God and Philosophers
Christian Writers and Greek Philosophy
Very few early Christian writers were against ancient Greek philosophy, the majority of the elite favored it greatly. Our first example is Saint Justin Martyr, who said that the divine Logos (Word) made himself known to the pagans through the philosophers; that Christianity is the fulfillment of philosophy and Christ the fulfillment of Socrates. He was an apologist that defended the Christian philosophy by writing an analogy between the death of Socrates who died for what he taught and the death of Christ.
Clement of Alexandria gave an exhortation to the Greeks who didn’t want to fully believe in Christianity by explaining that the seeds of this religion may be found in the Greek writings. He said, “What I mean by philosophy is not Stoicism, nor Platonism, nor Epicureanism, nor Aristotelianism, but the sum total of all good things said by these schools in the teachings of justice and truth.” Minucius Felix argued that God can be known through reason and the Greeks came to understand this. Aristotle taught about one Godhead, the Stoics believed in divine providence, and Plato’s “Timaeus” reveres the Father and Maker of the universe.
Finally, Bishop Gregory Thaumaturgus said, “We should examine the texts of the ancients, be they philosophers or poets, as closely as we can, so that we can derive from them the mean of strengthening and propagating our understanding of the truth.” Many renown others, like Origen, Eusebius of Caesarea, St. Ambrose of Milan, St. Jerome, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Gregory of Nazianus, and St. Basil the Great, just to name a few, thought that the ancient Greek thinkers could be of a tremendous contribution to the understanding and teaching of the Christian way of thought.
The Counter of Christian Writers’ Belief
As we can see, the Christian writers and elites previously mentioned, did not have the mind or spirit of Christ. If they did, then they wouldn’t have had the urge to utilize Greek writings to teach, understand, and know the Truth, who is Christ himself. Do you need anything more than the Maker of the universe, the Way, the Truth, the Life, and His Spirit to know anything of that matter? They were super studious of anything, except the Bible. And if they studied the Bible, they did so without the Holy Spirit, but with an intellectual mind.
Let’s see what Paul writes in one of his letters, “That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit (not by Greek philosophy): for the Spirit searcheth all things (not the philosophers), yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, (does it say “no man”?) but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God (whose spirit?); that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth (not in philsophy), but which the Holy Ghost teacheth (not the philosphers); comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them (he cannot know them), because they are spiritually discerned (not intellectualy discerned). But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ (not the mind of Greek philosophy).” – 1 Corinthians 2:5-16
Paul is writing to the Corinthians who are Greeks. Here, he clearly differentiates two types of wisdom, God’s and man’s. Man used to contain the wisdom of God, I believe he once functioned with 100% of his mental capacity and this is why he knew all the characteristics of animals and had the creativity to name them all. Then, man fell into sin and lost everything God had given them, including the knowledge of Life. This is not just another mythical story to fill in the Bible, but a spiritual and natural historic event that shaped eternity.
Man’s wisdom comes from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which’s fruit took humanity away from immortality, it took us to be mortal; to be governed by death. And it is no news for many that the devil holds the throne of the empire of death. The knowledge coming from that tree, whether it is GOOD or evil, outputs the same result, chaos, death, and disobediece to God. God’s knowledge is of Life and it is against that one that is of death and of a natural man. The knowledge of good and evil is ultimately a diabolic one, for it is the one responsible of trying to explain and control the natural world without knowing where it comes from, thus creating climate change, violence, etc. Mankind was able to create weapons, build great monuments with scarce technologic resource, navigate, and control nature not because we evolved to know all things, but because we received that knowledge since the beginning of mortality in the garden of Eden, all encouraged by the serpent.
It is indeed from good and evil that the philosphers derive their complex philosophies and not from the Spirit of Christ. Because the Spirit of Christ gives testimony of Jesus and this is not ever found in the Greek philosophies. And I don’t write this with a closed mind or religious, resentful attitude, but I write it because it is true and Biblical, written by no more and no less than Apostle Peter: Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. – 1 Peter 1:10-12
The Spirit of Christ is the one that revealed the things of Christ that angels desire to look into, then the gospel was taught by those filled with the Holy Spirit, not Greek philosophy. For this reason we find good and evil things in the philosophies, some you reject and others you accept, but they originate and terminate in the result Adam and Eve experienced; a seperation from God their Creator and Father. Using them to explain the Christian faith is like trying to teach a fish to climb a tree or like unifying the tree of the fruit which causes death with the tree that gives Life. It is completely impossible and entails to ultimately listen more to things you understand easier (the philosophies) than to things that are out of this world (God).