HE IS THERE AND HE IS NOT SILENT
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Does God exist? Does it make sense to believe in him? Can we ever really know him? At L'Abri Fellowship, philosopher Schaeffer welcomed questioners and doubters because he knew the truths in the Bible would always prove themselves. Here he addresses perplexing questions, offers satisfying answers, and reveals a personal God!
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He wrote in the Introduction to this 1972 book, "In one way, this is the book that should have been written immediately after 'The God Who is There'... 'The God Who is There' ... lays the ground work, establishes the terminology, and sets out the basic thesis... 'Escape from Reason' ... shows how modern culture has grown from polluted roots far back in the late middle ages... This book deals with one of the most fundamental of all questions: how we know, and how we know we know..." [NOTE: page numbers refer to the original 100-page book.]
He begins with the statement, "This book will deal with the philosophical necessity of God's being there and not being silent, in the areas of metaphysics, morals, and epistemology... the existence of man is no greater problem as such than is the fact that anything exists at all... This is what we define, then, as the problem of metaphysics, the existence of being." (Pg. 1) He states, "If we begin with an impersonal, we cannot then have some form of teleological concept. No one has ever demonstrated how time plus chance, beginning with an impersonal, can produce the needed complexity of the universe, let alone the personality of man... Often this answer---of beginning with the impersonal---is called pantheism... I try to make the point that it is not really panTHEISM, with its semantic illusion of personality, but panEVERYTHINGISM." (Pg. 9)
He notes "the dilemma of man is what I call the nobility of man... but contrasted with this there is his cruelty... Or we could express it in yet another way---man's estrangement from himself and other men in the area of morals..." (Pg. 21-22) But he asks, "If man was created by a personal-infinite God, how can we escape the conclusion that the personal God who made man cruel is himself also bad and cruel?" (Pg. 27) He replies, "There was a space-time, historical change in man. Man... turned by choice from his proper integration point at a certain time in history. When he did this... the dilemma of man becomes a true moral problem..." (Pg. 30) He adds, "On this basis we can have a real ground for fighting evil... God did not make man cruel, and he did not make the results of man's cruelty. These are abnormal, contrary to what God made, and so we can fight the evil WITHOUT FIGHTING GOD." (Pg. 31-32)
He argues, "Christianity... begins with ... the infinite-personal God, who ... has made man in his own image, and part of making man in his own image is that man is the verbalizer..." (Pg. 65) He adds, "Christianity has no nature and grace problem, and the reason for this rests upon language in revelation." (Pg. 67) He observes, "It is not surprising that if a reasonable God created the universe and put me in it, he should also give a correlation of the categories of my mind to fit that which is there, simply because I have to live in it." (Pg. 76) He says, "When I read the Bible, I find that when the infinite-personal God himself works in history and in the cosmos, he works in a way which confirms what he has said about the external world." (Pg. 78) He adds, "the Bible gives a propositional, factual revelation of God in norms both for the inward and the outward man." (Pg. 82)
He concludes, "Man's attempted autonomy has robbed him of any certain reality. He has nothing to be sure of when his imagination soars beyond the stars if there is nothing to make a distinction between reality and fantasy. But on the basis of the Christian epistemology, this confusion is ended, the alienation is healed... it is not solved until our knowledge fits under the apex of the infinite-personal, Triune God who is there, and who is not silent. When it does, and only when it does, there simply is no problem in the area of epistemology." (Pg. 87-88)
Schaeffer's final volume is less "striking" than the first two, but is still an effective complement to the rest of the trilogy.