What does Plato have to do with Jesus?

Volume 12, Issue 1, 2022

We live in a day when goodness, truth, and beauty exist in the eye of the beholder alone, mere social constructs we name (Nominalism). As a result, skepticism reigns as society questions whether reality even exists beyond the material realm, doubting the existence of the soul and a Creator as the first principle of the cosmos. Naturally, purpose in this world (final causality) is thrown into doubt as we are ever so content to entertain ourselves with shadows of our own invention in the darkness of the cave. Yet glimmers of hope shine bright on the horizon as Christians from all traditions resurrect Plato and invite him to enter the darkness of our cave to tell us about the radiance of the sun outside, a reality that is…real. More exciting still, Christians are discovering that a long tradition before them—from Augustine to C.S. Lewis—considered themselves Christian Platonists. Of course, they were prudent, rejecting those components of Platonism incompatible with Christianity. Yet they were also strategic, utilizing those components that establish a philosophy capable of defending Christianity’s belief in an eternal, unchanging first cause whose goodness, truth, and beauty explain reality and give this life true meaning and purpose. The authors of this issue ask how God in his providence used Plato to prepare the way for the full revelation of his Savior.

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