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Philosophies

Philosophy is supposed to be the love of wisdom. But the question we need to consider is whether the wisdom being sought is that of men or that of God as revealed in his revealed Scripture. Philosophy can be quite deceptive, even within the thinking of committed Christians. The Apostle Paul warns us against the deceptive nature of philosophy if it is not submissive to the revealed truths of God. The following article gives a great overview of the history of philosophy and why it is so important to have all man's ideas pass the muster of biblical truth, since there will be real consequences for errors in man's thinking that contradict the truths revealed by God.

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Rousas John Rushdoony on Philosophy

 

By Jean Marc Berthoud

And when the temptercame to him, he said: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones bemade bread. But he answered and said: It is written, Man shall not live bybread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matt.4:3–4)

And be not conformed to this world; butbe ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is thatgood, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Rom. 12:2)

For though we walk in the flesh, we donot war after the flesh; for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, butmighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting downimaginations, and everything that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God,and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. (2 Cor.10:3–5)

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit,after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not afterChrist. (Col. 2:8)

How is one to consider the thought of Rousas John Rushdoony withregard to what is commonly called “philosophy”? The history of Westernphilosophy makes it clear that one of the primary characteristics of thisdiscipline is almost universally considered to be its pretended autonomy fromany kind of revealed theological authority. To take an example among manyothers, a Catholic philosopher such as the Argentinian Thomist, Mario EnriqueSacchi, in the “Introduction” to his very able refutation of Martin Heidegger’sphilosophy of being, writes:

 

… philosophy does not take itsprinciples from any revelation, but from the natural evidence of intelligiblethings first known through sense experience that precedes every apprehension ofthe intellect.2

Rushdoony’s thought belongs to a very different tradition. Herather stands in the great line of Biblically grounded philosophy so ablyillustrated by a Pierre Viret or a Johann Georg Hamann. Viret, for example, atthe conclusion of a philosophical discussion of the nature and meaning ofsuffering in the world, could, after quoting from the most diversephilosophical, medical, and even proverbial sources, without the slightestmethodological qualms, offer as a clinching argument a quotation from the onewhom he calls “that supreme philosopher,” Job, thus with equanimity refusingthe traditional methodological separation between philosophy and Scripture.Stephen Dunning, in his masterly comparison of Hamann to Hegel on language andhistory, writes in the same spirit:

J. G. Hamann … offers a radicalalternative to the options I had encountered in contemporary theology and Hegel.Hamann’s thought—about the world no less than about God—is cast in biblicallanguage. In the second half of the twentieth century, such an approach maysound anachronistic or even comical. Nevertheless, Hamann’s understanding ofhistory, language and faith illustrates a clear alternative to contemporarytheological methods. However unacceptable it may be to secular theologians, itcannot be dismissed as irrational, pietistic, or, in the term which appearsfrequently in American discussions, “fundamentalistic.” The language of theBible, as interpreted by Hamann, offers far greater resources for understandingthe world than most modern theologians acknowledge.3

It is in the perspective of such a normative correlation betweenthe Word of the Author of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures and the correctunderstanding of the structure and meaning both of the universe and ofhistory—ordered as they are by the same Creator and Provider—that I shall tryto show the importance of Rousas John Rushdoony’s philosophical achievement.

Foundations That Cannot Be Shaken

It is an indisputable fact that from his firstmajor publication, By What Standard? An Analysis of the Philosophy of CorneliusVan Til,4 tothe latest of his works to be published, The Death of Meaning,5 and through many otherwritings,6Rushdoony clearly manifests a great interest forphilosophical thought and, in particular, for the history of Westernphilosophy. Here of course his major work is The One and the Many.7 The title itself,articulating his thought concerning the two Greek philosophical categories ofthe One and the Many, shows clearly that for Rushdoony the terms anddistinctions of that philosophical tradition were not, in themselves,intrinsically extraneous or hostile to a properly Christian view of the world.

But his interest in philosophy was in no waylimited to his writings specifically dealing with this aspect of intellectualinquiry. Throughout the whole of his immense corpus we can observe the constant intertwiningof philosophical considerations with his every other interest. Philosophicalconsiderations were thus part and parcel of the very texture of his thinking;he could no more separate the functioning of his mind from philosophicalconsiderations than he could cut it off from theological reflection. How isthis very remarkable phenomenon to be explained?

