This is an adapted version of the research proposal I submitted for my PhD application to Moore Theological College. God willing, Nicole, Aliyah, and I will be moving to Sydney, Australia in December of this year (2019) to begin studies and I will be working on this project for the next 3 or 4 years.

The incarnation is at the heart of orthodox Christology. Traditionally, this truth is found in the confession that Jesus is both fully God and fully man, possessing two natures. This formula entered the Christian tradition through the Chalcedonian Definition. Though the doctrine of two natures and their union is clearly intended to uphold the Biblical teaching that Jesus was God incarnate, it may not be so clear why this Biblical teaching implies that Jesus was

made known in two natures without confusion, without change, without division, without separation, the difference of the natures being by no means removed because of the union, but the property of each nature being preserved and coalescing in one prosopon and one hupostasis—not parted or divided into two prosopa, but one and the same Son, only-begotten, divine Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the prophets of old and Jesus Christ Himself have taught us about Him and the creed of our fathers has handed down.[i]

By discussing the incarnation in terms of  “natures” and “person,” the Chalcedonian Definition makes metaphysical claims concerning the incarnation. By using these categories of metaphysics to discuss the incarnation, the definition not only makes metaphysical claims, it also presupposes a specific view of metaphysics.

Survey of Literature

Though many works have been written discussing the views of the different parties surrounding Chalcedon, none have critically interacted with the the metaphysical presuppositions underneath these claims. Roy Kearsley, for example, has argued that Cyril of Alexandria transposed Neo-Platonism into Christianity instead of adopting it wholesale. Yet Kearsley does not address the structure of metaphysical presuppositions imported by Cyril.[ii] That is, he considers Cyril’s metaphysical claims as they relate to Neo-Platonism but does not address their shared ontological commitments, namely that the definition of a thing—such as a human—is to be found in its “nature.” Nor does Kearsley address the shared presuppositions that rational investigation—the pursuit of knowledge apart from empirical observation and revelation—would yield true knowledge and that those who are not committed to the true God may be helpful guides to knowing Him. Similarly, in his significant work God the Son Incarnate, Stephen J. Wellum discusses the Greek influence on early Christology and how the fathers did not blindly adopt Greek concepts but does not address the metaphysical presuppositions that governed their statements and debates.[iii] H.A. Wolfson, in The Philosophy of the Church Fathers, goes further into the Greek roots of patristic thought than either Kearsley or Wellum but does not identify or interact with the assumptions that necessitate the metaphysical claims made and terminology used by the fathers and the Greek philosophers.[iv] Even today, discussions of Christology and the incarnation continue to presuppose the same metaphysical assumptions held by those involved in Chalcedon.[v]

This is evident in the contemporary Christological debate over the doctrine of the Eternal functional subordination of the Son (EFS), the teaching that Jesus has submitted Himself to the Father even before the incarnation. Those who oppose this doctrine claim that it is a violation of the Nicene Creed, that it is a heresy. Though this accusation of heresy does not immediately pertain to “natures,” instead concerning the “wills” of Christ, this debate is not unrelated to Chalcedon. In fact, shortly after Chalcedon, the doctrine of two natures engendered a debate over the number of wills Jesus had. In both debates, a will is thought to be an essential component of both human nature and the divine nature, so any discussion of natures implies certain conclusions about a will and vice versa. In the EFS debate, the claim that Christ submitted Himself to the Father before the incarnation implies that He has a distinct will apart from the Father, a will other than the human will He is said to have acquired in the incarnation. The accusation of heresy arises at this point: if the Son has a will distinct from the Father before the incarnation, then there are at least two natures in the Trinity—for a will implies a nature. Thus, this claim is thought to contradict Nicaea’s teaching that God has one nature. As in Chalcedon, the EFS debate again swirls around questions of metaphysics. Once again, though there have been several books[vi] and articles[vii] that probe the issues involved, none have analyzed and weighed the metaphysical assumptions informing the traditional formulations and their contemporary reception.

The lack of critical interaction with these metaphysical assumptions is also witnessed in the discussion of metaphysics among Evangelicals in the 20th and 21st centuries. Though there has been a small resurgence of metaphysical interests,[viii] the general Evangelical approach appears to be that expressed by Millard J. Erickson. Erickson explicitly eschews with the possibility of a distinctly Christian metaphysic and assigns contemporary Christology with the task of communicating the essential content of Scripture in the forms of contemporary thought, including metaphysical forms.[ix] That questions concerning essences, such as the nature of man, continue today among theologians testifies to the endurance of the metaphysical presuppositions of Western philosophy.

