The Presbyterian Philosopher: The Authorized Biography of Gordon Clark

How does mode of knowing (eternal intuition vs discursive mode) get one close to the ectypal/archetypal distinction which maintains, at least to me, an absolute ontological distinction? Thus making "content of knowledge" irrelevant. Why start at content of knowledge being the same and working outwards to the rationalism that Rich pointed out, just to have content be the same? In other words if all you can say is God's knowledge and our knowledge are quantitatively different does that not impinge on God's qualitative difference and incompressible nature?
Why even worry about content? Neither side denied content. It was God qualitatively knows as God (not just infinitely more knowledge) and man qualitatively knows as man (not just finite). I think Rich is right to be wary of his rationalism. I mean he denied paradox in Theology. I also don't see how a difference in mode escapes the criticism in the complaint.

The complainants did deny that the content was the same. That is the whole point. I would highly recommend Doug's book on this point. He quotes a letter from Van Til to Charles Stanton dated 27 December 1945 (WTS Archives):

The old Princeton Apologetic was defective because in maintaining that there must be identity of content at some point between the system of the believer and the system of the unbeliever it virtually held also that there must be identity of content as between the mind of man and the mind of God. The natural man will not accept a God who stands essentially above him; he will allow a sort of great scientist God who is an expert and knows a lot more about a field than man does at the present moment. But now Clark is seeking to introduce into the very heart of systematic theology what the Princeton theologians with inconsistency allowed in the field of apologetics. Clark’s position therefore involved the rejection of the Reformed concept of God’s revelation to man and a reduction of it to Greek specifications.

So far as I can tell, language of archetype and ectype was not even used by any party to the debate until 1946. It is not used in the 11th or 12th General Assemblies, in the bimonthly editorials of the Presbyterian Guardian, in my rather thorough compilation of Clark's papers, in the original Complaint, etc. The very first use I can find in the same 13th General Assembly which also wrote the following:

It has been shown that the major specific charge of the Complaint cannot be Supported from the stenographic record. Dr. Clark cannot be accused of failing to distinguish between Divine and human knowledge as to “content” when he analyzes knowledge into only two parts, mode and object. We have seen that it is possible, and even likely that Dr. Clark’s distinction of the mode of knowledge includes much of what the complainants require in their distinction of content.

This question must examined somewhat more closely. To declare that the mode-content-object schematization of knowledge cannot be insisted upon is not to declare that no doctrine conveyed in such a schematization can be insisted upon. The difficulty emerges in determining just what difference the Complainants are insisting upon in speaking of content, a term which they don't define. A conceivable meaning would be as follows: God knows the truth directly in Himself. The Object of God’s Knowledge and the Content of God’s Knowledge are identical. But we do not know the truth directly. The content of our true knowledge is an analogue of the truth rather than the object, the truth itself. What we actually know is thus qualitatively different from what God knows, though its validity is established in its divinely-appointed likeness to the object in the mind of God. The qualitative distinction between the content of the knowledge of God and the content of the knowledge of man in this sense requires a distinction in kind between the content of human knowledge and the truth of God.

If this were the meaning of the Complaint in demanding a qualitative distinction, our committee is of the opinion that it requires the Presbytery of Philadelphia to exact a more specialized theory of knowledge than our standards demand.

I would also encourage you to read Clark's 1946-47 Studies in the Doctrine of the Complaint. For a few more of my own analysis (which tangentially delves into Van Til on archetypal and ectypal knowledge), see here.
 
Just thinking out loud here but how close or far away from Reformed Orthodoxy was Clark compared to Van Til? And if he's further away perhaps his theology related to the issues involved in the contraversey are a consequence of his being further away? I'm not outright accusing him of anything just asking questions for consideration.

As both rejected the classical arguments, they both moved away from the Reformed Orthodox. But as Ryan noted, Van Til even admitted that the Princeton apologetic (and orthodoxy in general) held the identity of content between God and man. If that is the case, then Clark was closer to the Reformed Orthodox.
 
As both rejected the classical arguments, they both moved away from the Reformed Orthodox. But as Ryan noted, Van Til even admitted that the Princeton apologetic (and orthodoxy in general) held the identity of content between God and man. If that is the case, then Clark was closer to the Reformed Orthodox.

On that note, while I am no expert in the broader field of the Reformed tradition, there is an interesting, unexplored point that Clark also accepted what Michael Sudduth calls natural theology alpha (link). For example, he agreed that "Romans 2:15 shows a minimal a priori knowledge of moral principles. On such natural knowledge human responsibility depends." (God's Hammer, 1995, pgs. 92-93). On this point of natural, moral knowledge, Clark argued in 1957 that there was a tension in Van Til's stated position (link):

One important reason for maintaining the distinction between consistent systems and inconsistent persons is that unregenerate persons are thereby permitted to have at least some knowledge. Since the Scriptures base responsibility on knowledge, and since Romans 1:32 assigns to the wicked an amount of moral knowledge sufficient to make them guilty of sin, the evangelical must frame a theory by which this knowledge is shown to be possible. Were a man totally ignorant, he could not be guilty of sin.

Now, strange as it may seem, although Van Til's statements, quoted above, inexorably imply that the unregenerate are totally ignorant, Van Til makes some contradictory remarks. Contrary to all he has said, Van Til quotes Warfield, apparently with approval, to the effect that "the conviction of the existence of God bears the marks of an intuitive truth..." (p. 102). Then later, "The apostle Paul speaks of the natural man as actually possessing the knowledge of God" (p. 110). And above all, "The point of contact [common ground?] for the gospel, then, must be sought within the natural man" (p. 111). Again, "All men have not only the ability to know but actually know the truth (p. 194). In answer to his critics Van Til asserts "I have never denied that he [the natural man] has true knowledge" (p. 285).

These quotations when compared with those cited previously impose a burden upon anyone who wishes to understand Van Til. How is it possible to reconcile the assertion that "all men... actually know the truth" with the earlier assertion "It will be quite impossible then to find a common area of knowledge between believers and unbelievers..."? Or again, "It is natural and consistent for Roman Catholic apologetics to seek its point contact with the unbeliever in a 'common area' of knowledge... But herein precisely lies the fundamental point of difference between Romanism and Protestantism" (pp. 93, 94). Does this sound like "The point of contact... must be sought within the natural man"? How can Van Til quote Hodge with approval to the effect that the natural man has "no true knowledge of God" (p. 91) and then assert "I have never denied that he has true knowledge"?

Before this is dismissed as prejudicial, in "The Battle over the Ordination of Gordon H. Clark, 1943-1948" (in Pressing Towards the Mark, pg. 336), Michael Hakkenburg admits a similar observation:

Lastly, Clark explains his position in response to the repeated charge of rationalism. For one thing he claims that an appeal to reason in a theological method is not inconsistent with the Presbyterian tradition:

"If the complainants object to... [my] method as unsound, they must also repudiate the methods of old Princeton as “out of harmony with orthodox Presbyterianism.” The Presbytery does not assert that the Confession requires adherence to everything in the Princeton apologetic. Other forms of apologetics may also be permitted. But without specifically amending our standards any attempt to exalt one method as alone orthodox and to repudiate all appeal to the a-priori truths of reason is intolerable."

Prior to the controversy, Van Til had developed at Westminster an apologetic - called presuppositionalism - in which he rejected "all appeal to the a-priori truths of reason." He did, in fact, want to establish a new apologetic - outside of the old Princeton tradition - as orthodox. Clark, in contrast, is simply suggesting that his appeal to reason as an apologetic tool is not out of line with the Presbyterian and Princeton traditions. Therefore it cannot be construed as unorthodox.

OPC historian John Muether has said Hakkenburg's article is "the best treatment of the Clark controversy" (link). Doug's book has far and away surpassed this article - which is still interesting - but the point is that it is fair to question a standard assumption that Clark is less in line with the Reformed tradition than Van Til, at least on this point.

There is a lot more that could be said on this subject. I've honestly tried not to comment in this thread as much as I might have, since I don't want this to devolve into a typical Clark-Van Til squabble. One more point that might be helpful, though, is that Clark was entirely aware of the semantic range of the word "knowledge" in Scripture. Indeed, among others, quotes like the following are why I believe Clark may have been an epistemic contextualist (which would harmonize his acceptance of natural knowledge with his more strict "Scripturalism" - link):

The various Scriptural usages of the verb know raise a problem in apologetics to which a commentary can only allude in a footnote. The common meaning is exemplified in simple sentences, such, “I know that there is a tree on the lawn,” and “I know that David was King of Israel.” But sometimes, both in Hebrew and in Greek know means believe, obey, choose, have sexual intercourse. English too uses the verb in a variety of meanings. In their opposition to the intellectual emphasis on truth, experiential, emotional, mystical, and neo-orthodox apologetes have contrasted the intellectual Greek meaning with the (sometimes) sexual Hebrew meaning. This contrast is misguided because the Hebrew verb and the Greek verb are both so used. More serious than this linguistic incompetence is a flaw or a gap in the apologetics of these apologetes. It is well enough to point out the extended meanings of the verb. The verb is indeed so used. But such information is irrelevant as an argument against intellectualism and truth. The fallacy or defect is that these apologetes fail to explain knowledge in its basic sense. To insist on extended meanings of knowledge is no substitute for a basic epistemology.” (The Pastoral Epistles, pg. 166).

