man has his “mannishness.”
Now behaviorism, and all forms of determinism, would say
that man is not personal—that he is not intrinsically different from
the impersonal. But the difficulty with this is that it denies the obser-
vation man has made of himself for forty thousand years, if we
accept the modern dating system; and second, there is no determin-
ist or behaviorist who really lives consistently on the basis of his
determinism or his behavioristic psychology—saying, that is, that
man is only a machine. This is true of Francis Crick, who reduces
man to the mere chemical and physical properties of the DNA tem-
plate. The interesting thing, however, is that Crick clearly shows that
he cannot live with his own determinism. In one of his books,
Of Molecules and Men,
he soon begins to speak of nature as “her,” and
in a smaller, more profound book,The Origin of the Genetic Code,
he begins to spell nature with a capital N.
B. F. Skinner, the author of
Beyond Freedom and Dignity,
shows the same tension. So there are
these two difficulties with the acceptance of modern determinism
and behaviorism, which say there is no intrinsic difference between
man and non-man: first, one has to deny man’s own observation of
himself through all the years, back to the cave paintings and beyond;
and second, no chemical determinist or psychological determinist is
ever able to live as though he is the same as non-man.
THE METAPHYSICAL NECESSITY
Another question in the dilemma of man is man’s nobility.
Perhaps you do not like the word “nobility,” but whatever word you
choose, there is something great about man. I want to add here that
evangelicals have made a horrible mistake by often equating the fact
that man is lost and under God’s judgment with the idea that man is
nothing—a zero. This is not what the Bible says. There is something
great about man, and we have lost perhaps our greatest opportunity
of evangelism in our generation by not insisting that it is the Bible
that explains why man is great.
However, man is not only noble (or whatever word you want
to substitute), but man is also cruel. So we have a dilemma. The
first dilemma is that man is finite and yet he is personal; the second
dilemma is the contrast between man’s nobility and man’s cruelty.
Or one can express it in a modern way: the alienation of man from
himself and from all other men in the area of morals. So now we
have two areas of philosophic thought: first, metaphysics, dealing
with being, with existence; second, the area of morals.
The third area of this study is that of epistemology—the
problem of knowing.
Now, let me make two general observations. First, philoso-
phy and religion deal with the same basic questions. Christians,
and especially evangelical Christians, have tended to forget this.
Philosophy and religion do not deal with different questions,
though they give different answers and in different terms. The
basic questions of both philosophy and religion (and I mean reli-
gion here in the wide sense, including Christianity) are the ques-
tions of being: that is, what exists; man and his dilemma—that is,
morals; and of how man knows. Philosophy deals with these
points, but so does religion, including orthodox evangelical Chris-
tianity.
The second general observation concerns the two meanings
of the word “philosophy,” which must be kept absolutely separate
if we are to avoid confusion. The first meaning is a discipline, an
academic subject. That is what we usually think of as philosophy: a
highly technical study which few people pursue. In this sense, few
people are philosophers. But there is a second meaning that we
must not miss if we are going to understand the problem of
preaching the gospel in the twentieth-century world. For philoso-
phy also means a man’s worldview. In this sense, all men are phi-
losophers, for all men have a worldview. This is just as true of the
man digging a ditch as it is of the philosopher in the university.
Christians have tended to despise the concept of philosophy.
This has been one of the weaknesses of evangelical, orthodox
Christianity—we have been proud in despising philosophy, and
we have been exceedingly proud in despising the intellectual. Our
theological seminaries hardly ever relate their theology to philoso-
phy, and specifically to the current philosophy. Thus, men go out
from the theological seminaries not knowing how to relate it. It is
not that they do not know the answers, but my observation is that
most men graduating from our theological seminaries do not
know the questions.
In fact, philosophy is universal in scope. No man can live
without a worldview; therefore, there is no man who is not a phi-
losopher.
There are not many possibilities in answer to the three basic
areas of philosophic thought, but there is a great deal of possible
detail surrounding the basic answers. It will help us tremen-
dously—whether we are studying philosophy at university and feel
buffeted to death, or whether we are trying to be ministers of the
gospel, speaking to people with a worldview—if we realize that
although there are many possible details, the possible answers—in
their basic concepts—are exceedingly few.
There are two classes of answers given to these questions.
1. The first class of answer is that there is no logical, rational
