History of Philosophy and Christian Thought - Lesson 10

Appraisal, Creation, Tensions

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

Ronald Nash
History of Philosophy and Christian Thought
Lesson 10
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Appraisal, Creation, Tensions

Platonic Philosophy

Part 5


VI. Christian Appraisal of Platonism

A. Plato's View of the Soul

1. Radical body/soul dualism

2. Inherent immortality of the soul

B. Biblically-based Objections

1. God did not create an immortal soul.

2. "Immortal" is used mainly of God.

3. Refers to humans only after resurrection (1 Corinthians 15).

4. Conscious state after death

5. Ultimate destiny of a Christian is a resurrected body.

C. Chapter 3 - The Gospel and the Greeks

1. Possible influence of Plato on New Testament writers?

2. No influence on Paul or other New Testament writers


VII. Plato's View of Creation

A. Four Eternal Things - Plato

1. Forms

2. Matter

3. Space-Time Receptacle

4. Demiurge/Craftsman

B. Allegory of the Kitchen - Nash

1. Ingredients (Matter)

2. Recipe (Forms)

3. Oven (STR)

4. Baker (Demiurge)

C. Influence on the Early Church

D. Augustine's Response

1. Do away with pre-existent matter.

2. Do away with the space-time receptacle.

3. Forms are eternal ideas in the mind of God.


VIII. Unresolved Tensions in Plato's Philosophy

A. View of God? Form of the Good or Demiurge?

B. Relationship between God and the Forms?

C. Gap between the two worlds?

D. How humans attain knowledge of the ideal world and God?

  • 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
Appraisal, Creation, Tensions
Lesson Transcript


The last two points that I'm going to deal with Plato and those last two points will be these. I want to talk about Plato's theory of creation, if that's the right word. Plato never. Plato did not write the words in the beginning. God created the heavens and the earth. Plato did not say that, but he did have a theory of creation. And it is very interesting and we're going to talk about that. Then the last thing we will do from Plato is that I will examine the four major questions that Plato never answered satisfactorily. There are loopholes, there are gaps. There are empty, empty holes in Plato's system so that you need to understand that even though I am a platonist of sorts, I in no case come close to agreeing with everything that Plato said. But before we get to that, I want to spend a few minutes talking about Christian objections to facets of Plato. And under that topic, I want to I want to just make some general comments during this. My handling of this little topic of a of a Christian appraisal of platonism. I want to make some comments also about Chapter three. But before we get to chapter three, let me deal with one of my pet peeves about some ministers. If you've been to as many funerals as I have, you know how often some of the words that are used at a typical funeral turn out to owe more to platonism than they do to Scripture. Am I right? Well, I am. Okay. Right. Three words in your notes. Nash is right.


[00:02:14] He just is. Now, what was Plato's view of the body and soul? It was a radical dualism. It's a radical body soul dualism that views the body as evil, that views release from the body as an essential part of whatever kind of salvation Plato thought was important and, of course, included in this radical dualism. Plato's view of a human being is is a belief in the inherent immortality of the soul. Now, let me explain what I mean by the inherent immortality of the soul. If a Christian were to subscribe to Plato's View and I've met a lot of Christians who do, they would believe that when God created the human soul, he created it with a kind of inherent immortality such that not even God. Not even God could destroy the soul. Have you ever met people like that? Have you ever heard preachers at funerals, sermons who've left you with that impression that the human soul is immortal and nothing could destroy it? Now, let me give you a couple of biblical, biblically based objections to that. Number one, God, when he created man did not create a kind of Frankenstein's monster. In fact, I prefer myself to avoid the word immortal, the term immortal soul. If you get out a concordance and look out, look up the times in Scripture when the word immortality is used, at least in the New Testament, at least in the New Testament, you will find that the word immortal is used primarily with respect to God. God is immortal. The word immortal is applied in the New Testament to a human being only after the resurrection. Look up first Corinthians 15 oh, somewhere near the end of the chapter where Paul uses this term. Then shall this mortal put on immortality? Now to what does Paul ascribe the word mortal? Answer the body.