That is, Clark's apologetic focus was generally to defend a rather strict, high view of knowledge - the sort which affords full assurance (an entirely biblical concept). At the same time, epistemic contextualism allows for the sort of nuance by which the better facets of Clark's epistemological views can be synthesized with helpful conceptual tools and the weaker facets of it can be discarded. "Natural" knowledge is one such context. Jacob has mentioned Polanyi, whom I've not read. I have read externalists, though, and can see ways in which one can reject the sort of naive empiricism Clark disdained yet accept some understanding of "knowledge" that is due to our senses. But to go further than this would probably be to go too far off topic.
 
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As both rejected the classical arguments, they both moved away from the Reformed Orthodox. But as Ryan noted, Van Til even admitted that the Princeton apologetic (and orthodoxy in general) held the identity of content between God and man. If that is the case, then Clark was closer to the Reformed Orthodox.
Ah fair enough. I've heard it was actually Murray who wrote the complaint, for whatever it's worth. I've never been interested in this debate to be honest.

The complainants did deny that the content was the same. That is the whole point. I would highly recommend Doug's book on this point. He quotes a letter from Van Til to Charles Stanton dated 27 December 1945 (WTS Archives):



So far as I can tell, language of archetype and ectype was not even used by any party to the debate until 1946. It is not used in the 11th or 12th General Assemblies, in the bimonthly editorials of the Presbyterian Guardian, in my rather thorough compilation of Clark's papers, in the original Complaint, etc. The very first use I can find in the same 13th General Assembly which also wrote the following:



I would also encourage you to read Clark's 1946-47 Studies in the Doctrine of the Complaint. For a few more of my own analysis (which tangentially delves into Van Til on archetypal and ectypal knowledge), see here.
I defer to your expertise in this matter.
 
Ah fair enough. I've heard it was actually Murray who wrote the complaint, for whatever it's worth. I've never been interested in this debate to be honest.

John Muether writes that Arthur Kuschke said that the whole ordeal is "better described as the Clark-Murray debate" in a 2004 interview (link) due to the fact "Murray served on the study committees appointed by the General Assembly" and even wrote a minority report to the one I referenced in post 31. I don't recall hearing that he himself wrote the complaint, so that would be interesting if true.
 
John Muether writes that Arthur Kuschke said that the whole ordeal is "better described as the Clark-Murray debate" in a 2004 interview (link) due to the fact "Murray served on the study committees appointed by the General Assembly" and even wrote a minority report to the one I referenced in post 31. I don't recall hearing that he himself wrote the complaint, so that would be interesting if true.
To play devil's advocate here, I have three things in mind.
1. To know for sure, in the rationalistic way Clark seemed to like, I would have to have exhaustive knowledge as God has of every fact. Because if at any one point I discovered no identity of content (or at least an analogical difference, as opposed to univocal) my rationalistic argument is destroyed and I'm back to square one, and I violate the Creator/creature distinction.
2. Since most, if not all, Orthodox Christian thinkers in history seem to regard revelation as anthropomorphic in nature does this not imply, to safeguard the Creator/creature distinction, that God's knowledge of any fact is distinct in every way from ours thus including content. But analogical knowledge safeguards the truth of any proposition for us about him because he knows exactly how to use anthropomorphic language to adequately describe it to us.
3. Does elevating content of knowledge to a supreme place in the discussion not make it more ultimate to both God and man? In the sense that God must submit his thinking to the content of knowledge and only in this submission truly reveal things to us? But taking analogical/anthropomorphic categories into consideration keeps God in his majestic state and us in our creaturely state?
Personally I don't know if the content of knowledge is the same but I think Van Til was on to something by maintaining that we cannot know this but must trust in full confidence that we have been given what we need in analogical/anthropomorphic fashion that God designed and used to truthfully reveal things to us.
 
To play devil's advocate here, I have three things in mind.
1. To know for sure, in the rationalistic way Clark seemed to like, I would have to have exhaustive knowledge as God has of every fact. Because if at any one point I discovered no identity of content (or at least an analogical difference, as opposed to univocal) my rationalistic argument is destroyed and I'm back to square one, and I violate the Creator/creature distinction.
2. Since most, if not all, Orthodox Christian thinkers in history seem to regard revelation as anthropomorphic in nature does this not imply, to safeguard the Creator/creature distinction, that God's knowledge of any fact is distinct in every way from ours thus including content. But analogical knowledge safeguards the truth of any proposition for us about him because he knows exactly how to use anthropomorphic language to adequately describe it to us.
3. Does elevating content of knowledge to a supreme place in the discussion not make it more ultimate to both God and man? In the sense that God must submit his thinking to the content of knowledge and only in this submission truly reveal things to us? But taking analogical/anthropomorphic categories into consideration keeps God in his majestic state and us in our creaturely state?
Personally I don't know if the content of knowledge is the same but I think Van Til was on to something by maintaining that we cannot know this but must trust in full confidence that we have been given what we need in analogical/anthropomorphic fashion that God designed and used to truthfully reveal things to us.
1') I do not see why one would have to have exhaustive knowledge of a fact for the fact to have the same content for me and God. In any case, I'm not sure what exhaustive knowledge of 2+2 would look like.
2') Clark affirmed a difference in mode of knowledge. He immediately pointed this out to Van Til, and Van Til agreed that Clark affirmed a difference in mode.
3') No one is elevating content of knowledge; rather, we are asserting identity. When God tells me he won't lie, I believe that the Law of NC is the same for me and God. If it isn't, I have no reason to hope in him.
 
1') I do not see why one would have to have exhaustive knowledge of a fact for the fact to have the same content for me and God. In any case, I'm not sure what exhaustive knowledge of 2+2 would look like.
2') Clark affirmed a difference in mode of knowledge. He immediately pointed this out to Van Til, and Van Til agreed that Clark affirmed a difference in mode.
3') No one is elevating content of knowledge; rather, we are asserting identity. When God tells me he won't lie, I believe that the Law of NC is the same for me and God. If it isn't, I have no reason to hope in him.
1. Than how do you know strict identity at every point? With an archetypal/ectypal=analogical/anthropomorphic distinction I know what God wants me to truly know without having to worry about identity. It's irrelevant.
2. I don't know how eternal intuition vs discursive knowledge as different modes equals archetypal/ectypal distinction? I don't think it does.
3. If the law of NC is a law that both God and man must have the same relation to, how is it not an elevating something above God and man and not an unintended consequence of that view (and content for that matter)?
I think in this debate it seems that Murray/Van Til wanted to start with the Creator/creature distinction and workout the consequences of that to the archetypal/ectypal distinction. I don't think Clark and his followers were wrong but it seems to me they wanted to start with content of knowledge and deduce backwards to theology. That limits theology to the way things must be to be rational/logical.
I know that Clark's scripturalism starts with axioms from scripture but I think in this situation the opposite is true. Hence regarding analogical as the same as equivocal and no apparent contradictions, or paradox. I also think that the Murray/Van Til crowd way overemphasized the difference. I think if they would have put it in archetypal/ectypal language they would have shown an historical precedent within Reformed/Lutheran scholasticism for a analogical/anthropomorphic distinction. Just my opinion. I admire both men as brothers in Christ.
 
With an archetypal/ectypal=analogical/anthropomorphic distinction I know what God wants me to truly know without having to worry about identity. It's irrelevant.
If by rock I mean a "rock" and God means a "cat," then it is kind of relevant.
2. I don't know how eternal intuition vs discursive knowledge as different modes equals archetypal/ectypal distinction? I don't think it does.

Maybe it isn't fully the same as a/e distinction, but it is still a point of difference between man and God, which Van Til already conceded.
3. If the law of NC is a law that both God and man must have the same relation to, how is it not an elevating something above God and man and not an unintended consequence of that view (and content for that matter)?

3. I should rephrase my last point in the previous post:

The law of NC means there is at least one point of identity for both God and me in the relation: God won't lie. I don't think that is elevating logic above God (since rationality is already part of who God is), but if that means God won't lie to me, that will be an acceptable price I'll pay.
I know that Clark's scripturalism starts with axioms from scripture but I think in this situation the opposite is true. Hence regarding analogical as the same as equivocal and no apparent contradictions, or paradox.

For the record, I am not a Scripturalist. I do agree with Clark's criticisms of paradox and apparent contradictions, but I don't think that leads to Scripturalism.

I don't think Clark and his followers were wrong but it seems to me they wanted to start with content of knowledge and deduce backwards to theology. That limits theology to the way things must be to be rational/logical.

I'm not so sure they did, but I am open to quotes from their own words.
 
