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Where is there room for God in the study of philosophy?

Traditionally, philosophy has sought answers for the big questions about the world. What does the world consist of? Is there an ultimate basis for reality, and if so what is it? What is the meaning of human life? How do we come to know what we know, and how can we be sure of it? Is there such a thing as a right or virtuous way to live, and if so what it is? Is there an afterlife?

God himself, in the Bible, provides distinctive answers for all these questions. But the history of philosophy, with few exceptions, has been a history of very brilliant people trying to get answers to the key questions while not consulting the word of God. It represents thinking that wants to be autonomous, self-sufficient rather than dependent on listening to God. And so it is largely a history of intellectual rebellion against God.

There have been brilliant insights, of course, because God gives intellectual gifts to non-Christians as well as Christians. But the whole quest of philosophy is off-base when it seeks "wisdom" while evading God who is the source of wisdom.

Philosophy, then, is going to look quite different if we seek to answer the big questions in communication with God.


Vern Poythress, Ph.D. is distinguished professor of New Testament, Biblical Interpretation, and Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary.

For Professor Poythress' full treatment of this question:

Vern S. Poythress, Redeeming Philosophy: A God-Centered Approach to the Big Questions (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2014).



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