“Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king; for this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (John 19:37)
The definition of philosophy from dictionary.com is: “the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge and conduct.” A philosophy of life is a set of beliefs that guides a person’s behavior and establishes in their mind a purpose for their existence that stems from the truths they have determined about their origin, their identity, and their future existence beyond this life. A person’s philosophy of life answers those age-old questions about life such as, “Who am I?”, “Where did I come from?”, “What is my purpose here?”, and “What happens to me after I die?”
So how does a Christian make this “rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge and conduct” to establish their philosophy?
The Truth of a Creator God
The first realization of truth for the Christian is that this world and everything in it was created by a superior being. People can use their ability to observe and their common sense and intelligence to determine that the complexity of design and the intricacies of living organisms would require a superior designer and creator to bring them into existence. The more we uncover about the complexities of living things the more this conclusion of a superior designer/creator is supported. For example, the recent discovery and understanding of DNA has revealed that it is a complex and sophisticated information storage system that had to be designed by a superior intelligence.
This idea that we should be able to conclude that this world was created by a superior being has been around for centuries and is not limited to recent generations who have more information at their disposal. Paul the apostle wrote this in his letter to the Roman churches nearly 2,000 years ago:
“For what can be known about God is plain to them (all men), because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature, namely, His eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:19&20)
Although we can easily and rationally conclude that there is a superior creator by observing the creation that surrounds us, it should be noted that we are limited in our ability to determine the deeper truths such as the origin of man and life after death. None the less these truths are available to us, but by a different means of determination.
Truth by Revelation
Determining the truth of a superior creator can be accomplished without issue using our skills of observation and analysis, but when seeking for the deeper truths regarding our origin and purpose in life, we run into limitations. I think you will agree that these limits of our observation and analysis skills when seeking out these deeper truths are absolute and undeniable. For example, there is a limit to the knowledge we have of our surroundings (and we don’t know how much we don’t know!). We are limited to our five senses and the three dimensions of space we are in, but there are strong indications that there is more to our surrounding than what’s manifested in these three dimensions. Our universe is seemingly limitless. In size, we don’t really know the limits of how large the universe is or it’s full extent (although some have guessed), nor do we know the limit of how small it is, beyond our microscopic observations. Time is infinite in its limit: there is an infinite past and infinite future. Obviously, our limited senses cannot properly ascertain sufficient information in order to correctly determine the deeper truths we seek.
Much of what we conclude about our surroundings through observation and analysis is purely speculation. Although we use sophisticated terminology and so called “scientific” examination and studies, we can only really guess about things. A thousand years in the future people will laugh about our foolish “scientific” speculations the same way that we laugh about the foolish speculations of people a thousand years ago. In the not so distant past, people “scientifically” concluded that the earth was flat and that the sun and stars revolved around the earth. There are conclusions that we have made today that we likewise will learn are incorrect due to the limitations in scientific analysis and observation.
With regards to the deeper questions about life concerning our origin, our purpose, our identity, and our eternal future, we must admit that our human limitations restrict us from determining the true answers by examining and analyzing our surroundings and/or studying the analysis of other humans (they’re guessing too). But once we establish that there is a creator, we then conclude that the creator must have these answers, and the creator’s answers must be absolute truth. It is quite rational and logical that a superior being, who created us and this world that we live in, would have the true answers about our origin, our identity and purpose, and our future. Christians therefore, having established that there is a divine creator, look to this creator for the answers to life’s deeper philosophical questions.
My personal experience followed this logical pattern. As a young teenager I was disillusioned by the hypocrisy of the dead church I was raised in. Life’s difficulties and turmoil had driven me to a point of desperation where I needed to have answers about my purpose in life. I was searching and had come to the conclusion that there must be a superior being who created this world. I sincerely cried out to this creator to reveal Himself to me and to help me. I knew that He would have the answers, and that His answers would be the truth. In my desperation, I needed the truth.
It stands to reason that the answers to questions that we need to know, but are beyond our ability to answer, must come from our Creator. Attempting to accept the answers to life’s deeper questions from limited human sources is foolish and irrational – deep down we know they are incomplete and wrong. People who accept these human answers are really lying to themselves. But the answers that are revealed to us from our Creator are absolute truth, and can be completely depended upon.