If by rock I mean a "rock" and God means a "cat," then it is kind of relevant.


Maybe it isn't fully the same as a/e distinction, but it is still a point of difference between man and God, which Van Til already conceded.


3. I should rephrase my last point in the previous post:

The law of NC means there is at least one point of identity for both God and me in the relation: God won't lie. I don't think that is elevating logic above God (since rationality is already part of who God is), but if that means God won't lie to me, that will be an acceptable price I'll pay.


For the record, I am not a Scripturalist. I do agree with Clark's criticisms of paradox and apparent contradictions, but I don't think that leads to Scripturalism.



I'm not so sure they did, but I am open to quotes from their own words.
I'll start backwards. I'm not sure they did either but it makes sense to me that that may have been a problem. I'm also open to correction in all of this.
I apologize if I came across as accusing you of anything. I know you're not a Scripturalist.
The third point. Perhaps the point of contact is only God's condescending a/e=a/a revelation to us. I have no problem with saying "God's revelation makes sense to us" only that I can't move past it to God as he must be, not saying this is what your saying. But it seems you're positing, maybe along with Clark (and unwittingly), how God's being must be.
I have no problem again with God's revelation being rational only that because we're talking about the Creator revealing himself to creatures there's bound to be things he must "lisp as unto a child" (Calvin) that seem paradoxical to us because we don't know any better.
Second point. Can Clark affirm what the Reformed and Lutheran scholasticism affirmed by a/e? Wouldn't that fundamental difference make him further outside of Reformed Orthodoxy at this point at least?
First point. I believe I've already given the context for understanding it outside the content problem. I know what God wants me to know as far as content goes without going beyond the revelational chasm between Creator and creature. This is another stab at it. I'm uncomfortable with appeals to how God's being must be (ie perfectly logical) to trust his revelation. Now I know that's not what you're saying but maybe an unintended consequence of it, food for thought.
 
To play devil's advocate here, I have three things in mind.
1. To know for sure, in the rationalistic way Clark seemed to like, I would have to have exhaustive knowledge as God has of every fact. Because if at any one point I discovered no identity of content (or at least an analogical difference, as opposed to univocal) my rationalistic argument is destroyed and I'm back to square one, and I violate the Creator/creature distinction.

Firstly, what is "rationalistic" about desiring full assurance?

Colossians 2:1 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

See also Colossians 4, Hebrews 6 and 10. Regardless, assurance or knowing "for sure" was not the question at stake in the 1940s debate. From the perspective of Clark, what was at stake was that the position of The Complaint either logically leads to human skepticism or a denial of divine omniscience. It is not "rationalistic" to have those concerns.

Secondly, even if the debate were about assurance, the idea that Clark's view would require one to "have to have exhaustive knowledge as God has of every fact" seems to conflate the complainants view of truth with Clark's. I have already spoken on this in my very first post. It is the complainants who thought that "If knowledge of a proposition is the same for God and man... then you must have a perfect and exhaustive knowledge of each word of the proposition," not Clark. Not one complainant - and there were several present at the March 29th meeting of Philadelphia Presbytery during which this statement was made (explicitly mentioned are Woolley, Stonehouse, Van Til, Sloat, and Kuschke) - is reported to have corrected Mr. Kellogg on this point. On the contrary, Thomas Birch reports that this statement was a "high point of the meeting." So if, as it appears, you too agree with Kellogg's above statement, you will have to reply to Clark's critique of this seemingly Hegelian alethiology, a critique I also quoted in post 4 (Christian Philosophy, 2004, pg. 153).

Further, have you read Clark's Studies in the Doctrines of the Complaint I linked to earlier? He responds to a "Subsequent Paper" (pro-complainants) by making clear that identity of content ("truths one knows") does not entail identity of "knowledge" (e.g. its mode):

Before ending this part of the discussion, I wish to draw attention to the following assertions of the paper in question. On page 7, paragraph 1, are these words: “Dr. Clark’s fundamental insistence upon identity (italics theirs) of divine and human knowledge...” On page 8 near the bottom we find, “Dr. Clark insists upon identity of divine and human knowledge of a particular truth…”

It is amazing that these men continue to circulate these false statements after I have so many times denied them, I denied them in the examination (cf. Transcript, 31:9-10). I denied them in speeches in two Assemblies and in countless conversations. The Report of the committee to the thirteenth General Assembly denied them for me (page 3, next to the bottom paragraph). And in spite of all this, the committee for the complainants has neither seen nor heard these denials, and continue to make the same false statements. Truly, this is incomprehensible.

When you use the phrase "Creator/creature distinction," are you accounting for this? Clark is clear that the mode of knowledge is different for God and man. Therefore, he clearly accepts a Creator-creature distinction. What is your argument that something more is needed?

As an aside, a concern of mine is that one freights "Creator/creature distinction" with so much conceptual baggage that one ends up denying any basis for the imago Dei. But if you deny this is the case - if you agree that there is a basis for similarity between God and man - on what ground can you then object to similarity in terms of content of knowledge (truths known)? It is not as if God is Himself identical with such truths, contrary to late Clark's views.

Finally, I would like an explanation of the following: "if at any one point I discovered no identity of content..." Can you explain how such is even possible? How is it that you propose that it would be even possible for anyone who predicates human discovery of knowledge on divine revelation in the first place to discover that there is no "identity of content"? Are you suggesting that Scripture teaches there is no "identity of content"? Before answering that, I recommend reading the final section of Clark's Studies in the Doctrines of the Complaint.

2. Since most, if not all, Orthodox Christian thinkers in history seem to regard revelation as anthropomorphic in nature does this not imply, to safeguard the Creator/creature distinction, that God's knowledge of any fact is distinct in every way from ours thus including content. But analogical knowledge safeguards the truth of any proposition for us about him because he knows exactly how to use anthropomorphic language to adequately describe it to us.

Does "analogy" connote similarity? If so, what is the similarity between God's knowledge and man's knowledge (if not its content)? Or if it does not connote similarity, in what way is it analogical as opposed to equivocal? Also, from Clark's Studies in the Doctrines of the Complaint:

The committee that wrote this paper attempts to support its contention by pointing out that the Bible frequently speaks of eternity in terms of endless years. The paragraph in question stresses God’s condescension or accommodation in revelation. This Scriptural language is well known; God is called the Ancient of Days; he is from everlasting to everlasting; and his years shall not fail. But to argue from these facts to the conclusion that man can have no other concept of eternity except that of endless duration is to argue badly. From the fact that revelation sometimes accommodates itself to man in figures of speech, it does not follow, as this papers says it does, that "therefore he cannot possibly have in mind a conception of eternity that is identical or that coincides with God’s own thought of his eternity.”

The Scriptures also speak of the arm of the Lord, the hand of God, and the eyes of God. Does it follow that we can have no other concept of the being of God expect the concept of a corporeal being? Hand and eyes are figures of speech, and we know that they are figures of speech because the Bible teaches that God is a pure Spirit. Similarly we know that ‘endless years’ is a figure of speech because in literal language the Bible teaches that God is immutable and eternal.

Compare this to Van Til's Introduction to Warfield's "The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible":

“When the Christian restates the content of Scriptural revelation in the form of a ‘system,’ such a system is based upon and therefore analogous to the ‘existential system’ that God himself possesses. Being based upon God’s revelation it is on the one hand, fully true and, on the other hand, at no point identical with the content of the divine mind.”

If this is the archetype-ectype distinction being advocated, then I agree with Clark's insistence (stated multiple times) in Studies in the Doctrines of the Complaint that

...the Complaint, collaborated upon, signed, and published by a majority of the Westminster faculty, teaches a two-layer theory of truth. And its theory is not in accord with Reformed theology. It is a theory of skepticism that should be attacked and refuted, rather than defended and inculcated, by a faculty subscribing to the Westminster Confession.

3. Does elevating content of knowledge to a supreme place in the discussion not make it more ultimate to both God and man? In the sense that God must submit his thinking to the content of knowledge and only in this submission truly reveal things to us? But taking analogical/anthropomorphic categories into consideration keeps God in his majestic state and us in our creaturely state?

Let us speak more plainly of this "content." The subject we are talking about is truth. Yet again, from Clark's Studies in the Doctrines of the Complaint:

Truth is the object and content of knowledge. The contents of God’s knowledge are the truth he knows, and the contents of a man’s knowledge are the truth the man knows. The Complaint maintains that these two sets of truths are qualitatively different.

So then: does Clark's position in the 1940s debate entail that truth is more ultimate than God? Does God "submit" to truth? Of course not, for He is the ground and revealer of truth. From The Answer:

Dr. Clark rejects the idea that truth is independent of God... Man cannot of himself discover God’s secrets; he can know only what God reveals to him; but when truths are revealed, they are revealed to be understood, for they “belong unto us and to our children forever.” Further, no one has a right to set a limit on the power of God to reveal in heaven any item which is now among secret things. Until it is revealed, man cannot discover it; it is indeed incomprehensible because it is unrevealed.

