Seeing Christ in Philosophy

July 17, 2014

Philosophy is about better understanding what you do and why you do it. As such, it enables us to better see God and his Spirit at work in the most mundane things of life. Our everyday actions are driven by deeper ideas, which are themselves driven by cultural moods. For example, think about a student sitting in his desk, listening to the teacher talk at the front of the room while staring at the back of the head of the person sitting in front of him. Implicit in this common, everyday practice are a host of philosophical assumptions about what a person is (a ‘thinking thing’ who learns best by having an expert pour information into his head), about what education is (transferring information from one source—the teacher—to another—the student), about the relationship between people’s minds and bodies (bodies are mere containers that hold the mind; the mind must be nurtured, the body accommodated—but we need not stimulate the body to stimulate the mind). Beneath these philosophical assumptions lies a cultural mood that those assumptions articulate (all people are equal because each of us is born as a human being, possessing certain inalienable rights, like the right to free public education and the chance to freely make a life for ourselves).

With philosophy, we can start to articulate those assumptions and cultural moods to better understand what we’re doing, and then evaluate them to see why we do them, and whether they are in keeping with God’s loving design for his creation: are these the best ways of understanding things like humans, education and the relationship between minds and bodies? Do they help all creation flourish, or elevate some parts of creation over others? “Taking captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5) is a necessary part of our God-given task to “fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen. 1:28), and so is something that helps us better understand both ourselves, and the God whose image we are (Gen. 1:26).

About the Author
  • Neal DeRoo is founding editor of in All things and Associate Professor of Philosophy at The King’s University in Edmonton.

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