Problem and Framework for Addressing It

We see, therefore, that though the traditional statements of Christology make metaphysical claims that rest on certain presuppositions—presuppositions adopted at least partially from Aristotelianism and Neo-Platonism—these presuppositions have not yet been the subject of a thorough and biblical critical analysis. The significance of these metaphysical assumptions for traditional Christology and the contemporary EFS debate begs us to ask about their Biblical propriety. Namely, we must ask if the Bible has anything to say about these metaphysical presuppositions and, if so, if these presuppositions are amiable to the teaching of the Bible. That we ought to analyze and question these metaphysical assumptions is given impetus from the advances in self-consciously Christian philosophy among the Reformed community in the 20th century. The theological epistemology advanced by Cornelius Van Til, which developed the insight that presuppositions or worldviews shape the way a person perceives and interprets the outside world, has stimulated many within the Reformed community to undertake the endeavour of analyzing the questions of philosophy with the Bible and to propose uniquely Christian approaches to ethics, epistemology, and metaphysics.[x] Yet even here, the metaphysical insights developed by reformed thinkers such as John Frame and Vern Poythress have been quite narrow, often focusing on the problem of the one and the many, [xi] and have depended on the Chalcedonian Definition.[xii] However, Reformed Presuppositionalism provides the stimulus and the tools to engage in an investigation such as is proposed here. If Van Til is correct that our intellect itself needs to be reformed by Scripture and that the Bible can and ought to shape our epistemology,[xiii] the presuppositions beneath the received Christological formulations need to be analyzed.

This is the goal of this proposed dissertation, to analyze these metaphysical presuppositions. Towards this end, there are two interrelated questions that the proposed dissertation would seek to answer, one historical and one systematic. The first question concerns the nature of the Chalcedonian Definition and the EFS debate, namely, what are the metaphysical presuppositions that undergird the statements concerning the natures and wills of Christ? The second question concerns the propriety of these assumptions in light of the Bible, namely, does the Bible and Biblically informed reason provide a criticism of these assumptions and, if so, what would our Christology look like as shaped by a Biblically informed metaphysic?

Research and Methodology

The proposed research will involve three stages of historical research along with Bible study. The framework for research and critical interaction adopted will be Reformed Presuppositionalism; research will be pursued within a robust Reformed worldview, a worldview that acknowledges the clarity and sufficiency of the Bible and the validity of human reason as a gift from God. Instead of seeking to escape the influence of a worldview, presuppositional epistemology seeks to root all research in the right worldview, namely that presented by the Bible. Thus, the Bible will be acknowledged as the primary authority for every human endeavour. In addition, the tradition of the church is seen as an invaluable reflection upon and application of the teachings of Scripture and so will be drawn on as an aid in elucidating the questions at hand and as a tool for understanding how the Bible might speak to the metaphysical questions with which we are dealing. 

First, the thought of the significant theologians involved in the formulation of Chalcedon will be researched—including Cyril of Alexandria, Appollinarius and his disciples, Nestorius and those who responded to him, and the letters and documents pertaining to council of Chalcedon and the Monothelite controversy which occurred later. The key objective of the first stage will be to understand what the concept “nature” meant in the formulation of Chalcedon by looking at the way the term and its related conceptions, such as being and essence, were understood. Through careful attention to the use of such concepts, we may be able to discern the metaphysical assumptions that lie behind them.

Second, the debate over the eternal function subordination of the Son (EFS) will be researched. Study will be conducted to understand EFS and the criticism against it with the objective of delineating the metaphysical assumptions underlying both the doctrine and the criticism raised against it.

Third, significant works on metaphysics will be researched in order to come to a firm understanding of the significant issues and the ways they have been handled.[xiv] The focus will not be on metaphysical doctrines—such as the eternality of the soul, the nature of time, the nature of space, etc.—but on the presuppositions of the discipline of metaphysics, the assumptions and methods by which metaphysicians arrive at their claims. The first objective in this third stage of research will be to understand the essential issues of metaphysics, namely what is the nature of metaphysical study and why it is conducted. Considering the answers to these questions and the various positions raised, study of key biblical passages and theological themes will be conducted in order to provide the presuppositions for and boundaries of a self-consciously Christian metaphysics, or at least for Christian metaphysical thinking.