[00:05:01] Following the resurrection, then the human and mortal body will put on immortality. Paul does never, never ascribes the word immortal to the soul. Now, lest you get uncomfortable here and think that I might have some kind of theological problems and write this in your notes, Nash has no theological problem. Okay. Not me. Maybe you do. One of the ways that people can misunderstand what I just said is this. I believe that when a believer dies physically, he continues to be conscious. Following the death of his body. When an unbeliever dies, I believe he continues to be conscious. Only the believer and the unbeliever are conscious of two different states of affairs. Do you want me to elaborate on that? I believe in what we call the intermediate state. I am not challenging that. I have no reservations about the intermediate state. Now, what is the intermediate state? It is the state between the death of the body and the resurrection. There are some people who believe in what we call soul sleep. I do not. I reject that totally. I believe Scripture is plain. Plainly teaches that both believers and unbelievers are conscious in their disembodied state between death and the death of the body and the resurrection of the body. But I don't interpret that. I don't understand that in any sense that would resemble a doctrine of inherent immortality. Listen to me. The human soul remains conscious after death, but it does so only at the good pleasure of God. Never surrender to the idea that poor God has created some kind of creature whom He can never destroy. He can. It is his goodwill, however, that we do retain consciousness. But it is a different kind of consciousness than Plato talks about.


[00:07:32] How many times have you been at a funeral where the preacher says, referring to the body in the casket behind him and Susie? Now, I hope I'm not using a name that reminds you of some loved one who has just you know, I didn't mean to do that. And Susie is not in that casket. That's true. Even as we speak. And Susie Soul is winging its way to heaven. And there go my hips again. This idea of the soul winging its way to heaven is platonism, pure and simple. Whether those words are uttered by a Baptist or somebody else. All right. Our ultimate destiny. As Christians is not the disembodied soul of Plato's feto. That is not the ultimate destiny of a Christian. The ultimate destiny of a Christian is the resurrection of the body. Read First Corinthians 15. Plato could have never unless he had heard the gospel. Plato could never even have imagined a resurrected body that would be totally out of step with Plato's view of a human being. But that is our ultimate destiny to be like our risen Christ. Okay, again, read first Corinthians 15. But where are we during the intermediate state? Well, I think here we're dependent upon such verses as these. We're dependent upon Luke Chapter 16. Now, I know some people will dismiss a lot of the material in Luke 16 by saying it's just a parable. Well, I don't buy that. I'm here. I'm talking here about Jesus story of the Lazarus and the rich man. And the rich man died and he awoke in hell and Lazarus died and he was in Abraham's bosom, which I think we're probably correct in understanding to be the place where Old Testament Saints were prior to the resurrection of Jesus.


[00:10:00] But both were conscious. Both were alive. I mean, both were conscious, Paul says in Philippians. Absent from the body. Present with the Lord. When I was just a kid pastoring my first church. And I won't tell you how old I was when I did that, I got into a lot of debates with cultists in the community in which this church was located. I'll give you the name Penn Yan, New York. It's on the in the Finger Lakes. Oh, it's about 70 miles southeast of Rochester, New York. And I just kept I you know, I was too dumb to know that I was supposed to be worried about meeting with people like Jehovah's Witnesses and so on. So I would look forward to challenges and debates with these people. But I'll tell you the truth, I cleaned their clock, all right? I cleaned their clock. Just a young whippersnapper, incidentally, not to get off the subject, but I'm beginning I'm. I'm emailing I'm exchanging emails these days with some converted Jehovah's Witnesses. Years ago, they were tough to deal with. You could never get a Jehovah's Witness alone. Part of their strategy was they would always work in teams so that by the time you cleaned the clock of one of those guys, the other one would change the subject. They had been taught to do this so that by the time you had backed them into a corner about the deity of Jesus, the other guy jumped in and changed the subject. Well, anyway, apparently there's a significant number of former Jehovah's Witnesses who are at least the guys I'm communicating with, are not only genuinely converted and who believe get this, believe that you really can't be born again unless you believe in the true deity of Jesus Christ.


