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2. The Authority of the Bible in the History of Theology: Pre-Reformation

Ed Zinke

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Ed Zinke

Adventist theologian and businessman

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  • February 7, 2018
    9:45 AM
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Thank you OK we're ready with our next mix presentation here. I want to introduce to my family. OK They're now that they're a little bit older than Mary but this point. In fact I want to point out. OK. Here. This one here when they were twelve years old. Accompanied me along with others to the top of Kilimanjaro nineteen thousand three hundred and thirty four feet so anyway I want to brag about that a little bit was I made experience to have family along on on that trek by the way I was an old man too so. You got to give me credit as well OK so how many of you heard about the term accustom ology. You know many of your teachers OK Right what the teachers do. They teach knowledge right I mean among other things that's not the only thing but they teach knowledge like a pistol Mala G. is your concept of knowledge and your concept of how to acquire knowledge OK So if you're a teacher have you thought about what knowledge is and how you acquire knowledge and what are you teaching your students when you're teaching them in the classroom you whether you know it or not you're teaching them in the pistol knowledge and when you teach in the classroom you have been opposed to Moloch you whether you know it or not. And your students have been oppressed Amala JI whether they know it or not and so it's extremely important for us to understand accustom ology. So that we can understand our own purpose to Moloch ji you begin to analyze yourself when you see how others think and ask how is it that I think OK so opposed to Moji is really the road you take. And you know some administrator has come to me and say. How how is it possible that this person has has accepted and is teaching in our schools theistic evolution. Hell Is that possible well thirty years ago they picked up in a place to Mullah JI but took the left hand road here but in in theistic evolution it's not something that happened overnight for the most part sometimes it may but it was a gradual process of choosing in the past to Moji a concept of knowledge and a concept of how to acquire knowledge that finally ended up in theistic evolution. And so it's important for us to understand and to teach our students how to think from a biblical perspective instead of from a secular perspective and my feeling is and I don't think this is the total answer I think there are many many answers I think you folks are are doing a wonderful job and serving the questions but why do we lose so many of our students I think one of the reasons among others is that we have never taught them to think of likely And so when they go to the secular university there is no difference between themselves and their professor there the way they think is identical and so they are open to what the professor has to say and open to non Christian points of view so opposed to Mala Jeter determines your concept of God Your universe the world you live in your existence yourself so on and so forth that it's the foundation of your worldview the way you understand yourself in the world and in the people you relate to and when it comes to Moji changes your concept of self existence world universe God etc changes as well. So now all of us live in a secular society we're constantly bombarded with secularism every time you look at television every time you read a newspaper. Every time you look at something streaming on the internet you are being indoctrinated not just with the puts specific ideas that are being conveyed but with the manner of thinking that justifies those ideas so we see a rock solid foundation and so we look to reason to science to math. Experience even you know depending upon your worldview mysticism eccentric cetera et cetera we look first some place to have a rock solid foundation for our theology and so what are we really doing we're building our house on what. Human reason instead of upon God's words now that doesn't mean we don't use scripture fact we have time will we see a passage later in Ellen White said or she says you know theologians use scripture but because they put it in their context and their philosophical system they. Misrepresent what scripture is saying and so humanism has become the foundation for all knowledge humanism is starting with human kind now there are many different kinds of humanism but that is kind of a word that will bring many philosophical systems together and so humanism gets imposed upon Scripture OK so what I'm going to do is an overview of the history of philosophy theology in biblical studies highlighting lessons learned and the reason I'm doing this I don't care whether you remember anything about Plato or Aristotle or Thomas Aquinas or you know the people we're going to go over what I care is that you capture the idea that they're philosophical system determine their theology and. Hopefully learn the lesson but we need to start with the biblical system if we don't intentionally start with a biblical system we will end up with some kind of a humanistic philosophy instead of a biblical theology so the biblical world view is foundational to our