Truth is indeed the subject of this conversation. The sacraments may be the subject of another conversation. But in neither conversation does it necessarily follow that truth or the sacraments are being "elevated" to a "supreme place" as things to which God "submits."
 
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Firstly, what is "rationalistic" about desiring full assurance?

Colossians 2:1 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

See also Colossians 4, Hebrews 6 and 10. Regardless, assurance or knowing "for sure" was not the question at stake in the 1940s debate. From the perspective of Clark, what was at stake was that the position of The Complaint either logically leads to human skepticism or a denial of divine omniscience. It is not "rationalistic" to have those concerns.

Secondly, even if the debate were about assurance, the idea that Clark's view would require one to "have to have exhaustive knowledge as God has of every fact" seems to conflate the complainants view of truth with Clark's. I have already spoken on this in my very first post. It is the complainants who thought that "If knowledge of a proposition is the same for God and man... then you must have a perfect and exhaustive knowledge of each word of the proposition," not Clark. Not one complainant - and there were several present at the March 29th meeting of Philadelphia Presbytery during which this statement was made (explicitly mentioned are Woolley, Stonehouse, Van Til, Sloat, and Kuschke) - is reported to have corrected Mr. Kellogg on this point. On the contrary, Thomas Birch reports that this statement was a "high point of the meeting." So if, as it appears, you too agree with Kellogg's above statement, you will have to reply to Clark's critique of this seemingly Hegelian alethiology, a critique I also quoted in post 4 (Christian Philosophy, 2004, pg. 153).

Further, have you read Clark's Studies in the Doctrines of the Complaint I linked to earlier? He responds to a "Subsequent Paper" (pro-complainants) by making clear that identity of content ("truths one knows") does not entail identity of "knowledge" (e.g. its mode):



When you use the phrase "Creator/creature distinction," are you accounting for this? Clark is clear that the mode of knowledge is different for God and man. Therefore, he clearly accepts a Creator-creature distinction. What is your argument that something more is needed?

As an aside, a concern of mine is that one freights "Creator/creature distinction" with so much conceptual baggage that one ends up denying any basis for the imago Dei. But if you deny this is the case - if you agree that there is a basis for similarity between God and man - on what ground can you then object to similarity in terms of content of knowledge (truths known)? It is not as if God is Himself identical with such truths, contrary to late Clark's views.

Finally, I would like an explanation of the following: "if at any one point I discovered no identity of content..." Can you explain how such is even possible? How is it that you propose that it would be even possible for anyone who predicates human discovery of knowledge on divine revelation in the first place to discover that there is no "identity of content"? Are you suggesting that Scripture teaches there is no "identity of content"? Before answering that, I recommend reading the final section of Clark's Studies in the Doctrines of the Complaint.



Does "analogy" connote similarity? If so, what is the similarity between God's knowledge and man's knowledge (if not its content)? Or if it does not connote similarity, in what way is it analogical as opposed to equivocal? Also, from Clark's Studies in the Doctrines of the Complaint:



Compare this to Van Til's Introduction to Warfield's "The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible":



If this is the archetype-ectype distinction being advocated, then I agree with Clark's insistence (stated multiple times) in Studies in the Doctrines of the Complaint that





Let us speak more plainly of this "content." The subject we are talking about is truth. Yet again, from Clark's Studies in the Doctrines of the Complaint:



So then: does Clark's position in the 1940s debate entail that truth is more ultimate than God? Does God "submit" to truth? Of course not, for He is the ground and revealer of truth. From The Answer:



Truth is indeed the subject of this conversation. The sacraments may be the subject of another conversation. But in neither conversation does it necessarily follow that truth or the sacraments are being "elevated" to a "supreme place" as things to which God "submits."
Well. I thought you were laying out historical facts and maybe not taking sides. But ok no problem. Considering you brush the archetypal/ectypal distinction aside and side with Clark, whether or not he rejected it IDK, would you be willing to admit being at odds with the Reformed and Lutheran traditions on this subject (which I believe they carried over in some form from medieval and patristic writers)? Making you and Clark at odds with orthodoxy on this matter? If I'm wrong please correct me.
I bring this up only to highlight my attempted contribution to the discussion of saying "maybe the complaints had a badly worded point".
Is it the a/e distinction being advocated, as far as I understand Muller, Preus, and Oberman yes. This is orthodoxy on down the centuries. So yes using reason and logic to correct centuries of understanding on a basic issue as this is by definition rationalistic.
Also, at least as far back as Aquinas, simply equating analogical with equivocal does not match historical understandings of those terms (I also have read that analogical was in use with great creeds formulations of our great doctrines) analogical was in use. See Michael Horton on this "Reason and Revelation: New Essays In Reformed Apologetics" his paper.
So identity of content seems to be your great concern, fair enough. The identity is in the object known but qualitatively different in the minds knowing, by virtue of the Orthodox Creator/creature distinction. Man has truthful knowledge of a beach by looking at a detailed painting of the beach and God knows by actually being there, hence both minds have true knowledge but qualitatively different (which does not contradict our glorious orthodoxy on this issue over the centuries) in my maybe poorly worded analogy.
Another point of contention is truth. I meant exhaustive knowledge like this, for me to know there's absolute identity of content I must know as God knows a single fact to ensure there's absolute identity from beginning to infinity, this is basic in mathematical proofs. I must admit this is using Clark's apparent views on knowledge against him but so be it. But if we don't bow with God before truth than we must filter truth like any other concept through the historical matrix of analogical knowledge (a/e) or else reject orthodoxy.
As you said at the beginning in scriptural quotes we do have absolute assurance. But not because of reason and logic alone but because of revelation.

Never brought up sacraments so I'll leave that alone.
 
guess what I'm wondering is whether the distinction of "univocal in concept, analogical in judgment" is even necessary, and whether the choice of terminology kust muddies the water inasmuch as it uses "univocal" to explain a concept already known (I think) as not univocal but analogical.

But the phrase sound so cool to say, and it is so easy to impress people with it they can't think. :)
 
Firstly, what is "rationalistic" about desiring full assurance?
I got to run in about a minute, so I'm only posting about this one question of yours. Is'nt that kind of a 'dah' answer. What else would you want? To suffer doubt, fear , inner darkness, anxiety, depression leading to despair. All of which may be very useful in Jesus' toolkit to bring you about to where you know He saves you.
 
I got to run in about a minute, so I'm only posting about this one question of yours. Is'nt that kind of a 'dah' answer. What else would you want? To suffer doubt, fear , inner darkness, anxiety, depression leading to despair. All of which may be very useful in Jesus' toolkit to bring you about to where you know He saves you.

I'm not sure I understand your answer to my question: is it a yes or a no? Is it "rationalistic" to desire full assurance?
 
Is it "rationalistic" to desire full assurance?

Oh, I get it now. I was superficial when I wrote knowing I had seconds to write and I couldn't really reflect on much of anything. I waisted a post. No, I do not think it's rationalistic to desire Full Assurance of Faith.

I'll just pay attention to everything you've written or recorded on by another member.

I do like much of Clark's reasonings in several volumes I have read. But I am so far from an expert, or even particularly well read in matters that involve this kind of epistemological thought.

I'm out of here. At least until I have something intelligent to say.

Ed
 
Well. I thought you were laying out historical facts and maybe not taking sides.

As I've written elsewhere, whether an historian realizes it or not, any attempt to lay out historical facts will always entail "taking sides" (link). It's not as if I've hidden the fact that I have tried to do both since my very first post in which I drew connections from the complainants to Hegel and from Clark to Plotinus. I don't have a problem disagreeing with Clark where I think he is wrong. Likewise with the complainants. How else is an honest historian to operate?

Considering you brush the archetypal/ectypal distinction aside and side with Clark

I am left wondering how I have brushed the distinction aside when in my very last post I provided a citation of Van Til which appears to advocate for a theory of two-fold truths which comprise distinct systems that are at no point identical. Is this not the archetypal-ectypal distinction you accept? Or is it that you are suggesting I have provided no reason to disagree with Van Til's position?

...would you be willing to admit being at odds with the Reformed and Lutheran traditions on this subject (which I believe they carried over in some form from medieval and patristic writers)? Making you and Clark at odds with orthodoxy on this matter? If I'm wrong please correct me.

The majority of the committee commissioned by the OPC's 12th General Assembly found that the view of the complainants "requires... a more specialized theory of knowledge than our standards demand." If you think they are mistaken or are referring to a broader tradition, I am certainly open to listening. At the same time, I am more interested in whether or not the theory in question is true. As I note in the above link, I think the function and conclusions of an historical work will flow from one's epistemology.

I bring this up only to highlight my attempted contribution to the discussion of saying "maybe the complaints had a badly worded point".

If so, then one can sympathize with Clark's frustration.

Is it the a/e distinction being advocated, as far as I understand Muller, Preus, and Oberman yes. This is orthodoxy on down the centuries. So yes using reason and logic to correct centuries of understanding on a basic issue as this is by definition rationalistic.

