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The First 22 Pages - Escape From Reason by Francis Schaeffer

By fenix-aarizon | Fenix Book Reviews | 26 Apr 2022


Photo by SHVETS production

Philosophers like Cosimo & Ficino recognized the importance of redefining the struggle of mankind as nature & time (evolution) continued to destroy grace & man (created in the image of God).

Author of Escape from Reason, Francis Schaeffer claims that while the Scriptures originally provided knowledge of God and of man & nature, I reckon his argument is that the Scriptures have been torn out of society like pages from a book.

While this was the beginning of the book, I am certain that I won't be going back to find the pages where these notes originated. I am going to start posting the notes I have developed from this book, because I think if I wait too long - I won't actually post it.

Men of today may believe in themselves as gods, rather than existing as a humble creation in the image of God.

The Struggle for Reason

The Author makes the case that there are two levels; an "upper" and a "lower." Francis Schaffer implies whatever is on the lower "eats up" what is on the "upper."

Philosophers (without God or Scripture) were attempting to conceive & institute meaning & purpose through structured, scientific, and autonomous rationality.

Grace was being "eaten up" by nature. In certain terms, the philosophic trappings of grace was being redefined by naturalism.

A battle broke out as nature versus grace. We are learning about the way man without God has evolved over the course of Modern History (1500 CE-present, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_by_period)

The truth of the matter...

All these philosophical beliefs are attempting to explain the origin of man, because the self-righteous autonomous man has fallen from his true purpose; to defeat the kinds of forces which have uprooted the focus of man in the image of God as man once believed.

The idea of being human is simple: Believe what thou wilt, but stand up for what you believe in, because there exists an insurmountable number of distractions which aim to come between you and, in this case, the one true God.

Not even churches should stand in the way of connecting with God. When man places too much faith in man, they give too much power to the wrong Being. By man I mean mankind (including women & children). Man has fallen and are led by malicious forces. Each one, every one falls short of the glory of God. Do not be followers of men.

Once man falls away from God and we are left wondering whether our false idols will ever come back, we may in fact become tempted to fall to the depths our leaders will. Undoubtedly they will drag us down if we allow them.

Man is fallen. Placing as much expectation and trust of man wherever man walks is foolish.

Hypostasis: Stand your ground. Do no rely on men to show us the way to Christ! This is foolish. This is what fools do.

Each man was given not only the ability to connect with the Holy Spirit, but man was also given freewill - to act according to the rules & laws grounding autonomous man to worldly pleasures. This might end up becoming my manifesto, if I ever could write one.

Christ provided the Spiritual tools we need to connecto to God. Those same tools can be utilized to maintain our relationship with Him, too. Again - it's spiritual warfare. The Holy Bible is our greatest gift, but that is only as useful as studying the theology of the autonomous man.

Maybe we can read some Sun Tzu while we're at it; never underestimate the enemy.

The moment we place more trust in man than we have in the Father is when we'll become distracted adn side-lined from our true Calling - that is the fight against those things which seek to do us & those we love, harm.

In this sense, the devil is real. This is what non-believers subscribe to when the are not consciously following the One and true high power who is the Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. Ew - I sound so cheesy, don't I? I'm still allowing the autonomous man define my belief systems. This is foolish.

See - not even I am perfect.

One must, then, accept this life in its entirety, for there cannot be any doubt as to which direction a man is traveling. It is in this sense that God is a jealous God. One cannot haphazardly cowar toward God - this is spiritual warfare. As Soren Kierkegaard writes: Christianity is not a consolation for man; it is a demand upon man. These words are powerful. It's not a snowflake religion.

This exemplifies the necessity to follow the commands as men - though I'd like to learn more yet, as to why Soren makes the case that becoming a Christian is lunacy...

To be a Christian is not a consolation, Soren writes. The pain of sin must be very deep...it must be...so difficult that it becomes truly obvious that Christianity is only related to the Consciousness of sin. Any attempt to become a Christian for any other reason is quite literally lunacy.

Read more from Soren's Concluding Postscript

Page 14

Grace, the higher: God the Creator; Heaven and heavenly things; the unseen and its influence on the earth; man's soul; unity Nature, the lower: The created; earth and earthly things; the visible and what nature and man do on earth; man's body; diversity

Over time, as man has evolved and especially since the Industrial age, has allowed naturalism to supersede grace.

The Author writes man's thought-forms had been Byzantine. Byzantine means of, relating to, or characterized by a devious and usually surreptitious manner of operation.
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Byzantine

Prior to the writings of Thomas Aquinas (who introduced Aristotelian thinking), there was "an overwhelming emphasis on the heavenly things, very far off and very holy..."

Page 15

Francis Schaffer identifies how people perceived nature & grace over time by studying classics in artistic paintings. His ability to recognize this kind of detail takes a particularly analytical mind.

