The word philosophy is a Greek term which means love of wisdom (Philosophical theology par. 1). Theology is generally defined as a systematic and progressive study of religion. Theological studies primarily involve the influence of natural aspect of truth gained after completing religious studies course. This paper will focus on philosophy as theology. Under this title, the entire discussion focuses mainly on the use of philosophy in solving or interpreting theological concepts (Philosophical theology par. 1).
This entire paper will focus on highlighting the philosophical implication and relationship between philosophy and theology. Currently, there are three globally known philosophically complicated Christian doctrines. They include; the trinity, incarnation and the atonement. Notable to mention is that, these doctrines have been the subject of discussion internationally as far as philosophical theology is concerned. This is because philosophy can be broadly used in the analysis of various theological doctrines.
The first category of philosophy reveals the truth behind religious beliefs in addition to the available evidence from divine revelation. In this category, natural theology is used. The second category of philosophy involves the use of divine revelation (Philosophical theology par. 1). Under this category, philosophical techniques are employed in attempt to demonstrate the truth of all theological claims (Philosophical theology par. 1).
Significance of philosophical theology
Philosophical theology is considered to be an essential study since it helps in acquiring knowledge to explore beyond normal reasoning. Furthermore, it allows students to solve puzzles concerning human life and Metaphysics (Peter par. 3). On the other hand, theology also plays an important role in creating a society that respects religion.
Universities that have excelled both spiritually and academically. Contrary to the expectation, many people criticize philosophy for the contradiction it develops on theology. According to scholars, philosophy instead of strengthening religious faith, it facilitates in weakening it. Critics say that, philosophy is only relevant in issues concerning moral behavior in the society (Luke par. 5). This concludes that a good philosophy definitely contributes to the development of the best theology (Peter par. 8).
Analysis of philosophical theology
For many years, the relationship between philosophy and theology has been across the world. Many theologians globally have been campaigning against philosophical interpretation of religion. Theologians claim that philosophy has very little to do with theology.
They also claim that the use philosophical concept corrupts the interpretation of theology (Luke par. 1). These two disciplines were once considered to be mortal enemies; especially during the times of practitioners. This was supported by some like Tertullian (James par. 1).
Tertullian further advanced with his arguments concerning the inclusion of secular philosophy into the theological doctrines. He termed this inclusion to be a reflection that was out of order. However, according to history, the use of philosophy has always been accepted as a natural complement to theology. These doctrines were developed by Saint Augustine of hippo (Essential philosophy for theologians par. 2). According to Saint Augustine, the entire legitimacy of philosophy was firmly developed from the and beliefs.
Saint Thomas Aquinas also came up with another version explaining the relationship between theology and philosophy. According to Thomistic model, this relationship was equated to be like distinct enterprises. Thomistic model also clarified that, these two enterprises only differed primarily with their intellectual origin.
According to Thomistic model, any philosophical concept starting point begins with data that can be seen, heard or felt (Murray and Rea par. 3). On the other hand, any theological doctrines starting point also depends on divine revelation recorded in the bible.
Relationship between philosophy and theology
It was not long before the deliverance of these two disciplines. The marriage between philosophy and theology led to the birth of philosophical theology. This meant that philosophy could be incorporated in theology or vise versa. It was more advantageous to employ philosophical concepts in persuading people to accept the theological teachings.
In most cases, it was difficult for people to plainly trust the divine revelation contained in religious scriptures. Therefore, philosophy through arguments succeeded in persuading people to accept that God truly exists (Murray and Rea par. 3). Philosophy could also be used by theologians in clearing up ambiguous theological claims (Murray and Rea par. 4). A good example is the case of Jesus Christ. The theological details revealed that Jesus existed in both human and divine nature.
The most contradicting question was; how did Jesus relate in these two natures on earth? At this point, theological claims cannot satisfactorily explain the contradiction. This is where distinctive philosophical techniques can be used in explaining logic on the contradiction. The marriage between philosophy and theology went on well throughout the entire 20th century. Nevertheless, towards the end of 20th century, the great divorce came about.
One of the contributing factors to the divorce between philosophy and theology was advanced education. This changed most theologians who previously depended on traditional Christian doctrine to interpret the scriptures (Murray and Rea par. 5). Most theologians were able to think and fluently speak about God. This advancement encouraged many of them to abandon the metaphysical methods of interpreting the divine revelation. The divorce was also steered on by the belief that all theological doctrines were meaningless.
According to the philosophers, any doctrines that did not have any empirical content were considered to be meaningless (Murray and Rea par. 5). The divorce did not last for long. After 40 years, theologians reconsidered the employment of contemporary philosophy in theology. Nevertheless, the use of philosophy was more eclectic as compared to how it was used during the St. Augustinian and Thomistic model era (Murray and Rea par. 5).
Roles of contemporary philosophical theology
The trinity theory
According to theological doctrines, Christians are all affirmed to the claim that there is only one God. In addition to this, Christians also believed that God exist in three forms. God the father, son and holly spirit (Murray and Rea par. 10). Each of them was considered to be God.
The argument facing the trinity statement was deeply puzzling. Critics argue that although the three persons are openly professed, in real life, people do not profess three substances but only one substance (Murray and Rea par. 10). In other words, every Christian believed in one God. According to the trinity, there were three Gods. Therefore, basing on philosophical theology, it is professed that there is only one God yet they exist in three (God the father, the son and the Holy Spirit) (Murray and Rea par. 11).
Cornelius Plantinga, a well known philosopher, suggested that the trinity statement possessed highly puzzling power. According to him, the trinity statement was an understatement. Due to this understatement, many critics across the world have challenged the statement.
This is because of the statements incoherence. Furthermore, many contradicting versions of the trinity have been created. The first group claimed that there was only one God. They argue that God the father, son and Holy Spirit are all distinct (Murray and Rea par. 12). They believe that there was only one identical God.
Critics further argue that if both the father and the son were identical, then the father by due to identity transitivity should also be identical to the son (Murray and Rea par. 12).
This was contradicting according to the theological teachings on holy trinity. Furthermore, another version suggested that; if both the father and the son were considered to be divine, then automatically, the father was distinct from the son (Murray and Rea par. 12). This generally concluded that there were two existing divine persons contrary to the theological doctrines.
The theological doctrine of incarnation revealed that over 2000 years ago, the second person in the holy trinity (the son) took a human nature and became distinct among humans on earth (Murray and Rea par. 24). According to the doctrines, the son came to earth in two natural forms; as human and as a holy divine.
The council of Chalcedon in the year 541 C.E also commented on the doctrine. The counsel supported the doctrines insisting that it respected the two natures without confusion. However, critics challenged the doctrine referring it to be impossible, absurd and self contradicting (Murray and Rea par. 24).
Philosophers argued that it was impossible for one person to bear two characteristics that were not compatible with each other logically. Critics analyzed the statement and justified that humans were created and that they possess limited natural power. Human beings according to the critics had limited knowledge and wisdom (James par. 2).
Therefore, it was impossible for a person to possess both human and divine natures. This was because, divine beings were considered to be superior since they created humans. Logically, it was impossible for one person to be both the creator and the created (Murray and Rea par. 24).
Theology through the the possibility of accepting the bible passage. According to the passage, Jesus took a human form. Jesus was born, grew up and even died like human beings. All this happened to him though he was in divine form and God. Moreover, philosophers have strongly criticized the passage and challenged the logic of this doctrine. According to critics, it was impossible for the son of God to voluntarily abandon his divine responsibility and become human.
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