[00:12:01] That's a total repudiation of one of the fundamental tenets of Jehovah's Witnesses. Some of them are telling me that in their new converted worldview, some rather famous evangelicals strike them as heretics. I will not name any names because they may be listening to this tape some day. Okay. But see, in my in my debates with these Jehovah's Witnesses and with other people who the Jehovah's Witnesses teach soul sleep, as do some other groups. If we look at Jesus conversation or his words to the thieves on the cross, he said to the believing thief, Today thou shalt be with me in paradise. Do you know how a souls, a soul sleep advocate, deals with that? The soul sleep People take Jesus words like this today. Right now I'm telling you that some day, millions of years in the future, you will be with me in paradise. No, no. What Jesus said was, Today thou shall be with me in paradise. Forgive me for yelling in the microphone. Today thou shall be with me in paradise. I mean, for Jesus to say to the thief, to that dying thief. Hey, guy, wake up today. Right now, I want to. I want to tell you something. Someday you're going to be with me. No, he's saying right now, before this story is over. You're going to be with me in paradise. Now, I know that when I get angry like that, some of you get intimidated. And I don't mean to do that. If I ever intimidate you, I want you to remember one sentence. Ron Nash is the grandfather of Andrew and Amanda. All right. This five year old little girl and this seven year old little boy. Never get intimidated by their grandfather. Fact my little five year old granddaughter, she tells me where to get off.


[00:14:19] Every day she's in my house. I will often know that she's going to do something. And I'll say, Amanda, I understand that tomorrow you're going to do such and such. And she says, How did you know that? And I said, Amanda, I know everything, all right? And she says, No, you don't. Only God knows everything. There are no open theists in my family. All right? No open theists. God knows everything. The future is open. Theists aren't going to get their claws into my grandchildren. Okay, now, what's the appropriate thing to say at a funeral? And if you don't use the expression, Susie's soul is winging its way to heaven. If you have good reason to believe that Aunt Susie was a born again believer. Here's the language to use. Ladies and gentlemen, are the word of God makes it clear that at this very moment, Susie is in the presence of Jesus. All right. None of this platonism stuff. So we believe our destiny is linked to the resurrection of the body. No, PLATONIST could say that. Now, if you brought your gospel in the Greeks, let's just quickly turn to chapter three. And I want to take care of some of these other bad influences of Platonism. What I do in chapter three in the 1920s, for some crazy reason, a whole lot of liberals teaching at reputable universities were so determined to destroy the authority of Scripture. And as a result of that, there was a companion to that undermine the the the the plausibility of the Christian faith that they began to offer these phony allegations that the early church like Paul had been influenced by Platonism. Now, here are the allegations. First of all, there are allegations that Paul was influenced by the platonic contempt for the body that Paul actually teaches, that the body is evil, that the body is a kind of prison house.


[00:16:50] They also claimed that Paul, given his contempt for the body as a result of Plato's alleged influence on Paul, that Paul practiced asceticism. Okay. They also claimed that Paul denigrated marriage because of this platonic denigration of the body. That Paul used his contempt for the body to oppose sex and the procreation of new life. And probably the most the most outrageous claim made by these people is that Paul, in his teaching in in Galatians, distinguished the flesh and the spirit. Well, Paul uses those terms in Galatians chapter five, the flesh warmth against the spirit and the spirit war against the flesh, which read by an idiot, which seemed to suggest a kind of spiritual war between the soul and the body. But those of us who have learned that sometimes it isn't bad to open up a good commentary now and then we know that the word flesh in Paul's writings does not refer to the body at all. If you want to know what the word flesh refers to, here's how to do it. Turn the words around. H s e, l f, and then drop the first letter and you get the word self. When Paul talks about the flesh warring against the spirit, he's not talking about the body. He's talking about a psychological principle. This is not mind versus body. This is two parts, a kind of war going on between the fleshly nature, the self, and the new nature that God gives believers after our new birth, our conversion. The Spirit is really you cannot I you know, the commentaries differ as to whether the word spirit here refers to the Holy Spirit or to the new nature that is given us and hopefully comes under the control of the Holy Spirit.


