History of Philosophy and Christian Thought - Lesson 7

The Forms

Plato described the universe as having three levels: the world of particulars, the world of forms, and the form of the good.

Ronald Nash
History of Philosophy and Christian Thought
Lesson 7
Watching Now
The Forms

Platonic Philosophy

Part 2

III. Plato's Theory of the Forms

A. Human beings participate in two different worlds.

1. Physical world (the lower world)

2. "World of Forms" (the higher world)

B. There is a form in the world for every class of object.

1. Universals - properties that are shared by many objects

2. Eternal entities - numbers or propositions that can only exist in a mind

C. The Allegory of the Cave

1. Slaves represent the entire human race.

2. Freed prisoner represents the philosopher who sees the truth.

D. Plato's Three-story Universe

1. The World of Particulars (the material world)

2. The World of Forms

a. Higher Forms

b. Lower Forms

3. The Form of the Good (the sun)

a. The good is the ultimate end and highest goal of human life.

b. The good is the necessary condition of human knowledge.

c. The good is also the creative and sustaining cause of the intelligible world.

E. An Example

  • Thales and Anaximander were two philosophers in the sixth century BC that lived in Miletus.

  • Heraclitus and Pythagoras lived into the 5th century BC.

  • Any worldview addresses the subjects of God, ultimate reality, human knowledge, ethics and human persons.

  • Fundamental beliefs of a naturalistic worldview is that nothing exists outside the physical universe and that all things evolved.

  • Plato was a student of Socrates and lived into the fourth century BC. He opposed hedonism, empiricism, relativism, materialism, atheism and naturalism.

  • Plato described the universe as having three levels: the world of particulars, the world of forms, and the form of the good.

  • Plato's view of the universe was dualistic.

  • One of Plato's fundamental arguments is that the human soul is immortal.

  • Evaluation of Plato's arguments and comparison of Plato's philosophy with biblical theology.

  • Empiricism teaches that all human knowledge arises from sense experience. Rationalism teaches that some human knowledge does not arise from sense. experience

  • Aristotle was a student of Plato and lived in the fourth century BC.

  • Aristotle rejected Plato's doctrine of two worlds.

  • Discussion of Aristotelian philosophy as it relates to the incarnation.

  • Aristotle's philosophy as it relates to attributes of God and fundamental assumptions about psychology.

  • Aristotle made a distinction between passive intellect and active intellect.

  • Discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the law of non-contradiction.

  • Discussion of the nature and substance of matter.

  • Hellenistic philosophy was an approach that was popular from the fourth century BC to the fifth century AD.

  • Stoics were determinists who believed in living according to nature.

  • Hedonism emphasized pleasure as the greatest good. "Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we might be dead."

  • Philo's philosophy was based on a synthesis of Stoicism and Platonism.

  • Implicit "Logos" Christianity is an underlying theme in the book of Hebrews.

  • Plotinus lived in the third century AD and is considered the founder of Neoplatonism.

  • Augustine is a Latin church father, is considered by many to be one of the most important figures in the development of Western Christianity.

  • Augustine wrote Confessions as an autobiographical work to record his experience as a sinful youth and his experience becoming a follower of Christ.

  • Augustine wrote to refute some heresies of the day by focusing on the concepts of faith and reason.

  • Augustine writes about the problem of evil and describes evil as the absence of good.

  • Augustine writes to refute Pelagianism by focusing on the biblical teaching about sin.

  • Augustine writes to refute Donatism.

  • The fundamental idea of skepticism is that no one can know anything. Augustine this statement contradicts itself because the skeptic is claiming that you can know that you can't know anything.

  • When Augustine wrote "The City of God," he had a linear view of history.

  • In Augustine's theory of knowledge, he says that eternal reason and human reason are two different levels of reason.

  • Augustine was personally convinced of the importance of divine illumination.

  • The intellectual background of Thomas Aquinas was influenced by the discovery of ancient manuscripts, the rise of universities, the rise of religious brotherhoods and the rise of Muslim philosophy.

  • Aquinas describes faith as whatever a human can know through special revelation, and reason as whatever a human can know outside of special revelation.

  • Aquinas attempts to prove God's existence.

  • Aquinas describes four kinds of law as eternal, divine, natural and positive.

  • The rationalists and empiricists set the stage for Kant and other philosophers of the modern era.

