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The Renaissance Revolution

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
January 7, 2022 12:01 am

The Renaissance Revolution

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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January 7, 2022 12:01 am

In our day, many people choose the authority of science over that of theology. But this is hardly a new practice. Today, R.C. Sproul surveys the "new science" of the Renaissance.

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During the Renaissance. The water was fun to work back to the sources, but that brought a problem for the church after while there were those who saw a radical dichotomy between what they were reading in the original sources of Scripture, and what had developed historically in the institutional church that was based more on tradition than on the original sources. Since people could read the Bible for themselves.

They assume the church was teaching truth by returning to the original sources. The church and society experienced massive up evil today on Renewing Your Mind. Dr. RC scroll helps us understand the changes that came during the Renaissance and the consequences of those ideas today. Today were going to move into transition from the Middle Ages of the medieval period to the beginning of the modern age in the history of philosophy and I don't want to leave you with the impression that no significant philosophical thought was done between St. Thomas Aquinas and René Descartes.

For example, in the 17th century there were many very important philosophers who step to the plate during that period. Bonaventure Duns Scotus, Ockham, for example, Abelard another but what happens later on in Western history is so significant for the shaping of modern philosophy that I would like to spend the time on those things, not everyone was simply falling dead at the feet of St. Thomas Aquinas are still some original thinking going on. But Thomas did dominate the Middle Ages and so were going to move beyond that to the Renaissance that began in the 13th century, at least in the Western world. As I've already mentioned, there was already a renaissance going on in the Muslim world where attempts have been made by the Islamic philosophers to create a synthesis between Muslim theology and Aristotelian thought. But when we talk about the Renaissance in the Western world were talking about that movement that began in Florence, and Italy in the 13th century and made significant strides forward in the 14th century. Initially, the Renaissance, which means rebirth was a reawakening to ancient culture and thought a rediscovery of the ancient poets and dramatists, and particularly the ancient philosophers, and there was a renewed interest both in the ancient Romans, particularly Cicero and the ancient Greeks rediscovery of Plato and Aristotle. And so now in the 14th century Cosimo de Medici Newhart of the Mattice's very financially wealthy Italian family ruled more or less as King of Florence and Cosimo de Medici founded the new Platonic Republic that he himself represents something of a transitional figure because in the 13th century much of the impetus for the rebirth of ancient culture was directed not only out of an interest in antiquity, but also there was a growing climate of turning the attention of the people away from the major concerns of the church which tended to fix people's attention on heavenly things to a new concern for humanity and for life here and now, so the earlier thinkers in the Renaissance in the 13th century were either indifferent towards the church into the Christian faith, but were positively hostile towards them, but in the 14th century with the Mattice families love of antiquity, there was still a commitment to the church and there was an attempt to marry some of these three discoveries from antiquity to the contemporary church situation and you know the Mattice family was a family that was intimately involved with the Roman Catholic Church of that time. For example, Cosimo's great-grandson was perhaps the most feigned of the Mattice's.

His name was Lorenzo the magnificent and Lorenzo the magnificent was the one who first took Michelangelo under his wing even invited him into his home where he lived with the family and so on until the early death of Lorenzo the magnificent one of Lorenzo's sons became Pope Alexander VI and I thought about that more later, but in any case, the basic impetus of the Renaissance. At first seem to work against classical Christianity, but then after a time, began to work as a support system to historic Christian. The motto of the Renaissance was the phrase add font face to the sources to the sources or to the fountain if you will. The word fault means fountain or source. And so what that meant was, go back to the earliest sources of Western civilization recover the thinking of Aristotle, Plato, and so on and so a new effort was made to learn the Greek language and the Latin language. In addition to that, however, came the Christian humanists from a Rasmussen of Rotterdam was the most famous who lived in the 16th century and in their effort to recover the greatness of antiquity. One of the sources that they were concerned about studying a fresh was the Scripture, particularly the New Testament, and so there was a whole new accent on mastering the biblical languages which brought in its wake a new investigation of the original sources of Christian thought and at first that was somewhat tame, but after while there were those who saw a radical dichotomy between what they were reading in the original sources of Scripture, and what had developed historically in the institutional church that was based more on tradition than on the original source so the first challenge really that came to the meeting.

This is what we call the classical synthesis was the challenge brought by the Renaissance in this were the initial movements that were going sooner or later to displace the medieval structure of the University. Where is commonplace to think in the University that the Queen of all the sciences was theology and philosophy was called her handmade so that the theological faculty would be the dominant faculty of the entire University and then second, perhaps in command was the Department of philosophy was, you know, today that's not the way it is and some radical changes were already starting to take place. As a result of the impetus of the Renaissance. Also at this time. As part of the Renaissance mindset was a challenge to teleology. I remember when I was a senior in college, I still had not yet taken my required course in freshman biology reason for that was scheduling when I was a freshman I took Greek and the only time I could take Greek conflicted when the courses were offered for what they called bonehead biology biology 101 so I didn't take it until I was a senior of been a philosophy major and all that sort of thing and I remember the first day in class the biology professor said something that disturbed me greatly in her opening lecture.