I have no idea what this is in response to. To be honest, the layout of your posts are hard for me to follow. Are you referring to what I cited by Van Til?

Do you think that revelational epistemology is anti-reason or anti-logic? I wouldn't have thought so. But if not, then I don't follow your train of thought. Are you claiming Clark is "rationalistic" for applying reason and logic within the context of a revelational epistemology to attempt to refute a theory of two-fold truths which comprise distinct systems that is [allegedly] centuries old? The idea such is "rationalistic" is baffling to me. How is this not straightforwardly an "appeal to tradition" fallacy? Further, the WCF 31.4 reads:

All synods or councils since the apostles’ times, whether general or particular, may err, and many have erred; therefore they are not to be made the rule of faith or practice, but to be used as a help in both

This is also taking for granted that what Van Til advocates is a "basic issue" that has been advocated for centuries. You mention several authors - what do they specifically say that supports a theory of two-fold truths which comprise distinct systems?

Also, at least as far back as Aquinas, simply equating analogical with equivocal does not match historical understandings of those terms (I also have read that analogical was in use with great creeds formulations of our great doctrines) analogical was in use. See Michael Horton on this "Reason and Revelation: New Essays In Reformed Apologetics" his paper.

I skimmed Horton's chapter. Was the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 the only one you had in mind? Horton says:

As far back as the Fourth Lateran Council, even the medieval church recognized that in every analogy between God and humans, there is always more dissimilarity than similarity.

I have no problem with agreeing that there is always more dissimilarity from God than similarity to Him. But does this not admit the point? There is similarity. In turn, similarity connotes overlap or point(s) of identity.

I believe the Eastern Orthodox reject the Fourth Lateran Council. Even so, here is the only instance I found in which the council speaks to the topic of analogy (link):

Abbot Joachim clearly protests that there does not exist any reality which is the Father and the Son and the holy Spirit-neither an essence nor a substance nor a nature — although he concedes that the Father and the Son and the holy Spirit are one essence, one substance and one nature. He professes, however, that such a unity is not true and proper but rather collective and analogous, in the way that many persons are said to be one people and many faithful one church, according to that saying : Of the multitude of believers there was one heart and one mind, and Whoever adheres to God is one spirit with him; again He who plants and he who waters are one, and all of us are one body in Christ; and again in the book of Kings, My people and your people are one.

Notice that the council is rejecting Abbot Joachim's appeal to analogy between God and humanity. Whatever else one may get from this, it has nothing to do with the sort of analogy to which the complainants subscribed, let alone a theory of two-fold truths which comprise distinct systems.

Did I miss anything in this council or in any other council or creed you or Horton had in mind? I've already mentioned that the 1946 OPC COMMITTEE TO STUDY A COMPLAINT AGAINST THE PRESBYTERY OF PHILADELPHIA did not find that the Westminster Confession demanded a stance on this issue.

So identity of content seems to be your great concern, fair enough. The identity is in the object known but qualitatively different in the minds knowing, by virtue of the Orthodox Creator/creature distinction. Man has truthful knowledge of a beach by looking at a detailed painting of the beach and God knows by actually being there, hence both minds have true knowledge but qualitatively different (which does not contradict our glorious orthodoxy on this issue over the centuries) in my maybe poorly worded analogy.

Your anthropomorphic example limits my ability to understand you, which is why I directly asked you if you think analogy connotes similarity. Surely God doesn't know any created object (such as a beach) by experience. So I will see if I can interpret your intention a different way. In the future, can you try to help me out by specifically answering my questions?

Let me try to reframe what you might be getting at (but I am guessing): let's speak about man's knowledge of God Himself. Are you saying that the bold context of knowledge takes "truth" as corresponding to a referent (propositions) and that the underlined context takes "truth" as the referent itself (God Himself)? I.e. you are saying that man "knows" truth corresponding to God ("the beach") whereas God "knows" truth by being Himself (at "the beach")? To put it yet another way, are you saying that a referent (God) is at no point identical with that which functions to refer to said referent (propositional truths)? If so, I agree with this.

Now, if so, does God also "know" what man knows: i.e. the truth(s) corresponding to Himself ("the beach")? If so, is there any difference (other than mode: for God, intuitive, eternal, internally sourced; for man, derivate and temporally acquired) between God's knowledge and man's knowledge in this context?

If I am off base, then I'm not sure how else to interpret you at the present.

Another point of contention is truth. I meant exhaustive knowledge like this, for me to know there's absolute identity of content I must know as God knows a single fact to ensure there's absolute identity from beginning to infinity, this is basic in mathematical proofs. I must admit this is using Clark's apparent views on knowledge against him but so be it. But if we don't bow with God before truth than we must filter truth like any other concept through the historical matrix of analogical knowledge (a/e) or else reject orthodoxy.

May a "single" fact be distinguished from others or not? Of course, neither I nor Clark are saying any truth is unrelated to others. That isn't the question. The question is: if a "single" fact may be so distinguished, then why may it not be known without having to know all other facts?

Of course, we do "filter" (if by that you mean "discover") truth via divine revelation. But that which we may discover is still the same distinct truth as that which God knew and intended to reveal in the first place. In fact, that God speaks of secret things seems to suggest there are unrevealed truths, in which case truths must be distinct at least to the extent that God can reveal and we can know some without knowing others.

As you said at the beginning in scriptural quotes we do have absolute assurance. But not because of reason and logic alone but because of revelation.

In saying Clark was "rationalistic," then, are you implying Clark thought otherwise? But in my last response to you, I already quoted the following:

Dr. Clark rejects the idea that truth is independent of God... Man cannot of himself discover God’s secrets; he can know only what God reveals to him; but when truths are revealed, they are revealed to be understood, for they “belong unto us and to our children forever.” Further, no one has a right to set a limit on the power of God to reveal in heaven any item which is now among secret things. Until it is revealed, man cannot discover it; it is indeed incomprehensible because it is unrevealed.

Never brought up sacraments so I'll leave that alone.

It was merely an analogy (!), but you are welcome to reply to the literal statement I provided: from the fact that truth is the subject of this conversation, it does not necessarily follow, as you say, that truth is being "elevated" to a "supreme place" as something to which God "submits."
 
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By the way, @jwright82, thank you for pointing me to Reason and Revelation: New Essays In Reformed Apologetics. Quite a fascinating collection. For instance, take John Muether's following contribution from pgs. 122-123:

Yet God is also incomprehensible. This term “does not mean that God is incomprehensible to himself. On the contrary, man’s inability to comprehend God is founded on the very fact that God is completely self-determinative.” A self-contained God is necessarily beyond our complete understanding: “If God does actually exist as a self-contained and eternally self-conscious being, it is natural that we, his creatures, should not be able to comprehend, that is, understand him exhaustively.”

So our knowledge of God is, in Van Til’s terms, “analogical” rather than “univocal.” He defines this distinction as follows:

Christians must also believe in two levels of knowledge, the level of God’s knowledge which is absolutely comprehensive and self-contained, and the level of man’s knowledge which is not comprehensive but is derivative and re-interpretative. Hence we say as Christians we believe that man’s knowledge is analogical of God’s knowledge.

I found this to be very puzzling, for I did not immediately understand in what way Clark's view in the 1940s debate is incompatible with any of this. It is not as if Clark denied man's knowledge was derivate or that God's knowledge is comprehensive and "self-contained" (unless some special meaning is present in Van Til's use of this latter term which is not outlined in Muether's article?). Even the idea that man re-interprets the original context of God's "self-contained" knowledge within his own context does not deny that there may be a point of identity between the two contexts. Clark would have (and did, in The Answer) agreed that we derive our knowledge from God whereas God's knowledge is original, underived from anything external:

Only the Son has that original and underived knowledge of the Father, which can initiate a revelation. Man cannot know God unless the Son “willeth to reveal him.” But when the Son reveals God, man canknow him truly insofar as he is revealed, and that knowledge is true knowledge, true both for God andfor man

But whereas Clark's view in 1945 does not appear to be incompatible with how "analogical knowledge" is defined above (which only appears to touch upon a difference in mode of knowledge), anyone who reads The Complaint can see that the same language Van Til uses above regarding "levels" of knowledge was also used in the context of the 1944 contention of the complainants that Clark's view was at variance with the Christian view of divine incomprehensibility:

Two other passages cited likewise agree with Dr. Clark’s view: Matt. 11:27 (and Luke 10:22),“Neither doth any know the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal him.” Only the Son has a knowledge of the Father that is on a level with the Father's knowledge of the Son; only the Son's knowledge of the Father is exhaustive knowledge; the knowledge which men may come to possess of the Father and of the Son is knowledge on a lower level, apprehension but not comprehension, for otherwise mere men would have to be accorded a place alongside of Christ who alone “knows the Father” (Mt. 11:27; Luke 10:22.Cf. Also Romans 11:33; Deuteronomy 29:29)...