For the historical sections of the proposed dissertation, inductive study will be conducted with the presupposition that in the absence of explicit definition, the usage of a word and application of a concept are the best guides to how it ought to be understood. This will involve locating not only the uses of key words but also the discussions of the key concepts at the heart of Chalcedon and the EFS debate—namely nature, will, person and their synonyms—and these terms and concepts in their contexts.

For the systematic sections of the proposed dissertation, the metaphysical assumptions concerning ontology and the extent of knowledge attainable by reason apart from revelation and empirical study will be criticized. In this way, this dissertation will take a transcendental approach similar to that developed by Cornelius Van Til. The theological method employed will be guided by John Frame’s definition of systematic theology as “the application of the Word of God by persons to all areas of life” (The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God).[xv] To properly apply Scripture, the object of application must first be understood. To this end, the study of the history of metaphysics will be performed to unearth the governing presuppositions of the metaphysical endeavour and its aims. In light of the specific claims of metaphysics, the presuppositions that produce these claims, and the ends for which metaphysical claims and systems are produced, relevant Biblical texts and themes (being the combined witness of several texts) will be exegeted and be used to reform the presuppositions of metaphysics.[xvi] So explicit Biblical teaching and biblically guided reason will be used to engage with metaphysics towards the end of grounding the endeavour within a Biblical worldview. Given the scope of such a proposal, there will be necessary limitations to what we are able to do.

The first limitation of this study concerns its historical dimension. The study of patristic metaphysical thought and of metaphysics within the EFS debate will be restricted to synchronic study, how their formulation of doctrine and use of it reveals their metaphysical assumptions. No attempt will be made to perform a diachronic study,  determining the genealogical roots of their thought and connection with preceding or contemporary philosophy.

Second, regarding the early Christological debates and the EFS debate, study will be restricted to the metaphysical claims about “nature” and its attendant ideas, such as will, properties, etc. Though this topic will have significant overlap with other theological loci, the dissertation will limit itself to Christology, only exploring questions of anthropology and the doctrine of God where they are necessary for its stated purpose. Within Christology, this study will limit itself to the incarnation, what it means and how we can analyze it. For some of the fathers, the soteriological dimensions of Christology informed their analysis of the incarnation; these dimensions of Christology will only be explored in as much as they serve the stated purpose of the dissertation.

Third, this study will be limited in its the interaction with the history of metaphysics. This study will not attempt to offer new interpretations of the significant thinkers in the history of philosophy; it will follow the received interpretations. The proposed dissertation will not attempt to trace diachronically the evolution of metaphysics nor to give answer to all the questions a metaphysical system ought to answer. The research of philosophers for this study will serve the specific purpose of revealing the presuppositions of metaphysics in order to criticize them. Study of sources within metaphysics will be limited to this end.

Possible Contribution

Such a study will have numerous contributions for Christian theology, both for research and practice. The effort to elucidate the metaphysical assumptions behind patristic theology may provide a new dimension to existing studies of patristic philosophy. Such an analysis may also shed light on the current EFS controversy and contribute to the philosophical self-consciousness of both parties, namely, how the defenders of classical Christian formulations have inherited certain assumptions and how the pro-EFS parties have not paid sufficient attention to the metaphysical ramifications of their doctrine. By elucidating these assumptions, the heart of the criticism this doctrine has suffered can be surfaced and dealt with directly. This is where such a study will have the most significant contribution.

If, on the one hand, the metaphysical assumptions in both these debates are seen to be Biblically amiable, then the criticism raised against EFS proponents must be treated with the utmost seriousness and acted upon, for the doctrine of EFS would indeed compromise the core of Trinitarian faith. If, on the other hand, the metaphysical assumptions in both debates are shown to be in need of refinement, both parties in the contemporary debate will be charged with the task of grounding their doctrines in a more robust and biblical understanding of God, His world, and human knowledge. Constructively, the actual criticism presented in this proposed dissertation may provide just such a foundation for refining these doctrines. Such criticism may be considered also as an extension of Reformed Presuppositionalism further into the realm of metaphysics, beyond the influence it has already had in epistemology and logic.

