Philosophy hand in hand with spirituality

Experiences and Interest in philosophy and spirituality

I think it is wrong to think philosophy can not go together with spirituality. I also think it is wrong to assume that when a person is interested in philosophy, he would not be interested in the spiritual or the religious.

Expérience

Expérience (Photo credit: Saturne)

The world itself presents itself in a succession of pure experiences which we should see. We can either ignore what is going on in the world or look at it question the what and why’s and how’s. Often the human beings can not qualify these experiences in a way by which all would agree with.

Should we not recognise that those things which come along our way are always felt and undergone by our own self, which was constructed by previous experiences and learnings. In a way this may give us always the way of the subjective choice and subjective sense or experience. Each is simply a pure impression that is made upon us at some point in our life, where we do have a certain education or development which shall obey the laws of our state at the moment.

Experiences and Impressions

Reality appears to us first as an unqualified multitude of original impressions that cannot be compared or ordered in anyway without our previous learnings. Is our experience not mere juxtaposition in space and succession in time; an aggregate of utterly disconnected particulars?
Living in this world we can not do without seeing what is happening around us. We can not merely observe the things, and not bring them into thought-relationships.

The things which happen in our lives shall give us our experiences. Those experiences will create senses and shall be our best teacher, experience being the mother of wisdom. To take on any qualities or relationships whatsoever thought or reason must act upon them. It is the process of thought that attributes qualities to pure experiences and relates some experiences to others to build an understanding of the world.

Conscious or unconscious direction with second nature

Our way of thinking or the process of thought should proceed through certain ways be it our conscious or unconscious direction. Our brain should go on working, considering what happened and analysing everything. Probably it shall order everything, classify it. This using some organic laws of interconnection. These laws are part of the world of thought itself and not completely within our control. Pure experience presents itself in a spontaneously emerging stream and thoughts grow out of that experience making it distinguishable to us and situating it in relationship to the rest of experience.

Some do consider the process of thinking not a human activity. We may say that thoughts emerge out of pure earlier experiences and are dependent on our upbringing or rearing and the language we learned, both becoming a second nature.

Out of body experience

Out of body experience (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our religious thinking and being should also become such a second nature. From the Bible we can learn that the ‘soul‘ is not an external element in our being. Many Christians and Muslims imagine there are a good and a bad angel sitting on our shoulders and talking to a soul which can go out of our body when we die. For them this human soul is to be a phantom-like inner being that contains our conscience and moral fibre. It is the element which can let us do good or let us do bad, under influence of other spirits called either angels, for the good ones, and devils, like Satan and Lucifer, for the bad ones.

Breath given by Creator

Those people forget that it was God Who blew his breath in the nostrils of the first man and woman, to bring them to life. The Pneuma or spirit in those first human beings was not something separate from them. It was their breathing, their being itself.

The soul is not a specific element as such but the transcription of the inner being and the thinking which happens by ‘electronic actions’ in our brain and by breathing. Without breathing we shall not be able to give oxygen to our brains by which they will not be able to work, and with a non-working brain we are as good as dead.

You could say that the soul is our “background of our being”. This ‘being’ has to be fed to stay alive. And because it is not a material element it has to find its food in the immaterial. therefore we as human beings should also give food to the immaterial elements of our being, our “body and soul”.

God gave breath to all creation, but the difference between man and the other living organisms is that god has given more power to man. He has received the power to think, to make choices, to make decisions, to give names and to handle like he wishes to do. But all his actions will create experiences, be it nice or bad ones. He shall have the choice to learn from them or to continue his life without learning more from those things that overcame him.

Material and immaterial being and understanding

Like the soul in an immaterial thing, our thinking its coming to understand something is an abstract element. Understanding is “an abstraction which the human mind forms by reflecting on its own thoughts and forms of thinking.” This knowing is a natural product of the process of mind and it is bound up in, and limited by, language. {Coleridge}

Coleridge asserted that it is a process that requires no “self” to enact. It is a natural process of the lawful interaction of mental elements, a simple unfolding of the characteristics of the mind in nature. But I do think we do have a responsibility and we do have the choice and power to have the self to come to understanding.

I believe when we do open our mind to different thoughts we can enable ourselves to learn more. I also believe this is one of the tasks God has given His creation in the Garden of Eden. We can only give the plants and animals name and classify them in groups when we do have the knowledge and skill to do so. This would not require that we all have the same certificate of proficiency or that we may excuse ourselves when it is not in our domain.

Given brains and reason

An illustration of the Cartesian theater, wher...

An illustration of the Cartesian theater, where a homonculus sits in a person’s head seeing and hearing everything that he experiences. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Because God has given us brains to use, we should use them. So we should think about matters and question things. This questioning things may fall under philosophy. Today many may say “Reason is a direct product of the reasoning faculty.”, but that is not taking the Creator in mind. He had a reason to place human beings on this earth having a brain to reason. Reason is a direct product of the power of creation, Who Himself is Spirit. God is not a man of flesh and blood, but a Spirit without a beginning and without an end. His breath gave us spirit, making us capable to reason, to become reasonable figures in that Created World.

It is not an “accident” that reason comes to us. Reason is breathed into us by the Creator. Though many may think it is just something what happens accidentally, it is something which is in-breath in our human constitution. It may appear spontaneously without warning or precursor, but it is grounded or part of a growing seed, which can only come into existence when the person is willing to use his brain. It is from all the previous experiences, the teachings a person got, that he or she shall be able to think. Though this would not be possible without the Power of the Most High, the Spirit God. Without Him we are nothing. It is the Holy Spirit Who can give us ‘spirit’ to think about matters and to come to reason. God has implanted ethic thoughts in us. He has created us all in His image, so we all do have certain elements of the Supreme High Being. We do not all have the same elements, but somehow we all received enough elements to become full human being who can think properly and who should be able to find God. The Reason as such becomes Spontaneous Knowing. We all have received the power to get to Knowing. Some may think it is not an understanding that is constructed through any thought process, but they should remember the Creator who build in His creations the possibility to think and to come to conclusions. In our inner being we do have the key to come to understanding. It is the direct and self-authenticating recognition of truth.