 

Rushdoony’s fundamental position in all hispublished works is a refusal to separate theology from philosophy, to cut offhis philosophical thinking from the very language (categories and firstprinciples8) of Holy Scripture. Thus, for Rushdoony, the fundamentalcategories of his philosophical thinking were to be found in the very languageand fundamental categories of Biblical thought, in those fundamentaldistinctions established by the Biblical thought of Orthodox and Catholic Christian theology. For Rushdoony, the Godwho infallibly inspires Holy Scripture is also the Almighty Creator of Heavenand Earth and the Sovereign Providence directing every event of history. Assuch, He is the Creator of man’s mind, and that mind has not only been made toknow and worship Him but has also been furnished with the capacity (i.e., thefundamental first principles or categories) enabling it to understand thestable created order to which its functioning is perfectly adapted.

Now this affirmation is of course true forunfallen Adam and for the new Adam, Jesus Christ, in the plenitude of theiruncorrupted humanity. But this position holds also, but of course to a lesserdegree, for fallen man whose radical corruption (what the Canons of Dort call his “total depravation”) has not, infact, abolished his nature as man made in the very image of God. The Reformers of thesixteenth century and their successors in the seventeenth century gave to totaldepravation an extensive definition, as affecting every aspect of human nature, mindincluded, and did not consider it in an intensive manner as destroying man’s createdfaculties. Thus, with regard to the rational capacities of man, we mustaffirm that they have been distorted, not abolished.

The Inescapable

In the Presuppositionalist tradition, in whichRushdoony himself stands, the task of the Christian philosopher thus takes on adouble aspect. His first task is founding all his thinking, in every field ofcreated reality, on Biblically-based first principles that will correctlystructure his thought. His second task is to use these Biblical and creationalfirst principles in a critically precise and appropriate manner to flush outthe erroneous first principles (presuppositions) inevitably at the base of somuch of fallen man’s theoretical thinking. A quotation from Rushdoony’s Systematic Theology will show to what extent he considered thecategories of the Bible as perfectly adequate for the understanding of thefallen world. In tandem with Hamann and many other faithful Christian thinkers,he stands in full opposition to the often unspoken premise of academicphilosophical thought: the arbitrary and utterly sterile exclusion of thelanguage of the Bible.

 

To be specific, how can anyone affirmthe sovereignty of God concretely and realistically, without opposing anddenying the sovereignty of man and the state? If we affirm God’s sovereigntybut do not challenge humanistic doctrines of sovereignty from pulpit and pew,in the home, the Christian school, the voting booth, and the halls of Congress,and elsewhere, we are either denying our profession of faith or affirming a two-worlds theory, i.e., that God issovereign in the supernatural realm, but Satan governs and triumphs in spaceand time. We are then not Christians but Manichaeans.

Similarly, to affirmpredestination by God and to assent to socialism in any form is to say thatthere are two realms of predestination: God predestines the soul, and the statepredestines the physical and natural life of man by planning and control.

Again, if we hold to an abstract formof systematics, we will talk about atonement without seeing that, apart fromChrist’s atonement, man will seek atonement by sadomasochistic activities. As asadist he will attempt to lay his sins upon other people, and as a masochist hewill attempt through self-punishment to make self-atonement. Politics,religion, marriage, and all human relationships will manifest sadistic ormasochistic activities wherever men are without Christ. For the pulpit topreach Christ’s atonement without seeing its very practical consequences ofdeliverance from sadomasochism, and the results of a society which is dedicatedto sadomasochistic works of atonement, is to hold to a Manichaean or abstracttheology. (…)

An abstract theology is only formally or technically systematic. Systematictheology must of necessity deny, because God is sovereign, that there are anyneutral facts, or any areas of neutrality. All factuality is God-createdand God-governed and interpreted. All facts are therefore theologicalfacts, and every area of life, thought, study, and action is a theologicalconcern. Education, politics, science, the arts, the vocations, the family, andall things else, are theological concerns. A theology which does not involveitself in every area in terms of the sovereign God and His infallible law-wordcannot be systematic: it is only abstract.9

It is thus clear from the above quotation that,for Rushdoony, Biblical or theological categories, such as sovereignty,predestination, atonement, infallibility, election, grace (and we couldmultiply examples from his writings), are basic categories not only fortheology but also for understanding our world in its totality. In this it isclear that there is for him no dualistic separation between the task ofphilosophy and the language of the Bible. Thus in the first two magnificentsections of his Systematic Theology, he goes to considerable pains to show the inescapable characterfor all men of the categories of infallibility and of systematic thought. Men cannot exist outside of thesecategories: they will either, in the piety of true worship, attributeinfallibility where it rightfully belongs (to the transcendent and immanenttriune God) or he will foist it, in idolatrous illegitimacy, on himself, thechurch, the state, the party, or anything else.

Infallibility appears thus as an inescapable concept for man, afirst principle coterminous with man’s very nature, innocent, fallen, orredeemed. Likewise, Rushdoonyshows that man’s thought and actions have an inherently systematic nature fromwhich he cannot escape. Either the system will be God’s and will encloseman (anchoring his true freedom as creature) within the divinely establishedstructure of a good universe, or it will be a man-invented systematicconstruction, seeking in all areas to exclude God and His created order. Forman, this human construct will inevitably prove to be a terrifying prison. Inthe final run, hell will itself manifest this totally systematic structure.This is the direction taken in every field by a totally antitheistic Westernworld. If men do not repent and turn again to God by faith in Christ andobedience to His commandments, they will invent a worldwide, universal Gulag.The way of universal death can only lead to hell on earth.

Philosophy Without Balance

We now face the following question. If we are to found ourfirst principles directly on an immediate apprehension of the very categoriesof the Bible (God’s revealed thinking), how do we avoid the philosophicalpitfall of univocity? We risk imagining that we are in fact privy to thevery essence of God’s own thinking, and may end up applying thesetheological categories in so immediate, so direct a manner, to various fieldsof created reality—psychology, economics, physics, music, literature, etc.—thatthese disciplines are absorbed into the field of theology itself. How can suchBiblical thinking avoid denying these disciplines their individual nature,their essence as particular created things, despite the inappropriate languageused to describe them? To illustrate, how can a blinding white light, in allits intensity, not wash out all manifestations of the manifold colors of reality(the varied truths of many disciplines, each appropriate to the diverse objectsunder consideration)?

 

Here it is useful to indicate that the termsunivocity, equivocity, and analogy define three attitudes we can entertaintowards God. Univocity, the attitude of Gordon Clark or Robert Reymond,holds to a theory of equivalence between our human conceptions of God’sknowledge and essence and God’s own knowledge of Himself (which in itself isunattainable by man). It leads to rationalism and to the total destruction oftranscendence. It is a form of intellectual idolatry, the rational manhandlingof the divinity. Equivocity, on the other hand, as adopted by Immanuel Kantand Karl Barth, holds to the total inadequacy of human language to speak in aconceptually knowable way about God. In this view, God is the totallyinaccessible Other—in the final analysis He is approachable only throughmystical experience. This pessimistic view leads to atheism and theconcomitant secularization of every aspect of life, culture, and society.

We are then left with analogy, which holds that the verbal revelation of Godto man, Holy Scripture, is analogically true in all it expresses. As Calvinexpressed it, God in His revelation accommodates His incomprehensible wisdom toour finite minds so as to enable us truly to understand, as creatures, Hisinfallible and normative revelation. It is this last position thatRushdoony—without using the technical term—adopts, following thus in thefootsteps of his mentor Cornelius Van Til. In response to the Clark-Reymondunivocal (and thus rationalist) use of Biblical first principles, Rushdoonywrote:

 

What Van Til does is to state clearlyall Christian doctrine in terms, not only of any supposed identity of the mindsof God and man, but in terms of God’s self-revelation. He permits nocoincidence or confusion between the mind of God and the mind of man … Inbrief, we do not share the mind of God, nor have in any sense the same being orcontent, but we receive the revelation of God, and we understand it, ascreatures. That knowledge is inescapable knowledge, because we are creatures,and every atom of our being witnesses to the Creator. That knowledge is alsoalways creaturely knowledge, and it is never the same kind of knowledge as Godhas.