Not only will Christology be affected; refining our metaphysical understanding will require a reformulation of anthropology, of our epistemology; of our doctrine of God; etc. On the practical side, refining our Christian metaphysical assumptions may provide us with additional apologetic tools to show how the Bible is sufficient to address the questions and concerns raised by the unbelieving world. Additionally, refining our metaphysics in this manner will have implications for a broad range of Christian theology and practice, including hermeneutics, education, linguistics, and ethics.

Tentative Outline

  1. Introduction
  2. The Metaphysics of the Son’s Incarnation
    1. Historical Overview – From Nicea (325 AD) to Constantinople (681 AD)
    1. The Metaphysics of the Heterodox
      1. Nestorianism
      1. Monophysitism
        1. Apollinarianism
      1. Monothelitism
    1. The Metaphysics of the Orthodox
      1. Contra Apollinarius
      1. Cyril of Alexandria
      1. Chalcedon
      1. Third Council of Constantinople
    1. Overview of the Metaphysics of the Christological Controversies
  3. The Metaphysics of the Son’s Submission
    1. The Metaphysics of the Eternal Function Subordination of the Son
    1. The Metaphysics of EFS Opponents
    1. Overview of the Metaphysics of the EFS Debate
  4. The Metaphysics of the Word of God
    1. The Nature of Metaphysics – The Search for Universal Knowledge without Universal Experience
      1. To What End Metaphysics?
      1. The Content of Metaphysics
        1. Knowledge Through Language (Analytic A Priori Knowledge)
        1. Knowledge through Logic (Synthetic A Priori Knowledge)
        1. The Necessary Conditions for and Rules of Knowledge (Transcendental A Priori Knowledge)
    1. A Critique of the A Priori Metaphysical Tradition
      1. Analytic A Priori Knowledge and the Problem with Ontology
      1. Synthetic A Priori Knowledge and the Need for Experience
      1. Transcendental A Priori Knowledge and the Need for Particularity
    1. Towards a Biblical Metaphysic – Biblical Presupposition for Metaphysics
      1. Biblical Particularity – Biblical Empiricism
      1. Tacit or Transcendental Ideas – Biblical Rationalism
      1. Theological Foundations for Metaphysics
  5. A Biblical Metaphysic of the Incarnation
    1. Evaluation
      1. An Evaluation of the Christological Controversies
      1. An Evaluation of the EFS Debate
    1. Construction
      1. Metaphysics and a Biblical Anthropology
      1. Metaphysics and the Doctrine of God
      1. Metaphysics and the Doctrine of the God-Man
  6. Conclusion
    1. Summary
    1. Implications
    1. Areas for Future Research

Given the nature of the research involved, the first three sections of the proposed dissertation will be researched and written simultaneously, with the fourth following afterwards. Reasonably, the research and writing of sections 1 & 2 will be completed within the first year of study, with the writing of the third section being the focus of the second year. A first draft of all four sections should be completed by the end of two years of study, with the finishing touches stretching through the third. The goal for this project would be to have it handed in by the end of 2023 school year.

[i] From J. N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines (London: Adam & Charles Black, 1958), 340.

[ii] Roy Kearsley, “The Impact of Greek Concepts of God on the Christology of Cyril of Alexandria,” Tyndale Bulletin 43, no. 2 (November 1992): 307–329.

[iii] Stephen J. Wellum, God the Son Incarnate: The Doctrine of Christ, Foundations of Evangelical Theology Series (Wheaton: Crossway, 2016), 254–311.

[iv] Harry Austryn Wolfson, The Philosophy of the Church Fathers, I: Faith, Trinity, Incarnation (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard Univ Pr, 1970).

[v] Alois Emanuel Biedermann et al., God and incarnation : in mid-nineteenth century German theology, A Library of Protestant Thought. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1965); Stephen T. Davis, Logic and the Nature of God, 1st American ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983), 118–131; Thomas V Morris, The Logic of God Incarnate (Cornell University, 1986); Millard J Erickson, The Word Became Flesh (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1991); James Porter Moreland and William Lane Craig, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview (Downers Grove: IVP, 2003); James Anderson, Paradox in Christian Theology: An Analysis of Its Presence, Character, and Epistemic Status, Paternoster theological monographs (Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2007); Thomas F. Torrance, Incarnation: The Person and Life of Christ, Rev. ed. (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2008); Anna Marmodoro and Jonathan Hill, The Metaphysics of the Incarnation (Oxford University Press USA, 2011); Andrew Ter Ern Loke, A Kryptic Model of the Incarnation (London: Routledge, 2017).

