Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Basic Anti-Platonism of Christianity

The contrast may already be obvious to others, but the very pointed contrast just occurred to me: The Greek or platonic view (speaking very broadly), is that the material world traps the soul yearning to be free to re-unite with God. So the soul is pure, and the body is evil. The soul longs to escape the pollution of the body.

Jesus, however, instead teaches that reality is just the reverse of this -- he teaches that the soul pollutes the body:

"What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.' For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean' " (vv. 20-23).

The Greek conceit is that, if you dig deep enough within, you'll find a spark of natural innocence or purity; a spark of the divine. Jesus teaches us that there is no light within. We are darkness through and through, and we love it that way, irrespective of our conceit. Light comes to us not by digging deep within our nature, but by miraculously receiving a new new nature.


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