understanding is where we are coming from a biblical world view is the rock solid foundation that we are seeking so I'm starting with some presuppositions Normally I would have several of the people with me and would have three or four or five days together but we don't have that and they are unavailable so I'm going to tell you basically what they would have told you and I'm sure you're all in agreement with this the Bible God's Word thing by the will of God rather than by the will of man it's God's word given through humans but guided by the Holy Spirit in such a way that it's God's word got through and the Bible is its own interpreter so I'm I'm assuming these two things as we move forward now some terminology rationalism what's rationalism OK Mine OK my reason what about my reason. Is it wrong for us to think God gave us our reason right OK He wants us to take our reason as far as we possibly can go and he will send us the Holy Spirit to aid us so that we can go further than we could possibly go on our own Ok so is rationalism good or bad. OK good rationalism is a most of the so foundation for my understanding of the universe is my mind so that's where I start you're right it's bad OK Well we'll see results of that in Paris as a modest empiricist scientific method. Right OK So the scientific method alone is the foundation of my knowledge and notice they alone in their foundation now all philosophers no matter where they are on this chart use reason. Only rational is a make reason the foundation of knowledge all most philosophers use the empirical method. Only the empiricist makes up a foundation of their knowledge you see what I'm saying and so those of us who start with a biblical philosophy that doesn't mean we don't use reason it just means that Scripture is the guide to reason doesn't mean that we don't do science it just means that the scripture is a guide to science and so next a stench alyssum the structure of human existence is the foundation pragmatism materialism except her ism that's my word for the fact that there are thousands of philosophical systems. Many of which have not yet been described there was a philosophy for each person in the room here. So there are many different philosophical system so really we're talking about how do we relate to philosophical systems OK so early the early church was dominated by the philosophy or the worldview Neoplatonism this philosophy was inherited from Greek philosophy from primarily from Plato Now this picture isn't the Vatican that was painted in the sixteenth century. Have any of you seen this picture before. OK You see two people in the middle there who are they. Will that be great if it were Peter and Paul Plato and Aristotle. Ones pointing up there with the. OK And one's pointing down Aristotle OK Very good now this was in the sixteenth century by the way imagine this is in the Vatican in the sixteenth century I don't know if there is one theologians picked up here who does that tell you something about or the system comes from. So I'm going to use this just philosophy in general I'm not going to use it representing this sixteenth century. So neoplatonic philosophy. The celestial perfect eternal forms. Were the heavenly forms and the imperfect earthly materialization of these forms were the earthly forms and so basically you have the idea of of a pope and. The eternal unmoving idea of the pulpit. And then you have the earthly form of that Paul put which is material that passes away it's you know it doesn't last forever is just a representation of the ideal of the pulpit. So the way you get knowledge is that knowledge emanates comes from this perfect eternal form and it makes its way down to us and it infuses us with knowledge so that's how we get knowledge that's how we know things. Knowledge comes to us from this eternal rational structure of the universe so that's quite different from the way we would think right I mean for us we get knowledge by the scientific method for the most part here your knowledge comes from the eternal forms and the idea of humanity is to return to the Attorney form to the one. By the way the one anyway. So our goal is really to return to the perfect eternal form the real form now a new Platonism. Out a major impact upon Christian philosophy Christian theology. For example. The natural immortality of the soul you have the imperfect earthly bodily forms the soul goes back gets reunited with the eternal form and what am I doing wrong good the SO goes back in and gets reunited with the eternal form so since reality was only accessible through intermediaries. So you know it's not like you sit here and you study this pope that the knowledge comes through into all these intermediaries so God was also only known approachable through intermediaries you see how your post of all G. impacts your concept of God And so if you want to know God. The most revealing itself through church from Mary in the St successor setter and if you want to reach back to God you want forgiveness or Grace or whatever you must do so through intermediaries see the connection there between philosophy and Christian it's Christian thinking. Philosophy and the facts that OK So origin one of the first Christian theologians. He was born and raised in Alexandria Greek city it was actually born a pagan who became converted to Christianity but he brought with him all of the philosophical ideas of Neoplatonism and so. Please