[vi] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester; Grand Rapids: Inter-Varsity Press ; Zondervan, 1994); Kevin Giles, The Trinity & Subordinationism: The Doctrine of God and the Contemporary Gender Debate (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2002); John M. Frame, The Doctrine of God, A Theology of Lordship (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2002), 719–722; Bruce A. Ware, God’s Greater Glory: The Exalted God of Scripture and the Christian Faith (Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 2004); Bruce A. Ware, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, and Relevance (Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 2005); Michael J Ovey, Your Will Be Done: Exploring Eternal Subordination, Divine Monarchy and Divine Humility, 2016; D. Glenn Butner, The Son Who Learned Obedience: A Theological Case against the Eternal Submission of the Son (Eugene, Oregon: Pickwick Publications, an imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2018); Thomas H. McCall, Which Trinity? Whose Monotheism? Philosophical and Systematic Theologians on the Metaphysics of Trinitarian Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010), 175–188.

[vii] John V Dahms, “The Subordination of the Son,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 37, no. 3 (September 1994): 351–364; Gilbert Bilezikian, “Hermeneutical Bungee-Jumping: Subordination in the Godhead,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 40, no. 1 (March 1997): 57–68; Craig S. Keener, “Is Subordination within the Trinity Really Heresy? A Study of John 5:18 in Context,” Trinity Journal; Deerfield 20, no. 1 (Spring 1999): 39; Stephen D. Kovach and Peter R. Schemm, “A Defense of the Doctrine of the Eternal Subordination of the Son,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society; Lynchburg 42, no. 3 (September 1999): 461; Christopher Cowan, “The Father and Son in the Fourth Gospel: Johannine Subordination Revisited,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 49, no. 1 (March 2006): 115–135; M. F. Bird and R. Shillaker, “Subordination in the Trinity and Gender Roles : A Response to Recent Discussion,” Trinity Journal 29, no. 2 (2008): 267–283; J Travis Paasch, “Are the Father and Son Different in Kind?: Scotus and Ockham on Different Kinds of Things, Univocal and Equivocal Production, and Subordination in the Trinity,” Vivarium 48, no. 3–4 (2010): 302–326; Keith E Johnson, “Trinitarian Agency and the Eternal Subordination of the Son: An Augustinian Perspective,” Themelios 36, no. 1 (May 2011): 7–25; D. Glenn Butner, “Eternal Functional Subordination and the Problem of the Divine Will,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society; Lynchburg 58, no. 1 (March 2015): 131–149; Luke Stamps, “The New Evangelical Subordinationism? Perspectives on the Equality of God the Father and God the Son/The Eternal Generation of the Son: Maintaining Orthodoxy in Trinitarian Theology,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society; Lynchburg 59, no. 4 (December 2016): 874–881; Hongyi Yang, “A Development Not a Departure: The Lacunae in the Debate of the Doctrine of the Trinity and Gender Roles” (Ph.D., Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2016), accessed June 21, 2019,

[viii] In the early 20th century, there was an effort to arrive at ontological conclusions by analyzing biblical language, especially as it relates to time. However, this effort was refuted by James Barr. Cf. James Barr, The Semantics of Biblical Language (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1961); James Barr, Biblical Words for Time (London: SCM Press, 2005). J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig have contributed to the discussion of Metaphysics among Evangelicals with their book Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, however like the works on the incarnation cited above, Moreland and Craig presuppose a similar approach to metaphysics as that which shaped the formulation of Chalcedon, at least as it concerns natures or essences. Moreland and Craig, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview. Among the Radical Orthodoxy movement, initiated by John Milbank and contributed to by philosophers such as Jamie Smith and Hans Boersma, there has been a significant interest in ontology. However, this movement has not attempted to move beyond the metaphysics of the fathers. Instead, it has sought to recapture the patristic Neo-Platonism found in select fathers, such as Gregory of Nyssa. E.g. John Milbank, Being Reconciled: Ontology and Pardon, Radical Orthodoxy Series (London ; New York: Routledge, 2003); Hans Boersma, “Sacramental Ontology: Nature and the Supernatural in the Ecclesiology of Henri de Lubac,” New Blackfriars 88, no. 1015 (2007): 242–273; Hans Boersma, Nouvelle Théologie and Sacramental Ontology: A Return to Mystery (Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press, 2009); Hans Boersma, “Anchored in Christ,” The Christian Century, February 8, 2011; Hans Boersma, Heavenly Participation: The Weaving of a Sacramental Tapestry (Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 2011); Hans Boersma, “Analogy of Truth,” in Ressourcement: A Movement for Renewal in Twentieth-Century Catholic Theology, ed. Gabriel Flynn and P. D. Murray (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