answer. This is rather a phenomenon of our own generation. The
question has come under “the line of despair.” I am not saying that
nobody in the past had these views, but they were not the domi-
nant view. Today it is much more dominant than it has ever been.
This is true not only among philosophers in their discussions, but
it is equally true of discussions on the street corner, at the cafe, at
the university dining room, or at the filling station. The solution
commonly proposed is that there is no logical, rational
answer—all is finally chaotic, irrational, and absurd. This view is
expressed with great finesse in the existential world of thinking,
and in the theater of the absurd. This is the philosophy, or
worldview, of many people today. It is a part of the warp and woof
of the thinking of our day that there are no answers, that every-
thing is irrational and absurd.
If a man held that everything is meaningless, nothing has
answers, and there is no cause-and-effect relationship, and if he
really held this position with any consistency, it would be very hard
to refute. But in fact, no one can hold consistently that everything
is chaotic and irrational and that there are no basic answers. It can
be held theoretically, but it cannot be held in practice that every-
thing is absolute chaos.
The first reason the irrational position cannot be held consis-
tently in practice is the fact that the external world is there and it
has form and order. It is not a chaotic world. If it were true that all
is chaotic, unrelated, and absurd, science, as well as general life,
would come to an end. To live at all is not possible except in the
understanding that the universe that is there—the external uni-
verse—has a certain form, a certain order, and that man conforms
to that order and so he can live within it.
Perhaps you remember one of Godard’s movies, Pierrot le Fou,
in which he has people going out through the windows,
instead of through the doors. But the interesting thing is that they
do not go out through the solid wall. Godard is really saying that
although he has no answer, yet at the same time he cannot go out
through that solid wall. This is merely his expression of the diffi-
culty of holding that there is a totally chaotic universe while the
external world has form and order.
Sometimes people try to bring in a little bit of order, but as
soon as you bring in a little bit of order, the first class of
answer—that everything is meaningless, everything is irrational—is
no longer self-consistent, and falls to the ground.
The view that everything is chaotic and there are no ultimate
answers is held by many thinking people today, but in my experi-
ence they always hold it very selectively. Almost without exception
(actually, I have never found an exception), they discuss rationally
until they are losing the discussion and then they try to slip over into
the answer of irrationality. But as soon as the one we are discussing
with does that, we must point out to him that as soon as he becomes
selective in his argument of irrationality, he makes his whole argu-
ment suspect. Theoretically, the position of irrationalism can be
held, but no one lives with it in regard either to the external world or
the categories of his thought world and discussion. As a matter of
fact, if this position were argued properly, all discussion would come
to an end. Communication would end. We would have only a series
of meaningless sounds—blah, blah, blah. The theater of the absurd
has said this, but it fails, because if you read and listen carefully to the
theater of the absurd, it is always trying to communicate its view that
one cannot communicate. There is always a communication about
the statement that there is no communication. It is always selective,
with pockets of order brought in somewhere along the line. Thus we
see that this class of answer—that all things are irrational—is not an
answer.
2. The second class of answer is that there is an answer that
can be rationally and logically considered, which can be communi-
cated to oneself in one’s thought world and communicated with
others externally. In this chapter we will deal with metaphysics in
the area of answers that can be discussed; later, we will deal with
man in his dilemma, the area of morals, in relation to answers that
can be discussed. So now, we are to consider such answers in the
area of being, of existence.
I have already said that there are not many basic answers,
although there are variances of details within the answers. Now,
curiously enough, there are only three possible basic answers to
this question that would be open to rational consideration. The
basic answers are very, very few indeed.
We are considering existence, the fact that something is
there. Remember Jean-Paul Sartre’s statement that the basic philo-
sophic question is that something is there, rather than that nothing
is there. The first basic answer is that everything that exists has
come out of absolutely nothing. In other words, you begin with
nothing. Now, to hold this view, it must be absolutely nothing. It
must be what I call nothing-nothing. It cannot be noth-
ing-something or something-nothing. If one is going to accept this
answer, it must be nothing-nothing, which means there must be
no energy, no mass, no motion, and no personality.