[00:19:14] Now, this is just one example, and it's the it's all the time that I have to look at it of the shoddy, UN scholarly way in which alleged scholars 80 years ago thought that they were busy demolishing the integrity of the Christian faith. And all that they were doing really was putting their fundamental ignorance and their prejudice on public display. All right. Well, you can read the rest of chapter three for yourself. I've just wanted to give you a few examples. One more thing about how these liberals operated. What they did often was to make one of their outrageous claims that Paul regarded the body as a prison house of the soul. And then in parentheses, they would give you three or four scripture locations. Can you imagine these liberals feeling the necessity of proving their claims from Paul's writings? But these liberals never actually quoted the scriptures. They just gave you the Scripture reference because they knew the people would be too lazy to actually look up these scripture texts. But as I illustrate in chapter three, when you actually do take the time to look up these scripture texts, they say nothing at all that resembles the claim made by the liberals. Okay, well, I want to move on. But you're asked to read this stuff for yourself. What I now want to do to finish up Plato is talk about his view of creation. This material appears in one of Plato's last writings. It's called the Timeless. Remember, there were three groups of Plato's dialogs, the early dialogs, the middle dialogs. And I can't remember the name of the last group, all the later dialog. One of the last things Plato wrote before he died was called the Timeless. Now any one of you can read and all maybe the first four or five pages of the timeless.


[00:21:19] Let's spell it here. Once you get past page four or five of the timeless, it becomes incomprehensible. Which is? Which is the way a lot of Plato's later writings were. Now, what Plato does in the time is, is give us another one of his myths. Now, how did we define the word myth in Plato? A week ago or two weeks ago? A likely story. Often, when Plato cannot give us a well-grounded philosophical answer, he just tells us a story which which indicates his best thinking on the subject up until that moment. And he's he's inviting other likely stories, but he's saying this is the best I can do up to now. Plato begins by talking about four eternal things that exist. Thing is a good word for eternal things. And here they are. The forms are eternal. In addition to the forms, Plato says, matter is eternal. Now what is matter? I'll say more about this shortly, but for now it is a kind of formless, shapeless stuff out of which Plato's God or somebody will make the world. Then the third thing that's eternal is what Plato calls the space time receptacle. The spacetime receptacle is is where the world will be created for Plato. And then the last eternal thing is what Plato calls the demiurge. Now this, this comes, right? This is a variation of the Greek word that Plato actually used. He seems to use certain synonyms for this. He sometimes talks about the craftsman. When we finish, we'll have to come back here and make some additional comments about the demiurge, because one of the questions this or this raises concerns whether Plato had more than one candidate for God. We've already noticed that one candidate for God in Plato is the form of the good.


[00:23:59] Where does the form of the good stand with relationship to this kind of creator of the world that Plato is going to talk about? Okay, we have a student here who said, Well, Plato also believed the soul was eternal, and to which the answer is yes. But he doesn't talk about the soul in this passage, in this material, which raises some other questions then, is everything he says about the soul a kind of myth? Why doesn't? Well, it just didn't suit his purposes. Okay, It wasn't. When you're dealing with a myth in Plato. Don't expect him to plug everything in systematically. Now, the next thing I'm going to put on the board underneath the four Eternal things is something I call Nash's allegory of the kitchen. Please understand that the allegory of the kitchen is not one of Plato's myths. It is one of Nash's myths. All right. Because I believe you can better understand Plato here. If you think about the simple matter of making a cake. All right. What do you need to make a cake? Well, first of all, you need the ingredients. You need ingredients. Now, the ingredients correlate correspond to the matter of which the world was made, according to Plato. Now, the next thing you need is a recipe. And that's analogous to the forms. Say, the recipe tells you how to mix the ingredients in the right way, how much and so on. Then you need an oven. And that's the analogy. That's what's analogous to the space time receptacle. If Plato's God and we still have yet to decide what the dummy urges for Plato, if the demiurge is a kind of divine being, according to Plato, who makes the world he makes the world out of the preexisting matter according to the pattern of the eternal forms in the space time receptacle.


