Jeremiah 17:7, 10
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD...
“the Lord searches man's heart and tests his mind, and gives every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds”
Professor Jones (Harrison Ford' s character) in the third movie of the Indian Jones trilogy told his class something like this, “Archaelogy is 'FACT'; if you want 'TRUTH', the religion and philosophy class is down the hall.” To Professor Jones, religious truth was in the same category as philosophical truth.
Currently, the word philosophy, according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, means basically “a study and/or a particular set of ideas about knowledge, truth, the nature and meaning of life.” The word religion adds “gods” to this set of ideas.
"Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid" (Isaiah 29:14).
The Bible uses the word “wisdom” and “prudence” for man's philosophical affirmations of truth in such passages as Isaiah 29:14. Isaiah prophesied a couple centuries before the golden age of Greece when the great philosphers Plato and Aristotle lived. The Holy Spirit quotes this prophecy in Paul's 1 Corinthians 1:19-25 as demonstrating the futility of man's philosophical search for truth outside of God's revelation. Full truth came through Jesus and the message accompanying His crucifixion (John 1:14; 1 Corinthians 1:23).
God sent Jesus to earth after epochs had passed when things were ready His vist; this included Roman roads, synagogues worldwide, and especially the spent failure of Grecian truth for answering man's needs (i.e., “fullness of times”, Ephesians 1:10; Galatians 4:4).
Grecian philosophy was passed on to the Romans and the western world. “What is truth?” Pilate was Roman and neither Jewish nor Christian but he acknowledged the perplexity of grasping philosophical truth (John 18:38).
Some depict ancient philosophers as “reaching outside oneself” and “up” for truth. To those that are not prejudiced about Bible history, according to Romans 1:20, there is some evidence of truth from nature. "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead." But man erred by changing “the truth of God into a lie” that included "dishonoring their own bodies between themselves" (vv. 24, 25).
Socrates' love for wisdom “truth” was acquired from nature.i If the Greek philosophers could reason for truth from nature, could not the common man clearly do it as well? Greek natural philosophy prevailed in the Greek Empire and later influenced the Romans. It was lost during the Dark Ages in the West when Greek was not fashionable and was not revived until after the “golden age” of Islam in the East (around 9th Century AD).
The “Age of Enlightenment” of the modern age emerged with the re-entry of Greek philosophy via translations from the Arabic version of the Greek into Latin.ii Modern philosophers such as Rousseauiii, Kantiv, and Nietschev came along and replaced the guiding light from nature to the light within man. That is, according to Rousseau truth can be found within the heart and feelings of man. Kant adopted this idea to man's intellect, and finally Nietsche taught that truth was realized from one's personal power. Man no longer looks to nature or “up” as the Greeks did, nor to the Bible for revealed truth. but looks within himself for truth.
The problem in the 21st Century is that governing people are influenced by these philosophers, especially Friedrich Nietsche. Nietsche's chief proponent during the twentieth century may have been Adolf Hitler who “took over” the Weimar Republic in 1933. If truth is based upon one's personal feelings and mind then the strongest amongst us gets “his way” and perpetuates his truth to the subjugation of others. Power makes right.
The United States is currently a republic also. That means that those ruling represent their constituents who have voted them into office. The electorate cannot constitutionally demand candidates to be Christians (Romans 13:1-3); however, the citizens in a republic are obligated to vote for those that profess righteous philosophy. To do otherwise is to place the consequence of the guilt of unrighteousness upon themselves. Under a totalitarian state citizens must suffer abuse without guilt. Not so, under a republic form of government such as Germany and the United States have had.
It doesn't eventually matter what kind of government exists on earth; Jesus is King and governments and men are temporary and ought to be subject to His wishes (Matthew 28:18-20). Jeremiah 17:10 reminds us that “the Lord searches man's heart and tests his mind, and gives every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” The philosophies of men fall before the judgment of God almighty. We must remember that “righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34) and as citizens urge the best from our government.
- Gaylon West
THROW OUT THE LIFELINE
i http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_did_Socrates_think_about_human_nature Accessed 8/8/2014.
iii 19th century. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Jacques Rousseau. http://www.trincoll.edu/depts/phil/philo/phils/rousseau.html“that principle is consciousness, conceived as the property possessed the human mind to bear moral evaluations.”
iv 19th century. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immanuel_Kant. He argued that fundamental concepts structure human experience, and that reason is the source of morality.
v http://www.iep.utm.edu/nietzsch/. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Nietzsche. Philosophy: “destroy traditional values to enter new values, by immorality, by placing doctrine is beyond good and evil, we can hope to find the way of the creative life and the Will to Power.”