My description of nothing-nothing runs like this. Suppose
we had a very black blackboard that had never been used. On this
blackboard we drew a circle, and inside that circle there was every –
thing that was—and there was nothing within the circle. Then we
erase the circle. This is nothing-nothing. You must not let anybody
say he is giving an answer beginning with nothing and then really
begin with something: energy, mass, motion, or personality. That
would be something, and something is not nothing.
The truth is, I have never heard this argument sustained, for
it is unthinkable that all that now is has come out of utter nothing.
But theoretically, that is the first possible answer.
The second possible answer in the area of existence is that all
that now is had an impersonal beginning. This impersonality may be
mass, energy, or motion, but they are all impersonal, and all equally
impersonal. So it makes no basic philosophic difference which of
them you begin with. Many modern men have implied that because
they are beginning with energy particles, rather than old-fashioned
mass, they have a better answer. SALVADOR DALI did this as he moved
from his surrealistic period into his new mysticism. But such men
do not have a better answer. It is still impersonal. Energy is just as
impersonal as mass or motion. As soon as you accept the impersonal
beginning of all things, you are faced with some form of
reductionism. Reductionism argues that everything there is now,
from the stars to man himself, is finally to be understood by reduc-
ing it to the original, impersonal factor or factors.
The great problem with beginning with the impersonal is to
find any meaning for the particulars. A particular is any individual
factor, any individual thing—the separate parts of the whole. A
drop of water is a particular, and so is a man. If we begin with the
impersonal, then how do any of the particulars that now exist—
including man—have any meaning and significance? Nobody has
given us an answer to that. In all the history of philosophical
thought, whether from the East or the West, no one has given us an answer.
Beginning with the impersonal, everything, including man,
must be explained in terms of the impersonal plus time plus
chance. Do not let anyone divert your mind at this point. There are
no other factors in the formula, because there are no other factors
that exist. If we begin with an impersonal, we cannot then have
some form of teleological concept. No one has ever demonstrated
how time plus chance, beginning with an impersonal, can produce
the needed complexity of the universe, let alone the personality of
man. No one has given us a clue to this.
Often this answer—of beginning with the impersonal—is
called pantheism.
The new mystical thought in the underground
newspapers is almost always some form of pantheism—and
almost all the modern liberal theology is pantheistic as well. Often
this beginning with the impersonal is called pantheism, but really
this is a semantic trick, because by using the root theism
a connota-tion of the personal is brought in, when by definition the imper-
sonal is meant. In my discussions I never let anybody talk
unthinkingly about pantheism. Somewhere along the way I try to
make the point that it is not really pantheism, with its semantic
illusion of personality, but paneverythingism.
The ancient religions of Hinduism and Buddhism, as well as the modern mysticism, the
new pantheistic theology, are not truly pantheism. It is merely a
semantic solution that is being offered. Theism is being used as a connotation word. In
The God Who Is There, I have emphasized the fact that the modern solutions are usually semantic mystic-isms and this is one of them.
But whatever form paneverythingism takes, including the
modern scientific form which reduces everything to energy parti-
cles, it always has the same problem: in all of them, the end is the
impersonal.
There are two problems that always exist—the need for unity
and the need for diversity. Paneverythingism gives an answer for
the need of unity, but it gives none for the needed diversity. Begin –
ning with the impersonal, there is no meaning or significance to
diversity. We can think of the old Hindu pantheism, which begins
everything with om. In reality, everything ought to have ended
with om on a single note, with no variance, because there is no rea-
son for significance in variance. And even if paneverythingism
gave an answer for form, it gives no meaning for freedom. Cycles
are usually introduced as though waves were being tossed up out of
the sea, but this gives no final solution to any of these problems.
Morals, under every form of pantheism, have no meaning as mor-
als, for everything in paneverythingism is finally equal. Modern
theology must move toward situational ethics because there is no
such thing as morals in this cycle. The word “morals” is used, but it
is really only a word. This is the dilemma of the second answer,
which is the one that most hold today. Naturalistic science holds it,
beginning everything with energy particles. Many university stu-
dents hold some form of paneverythingism. Liberal theological
books today are almost uniformly pantheist. But beginning with
an impersonal, as the pantheist must do, there are no true answers
in regard to existence with its complexity, or the personality—the

