Source and Truth

The Bible teaches that though man is hopelessly lost, he is not nothing.  Man is lost because he is separated from God, his true reference point, by true moral guilt.  But he will never be nothing.  Therein lies the tragedy of his lostness.   For man to be lost, in all his uniqueness and wonder, is truly tragic. 

We must not belittle man’s achievements.  In science for instance, man’s achievements demonstrate that he is not junk, though the ends to which he often puts them show how lost he is.  Man is special and significant.  Man can influence history, including his own eternity and that of others.  The Christian view sees man, as man, as something wonderful.   

In contrast to this there is the rationalist who has determinedly put himself at the center of the universe and insists on beginning autonomously with only the knowledge he can gather, and has ended up finding himself quite meaningless.  It comes to the same thing as Zen-Buddhism, which expresses so accurately the view of modern man:  “Man enters the water and causes no ripple.”  The Bible says he causes ripples that never end.  As a sinner, man cannot be selective in his significance, so he leaves behind bad as well as good marks in history; but he certainly is not zero.   

Christianity is a system which is composed of a set of ideas which can be discussed.  By system we do not mean a scholastic abstraction.  We mean a total, from beginning to end, system with cause and effect and answers and solutions.  The Bible does not set out unrelated thoughts.  The system it sets forth has a beginning and moves from that beginning in a noncontradictory way.  The beginning is the existence of the infinite-personal God as Creator of all else.  Christianity is not just a vague set of incommunicable experiences, based on a totally unverifiable ‘leap in the dark.’  Neither conversion (the beginning of the Chrisitan life), nor spirituality (the growth) should be such a leap.  Both are firmly related to the God who is there and the knowledge He has given us – and both involve the whole man.   

Thoughts developed and/or taken from the works of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy – Escape From Reason 

Beginning from Myself and Yet…

When we talk about the possibility of men beginning from themselves to understand the meaning of life and the universe, we must be careful to define clearly what we mean.  There are two concepts or ideas of knowing which must be kept separate.  The first is the rationalistic or humanistic concept – namely, that man beginning totally independently and autonomously, can build a bridge towards ultimate truth – as if attempting to build a bridge out from himself across an infinite gorge.  This is not possible, because man is finite and, as such, he has nothing toward which he can point with certainty.  He has no way, beginning from himself, to set up sufficient universals.   Jean-Paul Sartre, French Philosopher, saw this very clearly when, as a result of finding no infinite reference point, he came to the conclusion that everything must be absurd.   

The second concept is the Chrisitan one.  That is, as man has been created in God’s image, he can begin with himself – not as infinite but as personal; plus the important fact that God has given to fallen man contentful knowledge which he desperately needs.   

The fact that man has fallen does not mean that the he has ceased to bear God’s image.  He has not ceased to be man because he is fallen.  He can love, though he is fallen.  It would be a mistake to say that only a Christian can love.  Moreover, a non-Christian painter can still paint beauty.  And it is because they can still do these things that they manifest that they are God’s image-bearers or, to put it another way, they assert their unique ‘mannishness’ as men.   

So it is a truly wonderful thing that although man is twisted and corrupted and lost as a result of the Fall, yet he is still man.  He has become neither a machine nor an animal nor a plant.  The marks of ‘mannishness’ are still upon him – love, rationality, longing for significance, fear of nonbeing, and so on.  This is the case even when his non-Christian system leads him to say these things do not exist.  It is these things which distinguish him from the animal and plant world and from the machine.  One the other hand, beginning only from himself autonomously it is quite obvious that being finite, he can never reach any absolute answer.  This would be true if only on the basis of the fact that he is finite, but to this must be added, since the Fall, the fact of each man’s rebellion.  He rebels against, and perverts, the truth, reality, and testimony of what exists – the external universe and its form, and the ‘mannishness’ of man.  

God created us in His image so that we can know Him and have a relationship with Him and live in alignment and connection with life and the world as He designed it to be lived.  I like to say it as ..He designed us to swim with the current and not against it. 😊   

Thoughts developed and/or taken from the works of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy – Escape From Reason 


If the intrinsically personal origin of the universe is rejected, what alternative outlook can anyone have?  It must be said emphatically that there is no final answer except that man is a product of the impersonal, plus time, plus chance.  No one has ever succeeded in finding personality on this basis, though many, like the late Teilhard de Chardin, have tried.  It cannot be done.  The conclusion that we are the natural products of the impersonal, plus time and chance, is the only one, unless we begin with personality.  And no one has shown how time plus chance can produce a qualitative change from impersonal to personal.   

If this were true, we would be hopelessly caught.  But when the Bible says that man is created in the image of a personal God, it gives us a starting-point.  No humanistic system has provided justification for man to begin with himself.  The Bible’s answer is totally unique.  At one and the same time it provides the reason why a man may do what he must do (start with himself), and it tells him the adequate reference point, the infinite-personal God.  This is in complete contrast to other systems in which man begins with himself, neither knowing why he has a right to begin from himself, nor in what direction to begin inching along.   

