There Is No Such Thing as Scripture “Apart” From Philosophy…

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...Because there is no such thing as Scripture apart from reality.

“Keep philosophy out of Scripture. Scripture is the authoritative Word of God - philosophy is just the opinions of man. Just tell me what the Bible says - apart from Greek speculative categories”.

If you're a Christian in today's world - or if you've had any significant conversation with Christians in today's world - you may recognize some of that sort of language. To the modern Christian, it's the epitome of piety. To the Objectivist,  it's  the beginnings of a mystical fairy tale -- and the Objectivist is right.

The modern Christian's anti-philosophical demands are horribly wrong-headed, and based upon a number of defunct philosophical assumptions. But, this is just a single blog post, so we can't get into all of that here. All of the details and inevitable objections regarding this issue could fill an entire book - and may well some day! 😉 But for now, I simply give you a brief breakdown of what Scripture and philosophy actually are, in order to better understand how they should properly relate to each other.

What is Philosophy?

Philosophy is the study of the most fundamental aspects of reality - aspects which contain everything else in reality. I know that it is fashionable today to speak of philosophy in a very subjective manner, as though one’s philosophical beliefs are no different than their dessert preferences, but that is not what philosophy properly means, and that certainly is not what I mean. Philosophy is properly comprised of three fundamental categories: Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Ethics. In layman’s terms, this means everything that exists - including the natures of those things which exist (Metaphysics), the nature of truth and how we can know it (Epistemology), and the nature morality (Ethics). In short, philosophy studies the most general aspects of all of reality. There is nothing in reality which falls outside of the realm of philosophy. To demand that something be “apart from philosophy” is to demand that it be apart from reality, reason, and morality - and if something is apart from those three, then it is against those three. Something “apart from philosophy” would be unreal, irrational, and immoral. Such is the end - whether intended or not - of the supposedly pious Christians above when they attempt to divorce Scripture from philosophy.

What is Scripture?

Scripture is communication from God with very specific details about reality, with a very specific overall message and purpose, given in the midst of very specific contexts, and with very specific theological aims. In the same way that Scripture deals with historical and scientific details, and yet it is not meant to be an exhaustive historical or scientific textbook - so also Scripture deals with many philosophical ideas and yet is not meant to be an exhaustive philosophical treatise. Scripture is not meant to be a substitute for all knowledge (whether historical, scientific, or philosophical), and therefore it is not necessary to set up an artificial dichotomy between Scripture and all other knowledge. Further, because Scripture deals with many historic, scientific, and philosophical concepts, it is absolutely detrimental to the study of Scripture for one not to properly study other general areas of knowledge in concert with Scripture, where relevant. And because, as explained above, philosophy is foundational to all major aspects of reality, the study of philosophy is always relevant to the study of Scripture -- if you believe that Scripture actually pertains to reality.

That is your choice, “pious” Christians: Scripture has nothing to do with reality or Scripture is to be studied in concert with philosophy (i.e. the study of general reality). One or the other.

Related Posts: 

The "Christian" Fairytale

Jesus Christ AND Ayn Rand?


2 thoughts on “There Is No Such Thing as Scripture “Apart” From Philosophy…

  1. I definitely agree that Christians should study philosophy and science, especially since Scripture--shall we say, goofed?--the origin and history of the world and of man.

    "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep....
    "And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth...And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day."
    --Genesis 1

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