[00:26:12] Isn't that exciting? Same. Hey. Yeah. All right. And then, in the allegory of the kitchen, the demiurge is analogous to the baker, the person who puts all of the ingredients together in the right way according to the recipe within the oven. So here's Plato's God. Now, during the early history of the church, there was significant attention paid to Plato. Let me take things off here for you. Clement of Alexandria was had been a platonic philosopher before his conversion. Saint Augustine had been had become a platonist for a brief time following his before his conversion. And he didn't change all of his views all at once. And then Justin Martyr, an important early Christian thinker who died for his faith. He had been a platonic philosopher. Platonist. So important people early church had to wrestle with the question How does our Christian view of creation relate to what Plato says in his timeless? Now I'm going to focus here only on what Augustine did with this. And so the next column, the third of my three columns, is what Augustine does, and I'm sure there were earlier thinkers who who contributed to Augustine's thinking on this subject. But Augustine is very important here, and you're going to find Augustine talking about this stuff in his book, The Confessions. I think it's in book ten of the Confessions. First of all, Augustine said, we've got to get rid of this matter that Plato talked about. It's. Go on. Why is there no place for Plato's matter in the Christian scheme of things? Here's the answer. Plato's God, if the demiurge is God at all, had to be a finite being. Plato's Craftsman. Plato's Creator creator was finite because he was limited by that with which he had the work.


[00:28:39] Augustine And please notice how Augustine never hesitates to abandon Platonism once he becomes persuaded that it is inconsistent with Scripture. Augustine says the God of the Christian faith is not a finite God. He is not limited by anything that he might conceivably have used in order to create the world. Because before God created, there was nothing else but God. Okay, now that's an important part of what we call the Christian doctrine of Creation ex nihilo. And what we mean by creation ex nihilo is that when God created the world, he did not use any any other preexisting stuff to create the world. He created the world from nothing. And of course, we must understand that nothing doesn't mean something. It means nothing. All right. So no matter. Next Augustine is going to get rid of the oven, the spacetime receptacle. Why? Because that, too, would entail a finite God. Now, here is actual material from book ten of Augustine's confessions. Notice how important this is. Augustine is sort of thinking about creation in book ten. By this time, we've forgotten the biographical material we're into. We're into something else here. And Augustine imagines a potential critic of the Christian faith who thinks he can embarrass the Christian by asking this kind of question. Now, I'm the critic, all right? And I'm going to and I'm then I'm going to answer the critic by pretending that I'm also Augustine. The critic says, Hey, Augustine, you're one of these Christians, aren't you? The belief that God is eternal. That's right. I sure do believe God is eternal. Was there ever a time when God didn't exist? No, sir. God is eternal. Okay. Now, do you believe that there was a time when God brought the world into existence? Absolutely.


[00:31:03] Don't you see a little problem, Augustine? No, I don't see any problem. What's the problem with you? Well, it's this. If you're God's eternal. And then at some point in time, God created the world. What was he doing? Don't you understand? If he's eternal, that meant that there was a holy trinity that passed before God created the world. Aren't you embarrassed by that customs as now? Well, what was your God doing before he created the world? This is the the question, the critic to which Augustine answers like this. He says, Now, let me see. You want to know what God was doing before he created the world? Here's. Here's my answer. Before God created the world, he was busy preparing hell for people who ask stupid questions like that. There is a man after my own heart. Okay. Write this in your notes. Nash in August and had a lot in common. But add this qualification after his conversion. Okay. I have nothing in common with Augustine before his conversion. Now, that retort. What was God doing before he created the world? Answer He was preparing hell for people like you who ask stupid questions like that. That's an example of Carthaginian humor. Augustine was from Carthage. That was, you know, they crack jokes like that in Carthage all the time. But Augustine had a more serious answer after the humor, after the joke. Augustine answered this. What was God doing before he created the world? Nothing. Because before God created the world, there was no time. And if there is no time, you cannot make any sense of the question What was God doing before time began to exist? Do you see that? If you don't, you're in trouble a little bit. You can't ask if time began at a particular point in eternity.


