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Women's Class: Christian Worldview and the False Dichotomy Between Sacred and Secular (Pt.3)

April 7, 2019 Speaker: Danielle Lochan Series: Women's Class: Christian Worldview and the False Dichotomy between Sacred and Secular

Learning goals: (a) understand different forms of dualism and dichotomies in church history, (b) use the Creation-Fall-Redemption grid to analyze Platonic dualism, (c) use the Creation-Fall-Redemption grid to analyze unbalanced theology, (d) discuss how the Creation-Fall-Redemption grid informs our evangelism

Lecture Outline:

  1. The Early Church and Its Encounter with Classical Greek Thought
    1. With a partner, dismantle the Greek perspective of dualism using the central turning points in biblical history: Creation, Fall, and Redemption. (What biblical doctrines disprove dualism?) The chart below may be helpful:

 

Platonic Dualism

Truth

What does this mean or indicate?

Creation

Matter is pre-existing from all eternity, and the creator imposes Form upon it.

 

 

 

 

Fall

Matter (disordered and chaotic raw material) is capable of resisting the rational order imposed by the Forms.

 

 

 

 

Redemption

The path to true knowledge is to free ourselves from the bodily senses, so that reason can gain insight into the realm of Forms (not sure if this is supposed to be possible, as the creator was never fully successful in forcing Matter into the mold of Forms).

 

 

 

  1. Augustine (354-430 AD)
  • Aquinas (1225-1274)
  1. The Reformation

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does the Creation-Fall-Redemption grid inform our evangelism? (Unbalanced Theology)
  2. Homework for the entire Sunday School series (like a culminating project or exam!): (a) What are the reigning secular assumptions in your field of study? And (b) Explore the biblical worldview perspective on your career/Christian philosophy of your career/Christian framework that undergirds your career (how is your job/field sacred?). Avoid the trap of the false sacred and secular dichotomy, and try to go beyond just being ethical at your job (e.g. not stealing paperclips). What is the Christian framework that gives dignity to your job, that makes it more than just bringing home a paycheck, climbing the career ladder, and/or building a professional reputation?

Augustine was a Platonist before he converted to Christianity, and there were some elements of Platonism that he didn’t give up. Thus, Augustine embraced an ethic of asceticism, based on the assumption that the physical world and bodily functions were inherently inferior, a cause of sin. The way to reach the higher levels of spiritual life was by renunciation and deprivation of physical wants (“active life” vs. “contemplative life,” marriage as inferior to celibacy, etc.)