Different ways to go giving different opinions

From the beginning of the world mankind questioned the Spirit God and for that reason Jehovah God gave man the possibility to work it out himself. Woman would bear children in pain and would find they all could be different, going their own way or helping each other. All had to make their own decisions and could think their own way. God allowed it to be so.

Because we all went different ways on the paths which lay in front of man, different opinions came into the world, and people could choose between many theses or postulates.

The direct knowing of truth is build in by the Creator and could happen spontaneously and also compulsively. The reasoning faculty is ‘knowing’ itself. It is not a process that leads to knowing. This implies that there is some part of us that simply knows the truth and cannot help but know it. But we are stubborn beings, though we do not want to admit it. We have direct sense impressions – smells, tastes, sensations, sounds and sights – which simply appear in awareness. We don’t call them into being and we cannot alter or avoid the way they present themselves. Ideas and intuitions also – upon their initial appearance – share the same unalterable immediacy of presence.

With this awareness of things, matters and background knowledge, we can hear others and see what others do or create. Seeing what happens in the world we can not ignore the inner language of thought. We can only deny our interpretation of experience, not the fact of having it.

Trying to perceive more knowledge

So we may experience a lot of things in our life, encounter lots of publications and thoughts. By tackling our taste to get more knowledge,we are not going against God His wishes. The opposite I would say. We should learn and we should try to get more knowledge.

With philosophy we may come into the domain of the seekers who search to get more wisdom, knowledge and understanding about reality. Did or do not many philosophers try to get to answers about life and about why and how things are? They do like to offer an explanation of the way things are where spirituality is a description of a position that we as a human being should take in relationship to the way things are.

Trying to become one with self and environment

Experience

Experience (Photo credit: Kaptain Kobold)

In the action of Spirituality a person tries to become One. Bring mind, soul, thinking in unison with his being, material body. By the spiritual action we do want to go to the source from which everything else originates, whilst by the philosophy we want to come to an understanding why and how human being went away from its source and how it can come back to this source again.

While Philosophy is generally in the mental state of consciousness, the mind taking efforts to know, the spiritual would love to come to that Source of knowledge, believing that there exist something more than the material being its consciousness that exist above the mental ranges.

Trying to transcend domain of rationale and intellect

Moral philosophy

Both the philosopher and the spiritualist may be willing to come to knowledge which transcends domain of rationale and intellect. The philosopher not so much concerned by the own individu or individual, person, character, his identity, but preferring to give objective pictures of reality without telling us explicitly (although often they do implicitly) how we should be in relationship to that picture. Even in moral philosophy generally what we get is an explanation of why certain things are right and others wrong. What we don’t get is someone telling us that we should do the right thing. What we do with morality is left in our own hands.

Spirituality resides in higher regions and has much more to do with the own subjective personality. From the subjective point of view the spiritualist tries to go deeper into himself, looking for the realm of truth there and not as such by others. He knows that the soul is in each of us and is inseparable joined together with flesh and blood. In that casing of human flesh there is our way of breathing and thinking, spirit and moral judgment.

Trying to Relate things

We may be interested to see how we can relate to things, and therefore we can look what philosophers do have to say about that. Spirituality wants to go a step further than just knowing how things are related with each other. It tells us how we should be in relationship to the way things are. It can show us how we should react and by knowing what actions we do have to take we also shall be able to choose if we are willing to use such a knowledge to take on an attitude and to build up a religious field. Spiritualities always include philosophical explanations of the world, but those philosophical aspects are the backdrop for the main event which is direct instruction about how to live.

Door to transcendence

Understanding, intellect and the mind is one door to transcendence. From philosophers we can learn a lot, and we should take the opportunity to learn from their writings. But they will never be able to give the full answer. They mostly do not look for The Divine Source. In our normal consciousness people are so caught up with their emotions, sensations and thoughts and their own mind, they get full of themselves in the emptiness of the world. They become so active that there is no room for the Divine. There the spiritual person wants to go against. He wants to have his wondering not taking him to put Him in the chains of life.

No reason to be afraid of philosophy

To see clear
Man thinking on a train journey.

Man thinking on a train journey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christians should not be afraid that the philosophy would carry people away from the Divine. When this would happen it is because the person is not prepared to sincerely look for the Divine. Often the person going away from religion is because he does not see clear the difference between philosophy, religion, religiousness and spirituality.

The philosopher may have the love and intellectual search for wisdom. The spiritual minded person knows or believes there is something extra in our life than just the knowledge of the material world. The spiritual person does want to find knowledge to come to wisdom, but understands that wisdom is more that putting all facts together. To come to spirituality there must be more than the willingness to come to understand the own being. Besides the willingness to come to get to know the inner-self there is the love and opening of their hearts for the wisdom and the willingness to have it taking part in the relationship with others.

Sister and brother

We should understand that the religious person may like to look into philosophy and at the same time may look into spirituality. The two approaches can marvelously be like sister (heart) and brother (brain) in the process of coming to the point of Being part of the One on one side and then Becoming part of the big thing on the other side – in being active in life.

Relationship of unity and Oneness

So, I would say, do not mind letting philosophy going hand in hand with spirituality and making a person to become religious in the good sense of the word, finding and loving the Only One Who is One and wants us to be one and worshiping the Right One in a relationship of unity and Oneness.

The only thing a Christian should be careful for is that he does not get carried away with human thinking, but keeps himself concentrated on the sacral and spiritual matters, looking for the Most Important Being making our self being possible to be a being, the Only One God, the Adonai Elohim Hashem Jehovah.

