A Biblical Philosophy

Dan Lenington on April 4, 2013

In philosophy, three major considerations are examined. These include Metaphysics: the study of what is real, Epistemology: the study of what is true, and Axiology: the study of what is good. Each of these topics is central to the message of God's Word. Therefore, Scripture presents a consistent and comprehensive philosophical worldview. Lets examine Scripture to find out what that would be.

Metaphysics: The Study of What is Real

When determining reality, I begin with the presupposition that God is the ultimate reality (Heb. 11:6 AV). He is real since the only alternative is atheistic evolution which ignores the general revelation in creation. An infinite universe reveals an infinite Creator; an orderly universe reveals an orderly Creator; an intelligent universe reveals an intelligent Creator; an accomodating universe reveals a benevolent Creator; and the conscious individuality of the creature reveals a model personal Individual. From this foundation, I consider that this Creator would logically be God (Gen. 1:1ff; Is. 40:28), the ultimate cause, Who is interested in His creation for the same reason that He was interested in creating it (Psalm 19:1; Rev. 4:11). A perfect artist is certainly concerned about the welfare of his artistry. If He is concerned about His creation, then He must desire to make contact with it in order to establish a relationship with it (Deut. 29:29; Rev. 1:1). He has done so through the special revelation which man calls the Bible. The reason this revelation alone must be considered is because it is the only completed revelation of God (I Cor. 13:8; Eph. 2:20; Rev. 22:18-19). Christianity is distinct from all other religions for Christ is the only religious leader to claim deity (John 10:30) and prove it by a historically documented resurrection from the dead (I Cor. 15:1-8); only the Bible declares thousands of prophecies that have been fulfilled to the letter; only Christianity can produce a conversion account such as Paul's (Acts 9:1ff). Since Scripture is an accurate account of the life of Christ as substantiated by archeology and history, it can be trusted to give an accurate account of reality.

In the realm of the universe (cosmology), Scripture reveals that creation including man was formed to bring glory and pleasure to God (Is. 43:7; Col. 1:16; Rev. 4:11). Time began with the day and night cycles of the creation week, found its divisions through the movements of the celestial bodies (Gen. 1:5, 14), and will stretch into the eternal state (Rev. 22:2). Reality is both material and immaterial. Both God and man have an immaterial aspect (John 4:24; I Thess. 5:23) and including Christ a physical aspect (Col. 2:9; I Thess. 5:23). man's spirit or the immaterial part of him will live forever either in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10-15) or in an eternity with God (Rev. 22:5). Therefore, man will not be reincarnated as another being but will be resurrected with his own glorified body (I Cor. 15). Man was created good but fell due to sin (Gen. 3:1-8). While man's sin nature was transferred to him through the sin of Adam (Rom. 5:14-19), He is responsible for his own personal sin (Ezekial 18). While God is sovereign (Ps. 95:3), God works with man's freedom of desire to accomplish His perfect will (Prov. 21:1, 31; 16:9). God is only related to evil through secondary means (Ecc. 7:29). Reality is not unstable (I Chron. 16:30). Change in reality is an illusion for only our understanding of it changes, not reality itself.

Epistemology: The Study of What is True

According to the Christian foundation, the main source of objective truth is the special revelation of Scripture (II Sam. 23:2; II Tim. 3:16; II Pet. 1:20-21). The Bible is the only completely verbally inspired book written by God and delivered to man through his Holy Spirit. Because the Bible is written by God it is infallible and inerrant on every topic it discusses (Psalm 12:6-7). Truth is not what works or what provides the best experience. Truth is objectively based upon God's Word (John 17:17) and the personal revelation of Jesus Christ (John 14:6) although our understanding of it can be incomplete and fallible (Is. 55:8-9; II Peter 3:16). Scripture is truth, but it does not reveal everthing that is true (Duet. 29:29). Man does not create truth, he discovers it and has it revealed to him (Jer. 29:10-12; Luke 8:16-18). Scripture is an example of a-priori truth, but a-posteriori truth can be tentatively known through reason and the senses. Christians can trust authorities if they do not contradict Scripture or err in logic. Intution is valid when associated with the conscience and qualified with the clarity of Scriptural principles (Rom. 14:23; II Cor. 4:2). God gives direction through dependence on Him and His Word (Prov. 3:5-6).

Axiology: The Study of What is Good

When the truthfulness of Scripture is established, it is trustworthy as the key in determining value. Ethics, what is good and right, and aesthetics, what is beautiful, are only knowable by realizing God's immutability (Mal. 3:6; Heb. 13:8). His perfect character (II Sam. 22:31; I Peter 1:16), the only criteria for ethics and aesthetics, is revealed through Scripture by precepts (clear, direct, and universal statments of morality such as the Ten Commandments) and principles (general, indirect, and individual statment of morality such as I Thess. 5:22). The greatest principle/precept of Scripture is the command to love God with one's entire being and his neighbor as himself (Matt. 22:36-40). If the Christian properly follows this command, he will fulfill the biblical ethic and obey with the right motive (John 14:15; Gal. 5:14; I John 4:17-21).

In determining beauty, one must ask what God views as beautiful. Psalm 29:2 and 96:9 remind one that only complete holiness (separation from sin) is beautiful to God. Therefore, to identify sin, one must examine Scripture and imitate God's holiness (I Peter 1:16). Some principles of beauty and holiness include peace not confusion (I Cor. 14:33), harmony not discord (I Cor. 14:40), gentleness not harshness (II Tim. 2:24), holiness not worldliness (I Peter 5:5), spirituality not sensuality (I Peter 2:5, 11), understanding not ignorance (I John 5:20), and true edification not mere entertainment (I Cor. 14:26). Beauty is timeless if it represents reality faithfully without glorifying sin. Only art directly or indirectly glorifying to God is appropriate.