A False Start

From a growing list of philosophies in circulation today, you probably could find one or two that most fit the way you live. It is said that almost everything about the way a man thinks and acts is related to a philosophy. Theorizing about man’s purpose in the universe and related matters does stretch our minds to consider possibilities that range from the abstract to the credible and everything in between. Yet only two platforms from which we draw our way of thinking and find our way in life can exist. Either we fashion our thoughts around the mindset that singles out the individual as the central figure in our universe, or you begin with God as your starting point in your search for truth. In either case you have two available paths to choose from: one path seems wide and all encompassing, while the other is straight and narrow. Whichever way you choose to follow your way of living will be sharply influenced by either man’s wisdom or God’s. Let me say up front that it is a fool’s errand to be strung along by speculative and intellectual musings and that is something we wish to avoid at all cost. While hundreds of philosophies exist, errors in thinking about man and our universe abound; yet no margin for error can exist with God — otherwise, He ceases to be God. Our Creator provides us with all the details necessary for this life and the life to come. He warns us to be careful about ideologies where He is not central or left out completely from its teachings.

“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” Col 2:8

Many freethinking souls say that they have the answers, but their followers are led away from reality and truth. The prophet Jeremiah describes O.T. Israel when they abandoned God for another way of life in this way: they were like those who settled on leaking wells that are useless and leave you thirsty, instead of relying on God, the Fountain of living waters.

“for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Jer.2:13

While some branches of philosophy such as metaphysics (the study of what is), epistemology (how do we know?) and axiology (the theory of value, moral or otherwise), have some merit to them, yet any train of thought that promotes man as an autonomous figure that has no need for God or salvation is futile thinking. Such conceptions of a universe without the recognition of Christ as Creator and Redeemer will deeply affect our conduct, outlook and eternal fate. Certainly, some philosophers synchronize selective Biblical truths into their distinctive theories and rationale, but these efforts to strike a balance do not make their already flawed views any better, and in fact, may lead us even further from truth. Take for instance the attempt to incorporate that the purpose for Christ’s teaching and exemplary life in the gospels was to teach us how we can live a moral life. Some theoreticians see Christ as a moral example for us to mimic;  and may even cite some of the commandments and some sayings of Jesus; and may seek to link Him to other notable figures in history such as Mohammed, Buddha, Marx, etc. While this attempt to blend selective parts of Christianity into the whole of their way of thinking may sound reasonable, it misses the point of the gospel. Consider the following verses from Acts and Peter:

“For we live, move, and exist because of him,” Acts 17:28

“by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Pet. 1:4b

Scriptures teach us that our lives are bound up in Christ. It is not about living a good life to earn a passing mark with God and thus gain His approval but about being saved from our sins. In a letter to Timothy Paul writes:

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” 1 Tim. 1:15

A compromised view of life by splitting the difference between man’s opinion and God’s Truth, no matter how decent and conventional it may seem to us, is no better than filling your gas tank with water; the tank may be full, but you are not going anywhere. Same thing can be said about syncretistic thinking. What is more it will only lead to an unfortunate end.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Pro.16:25

Christ’s perfect righteousness cannot be understood apart from the basic truth that Christ is God in the flesh, and any who wish to become a follower of His must first know that an inner transformation of the heart is needed. Ezekiel spoke of this radical inner change as being given a new heart and spirit. These metaphorical terms help to explain what happens inside the repentant sinner when he experiences salvation. This then is the reason why Christ came into the world – to save sinners like us. A system of thought that wishes to represent reality must base its teaching on the premise that man has sinned and is in a lost spiritual state that requires a Savior which God provided in HIs Son, Jesus Christ. Apart from those essentials, you have no real foundation to build upon. Those that try are on loose footing and far from the truth that they seek to tell about.

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Cor 10:5