Lecture Four

 

The chapters you are reading today focus on the main issue in rationalism. The goal of the philosophers was to destroy God. They attempt to do that by just saying, “There is no God,” and then attempt to explain what is where God is not. If that sounds confusing it is because that was their plan. Then the intellectual tries to explain how to get beyond the burden of religion.

 

Not only do they need to deny that God exists but they must destroy Christ. They blame him for the superstition in society and tell us that Science is the answer.

 

There are two books you should consider reading to assist your understanding of the historical process of destroying God. They are both in the bibliography of your syllabus. The first is: How Should We Then Live by Francis A. Schaeffer. On page 52 he described the painting by Raphael called, “The School of Athens.” Here the painter shows “Plato with one finger pointed upward, which means that he pointed toward absolutes or ideals. In contrast, he pictured Aristotle with his fingers spread wide and thrust down toward the earth, which means that he emphasized particulars.”

 

This showed the opposing views of faith and reason, universals and particulars. The give and take over the role of each of these continued in the slide toward relativism until the conclusion was reached there just was no God or absolutes. One wonders how this could have happened. Out of the many factors, Thomas Aquinas was a focal point. He followed the thinking of Aristotle but tried to bridge the two views. This was a tragic compromise because in the end the importance shifted to the lower rather than the higher.

 

This brings us back to our previous discussion. I suggest you take a piece of paper and draw a horizontal line. Keep this simple chart in your notebook. Above that line list everything you can think of that has to do with the heavenly, including what we have already studied. Below the line put those things that represent the physical or earthly.

 

Above the line you already have heaven, faith, grace, God, absolutes, universals, invisible, ideals, etc.

 

Below the line you already have particulars, physical objects, earth, visible, nature, creation, etc.

 

Now you cannot only see the tension but also understand what happens when the proper balance is upset.

 

Next it must be understood that all these things both over and under the line have religious significance. It is all about faith. Furthermore, everything in life relates to the view one holds about this ‘over and under’ concept. If you dismiss all that is over the line, your view will be different. That means that law, literature, art, medicine, music, even architecture, are affected.

 

Our present society is divided down the center. It has nothing to do with politics, or preferences. This is all about one’s view of God and man.

 

The current subjects

 

What we are reading in the text this week clearly illustrates all of the above. Chapter Eight and Nine describe that which is over the line as unconscious, primitive, superstitious, untenable, infantile and flawed. In other words, it is a total rejection of God and another view of faith. Under the line are mechanistic causation, human psychology, society and science.

 

One would think that this is a high view of man but in the end even that is not true. Since they have no authority base, all of this ends in despair. Man does not have an answer and therefore cannot find one that calms his being.

 

On the way to the college I pass a sign in someone’s front yard that reads, “War is not the answer.” That is more a confession than it is a statement. The person who rejects God hates war because he doesn’t understand what causes it. On the other hand, that person has no answer. Much of the material you are reading contains words that do not have the same meaning normally consigned to them. War may not be the best answer, but in history it ultimately was the only way to peace. Peace may be better than war, but peace is just a word until there is a directed action to bring it about. They would say war is not the answer; peace is. But what is peace? We suddenly realized the vacuum that the God-rejecter lives in. People who are pretending to have the answer are really crying for help.

 

Real Apologetics

 

That is what this course is really about: First understanding the Word of God and the Gospel, then understanding the mind and heart of those to whom we are going to give the answer. 

 

Book number two

 

The second book I would recommend you read is, Between Heaven and Hell, by Peter Kreeft. The author was a protégé of C.S Lewis, which helps us understand the setting of the book. Prologue: “On November 22, 1963, three great men died within a few hours of each other: C.S. Lewis, John F. Kennedy and Aldous Huxley. All three believed, in different ways, that death was not the end of human life.”

 

What the book does in a fictitious setting is suppose that all three men met somewhere between heaven and hell and had a conversation. The discussion opens wide our understanding of what I have described herein.

 

Read this book in some quiet place and contemplate the end of each view. 

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