point is and help the dual concept of eternal realities the reflection earthly forms this influenced their understanding in interpretation of literature so literature had a literal meaning but it also had an allegorical meaning so when you read a piece of literature you read Homer's something like that. It may have had some kind of a literal real background but primarily it had a spiritual meaning an allegorical meaning and so he took that method of interpretation which came from where. The Greek philosophy very good name from new Platonism and he imposed upon Scripture and so scripture had an allegorical meaning and a literal meaning actually he had four different categories but three of them kind of could be summarized under allegorical meaning. Well we go through this part quickly the point the point I want you to see here is that. His philosophy Cain within a with a hermeneutic you know what hermeneutics is how you interpret scripture your method of interpreting Scripture so his philosophy came with a hermeneutic that coincided with the philosophy so that when he imposed that philosophy upon Scripture the Bible became a good many a platonic book follow the Bible became a good neoplatonic book because it had the philosophy of Plato imposed on it because they were using the methods of Plato they were using them in or of thinking Plato. Exactly so he read it with the glasses of Neoplatonism. Good middle put right right now. So now Plato very clearly says that he wants the Bible to be the foundation for is the ology I think we need to learn from this I mean for him that was an absolute given. I should have said origin I'm sorry origin Thank you OK origins so that the Bible is the foundation for my fellow G. but by doing this. The obscured the Bible by using the methods of Neoplatonism to study the Bible obscure the Bible and made the bible into a good deal platonic book instead of the Word of God even though he says clearly the Bible is the Word of God he so he unconsciously took the principles of his era and the impose those on the Bible so lessons learned from Alexander the Great City accepted neoplatonic world view philosophy the allegorical method of interpretation was a product of the a platonic thinking the is this external method and thereby imposed Neoplatonism on the Bible Now this sounds theoretical at this point but when we get down on the reason I'm going through this now when we get down to the present we're going to find that there are new philosophies and new philosophies are being imposed upon Scripture and scriptures made to fit those new philosophical systems so by appealing to the allegorical method study scripture imposed platonic worldview upon Scripture structure became a good neoplatonic book is an intention was mission to reach people where they are and that be a caution for us his intention was to reach people where they are. I mean there are systems today that want to reach people where they are and they do it by imbibing their culture and codes acculturating because. And so what they're doing is really a gospel for their culture instead of the gospel of scripture OK So Scripture became a good neoplatonic book his intention of C.. So the baptism of Christianity by pagan culture was the result so to kind of summarize and this is true for the Middle Ages which we will move on to next but. Basically we start on the left here with a concept of reality you know you look at the trees you look at flowers. And you the deuce a concept a reality out of that analysis and you either impose that concept of reality on the Bible as origin did you take that concept a reality you impose it on the Bible and you end up with your idea of God or you argue directly from that concept of reality as we'll see for the Middle Ages and got that yields your idea of God So in the Middle Ages the light of Scripture was almost extinguished the Bible. Philosophical arguments for the existence of God The Bible simply assumes the existence of God it doesn't try to give a philosophical argument or a scientific argument or something else it just simply presents in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth when we use another system to prove the existence of God who is the authority we are the system that we have used is the authority OK and often evangelists. Use the argument of design to prove the existence of God and to prove the validity of the Bible when they're doing that. What is the authority now we said that it's OK to use reason just not as a foundation right so it's a good argument but when we make it the foundation of our argument then we're mis using it and really turning the argument into God instead of accepting the God who reveals himself OK so and so on have been are our argument for the existence of God reason puts us in touch with the whole order of being has its own principles of operation so when you start with the reason you can understand you know the whole order being and it has its own principles of operation therefore reason gives a foundation for except in the existence of God So how do we know such a being is exist God exists by an argument that arises from an addition definition of God and I won't try to go through all of this it will take too much time but I'll simply describe it for for you. The definition is God is a big then which nothing greater can be conceived you can think of anything greater than the being OK The question is does that god exist even the fool who says in his heart there is no God by saying there is no God He has the idea of God right. Otherwise he couldn't say there is no God OK So everybody has in their mind the idea of God The question is Does God exist well if God doesn't exist then I think I can think of a lesser being. I can think of you. You're a lesser being aren't you OK. You exist you do OK So you're a lesser being and you exist which makes you greater than the being then which nothing greater can be conceived to contradict contradiction of of argument therefore there does exist a god. Than which nothing greater can be conceived you see starting with the philosophical system that came from very thought and just simply by sitting in the rocking chair who comes up with the idea that God must exist because my reasons says that God must exist therefore God exists so basically of course he made the human being the authority of the argument design we started talking about the question is who is the designer. Is a God of pantheism polytheism the universe is all chance master computer or the God of the viable how can we didn't help can we tell what philosophical system are we going to use to tell us which one of those is God or the other thousands of possibilities for God. Now scholasticism again I want to emphasize I'm not saying that argument is not useful I'm saying it has to be done in this context if we're leading our believers to say the argument design points to God therefore God exists therefore he must have revealed himself therefore his viable is viable is His Word we are teaching them to rely on a philosophical system instead of on a biblical system and I was down in Australia some of the Angelus came to us and said Now we understand why are our converts are not staying in the church. Because we have converted them to humanism instead of to the political thinking and so that each Some of them restructure their way of doing eventual isn't OK scholasticism here is titles understanding of the world. And Thomas Aquinas picked up on Aristotle's understanding of the world. For Thomas Aquinas you have the Bible and you have natural law you have the truths of nature and the Bible now how do these two Enter relate with one another it's the Bible hope you saw. So hard the Bible and OK the Bible in nature tradition the pope church council philosophy etc Can we all say that together the Bible. Is up where you like your students to respond. OK the Bible and OK the Bible and five years from now are you going to remember the Bible then OK ten years from now are you going to remember the Bible that's what separates some of payout bonus from other groups well I mean changing the word and but. It's a small thing the Bible and but yet we see where that takes us OK it really determines the road that we finally go on OK So the first Thomas Aquinas the final fundamental propositions of scripture are the starting point or presupposition of his theological thinking so he made it clear he wants to start with scripture another lesson for us we make it clear we want to start with Scripture right and then we start someplace else in order to prove Scripture so that we can use scripture OK so. For him God gave us Revelation and he gave us the natural world. So now so he gave us and independent of revelation he gave us reason he gave us the natural world. Yeah. And I tried to correct myself probably didn't do very well but but just having that little word there when we get to the Reformation we'll find there's a different word in there and we should have that position right precisely. Because we are. When you deal with the Bible and you have to oppose Tamala G.'s epistemology of the Bible two concepts of knowledge and how you wire knowledge and the oppressed of all A-G. of whatever philosophy you're using and then you combine those two together and we'll see this is what Thomas Aquinas. Move through this fairly quickly. I can illustrate it later. So basically here is the Thomas accent casus you have the relation of the natural world to Revelation truth is truth wherever it may be found. They have heard that. Truth as truth for ever may be found. OK Or would we want to reformulate them. The Christ say. They didn't say I along with the natural world or I along with Roman thinking or I along with some other system are the truth I am the Way the Truth and the life a way that I am I'm sure you're aware of that means he's self exist and he's not dependent on any one else or anything else OK So the truth is truth for me be found so you start with the census the census present to the money knowledge from the natural world. So you get the data of the natural world. Reason comes in and reason takes the data of the natural world and interprets it into a system and reason is adequate and self sufficient both for obtaining truth in the natural world and for acquiring limited knowledge of God in the spiritual world so if this is all I have by have this the data that's given to the senses and reason. I can understand the natural world. And I can say limited things about God limited but true things about God when revelation comes notice how it neatly fits in with what you've already discovered to be true revelation doesn't alter the way you look at the natural world that augments the way you look at the natural world it brings additional knowledge which we could not know were it not for revelation so revelation brings