The things of the body are not to be despised when compared with the soul. The things of beauty are important. Sexual things are not evil of themselves. All these things are involved in the fact that in nature God has given us a good gift, and the man who regards them with contempt is really despising God's creation.

Is rape divine to sociopaths?

I recently posed a question of logic as the notion that if the Holy Spirit in fact raped Mary (to produce Jesus), then those people may too believe that rape is divine. Being a perversion, I think this line of thought is improper.

I do wonder how & why people could think that rape is divine. Perhaps they think these things, being raised to believe satanic ritual abuse is the way of God - but those who survive such experiences in a way that those people can get away from & heal from ritualistic abuse would not think it to be a godly thing.

By believing divine birth created Jesus (which is what we're taught as docile Christians), this belief relies on the notion that God is also divine. And God created nature, so nature should be respected as it is from God.

However, nature is today at the whim of man who in fact hates God's creation & despises commandments and the demans upon man to act right and just toward God's creation.

Rape is one such way of how man despises nature. Man without God, without restraints. Without Scripture. I believe this is what the Author is referring to; God's nature that should not be despised.

Page 16

The fall of man through his will

Aquinas believed that the will of man has fallen but his intellect hadn't.

From the fall of man's will; the will to adhere to the demands of God, the Author writes, all of man's "subsequent difficulties" flowed. From an intellectual point of view, perhaps the will of man is the deciding-factor in which systems man adopts into his understanding of the world.

If there is no more God as the barebones of men's operating system, then it would make sense to describe this failure of men as one of will, rather than intellect.

What do I mean by this? Making sense of these things might be rather complex at the start. How do men function among a society without God? Without God, men are naturalist. Naturalists function as if the individual is the higher power, rather than seeing themselves as subservient to the Creator.

Page 17

Various types of autonomy

Separate from revelation <= Freedom <= Autonomy => Natural Theology => Theology without Scriptures

Studies regarding subjects of man are not unrelated to each other...The education process of today fails to observe the natural associations between the disciplines...Francis draws meaning by analyzing the relationship between theology, philosophy, and art.

A way for man to understand himself in the context of being independent from God came about ideals that were not directly correlated with God's demands upon man, but rather man & the creation of his own ideals, separate from Scriptures; "free from revelation" as the Author put it. It was man discovering freedom from God.

Page 18

Francis writes that the change of painters and writers in their choice of content was indicative of a shift wherein nature began to be important.

The interest of nature was initially godly; the appreciation of nature & its moral independence from God was proportionate as God intended around the time Cimabue & Giotto began painting nature as nature, instad of using symbolic references as they were painted before.

From page 11/12, Francis writes

Christians has this problem of learning how to speak meaningfully to its own age...we must know the thought-forms of our own generation...To communicate unchanging truth in a changing world...

Up to the time of Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), thought-forms had regarded heavily in terms of God-worship. After him however, we see an utter shift into autonomous humanism.

Francis believes Aquinas desired to correlate grace & nature through unity, but it was left unfounded as the struggle for (perhaps) dominance of one or the other.

Page 19

Nature versus grace

Evolution would have it no other way; man's observation of nature became more "gradually more totally autonomous."

 Page 20 to 22

Once nature is made to exist unto itself, something that we believe God didn't necessarily intend on doing through freewill, it begins to (according to the Author) "ear up" the grace God provisioned for nature.

Like an overgrown grape vine which covers up the directions for man to find God; nature which became autonomous means man may stop desiring knwoledge of God. Man has developed false faith systems, false idols, and false worship through his willingness to be unique from God. This is man who pridefully declares himself God; man has lost his direction and will and has thus fallen away from God.

See in this sense, I believe we are the stories we read in the Bible. We are the fallen angels and history is repeating itself, because we have already been everything that has already existed before us.

...when nature is made autonomous (by man), it is destructive.

By allowing our instincts to take precedence over the loving-kindness of God, we may come to appreciate things which are directly contradictory to honoring God's plan. Following the will of man who operates outside the confines of Scripture is dangerous to reconcile.

A friend and I was just talking about culture and the way things are headed in America. He recounted an expression, "If you want to know what a culture values, then study their art." and in this way, Francis Schaeffer is doing just that.

  • Parallels to the Death of Grace
  • Van Eyck painted the first real landscape
  • Giotto: True perspective & space
  • Masaccio: Feeling of atmosphere
  • Filippo Lippi: His own mistress with a landscape inspired by Van Eyck
  • Fouquet: Agnes Sorel as Mary with one breast exposed

Francis Schaeffer is making the case to study the fall of man from grace through the artwork over the Reformation & Renaissance eras. Man has slowly but surely come to an impasse where nature has superseded the observable grace of God.

Destruction of Nature

There is worship of the destruction of nature (perversions of all kinds) as well as worship of nature in itself (polytheism, paganism).

When nature is made autonomous, it is destructive.

As if nature and worldly things hold precedence over the Scriptures.

This is Fenix Book Reviews.
Until next time.

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