View Full Version : The Nature and Limitations of Philosophy

Bob Higby
01-29-19, 01:24 AM
I am starting this thread to discuss the value and limitations of philosophy in history as a basis of understanding the nature, attributes, and person of God.

I will state at the outset: philosophy in and of itself can never give us an understanding of God's person, nature, attributes, and purposes as related to history. We are absolutely dependent on God's revelation in Christ the personal Word of God and the scriptures the written Word of God to know the complete truth of everything in theology (the doctrine of God).

Having stated this, I will respond to a challenge of Simplici to me in the thread discussing the ‘Means of Grace”:

Dear Robert! I answered your questions. Please answer the question I asked you. I remind you of my question. You are a biblical theologian. Spinoza is a pantheist who denies Scripture. Question: Why is your definition of the relationship between the will and the nature of God identical in meaning to the definition of Spinoza? I beg you not to consider this question stupid and inappropriate. That's not so. This is a grandiose important question! After you answer my question, we will be able to compare our positions and their bases.
Thanks for the challenge Simplici.

First of all, I do not consider any questions stupid and inappropriate, so let’s settle that at the outset.

At the outset, I reject pantheism 100%--I don’t know what else I can say regarding that. God and the totality of His creation are distinct entities that can never be confused or fused. God is infinite, the creation is finite, and infinity cannot be fused with its opposite.

Let us assume that Spinoza is the GREATEST of all philosophers (though I have hardly studied him). I might agree that on questions philosophers have raised on the nature of God, it might seem that I am more in harmony with Spinoza than most. But philosophy is a humanistic science apart from Divine Revelation. So even if the propositions of a certain philosopher are surprisingly correct on many vital points concerning God, these still came from humanistic reasoning. All I can say is that Spinoza has a lot of amazing things to say when it comes to philosophical logic, it doesn’t really matter if I even say that he is the ‘greatest of philosophers’. If he doesn’t accept God’s revelation in the scriptures regarding God’s eternal covenant of redemption in Christ for an elect people, based on a justification entirely foreign to all human performance and character and existent only in the person and work of Christ, then he is 100% unreliable as a theologian and expositor of scripture.

I know that Spinoza taught the doctrine of predestination from a philosophical standpoint. So did Mohammed, who taught that God tricks people into damnation that truly want to serve and obey him. Predestination without the gospel of Christ is a horrible monstrous doctrine of the highest proportion.

Bro. Bob

01-29-19, 10:08 AM
Thank you Vadim... I'm chewing on your latest posts and thinking about it. I appreciate you posting like this. - Brandan

01-29-19, 10:54 AM
Sure thing Vadim, it doesn't matter to me. I can always merge or split threads as necessary...

Bob Higby
01-30-19, 01:06 AM

I am happy to participate in either thread but I personally believe the topic of this thread is a vital one. In the past, I have been accused of being a 'follower' of many theologians and philosophers (even Harold Camping!). But I have no mentors that I follow, only a large number of expositors that have helped me in my TRUTH journey, though I follow none of them entirely.

I would agree that you can line me up with Spinoza point by point on many assertions, for me this means nothing in terms of being a follower of Spinoza. Right now, I'm expressing agreements on this forum with the historian scholar Jeffrey Burton Russell on how the doctrine of Satan developed and changed over time in history. But I believe Russell is completely unreliable as a theologian on the nature of the gospel. The fact that I might use certain language in propositions that sounds like Spinoza in no way implies an endorsement of his theology overall.

I hope this thread will continue at least as a discussion of the nature, purpose, and benefits of philosophy although it is inadequate in and of itself to teach us theological truth. For whoever wants to participate.

Bro. Bob

Bob Higby
01-30-19, 01:08 AM
Also, Vadim, you need to re-state the specific points where you perceive I agree with Spinoza in making God an idol (one by one, with some explanation). --Bob

Bob Higby
02-01-19, 02:07 AM
Thanks Vadim. I do not believe it is possible to assert certain points fact without being confused with philosophers who have also affirmed the same points. Some of the apparent similarities may be deceptive though. There is only a clear connection when it is demonstrated that two people have the same theology in full and have no difference on critical points of truth. Bro. Bob

Bob Higby
02-06-19, 02:56 PM
I will leave my last point as it stands ( I re-affirm it) and will simply agree to disagree with Simplici's Last Word. --Bob