#230: How Does the Greek Worldview of Work Compare to the Biblical Worldview?

When I was a young Christian, I struggled with the question of if, or how, I should integrate my faith into the workplace. It turns out a lot of older, more seasoned Christians I turned to for advice had the very same struggles.

Worldview

As I did some research, I found man has been struggling with this question for some time!

Greek Worldview

Greek philosophers Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, shunned the God of the Hebrews and instead came up with their own man-centered philosophies to define the world.

Socrates

Socrates developed the “dialectic method” where students came up with their own meaning of justice and goodness. Today, we refer to such constructs as “moral relativism.”

This philosophy claims there are no universal moral truths. In other words, nobody is objectively right or wrong. Moral relativism holds that because nobody is right or wrong, we ought to tolerate the behavior of others. Does that sound familiar?

Plato

Plato developed the concept of “dualism.” Dualism divides man’s experience into two planes; a higher and lower. The higher plane is made up of eternal things, while the lower plane consists of physical and temporal things.  Work was placed in the lower, temporal plane.

Aristotle

A thousand years later, Aristotle merged Plato’s concept of dualism with Christianity. He came up with two planes as well; there was the “contemplative life” and the “active life.” The contemplative life included sacred activities like Bible study, preaching, and evangelism. The active life activities were the secular activities of life. Like Plato, Aristotle placed work in the lower plane.

Thomas Aquinas

Fast forward to the 13th century, Thomas Aquinas furthered the concept of dualism with two planes he called “Grace” and “Nature.” The higher plane of Grace included such things as understanding theology and church matters. The lower plane of Nature included man’s natural intellect (that which did not require revelation from God). Work did not require revelation from God, so it was part of the lower plane of Nature.

Pietist Movement

Philip Jacob Spener founded the Pietist movement of the 17th century. Pietists continued the concept of dualism with even sharper divisions between what they called the spiritual and the material world. The material world, including work, was of no importance. In the pietist’s view, it was impossible to serve God in your work; only when engaged in spiritual pursuits was one serving God.

A graphical view of the Greek dualistic worldview looks like this.

Greek Worldview

 

There are two planes. The upper, or higher, plane is the sacred activities. The bottom, or lower plane, is the secular activities. The sacred activities include things that are spiritual, eternal and the unchanging realm of God in heaven. The secular activities include things that are physical, temporal, and the changing realm of humans on earth.

Fast forward to modern times. Dualism remains with us. Many people, including people of faith, still believe there are higher and lower planes; that some activities related to spiritual things are of the higher plane and they matter to God, while normal activities of life like work are the lower plane and don’t matter to God.

Between moral relativism and dualism, it’s no wonder people are confused about how to integrate their faith in the workplace.

Biblical Worldview

The Biblical view of work stands in stark contrast to the Greek concept of dualism dividing man’s existence into a higher and lower plane.

In the Biblical worldview, the concept of dualism does not exist. Life is not divided into two planes; one higher and one lower. There is no spiritual plane and a secular plane.

Biblical Worldview

Everything including church, school, art, home, music, drama, sports, business, law, labor, agriculture, sex, medicine, and everything else in man’s existence is either in conflict with God’s will or in harmony with God’s will.

That means our work is either in harmony with God’s will or in conflict with God’s will. If our work is to be in harmony with God’s will then we cannot leave God out of the workplace!

Satan would like nothing more than for Christians to remain afraid of sharing the Gospel in the workplace.

Paul, exhorted Timothy, his young protégé not to be afraid of sharing his testimony: “…God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7).

Christian leaders, we must not let the prevalence of moral relativism and dualism in the workplace keep us from our playing our part in accomplishing the Great Commission!

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Have you seen or experienced the Greek worldview of moral relativism or dualism in the workplace? If so, in what way?

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Category: Personal Development | Courage/Risk-Taking

 

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4 thoughts on “#230: How Does the Greek Worldview of Work Compare to the Biblical Worldview?

  1. Ron,
    Awesome to be intentional about bring God into the workplace. It is part of our life mission and purpose to being God everywhere. As you say, we cannot satan keep us from our purpose as Christ’s ambassadors. Thank you for your regular blogs of encouragement and reminding us of God’s truth. They are very practical. I will use the workplace in the Career Coaching ministry and Class 401.

  2. Great Article! Dualism really is the venom that inhibits most of Christianity from coming into our full strength!
    Go on Ron!