mannishness—of man.Some might say there is another possibility—some form of dualism, that is, two opposites

existing simultaneously as co-equal and co-eternal. For example, mind (or ideals or ideas)

and matter; or in morals, good and evil. However, if in morals one holds this position, then

there is no ultimate reason to call one good and one evil_the words and choice are purely

subjective if there is not something above them. And if there is something above them it is no

longer a true dualism. In metaphysics, the dilemma is that no one finally rests with dualism.

Back of Yin and Yang there is placed a shadowy Tao; back of Zoroastrianism there is placed

an intangible thing or figure. The simple fact is that in any form of dualism we are left with

some form of imbalance or tension and there is a motion back to a monism.

Either men try to find a unity over the two; or in the case of the concept of a parallelism (for

example, ideals or ideas and material) there is a need to find a relationship, a correlation or

contact between the two, or we are left with a concept of the two keeping step with no unity

to cause them to do so. Thus in an attempted parrellism there has been a constant tendency

for one side to be subordinated to the other, or for one side to become an illusion.

Further, if the elements of the dualism are impersonal, we are left with the same problem

in both being and morals as in the case of a more simple form of a final impersonal. Thus, for

me, dualism is not the same kind of basic answer as the three I deal with in this book.

Perhaps it would be well to point out that in both existence and morals, Christianity gives a

unique and sufficient answer in regard to a present dualism yet original monism. In exis-

tence, God is spirit_this is as true of the Father as of the Holy Spirit, and equally true of the

Son, prior to the incarnation. Thus, we begin with a monism, but with a creation by the infinite

God of the material universe out of nothing, a dualism now exists. It should be noted that

while God thus created something which did not exist before, it is not a beginning out of nothing nothing, because he was there (as the infinite-personal God) to will.