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Preceding articles:

Looking for True Spirituality 1 Intro

Looking for True Spirituality 2 Not restricted to an elite

Looking for True Spirituality 3 Mind of Christ

Looking for True Spirituality 4 Getting to Know the Mind of Christ

Looking for True Spirituality 5 Fruitage of the Spirit

Looking for True Spirituality 6 Spirituality and Prayer

Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News

Looking for True Spirituality 8 Measuring Up

Fruits of the spirit will prevent you from being either inactive or unfruitful

How long to wait before bringing religiousness and spirituality in practice

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Additional reading:

  1. A concrete picture of what is to come in the future
  2. Migrants to the West #7 Religions
  3. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  4. Women, conservative evangelicals and their counter-offensive
  5. Lying in the senses in matters of love
  6. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  7. Separation from God in death, the antithesis of life
  8. Fragments from the Book of Job #7 Epilogue
  9. Exceeding Great and Precious Promise
  10. Wondering
  11. Believing to understand
  12. Light within
  13. Let tomorrow be sufficient
  14. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  15. Don’t let anyone move you off the foundation of your faith
  16. Know Who goes with us and don’t try to control life
  17. Know by trying
  18. Knowing where to go to
  19. Think hard before you act today
  20. Disappointed expectations
  21. I Only hope we find GOD again before it is too late !
  22. Put on the whole armor of God
  23. Weapons of our warfare
  24. A call easy to understand
  25. Getting of at the fence
  26. Hope as long as you live
  27. A goal is a dream with a plan
  28. Lying in the senses in matters of love
  29. Be humble like Christ
  30. The way God sees us
  31. Two forms of Freedom
  32. Altar everything in life
  33. Duty of encouragement
  34. Establish Priorities
  35. Luck
  36. Joy: Foundation for a Positive Life
  37. Nothing noble in the flesh left to itself
  38. Determined To Stick With Truth.
  39. Created to live in relation with God
  40. God’s promises
  41. Sow and harvests in the garden of your heart
  42. A love not exempting us from trials
  43. Call unto God so that He can answer you
  44. Life in gratitude opens glory of God
  45. Do not be so busy adding up your troubles
  46. Preexistence in the Divine purpose and Trinity
  47. Immortality, eternality – onsterfelijkheid, eeuwigheid
  48. Dying or not
  49. What happens when we die?
  50. Dead and after
  51. Sheol or the grave
  52. Satan the evil within
  53. Soul
  54. Destination of righteous
  55. Destination of the earth
  56. God’s design in the creation of the world
  57. God His reward
  58. Is there an Immortal soul
  59. The Soul not a ghost
  60. The Soul confronted with Death
  61. The soul has no rainbow if the eyes have no tears
  62. Trust God to shelter, safety and security
  63. God wants to be gracious to you
  64. Invitation to all who believe

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Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences

Diagram of a Religious experience

Diagram of a Religious experience (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The religious and the spiritual person may be looking for certain experiences which can occur at several levels: physical, emotional, cognitive, pertaining to the mental processes of perception, memory, judgement, and reasoning, as contrasted with emotional and volitional processes, and transcendent. For the religious person there is the groups-feeling which shall be important to give him or her the appropriate feelings. The belonging to a community or parish shall fuse the personal feeling and the feeling of being part of something more than the self. The individual is not as such concerned about his individuality in the universe but more about his unit or union with others in the world. “Belonging to” is the feeding ground for the religious person.

The spiritual person is not so much connected to a reason to belong to a group or being part of a community or parish. The Self and especially the inner-self are the motives underlying his quest and behaviour. His or her search to the inner-self are the grounds for a quality that can infuse experience in a wide variety of settings. Spiritual experience can be both transcendent and immanent: it can be both an experience of transcending worldly concerns and an intense present-moment perception that the ground of all being permeates all things. for the individual it is not a groups matter but a personal and an intense aliveness and deep sense of understanding that one intuitively comprehends as having come from a direct, internal link with that mysterious principle which connects all aspects of the universe. In Christianity and Ecclesiastical Terms the immanence came to be the relation to the pantheistic conception of God, as being present throughout the universe. A person could come to a state where he or she could make himself or herself free from the limitations inherent in matter, becoming Theol (of God) having continuous existence outside the created world in a well-built relationship with the Most High Creator God or with a godly being.

In the 19th century several people became convinced that society and its institutions — particularly organized religion and political parties — ultimately corrupted the purity of the individual.

Among others New England congregationalists, rejected predestination, and they emphasized the unity instead of the trinity of God. The many people who had seen how in Europe the church had corrupted the real Truth of the Bible, the infallible Word of God, were also convinced the dogmatic teaching of a Tri-Une God, three persons coexisting consubstantially as one being or homoousia (consubstantialis), had brought man away form the commandments of God not to worship pictures or sculptures of any heavenly being nor of Him, the God of all things. The Gnostics were the first theologians to use the word “homoousios”, while before the Gnostics there is no trace at all of its existence. Jesus, who was placed by God on this earth, was well aware of his position, being lower than the heavenly beings (the angels) and his Father, without Him he could do nothing and who is the Most High of all.

“You* heard how that I said to you*, I go away and I am coming to you*. If you* loved* me, you* would have rejoiced, because I said, I am going to the Father: because the Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28 MLV)

“But Jesus answered them, My Father works until now and I work. (18)  Because of this, then the Jews sought even more to kill him, because he did not only break the Sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
(19)  Therefore Jesus answered and said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you*, The Son can do nothing from himself, unless he sees what the Father is doing: for* whatever things he does, the Son is also doing these things similarly. (20)  For* the Father loves the Son and shows him all things that himself does and greater works than these he will show him, that* you* may marvel. (21)  For* just-as the Father raises the dead and gives-life to them, even so the Son also gives-life to whom he wills. (22)  For* the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son; (23)  that* all may honor the Son, just-as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son, does not honor the Father who sent him. ” (John 5:17-23 MLV)

Already soon after the rabbi Jesus his death, his disciples were confronted with teachers who twisted Jesus his words and his teachings and mixed them with the Greek-Roman culture of that time. Lots of theories of the Greek philosophers did find their way in the faith of many early Christians, though the apostles kept warning for such false teachings. (See the Acts of the apostles and the many letters to the different communities.) Jesus of Nazareth never required his followers, many ordinary craftsman or fisherman, to follow theologian studies. But those who brought in all those studies of philosophers wanted their followers to learn them thoroughly. Therefore they created special institutions where this mix of teachings could be learned. by the years more time was spent on the teachings of the philosophers than on the Words of God. The early church theologians were probably made aware of the Gnostic concept, and thus of the doctrine of emanation, by them. {Aloys Grillmeier, Christ in Christian Tradition, vol. 1, From the Apostolic Age to Chalcedon (451) (London: Mowbrays, 1975), p. 109.}

It was what so many spiritual people kept busy, finding substance between generating and generated, getting to the identity of substance between things generated of the same substance that brought several people away from the Biblical Truth, finding the early Gnostic religious teacher Basilides in Alexandria, Egypt who taught from 117–138 CE.
Basilides believed faith was merely

“an assent of the soul to any of the things which do not excite sensation, because they are not present”.

