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4.23.2013

Atheists had a summit and decreed that colors don't exist

[Part of an email exchange based on this article, but mostly this article.]

Remember that article about the atheists holding some kind of summit and so on? In one part of that article it talked about how these atheists like to say things like color isn't even real. It's just light waves and doesn't even exist and all that. Look at this quote from Berkhof's Systematic Theology where this subject is directly spoken to (actually it is in Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics where it is really gone deeply into, and I just read that chapter in Bavinck):

"The objective revelation of God would be of no avail, if there were no subjective receptivity for it, a correspondence between subject [human beings] and object [natural world]. Dr. Bavinck correctly says: "Science always consists in a logical relation between subject and object." It is only when the subject is adapted to the object that science can result."

Berkhof, Louis (2011-11-08). Systematic Theology (Kindle Locations 2129-2131). Eerdmans Publishing Co - A. Kindle Edition.

What this is saying, and I paraphrase Bavinck, is there is an organic relationship, a kinship, between the subject and object, basically because God created the universe for those who have His image. I.e. you can't say color isn't really real because without a human eye to decode it it doesn't exist because color was created by God to be viewed, by the light of God inside humans, by humans. What the atheists are doing is separating the creation from man (as-well-as God).

There are also echoes of Work teaching in the Bavinck chapter when he goes into how we have to have in us what we can see or experience outside us.

Of course, Bavinck goes through all this talking about the history of philosophy and what the foundation of science is and all that.

Because theology is historically a science its first principles are the same as what we think of as science today. Atheist scientists are obviouslly off-track with their materialism and naturalism and so on. It's all a big subject yet also boiled down in the Bavinck chapter, but also by Berkhof.

I havn't even hit on the main points. This is a bit of a ragged email... - C.

Ragged or not it's a good point, interesting in its logic and simplicity. I mean it isn't like revelatory (at least on the one hand) but set up to counter some of that madness those athiests were spouting, it does seem kind of revelatory (afterall) - subject and object have a relationship. Surely they didn't miss that. Err ... looks like it. - Paul of England

It's remarkable and eye-opening to see how Reformed theologians went through the history of western philosophy from Plato and Aristotle forward and were very adept in all that thought and language and were able to put it all into its place ultimately showing how truth boils down to the Logos experienced in a Trinitarian way. It's not shallow. It doesn't give the impression of people operating outside their own field (and I refer to Bavinck's summary of it all in his chapter on the Foundations of Science in his first volume of Reformed Dogmatics). In passing manner he would touch on how someone like Augustine could boil things down to their essence. As I read through it I was wondering what a modern professional philosopher would think of it. Probably wouldn't even go near a volume of systematic theology, let alone by luck get one from the pure school that was as magisterial as Bavinck. - C.

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