I feel compelled to defend the Study of Philosophy as I have had several college courses on the subject. What does the Bible have to say about it?
V in Alaska
My Dear Alaskan Friend,
I feel that man, throughout the ages, has always ventured to understand the meaning of life. I believe it’s inherent in humankind to “know.” We rightfully ponder our existence and our purpose.
Those of faith seek to know the mind of their Creator. Yet man’s mere intellect lacks desperately in understanding the whole truth of the ages. In chapter 38 in the Book of Job, God goes through a somewhat sarcastic diatribe as He confronts Job’s human intellect (or rather, the lack thereof.) Of course, we, as God’s creation, can only grasp at the vastness of who God is through our limited scope. Even the most outstanding scholars and theologians attempt to answer deep philosophical questions only to conclude that more questions are necessary.
But we are promised that when our King restores all things (and we put on incorruptibility) that we will “know” in perfect clarity—no longer leaning on the limited viewpoints of man, our short-sighted experiences, and our vain interpretations and theories.
Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely (1 Corinthians 13:9-10, 12 NLT).
We are admonished not to be taken in by man’s understanding as it lacks perfection. This is clearly described in chapter two, verse eight in the Book of Colossians (AMPC).
See to it that no one carries you off as spoil or makes you yourselves captive by his so-called philosophy and intellectualism and vain deceit (idle fancies and plain nonsense), following human tradition (men’s ideas of the material rather than the spiritual world), just crude notions following the rudimentary and elemental teachings of the universe and disregarding [the teachings of] Christ (the Messiah).
Just as the Holy Spirit is unlocking truth to you (and me), we receive this knowledge divinely.
We are enlightened supernaturally. This is spiritually downloaded revelation that cannot be obtained by studying books, observed in a lab or microscope, or obtained by lectures. The Bible tells us that He deposits His Mind (His Chokmah) into those who ask Him for wisdom.
If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him; he will not resent it (James 1:5 TLB).
If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of [a]the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him (James 1:5 AMPC).
This was the breakthrough that man received by the Ruach HaKodesh’s power made available through the redemptive work of Messiah for those born into the new nature of the second Adam (the One who knows all), and not the first Adam (of human intellect).
Without a doubt, the study of philosophy contributes uniquely to the development of expressive and communicative powers. It provides some of the necessary skills of self-expression. Philosophy helps us express what is distinctive in our views. That said, should Christians study philosophy? For believers, the ability to defend the faith is useful for apologetics and to combat false teachings. However, we must be careful that we are not deceived by it because many have been. We must remember, there’s a way that seems right that leads to death.
And so, I ask, by which method are we genuinely enlightened? Do we defend the Philosophy of Man (1st Adam) or the Divine revelation of Messiah (2nd Adam)?
Blessings to you,