And Rushdoony adds:

How can man’s knowledge coincide withGod’s? God knows the end and the beginning, and His sovereign purpose for alleternity in the creation of every fact. Man’s knowledge can never coincidewith that. Not only does man have no ability to know anything exhaustively,he can never know anything creatively as God does, nor absolutely, nor in anyother way have a coincidence of content. The difference between God and mancannot be bridged by the mind of man.10

It is in this way that Rushdoony, afterCornelius Van Til and John Calvin, (and, perhaps to his surprise, after ThomasAquinas and the Thomist metaphysical tradition!) avoids the pitfalls both ofunivocal rationalism and of equivocal irrationalism, thus adopting the classicChristian position, the view defended by the Council of Chalcedon in its basicdistinctions applied to the knowledge of God, a position which Aquinascalled analogy,Calvin accommodation, and Luther the theology of the cross.11

Dangers Old and New

But any form of univocity will affect our understanding of thedifferent orders in the created world. This entails applying a certain form ofknowledge to every aspect of reality (the chief example here is the modernmathematical and experimental model of physical science). This is known aspositivism or scientific reductionism.

This epistemological perversion was combatted by the second majorsource of Rushdoony’s philosophical thinking (after Cornelius Van Til), thegreat Dutch philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd, whom Rushdoony did so much to makeknown to the English-speaking world.12 If the idolatry ofabsolutizing one aspect of the world is totally relativized by the exclusiveworship of the only true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and submission toHis infallible and coherently systematic Word (both the divine and human Personof the eternal Logos and the Word of His revealed Scriptures),  then thedifferent spheres of man’s thought and action will be respected and placed inproper relation one to the other. They will all stand under God’s overarchingsovereign authority. This is made explicit in Herman Dooyeweerd’s teaching onthe distinctions to be established between the different spheres of the createdorder.13

 

This part of Dooyeweerd’s teaching was lessemphasized by Rushdoony than the Dutchman’s fundamental critique of theerroneous presuppositions of autonomous theoretical thought. However, it nevertheless had sufficientinfluence on Rushdoony to prevent him from confusing economics and politics,biology and psychology, or philosophy and theology. Rushdoony didn’t succumb tothe danger at the other extreme, disruptive specialization, including the temptation to refuse to relatethese different fields (wherever necessary) one to the other, thus fragmentinghuman knowledge.

It is this constant aim to submit his thought to God’s every Word,as well as his respect for the varied orders of creation, that make Rushdoony’swritings so invariably enlightening. All things are for him to be seen underthe light of God’s eternal wisdom, intelligibly refracted, to us men created inthe image and resemblance of God, in the normative Scriptures. The variousaspects of God’s multifarious universe are thus respected for what they are andare not confused one with the other, as is the case when one aspect of realitycomes abusively to dominate another. It is God who, through Scripture and thework of the Holy Spirit, so orders our minds (if we attach ourselves inobedience to the whole counsel of God) that we are enabled to respect the particularorders of His universe. He, being God, sees everything in the simplicity andunity of His divine mind. We as creatures see all things partially and fromspecific angles. The coherence and concrete precision of our vision of theuniverse comes only from our submitting all our thoughts in faith to theobedience of the Lord Jesus Christ, namely, to every Word that proceeds fromthe mouth of God.

In all his thinking, Rushdoony sought to maintain the Chalcedoniandistinctions: unity withoutconfusion, distinction without separation, multiplicity in unity. This gave histhought a balance and a coherence that will undoubtedly make it outlast theindifference of the present age and the ravages of time.

Sharpening Our Mental Swords

Starting off from the premises of God’s ownthinking, the Eternal Law, as accommodated (analogically refracted) to us inthe infallible and divinely coherent Scriptures, Rushdoony’s epistemology wasfounded on the God-given structure of man’s mind. In addition, he was consciousthat the order of creation (as well as God’s providential action governingevery event in history) corresponds to these God-revealed scripturalcategories. With such intellectual and spiritual assets, is it any surprisethat Rousas Rushdoony was given the grace to shed divine light on every subjecthe touched? For my part, I have never met a modern thinker so consistently ableto throw new and uniformly Biblical light on every subject he endeavored tounderstand. The reason is plain. Consistently grounded as he was on amethodologically correct understanding of Scripture, of the divinely orderedcosmos and of God’s providential ordering of history, Rushdoony, as a faithfuldoctor of God’s church, possessed to an extraordinary degree what the apostlePaul calls the mind of Christ.