He also believed faith was a matter of “nature,” not of responsible choice, so that men would

“discover doctrines without demonstration by an intellective apprehension”. {St. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata Book ii. Chapter iii.}

Image of a fiery purgatory in the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry

Because Basilides believed faith was a matter of nature, doubtlessly he pushed election so far as to sever a portion of mankind from the rest, as alone entitled by Divine decree to receive a higher enlightenment. In this sense it must have been that he called “the election a stranger to the world, as being by nature supermundane”. {St. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata Book iv. Chapter xxvi.} It was also this teacher who brought in that Jesus his death was not enough to get liberated of sin. According to such a teaching it denies the value of the sacrifice of Christ by who’s death we can be adopted as a child of God and be reconciled, having paid for our sins by our death. The idea was created that people only could receive ‘reconciliation’ when they belonged to the Roman Catholic Church and had received a sacrament in which repentant sinners are absolved and gained reconciliation with God and the Church. Basilides deprived men of a salutary fear by teaching that transmigrations are the only punishments after death. In later years many churches used purgatory and hell-fire to frighten the people and to get them in their system as angst-ridden followers. Many denomination used it as the big stick to keep people in their flock, also telling them they only could be saved and could come in heaven by being a member of their church. Today we still notice such a preventative measure against going astray or leaving that church still works. The fear of loosing their heavenly life makes that many people do not dare to question those theologian doom teachings. Because Basilides held to a fatalistic view of metempsychosis, he believed the Christian martyrs were being punished not for being Christians, but for sins they had committed in the past. This made that people became afraid to loose their life when they would keep on to the teachings of the apostles and early followers of Jesus, who took him as the son of God and not as god the son. Taking on the symbols and worship methods of the Greece-Roman culture made them one of them and would give them less reasons to be killed.

Lots of religious people took the sign of the god of evil Tamuz, the cross, as the sign of the death of their god. The Only One God can not die and never did have an end to His life which is eternal, meaning ‘with no beginning and no end’. Jesus had a beginning, his birth and an end, his death. The ones from the New World had seen how the European churches not only brought in false doctrines like the trinity, but resisted also many other Christian doctrines which had become considered conventional for the Christian Faith. Searchers for the truth like Joseph Priestley, one of the founders of the Unitarian movement, defined Unitarianism as the belief of primitive Christianity before later corruptions set in. Among these corruptions, lots of people had taken on several pagan rituals and had made them custom actions in their religious life.

Soho House in Handsworth, Birmingham, a regular venue for meetings of the Lunar Society

At Daventry, Priestley was sufficiently grounded in Latin and Greek to hold his own in subsequent disputes with university-trained scholars. He was more generally introduced to a range of subjects in natural philosophy, but more significantly, he was there formally instructed in logic and metaphysics. In Birmingham he became preacher at New Meeting House, one of the most liberal congregations in England, and was soon associated with the Lunar Society, an informal collection of provincial intellectuals, scientists, and industrialists. Taking the Bible as the main guide for his study about God to compare with the historical writings about Jesus and his followers, he became the chief propagandist and protagonist for Unitarian beliefs in England, writing annual defences against attack, and developing in various historical and polemical works (for example, An History of the Corruptions of Christianity [1782] and An History of Early Opinions concerning Jesus Christ [1786]) a rationalist theology that suggests, in some measure, the ideas of textual and “higher criticism” of the New Testament. In the eyes of the church establishment, he came to represent the intolerable encroachments of dissent, and on him was focused their theological and political animus. {Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography, 2008} when he had to escape from conservative England he emigrated to the United States in 1794 where president John Adams and George Washington were welcoming his teachings and made him to feel at home.

Those people looking to save their life found in the religion preached by those theologians of the Old World could feel ways to feel at ease with the many traditional movements done by the people around them. Instead of abstaining them form those worldly actions they now could take part without hesitation and fear, being part of the world. For many it was quite easy now to be religious, because according to the teaching of the apostles and the non-trinitarians or unitarians, people themselves were responsible and had to make choices themselves to make sure they would be worthy salvation. In the gnostic and Roman Catholic Church and later in several protestant churches they could blame their faults to a devil, called Satan or Lucifer, and always could find penitence even when they kept doing the same bad things. In many cases churches were willing to accept money for pardoning.

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Preceding articles:

Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience

Being Religious and Spiritual 2 Religiosity and spiritual life

Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual

Being Religious and Spiritual 4 Philosophical, religious and spiritual people

Next: Being Religious and Spiritual 6 Romantici, utopists and transcendentalists

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Read also:

  1. Idolatry or idol worship
  2. “Who is The Most High” ? Who is thee Eternal? Who is Yehovah? Who is God?
  3. God of gods
  4. Some one or something to fear #6 Faith in the Most High
  5. יהוה , YHWH and Love: Four-letter words
  6. Praise the most High Jehovah God above all
  7. Praise and give thanks to God the Most Highest
  8. Christ Versus the Trinity
  9. Altered to fit a Trinity
  10. Reasons that Jesus was not God
  11. Jesus begotten Son of God #13 Pre-existence excluding virginal birth of the Only One Transposed
  12. Through Christ’s death you can be adopted as a child of God
  13. Sharing thoughts and philosophical writings
  14. Morality, values and Developing right choices
  15. Science and God’s existence
  16. Seeing the world through the lens of his own experience
  17. Leaving the Old World to find better pastures
  18. Emotional pain and emotional deadness
  19. What happens when we die?
  20. Fear and protection
  21. Heavenly creatures do they exist
  22. Satan or the devil
  23. Satan the evil within

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Additional reading:

  1. Paradise, the First Sin, the Fiery Sword, and the Path to Rectification
  2. Fear
  3. All trust, no fear
  4. Trinity And Pagan Influence
  5. Trinity: A False Doctrine of a False Church
  6. Part 2) God is not a Trinity
  7. The Trinity: paganism or Christianity?
  8. Unitarianism and the Bible of the Holy Trinity

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  • A New Gnosticism (supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.com)
    Well, after several months of thought, and being a bit dense, I figured out that Christian Scientism was a new Gnosticism. I suppose other people have known this, but I have beenin discussion with a friend who is a Christian Scientist and it finally dawned on me. She thinks that all reason is empiricism, so that is a confusion immediately seen.To the Catholic, reason and faith are two pillars of our spiritual life.