  • Kant argued that moral requirements are based on a standard of rationality he dubbed the “Categorical Imperative."

  • Kants two worlds are the phenomenal world and the noumenal world.

  • Discussion of criticisms and questions about Kant's ideas.

  • Similarities between Kant's ideas and postmodernism.

  • The dialectic is a central idea in Hegel's philosophy.

  • Ideally, Marxism begins with class struggle, then revolution, dictatorship of the proletariat, withering away of the state, and a utopian classless society.

  • Discussion of four faces of Marxism.

  • Nietzsche proclaimed that, "God is dead." His cure was to live life knowing there is no ultimate meaning. Kierkegaard emphasized a worldview based on true faith.

In this class, you will explore the rich history of philosophy and its relationship with Christian thought. The course begins with an introduction to the definition and importance of philosophy in Christian theology. You will then delve into the evolution of philosophical thought from the Pre-Socratic era, through the Classical Greek philosophers, and into the Hellenistic period. As you progress, you will discover how early Christian thought emerged and developed during the Patristic period, with a special focus on Augustine. The class continues with an examination of medieval Christian thinkers, such as Anselm and Thomas Aquinas, and concludes with an analysis of modern philosophers like Descartes, Kant, and Kierkegaard, and their influence on contemporary Christian thought.

Dr. Ronald Nash
History of Philosophy and Christian Thought
The Forms
Lesson Transcript


I am now going to tell you how to answer or how to begin answering your first question on the midterm exam. We're going to spend the next 45 minutes or 50 minutes. We're going to stop at 10 minutes to 11 or thereabouts. If I go one or 2 minutes over, don't. Don't lose it. Okay. But there will be a question on the midterm exam in which you will be asked to explain Plato's theory of the forms to someone other than me. I often suggest to people in preparation for this question that you not form a mental image of me because that can just, you know, upset your day when this question will be on the test. But instead of forming a mental picture of me and writing this essay to me, imagine that you're writing this to someone who is not trained in philosophy. Maybe a sister, maybe your mother, some relative. Here's why. When you think of the professor, there's a tendency, at least during one's first exam, to skip material, because you're going to think the professor knows this. Therefore, I don't have to see this. But I do want you to say it. When you skip important steps in the development of a theory like this. You hurt yourself and you hurt your grades. So I want you to visualize someone who doesn't know anything about philosophy so that you'll start at 0.0 ground zero. And then just. Just build a case for this. Okay. Now, whenever I talk about Plato's theory of the forms and let's open our textbooks to the place where we are, here we are on page page 63, the top of the page.


[00:02:25] Here's the sentence with which every midterm exam question about Plato's theory, the form should begin. If you don't use this as your first sentence, you will be in desperate straits. All right. Here it is. Plato believed that human beings exist in two different worlds. Isn't that simple to remember? In fact, 40 years ago, there was a popular song here in America. It went like this. Two different worlds. We live in two different worlds. Now, a lot of people thought that was a song about romance. No, it was a song about philosophy. It's about platonism. Once you write that sentence, what's the next thing you're going to talk about in your essay about Plato? What's the next thing you're going to do to the world? You're going to explain what those two different worlds are, you see? Whereas if you start with any other sentence, you could be off in Never, Never land. So let's move on then, to our next point. What are the two different worlds in which Plato thinks every human being lives? Well, I'm going to use my own terminology. I'm going to call one of those two worlds. The lower world. The lower world. Anybody have any idea what I'm going to call the other world of higher world? The higher world. Who said that? I just want to know who my good students are. Thank you. That's very good. The higher world. And if we had a third world, what would we call it? Well, we won't have that. All right, The higher world. Let's talk first about the lower world, because this is this is very easy to grasp. The lower world is the world in which you live every day of your life. This room is a part of the lower world.