The third possible answer is to begin with a personal beginning.
With this we have exhausted the possible basic answers in regard to
existence. It may sound simplistic, but it is true. That is not to
saythere are no details that one can discuss, no variances, subhead-
ings, or subschools—but these are the only basic schools of thought
that are possible. Somebody once brilliantly said that when you get
done with any basic questions, there are not many people in the
room. By this he meant that the farther you go in depth in any basic
question, finally the choices to be made are rather simple and clear.
There are not many basic answers to any of the great questions of
life.
So now let us think what it means to begin with that which is
personal. That is, that which is personal began everything else,
the very opposite of beginning with the impersonal. In this case,
man, being personal, does have meaning. This is not abstract.
Many of the people who come to L’Abri would not become Chris-
tians if we did not discuss in this area. Hundreds of them would
have turned away, saying, “You don’t know the questions.” These
things are not abstract, but have to do with communicating the
Christian gospel in the midst of the twentieth century.
I get tired of being asked why I don’t just preach the “simple
gospel.” You have to preach the simple gospel so that it is simple to
the person to whom you are talking, or it is no longer simple. The
dilemma of modern man is simple: he does not know why man has
any meaning. He is lost. Man remains a zero. This is the damnation
of our generation, the heart of modern man’s problem. But if we
begin with a personal beginning and this is the origin of all else,
then the personal does have meaning, and man and his aspirations
are not meaningless. Man’s aspirations of the reality of personality
are in line with what was originally there and what has always
intrinsically been.
It is the Christian who has the answer at this point—a titanic
answer! So why have we gone on saying the great truths in all the
ways that nobody understands? Why do we keep talking to our
-selves, if men are lost and we say we love them? Man’s damnation
today is that he can find no meaning for man, but if we begin with
the personal beginning we have an absolutely opposite situation.
We have the reality of the fact that personality does have meaning
because it is not alienated from what has always been, and what is,
and what always will be. This is our answer, and with this we have a
solution not only to the problem of existence—of bare being and
its complexity—but also for man’s being different, with a person-
ality which distinguishes him from non-man.
We may use an illustration of two valleys. Often in the Swiss
Alps there is a valley filled with water and an adjacent valley without
water. Surprisingly enough, sometimes the mountains spring leaks,
and suddenly the second valley begins to fill up with water. As long
as the level of water in the second valley does not rise higher than the
level of the water in the first valley, everyone concludes that there is a
real possibility that the second lake came from the first. However, if
the water in the second valley goes thirty feet higher than the water
in the first valley, nobody gives that answer. If we begin with a per-
sonal beginning to all things, then we can understand that man’s
aspiration for personality has a possible answer.
If we begin with less than personality, we must finally reduce
personality to the impersonal. The modern scientific world does this
in its reductionism, in which the word “personality” is only the
impersonal plus complexity. In the naturalistic scientific world,
whether social, psychological, or natural science, a man is reduced to
the impersonal plus complexity. There is no real, intrinsic differ-
ence.
But once we consider a personal beginning, we have yet
another choice to make. This is the next step: are we going to
choose the answer of God or gods? The difficulty with gods instead
of God is that limited gods are not big enough. To have an ade-
quate answer of a personal beginning, we need two things. We
need a personal-infinite God (or an infinite-personal God) and we need a personal unity and diversity in God.
Let us consider the first choice—a personal-infinite God.
Only a personal-infinite God is big enough. Plato understood that
you have to have absolutes or nothing has meaning. But the diffi-
culty facing Plato was the fact that his gods were not big enough to
meet the need. So although he knew the need, the need fell to the
ground because his gods were not big enough to be the point of ref-
erence or place of residence for his absolutes, for his ideals. In
Greek literature the Fates sometimes seem to be behind and con-
trolling the gods, and sometimes the gods seem to be controlling
the Fates. Why the confusion? Because everything fails in this
thinking at this point—because their limited gods are not big
enough. That is why we need a personal-infinite God. That is first.
Second, we need a personal unity and diversity in God—not
just an abstract concept of unity and diversity, because we have
seen we need a personal God. We need a personal unity and diver-
sity. Without this we have no answer.
What we are talking about is the philosophic necessity, in the
area of being and existence, of the fact that God is there. That is
what it is all about:He is there.
There is no other sufficient philosophical answer than the