The Bible’s story of ‘us…is trustworthy and logical.  The whole of our personality…our ‘being’…our awareness of self…our sense of objective right and wrong…our internal desire to connect with spiritual reality…the all and everything of who we are is evidence that we were created and designed to look upward to connect with our Creator and not to look downward for a connection to the animal or the machine.  We are made in the image of God to ‘know’ Him who is there.  The bible is the authoritative account of our origin, meaning, and purpose.   

Thoughts developed and/or taken from the works of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy – Escape From Reason 

The True You

The Bible says, first of all, that in the beginning all things were created by a personal-infinite God who had always existed.  So what is, therefore, is intrinsically personal rather than impersonal.  Then the bible says that He created all things outside of Himself.  The term ‘outside of Himself’ is, I think, the best way to express creation to twenty first-century people.  We do not mean to use the phrase in a spatial sense, but to deny that creation is any kind of pantheistic extension of God’s essence.   (Pantheism is the belief that reality is identical with divinity, or that all-things compose an all-encompassing, immanent god. Wikipedia)  God exists – a personal God who has always existed – and He has created all other things outside of Himself.  Thus, because the universe begins with a truly personal beginning, love and communication (which are a burden of twenty first-century men’s hearts) are not contrary to that which intrinsically is.  The universe began in a personal as against an impersonal beginning, and, as such, those longings of love and communication which man has are not contrary to that which intrinsically is.  And the world is a real world, because God has created it truly outside of Himself.  What He has created is objectively real; thus there is true historic cause and effect.  There is a true history and there is a true me.  And to find meaning and purpose to my life, the Bible gives me an answer as to why I can do what I must do – that is, to begin with myself.  I am created in the image of God to know God and have a relationship with Him.  There is a book which tells me ‘why’ I am here and ‘what’ I am to do.  The Bible explains the true reason and purpose for how and why we are here.       

Thoughts developed and/or taken from the works of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy – Escape From Reason 

Good New For The Whole Man

God created man in His image.  Being created in God’s ‘image’ gave man a special status among all things created.  Man as a whole man is body, soul, and spirit.  God made the whole man, and the whole man is important.  The biblical doctrine of the bodily resurrection of the dead is not an old-fashioned thing.  It tells us that God made the whole man, God loves the whole man, and the whole man is important.   

God is interested in the whole man.  When the historic space-time Fall took place, it affected the whole man.  On the basis of Christ’s work as Savior, and having the knowledge that we possess in the revelation of the Scriptures, there is redemption for the whole man.  In the future the whole man will be raised from the dead and will be redeemed perfectly.  ‘That’ is very good news.  And the Apostle Paul in his writing stated that even in this present life we are to have a substantial reality of the redemption of the whole man (Romans 6).  This is to be on the basis of the shed blood of Christ and in the power of God’s Spirit through faith, even though it will not be perfect in this temporary life.  Once we grasp and experience what God provides for us in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we come to know the understanding of Christ as ‘Lord’ over the whole man.…Lord over all of creation…Lord over the world and culture. Christ is the perfect Lord, the perfect King.  How many Lords and Kings have died for you personally and in the act of their dying had the ability to grant you eternal life?  Answer is:  Just One.  His name is Jesus Christ.  He wants you to know Him as Savior, friend, and Lord.  Now and throughout eternity.   That’s the best news you will ever receive in your life.  

Thoughts developed and/or taken from the works of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy – Escape From Reason 

Personal and Infinite

It is important to notice that everything in the biblical system goes back to God.  I love the biblical system as a system.  While we might not like the connotation of the word system, because it sounds rather cold, this does not mean that the biblical teaching is not a system.  Everything goes back to the beginning, and thus the Christian system has a unique beauty and perfection because everything is under the apex of the system.  Everything begins with the kind of God who is ‘there’.  This is the beginning and apex of the whole, and everything flows from this in a noncontradictory way.  The Bible says God is a living God, and it tells us much about Him; but most significantly perhaps, for 21st century man, it speaks of Him as both a personal God and infinite God.  This is the kind of God who is ‘there,’ who exists.  Furthermore, this is the only system, the only religion, that has this kind of God.  The gods of the East are infinite by definition, in the sense that they encompass all – the evil as well as the good – but they are not personal.  The gods of the West were personal, but they were very limited.  The Teutonic, the Roman and Greek gods were all the same – personal but not infinite.  The Christian God, the God of the bible, is personal-infinite. 

The personal-infinite God of the Bible is the Creator of all else.  God created all things, and He created them out of nothing.  Therefore everything else is finite, everything else is the creature.  He alone is the infinite Creator.   

Thoughts developed and/or taken from the works of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy – Escape From Reason 

Wonderful But Guilty

Yesterday we talked about man being ‘wonderful’ because he is created in the image of God.  