additional knowledge which coheres with out already available in the natural world and so revelation of reason in the natural world come from God and are therefore in harmony with one another so it sounds like an Illinois quotation. OK Does you want to elaborate OK. Right right. Right yeah she adds one half sentence to this which makes all the difference in the world. Revelation reason the natural world come from God and are therefore in harmony with each other when studied from. What the Bible you see the difference say one is making the Bible the foundation the other is you have to foundations you have revelation you have the Bible and the natural world so there's the Bible and the natural world again OK so. For him the task was integration. Have you heard the word integration before I'm trying to get us to move from integration to Biblical foundations with integration you have to post I'm all G.'s one a secular Appice I'm all G. another Biblical testimony and you try to synthesize the two together so it's the Bible and. Rather than the Bible alone as the foundation Remember the Bible alone doesn't say you don't use reason and so you don't use science so that the Bible is the foundation and the guide for using reason and science. So this will move through this so finally the role of reason theology is both dominant in term and determinative So the information which is given in Revelation is integrated with knowledge of to him by reason. Interpreted in terms of knowledge. Revelation does not change the existing thought that ignores rather it brings to conclusion the existing lines of thought allowing reason to provide the structure for the ology to see how that's working the reason provides the structure provides the foundation revelation adds to that structure and foundation so the message of Scripture is not only shaped by the flaws philosophical system of thought but in actuality its content is actually changed the net effect of using reason is the context in which to structure and interpret revelation transforms the theology of Aquinas into a philosophical system rather than a biblical philosophy so let's let's test this and see how it works remember I said. Your post I'm ology determines what. Concept of god concept of yourself concept to the world and so on so forth so let's see about his approach to Mali's started with their style started with his supposed Amala G. of Kirpal type of system ology and Aristotle so that God is the UN moved mover so it sounds like a pretty good place to start with God as. God is on the move mover OK Everything that exists. From the Unmoved Mover OK so if God is the on move mover and God is perfect. Doesn't change she's changeless. What do you do with the Old Testament when it says that God was in Christ reckons or rather the Old Testament says that God sorrows with our sympathizes with our sorrows in Greece and their god is being impacted by our sorrows Griese What do you do with the New Testament when it says God was in Christ reconciling the world and to himself we have to say that's an inferior theology by because you already know that God's on unmoved mover and you can't be impacted by anything that takes place in the universe that everything emanates from him but nothing comes back in packs you know and so the few ology the philosophy that he started with made it impossible for him to accept basic aspects of scripture namely that God is a personal God who wants to interact with us. So he opposed some of this motive it was foundational. It was used as a basis for the benefit of the ology I want you to notice the sequence remember we have the sequence with with origin for the origin we had a lot. Of philosophical system Neoplatonism we had a method that came out of that system and therefore we imposed the Zero Point Newsom on the Bible OK so here we have Eris to Toyah some a different philosophical system was used as a basis for method in the ology the ology became an expression of the philosophy of Aristotle so to try to illustrate the apposite model of the age. The mind of man is the limbs in the center there. And whatever is outside gets imposed directly upon our mind and I know those of you who are photographers it should be turned upside down but then it would kind of destroy the illustration so we'll leave it right side up but whatever you see whatever the natural world is you have an exact imprint that takes place on your mind whether with Plato that comes from the eternal structure of reality that imposes meaning on our mind or Aristotle of more in Perkel nothing there's an exact reproduction between what's outside of us and what's what's in our mind and we'll see when we come to contemporary philosophies there's a huge change and so in summary. To the time of the Reformation we have the Bible. OK thank you and we all say that the other the Bible. OK so the theology of the Middle Ages explicitly developed with nothing of the integration of faith and learning the Bible and reason the natural world the pope church councils tradition etc etc So scholasticism built upon the rock and reason what happens to the house when it's built on to first of all geez. Younes to crack part. As I suspect you'd like to break. Some of this through out through a lot of material. This media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more sermon leave a Visit W W W audio verse or.

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