[00:04:34] Your table is a part of the lower world. Your body is part of the lower world. Your car, your house, your books. Even I am a part of the lower world. Now, Plato didn't use that terminology. Plato referred to the lower world using this. He called this the world of particular things. The world of particular things. Okay. Now, let's add another comment here. Plato said Everything in the world at particular things is constantly changing. He could have added. You can never step into the same river twice. Plato's lower world is very similar to the thinking of what Pre-socratic philosopher Heraclitus. Wow, what a class. Either that or what a teacher. I'm not sure which. And everything in the lower world is known by sense experience. Sense experience. Okay. We know about we participate in the in the world of particular things through our bodies. Everything in the lower world is exists in the world of space and time. So just look around you for the rest of today. Say to yourself this I'm participating in the world a particular thing. Now, the higher world is the world is Plato's world of the forms. It is also we have other names for this. We can call it the world of universals. The word universal is especially appropriate because it is. It contrasts with the world of particular things. In the world of the forms. Nothing changes. No. Let's just say it is unchanging. In fact, this is the world of palm entities. And you all know by now that Plato regarded palm entities as the greatest of the Pre-socratic philosophers. This is one reason because just about everything that Palm entity said about his world. Well, let me just put it in this way. If you just look at the Pre-socratic philosophers, you have one guy saying, everything in the world changes.


[00:07:18] You have another guy saying nothing changes. What Plato did was to take those two worlds and make them two features, two aspects, two dimensions of the same universe. Now, if we know the world of particular things through our senses, how do we come to know the world of forms? The mind. Reason oak and the corresponding organ here we know the lower world through sense experience. We participate in the lower world through our bodies. We participate in the higher world, the world of the forms through our soul. Okay. Now, let me give you a definition of the forms. A form is an eternal, unchanging, non spatial, non temporal essence. Now, you do not you probably don't know yet what what an essence is, but don't worry, you will soon enough. Now, that's a start. But now let's go further. Let me see if I can find a Yeah. If you look at the first paragraph below the diagram on page 63, for Plato, a form is an eternal, unchangeable and universal essence. Well, that that comes close to the definition I have given you on the board. Some of Plato's forms are relatively easy to understand. He believed that what we encounter in the physical world are imperfect examples of such unchanging absolutes as goodness, justice, truth and beauty that exist in an ideal, non spacial world. Plato also believed that the world of the forms contains exemplars, that is, archetypes, patterns, models of such mathematical and geometrical entities as numbers and the perfect circle. The imperfect circles that we encounter in the physical world are copies of one perfect and eternal circle that we know through our minds. It would be a mistake to think that Plato believed these forms exist only in people's minds.


[00:09:33] They point to his theory. The point to his theory is that these forms have an objective and extra mental existence. Never think that these forms just exist in minds. They exist independently of human minds, of created minds. They would exist even if no human being existed or were thinking of them. Truth, beauty, goodness and other forms existed before there were any human minds. Only when human minds focus on the forms, does genuine human knowledge become possible. Okay. Now you can read the rest of that little section. And it is in that the rest of that section that I explain the word universal. But I want to keep moving here. I then proceed through the book to give you a number of different examples. Let me let me explain what I'm doing here. Understanding Plato's world of the forms is like an initiation into philosophy. Once you get it, you have become you have won your white belt in philosophy. My grandson's into karate. Once you grasp the theory of the forms, you're on your way, at least to the next stage or to the next bell. But this is difficult for some people. And I want you to understand, and I'm a little sorry. Maybe I'd better revise my organization today and include the the allegory of the cave today. Because one nice thing about the allegory of the cave is it really helps you understand that Plato knows how tough your situation is. And the reason now I'm skipping a few pages here, and we're all going to turn to the allegory of the cave, which is begins on page 71, is because it just seems to me that it might be somewhat encouraging to understand that Plato knows how you feel, so that when we come back next week, I'll go back to where I switched from and we'll go through all of those examples.


[00:11:48] And somewhere along the line next week, they're all manner of students will be yelling, Hallelujah, I see it. I got it. And we may even give an altar call. Has anybody have a tape to just as I am. Okay, so let's switch to the allegory of the cave, which is page 71 and 72. Now, this allegory of the cave appears in Plato's great work called the Republic. It appears in Book seven. I would love to think that some of you would be motivated enough to read the allegory of the cave itself. I really there's no excuse for me not xeroxing this material and making it available to you because it's public domain material. Plato delivers the allegory of the cave through Socrates. But remember, this is an excellent case of Socrates being used by Plato as simply a spokesperson. I'm going to draw my own picture of the cave, looking at the cave from the top down. Okay. And at the back. Wall of the cave. Plato asks us to imagine a large group of slaves, prisoners who have been bound there from birth. Now, don't ask silly questions here. Like what did they do with the babies that were born? This. This is a myth. Okay. How did they change diapers? Don't ask that stuff. These people are prisoners bound like this so that they cannot look to the left or the right. They can only look at the back wall of the cave. Then back in the cave, there is a fire. Don't attach too much significance to the fire. The fire serves one purpose and one purpose. Primarily, it produces light down in the cave. All right. If you don't have a fire, there's no light. And if there's no light, then we don't know what's in the rest of the cave.


