HE IS THERE AND HE IS NOT SILENT, by Francis Schaeffer

Published on July 7, 2016 by Joshua Centanni

Tyndale, 1972 | 100 pages

A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance


Francis Schaeffer (1912-1984) was a leading Christian thinker, author, apologist, and evangelist. He founded the famous L’Abri Fellowship in the Swiss Alps and shared and defended the faith with countless people. Schaeffer published a large number of widely read books and dramatically influenced his generation in thinking about apologetics, ethics, philosophy, and theology. He challenged Christians to think in terms of their Christian worldview, and to learn how to communicate with people in Western societies that were operating under very different assumptions.

Escape from Reason and He is There and He is Not Silent are two classic works by Schaeffer. Although neither book is very long, they are both excellent examples of Schaeffer’s thinking and approach. They are historically situated (as all books are), but they are more than mere period pieces—they still repay reflection and thought today. Books At a Glance offers both of these books in summary this week to our members. We trust you will enjoy!

Table of Contents

The Metaphysical Necessity
The Moral Necessity
The Epistemological Necessity: The Problem
The Epistemological Necessity: The Answer
Is Propositional Revelation Nonsense
“Faith” versus Faith

Chapter 1
The Metaphysical Necessity

It is necessary in philosophy for God to be there and for him not to be silent. This can be seen clearly in metaphysics, morality, and epistemology. Metaphysics deals with the question of being, and philosophers cannot dodge this question. Why is there something rather than nothing? Why are human beings both like other things in the world and unlike them? Christians have sometimes despised philosophy, but philosophy is inescapable. Everyone has a worldview. We either believe that the universe is rational and logical or we do not, and we likewise either believe that things are meaningful or meaningless. Those who maintain that the world is illogical and meaningless cannot be consistent in their thinking. Nothing can come from nothing, and personality cannot come from impersonal beginnings. Pantheism reduces to the impersonal in the end. The Christian answer is that everything has a personal origin in God’s creative work. Modern people do not know why people have meaning, but the Christian does. Human beings are personal but finite, so we are not big enough to serve as our own integration point for reality. Only a personal and infinite God is big enough to provide us with all that we need to make sense of the world and our human experience. God exists and is really there—and this is the only philosophical answer that is compelling.

Every philosophy needs to provide an account of the relationship between unity and diversity. Without an understanding of this relationship, the universe cannot make sense. Christians hold to the Trinity, and it is in God’s being that unity and diversity are coherently related. There is love and personal communication before creation. The Bible is true, and Christianity is true to what we find in the world. If God did not speak we would not be able to know him. Starting with themselves, people can generate the question and problem of their existence, but only in the speaking God who is there can they find answers.

Chapter 2
The Moral Necessity

Human beings are noble and cruel. These threads run together and bring up the subject of morality. If we start with an impersonal beginning, then morals are not really morals. We are reduced to talking about…

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He Is There and He Is Not Silent

Tyndale, 1972 | 100 pages

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