Heraclitus


21 May

 HERACLITUS

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[TODAY’S POST BEGINS HERE]

 

 Ok- lets pick up on my philosophy stuff.

Heraclitus lived in the 6th/5th century BC. – He was from Ephesus and his key thought was Ever Present Change.

 

That is he saw everything as being in a state of continual flux- one of his famous sayings was ‘No man ever steps into the same river twice’.

 

He is called the Weeping Philosopher- sort of like the prophet Jeremiah in the bible- also called the Weeping Prophet.

 

Heraclitus is known for his concept of the Logos- the Word- or thought/reason.

 

Now- this aspect of his thought plays a role in the development of the Christian understanding of Christ himself- in our New Testaments [written in Greek] Jesus is indeed referred to as the Logos- or Word of God.

 

The Greek philosophers understanding of the Logos was not the same as the Christian view- mainly expressed thru the writings of John [The gospel- the 3 epistles- and Revelation].

But- some see the Greek view as a precursor to Christ.

 

In the work of one of the early church fathers- Hippolytus ‘The Refutation of all Heresies’ he attacks Heraclitus view of the Logos as an early form of heresy.

 

The apologist Justin Martyr is more gracious- he [Like Ulrich Zwingli- the great Swiss reformer of the 16th century] viewed the early Geek thinkers as ‘pre- Christian’ or ‘Christians before Christ’.

 

Though many reject this view- yet there is some scripture to back it up.

The apostle Paul said in his letter to the Romans that if the Gentiles [non-Jews] do by nature the things contained in the law- then they are justified in God’s sight.

 

Of course these things are debatable- but I add this to show you that some great Christian thinkers did indeed view the early Greek thinkers- who did live by a moral code- as being right in God’s eyes.

 

And the bible does teach a theme that we will be judged according to the amount of light [understanding] that we had at the time.

 

I should note that Plato [one of the 3 titans that arose after Heraclitus- from the city/state of Athens] disagreed with Heraclitus on all things being in a state of constant change.

 

When [if?] we get to Socrates- Plato and Aristotle- I’ll try and cover the ways they advanced- built upon- the thought of the pre Socratic thinkers.

 

As a side note- the most famous student of Aristotle- who was the most famous student of Plato- who was the most famous student of Socrates- was Alexander the Great.

 

This goes to show you how great an influence Greek philosophy had on the ancient world.

 

A few nuggets from Heraclitus- ‘all things come to pass in accordance with this Logos’ ‘follow the common’ ‘not having their own judgment’.

 

Recently I covered Acts chapter 2- and we see some of these ideas in the early Christian movement.

The first Christians did ‘follow the common’ they sold their goods- and had ‘all things common’ [communal lifestyle].

 

The apostle Paul teaches the early church to all ‘speak the same thing- that there be no divisions among you’.

And the New Testament also says the scripture should not be given to Private Interpretation- meaning- ‘not having your own personal judgment’.

 

All in all- we do indeed see a sort of pre Christian thought in the pre Socratic thinkers- they did indeed speak of the Divine- God- though there understanding of him was not the same as the Christian church.

 

In a sense- Heraclitus idea that in life- the only ‘constant’ is the fact that there is no constant- that life itself is made up of an ongoing journey- we live day by day- not ever knowing what ‘the next day will bring forth’- Jesus.

 

Yeah- the man had some good points- the later Stoics would consider Heraclitus as the father of their movement.

And in the study of Philosophy- the Stoics- who had a good run from a few years before the Common Era- were overtaken in the 4th century [as the main influential philosophy of the time] by some new and lasting philosophy- started by a man named Jesus Christ- who his followers claimed rose from the dead.

Yeah- this New Way was called Christianity- and this philosophy has endured now for over 2 thousand years.

 

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