Borrowed Capital

Cornelius Van Til spoke about the way in which non-Christians say/do/stumble upon lots of good things by virtue of common grace. He used the analogy of borrowed capital. The non-C speaks truth and does good because he’s living in God’s world, sucking in God’s air, functioning by God’s grace. Each and every good is only ever achieved by drawing upon God’s ‘capital’.  Here it is briefly in his own words:

“To be sure, the non-Christian does not self-consciously borrow the Christian‘s principles. Like the
prodigal son, he lives on the father‘s substance without owning this to be the case [Lk 15:11–16]. But
as the prodigal was able to live and prosper  in spite of being a prodigal so also the non-Christian
scientist can describe the uniformities of nature in spite of his worship of Chance”
For a startling example of an atheist consciously doing this see this TED talk by Alain de Botton:
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