[ix] Erickson, The Word Became Flesh, 507–530. Cf.  Hans Boersma expresses a similar opinion in the opening pages of his Heavenly Participation, however he believes that the “Platonist-Christian synthesis” of some of the fathers is the best option for Christians today. Boersma, Heavenly Participation, 20–21.

[x] This epistemological revolution within Reformed Christian, pioneered by Cornelius Van Til in the Neo-Calvinist tradition of Abraham Kuyper, parallels similar insights among philosophers of science such as Thomas Kuhn and Michael Polanyi. There is no evident dependence between Van Til and these two thinkers, however they are all influenced by and reacting in different ways to Kant’s division of the phenomenal and noumenal worlds (i.e., the world of subjective interpretation, phenomena, and things in themselves, noumena). Cf. Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Fourth edition. (Chicago ; London: The University of Chicago Press, 2012); Michael Polanyi, The Tacit Dimension (Chicago ; London: University of Chicago Press, 2009); Michael Polanyi, Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy, Enlarged edition. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015).

[xi] Cornelius Van Til, An Introduction to Systematic Theology, In Defense of the Faith V (Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co., 1974), 10, 120; Rousas John Rushdoony, “The One and the Many Problem—The Contribution of Van Til,” in Jerusalem and Athens: Critical Discussions on the Theology and Apologetics of Cornelius Van Til, ed. E. R. Geehan (USA: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1971); John M. Frame, Cornelius Van Til: An Analysis of His Thought (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 1995), 71–78; Vern S. Poythress, “Reforming Ontology and Logic in the Light of the Trinity: An Application of Van Til’s Idea of Analogy,” Westminster Theological Journal 57 (1995): 187–219; Vern Sheridan Poythress, Logic: A God-Centred Approach to the Foundation of Western Thought, Electronic. (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2013); R.J. Rushdoony, The One and the Many: Studies in the Philosophy of Order and Ultimacy (Chalcedon Foundation, 2014),

[xii] Van Til, An Introduction to Systematic Theology, 226; John M. Frame, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2013), 892.  In his work on theological paradox, James Anderson employs a presuppositional epistemology to show how genuine paradox has a place in Christian theology. His discussion of the paradox of the incarnation assumes without criticism the metaphysical assumptions of the fathers. Anderson, Paradox in Christian Theology.

[xiii] E.g. Cornelius Van Til, A Christian Theory of Knowledge (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Pub Co., 1969); Van Til, An Introduction to Systematic Theology; Cornelius Van Til, The Defense of the Faith, ed. K. Scott Oliphint, 4th ed. (Phillipsburg: P & R Pub, 2008); John M. Frame, “Epistemological Perspectives and Evangelical Apolgetics,” in Far West Regional Conference (presented at the Evangelical Theological Society, La Mirada, Ca., 1982), 14, accessed March 27, 2017,; John M. Frame, The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, A Theology of Lordship (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 1987); Frame, Cornelius; Greg L. Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apologetic: Readings and Analysis (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 1998).

[xiv] E.g. Plato’s Phaedo, Euthyphro; Aristotle’s Metaphysics, Organon; Plotinus’s Enneads; Aquinas’s On Being and Essence; John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding; George Berkley’s A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge; David Hume’s An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding; Emmanuel Kant’s The Critique of Pure Reason; Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time; etc.

[xv] Frame, Doctrine of Knowledge, 81.

[xvi] “Application” of the Bible here refers not only to the application of explicit teachings of Scripture but also inferences properly drawn therefrom (cf. WCF, Chapter 1, Para 6).

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