A Premillennial Philosophy of History -- By: Alva J. McClain

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 113:450 (Apr 1956)
Article: A Premillennial Philosophy of History
Author: Alva J. McClain

A Premillennial Philosophy of History

Alva J. McClain

Christianity is not a philosophy. But Christianity has a philosophy—the best and the brightest of all philosophies. In fact, it will be the final philosophy, not only because it is founded upon divine revelation but also because it does justice to all points of view which have any value. Most philosophies are very narrow, often based upon only one aspect of reality. In the very rich variety of the world, the average philosopher may select one segment of reality which seems most impressive to him, and then proceed to explain the universe in terms of that one thing, which then becomes the “type-phenomenon” of his system. Thus one man is impressed by the fact of mind and he becomes an idealist. Another is intrigued by the wonders of matter and he becomes a materialist. In Christian philosophy both mind and matter are recognized as worth-while realities, each being given its proper place and function in the kingdom of God.

Hence an adequate philosophy should have at least three marks: First, it should be able to give due recognition to every aspect of reality, excluding none. Second, it should fit into a rational scheme of thought; that is, it should make sense. Third, it should have beneficial practical effects here and now. I am not a pragmatist, but they have a point. Their great mistake was to exalt this point into a theory of truth. Things are not true because they work; they work because they are true.

Now the Bible divides all human existence into two stages or kinds: With respect to their nature the one is called “natural,” the other “spiritual” (1 Cor 15:46). As to their derivation the first is called “earthy,” the second “heavenly” (1 Cor 15:48). As to their duration the first is called “temporal,” the second “eternal” (2 Cor 4:18). As to their time relationship the one is described as “the life

that now is,” and the other as “that which is to come” (1 Tim 4:8).

Toward this present life on earth, there have been two extreme attitudes: Some have wrongly regarded this life as the only thing worth-while, scoffing at the idea of anything higher and beyond. Thus, according to the consistent Marxians, there is no substance to the promise of “Pie in the sky, By and by.” Others, also wrongly, have scorned the present life as of small or no account, even arguing that salvation consists in getting loose from it altogether. On this philosophic road, at various stages, were the Hindu rel...

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