It is our contention that Dr. Clark's view of the incomprehensibility of God is definitely at variance with the meaning that this doctrine has had in Christian theology.

My puzzlement over this whole matter was alleviated when I read Muether's footnote on the page 122:

28. Ibid. I shall not enter into the discussion of divine incomprehensibility of God in the controversy of the 1940s between Van Til and Gordon H. Clark, a controversy in which the Van Til party defined incomprehensibility rather differently, as the lack of any identity between any human thought and any divine thought. See my Cornelius Van Til, 97-113. As a definition of incomprehensibility, I prefer the simpler definition used in the present quotation.

In other words - and this is important - Muether thinks Van Til's view of divine incomprehensibility in his 1949 Introduction to Systematic Theology is not the same as the use by the complainants in the 1940s debate.

How interesting! If true, it supports Clark's claim that the position of the complainants changed over time... and quickly, too (in less than 5 years). It also suggests Van Til's use of "analogical knowledge" in 1944 was different from the complainants' use in 1949.
 
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As I've written elsewhere, whether an historian realizes it or not, any attempt to lay out historical facts will always entail "taking sides" (link). It's not as if I've hidden the fact that I have tried to do both since my very first post in which I drew connections from the complainants to Hegel and from Clark to Plotinus. I don't have a problem disagreeing with Clark where I think he is wrong. Likewise with the complainants. How else is an honest historian to operate
No, no, no my apologies. I didn't realize you were so committed to Clark. I'm committed to Van Til so there's nothing wrong with that.
I am left wondering how I have brushed the distinction aside when in my very last post I provided a citation of Van Til which appears to advocate for a theory of two-fold truths which comprise distinct systems that are at no point identical. Is this not the archetypal-ectypal distinction you accept? Or is it that you are suggesting I have provided no reason to disagree with Van Til's position?
No I think you miss the larger point. You and Clark are saying it's a two-fold theory of truth. I'm saying the a/e distinction is a working out of the doctrine of analogy by Medieval (Overman), Lutheran (Preus), and Reformed (Muller) Scholasticism's. They never, to my knowledge, saw it as a two-fold theory of truth.
So when you, in the last post to me, quote Clark as saying "the complaint is not in accord with Reformed theology". But the doctrine of analogy (and it's development into the a/e distinction) has been a staple of orthodoxy since at least, as you point out, the fourth Lateran Council. So can he really claim to be in accord with Reformed theology on this point?
I provided the other names to show that research into Scholasticism has shown this doctrine and distinction to be essential to orthodoxy on this point. So rejecting the doctrine of analogy is to be outside potentially orthodoxy on this point.
The majority of the committee commissioned by the OPC's 12th General Assembly found that the view of the complainants "requires... a more specialized theory of knowledge than our standards demand." If you think they are mistaken or are referring to a broader tradition, I am certainly open to listening. At the same time, I am more interested in whether or not the theory in question is true. As I note in the above link, I think the function and conclusions of an historical work will flow from one's epistemology.



If so, then one can sympathize with Clark's frustration.
Can't argue with you here. But this whole thing was pre Oberman, Preus (maybe same time as him), and Muller's work. Also during the heyday of the Calvin/Luther vs Calvinist/Lutheran's dichotomy of Barth and Neo-orthodoxy and I guess everyone hated medieval Scholasticism. But now that we have their work, we can go back and revaluate our own opinions.
Have you sought to revaluate the dispute not so much by reading those authors but about their work? Within this historical context? Food for thought.
I have no idea what this is in response to. To be honest, the layout of your posts are hard for me to follow. Are you referring to what I cited by Van Til?
Sorry my fault entirely, just figured out the quote function on my phone. Where's a six year old when you need them?
Do you think that revelational epistemology is anti-reason or anti-logic? I wouldn't have thought so. But if not, then I don't follow your train of thought. Are you claiming Clark is "rationalistic" for applying reason and logic within the context of a revelational epistemology to attempt to refute a theory of two-fold truths which comprise distinct systems that is [allegedly] centuries old? The idea such is "rationalistic" is baffling to me. How is this not straightforwardly an "appeal to tradition" fallacy? Further, the WCF 31.4 reads:
Well this is confusing, are you linking the a/e distinction as a development of a doctrine of analogy to a two-fold theory of truth? This is the historical question I guess. On the one hand you quote Clark saying he's saying "what the Reformed have always said" and on the other hand implying that orthodoxy has been wrong on this point since the fourth Lateran Council at least?
This is also taking for granted that what Van Til advocates is a "basic issue" that has been advocated for centuries. You mention several authors - what do they specifically say that supports a theory of two-fold truths which comprise distinct systems?



I skimmed Horton's chapter. Was the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 the only one you had in mind? Horton says:
None of them support a two-fold theory of truth. If you're arguing that the a/e distinction advocates such a theory than fine. But please lay your cards on the table so that I know that.
I have no problem with agreeing that there is always more dissimilarity from God than similarity to Him. But does this not admit the point? There is similarity. In turn, similarity connotes overlap or point(s) of identity.

I believe the Eastern Orthodox reject the Fourth Lateran Council. Even so, here is the only instance I found in which the council speaks to the topic of analogy (link):
You have just agreed to a doctrine of analogy. That's all the doctrine is saying. The a/e distinction is a working out of the epistemological consequences of that. If you feel those consequences are wrong so be it.
Once all the cards are on the table we can discuss the corrections you suggest to that distinction.
Notice that the council is rejecting Abbot Joachim's appeal to analogy between God and humanity. Whatever else one may get from this, it has nothing to do with the sort of analogy to which the complainants subscribed, let alone a theory of two-fold truths which comprise distinct systems.
But they still had a doctrine of analogy. This doctrine was developed through Medieval scholasticism and into Protestant Scholasticism.
Did I miss anything in this council or in any other council or creed you or Horton had in mind? I've already mentioned that the 1946 OPC COMMITTEE TO STUDY A COMPLAINT AGAINST THE PRESBYTERY OF PHILADELPHIA did not find that the Westminster Confession demanded a stance on this issue.
Agree, I think it's rather a shame to have hashed this out like this but didn't Clark become stranger in his views as time went on? Maybe the complaint saw this trajectory and decided to correct it now as opposed to later? Or get it on record? It would be harder to oppose someone's views after allowing them earlier, that's just business.
Your anthropomorphic example limits my ability to understand you, which is why I directly asked you if you think analogy connotes similarity. Surely God doesn't know any created object (such as a beach) by experience. So I will see if I can interpret your intention a different way. In the future, can you try to help me out by specifically answering my questions?
Yes my apologies. Yes anthropomorphic/analogical distinctions do admit similarities but disimilarities as well. Bad example on my part.
The analogy was meant to show that the point of identity is in the thing known not in the minds knowing (Creator/creature distinction). Is that better, less confusing? I cannot traverse this distinction to know what is in the mind of God but I know we both know the same thing.
Let me try to reframe what you might be getting at (but I am guessing): let's speak about man's knowledge of God Himself. Are you saying that the bold context of knowledge takes "truth" as corresponding to a referent (propositions) and that the underlined context takes "truth" as the referent itself (God Himself)? I.e. you are saying that man "knows" truth corresponding to God ("the beach") whereas God "knows" truth by being Himself (at "the beach")? To put it yet another way, are you saying that a referent (God) is at no point identical with that which functions to refer to said referent (propositional truths)? If so, I agree with this.
I'm saying there's no point of contact between the mind of man and the mind of God. So I guess you point out another limitation of the analogy.
Now, if so, does God also "know" what man knows: i.e. the truth(s) corresponding to Himself ("the beach")? If so, is there any difference (other than mode: for God, intuitive, eternal, internally sourced; for man, derivate and temporally acquired) between God's knowledge and man's knowledge in this context?

If I am off base, then I'm not sure how else to interpret you at the present.
Mode seems to posit that there's a point of contact between the mind of man and the mind of God, if I'm wrong please correct me. I can't know what is in the mind of God. But by a revelational epistemology, as you point out, I can know with certainty what God wants me to know without knowing what's going on in his mind.
May a "single" fact be distinguished from others or not? Of course, neither I nor Clark are saying any truth is unrelated to others. That isn't the question. The question is: if a "single" fact may be so distinguished, then why may it not be known without having to know all other facts?
It may but to know there's strict identity of content between God's knowledge and ours requires we know everything about that fact. Which may be what the complaint was concerned with. But we're not God. Does that make more sense?
Of course, we do "filter" (if by that you mean "discover") truth via divine revelation. But that which we may discover is still the same distinct truth as that which God knew and intended to reveal in the first place. In fact, that God speaks of secret things seems to suggest there are unrevealed truths, in which case truths must be distinct at least to the extent that God can reveal and we can know some without knowing others.
Yes but "the same truth...." seems to imply a point of contact between the minds of the two. The point of contact is in the object not the minds.
In saying Clark was "rationalistic," then, are you implying Clark thought otherwise? But in my last response to you, I already quoted the following:
What I'm saying is, if Clark wanted to transgress upon the mind of God for whatever well intended purpose that would be rationalistic and speculative. If there's some other way to understand it so be it, I'm all ears.
It was merely an analogy (!), but you are welcome to reply to the literal statement I provided: from the fact that truth is the subject of this conversation, it does not necessarily follow, as you say, that truth is being "elevated" to a "supreme place" as something to which God "submits."
Yes but is it truth or content of knowledge? I'm confused now.
 
