Cornelius Van Til Quotes

Cornelius Van Til (1895 1987) was born in Grootegast, the Netherlands, and immigrated with his family to America in 1905. He attended Calvin College and Calvin Seminary before completing his studies at Princeton Theological Seminary and Princeton University with the ThM and PhD degrees.
Drawn to the pastorate, Van Til spent one year in the ministry before taking a leave of absence to teach apologetics at Princeton Seminary. When the seminary reorganized, he was persuaded to join the faculty of the newly founded Westminster Theological Seminary. He remained there as professor of apologetics until his retirement in 1975.


“I hold that belief in God is not merely as reasonable as other belief, or even a little or infinitely more probably true than other belief; I hold rather that unless you believe in God you can logically believe in nothing else”  ~ Cornelius Van Til


“If one does not make human knowledge wholly dependent upon the original self-knowledge and consequent revelation of God to man, then man will have to seek knowledge within himself as the final reference point. Then he will have to seek an exhaustive understanding of reality. He will have to hold that if he cannot attain to such an exhaustive understanding of reality he has no true knowledge of anything at all. Either man must then know everything or he knows nothing. This is the dilemma that confronts every form of non-Christian epistemology” ~ Cornelius Van Til


“The Bible is authoritative on everything of which it speaks.
Moreover, it speaks of everything.”  ~ Cornelius Van Til


“It is not kindness to tell patients that need strong medicine that nothing serious is wrong with them.” ~ Cornelius Van Til


“[The intellect of fallen man] may be compared to a buzz-saw that is sharp and shining, ready to cut the boards that come to it. Let us say that a carpenter wishes to cut fifty boards for the purpose of laying the floor of a house. He has marked his boards. He has set his saw. He begins at one end of the mark on the board. But he does not know that his seven-year-old son has tampered with the saw and changed its set. The result is that every board he saws is cut slantwise and thus unusable because too short except at the point where the saw made its first contact with the wood. As long as the set of the saw is not changed, the result will always be the same. So also whenever the teachings of Christianity are presented to the natural man, they will be cut according to the set of sinful human personality.” ~ Cornelius Van Til


“You realize that if you are to change your belief about God, you will also have to change your belief about yourself.” ~ Cornelius Van Til


“If the God of Christianity exists, the evidence for His existence is abundant and plain so that it is both unscientific and sinful not to believe in Him.” ~ Cornelius Van Til


“For what you have really done in your handling of the evidence for belief in God, is to set yourself up as God. You have made the reach of your intellect, the standard of what is possible or not possible. You have thereby virtually determined that you intend never to meet a fact that points to God. Facts, to be facts at all–facts, that is, with decent scientific and philosophic standing–must have your stamp instead of that of God upon them as their virtual creator.” ~ Cornelius Van Til


“How shortsighted and how uncultured, then, are the efforts of believers in Christ when they seek for snatches of worldly culture for themselves by placing themselves, as they think, on common ground with those who are not believers in Christ. How dishonoring to their Christ if they allow that any culture endures unless it be because of the power of his resurrection in the world. If you have been taken out of the miry clay, do you jump back into it because of some glistening objects that you see in it? Do you run back into the house now almost burned to the ground in order to save your silverware? It is only those who are believers in Christ that will inherit the earth and all the fullness thereof.” ~ Cornelius Van Til


“The picture of fallen man as given in Scripture is that he knows God but does not want to recognize Him as God.” ~ Cornelius Van Til


“Arguing about God’s existence, I hold, is like arguing about air. You may affirm that air exists, and I that it does not. But as we debate the point, we are both breathing air all the time.” ~ Cornelius Van Til


“God creates the world; He keeps His eye on it constantly, not merely on the world in general, but even on the minutest details. But throughout all this activity with respect to the created universe, He Himself is said to remain unchanged.” ~ Cornelius Van Til


“The sinner seeks to suppress the revelation in him and around him that he is an image bearer of God. He cannot do so fully.” ~ Cornelius Van Til


“The Reformed preacher does not tone down his message in order that it may find acceptance with the natural man.” ~ Cornelius Van Til


“All men have a prior assumptions in terms of which they approach the facts that confront them.” ~ Cornelius Van Til


“No one can become a theist unless he becomes a Christian. Any god that is not the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is not God.” ~ Cornelius Van Til


“Saving grace is not manifest in nature; yet it is the God of saving grace who manifests Himself by means of nature.” ~ Cornelius Van Til


“Remember while defending your faith to unbelievers, God has already made himself known to them. Thus, you must appeal to such knowledge.” ~ Cornelius Van Til