Jonathan Edwards's Metaphysics/Idealism

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Confessor, Jan 7, 2009.

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  1. Confessor

    Confessor Puritan Board Senior

    Can anyone commentate on the problems (if there be any) with idealism (or realism) in Christianity? Does Scripture necessitate any particular metaphysic?
  2. sotzo

    sotzo Puritan Board Sophomore

    This may sound prima facie like a copout, but I would say that Scripture is its own metaphysic and that trying to retro-fit it to a particular metaphysic would be forcing an interpretive grid on Scripture. There may be incidental correlations between teachings of Scripture and one or more metaphysical viewpoints, but Scripture has to retain primacy.
  3. Confessor

    Confessor Puritan Board Senior


    I am asking which metaphysic we should retro-fit to Scripture.
  4. steven-nemes

    steven-nemes Puritan Board Sophomore

    I am going to take a shot in the dark and say that Genesis 1 and 2 teach the existence of the external world as objective. One example.
  5. Confessor

    Confessor Puritan Board Senior

    Keep 'em coming! :cool::lol:
  6. steven-nemes

    steven-nemes Puritan Board Sophomore

    I donno if the laughing icon is sarcastic or what...
  7. sotzo

    sotzo Puritan Board Sophomore

    Gotcha. In that case I would say that the Creator / creator relationship is the ultimate metaphysic. Don't know what traditional metaphysical category that would fit into...perhaps some branch of ontology?
  8. Confessor

    Confessor Puritan Board Senior

    Oh no, I honestly did not mean it as such. I was kind of pointing out the fact that you started at the beginning of the Bible -- meaning I want you to say more. Sorry about that.
  9. steven-nemes

    steven-nemes Puritan Board Sophomore

    Oh ok

    Umm, maybe passages like "in the beginning was the word", "But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed", (some other passage says that God calls things into existence that don't exist, as if they existed", and others imply the idea prior to the object. I don't know if that falls into any category of philosophy specifically but I have been thinking perhaps it is significant.

    There is a solution to the problem of other minds also, because God created humans in his image with a mind...

    I donno; I have never studied metaphysics so I don't know what to look after or what to say without sounding stupid.
  10. BrianLanier

    BrianLanier Puritan Board Freshman

    A lot of metaphysical issues seem to be underdetermined by Scripture.

    For example, are colors supposed to be considered as primary or secondary qualities? Are there substances? What are possible worlds: should we be realists or actualist? Do non-actual objects exist? How should we think about 'identity' and its persistence through time? What is 'time': should we be presentists, A-theorist, or B-theorist? With respect to human freedom, should we be determinists, compatibilists, semi-compatibilists, or libertarians?

    I don't see how Scripture can be said to answer these questions. But then, I don't see this as a defect of Scripture, since I don't think that Scripture intended on answering these types of questions. Just as it's not a defect in my washing machine that it can't drive me to work.

    Now there can be a sense in which the way you answer some metaphysical questions can be inconsistent with Scripture. For instance, you certainly couldn't be a metaphysical naturalist and be consistent with Scripture. Rather than trying to derive metaphysical answers from Scripture (considering that Scripture is underdetermined in this respect) it is better to do hard philosophical work in this area while making sure that you are at least *consistent* with Scripture. Scripture isn't a philosophy book.
  11. Grymir

    Grymir Puritan Board Graduate

    Realism. Whatever is, is! Truth corresponds to reality. Although with the caveat the the physical laws are created, and the space-time universe that we live in is created. After the second coming, the physical laws will change, and the universe too!

    -----Added 1/8/2009 at 02:24:13 EST-----

    Idealism - "Idealism is the philosophy which maintains that the ultimate nature of reality is ideal, or based upon ideas, values and essences and that the so-called external, or real world is inseparable from consciousness, perception, mind, intellect, and reason in the sense of rigorous science. " from Wikipedia.

    I assume you are using the terms in the modern sense also. The idea of reality being inseparable from our consciousness, perception, mind etc. is not true. It would be like Jungian psychology.
  12. ManleyBeasley

    ManleyBeasley Puritan Board Junior

    This passage may give some help.

    Col 1:15-18

    15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

    I think it is accurate to believe in objectivity when it comes to God's creation but there certainly seems to be a difference in our temporal, dependent reality and God's infinite, independent reality. Our existence is held together "in him" according to this passage. Our reality is objective in reference to us but subjective in reference to God (maybe?). Let me know what you guys think.

    -----Added 1/8/2009 at 04:11:52 EST-----

    Any thoughts?
  13. Zeno333

    Zeno333 Puritan Board Freshman

    the Ligonier, PA Official Web Site of Ligonier, Pennsylvania web site has been up and down, so you may not be able to hear it, but R.C. Sproul has a recent talk on George Berkeley, pretty much the end be all of Christian Idealism. It is in the recent archives of the Ligonier Renewing Your Mind Archives. I have a recording of the talk, and i could email it to you if need be. (You can private message me your email etc). It is very good.
    (The recording I have is not the recording that can be bought from Ligonier, and it is not a copy of the recording that can be bought, it is a home-made copy of the talk, so copyright issues would not be an issue for me to send it to you. The recording quality though is still of very high quality.)
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