 

Now we have received, not the spirit ofthe world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things thatare freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the wordswhich man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparingspiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the thingsof the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he knowthem, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgethall things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind ofthe Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (I Cor.2:12–16)

Does this mean that Rushdoony has left us withnothing left to do? That we must only echo his work and not carry it further?God forbid! Such a thought would have been hateful to him. For my part, I seetwo fields where Rushdoony’s achievement must be extended if we are to face theextraordinarily dangerous problems that the accelerated (and totallyirresponsible) developments of the biological and physical sciences are leadingus today. These disciplines have delivered us to a war zone where the verystructures of creation are being directly attacked. That attack now goesdeeper than the subversion of the moral order of the universe. Science,having become mad through overweening ambition (hubris), now seeks the dissolution of the atomic andmolecular structures of the universe and the cellular structures of livingbeings, in order to reconstruct them into new patterns, as if today’s scientisthas consciously taken the place of God.14

To answer these difficult questions, we must recover not only Biblicalethics (moral thinking consistently based on the teachings of Biblical lawas found in the whole of Scripture) but also, and above all, Biblicalmetaphysics, as expressed in the first two chapters of Genesis andimplicitly contained in every aspect of Scripture.

 

A recovery of Biblical metaphysics (from theGreek meta “beyond” and phusis “nature,” i.e., the ontological structureof the universe as observed by our senses, in contrast to themathematical-physical structures of the universe understood in explicitopposition to the witness of our senses) will lead us to the Biblically-basedfirst principles and categories of the created order.

 

The key distinctions include the followingfundamental differentiations: those between the Creator and creation, between light anddarkness, between the waters above and the waters below, between land and sea,between inanimate and organically organized matter, between the vegetablekingdom and animate life, between animals and man, between man and woman,between stable species and less organized matter, and so on. We shall inthis way recover the largely forgotten distinction between sins against themoral law and sins against nature (sins against the very order of creation).For example, there is a distinction between theft, murder and adultery (actsagainst the moral and judicial law) on the one hand, and homosexuality andfeminism (disordered attitudes and acts which are in addition opposed to thevery order of nature) on the other. The reconstruction of an artificialscientific and technological order, proceeding from the dissolution of thecreated order (the revolutionary principle of solve et coagula at the base of both political andscientific revolutions), can only be effectively criticized using a coherentBiblical metaphysic, an understanding of the ontological structure of God’screation. The recovery of such a metaphysic is a task of the utmostimportance and urgency.

 

Further, this implies takingan even closer look at the history of philosophy than has beenthe case in the Van Tillian and Dooyeweerdian traditions. For example, such vague notions as “Greekthought” or “Scholastic philosophy” are utterly inadequate as concepts forunderstanding what the various Greek and Medieval thinkers were actuallysaying. Plato, for one, has at key points a very different system of thoughtfrom Aristotle. We must resume the task of the Cappadocians, Basil of Caesareain particular,15 or of Ambrose of Milan,16 who,while rejecting the pagan religious motives of Greek philosophy, recovered forChristian use the created intellectual tools that this philosophical tradition,in God’s sovereign providence, had brought to light.

We must do likewise with the Medieval tradition, embracing athousand years of thinking under continual Biblical influence. At the very least, it would be a grossover-simplification to put in the same category thinkers such as RobertGrosseteste, Thomas Aquinas, and St. Bonaventure on the one hand, and lateMedieval figures like William of Ockham, Gabriel Biel, and Marsilius of Padua(thinkers whom the Reformers of the sixteenth century often identified withwhat they called “scholasticism” and who were but the precursors of that modernsubjective philosophy so ably criticized by the Van Tillian and Doyeweerdiantradition).