[00:33:18] Then it makes no sense to ask what was God doing before time began? There was no before. Therefore, the whole question is meaningless. Okay, well, likewise, Augustine considers this question Why? If this is if this is space, why didn't God create the world over here rather than over here? Same problem. You must understand that before God created the world, not only was there no time, there was no space either. So it's. It's just as foolish to ask, why didn't God create the world here rather than there before God created, there was no matter. There was no space. There was no time. There was nothing but God. But we're because the Christian God is not the finite craftsman or demiurge. Plato, we've gotten rid of him and we've. We've substituted the almighty sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient, omni benevolent creator God. So we have no space time receptacle. We have no matter. Now, what about the forms? Well, here Augustine does another truly creative thing, only here. He also is influenced by a number of his predecessors. So what Augustine does is he continues to accept the forms, but he calls them and hears the Latin phrase by Rothesay on as a turn eye, which means the eternal ideas. The forms of Plato are eternal ideas in the mind of God. So you don't have four principles. You've only got one. You've got a rational God who possesses as a part of His rational nature. All of these eternal forms, they are eternal ideas. And as we learned last week, when God creates human beings, he places within the human being at birth an implicit understanding of these eternal ideas that have always existed in his eternal mind. Okay. Kaboom. That's great stuff. And it's a perfect illustration of what we're trying to do in this course is to take the best of secular thinking, compare it to biblical thinking, and prove to you that the biblical answers and the biblical worldview are superior to the best that you can find in the secular world.


[00:35:54] Page 89. In your Intro Text Unresolved Tensions in Plato's Philosophy There are four of them. This is very comforting to me. Here is the man whom many people would call the greatest secular philosopher in the history of human thought. And yet the four biggest questions in his system are questions that he never answered. What are they? First of all, who. What is Plato's? What really is the truth about Plato's God? We have at least, at least two or three candidates for God in Plato's system. We have the form of the good where we noticed all of that impressive stuff. Okay. The form of the good. But now we have this demiurge. What's the relationship here? Are there are two gods for Plato? Actually, there was a third candidate. But we don't need to clutter things up too much. Now, there are a couple of major theories here, and. But the important thing is that Plato himself never answered them. One theory is that the demiurge in the form of the good are just two different ways of looking at the same being. I don't think you can do that. I don't think that works okay. But there are people who've said that I think it would make more sense to say that the Demiurge might just be a part of a myth, and thus we could kind of ignore it. But later on, some interesting things happened. And I want to point out two of these interesting things. First of all, a certain thinkers called the Middle Platonist. Now I can give you a date for them, 100 B.C. to 100 A.D. We know their names, but they really weren't important people. They were very derivative in their thinking. But incidentally, if we're correct in thinking that Paul's education was so complete that Paul actually had studied some philosophy prior to his conversion, these would have been the people might have studied that, he might have read the middle Platonist.


[00:38:06] Now here is their here is one of their major accomplishments. They were the first people who identified Plato's God with the form of the good. So if Plato died in 347 B.C., notice almost 250 years passed before somebody got the idea of saying, Well, of all of the candidates, Plato's God would be the form of the good. Okay. The Middle Platonist made the second suggestion. They taught that Plato's forms were ideas in the eternal mind of this God. So both of those ideas originated with the middle Platonist, but still later some later thinkers, especially the Gnostics, they taught that there were two gods in Plato's thinking. I hope you're following me here. I'm giving you later speculation. The Gnostics taught that there was a good God, and then there was a stupid deity. And the world was created according to the Gnostics by this stupid jerk. Now, I'm not speaking in any kind of derogatory way of our God. I'm just telling you what this. That you see, the the the Gnostics did not believe that the good, the ultimate God would have created a physical universe. It was this jerk, the demiurge that did it. And so the Gnostics then went on to teach that. And you can get this in book three, Part three of the book. The Gospel in the Greeks. The Gnostics went on to teach that we need to seek the unknowable God who was analogous to Plato's form of the good. Well, that's all I need to say there. You can read the book for yourself. I'm rushing here. Okay. The second unanswered question in Plato is this. This is the bottom of. This is the top of page 90. What is the relationship between God and Plato's world of the forms? Plato never answered that question.


[00:40:15] It was later thinkers who said the forms are eternal ideas in the eternal mind of God. Plato himself never thought of that. The third unresolved problem in Plato's system is his failure to bridge the great gap he established between the two worlds. What's the relationship between the world of particular things? The world in which human beings live and the world of the forms? Plato had no idea. Okay. And so it's for later thinkers, preeminently Augustine here, who says that the eternal world is the world of God's mind. And then God created the physical universe out of nothing. And you can read what I say there. And finally, what is the relationship between the world of the forms and the human mind? Plato gave us no answer, but I've already suggested to you what Augustine's answer was. And it was this that God created the forms in our minds as a part of the image of God.