Re: Van Till's Ultimate Gap

From: George Murphy (
Date: Thu Sep 04 2003 - 15:39:02 EDT

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    Howard J. Van Till wrote:
    > Following are responses to a few selected observations by Josh.
    > >From: "Josh Bembenek" <>
    > > -I don't see how this gets away from infinite historical time.
    > > . . . . Again, my problem is with the whole time thing, but you're definitely
    > > straining the limits of my imagination here.
    > Help me understand why "infinite historical time" represents a problem to
    > you.
    > > I don't know that I find it
    > > appealing to say that God's essence depends on something, it simply IS.
    > But if it is essential to God's nature to be related to A World, then what
    > is problematic about positing the co-existence of A World? Even Aquinas was
    > willing to withhold theological objection to the existence of a world
    > eternally dependent on God for its being.

            This is an overstatement. In the _Summa Contra Gentiles_ Aquinas presents
    various philosophical arguments for the eternity of creatures, then says (Bk.2, 34, 6):

            "These, then, are the arguments through adhering to which, as though they were
    demonstrations, some people say that created things must always have existed; in so
    saying they contradict the Catholic faith, which affirms that nothing besides God has
    always existed, but that all things, save the one eternal God, have had a beginning."

            He then presents counter-arguments to the etrnity of the world and concludes
    (Bk.2, 37, 7):`

            "In the light of all this, then, it is clear that nothing stands in the way of
    one's holding that the world has not always existed - a truth which the Catholic faith
    affirms: 'In the beginning God created heaven and earth' (Gen.1:1): and in the Book of
    Proverbs (8:22) it is said of God: 'Before He made anything from the beginning," etc.'

            So while Aquinas held that one _could_ (but doesn't have to) maintain the
    eternity of the world philosophically, theologically - & in particular because of the
    church's understanding of scripture - it was necessary to say that the world is not

    George L. Murphy

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