At 10:12 PM 05/02/02 -0800, Adrian Teo wrote:
>You seem to be assuming too much - that anything based on Greek philosophy
>is suspect, and that reformed thought is the only correct version and
>entirely devoid of Greek influence. Be aware that Reformed theology proposed
>a number of ideas that were generally foreign to Chrisitanity in the 1400 or
>so years prior to it. The dualistic idea is not something that the medieval
>theologians/philosophers invented. A careful study of historical documents
>in Christianity will reveal that early church fathers such as Justin Martyr,
>Irenaeus and Athenagoras were dualist. I suspect that most of the early
>Reformers were dualist as well. If the virtual consensus of Christendom in
>2000 years on this issue is wrong because of Greek influence, then one has
>to question if the Bible itself is accurate in its claim that Jesus promised
>the guidance of the Holy Spirit to the church.
Yes, you are completely right in what you say above, except, of course,
when you start doubting the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I still say, that
the dualistic view is unbiblical, and was based on pagan Greek
philosophy. And as far as the "virtual consensus of Christendom" is
concerned, I have heard that argument more often, but it does not convince
me. When my prof. in 1942 started talking about in his lectures, he went
through the bible quoting all texts, in the original, and showed how
translators often used different words for the same original word in Hebrew
in their translations. The same goes for the translations from the Greek.
The holy Spirit guides the church, yes, but through sinful people, meaning
that what we say, or translate, is not always right. That goes for me, for
you, and for translators.
Gordon Spykman writes in "Reformational Theology" about it: pages 233-245,
chapter II-9, which I am not going to copy here. He starts with confirming
that this issue has "plagued" the Christian community for 2000 years,
continuing:"Nowhere have the deforming influences of Greek philosophy on
the Christian religion and its theology taken their toll more heavily than
in the area of anthropology."
He says that the Greco-Christian synthesis started in the second century.
Then on page 238: "A dichotomist view of man is accordingly at odds with
our life experience set in the light of Scripture. "Body" is not some
"animal baggage" carried over from a primitive past. We are not merely
"embodied souls" nor "animated corpses."
He goes on to quote Gilkey, "Maker of Heaven and Earth.", and Bavinck
"Gereformeerde Dogmatiek" (the latter is written originally in Dutch, but
apparently available in English as well, unless Spykman translated without
Note that Bavinck was living in the 19th century. Two of my
great-grandfathers studied under him. So, what I wrote is not something of
the last century.
>I argue that in spite of the shortcomings of some major characters in the
>early/mid medieval church, it was nevertheless the church as the Body of
>Christ; the same church that adopted some Greek ideas and rejected others;
>the same church that grew out of the early church, and grew into what we see
>as Christianity today. If the medieval church was wrong in foundational
>philosophical assumptions, then I believe the credibility of the Scriptures
>is at stake.
The credibility of Scriptures is not at stake at all, at most the
credibility of the translators. Greek ideas were adopted in the second
century, when some scholars became Christians. When I had to study History
of Philosophy in the forties, my teacher showed the lines of thought in
philosophic thinking. All, or almost all thinking in the West goes back to
Jan de K..
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