Reflections on Biblical and
Christian Philosophy

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John Frame on Philosophy

 

John Frame has an extensive background in philosophy at both the undergraduate and graduate level.  He believes (and I agree) that this education has enhanced his work in theology which he has chosen to emphasize rather than philosophy.  However, he also takes the position that the work of both the theologian and the Christian philosopher are not that different: Theology and Philosophy.  Christian philosophers make the same mistake that Christians in most areas of scholarship make: they underestimate and therefore underuse Biblical truths.

 

On Philosophy in General

 

The following is from The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, page 318.

 

“If anything, philosophy is even more in need of reformation than the sciences are.  Still, I am not convinced that everything said by non-Christian philosophers is false!  … From philosophy (both Christian and non-Christian) we can learn a number of useful things.

 

“(1) The history of philosophy shows the futility of trying to find a solid basis for knowledge apart from the God of Scripture, whether through rationalism, empiricism, subjectivism, idealism, or some other method.”

 

(Ed’s note: “The God of Scripture only speaks explicitly through Scripture.  Therefore, “the history of philosophy shows the futility of trying to find a solid basis for knowledge apart from Scripture.”  I believe that this statement is more explicitly what the problem for Christian and non-Christian philosophers is: a denial (explicit or implicitly functionally) of an objective source of true knowledge.)

 

“(2) Philosophers have argued well, nevertheless, that we need norms, facts, and subjectivity if anything is to be known.”

 

(Ed’s note: The Scriptures exceed any other source of knowledge by an immeasurable degree.)

 

“(3) And they have presented good cases for the interconnectedness of knowledge, in particular for the interdependence of metaphysics (theory of being), epistemology (theory of knowledge), and the theory of value (ethics, aesthetics).”

 

(Ed’s note: I agree wholeheartedly.  “Interconnectedness” and “interdependence” of these areas is far too lacking in philosophical discussions.)

 

“(4) They have shown (either by admitting it or by trying and failing to escape the conclusion) that human thought is dependent on presuppositions and thus on circular argument.”

 

(Wow!  Yes!  If only most Christian apologists, theologians, and philosophers understood this truth.  In my opinion, they predominately endorse empiricism and evidentialism—which are really one and the same.)

 

“(5) They have developed useful systems of logic and mathematics.”

 

(Ed’s note: I agree.)

 

“(6) They have developed a number of distinctions that are useful in the analysis of language, causality, priority, experience, ethical values, and other matters of importance to theology.”

 

(Ed’s note: I agree.)

 

Frame concludes this section: “From a Christian philosophy, theoretically, we could learn much more.  I do not believe, however, that a Christian philosophy now exists that is reasonably adequate for the needs of the modern Protestant theologian.”  (Ed’s emphasis)

 

For more on philosophy and theology by Frame, click here.

 


 

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