Seneca and Paul

It has been mentioned before that many aspects of greek philosophy are comparable to the way of thought of Christianity. Although, in their essence and foundations they contradict. And I believe that Seneca is not the difference.

Seneca is renowned throughout history as an extraordinary writer, and he was. Many of his writings, specifically, his philosophical ones about stoicism are similar to what apostle Paul taught. However, that doesn’t mean that they were talking about the same thing and with the same understanding. Therefore, the mere fact of relating them is utterly mistaken.

Seneca’s ideas are similar to those of Aristotle and his eudaimonia, with a couple of differences. Up to what I have understood, Seneca says that a good man should seek the perfection of his reason. Reason is the ultimate characteristic by which the greatness of man is measured because it defines whom man is in the midst of all living things. It is through reason that you desire to do honorable things and achieve the practice of virtue. Attaining honor through reason is man’s intrinsic good. While reason is his unique good.

Apostle Paul was judged by Seneca’s brother, Gallio, in Corinth. Paul wrote to the Colossians: “Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”

He also wrote to the Corinthians, “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”

Finally, in the first chapter to the Corinthians he writes,” For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”

Christianity is the faith in the possibility of the manifestation of the power of God. It is not simply a philosophy because it is not cemented upon rational or visible things, but in irrational and invisible things. One cannot mix the ideas of Western philosophers with the way of thought of the Kingdom of God as it will necessarily make one err in truly understanding God. This is when confusion arises creating chaos in society and providing a negative impact in it, as well.


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