My neighbor two houses down, JP Chavez wrote to me yesterday afternoon with the following:
“I was listening to a podcast on Carl Trueman’s ‘Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self.’ They pick up some aspects that Trueman himself doesn’t go into in the book – namely… the idea, “I think therefore I am,” and how that kind of introspection influenced the church.
I am curious to get your thoughts on how those ideas have influenced the church, both in the past when those ideas started to be purported, and today.”
So let’s dive right into who Descartes was and where this idea came from.
And, perhaps more importantly, what has been the effect of doubting absolutely everything except our own existence, and building all our sciences off of that one truth?
In short, the result has been to build up a philosophy which is not the love of wisdom at all.
By the etymology of name by which we know this science, Philosophy is supposed to be the love of wisdom.
But believing that we are the only certain reality in the universe, and that “Man is the measure of all things” as the ancient Greek philosopher Protagoras put it, necessarily goes hand-in-hand with fundamentally rejecting the existence of a knowable, understandable, actionable transcendent and objective truth and reality.
Yet to reject the existence of that sort of reality and truth is also to fundamentally oppose the truth claims of the Bible and of the God of the Bible.
And as the good book puts it, “The fool has said in his heart “There is no God.””
Perhaps in all our radical doubting and deconstruction we would do well do doubt our own interest in that kind of anti-philosophy approach to truth and wisdom.
If we would truly be wise, we would do well to start by embracing the truth that we exist regardless our believing and doubting, and that we exist because “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
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