She said you must learn if you're going to be scientific and to engage in the pursuit of the knowledge of living things as were during biology is that you have to set aside any concerns of teleology in us. Wait a minute that's like telling me I can never ask the question what is the purpose of these things that were studied have real problems with that philosophical problems and theological forms. What I didn't realize was that she was merely reflecting an attitude toward science that had been deeply rooted already in the Renaissance the Renaissance reacted against the medieval educations fixation they believed on trying to interpret everything that we learned in this world, according to how it fit with the divine plan and the divine purpose you think God was banished from the school room only if the 20th century, but this challenge was that we are to study things for their own sake and not to be concerned about how they fit in with the ultimate purposes of God. And so this was a serious challenge to Christian thinking because the Christian worldview was such that wanted to understand everything that we learn in light of its relationship to the purposes of God. A second major challenge to the medieval well was the scientific revolution that came in the 15th and 16th century, particularly as you've all heard the Copernican revolution where the astronomer Copernicus wrote a theory that attacked the traditional theory of the Ptolemaic view of the universe were the ancient Ptolemy taught in the Aristotelian tradition that the earth is the center of the universe. In the center of our solar system that was called Geo centricity and over against Geo centricity Geos. The Greek word that we get from day's which means earth. The earth is the center of the solar system, Copernicus arguing from mathematics and so on. Argue for Helio centricity. This basically on the research of Cutler and others in the mathematical considerations to save the phenomenon as Plato had urged. He just said that the whole paradigm of what considering the sun as being the center of the solar system rather than the earth just made a whole lot more sense what this created a major controversy in the 16th century over the authority of the church, the authority of the church was being challenged because the church had embraced the Ptolemaic view of the universe, believing that the Bible taught that the earth was the center of the universe we know the famous Galileo episode where Galileo was condemned when the bishops of the church refused to even look through his telescope to see if there would be corroborative confirming evidence of heliocentric city.

If you read the writings of Luther and Calvin on the Protestant side. Both Luther and Calvin vehemently castigated the thinking of Copernicus just about everybody in the church, Protestant, Catholic alike. At that time saw a significant challenge to historic Christianity by the new science now, the new science came being born on the wings of two important developments one was a new scientific method.

The scientific method that you learned when you went to grade school.

The scientific method that is based upon two elements the element of induction and the element of deduction, induction is when you gather data when you collect samples when you conduct experiments and then deduction has to do with the reasoning from the data that you have collected and so the scientific method was not satisfied with discovering truth simply by philosophical reflection or by theological dogma, but rather they wanted to look at the facts. They wanted to examine the earth as it is discoverable to whatever level it is. And so, but in addition to this method and will also add that in the deduction side math mathematicians were growing in importance in this. As we will see. But in addition to this there was an explosion of technology.

There was a real technological revolution took place at this time and it was an explosion of technology of instruments, particularly instruments of measurement. The development of the microscope. The development of the telescope to very important historical discoveries because now our ability to see and perceive the external world was enhanced by a virtual quantum leap where the telescope means to walk across her look far and greatly enhance our ability to see into the far distances of the heavens.

In addition, that which was tiny, so small it could not be perceived by the naked eye was now suddenly opened to our Vista by virtue of the microscope and people were discovering microorganisms and molecules in bacteria and all that sort of thing which is radically revolutionized the entire scientific world now. In addition to the changes in advances in science.

One of the things that was came in its wake was the age of exploration, and this was enhanced by these new instruments. This was the period of vast worldwide exploration by Bosco da Gama and Magellan and Christopher Columbus in the 15th century, and so on. In fact, Columbus's discovery of America was the discovery of a new world which changed the whole dynamic of commerce of business and the like. In this time, and so on the heels of these things came a new economic system that is as the scientific changes were taking place.

There were also changes in business and commerce and as the changes came in business and commerce came changes in economics and fight the probably the most significant single change in the realm of economics was with the use of money so there's always been money. There's been some medium of exchange. But still the guilds and the economic system of the Middle Ages function.

Basically, on the basis of exchange of goods and services where money was not conceived of as a commodity but with the birth of what we call capitalism. Everything changed because now money was seen as something that had inherent value and could grow and make a person wealthy by investment and one of the most favorable investments that came about at this time was the investment in exploration ventures. Remember when you were in junior high school about Columbus trying desperately to get finances to test his theories of finding a shorter way to the East Indies for commercial reasons that a ghost of Ferdinand and Isabella and tries to get somebody to finance his expedition, and in those days the wealthy people who acquired a lot of money or capital were looking for ways to invest in one of the things that they did would be to invest in exploration ventures just like people do today with drilling for gasoline or oil or whatever. And the way it went.

