*(NOTE: BC = Before the Cross; AD* = Since the Cross)
1500 The Exodus of Israel from Egypt
500- 429 Socrates
458 – 377 Plato
414 – 352 Aristotle
372 – 300 Epicurus
0 THE CROSS
60 John, the Last Apostle forewarns of the characterof Gnosticism
100 End of the Apostolic Era (The apostles + thosewho heard Christ)
0- 85 Philo, begins to combine Gnosticism with Christian doctrine
125-? Tertullian, introduces Montanist theology (warns against Gnosticism)
130- 180 Clement, introduces Platonic speculation to exegetical theology
170- 230 Cyprian establishes primacy of the Roman Church
155- 224 Origen, absorbs neo-Platonism, and universalism.
175- 240 Plotinus (non-Christian) architect of fully developed Neo-Platonisrn
295 First Ecumenical Council, at Nicea
324 – 400 Augustine, neo-Platonist and Pelagian; endorsed Papacy, sacralism, innate immortality,and perpetual torment of the lost.
500 Ecumenical Council of Orange, at which full blown Pelagian Platonism is endorsed as official Romish doctrine.
1410- 1470 Marsilio Ficino, theologian; writes definitive 18-vol.work Theologia Platonica de immortalitate animorum on man’s natural immortality (neo-Platonism) officially endorsed by Roman Church at Fourth Eateran Council, 1513 AD,when Calvin was 4 yrs old. This was an official text in Calvin’s training for Catholic priesthood.
1479- 1534 John Calvin, author of “The Institutes of the Christian Religion,” about age 25; renounced much of Romanism but not sacralism, and retained much neo-Platonism, including innate immortality and perpetual torment of the ungodly.
1500AD* Wm. Tyndale completes 1st printed EnglishNT (martyred before completion of OT); had openlyrenounced Romanism, innate immortality, and purgatory.Notice the remarkable historical symmetry in the above table:
(1) 3,000 years from the liberation of Israel from Egyptian bondage, to the “liberation” of the Bible and Christian worship from the bondage of Rome; with the Cross at the exact mid-point.
(2) 500 years from Socrates to the Cross in which God allows Satan to prepare the poisonous and subtle notions of Platonism; and 500 years from the Cross to the Council of Orange by which time Satan had corrupted the apostolic chuches with the abominations of Popery.
B. Two Prominent Witnesses to the Corruption of Apostolic Christianity by Platonism
1. P.O.Kristeller, “Renaissance Thought and Its Sources” Columbia Univ. Press, 1979
Chap.10 The Immortality of the Soul (Note: italics by this author)
p.184 “Among the early philosophers the soul was mainly conceived as the animating principle of the body. It was Plato who in a sense combined” the religious and philosophical notions of the soul, conceiving it both as the animating principle of the body and as moral and metaphysical agent capable of more or less perfect moral status ….
p.185 This Platonic doctrine of immortality was preserved and further developed by Plato’s pupils and followers, and especially by the Neoplatonists …
p.186 The majority of recent theologians …admit that there is no Scriptural basis for the natural immortality of the soul, and those who refused to go that far have been forced to rely on implications or on later interpretations …The Christian doctrine of immortality is not found in Scripture, but in the work of the early apologists and Church Fathers. from Justin Martyr to St. Augustine. These writers were familiar with Greek philosophy, as the Biblical Authors were not, and for them it was as vital a task to reconcile Christian doctrine with Greek philosophy as it is formodern theologians to reconcile it with modern science.The Christian notion of the immortality of the soul. as it was finally formulated by St. Augustine is clearly derived from that of Plato and the Neoplatonists.
p.188 re the work of Marsilio Ficino: “His major philosophical work. ..Theologia Platonica de immortalitateanimorum, …might be described as a Summa on the immortality of the soul …While drawing freely on arguments formulated by Plato, Plotinus, Augustine, and other thinkers,Ficino adds many of his own …
p.191 “Ficino’s massive work established a firm connection between the doctrine of immortality and Renaissance Platonism …The wide impact of Platonism …appears in the writings of many 16th century theologians and …in the decree by which the Lateran Council of 1513 condemned the unity of the intellect and formulated the immortality of the soul as a dogma of the Church.”
2. Rousas John Rushdoony, “The Foundations of Social Order” Thoburn Press, 1978
Chap.20, p.206: “The world of antiquity, committed to humanism, tolerated any absurdity concerning the future life but rejected…the doctrine of the resurrection. The answer is obvious. Every one of these other beliefs, i.e. the immortality of the soul, reincarnation or transmigration, etc., all affirmed the basic divinity of man and his self-salvation. The Biblical doctrine made man a creature and God sovereign…The immortality of the soul, in its every form, is a doctrine which makes man his own god and savior; it gives man an “open” universe, i.e. free from God, which is man’s to explore in time and eternity.”
p.210: “This is the Christian faith, the resurrection. Pagan antiquity, as well as “primitive” cultures, hold to a belief in a supernatural immortal soul. Whether in its Hellenic form, or as animism, this view is alien to the Biblical perspective. “Immortality” is ascribed to God alone…(1Tim.6:16)…It is Jesus Christ “who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel”( 2Tim.1:10)….Whenever and wherever the soul is seen as of another substance than the body, then contempt for the body is inevitable.”