    For the Gnostic, the material world is evil. God is not part of the material. What the CS does with Genesis, in which we read that God created the world and everything in it and saw that it was good.

    For the Catholic, creation was created good by a good God. For the Catholic, Christ was Incarnated, became Man, became material. The CS does not accept this. To them, God is a principle not a person.

  • Embracing the Body as a Spiritual Path. (elephantjournal.com)
    The belief from many traditions is that we suffer precisely because we identify with our bodies, and that freedom is (somehow) somewhere beyond that mistake. But what I found over the years is that in fact the opposite might be true: we suffer when we do not embrace our bodies, and in fact it is our suffering in the first place that makes us reject, disconnect from and seek to be somewhere other than our bodies.chakrasHealing lies in coming home to the body. Whether it is recovery from trauma, abuse or addiction, learning to manage stress and be present with feelings, or releasing shame and media-conditioning to embrace our bodies as they are.
  • Um, Since When Does Jesus Have Skeletons in His Closet?: A Research Paper on Christianity (Part 1) (kosmosys.wordpress.com)
    Gnosticism is known to have correlations with Christianity based on its status of heresy with the Roman Catholic Church. Without going into specifics just yet, one can assume that “correlations”,”similarities” mean concepts, persons, principles, histories, what have you. Another interesting (or troubling?) thing about Gnosticism is that it actually Predates Christianity, meaning that it was in existence Long before Christianity. The understanding of the term “heresy” (and we will officially define it later) is that it is a corruption or perversion of scripture already in existence. How can Gnosticism corrupt or pervert Christianity IF Gnosticism was already in existence? So, if we are supposed to believe that Christianity is “self-existent” (meaning that the events in the Bible Actually happened and the people in the Bible were Real) how is it possible for it to be influenced by a School of Thought older than it? How can Jesus’ teachings exist Before He was supposedly born?
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    Um, Since When Does Jesus Have Bones in His Closet?: A Research Paper on Christianity (Part 2)
    What doctrine was the Church trying to silence? So by using Gnosticism, we can then get a new perspective on Christianity. We can look at its behavior, if you will, and understand exactly what, if anything, it is hiding in its closet.
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    According to NewAdvent.org, certain aspects of Gnosticism was in existence before that of Christianity, although at the time it was not called Gnosticism, as you can imagine, because Gnosticism itself was/is a spin off of older doctrines. One of the parent faiths of Gnosticism was the Babylonian Mandean faith, which I won’t even get into here. It is also pretty obvious that Gnosticism was not called such until it reached Greece seeing as the root of Gnosticism is “gnosis” meaning knowledge and is a greek word. So, according to this particular source, NewAdvent.org, “it is beyond doubt that Gnosticism existed independent of and anterior to Christianity.” Which means that there is no way that Gnosticism could come as a perversion of Christianity because it was here first.
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    As Christians have we not been trained to not think? What about the questions wehave been asked thathave been answered with a “don’t test God” or “God’s mysterious ways.” How many times hasCreflo dollar told us “don’t think! Sow!” How many times have we wondered where all our tithes and offerings are going? Who is spending it and on what?It is clear what the Church thinks about people with knowledge, people who think. Was Jesus not the reason for the slaughter of dozens of innocent men, women, and children during the Salem Witch Trials? How many of you knew the TRUE meaning of the terms listed above?
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    All I’m saying is that we need to open our eyes more. Ask questions. Understand things. Obviously there is more to be see than just meets the eye. There is more that needs to be learned. Otherwise, why would the Church cause so much bloodshed to silence the knowledge?
  • My Experience In The Word Of Faith Pt. 7-Watchman Nee,Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis (christianreasons.com)
    Pay careful attention to the reference regarding a deeper spiritual life. That will become important when we discuss the Keswick movement. The main thing I want to demonstrate is the link to Roman Catholic mysticism.Although the “Cross” is emphasized with the Higher Life advocates, the Sanctifying effects of union with Christ is stressed almost to the exclusion of the Justifying effects and the forgiveness of sins. I have a real problem with that. It is also common among Classic Wesleyans and Pentecostals to over-emphasize the more subjective aspects of Sanctification than the objective work of Christ in Justification.
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    The focus on the intuition as the real means of grasping truth, rather than through the specifics (including the wording) of Scripture is a definite type of Gnosticism, complete with its arrogance and exclusivity (regardless of intentions to the contrary). His claims that the conscience is based on one’s intuition opens wide the door for being directed by a supposed inner voice from God rather than taking God’s written Word as the true basis of conscience training. The conscience is only as accurate as the training upon which it is based. development of a rather complicated system, with its own specific terminology, which means that the uninitiated cannot really grasp the “deep teachings” of God. The focus on the intuition as the real means of grasping truth, rather than through the specifics (including the wording) of Scripture is a definite type of Gnosticism, complete with its arrogance and exclusivity (regardless of intentions to the contrary).
    +My Experience In The Word Of Faith Movement Pt. 6-Watchman Nee, Miss Margaret E. Barber, Roman Catholic Mystics
    + Pt.1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3, Pt. 4, Pt. 5.
    It has been in my exposure to the Reformers that I learned the broken ladders that the little theologians of glory in us love to use to get to God.
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    In The Normal Christian Life, (probably one of his more popular titles), Nee writes: “Righteousness, the forgiveness of our sins, and peace with God are all ours by faith, and without faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ none can possess them.” His whole exposition on the Blood of Christ in this book is very orthodox, and insightful. As far as it goes, it’s theologically sound.
  • Is It O.k. for Christians to Do Martial Arts? (prayers4reparation.wordpress.com)
    Many of the martial arts popular in the West have origins in parts of the world where Buddhist and other forms of religious philosophy are (or were) prevalent. Such philosophy is not essential to discipline and exercise, and indeed we can bring a Christian approach to bear, especially since we strive to focus not only on our own well-being but on selfless charity to others.
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    If it is simply a question of breathing exercises or seeking peace and harmony of soul, without the imposition of Pagan beliefs, then we can take part, though in our own practice we can bring to bear our Christian faith in which Christ is our peace, and the values of self-discipline and care of our physical health are seen in the context of a spiritual life in accord with the teaching of the Gospel.

