The Trinity and the Vindication of Christian Paradox: An Interpretation and Refinement of the Theological Apologetic of Cornelius Van Til

By B.A. Bosserman

A study of the Dutch Calvinist Cornelius Van Til’s view of the paradox of the Trinity, offering a fruitful resolution through presuppositionalist apologetics.

ISBN: 9780227175064


The Trinity and the Vindication of Christian Paradox grapples with the question of how one may hold together the ideals of systematic theology, apologetic proof, and theological paradox by building on the insights of Cornelius Van Til. Van Til developed an apologetic where one presupposes that the Triune God exists, and then proves this Christian presupposition by demonstrating that philosophies that deny it are self-defeating in the specific sense that they rely on principles that only the Trinity, as the ultimate harmony of unity and diversity, can furnish. A question is raised by Van Til’s trademark procedure: how can he evade the charge that the apparent contradictions of the Christian faith render it as equally self-defeating as non-Christian alternatives? This text argues that for Van Til, Christian paradoxes can be differentiated from genuine contradictions by the way that their apparently opposing elements discernibly require one another, even as they present our minds with an irresolvable conflict. And yet, Van Til failed to vindicate sufficiently the central Christian paradox – the doctrine of the Trinity – along the lines required by his system. Hence, the present text offers a unique proof that God can only exist as the pinnacle of unity-in-diversity, and as the ground of a coherent Christian system, if He exists as three, and only three, divine persons.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 292

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

B.A. Bosserman (PhD, Bangor) is an adjunct professor of philosophy at Northwest University, an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America, and the church planting pastor of Trinitas Presbyterian Church.


List of Illustrations and Tables
Foreword by K. Scott Oliphint
List of Abbreviations

Part I: The Origins of Van Til’s Theological Apologetic
1. Old Princeton
2. Old Amsterdam
3. Absolute Idealism

Part II: Van Til’s Orthodox Trinitarian System
4. Transcendental Argument from and for the Trinity
5. Trinitarian Theory of Knowledge
6. Trinitarian Logic
7. Coherent Trinitarian Theology

Part III: Critique
8. The Looming Problem of Paradox

Part IV: Trinitarian Vindication of Christian Paradox
9. God (Theology)
10. Reality (Metaphysics)
11. Nature and Man (Epistemology and Ethics)
12. Fall and Salvation (Hamartiology and Soteriology)



Endorsements and Reviews

I am delighted that Brant Bosserman has continued the discussion over Cornelius Van Til and his view of theological paradox. As Bosserman clearly indicates, these issues are closely related to the Bible’s teaching about God’s Trinitarian existence, and his proposal about that will contribute significantly to the ongoing discussion.
John Frame, Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, Florida

Bosserman offers a profound discussion of the central issue – why the one true God must be three and only three persons. He also adds to Van Til’s theology of paradox, showing in detail how paradoxically related truths mutually presuppose one another. Bosserman’s work joins the list of must-reads for a new generation of Reformed apologists.
Ralph Allan Smith, Pastor, Mitaka Evangelical Church, Tokyo, Japan

The book is both a guide to and a constructive step forward for the theological and apologetic Trinitarian thought of Cornelius van Til. … Bosserman reveals effectively how van Til critically appropriates each through confessional Reformed othodoxy…. most surprising and compelling however, was his explication of van Til’s appropriation of aspects of absolute idealism. … Bosserman has opened a door for renewed study of Van Til and reveals any superficial dismissals of van Til as being unwarranted – he is clearly a figure worth engaging. The monograph is a welcomed investigation of van Til and should be engaged by Reformed students, scholars, and pastors.
Greg Parker Jr, in Reviews in Religion and Theology, Vol 25, Issue 1