Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Christian Worldview in Classical Philosophical Categories

[I just cut this from my book, so I wanted to get some use out of it.]

To increase detail while adding abstraction, the basic categories of philosophy will be employed to explain Christianity in terms of its worldview.

1. Metaphysics or ontology:

A. God and the world. God is a morally and metaphysically perfect and personal being who exists eternally in a triune reality. God created the universe out of nothing (ex nihilo). God is distinct from the universe (transcendence), but involved with it (immanence). God Incarnated once and only once in the person of Jesus Christ for the redemption of humanity.

B. History: The universe is providentially governed by God and open to God’s intervention through miracle, revelation, Incarnation, and Final Judgment. History began at creation and will reach its providential goal in a linear fashion as the Kingdom of God is progressively manifested and culminated.

C. Anthropology: Humans are made in God’s image and likeness and possess both body and soul. Their telos is to glorify God in all things by pursuing and broadcasting truth and by developing God’s good creation. Through the fall, humans rebelled against God and are thus estranged from themselves, others, and God himself. Redemption cannot be found in themselves but only through God’s gracious provision in the Cross of Jesus Christ, the only perfect human (as well as divine).

D. Angelology: There is an angelic world of disembodied beings, both good and evil, whom have concourse with the human world.

2. Ethics:

The good is based on God’s eternally holy character. God’s directives issue from his character and fit the nature of the creatures he has made. The Bible—rightly interpreted and applied—is the locus of biblical ethics. Jesus is the perfect model of ethical virtue and the source of such virtue in his followers.

3. Epistemology:

Humans are created to know God, themselves, and creation in a finite manner. Knowledge is available through rational first principles, intuition, empirical data, and divine revelation and illumination. All knowing is adversely affected by the fall, yet people can—under the right conditions—attain reasonable beliefs on the things that matter most.


Gary said...

Thanks! A useful overview. Wondering about the use of the word "disembodied" with reference to angels. Do you understand angelic beings as originally having bodies? I have understood them to be spirit beings (Eph. 6:12) who sometimes appear in human form or invade human bodies.

Doug Groothuis said...

Disembodied can mean: not having a body; never having had a body--I think. Maybe "unembodied" is better or just "immaterial."

Sarah Scott said...

A very helpful categorical explanation! Thanks. If this *didn't* make it into the book, then I'm looking foward to reading what survived the cut.

Doug Groothuis said...


So am I!