What we now need is a careful Reformed and Biblical examination ofthis whole tradition, sifting out the wheat (that which comes from God, for thegood of His church, and for the building up of His Kingdom) from the chaff,which must be carefully rejected if God’s people are not to be poisoned byerror. But we must not throw out the baby with the bath water. As the apostlePaul encouraged the Thessalonians to do, we must

Prove [examine] all things; hold fast that which is good. (IThess. 5:21)

Whether it arises from the fourth century or thethirteenth (or any other time), we must work to distinguish between what inhuman thought is of a pagan and idolatrous nature (or more recently, embodiesperniciously apostate and anti-Christian idealist or utopian thinking), andwhat pertains to the work of common grace as manifested in the minds even ofnon-Christian thinkers. We must remember that philosophy (philo—“to love” and sophia—“wisdom”) is nothing else but the love ofwisdom. The Bible is in a sense simply the Book of the Wisdom of God; the fear(that respectful awe) of God being the true beginning of wisdom.

 

Thus it is our obligation to carefully examinewhat we can reap, not only from the thinking of those theologians andphilosophers who belong to a Christian tradition other than our own, but alsofrom the thought of those who stand outside the heritage of the Christianchurch. This is indeed what Rousas Rushdoony sought to do in his major work ofdiscernment, The One and the Many,17 no doubt his most important philosophicalachievement. For philosophy according to Christ—and not according to theelements of the world (Col. 2:8)—gathers in for itself as its own treasure allthat non-Christian thinkers have been enabled, by the common grace of God, tomanifest of that One Truth which is the divine Logos Himself, Christ Jesus,that true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into theworld (John 1:9).

 

In this direction, seeking to attain a moreadequate discernment of the intellectual history of our Western tradition, weshould take a lesson from the Swiss philosopher, André de Muralt. De Muraltdemonstrated that the problems we have to confront in the many deviationswarping our philosophical heritage are not simply those of isolated ideas deviating fromBiblical and philosophical truth, but ideas structurallybound together in coherent philosophical systems of error that can only be rectified by thecorrection of the entire structure in which they are organically intertwined.18

These modest suggestions are proposed to help us to go forward,standing as we do on the philosophical achievements of Rousas John Rushdoony,the Christian thinker who did so much to restore the true first principles ofphilosophy, founded at the same time on the divine Logos, our Lord JesusChrist, and on every jot and tittle of the Word of God, thus conforming truephilosophy to the divinely established structures of the created order.

 

Who hath measured the waters in thehollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended thedust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and thehills in a balance? Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being hiscounsellor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him,and taught him in the path of judgement, and taught him knowledge, and shewedhim the way of understanding? (Isa. 40:12–14)

1. I must thank the following who have read this text and allowedme to profit from their advice: Pierre Berthoud, Pierre Courthial, Paul-AndréDubois, Huib Klink, Henri Lüscher, Denis Ramelet, Bertrand Rickenbacher, PaulWells, and Colin Wright. Whatever errors remain are of course my own.

2. Mario Enrique Sacchi, The Apocalypse ofBeing: The Esoteric Gnosis of Martin Heidegger (South Bend, IN: St. Augustine’s Press,2002), p. 4. The Thomist position, often interpreted as a dualism, is in factnot dualistic at all as can be observed in the First Question of the Summa Theologiae, where Thomas Aquinas self-consciously andexplicitly subsumes all human thought, in its proper order, under the EternalLaw of God known to man through the Revealed Law (Scripture) and norm of theNatural Law (man’s conscience and his consciousness of what Hermann Dooyeweerdcalls the law spheres of the created order).

3. Stephen N. Dunning, The Tongues of Men:Hegel and Hamann on Religious Language and History (Missoula, MT: Scholars Press, 1979), p.2.

4. Rousas John Rushdoony, By What Standard? AnAnalysis of the Philosophy of Cornelius Van Til (Nutley, NJ: The Craig Press, 1963).

5. Rousas John Rushdoony, The Death ofMeaning (Vallecito, CA: RossHouse Books, 2002).

6. Let us mention amongst other books: IntellectualSchizophrenia: Culture, Crisis and Education (1961), The Messianic Character of AmericanEducation (1963), The Flight fromHumanity: A Study of the Effect of Neoplatonism on Christianity (1973), The Word of Flux:Modern Man and the Problem of Knowledge (1975).