[00:14:04] Between the fire and the prisoners, there is a ditch. And then on one side of the ditch, there is a low wall. So let's put the wall here between the fire and the prisoners. And then behind the wall, Plato says men walk carrying statues. Statues of a horse or cow. A tree of just all kinds of things. Now, obviously, under this scenario, these statues cause shadows to be cast on the back wall of the cave. You get the picture so that every every one of these slaves has only experienced these shadows on the back wall of the cave from birth. That's all they know. Now, we're going to assume that one of these prisoners let's pick this one way down here. This prisoner becomes freed from his chains and he starts walking around the cave, which again, is another good reason to have the fire. Because if this sucker gets freed from his chains and there's no fire down there, he's going to get lost. He's going to fall in a pit or something. So we got to have light. So this prisoner starts walking and imagine his discovery because this prisoner had believed that these shadows were the only world that existed. Why? Because he was sorry he was imprisoned like that. All of a sudden, he realizes that those shadows are not the only world. They're not, in fact, the real world. They're just a shadowy imitation of a shadow, a reflection of those statues. So finally, he. He notices the way out of the cave, and he starts climbing up. Now, of course, this then becomes very dark. It's very steep. He's on his hands and his knees. This is a very arduous, difficult climb that takes him a long time. But then finally, he comes to the entrance to the cave and he steps out into the bright sunlight.


[00:16:23] What happens when you leave a dark room and enter into bright sunlight? Answer You're blinded. You can't see. And so the prisoner is he draws back and it takes a long time for his eyes to adjust. But when they finally do adjust, he sees a beautiful world, beautiful colors, beautiful scenery. I mean, it is just magnificent. And after a while, the prisoner feels at home and he really wants to stay out here. He really wants to stay outside the cave. But then he remembers the fellow prisoners and he says, I can't be selfish. I've got to go back into the cave and I've got to tell the other prisoners what I have discovered. All right. So he comes back in the cave. And what happens when you leave bright sunlight and go into a totally dark environment? Once again, you're blind. You can't see. And so he stumbles around, stumbles around until he gets back into the cave, and he starts going up and down and he starts talking to the other prisoners. And guess what happens? The other prisoners kill him. They kill him. All right. Now, what does all of this mean? Who are the prisoners that you. Ah, the prisoners. Mm hmm. In fact, every member of the human race is a prisoner. A prisoner? So what? Your senses. You're a slave to your senses. Why? Because your senses have been your only source of information for your entire life. And because you have been so totally dependent upon your senses, you just naturally assume that the world that you know through your senses is the only world that exists. But what you need to understand and what the freed prisoner tried to tell them was that this world is not the real world.


[00:18:42] All you've been apprehending through your senses for your entire life is a shadowy imitation of a higher world. Actually, as that prisoner was coming down back into the cave, he was heard to be singing a song. And that song was This world is not my home. I'm just the past and true, my treasures are laid up. Some were beyond the other. Hmm. That's how Bing Crosby used to sing that. Hmm. Okay, so the prisoners represent you and the entire human race who are slaves to your senses. And one of the reasons Plato is saying here that you are having trouble understanding Nash's magnificent text here is because you're blinded by sense experience. Now, who does the freed prisoner represent? Certainly Socrates, in another sense, Plato. But I am also here to tell you that that freed prisoner represents me. Okay. Because once upon a time, I was a slave, just like you are. But I got delivered. How? Through this course, I got delivered. Yeah. Hallelujah. I got delivered. Brothers and sisters. All right. Now about the killing of that. All right. Be honest. Have any of you felt the slightest twinge of animosity towards me? Just a little bit. Now, that's normal, you understand? But. So I read the course evaluations that I get, and I know I know that there are students who've taken this course who would like to do to me what they did to Socrates. I know that, but I don't drink dry, don't drink hemlock. So we're going to have to find some other way to eliminate me. See now what goes on out here. Well. I'm going to tell you, and I'm really getting ahead of myself. This is very risky. I've never done this before because normally I've had more time in this part of the course.


