Tuesday, February 18, 2014

JM: Plato Derived his Ideas

Justin Martyr continues talking to the Greeks about Plato and the ideas he developed from reading the Greek Old Testament in Alexandria.

To preface this, Justin reminds them that God can't be called by a proper name.  No one existed before him to give him a name.  He only told Moses, "I AM who I am."  I am the Being.  Satan deceived Adam and Eve by telling them that if they disobeyed the Being, they could be beings.  God is the only Being.  Anything else is a non-being.  Recalling this, Plato names him not the Creator, but the fashioner of the gods.  Creation requires no material.  Fashioning requires material.

Plato contradicts himself in this respect.  He said before that things made by God perish.  Then he says that God created the gods who are immortal.  This is a major contradiction which makes him a hypocrite in condemning Homer for saying that the gods are not inflexible.  Plato believes Moses, but he is afraid of meeting Socrates's death because the Greeks hate Moses and love their many gods.  This attests to the antiquity of Moses and his tradition.

Plato also gets an idea of judgment and resurrection from the prophets.  He tells a story of a man killed in war.  Just before his burial, he woke up from his death and described the agonizing horror that he faced in Hades.  For testifying about the pain in hell, Plato reveals his belief in a judgment and in a resurrection.  How could this deceased soldier have undergone such punishment had he left his body on earth?  Souls do not feel pain, only bodies.

Plato's form also comes from Moses.  He read about God showing Moses how to make the tabernacle, how he was to make it after the forms that God showed him.  From this, Plato concludes that "form" is some kind of separate existence before that which the senses perceive.  He applies this to all creation and to mankind.

This just shows that God really does make his special revelation known to all cultures.  They already know he exists.  They don't know Jesus and his salvation until they meet Scripture.  This is why Plato sounds like such an evangelist.  He met the Word of God, but in fear of his Greek fellows, hid it in obscurity.  His religion melted into a mere pantheism.

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