7. R. J. Rushdoony, The One and The Many:Studies in the Philosophy of Order and Ultimacy (Nutley, NJ: The Craig Press, 1971).

8. These first principles are what Aristotle inhis Metaphysics callsthe first unproved (and unprovable) principles of all human thought, such as,for example, the principle of non-contradiction. These first principles are notwithout relation to those inescapable pre-critical religious presuppositions sofamiliar to thinkers in the Van Til–Dooyeweerd tradition.

9. Rousas J. Rushdoony, Systematic Theology (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1994),Vol. I, p. 72.

10. Rousas J. Rushdoony, Systematic Theology, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 189–190.

11. See, William C. Placher, The Domestication ofTranscendance: How Modern Thinking about God Went Wrong(Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press,1996). A single quote from Aquinas will here suffice: “The better we know Godthe more we understand that he surpasses whatever the mind grasps,” Summa Theologiae 2a2ae.8.7, and by this he did not meanthat man could in no way know God. For him the only foundation of theology wasHoly Scripture; sola scriptura,as he writes, is the only basis for a truly Christian theology, sacra doctrina. For a detailed confirmation of this assertionsee the decisive study by Florent Gaboriau, L’Ecriture seule (Paris, France: Fac-éditions, 1997).

12. See Rushdoony’s Introductions to HermanDooyeweerd’s American lectures,In the Twilight of Western Thought(Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian and Reformed,1960) and to his The Christian Idea of the State (Nutley, NJ: The Craig Press, 1968). His interest inDooyeweerd remained constant as is witnessed by his Introduction to MagnusVerbrugge, Alive: An Enquiry into The Origin and Meaning of Life (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1984).

13. See Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique ofTheoretical Thought (Philadelphia, PA:Presbyterian and Reformed, 1969), 4 vols. Here again it is interesting to notethat this aspect of Dooyeweerd’s thinking corresponds to certain methodologicaland scientific aspects of Thomas Aquinas’ metaphysical thinking. See here:Joseph Bobik, Aquinas on Matter and Form and the Elements: A Translation and Interpretation of De Principiis Naturae and the De Mixtione Elementorum of St. Thomas Aquinas (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre DamePress, 1998); Saint Thomas Aquinas, The Division and Methods of theSciences (Toronto, Canada:The Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1963) and JacquesMaritain, Distinguish to Unite or The Degrees of Knowledge (New York, NY: Scribner’s & Sons,1959).

14. See Tom Wolfe, “Sorry but your soul justdied” in Hooking up(NewYork, NY: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 2000), p. 89–109; Ed Regis, Nano: The EmergingScience of Nanotechnology: Remaking the World—Molecule by Molecule(New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company, 1995);Michael Gross, Travels to the Nanoworld: Miniature Machinery in Nature andTechnology (Cambridge, MA: PerseusPublishing, 1999).

15. See Jaroslav Pelikan, Christianity andClassical Culture: The Metamorphosis of Natural Theology in the ChristianEncounter with Hellenism (NewHaven, CT: Yale University Press, 1993). Of fundamental importance here isBasil’s Hexameron.

16. See Goulven Madec, Saint Ambroise et laPhilosophie (Paris, France: ÉtudesAugustiennes, 1974) and Jean Pepin, Théologie cosmique et théologiechrétienne (Paris, France:Presses Universitaires de France, 1964). Here also Ambrose’s exposition of thesix days of creation is essential.

17. Rushdoony also did this for the Creeds andCouncils of the Early Church in one of his most profound and beautifulbooks, The Foundations of Social Order: Studies in the Creeds andCouncils of the Early Church (Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1968).

18. André de Muralt, L’Enjeu de laPhilosophie médiévaleÉtudes thomistes,scotistes, occamiennes et grégoriennes,(Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1991); Néoplatonisme etaristotélisme dans la métaphysique médiévale (Paris, France: Librarie philosophique J. Vrin,1995); L’unité de la philosophie politique: De Scot, Occam et Suarez aulibéralisme contemporain (Paris,France: Librairie philosophique J. Vrin, 2002).