By the way, @jwright82, thank you for pointing me to Reason and Revelation: New Essays In Reformed Apologetics. Quite a fascinating collection. For instance, take John Muether's following contribution from pgs. 122-123:



I found this to be very puzzling, for I did not immediately understand in what way Clark's view in the 1940s debate is incompatible with any of this. It is not as if Clark denied man's knowledge was derivate or that God's knowledge is comprehensive and "self-contained" (unless some special meaning is present in Van Til's use of this latter term which is not outlined in Muether's article?). Even the idea that man re-interprets the original context of God's "self-contained" knowledge within his own context does not deny that there may be a point of identity between the two contexts. Clark would have (and did, in The Answer) agreed that we derive our knowledge from God whereas God's knowledge is original, underived from anything external:



But whereas Clark's view in 1945 does not appear to be incompatible with how "analogical knowledge" is defined above (which only appears to touch upon a difference in mode of knowledge), anyone who reads The Complaint can see that the same language Van Til uses above regarding "levels" of knowledge was also used in the context of the 1944 contention of the complainants that Clark's view was at variance with the Christian view of divine incomprehensibility:



My puzzlement over this whole matter was alleviated when I read Muether's footnote on the page 122:



In other words - and this is important - Muether thinks Van Til's view of divine incomprehensibility in his 1949 Introduction to Systematic Theology is not the same as the use by the complainants in the 1940s debate.

How interesting! If true, it supports Clark's claim that the position of the complainants changed over time... and quickly, too (in less than 5 years). It also suggests Van Til's use of "analogical knowledge" in 1944 was different from the complainants' use in 1949.
Perhaps it means Van Til wasn't the primary author. I've heard it more than once that it reads like Murray wrote it. But you're welcome, glad to help. And thank you for this stimulating conversation. You really should think about publishing all this, you've done fantastic legwork might as well get paid for it.
 
I have a few observations regarding this discussion:

First, doesn't the archetypal/ectypal distinction (at least explicitly) originate with Scotus, who himself adopted a univocal view of language? According to Richard Cross, an expert in Scotus, Scotus' view is often misunderstood and instead seems to be similar to what has been said so far on this thread about Clark's view (I'm less familiar with Clark than I would like to be). Yet it seems that some are assuming that to accept a univocal view of language is to deny the archtypal/ectypal distinction. Unless Scotus was just completely inconsistent on this point it does not seem to follow.

Second, predicate logic is less than 150 years old. Modal logic even younger. This is going to impact our theological language and method, if we care about using the best tools philosophy has to offer for the task of theology (which is what analytic theology seeks to achieve). From what little I know of Clark, he seemed much more conversant with analytic philosophy than Van Til who came from a more continental framework, for better or worse.
 
I have a few observations regarding this discussion:

First, doesn't the archetypal/ectypal distinction (at least explicitly) originate with Scotus, who himself adopted a univocal view of language? According to Richard Cross, an expert in Scotus, Scotus' view is often misunderstood and instead seems to be similar to what has been said so far on this thread about Clark's view (I'm less familiar with Clark than I would like to be). Yet it seems that some are assuming that to accept a univocal view of language is to deny the archtypal/ectypal distinction. Unless Scotus was just completely inconsistent on this point it does not seem to follow.
To be fair, you're right but I never used, to my knowledge, the term univocal. I could be wrong but I did not use that term. For one I'm willing to give Clark the benefit of the doubt that they may be a bad term to describe his position. I don't know how he described it, but if it's univocal vs equivocal only than that's a problem.
Second, predicate logic is less than 150 years old. Modal logic even younger. This is going to impact our theological language and method, if we care about using the best tools philosophy has to offer for the task of theology (which is what analytic theology seeks to achieve). From what little I know of Clark, he seemed much more conversant with analytic philosophy than Van Til who came from a more continental framework, for better or worse.
Perhaps. How would your understanding of analytical theology shed light on this? The more perspectives we have the better.
 
To be fair, you're right but I never used, to my knowledge, the term univocal. I could be wrong but I did not use that term. For one I'm willing to give Clark the benefit of the doubt that they may be a bad term to describe his position. I don't know how he described it, but if it's univocal vs equivocal only than that's a problem.

Perhaps. How would your understanding of analytical theology shed light on this? The more perspectives we have the better.
Even with analogy, though, and this is the crucial point, we have to be clear as to what the similarity is. But when we are clear about what the similarity is, then we can point to that thing and say 'it is the same as that in this respect'. Which is what I have meant in a previous thread that analogical language ultimately reduces to univocal language, once we pinpoint the similarity. Without this, then it seems we are at a standstill regarding our ability to communicate. I stress again that this has to do with language, and that we cannot read ontology directly off of language.

Just so that I can give a clear response, what do you mean by 'on this'? The debate on univocal vs analogical language? On a general level, I think it forces us to be precise about what we mean, for a start. Ideally we can formalise what we say so that all parties in the debate know exactly what the premises are, whether the conclusion follows, and which premise(s) can be challenged. I do think that continental philosophy prizes itself more in its ability to speak metaphorically, along with a willingness to embrace paradoxes and the like. Maybe theology is more suited to that, but then I would argue that it makes it less amenable to those who do value rationality (which is not the same as rationalism, nor should valuing rationality be seen as a bad thing).
 
No, no, no my apologies. I didn't realize you were so committed to Clark. I'm committed to Van Til so there's nothing wrong with that.

To repeat, the statement you replied to and the posts I've written in this very thread make clear I am quite willing to disagree with Clark where I think disagreement is warranted. Let's try to remain balanced.

No I think you miss the larger point. You and Clark are saying it's a two-fold theory of truth. I'm saying the a/e distinction is a working out of the doctrine of analogy by Medieval (Overman), Lutheran (Preus), and Reformed (Muller) Scholasticism's. They never, to my knowledge, saw it as a two-fold theory of truth... None of them support a two-fold theory of truth. If you're arguing that the a/e distinction advocates such a theory than fine. But please lay your cards on the table so that I know that.

I am asking what is Van Til's view of the archetypal-ectypal distinction. If Van Til did accept an archetype-ectype distinction, what else could the citation of Van Til I provided in post 41 refer to? Again, from Van Til's Introduction to Warfield's "The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible" (1948), he says:

“When the Christian restates the content of Scriptural revelation in the form of a ‘system,’ such a system is based upon and therefore analogous to the ‘existential system’ that God himself possesses. Being based upon God’s revelation it is on the one hand, fully true and, on the other hand, at no point identical with the content of the divine mind.”

Is this representative of Van Til's understanding of the archetype-ectype distinction or not? Is it your understanding of the archetype-ectype distinction or not? Also, I just read Horton mention (pg. 135) he is not aware of any instance that Van Til even uses the language of archetype-ectype distinction.

So when you, in the last post to me, quote Clark as saying "the complaint is not in accord with Reformed theology". But the doctrine of analogy (and it's development into the a/e distinction) has been a staple of orthodoxy since at least, as you point out, the fourth Lateran Council. So can he really claim to be in accord with Reformed theology on this point?

I thought I was clear that the Fourth Lateran Council barely even mentions the topic of analogy. In fact, so far as I can tell, the only mention of it is in a context in which the council goes out of its way to reject an intended analogy between God and man made by a certain man. So I am mystified exactly how you interpret that to imply any relevant archetype-ectype distinction to the 1940s debate. Allow me to gently suggest you are rushing to respond too quickly before digesting what I am saying.

Further, neither I nor Clark disagree with analogy as such. For example, as late as 1982, Clark wrote an article in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (Vol. 25 No. 2, Jun. pgs. 201-203). In it, he writes:

Christ is like a lamb – in some respects, of course. They both have a head, two ears, and two eyes. Christ remained speechless, as a lamb is dumb when being shorn. There are always dozens of similarities in any metaphor, simile or analogy. The figure of speech does not of itself indicate which similarity is intended. Without Romans and Leviticus we would have no basis for understanding what John the Baptist meant. And our basis is not a later theological tradition but the Bible itself.

Now, if you have specific citations of any authors you mention, then as I said, I am open to listening.

Well this is confusing, are you linking the a/e distinction as a development of a doctrine of analogy to a two-fold theory of truth? This is the historical question I guess. On the one hand you quote Clark saying he's saying "what the Reformed have always said" and on the other hand implying that orthodoxy has been wrong on this hpoint since the fourth Lateran Council at least?

The Fourth Lateran Council is completely irrelevant to this whole issue. It does not have any relevance to the 1940s debate.

