God and the Bible Go Together…Even in Apologetics
In the following quote Cornelius Van Til makes the important (and often overlooked or downright denied) point that a truly Christian argument for the Christian God (and by Christian here, I mean an argument that is faithful to the entirety of Scripture) is likewise, at the same time, an argument for the truth of the Christian Scriptures and our concept of revelation. If you lose one, you lose the other. If you establish the one you’ve established the other:
Incidentally we remark that our acceptance of the Scriptures does not depend upon our argument for the absolute God and our argument for the absolute God does not depend upon our acceptance of the Scriptures. We say that one does not depend upon the other because they are mutually involved in one another and quite inseparable. Our concept of God as absolute is a matter of fact taught nowhere but in Scripture. That is as we should expect, since Scripture itself is necessary because of man’s departure from the knowledge of God. Scripture is nothing but God’s self – testimony to the sinner as once God’s self – testimony came to man through man’s own consciousness and through God’s thought communication in paradise. Hence too it is only by his internal testimony in our hearts, that is, through the regeneration wrought by the Holy Spirit that we believe his own external testimony as it lies before us in scripture. (Cornelius Van Til, Psychology of Religion)
Take note of Van Til ties the personal revelation of God to Adam in the garden of Eden (“God’s thought communication in paradise”) with God’s revelation in the Bible. In both cases we find God’s personal address to humanity that conveys solid content (as opposed to merely “a relationship” or “encounter”). But he goes further to note that this disclosure of a) relationship and b) information was successful. It moved from being “out there” to “man’s consciousness.” This is precisely Paul’s point in Romans 1. Every person already has a “personal relationship” with God. The question is whether that relationship consists of knowing God as enemy or knowing him as Lord and friend.