Does philosophy pose a threat to the Christian life? What role should it play if any in Christianity?
I. THE MEANINGS OF PHILOSOPHY
A. It can mean a theory of something
B. It can mean the love of wisdom
- There is a wisdom from God
Proverbs 2:6, “For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
James 3:17 “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.
2. There is a wisdom from Satan
James 3:13-16 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.
2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:18-20 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, “He is the one who catches the wise in their craftiness”; 20 and again, “The Lord knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are useless.”
C. IT’S A SUBJECT THAT STUDIES FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS
- Metaphysics is the study of reality
- Epistemology is the study of knowledge
- Logic is the principles of correct reasoning
- Value theory is the study of values
II. THE THREAT OF FALSE PHILOSOPHY
A. We must be aware of deceptive philosophy
Colossians 2:8 (KJV) Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Colossians 2:8 (NIV) See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.
B. Paul gives examples of deceptive philosophy
- Gnosticism denies that Christ was God in the flesh
1 John. 4:2-3, By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.
2. Legalism teaches that we are under Law
Romans 3:19-20 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; 20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.
1 Timothy 4:1-3 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3 men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth
3. Mysticism takes pride in spiritual experience
4. Asceticism forbids the enjoyment of creation
“I tortured myself with prayer, fasting, vigils and freezing; the frost alone might have killed me… . What else did I seek by doing this but God, who was supposed to note my strict observance of the monastic order and my austere life? I constantly walked in a dream and lived in real idolatry, for I did not believe in Christ: I regarded Him only as a severe and terrible Judge . . .” “When I was a monk, I wearied myself greatly for almost fifteen years with the daily sacrifice, tortured myself with fastings, vigils, prayers, and other very rigorous works. I earnestly thought to acquire righteousness by my works.” – Martin Luther
“If all the world were Christian, it might not matter if all the world were uneducated. But, as it is, a cultural life will exist outside the Church whether it exists inside or not. To be ignorant and simple now–not to be able to meet the enemies on their own ground–would be to throw down our weapons, and to betray our uneducated brethren who have, under God, no defence but us against the intellectual attacks of the heathen. Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.” – C.S. Lewis
III. THE NEED FOR GOOD PHILOSOPHY
A. Philosophy is necessary for theology
- Philosophy impacts our view of God
He has a personal spirit body (Dan. 7:9-14; 10:5-19): shape (Jn. 5:37): form (Phil. 2:5-7); image and likeness of a man (Gen. 1:26; 9:6; Ezek. 1:26-28; 1 Cor. 11:7; Jas. 3:9). He has bodily parts such as, back parts (Ex. 33:23), heart (Gen. 6:6; 8:21), hands and fingers (Ps. 8:3-6; Heb. 1:10; Rev. 5:1-7), mouth (Num. 12:8), lips and tongue (Isa. 30:27), feet (Ezek. 1:27; Ex. 24:10) eyes (Ps. 11:4; 18:24; 33:18) ears (Ps. 18:6), hair, head, face, arms (Dan. 7:9-14; 10:5-19: Rev. 5:1-7; 22:4-6), loins (Ezek. 1:26-28; 8:1-4), and other bodily parts. He has bodily presence (Gen. 3:8; 18:1-22) and goes from place to place in a body like all other persons (Gen. 3:8; 11:5; 18:1-5; 22, 33; 19:24; 32:24-32; 35:13; Zech. 14:5; Dan. 7:9-14; Tit. 2:13).He has a voice (Ps. 29; Rev. 10:3-4): breath (Gen. 2:7); and countenance (Ps. 11:7), He wears clothes (Dan. 7:9-14; 10:5-19); eats (Gen. 18:1-8; Ex. 24:11); rests (Gen. 2:1-4; Heb. 4:4) – Finis J. Dake
Psalm 91:4 He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
2. Philosophy impacts our view of biblical inerrancy
God can’t make an error
The Bible is the Word of God
Therefore, the Bible can’t make an error
B. Philosophy influences our biblical interpretation
C. Philosophy is needed to defend the Christian Faith
Acts 17:16-17, “Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there.”
Titus 1:9, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.
2 Corinthians 10:5 (ESV) 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
IV. PHILOSOPHY ACCORDING TO CHRIST
A. God the Son is the ultimate reality
Hebrews 1:3a And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.
Colossians 1:15-16 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.
B. Jesus reveals the knowledge of God to us
Matthew 11:25-27 At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. 26 Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. 27 All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.
John 7:16-17 So Jesus answered them and said, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. 17 If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself.
John 8:31-32 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
C. Jesus is the Word of God
John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being
D. Jesus teaches us what to value
Matthew 22:37-38 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment.