JOHN LOCKE 1632-1704
2 Chronicles 1:10 “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
We see from Scripture that Solomon started his rule of Israel on the right foundation of wisdom and law: God, who is the source of all knowledge and wisdom, and established the laws for mankind. But, later on Solomon forgets God, he sets aside God’s commandments and laws personally, and so we see the result of this until he comes to the end of his life and returns to his God. In Ecclesiastes we understand how Solomon is very persistent in his teaching in order to convince his son Rehoboam not to make the same mistake in setting God aside.
Another brick in the stronghold was being laid by John Locke, who in some way is looked upon as being the father of ‘modern education.’ John Locke is the one that said that if our minds were like a blank sheet of paper, how would it be filled? His answer: “through experience.” In other words, as we experience life we fill that paper with the knowledge we acquired. This is what the book of Ecclesiastes is about; which is what Solomon learned from what he lived out in his life.
Our “Christian” knowledge should come through the revelation of Jesus Christ through Holy Scripture and personal experience of His presence in our lives. In Scripture we are taught how to live, or in other words, we are taught morality; the principles and laws we are to live by. However, John Locke’s philosophy would be that we understand life and morals through experience, determining your own definition of good and bad.
Psalm 119 is one of the great Psalms that exalt the Word of God. Look what is said: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.” (vs. 9)
I have two grandsons ages 18 and 14. How will they keep their way pure? Through experience? Or, by the direct revelation that comes from the Word of God?
“Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.” (vs. 24) I told my two grandsons to choose their friends wisely, but their counselors even more wisely. God’s Word revealed by God’s Spirit – is our best Counselor.
“Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts.” (vs. 98-100)
During the 18th century John Locke was a key figure in seeing humanistic rationalism beginning to replace Holy Scripture in Europe and then soon afterwards, here in America. About mid-1650 these radical ideas began to over-take the universities in England and soon also began the downward course of universities like Harvard in America. Originally Harvard was established to be a training base for pastors, but it soon succumbed to the radical ideas put forth by men like John Locke.
Because of what was happening at Harvard, conservative churchmen opened up Yale University in 1701 and the college of New Jersey, now known as Princeton University in 1748. However, the breakdown of the Christian faith at university level was done by John Locke and some of his fellow colleagues.
Historians Charles Taylor and Jerrold Seigal claim that Locke’s “essay concerning human understanding” marked the beginning of the modern Western conception of the ‘self.’
“Wallbuilders” comments, “It is not an exaggeration to say that without John Locke’s substantial influence on American thinking there might well be no United States of America.”
Like I said about Thomas Aquinas, from him we received many good things and this is true of John Locke as well. John Locke was raised as a puritan protestant, but later his confidence in human reasoning led him to doubt
the doctrines of the Trinity, the sovereignty of God, the atonement of Christ, and the resurrection of Christ; which are essential to the Christian faith. This “human reasoning” moved him little by little into the camp of what was known as the Latitudinarians.
The Latitudinarians were a group of Anglican Christians active from the 17th through the 19th centuries and who were opposed to the dogmatic positions of the Church of England. They allowed ‘reason’ to inform theological interpretation and judgment.
When one looks at John Locke’s ‘philosophical system’ in addressing knowledge, God is completely out of the system. However we, who have a Biblical worldview know that God, and in particular Jesus Christ, is the source of all knowledge and wisdom.
“Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:3
If the mind starts out like a blank sheet of paper, like John Locke states, then how does it process the first data that enters it? If it is not God and His revelation from Scripture, then how do we know that what or who is interpreting – is correct? Eventually we begin to process information in a wrong way that leads to a disintegration of our social systems like economics, education, marriage, law and justice, etc. This would seem to be what is happening today in the West, in America. True knowledge, and the wisdom that knows how to use our right knowledge, comes from God.
We read that: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 2:13) If we depend solely upon our mind and reasoning then how do we know that something is true or not? In our public education system today we are being taught that our mind of reason is sufficient to discern ‘truth’ apart from God’s word. What has been the result of this in our society? Decay; the crumbling of a godly society!