one I have outlined. You can search through university philoso-
phy, underground philosophy, filling station philosophy—it does
not matter which—there is no other sufficient philosophical
answer to existence, to being, than the one I have outlined. There is
only one philosophy, one religion, that fills this need in all the
world’s thought, whether the East, the West, the ancient, the mod-
ern, the new, the old. Only one fills the philosophical need of exis-
tence, of being, and it is the Judeo-Christian God—not just an
abstract concept, but rather that this God is really there. He really
exists. There is no other answer, and orthodox Christians ought to
be ashamed of having been defensive for so long. It is not a time to
be defensive. There is no other answer.
Let us notice that no word is as meaningless as is the word
“god.” Of itself it means nothing. Like any other word, it is only a
linguistic symbol—g-o-d—until content is put into it. This is espe-
cially so for the word “god,” because no other word has been used to
convey such absolutely opposite meanings. The mere use of the
word “god” proves nothing. You must put content into it. The word
“god” as such is no answer to the philosophic problem of existence,
but the Judeo-Christian content to the word “God” as given in the
Old and New Testaments does meet the need of what exists—the
existence of the universe in its complexity and of man as man. And
what is that content? It relates to an infinite-personal God, who is
personal unity in diversity on the high order of trinity.
Every once in a while in my discussions someone asks how I
can believe in the Trinity. My answer is always the same. I would
still be an agnostic if there were no Trinity, because there would be
no answers. Without the high order of personal unity and diversity
as given in the Trinity,there are no answers.
Let us return again to the personal-infinite. On the side of
God’s infinity, there is a complete chasm between God on one side
and man, the animal, the flower, and the machine on the other. On
the side of God’s infinity, he stands alone. He is the absolute other.
He is, in his infinity, contrary to all else. He is differentiated from
all else because only he is infinite. He is the Creator; all else was cre-
ated. He is infinite; all else in finite. All else is brought forth by cre-
ation, so all else is dependent and only he is independent. This is
absolute on the side of his infinity. Therefore, concerning God’s
infinity, man is as separated from God as is the atom or any other
machine-portion of the universe.
But on the side of God being personal, the chasm is between
man and the animal, the planet, and the machine. Why? Because
man was made in the image of God. This is not just doctrine. It is
not dogma that needs just to be repeated linearly, as McLuhan
would say. This is really down in the warp and woof of the whole
problem. Man is made in the image of God; therefore, on the side
of the fact that God is a personal God, the chasm stands not
between God and man, but between man and all else. But on the
side of God’s infinity, man is as separated from God as the atom or
any other finite of the universe. So we have the answer to man’s
being finite and yet personal.
It is not that this is the best answer to existence; it is the only
answer. That is why we may hold our Christianity with intellectual
integrity. The only answer for what exists is that God, the
infinite-personal God, really is there.
Now we must develop the second part a bit further—per-
sonal unity and diversity on the high order of trinity. Einstein
taught that the whole material world may be reduced to electro-
magnetism and gravity. At the end of his life he was seeking a unity
above these two, something that would unite electromagnetism
and gravity, but he never found it. But what if he had found it? It
would only be unity in diversity in relationship to the material
world, and as such it would only be child’s play. Nothing would
really have been settled because the needed unity and diversity in
regard to personality would not have been touched. If he had been
able to bring electromagnetism and gravity together, he would not
have explained the need of personal unity and diversity.
In contrast, let us think of the Nicene Creed—three persons,
one God. Rejoice that they chose the word “person.” Whether you
realize it or not, that catapulted the Nicene Creed right into our
century and its discussions: three Persons in existence, loving each
other, and in communication with each other, before all else was.
If this were not so, we would have had a God who needed to
create in order to love and communicate. In such a case, God
would have needed the universe as much as the universe needed
God. But God did not need to create; God does not need the uni-
verse as the universe needs him. Why? Because we have a full and
true Trinity. The persons of the Trinity communicated with each
other and loved each other before the creation of the world.
This is not only an answer to the acute philosophic need of
unity in diversity, but of personal unity and diversity. The unity
and diversity cannot exist before God or be behind God, because
whatever is farthest back is God. But with the doctrine of the Trin-
ity, unity and diversity is God himself—three persons, yet one
God. That is what the Trinity is, and nothing less than this.
We must appreciate that our Christian forefathers under-