Here is why I think you are confused: Van Til has made statements that seem to imply a two-fold theory of truth. I have been asking whether you think said statements are equivalent to Van Til's understanding of the so-called archetype-ectype distinction. If so, Clark and I find that problematic. If not, I am asking you define what is the archetype-ectype distinction is such that you think Clark disagrees with it.

Either way, the question remains: if both systems Van Til talks about above contain "truth" but are at no point identical, then does not Van Til advocate a two-fold theory of truth?

You have just agreed to a doctrine of analogy. That's all the doctrine is saying. The a/e distinction is a working out of the epistemological consequences of that. If you feel those consequences are wrong so be it.
Once all the cards are on the table we can discuss the corrections you suggest to that distinction.

But they still had a doctrine of analogy. This doctrine was developed through Medieval scholasticism and into Protestant Scholasticism.

I am not hiding any cards. I have no problem with "a doctrine of analogy." Nor did Clark, as shown above. Rather, the question is what doctrine of analogy did the complainants hold to such that they were willing to say, “we dare not maintain that his knowledge and our knowledge coincide at any single point.” Note that if you admit that God's knowledge and our knowledge have the same truth in mind (as you seem to admit below when you say the "point of contact is in the object"), then you admit, contrary to the complainants, that his knowledge and our knowledge coincide at that point.

Agree, I think it's rather a shame to have hashed this out like this but didn't Clark become stranger in his views as time went on? Maybe the complaint saw this trajectory and decided to correct it now as opposed to later? Or get it on record? It would be harder to oppose someone's views after allowing them earlier, that's just business.

There's no point in such speculation, and speculation certainly is not sufficient grounds for lodging a complaint.

The analogy was meant to show that the point of identity is in the thing known not in the minds knowing (Creator/creature distinction). Is that better, less confusing? I cannot traverse this distinction to know what is in the mind of God but I know we both know the same thing.

That is Clark's position.

Mode seems to posit that there's a point of contact between the mind of man and the mind of God, if I'm wrong please correct me. I can't know what is in the mind of God. But by a revelational epistemology, as you point out, I can know with certainty what God wants me to know without knowing what's going on in his mind.

You can by revelation know that the same truth that has been revealed to you was first "in" the mind of God.

It may but to know there's strict identity of content between God's knowledge and ours requires we know everything about that fact. Which may be what the complaint was concerned with. But we're not God. Does that make more sense?

This is an assertion. Where is the accompanying argument? I have already laid out why I think this is problematic: it either leads to human skepticism or a rejection of divine omniscience.

Yes but "the same truth...." seems to imply a point of contact between the minds of the two. The point of contact is in the object not the minds.

Clark argued the point of contact is between what is in the minds. The object or content or truth is in the minds. From Clark's Studies in the Doctrine of the Complaint:

Note well that the complainants are not content to say that God’s knowledge differs from man’s in certain ways, such as in its extent and in its mode. They insist that there is no point of contact whatever. Not a single point. Far from denying that there is a single point of coincidence, I maintain that there is an area of coincidence. That area includes, “David was king of Israel,’ and ‘Jesus was born at Bethlehem,’ and several other items. These are the points where God’s knowledge and man’s knowledge coincide. The propositions mean to the man who knows them, to the man who grasps their meaning, exactly what they mean to God, although God, as was said knows implications of these propositions that man does not know; but the truth itself is the same for man as it is for God. If a man does not grasp God’s truth, he grasps no truth at all, for there is no other truth than God’s truth. God knows all truth. And if a man grasps any truth at all, since it is God’s truth, that truth is a point or even an area of coincidence.

You are closer to Clark's view than you realize. Perhaps you have just been given false information about what Clark affirmed.

What I'm saying is, if Clark wanted to transgress upon the mind of God for whatever well intended purpose that would be rationalistic and speculative. If there's some other way to understand it so be it, I'm all ears.

What have I written or Clark said that has given you the impression he "wanted to transgress upon the mind of God"? I would kindly invite you to read Clark charitably and carefully.

Yes but is it truth or content of knowledge? I'm confused now.

As I cited near the end of post 41, Clark thinks the two are one in the same.

I would sincerely recommend you pause and reread our discussion.
 
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I have a few observations regarding this discussion:

First, doesn't the archetypal/ectypal distinction (at least explicitly) originate with Scotus, who himself adopted a univocal view of language? According to Richard Cross, an expert in Scotus, Scotus' view is often misunderstood and instead seems to be similar to what has been said so far on this thread about Clark's view (I'm less familiar with Clark than I would like to be). Yet it seems that some are assuming that to accept a univocal view of language is to deny the archtypal/ectypal distinction. Unless Scotus was just completely inconsistent on this point it does not seem to follow.

Second, predicate logic is less than 150 years old. Modal logic even younger. This is going to impact our theological language and method, if we care about using the best tools philosophy has to offer for the task of theology (which is what analytic theology seeks to achieve). From what little I know of Clark, he seemed much more conversant with analytic philosophy than Van Til who came from a more continental framework, for better or worse.

I have never heard of this. I had been thinking of picking up that book after the discussion on divine simplicity and formal distinctions. Do you recommend it? What do you think of Clark's following citation of Windelband (link)?

To show how Dr. Van Til expounds the views of other men, let us first turn to his Syllabus on Apologetics, page 84, where he is discussing medieval philosophy. He says, “In stating the problem (whether universals are ante rem, in re, or post rem) the scholastics fails to distinguish between God and man. They did not ask first whether the ideas of universals were prior to a thing known in the case of God, in order then in a separate question to ask whether the universals were prior to a thing in the case of man.” Now contrast Dr. Van Til’s understanding of medieval philosophy with that of Windelband, History of Philosophy and, History of Philosophy, page 299: “Even Abelard, however, explains this likeness of character in a multiplicity of individuals upon the hypothesis that God created the world according to archetypes which he carried in his mind. Thus according to his view, the universals existed firstly, before the things, as conceptus mentis in God; secondly, in the things, as likenesses of the essential characteristics of individuals; thirdly, after the things, in the human understanding as its concepts and predicates acquired by comparative thought (italics, Windelband’s)... As regards the real question at issue he had advanced so far that it was essentially his theory that became the ruling doctrine in the formula accepted by the Arabian philosophers – Avicenna – ‘universalia ante multiplicitatem, in multiplicitate, et post mutiplicitatem;’ to universals belongs equally a significance ante rem as regards the divine mind, in rea as regards Nature, and post rem as regards human knowledge. And since Thomas and Duns Scotus in the main agreed with this view, the problem of universals, which, to be sure, has not yet been solved, came to a preliminary rest, to come again into the foreground when Nominalism was revived.”

It is clear that Dr. Van Til says that the scholastics did not do what as a matter of well known fact they did do. It should be specifically noted that this is not just a question of interpretation. Someone might want to defend Dr. Van Til on the ground that every philosopher proposes his own interpretations of the previous philosophers. One man has one view of the scholastics and another man has a different view, and Dr. Van Til is entitled to his. This is not the case at issue. The point is that Dr. Van Til has not correctly represented the views in question. He has said that the scholastics failed to do what as a matter of plain historical fact they did do.
 
I have never heard of this. I had been thinking of picking up that book after the discussion on divine simplicity and formal distinctions. Do you recommend it? What do you think of Clark's following citation of Windelband (link)?
I have Cross book, but I haven’t read it. I might start now
 
I have never heard of this. I had been thinking of picking up that book after the discussion on divine simplicity and formal distinctions. Do you recommend it? What do you think of Clark's following citation of Windelband (link)?
I haven't read his book yet either, but he talks about it here in this podcast quite early on (I would definitely recommend this podcast for those interested in analytic theology):

https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-london-lyceum/id1476529038?i=1000623879333

As for the quote you give, I cannot comment on the historical point regarding what Van Til thought etc. However, on the actual content itself, I think the first stage, in which archetypes are in the divine mind (or what I would call 'blueprints') is probably the closest thing to the truth and has historical pedigree going back to Philo and Middle Platonism. I also think that the third stage is credible, in that rational creatures make abstractions from the particulars (as many of the scholastics argued). So far, this is all consistent with anti-realism/nominalism as thoughts are not abstract objects.

The problem arises for me when we start talking about the universals being 'in the things' themselves. I cannot make sense of this view or what is solved. How can a universal be 'in' something? And this step would also commit us to an extra ontological category - abstract objects. For we are now talking about the things themselves, not God's thoughts or the thoughts of rational creatures.

Let me know what you think or if I've touched on the aspect of the quote you were interested in.
 
Thanks for the thoughts and recommendations, I'll give it a listen.

The problem arises for me when we start talking about the universals being 'in the things' themselves. I cannot make sense of this view or what is solved. How can a universal be 'in' something? And this step would also commit us to an extra ontological category - abstract objects. For we are now talking about the things themselves, not God's thoughts or the thoughts of rational creatures.

The first question I would have for an anti-realist is whether he can consistently affirm that Christ metaphysically is consubstantial with the people He came to save.
 
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