Joseph Priestley To the Point

Through the ages there have always been some people who wanted to honour and worship only One God. The Catholic Church did everything in her power to disgrace such believers in one God Who is only One. Later several protestant denominations joined forces against those who did not want to make the son of God as their God.

We should be strong enough to resist the powers of the adversary of God (satan) and continue to believe in the Only Divine Supreme Being, Adonai Elohim Hashem Jehovah.

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The 18th-century English theologian, Dissenting clergyman Joseph Priestley (1733 – 1804), having separated from the Church of England because his ‘ordinary brain’ has given him much on his mind to think and to consider how one God could be three persons. As a natural philosopher, chemist, educator, and political theorist who published over 150 works, he was not afraid to make his hands dirty to do some good study-work.

Agitated for a wide-reaching Protestant Reformation of the Established Church, he went looking for the Truth, and where could it not be better found than in the Bible itself, the Book of books that church claimed to have as its basis for its teaching. Several ministers refused to use certain vestments and ceremonies of the Church of England, rather than to separate from it. Not many dared to question the fundamental beliefs.

Because of his knowledge of the Holy Scriptures and what the church taught ‘When Joseph was four years old, he could flawlessly recite all 107 questions and answers of the Westminster Short Catechism.)  and his knowledge of the Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, he could see what the phrases said and how the way of writing should be interpreted .

Joseph Priestley’s science was integral to his theology, and he consistently tried to fuse Enlightenment rationalism with Christian theism. The classical rationalism of the 17th and 18th centuries (Descartes, Spinoza, Male-branche, and Leibniz) was based on the idea of natural order—an infinite chain of causality pervading the world. There was a decisive role of reason in both human cognition and human activity and everything should be investigated and checked by the things we know already.For him as scientist it was clear that reason should be used as the chief source and test of knowledge.

Using such a method of research, comparison and elimination, trying to understand the language of the Bible, looking at the words how they were written, placed and used he came to the findings that many church teachings,  presented to the people as dogma’s which they had to believe because they could not understand them, where not according to Biblical texts.

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We should remember

The excerpt from the pamphlet “A General View of the Arguments for the Unity of God,” published in 1794 its third section enumerates arguments from the Scriptures against the trinitarian doctrine:

  1. The doctrine of the Trinity . . . has as little countenance from Scriptures as from reason.
  2. The Scriptures teach us that there is but one God (Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 6:4; Psalm 83:19; Mark 12:29; 1 Corinthians 8:6)
  3. The Scriptures teach us the One God sent Jesus Christ to instruct mankind
  4. God empowered Jesus to work miracles
  5. God raised Jesus from the dead
  6. God made Christ, who has to make us and we should be in him (1 Corinthians 8:6)
  7. for followers of Christ there should only One Most High, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in all of them who have one faith, one baptism (Ephesians 4:5, 6)
  8. Bible says there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5).
  9. Not only does the word trinity never occur in the Scriptures, but it is nowhere said that there are three persons in this one God; nor is the doctrine explicitly laid down in any other direct proposition whatever.
  10. Christ who did not sin and as such did not tell any lies, indeed says “I and my Father are one,” but he sufficiently explains himself by praying that his disciples might be one with him in the same sense in which he was one with the Father (John 10:30; John 17:21, 22)
  11. The one God is said to have created all things and is one God called the Father, author of all beings
  12. the Creator God is God and Father with respect to Christ, as well as all other persons (John 6:27; John 17:3; John 20:17; Ephesians 1:17; Colosians 1:3).
  13. Christ is said expressly to be inferior to the Father; all his power is said to have been given him by the Father, and he could do nothing without the Father. (John 16:28; 1 Corinthians 3:23; 1 Corinthians 11:3; John 5:19; John 14:10; Matthew 28:18; 2 Peter 1:17;  Revelation 1:1).
  14. God is the Almighty who knows everything and can do everything but:  Some things were withheld from Christ by his Father. (Mark 13:32; Matthew 20:23).
  15. Dominion Christ derived from the Father subordinate to that of the Father. (1 Corinthians 15:24ff.).
  16. Christ always prayed to the Father to whom we also should pray (Matthew 6:9; 26:37ff.; Philippians 4:6; Psalm 5:1-2; Psalm 69:13)
  17. God is Spirit (John 4:24) and his son is Jeshua from Nazareth in the lineage of King David, who came after God, Adam, Moses and Abraham, and who called Jehovah the Only True God. (John 17:1-3; Luke 1:35; John 1:34; John 20:17, 29-31; 1 Peter 1:3; Mark 15:34; Revelation of the apostle John 1:1; 3:12; Matthew 16:16-17; 1 John 4:15)
  18. Christ is not only styled a man even after his resurrection, approved of by God, by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of the people around at that time Jesus was alive and death (Acts 2:22; Hebrews 2:17; Hebrews 2:10; 1 Corinthians 15:21).
  19. Christ now enjoys exaltation,but it is the gift of his Father, and the reward of his obedience unto death. (Philippians 2:8, 9; Hebrews 2:9; Hebrews 12:2).
  20. Think above all those mentioned passages in the Holy Scriptures, compare them with other passages and wonder if the 18th century has reason to believe:

    No person, I think, can, with an unprejudiced mind, attend to these considerations and the texts of Scripture above recited (which are perfectly agreeable to the tenor of the whole), and imagine that it was the intent of the sacred writers to represent Christ either as the supreme God, or as the maker of the world under God.