God, in His communication to ‘us’ through the Bible tells us something else about man – He tells us about the Fall.  This introduces the other element which we need to know in order to understand man.  Why is he so wonderful and yet so flawed?  Who is man?  Who am I?  Why can man do these things that make man so unique, and yet why is man so horrible?  Why is it? 

The Bible says that you are wonderful because you are made in the image of God, but that you are flawed because at a space-time point of history man fell.  The Bible teaches that man was separated from God because of man’s revolt against God.  And ‘all’ of mankind inherited a universal condition of moral guilt and separation before God.  And yet, even though man is morally guilty and separated, man is not nothing.  Modern man tends to think that he is nothing.  Man is the very opposite of nothing, because he is made in the image of God.  Even though he is fallen and, without the non-humanistic solution of Christ and His substitutionary death, and separated from God for eternity, this still does not mean that man is nothing. 

In reality, man is ‘somebody’, even though he is in revolt; he is free to make choices and he is unprogrammed and it is clear that he really revolts and thus has true moral guilt.  And the clearest message of the Bible is that God created a plan to reconcile man back into a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ, by what Jesus did.  Jesus died on the cross in substitution and as a propitiation in order to save men from their true guilt.  A man must come to believe that he personally and truly has true moral guilt before the God who made him.  Christ died for man who has true moral guilt.   

The Apostle Peter, wrote and declared this truth in 1 Peter 3:18…he said ‘Christ died once for our sins. An innocent person died for those who are guilty. Christ did this to bring you to God… 

Thoughts developed and/or taken from the works of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy – Escape From Reason 

Truth That Is Enough

The ’Scriptures’ (the Bible..the Word of God) give the key to two kinds of knowledge – the knowledge of God, and the knowledge of men and nature.   In the Scriptures God reveals His attributes to man and that this revelation was meaningful to God as well as to man.  God has spoken to man in the Scriptures and therefore we know something truly about God, because God has revealed it to man. 

It is important to remember, in the contemporary interest in communication and in language study, the Scripture as given to us is not presented as exhaustive truth.  What we have in the bible we term as ‘true truth’.  In this way we know true truth about God, true truth about man, and something truly about nature.  Thus on the basis of the Scriptures, while we do not have exhaustive knowledge, we have true and unified knowledge.   

We thus know something wonderful about man. Among other things, we know his origin and who he is – he is made in the image of God.  Man is wonderful because God made him in His image.  Man has his unique position in the order of nature and his special value because of who he is by creation.  This is what the Scriptures teach us. 

Thoughts developed and/or taken from the works of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy – Escape From Reason 

Systematic Purpose

Christianity is a creation-centered teaching.  If viewed in its totality, it provides full reality and purpose of existence.  Christianity, or the Christian life, is a part of a total structure.  We like to speak of Christianity as system but it must not be allowed to be a mere academic system or theoretical or dead intellectualism.  In the proper sense of the word, God is systematic in His creation and revelation

It is a system in that sense, it begins with the fact that there is a creator, there is the God, the triune God who has existed forever.  He has created all things, so there is nothing autonomous from Him.  We were made to know Him and to have a relationship with him ‘now’ that continues into eternity.  It is a beginning to non-ending relationship.  It is the essence of the Creator-creature relationship.  We were created in His image by Him and for Him.  We are image bearers of the Creator.  We were designed, wired, made to know the God who is true…to know full truth of reality and existence…our purpose and identity is to know Him and to worship Him and to live ‘in’ Him, to move and have our being ‘in’ Him.  😊

Thoughts developed and/or taken from the works of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy – The God Who Is There

Easiest and Hardest…Part 2

The ‘hardest’ 

Yesterday we talked about Christianity as the ‘easiest religion in the world.  Now we can turn that over because it is the hardest religion in the world for the same reason.  The heart of the rebellion of Satan and man was the desire to be autonomous; and accepting the Christian faith robs us not of our existence, not of our worth (it gives us our worth), but it robs us completely of being autonomous.  We did not make ourselves, we are not a product of chance, we are none of these things; we stand there before a Creator plus nothing, we stand before the Savior plus nothing – it is a complete denial of being autonomous.  Whether it is conscious or unconscious (and in the most brilliant it is occasionally conscious), when they see the sufficiency of the answers on their own level, they suddenly are up against their innermost humanness – not humanness as they were created to be human, but human in the bad sense since the Fall.  That is the reason that people do not accept the sufficient answers and why they are counted by God as disobedient and guilty when they do not bow.   

People are living against the revelation of themselves.  They are denying the revelation of God that they themselves and all reality ‘are’.  They are denying it and yet they have to live with it.  When the person comes to see that there are good sufficient reasons, then he or she is faced with a problem; either they bow before those good and sufficient reasons, and bow to the Person behind the reasons, or they refuse to bow.   

It is not that the answers are not good, adequate and sufficient.  Unless one gives up one’s autonomy, one cannot accept the answers. 

Thoughts developed and/or taken from the works of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy – The God Who Is There