The Revelation of the Holy Scriptures
The next step in this rational investigation is to identify the superior being who created us. In other words, we must look for how our Creator has revealed truth to His creation. We as Christians have determined that the Holy Scriptures and the Lord Jesus Christ are the Creator’s revelation to His Creation. Unfortunately the ability of a person to receive truth from God can be complicated by the choices they have made in the past.
John 3:19-21: “…the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
If you are honestly seeking the truth and have cconcluded that there must be a creator God, then cry out to Him to reveal Himself to you. He is faithful and will lead you to His Scriptures and the message about the life and teachings of Jesus, His messiah.
One of the main purposes of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ was to reveal and establish these truths:
Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king; for this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (John 19:37)
God has explicitly established the authenticity of His revelation through historical evidence such as the historical archaeological evidence about the nation of Israel as well as the witnesses to the life and resurrection of Jesus. An open and honest look at these facts will lead you to the conclusion that the Bible is the word of God. If you need more evidence, there is a complete theological study called Christian Apologetics that defines the evidence in detail. Some of the evidence is found within the Scriptural message itself. The profoundness of the content and the power that it has to change our lives is additional proof. The message also aligns with our internal conscience, confirming its validity as truth.
The Guidance of the Holy Spirit
God is a personal God who can communicate with us on a personal level. He did not leave us alone on this planet to solve some logical puzzle to determine our purpose in life. He is real and will respond to our calling out to Him. I am a witness to this truth. Since the time I was a teenager up until now He has responded to my cries for help and answered my requests for wisdom and understanding.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5
God has also sent His Holy Spirit to help us in this matter. Jesus said this:
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you……….However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” John 16:7&13
The God of the universe who has created all living things is able to reach down into our lives through His Holy Spirit and guide us in our discovery of truth. He has sent Jesus to display His divine nature and to teach truth to His disciples, and these things have been recorded in the Scriptures. The combination of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God have been left at our disposal to gain the knowledge and understanding we need to discover our real purpose in life, to know who we really are, to know where we have come from and where we are going. These truths have been discovered by millions of people around the world throughout the ages and are as fresh and powerful today as they were thousands of years ago. We should take advantage of these things.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6
As Jesus told Pilate, His very purpose was to bear witness to us of the truth, but we must be “of the truth” in order to hear His voice. We must seek the truth, seek His wisdom, cry out to Him for help, turn from evil, listen for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and respond in faith. Then we will find the absolute truth and establish in our hearts the only true philosophy of life.
The Christian philosophy of life is based on the following tenets:
- This universe, including the world we live in and all living things, was created by a supernatural Creator God.
- The truths that are needed to understand our existence, and to establish our knowledge and conduct resulting in our philosophical world view, have been revealed by our creator God. We have concluded that it is foolish to attempt to establish these basic philosophical truths using our own limited facilities such as our observations and accumulative knowledge. (Revelation, not scientific observation, establishes our philosophical truths)
- The Creator God’s revelation to mankind is the Holy Bible that has recorded His divine revelations to His chosen people, the nation of Israel, and His promised Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. This revelation has been guarded by Him throughout the ages and is preserved now for all who desire to know the truth.
- The Creator God has also sent His Holy Spirit to personally guide people into the truth. The Holy Spirit is a real, metaphysical person who has the infinite characteristics of the Creator God, and therefore can help all who call upon Him.
- The truths that are revealed in the Holy Scriptures (Bible) are aligned with our internal consciences. If our consciences have not been scarred or hardened we will confirm the validity of the truths revealed.
- Only people who are “of the truth” will be able to hear from God regarding further truths. This implies that people who are insincere, or who are practicing evil, or who are rebellious against the things of God, will not be receptive of the truths that are revealed. Only humble, sincere hearts will receive the truths that are revealed.
- Although not mentioned in the discussion above, there is a devil who will steal away the revealed truth from the minds of those who are still under his influence and leave them blocked from receiving it. Those who practice evil have left themselves vulnerable to this influence of the devil and his demons.
Note: The Christian philosophy of life is a starting point in the Christian’s life and beliefs. It follows that Christians have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as the Messiah sent from God who has removed the curse of man’s initial rebellion (Adam and Eve) and is able to restore the Christian to a proper relationship with God the Father by His redemptive sacrifice. This sacrifice also allows us to enter into the family of God as His children, gaining an eternal inheritance and sharing His glory with a resurrected body, overcoming death and hell. There is much to be said regarding this message, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I would recommend seeking this truth also if you have not already.