Heidelcast 124: I Am That I Am (2)—The Categorical Distinction

The Creator/creature distinction is fundamental to Christian theology. The Ancient Christian church defended it against the pagan doctrine of the eternality of matter. Scripture is very clear: “In the beginning God…”. On this point, the classical, confessional Reformed theologians built their distinction between God’s theology and ours. It was a basic Reformed belief that God exists on one plane, and we on another. He has one understanding of himself and his creation and we have another, analogous, understanding. This conviction, though it has not always come to the identical verbal expression, has received continuous support in confessional Reformed theology since the post-Reformation period. To take but one twentieth-century example, no theme was more fundamental to the theology and apologetics of Cornelius Van Til (1895–1987) than the distinction between the Creator and the creature.

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  1. Dr. Clark,

    Thank you for this new series. In this episode, you mentioned the idea of univocality in the theology of John Gertsner. Will you be expounding on this in a later episode? I confess I have not read Gertsner himself, but I have read and a heard a fair amount of Sproul. And I know Sproul considers his theology to largely be a continuation of Gertsner’s. Does the issue lie in the question of classical versus presuppositional apologetics, or elsewhere?

    • Hi David,

      No, I don’t think the problem lies principally in apologetics but in how one conceives the Creator/creature distinction. To be sure, one’s view of the distinction has implications for apologetics.

      You can read more about this discussion and about Gerstner & Hoeksema here:

      “Janus, the Well-Meant Offer of the Gospel and Westminster Theology,” in David VanDrunen, ed., The Pattern of Sound Doctrine: A Festschrift for Robert B. Strimple (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2004), 149–80.

      The book is available on Amazon. You can order the essay via inter-library loan through any library.

      There is also a discussion of these issues in, Recovering the Reformed Confession.

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