[00:21:19] But Plato has what we call a three story universe. This follows right after the allegory of the cave and your text. Now, I know some of you are saying I think Nash is contradicting himself. Don't ever think that because I don't contradict myself. Okay. But Nash just said there were two worlds. There's a higher world. There's a lower world. There's the world of the forms and there's the world of particulars. Where did this third story of the universe come in? Well, just wait. Be patient, okay? Plato believes there are three stories to the universe. The first story of the universe is what we called earlier. The lower world. The world of particular things. The world of particular things. And I believe that that refers to the prisoners and the shadows on the back wall of the cave. All right. That's the lower world right here. Plato makes. Well, that's. That's that. Then the second level of Plato's universe is the world of the forms. That's the higher world. Okay. But here, I believe, and I may be the only guy who's ever published this, so you're doubly privileged today. You're doubly privileged. You can't get this. You can't get this at Westminster Seminary. You just can't. You can't get this at Covenant Seminary. You could get it at Southern Baptist Seminary, but it would only be through me. I mean, I'd only be through me. I'm. I'm it. All right. You can't make sense of the allegory of the cave without recognizing that there must be two levels to the world of the forms. There are two levels to the world of the form. And so I distinguish between lower forms. Anybody have any ideas what the other level is? Yeah. Higher forms. What a teacher.


[00:23:30] What a teacher. Higher form. Now, here's my theory. The lower forms refer to the statues down inside the cave. And the higher forms refer to the beautiful things that the prisoner saw outside the cave. Now I can prove this, and I can teach this by asking each of you to close your eyes while I douse the lights. Okay. We're going to perform a scientific experiment here. Okay. The room is dark. Close your eyes, and I'm going to ask you to form a mental picture of two things. And after you perform this mental picture of two things, then you're going to know what the difference is between a higher form and a lower form. First of all, I want you to form a mental picture of a perfect circle. Parenthesis. If we had had a little more time, I could have set the stage a little better because one of the ways in which I distinguish between particular things and forms is talking to students about a perfect circle. I'll come back to this maybe later today. You see the thing The circles that you and I encounter in this world through our bodily senses are not really perfect circles. And I'll say more about that later. All right. So close your eyes. Form a mental picture of a perfect circle. Okay. Now, I got to ask you a couple of other questions. Why your eyes are closed. How many of you, as you're looking at this perfect circle in your mind, see this perfect circle as a white line against a black surface? Let me raise your hands if that's what you're aware of. I see those hands. Thank you very much. You may put those down. How many of you see a black line against a white service? You raise your hands.


[00:25:28] Okay, put those down. Thank you. Bless you. How many of you see this perfect circle in Technicolor? Let me see your hands. All right, now keep your hands up, because this is very serious. This points to a major problem. And we have a counseling person to see you after. After the service. I'm sorry. This is. This is. This is not good. But we we we have to keep going. Okay. Now, with your eyes still closed, I want you to form a mental picture of perfect goodness. Perfect goodness. Now, don't open your eyes. Start calling off to me what you see in this image of perfect goodness. Start. Let me hear you. Just tell. Don't be embarrassed. Tell me what you see. We have a person who sees Jesus. That happens every time. Okay? And there's always one crackpot in every class. Apple pie. Perfect. Goodness. That's the lust of the flesh right there. God. Lust of the flesh. All right. Any normal people here? Listen to this. How many of you see? Just a very bright light. Raise your hand. I see those. Let me count them. If you see just a bright light. One, two, three, four, five, six. Spiritual people in here. All right. Thank you. You made them. We're going to come back to that bright light in a moment. Any other things that you. How many of you see? Nothing. Nothing. That's what I expected. All right. Okay. Nothing. Open your eyes. Open your eyes. Let's turn on the lights. Now, I believe that that perfect circle that you visualized represents a lower form. You see, when Plato starts talking about the lower forms. He describes them as things that we can. There forms, but they're things that we can actually image.


