Plato Missed Discerning the Gospel of Christ

Platos-Cave
Plato’s Absolute Truth

Plato’s The Cave

The ancient peoples of the Axial Age did not have the techno knowledge that we have today but they were not without discernment. Without the distractions we of the “modern age” have, they were able to come close to understanding the Gospel truth.  When I use the word truth I do not mean a simple measure of honesty but a measure of understanding of absolute knowledge of both the metaphysical (spiritual) realm and its linkage to the physical (earthly) realm.

The Hellenistic Greeks were but one of the six major faiths that developed during the Axial Age (approximately 800-200 BCE). Their writings influenced and developed Western culture to shape our modern understanding of both the earthly and spiritual realms. It is commonly believed that theirs was the first attempt to develop truth apart from religion, which we call mythology, but this is far from true. Yet, they were the first peoples apart from God to understand that their mythologies could not explain either the spiritual or the earthly realms.

The above schematic was developed by Plato in his series of books called, The Republic. He used this schematic to explain both why people do not understand that they do not have the truth and why philosophers are the superior peoples because they are in the process of discovering absolute truth. He envisioned people chained and facing the back wall of the cave.  They are forming their worldview based on the shadows being projected on the back wall. When one attempts to release certain of these individuals and turn them toward the light, they resist.  One must forcibly drag them up the cave to see those who are projecting the shadows on the wall; that is, all they thought was true was an illusion. Those who looked toward the mouth of the cave and saw the sun realized there was a greater truth to discover.  These made their way out of the cave into the sun realizing a greater truth.  These people Plato calls the philosophers. Some go back down into the cave to “rescue” those chained and those doing the projecting.  The philosophers are the highest development of man because of their knowledge of the truth.

I was struck by how Plato’s schematic was closely tied to the truth of the Bible. What Paul calls the “natural man”, those who reject the truth of the Gospel {lost man} are those who cannot understand God’s truth (1Co 2:14). Lost man is unable to apprehend God’s truth no matter how much knowledge he, or she, may possess. Paul is clearer earlier in First Corinthians when he says that worldly wisdom, so called, refuses to hear the truth of the Gospel.  Those who are saved are those whom God has “dragged from the back of the cave into the light” changing them into new creations so that they can understand God has a truth of salvation and accept that truth (1Co 1:18-28). The Bible is full of examples of men and women God has come to redeem but the best example for our purposes is Paul.  A worldly wise man seeking to promote that which was nothing more than a shadow of God’s truth.  When God called Paul he immediately saw the light of God’s truth and spent his life going back into the “cave” to rescue others who did not want to be rescued until they killed him (Ac 9:1-9).

This was the mission of Jesus (He 2:5-11) and it is our mission (Mt 28:16-20). This is the purpose of our growing into the maturity of Christ so that we can discern the difference between the worldly and the spiritual. This is not contained in do’s and don’ts but in the desires of the new nature He gives to each who become saved (2Co 5:17-21). Yet, so many are like the Corinthians who only want a measure of the truth to squander on their worldly (fleshly) desires forcing God to discipline us as the children we truly are (1Co 11:27-32; He 12:5-11). Too many who call themselves Christians judge their relationship with God by how much “good fortune” they receive without ever conceiving that Satan is also able to give gifts to seduce the foolish preventing them from being saved by the true Gospel (Mt 7:21-23; 13:1-9, 18-23). The Christian path is no different than the path Jesus walked to produce a people willing to give up everything to be made into holy ones of God (Mt 10:35-39; Mk 10:28-31). Not in our own righteousness, for we have none, but solely in the righteousness of Christ received from God, the Father.

Hagiozw-Process

Hagiazo Process

This is the purpose of this ministry. To assist those who wish to follow Christ through the Hagiazo Process as He develops each of us into His saints. I have included a schematic I developed years ago detailing this process.  Time pushes us along with Satan, and his demons, providing the downward force (testings and tribulations) while Christ and the Holy Spirit provide the upward force with us in the middle. It is the image of the grinding of wheat (Lk 22:31-34). It reveals the deceitfulness of our flesh so that we might not love it too much, similar to Paul’s thorn in the flesh (2Co 12:7-10). We will not see the entire picture in this life but like Paul we strive to grow in His grace (1Co 13:12). Learning discernment will not make you sinless, that is impossible in this body of flesh.  Discernment will help you understand God, the Bible, your sinfulness and the deceitfulness of both Satan and his world system so that you, as wise people of Christ, will continue to spread the true Gospel of Christ to those who are still trapped in the cave, and perishing.

Author: LeeS

Retired naval nurse, Dad, Husband, Christian who seeks to share the Bible with those who want more than the superficial milk given out in the majority of today's churches. God has taught me through hard experiences as well as through book learning (Master's of Ministry, Doctor of Ministry).