stood this very well in A.D.325, when they stressed the three per-
sons in the Trinity, as the Bible had clearly set this forth. Let us
notice that it is not that they invented the Trinity in order to give an
answer to the philosophical questions which the Greeks of that
time understood very dynamically. It is quite the contrary. The
unity and diversity problem was there, and they realized that in the
Trinity, as it had been taught in the Bible, they had an answer that
no one else had. They did not invent the Trinity to meet the need;
the Trinity was already there and it met the need. They realized that
in the Trinity we have what all these people are arguing about and
defining but for which they have no answer.
Let us notice again that this is not the best answer; it is the only
answer. Nobody else, no philosophy, has ever given us an answer
for unity and diversity. So when people ask whether we are embar-
rassed intellectually by the Trinity, I always switch it over into their
own terminology—unity and diversity. Every philosophy has this
problem and no philosophy has an answer. Christianity does have
an answer in the existence of the Trinity. The only answer to what
exists is that he, the triune God, is there.
So we have said two things. The only answer to the metaphys-
ical problem of existence is that the infinite-personal God is there,
and the only answer to the metaphysical problem of existence is
that he, the Trinity, is there—the triune God.
Now, surely by this time we will have become convinced that
philosophy and religion are indeed dealing with the same ques-
tions. Notice that in the basic concept of existence, of being, it is
the Christian answer or nothing. It will change your life if you
understand this, no matter how evangelical and orthodox you are.
Let me add something, in passing. I find that many people
who are evangelical and orthodox want truth just to be true to the
dogmas, or to be true to what the Bible says. Nobody stands more
for the full inspiration of Scripture than I, but this is not the end of
truth as Christianity is presented, as the Bible presents itself.The
truth of Christianity is that it is true to what is there.You can go to
the end of the world and you never need be afraid, like the ancients,
that you will fall off the end and the dragons will eat you up. You
can carry out your intellectual discussion to the end of the game,
because Christianity is not only true to the dogmas, it is not only
true to what God has said in the Bible, but it is also true to what is
there, and you will never fall off the end of the world! It is not just
an approximate model; it really is true to what is there. When the
evangelical catches that—when evangelicalism catches that—we
may have our revolution. We will begin to have something beauti-
ful and alive, something which will have force in our poor, lost
world. That is what truth is from the Christian viewpoint and as
God sets it forth in Scripture. But if we are going to have this
answer, notice that we must have the full biblical
answer, and not reduce Christianity to either the paneverythingism of the East or
the paneverythingism of modern liberal theology, whether
Protestant or Roman Catholic. We must not
allow a theological pantheism to begin to creep in, and we must not reduce Christian-
ity to the modern existential, upper-story theology. If we are going
to have these great, titanic answers, Christianity must be the full
biblical answer. We need the full biblical position to have the
answer to the basic philosophical problem of the existence of what
is. We need the full biblical content concerning God: that he is the
infinite-personal God and the triune God.
Now let me express this in a couple of other ways. One way to
say it is that without the infinite-personal God, the God of personal
unity and diversity, there is no answer to the existence of what
exists. We can say it in another way, however, and that is that the
infinite-personal God, the God who is Trinity, has spoken. He is
there, and he is not silent. There is no use having a silent God. We
would not know anything about him. He has spoken and told us
what he is and that he existed before all else, and so we have the
answer to the existence of what is.
He is not silent. The reason we have the answer is because the
infinite-personal God, the full trinitarian God, has not been silent.
He has told us who he is. Couch your concept of inspiration and
revelation in these terms, and you will se how it cuts down into the
warp and woof of modern thinking.He is not silent.
That is the reason we know. It is because he has spoken. What has he told us? Has
he told us only about other things? No, he has told us true truth
about himself, and because he has told us true truth about him-
self—that he is the infinite-personal, triune God—we have the
answer to existence. Or we may put it this way: at the point of
metaphysics—of being, of existence—general and special revela-
tion speak with one voice. All these ways of saying it are really
expressing the same thing from slightly different viewpoints.
In conclusion, man, beginning with himself, can define the
philosophical problem of existence, but he cannot generate from
himself the answer to the problem. The answer to the problem of
existence is that the infinite-personal, triune God is there, and that
the infinite-personal, triune God is not silent

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