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  1. Only One God
  2. God is One
  3. One God the Father, a compendium of essays
  4. God of gods
  5. Attributes to God, titles ascribed to Him or Names given to JHWH, the God of gods.
  6. Full authority belongs to God
  7. God Helper and Deliverer
  8. Praise the God with His Name
  9. The Divine name of the Creator
  10. Hashem השם, Hebrew for “the Name”
  11. I Will Cause Your Name To Be Remembered
  12. Jehovah Yahweh Gods Name
  13. Lord or Yahuwah, Yeshua or Yahushua
  14. Fearing the right person
  15. Jesus Messiah
  16. Christ begotten through the power of the Holy Spirit
  17. Jesus spitting image of his father
  18. The Trinity – the Truth
  19. The wrong hero

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  • Joseph Priestley Memorial Chapel (josephpriestly.wordpress.com)
    Priestley’s religiousness carried over to the U.S. when he came here later in life.  The Joseph Priestley Memorial Chapel is the oldest church building in the Borough of Northumberland, PA.
  • The Life and Works of Joseph Priestley (josephpriestly.wordpress.com)
    He performed experiments that also acknowledged photosynthesis.  He hasn’t had the easiest of lives, one full of political and religious torment.  He also did experiments on other things such as photosynthesis and carbonated water.  Still, somehow he managed to perform his oxygen experiments and make sure his name is forever written in our textbooks as one of the best scientists of his time.
  • Early Life (josephpriestly.wordpress.com)
    When Joseph was four years old, he could flawlessly recite all 107 questions and answers of the Westminster Short Catechism.  This showed that he was an extremely intelligent boy and absorbed almost anything put in front of him. His aunt decided to get the best education for him that they could.  They planned to have him become a part of the ministry. Joseph Priestley attended local schools where he learned Greek, Latin, and Hebrew.
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    in 1761 became a tutor at Warrington Academy in Lancashire. Ordained in 1762, he was married that same year to Mary Wilkinson, the sister of the Welsh ironmaster, John Wilkinson. He gradually came to question the divinity of Jesus, while accepting much else of Christianity, in the process becoming an early Unitarian
  • When Scripture Becomes Scripture (afkimel.wordpress.com)
    he writings of the Bible exist as historical artifacts and may therefore be read as historical artifacts. To properly interpret a text we must seek to understand it within its historical context. We need to know all sorts of things: we need to know who wrote it and why; we need to know its intended audience; we need to know the literary genre to which it belongs; we need to know about the society in which the author and audience lived; we need to know the cultural and literary conventions of the time; we need to know the worldview the text inhabits, etc.
  • Trinity: The Truth about Matthew 28:19 & 1 John 5:7 (discoverthetruefacts.wordpress.com)
    The Father is not the Son, nor is the Son the Father, and the Spirit is not the Son, nor is the Spirit the Father. They are all distinct from each other. Yet there are not three Gods, but One God (this is according to Christians). Any human with a sound/sane mind, who is looking for the truth, will see that the Christian doctrine of the Trinity is massive contradiction to what God Almighty stated in the Old Testament. Furthermore this kind of doctrine is never taught by Jesus or his disciples and thus contradicts everything what Jesus taught. If Jesus (p) really taught the doctrine of the Trinity, how come there is not one verse where he states:- “God is One but in three persons” i.e. saying something along the lines, “Father is God Son is God and the Holy Spirit is also God?” Anyone reading throughout the New Testament will see Jesus saying: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” Jesus taught Monotheism not Polytheism.
  • Unitarianism and the Bible of the Holy Trinity (afkimel.wordpress.com)
    I do not know if it’s happening throughout worldwide evangelicalism or is restricted to the more intellectually inclined; but I have noticed a curious phenomenon on the internet—a movement amongst evangelicals from trinitarian to unitarian faith. This movement does not necessarily entail the rejection of the teaching of Jesus nor even rejection of the confession of Jesus as Lord and Savior. It is a unitarianism that can accommodate the kind of subordinationism characteristic of some of the second and third century Church Fathers: Jesus and the Spirit are “divine” (in some sense), but only the Father is the one God. Consider, for example, a recent blog article by Kermit Zarley: “Can Genuine Christians Be Trinitarian or Non-Trinitarian?
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    CJ says:
    I think it’s just a function of sola scriptura. I think we can honestly say that the Trinity is not crystal clear from Scripture alone (I say this as a trinitarian). So when one doesn’t have recourse to tradition, what do you do with verses like “my Father is greater than I” or “I return to my Father and your Father, your God and my God?”

    There are other reasons that may particular to an individual. For example, libertarian blogger Vox Day is ok with the Nicene Creed, but takes issue with the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (with the expanded section on the Holy Spirity) because he perceives it to be the result of imperial meddling. Here’s a link to a discussion of the Trinity on his blog: http://voxday.blogspot.com/2013/10/mailvox-25-reasons-for-trinitarian.html

  • Facts About The Birth Of Jesus (heatonkent.com)
    There are many people who believe Jesus was born on December 25 in a manger with shepherds and three wise men surrounding Him with a star shining above. Nothing is more foreign to the truth or the real story of what the Bible tells of the birth of Christ.
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    The Lord does not reveal when Jesus was born. It was likely in spring but the Bible does not reveal his birthday or the year of His birth. Christ was born somewhere between 7 B.C. and 4 B.C. Herod (Matthew 2:3,16) died in 4 B.C. and Jesus was born during his reign. Ferrell Jenkins writes, “It is impossible to keep Christ in Christ-Mass for He was never in it. The Catholic Church dreamed that up all by themselves without the help of Christ, and I might add, without His approval.” Should we hold to traditions of men instead of God’s word? Jesus said, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition” (Mark 7:6-9)!
  • Evangelical Nonconformist origins in Leeds (gerardtjcharmley.wordpress.com)
    Moult died in 1727, and was succeeded by Thomas Whittaker, son of the first pastor. His ministry was remarkable not so much for what he did preach, and what he did not preach. The Trinity was barely mentioned, as was election. The congregation declined, as dissatisfied members found homes elsewhere. A few years after his death, the congregation had become Unitarian. Depleted, they eventually united with the church worshiping at Mill Hill Chapel, and Call Lane Chapel became a hired hall, used by a number of sects. – (below, Mill Hill Chapel today)
    .Image

Van Til interacting with Bavinck and Calvin on Natural Theology

One could question if something like Natural theology and Revealed theology makes sense. Getting to know the Godhead and getting insight in the many gods in the world of men is not only revealed in the many worldly writings, but the major book to get to know the real God is the one which is mostly forgotten in the theology schools. Much more attention should be given to the word of God, the Holy Scriptures.