[00:27:45] And I think they're very much like the statues. The statues down in the cave that cause the shadows on the back wall of the cave. Things like the perfect horse or the perfect cow or the perfect circle or things like that that we can image. But when I asked you to form a mental image of the perfect goodness, now the picture of Jesus, that's a result of teaching and education. Okay. And there's nothing wrong with that. That's a good answer. That's a good spiritual answer. But technically, those of you who saw the bright light, let's go back to our prisoner. What happened to him? What did he see when he left the cave? He was blinded by the light. Those of you who saw that day, are you impressed? Hmm. And the rest of you? The rest of you. Those of you who saw the light. There's a real hope for me. I ought to give you an A on the course right now. Okay. And the rest of you just saw darkness because you never left the cave. See? You're still down here. Can you change your answer? Who said that? Oh, okay. Now. So whatever the higher forms are, they are essences that you can't see with in your mind. And I'll tell you what they are. It's. It's perfect truth, perfect justice, perfect equality. Well, what's the third story? It's right here. It's the peak. It's the apex of the triangle. What Plato teaches is that there is one form that is higher than all of the others. I mean, here we have the lower forms, like perfect circle and the number one and so on. Then we have the higher forms like truth, justice. But what is the higher form? Plato calls it the form of the good.


[00:29:58] The form of the good. Now what's the only other? What? What's the only other thing in our picture that can stand for this highest form? The sun. Yeah, the sun. Where's the cover? To my book called The Word of God. But I took it back to my office. And none of you have the first edition of that. Or do you? You've got the. Now, see? I'll bring it back next time. On the original cover of the original edition. There it is. Stand up and hold. Oh. Where did you get that? Oh, from somebody who took the course. Stand up and show it to everybody. What a great cover that is. Notice the sun. Well, you didn't do a very good job of showing that, but that's okay. The sun. And hold it up again. There's. What's that other figure there? Looks like a book. Looks like a dove. It's the book in the shape of a dog. What do you suppose that book stands for, Bob? The Bible. Let's just say the Reader's Digest for the people listening by tape who may at this very moment be in the tribulation period. Some members of this class are in there with you. Okay. They're in there with you, I guarantee you. Okay. But I know we only have a sense of humor here. Bad sense of humor. But, you know, you're trying your best. The Bible in the form of a dull. Is there a message there? Yeah, because we need the objective word of God. And we need the subjective work of the Holy Spirit. And together, God lightens our minds so that we understand the What a great cover that it's. I'm sorry that no one listening by tape will ever be able to see that cover.


[00:32:10] Okay. Now, while we're at it, we might as well finish this point. We are way we're way away from the organization. But I don't think it hurts for you to see where we're going. See, if I had just stayed on track and covered page after page, I'd have put you to sleep and we'd have ended. We'd have lost the rest of this period before you knew what the the payoff was. So now we can go back next week and recover that ground. And you're not going to be bored. You're going to be enthralled because you're going to know where we're going to end up. See? Now. I think the form of the good represents Plato's God. At the time He wrote The Republic, it represents Plato's God. Why do I say that? Here's the answer. Whatever is most important in any person's worldview is his God. I said that the last time we met. Even if you have an atheist, whatever is most important in that atheist universe is really his God. It probably is himself. That was certainly the case with Bertrand Russell. Now, I want to point out to you three things that Plato says about God. Now, once again, we're doing some skipping, but you might as well know where we're going. Turn to page 85. Oh, we're really skipping around, but it doesn't hurt you. In Plato's Republic, he makes three statements about the form of the good. And if I am correct, that Plato's form of the good was really his God at this particular moment. We are in the presence of some pretty amazing. Sentences on page 85. I tell you that three things that Plato says about the good. The highest principle in his universe are statements that all of us make about God.


[00:34:33] Let me show you. Now I'm going to read from page 85, but I'm going to make one change. Instead of reading what Plato says about the word good. I'm going to substitute for the word good. Our word. God. All right. Top of page 85. Plato believed that the God God is the ultimate end of human life. Do you believe that? You better. God is the ultimate end of human life. The highest goal of which humans are capable is knowledge of God. Do you believe that without knowledge of God, the knowledge of everything else would have no value in comparison with God. All else pales in significance. Wow. Let's go on. Point to God is the necessary condition of human knowledge. Without God, the world could not be intelligible, and the human mind could not be intelligent. Do you understand that? Do you believe that? I hope you do. Just as light from the sun. Hold up my book. Cover again. Hold it up. Just as light from the sun is necessary to turn potential color into actual color. So the light from the got from God is necessary in order to make knowledge of the other forms possible. If it were not for the form of the good, if it were not for God, no human being could attain knowledge of any of the other forms or of anything else that exists. Man. Is this guy? A reformed theologian. Right. That's third point. God is also the creative and sustaining cause of the intelligible world, the world outside the cave, the world of the forms. Plato suggested if the form of the good did not exist in some prior capacity, nothing else would exist, including the rest of the forms. Now you're going to have to read this several times.