Was this if the investor Dave Christopher Columbus X number of dollars to finance his exploratory voyage. Any goods that were brought back 75% of them went to the investor and the other 25% to the adventurer who had to share those profits by paying wages to his sailors and so on. But then the sailor would now have capital that he could reinvest in further explorations and so this is the way the thing went well.

Part again of what came in the new economics was a moral crisis and ecclesiastical crisis with respect to interest the Bible historically condemns usury, which in its most naked form involves the charging of interest for long and throughout the Middle Ages, all interest was disallowed but because the whole new system required borrowing financing interest now became allowable as long as it wasn't too exploitive and the very word usury became redefined both in the commercial world and in the church is interesting for us when we read Luther in the 16th century, how much tension he's given to the ethical question of user but usury now became defined as excessive interest, rather than the use of interest at all. So this is another vast change that was coming to class in the world.

Now, in addition to this we also encounter in the 16th century. The greatest upheaval of the classical synthesis that took place of all. And that was the impact of the Protestant Reformation and there were all kinds of reasons for that, not just theological. There were issues of a rising sense of nationalism and great resentment that had been accumulating over the centuries against Roman rule, because the church was powerful not only ecclesiastic lady but militarily and politically. The pope was the most powerful political person in the world during the Middle Ages, and so there were countries such as Germany and others that were sick and tired of what they called ultra Montanez him being ruled from over the mountains and there was this yearning for national independence. In addition to this there was the moral decay of the church which the humanists the Christian humanists, even a Rasmussen were calling for radical reforms. It focused principally on the behavior of priests, and chiefly the behavior of certain medieval popes.

The two great sins, as it were, or points of corruption that had infected the church of this time were the sins of simony and nepotism. Simony gets its name from the New Testament book of acts when Simon magazine Simon magician tried to buy the power of the Holy Spirit from Peter.

And Peter said make your money perish with you and so simony came to describe that practice by which the church sold church offices because they were lucrative so people were buying the bishops hat or the Cardinal hat, whether they had any moral or spiritual integrity at all. If they had the money they could become bishops or cardinals over several occasions and there were. We had teenage cardinals in at least two teenage popes because even the papacy was being purchased by rich and powerful families like the Borgias and the meta-cheeks and this is a matter of record in the Roman Catholic Church today acknowledges this because there since reformed the process, but at the time the church was in great moral corruption, nepotism was the granting of church offices, not simply by virtue of payment but to keep it in the family, how I say. Nepotism is all right as long as you keep in the family with you regarding nephews and nieces and sons and daughters and putting them in strategic places of ecclesiastical power.

So this brought forth a great grassroots reaction and interaction church in the 15th century, the church attempted conciliar-ism whereby the church voted the church councils would be the supreme authority and even the Pope would have to obey the decisions of the Council was like the Magna Carta of the church whereby kings would have to pay attention to a Constitution or Parliament. Unfortunately, the popes rejected it and it failed at that time. So as we move into the 16th century corruption is at perhaps it's worse.

Stay with the so-called worldly popes of that. Thank you for joining us for Renewing Your Mind on this Friday I'm Lee Webb window all week. We have been studying the ideas that literally change the world we featured Dr. RC Sproul series. The consequences of ideas watching the 35 video messages in this series will help you recognize the origins of many of the ideas that we encounter every day we like to send you the lessons on nine DVDs when you contact us with a donation of any amount you can find us online@renewingyourmind.org work. You can call us with your gift at 800-435-4343 color Pres. and CEO Chris Larson is here. Chris I know that you emphasize that we don't consider our study of these weighty theological issues a dry academic pursuit.

We run to the hard questions, not because we have wisdom in and of ourselves, but because we stand upon the word of God and God speaks to all of life and our listeners. Can I cure that through this next testimony comes from Jennifer up in Virginia and you'll hear how good theology has made all the difference. My name is Jennifer Rice and I'm from Blackstone, Virginia. My husband has traumatic brain injury and the holiness of God. The book of acts done Job with Derek Thomas and all of that has just really help me through the seven years since my husband's accident totally has changed my theology. Learning about the sovereignty of God has really helped me in this trauma with my husband difficult at first, but learning the sovereignty of God, his help me to know that he is there he is. Help me and my husband all this difficult path that we've been mocking God has shown his faithfulness over and over to me and when I was desperate. He's providing teaching allotment from leg and year that has challenged me. But in such a way that has helped me to stand strong and has sent me to the Bible you know to really try to dig deeper and that's really been through the ministry of Lincoln near such an encouragement to your Virginia story Chris, thank you for sharing that with us. She talked about digging deeper and then next week we will dig deeper into the parables of Jesus, why did he tell so many stories about the kingdom of God. What are we to learn from them. I hope you join us. Beginning Monday for Renewing Your Mind


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