The Bible is the Book of books which can bring us to real, intimate, relational knowledge of the living God, has to be based in actual concrete Christian experience.

People should be very careful for human teachings, conformities and traditions.We may never take traditions as something which should be true or right because it exists already such a long time. No matter how familiar and dear to us certain traditions may be when we come to understand that they are not according to the Will of God we should abandon them. It is not the stream of tradition which must always lead us back to the source that is normative: Holy Scripture.  Traditions become dangerous whenever they are translated from forms into norms.  That can happen with established opinions as well as modern provocative views.

 

English: Herman Bavinck (1854-1921) Nederlands...

Herman Bavinck (1854-1921) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

In Christian dogmatics there is no place for reason as an agency by which, independently of the truth of Christianity, a natural theology may be established according to Herman Bavinck. But when we have dogmatic teaching, presenting something we should understand though we can not understand it, would this be a teaching in accordance with the Word of God, where we can see that God is a god of Order and Clarity. Is a dogma, clarity? We do not think so. god is not somebody who tells lies, so we should listen carefully to Him and take His words for granted.
God His words should go over theologians their words.

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Additional reading:

Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other

 

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  • Herman Bavinck – It’s Hard Work to Be An Atheist (theoldguys.org)
    It therefore requires a certain effort not to believe in a personal God: “No one disbelieves the existence of God except the person to whom God’s existence is not convenient.” There are no atheists so thoroughly sure of their unbelief as to be willing to die a martyr’s death for it. Since atheism is abnormal and unnatural, based not on intuitions but on inferential proofs and fallible reasoning, it is never sure of its causes. The arguments for the existence of God may be weak, but in any case they are stronger than those advanced for its denial. It is even impossible to prove that there is no God. To accomplish that feat a person would have to be omniscient and omnipresent, that is, to be God!
    ~Herman Bavinck~
  • Thinking About Natural Theology (theologiansinc.wordpress.com)
    natural theology: brought within the embrace of positive theology and developed as a complex of rational structures arising in our actual knowledge of God it becomes “natural” in a new way, natural to its proper object, God in self-revealing interaction with us in space and time. Natural theolog then constitutes the epistemological “geometry” as it were, within the fabric of “revealed theology” as it apprehended and articulated within the objectivites and intelligibilites of the space-time medium through which God has made himself known to us.
  • Scripture and Tradition (reformedreader.wordpress.com)
    the confession of the sufficiency of Scripture does not imply that all traditions must be considered useless.  The churches of the Reformation also recognize elements of tradition.  But these are not norms for faith and life, although they can be expressions of faith, ways in which people portray their response to the Word of God.  In this sense traditions are both useful and necessary.  We agree with Bavinck that tradition is the means by which all the treasures and possessions of our ancestors are transmitted to the present and future (cf. R.D., 1:492-94).  There is indeed a variegated Reformed tradition.  There is tradition in our confession, in our worship service, in preaching, in theology, in devotional literature that is nurtured by Scripture.
  • Free e-Book: The Laws of Clean and Unclean Animals of Leviticus 11: Their Nature Theology and Rationale an Inter Textual Study (amologetics.wordpress.com)
  • Apologetics (trueforms.wordpress.com)
    I am, to be sure, opposed to the traditional method of apologetics as this has found its most fundamental expression in the Summae of Thomas Aquinas the Roman Catholic and in Bishop Butler the Arminian. I seek to oppose Roman Catholicism and Arminianism in Apologetics as I seek to oppose it in theology. Does that make my main thesis universally negative? I think there is a better and more truly biblical way of reasoning with and winning unbelievers than Romanist Arminian method permits.
  • Herman Bavinck – It’s Hard Work to Be An Atheist (mydelightandmycounsellors.wordpress.com)
    There are no atheists so thoroughly sure of their unbelief as to be willing to die a martyr’s death for it. Since atheism is abnormal and unnatural, based not on intuitions but on inferential proofs and fallible reasoning, it is never sure of its causes.
  • Author Interview: James Miller (truthmattersblog.wordpress.com)
    There’s a feeling of resonance that we have when we know something is right.  Philosophers call this a “properly basic belief.” No one has to prove to you that you’re sitting on a chair – you just know.  I think the Holy Spirit has the power to convict us of the truth of the gospel, and while we can point to many rationale for why we know it’s true, in the end, we experience the sensibility of it.
  • Van Til interacting with Bavinck and Calvin on Natural Theology (steppingtoes.wordpress.com)
  • Van Til’s An Introduction To Systematic Theology (withalliamgod.wordpress.com)

 

Presuppositionalism 101

According to Bavinck apologetics cannot precede systematics. A true apologetics, he says, presupposes dogma. 5 There is in Christian dogmatics no place for reason as an agency by which, independently of the truth of Christianity, a natural theology may be established. The Roman Catholics are mistaken when they seek to work out a natural theology independently of Scriptures. There was a time, says Bavinck, when Reformed theologians also fell into this mistake. So, for instance, S. Van Til divided his work on theology into two parts, one dealing with natural and one with revealed theology. 6 But all this, says Bavinck, was due to false philosophical influences upon theology. He wants to return to the position of Calvin for whom Scripture was the eyeglass through which the Christian should read the book of nature. 7 “Originally natural theology did not serve the purpose of gradually leading up to revealed…

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