[00:36:31] All right. I know you read it and you skimmed over it, but I bet you that the point here never hit you. I'm going to make a claim. All right? That in these passages in book seven of Plato's Republic, he comes as close as any on regenerate a human being ever did. He comes as close to an understanding of the nature of God through general revelation as any human being ever has. And then you know what he did because of and you get to read Romans chapter one, Plato gets as close as any human being ever did through general Revelation. And he didn't know what he had. And so he walked away from it. And never again do you find Plato even referring to what he does in Book seven of the Republic. This is a total confirmation of Romans chapter one that the natural man is without excuse. Here's Plato, who gets all this way through his own human speculation and he doesn't know what he's got. Now, let me make one more point here. Here is this passage right here that has led some people to think that maybe Plato, during his journeys, did, in fact contract contact. Did this visit the Middle East? Did talk to some people who were familiar with the Old Testament? No, it won't work. This is general revelation, but this is an unruly, generous man walking away from it, which is what all unread generate human beings do, even if they happen to get this close. This is the middle of his life. Never again does he come close to saying this. Oh, what a tragedy. Okay, well, I don't know about you, but I'm impressed. But I'm also saddened. Now, does any other book ever talk about this stuff as I do and relate this stuff to the Judeo-Christian world? No.


[00:38:47] See? So here again, you quote, you can't get this in Philadelphia. You can't get this in Saint Louis, even in Louisville. You can only get it here. Now, if anybody wants to say glory right now, go ahead and do it. More. Hello. Hey. And we're not making fun here. This is this is this is exciting stuff, but it's also an indication of the truth of Romans chapter one that the natural man cannot reach a saving knowledge of the creator, God by himself. All right. Let's go back to page 64. And and I'm just going to cover this and then we'll pick it up next week. I give you in your textbooks several examples that are designed to help you grasp Plato's world of the forms. And we'll only we only have time to do one of these. Plato makes a big difference in his writings between definitions and an example. Definition. Definitions and examples. For example, in his writing, the youthful Socrates meets a young man who is about to arrest his father and prosecute his father for something that his father had done. And Socrates says to the young man, Well, why are you going to arrest your father? And the answer is because he's guilty of impiety. Impiety? He says, What a coincidence. I'm on my way to my own trial to defend myself against the charge of impiety. And as often happens in the early dialogs, Socrates professes ignorance about certain general ideas, certain general concepts. So Socrates says to the young man, Can you please define for me what piety is? Because I'm going to be I'm going to be tried for impiety and I don't know what's going on. And because you're going to do this to your father, clearly you must know what piety is.


[00:40:52] So please give me the definition of piety. Here's what the young man does. He doesn't give Socrates a definition of piety. He gives Socrates examples. Okay, now I'm going to give you we're going to forget the historical context. I'm going to give you Southern Baptist examples of piety. Okay. Piety. And I don't mean you understand. I don't mean to be the least bit. I'm not denigrating these examples. I'm just saying if you ask a typical Christian what would be examples of piety, he might say this giving grace before a meal. I'm not denigrating that. That's an example of piety. Take caring your Bible to church. But here's what Socrates says. You didn't do what I asked you to do. I asked you to give me the definition of piety. And you gave me examples. Which I illustrate in terms of vertical lines. When I ask for the definition of piety, I want the essence. And what is the essence? It is the common nature that is present in every one of the vertical lines. It is the horizontal line. Understand? Now, given Plato's two worlds, examples of something exist in which of our two worlds, the lower world, the world of particular things. If we're talking about helping a little old lady across the street or carrying your Bible to church or or saying grace before a meal, we're talking about things that happen in the world of bodies in the world and not. But what is the essence of piety? That's a universal. And that exists in the world of the forms. Do any of you know how to define piety? I would suggest it's pretty tough to come up with a definition, which is the case with a lot of these universals, with a lot of these forms. We know it, but we can't quite define it. And often when people ask us for definitions, what we give them instead are examples. All right, now my time has to be up. You read this material in your book very, very carefully. And we'll pick it up next time.