Cornelius Van Til

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“According to the principle of Protestantism, man’s consciousness of self and of objects presuppose for their intelligibility the consciousness of God. In asserting this, we are not thinking of psychological and temporal priority. We are thinking only of the question as to what is the final reference point in interpretation. . . . This is, in the last analysis, the question as to what are one’s ultimate presuppositions. When man became a sinner he made of himself instead of God the ultimate or final reference point. And it is precisely this presupposition, as it controls without exception all forms of non-Christian philosophy, that must be brought into question. If this presupposition is left unquestioned in any field all the facts and arguments presented to the unbeliever will be made over by him according to his pattern. The sinner has cemented colored glasses to his eyes which he cannot remove. And all is yellow to the jaundiced eye. There can be no intelligible reasoning unless those who reason together understand what they mean by their words.” – Cornelius Van Til

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Cornelius Van Til (May 3, 1895 – April 17, 1987), born in Grootegast, the Netherlands, was a Christian philosopher, Reformed theologian, and presuppositional apologist. Van Til (born Kornelis van Til) was the sixth son of Ite van Til, a dairy farmer, and his wife Klasina van der Veen in Grootegast, Holland. At the age of ten, he moved with his family to Highland, Indiana. He was the first of his family to receive a higher education. In 1914 he attended Calvin Preparatory School, graduated from Calvin College, and attended one year at Calvin Theological Seminary, where he studied under Louis Berkhof, but he transferred to Princeton Theological Seminary and later graduated with his PhD from Princeton University.He began teaching at Princeton Seminary, but shortly went with the conservative group that founded Westminster Theological Seminary, where he taught for forty-three years of his life. He taught apologetics and systematic theology there until his retirement in 1972 and continued to teach occasionally until 1979. He was also a minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church from the 1930s until his death in 1987.