3 thoughts on “Episode 39: QIRC/QIRE with R. Scott Clark”

  1. Ben, Allan, I’m not picking a bone with either of you in this comment. The point of this comment is to show that RSC has made a comment on your podcast that is, to the best of my knowledge, false; demonstrably from free publicly available *original sources.* It’s purely ironic that it’s a comment about the CVT debacle which in the past divided the reformed community (split the OPC when it could least afford it) and still to this day is dividing the reformed.

    I have no idea if RSC has read the sources linked in this post. I am simply dealing with pretty much *one* comment from his interview with you.

    Here follows Pht’s attempt at transcription and keeping it concise:

    9:52 – ff
    RSC:
    “(both speaking at same time) well that’s right, yeah, … that’s exactly right that was one of the uh episodes that I discuss in the book uh gordon clark was convinced that we can know things the way god knows them at least at one point, (breath) that the human intellect needs to intersect with the divine intellect and so he rejected this notion that’s um uh I think a very biblical notion and a classically reformed notion of the creator creature distinction as uh as it touches on uh what we can know and what God knows and the degree to which we can know things and whether we have a whether the difference between our knowledge and Gods is qualitative or quantitative and if you ask a follower of Gordon Clark they’ll say the difference is quantitative and so they put us sort of on a continuum with God…”

    RSC continues pretty much w/o a clean break here till the 15 min mark. I’m only going to address two things here.

    “know things the way God knows them at one point” – if by “way” RSC means “by the same means that God does” than absolutely not. Nor would I say we can. To the best of my knowledge, GHC said that God knows the his mind and what he has done/truth by knowing himself (intuitive knowing). GHC was adamant that God could reveal individual parts of the content of his mind to man’s mind. He was also equally adamant that man COULD NOT apprehend (find out) the content of God’s mind/what God has done/truth without God’s revelation of that content to man’s mind. He also said that we could NEVER learn all of the content of God’s mind.

    From Two of the original sources followed by some stuff from Dogulas Douma:
    https://godshammer.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/the-answer.pdf
    “On the other hand Dr. Clark contends that the doctrine of the incomprehensibilty of God as set forth in Scripture and in the Confession of Faith includes the following points: 1. The essence of God’s being is incomprehensible to man except as God reveals truths concerning his own nature; 2. The manner of God’s knowing, an eternal intuition, is impossible for man; 3. Man can never know exhaustively and completely God’s knowledge of any truth in all its relationships and implications; because every truth has an infinite number of relationships and implications and since each of these implications in turn has other infinite implications, these must ever, even in heaven, remain inexhaustible for man; …”

    From the examination of GHC for licensure:
    http://gordonhclark.reformed.info/files/2015/11/Examination-in-Theology-of-Gordon-H.-Clark.pdf
    “…BY MR. ANDREWS: Q. Dr. Clark, you have said that man’s knowledge is of a series of propositions, that is, discursively. A. Yes. Q. That God’s knowledge is intuitive. A. Yes. Q. Do you mean by that, that God sees everything in all its infinite relation, all at one glance? A. Yes, that is awkward language but I don’t know any better, if you don’t press me too hard on it.” … BY MR. MARSTON: … “Q. Do you believe that God’s intuitive knowledge is the same as our discursive knowledge? A. Well, I guess not, two times two is four, both for God and for us, that is the expression of God’s knowledge and if we don’t know the object that God knows, then we are in absolute ignorance. … ”

    … and the second point: there appears to be a category error confusing things (the means by which things are know confused with the actual CONTENT known) … from Dogulas Douma’s website (D.D. is the author of a very recent biography of GHC and he did not merely rehash what is published; he researched through archives for anything he could find on GHC.) https://douglasdouma.wordpress.com/2016/10/13/a-list-of-differences-between-the-thought-of-gordon-h-clark-and-cornelius-van-til/

    “In Clark’s view of knowledge, there is a distinction between the mode of knowing and the object of knowledge. Though the object (the proposition known) is the same for God and man, the mode (or way) in which man knows a proposition is different from the mode in which God knows the proposition. Man’s mode, he held, is qualitatively different from God’s mode of knowing in that man’s mode is discursive (coming to know propositions through learning) and God’s mode is intuitive (having always known all true propositions). Further, in Clark’s view there is a quantitative difference in the object of knowledge. That is, man knows (and can only ever know) a finite number of propositions while God’s knowledge is not limited by anything outside of himself. In addition, Clark argued a second quantitative distinction in that man can only know some implications of any given proposition, whereas God knows all the implications of any given proposition.”

    1. I appreciate the time you took to write this comment Pht, however, I think you misunderstood what we were saying.

      Contextually, we were talking about whether we can know things like God knows them. Not in the sense of the means by which we gain access to that knowledge, which I think we would both agree is by revelation. But whether or not we can know those things like God knows them.

      In the very quotes you cited you made it clear that this disagreement does exist, for instance when you say: “GHC was adamant that God could reveal individual parts of the content of his mind to man’s mind.”

      That’s the very thing we are talking about and find problematic.

      I’m not really interested in rehashing the whole Clark/Van Til debate in these comments, but there was a real difference between GHClark’s view that we can know God’s thoughts, and the Van Tillian view that our knowledge is analogical, and that is the difference we were discussing on the episode.

      Thanks again for the comment.
      -Ben

      1. Thanks for the catch on your names. For some reason, I drew a blank on them at the time.

        “I appreciate the time you took to write this comment Pht, however, I think you misunderstood what we were saying.”

        Eh:

        RSC6:44
        “it’s a species of fundamentalism or rationalism… the desire to know what can’t be known … it’s also a way of talking about a desire to know things in a ***way*** that they can not be known…”

        RSC 7:14
        “…the rationalist in the classical sense of the word is somebody who thinks that they know what God knows the ***way*** he knows it…”

        RSC 8:22(ish)
        “… one way is to try to know things the ***way*** God knows them uh to have sort of a God’s eye view on things … to not be content to know things the ***way*** we are meant to know them…”

        For brevity’s sake, no more atm.

        —-

        Contextually, we were talking about whether we can know things like God knows them. Not in the sense of the means by which we gain access to that knowledge, which I think we would both agree is by revelation. But whether or not we can know those things like God knows them.

        In the very quotes you cited you made it clear that this disagreement does exist, for instance when you say: “GHC was adamant that God could reveal individual parts of the content of his mind to man’s mind.”

        Let me re-form what you’ve said in my own words here… You (Ben, at least; not presuming past that atm) are saying that we cannot know (have knowledge partial or otherwise of …) any individual proposition (a concept that can be true or false) that God knows, even by revelation… Have I read you right?

        If so, you need to realize that this by necessary consequence destroys the doctrine of revelation; it makes revelation impossible. It means you cannot have any content that is a true or false concept.

        Analogy is not an out – it’s not a thing that’s falsetrue or truefalse. There is nothing between truth and falsity. On the scale between the two, there is nothing in the middle. Beyond that, I have never encountered a coherent and/or functional definition of “analogical truth.”

        Is it true that Jesus is the messiah, who died according to the scriptures? If we say it is, than we are saying that it is a true concept – a proposition. We are saying that we know a true proposition. Is it true that God is a trinity?

        Giving up on propositional revelation has consequences; they happen even if we don’t accept that they do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *