All too often, educational philosophies and methods are viewed as being “equal.” However, they aren’t all equal. One philosophy or another will be ingrained in a curriculum. Several will produce individuals who will know *what* to think according to the curriculum. Whereas one will produce individuals who learn *how* to think and reason from Biblical principles (the Truths of God’s Word). Let’s take a look at some examples and determine whether or not a philosophy or method is cultivating students who are reasoning from Truth.
The Differences Between To and From
There are two small words that make a world of difference in the context of this article. To begin with, let’s lay down a foundational understanding of each one as aids to this topic.
TO, preposition: 1. Noting motion towards a place
-Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
In many cases, individuals attempt to reason to truth from their own experiences and feelings or else that of others. Or, they give reasoning to truth from man’s ideas and justification for ideas.
Now, this is how most curricula are designed. Plus, most curricula will add comprehension questions to each subject. Of note, comprehending what was read isn’t the same that as reasoning.
Let’s define from:
FROM, preposition: The sense of from may be expressed by the noun distance, or by the adjective distant, or by the participles, departing, removing to a distance. Thus it is one hundred miles from Boston to Hartford. He took his sword from his side. Light proceeds from the sun. Water issues from the earth in springs. Separate the coarse wool from the fine. Men have all sprung from Adam. Men often go from good to bad, and from bad to worse. The merit of an action depends on the principle from which it proceeds. Men judge of facts from personal knowledge, or from testimony. We should aim to judge from undeniable premises.
-Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
As Christians, our goal should emphatically be reasoning from principles/truth. From where does truth come? It comes from God’s Holy Word. Doing so breaks us from the stronghold of wrong mindsets and gives us right thinking.
Reasoning to Truth
This is common among people. Individuals will spring from their personal experience or man’s ideas and attempt to reason to truth. Many are familiar with whom Aristotle is, so let’s consider some of his statements.
Aristotle: Reasoning to Truth
As you may know, Aristotle is revered by many as one of the greatest Greek philosophers. Let’s look at a couple of his statements that show how he tried to reason to truth from human ideas about women.
Poetics by Aristotle
Woman may be said to be an inferior man.
Generation of Animals by Aristotle
The female is, as it were, a mutilated male.
How Aristotle Tried Reasoning To Truth
Firstly, he took the physical ability of females and determined that they are inferior to man (“[l]ower in place, station, age, or rank in life; Lower in excellence or value; Subordinate; of less importance.” -Webster’s 1828).
Secondly, he took their physical appearance, compared it to a male, and determined that females are mutilated males.
The Importance of Reasoning From Truth
Another word for truth is principle:
PRIN’CIPLE, noun [Latin principium, beginning.] 1. In a general sense, the cause, source or origin of any thing; that from which a thing proceeds . . . 6. A general truth; a law comprehending many subordinate truths; as the principles of morality, of law, of government, etc.
-Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
Truth is about life and it’s found in the Bible. God is the cause, source, origin of truth. He is the Creator of all—including general truths. Being the Author of life, He has given us general truths in His written word from which to reason.
Faulty Premise: Aristotle’s Stance That Women are Inferior to Men
How does God value women?
Image Bearers: Reasoning From Truth
Genesis 1 teaches us that God created man in His image. In Genesis 2, we learn that God created woman from man. She isn’t made like the animals. No, she is made in God’s image as well.
Faulty Premise: Aristotle’s Belief That Women Were Mutilated Men
Is woman a mutilated male or she designed by God just as she is?
Man is Also by the Woman: Reasoning From Truth
Aside from Genesis 1 and 2, we can turn to the following passage of Scripture and reason from it that a woman’s design is intentional by Creator God:
Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.
-1 Corinthians 11:11-12 (KJV)
Men and women are created by God with their distinct purposes and functions.
Reasoning From Natural Law
God is the Creator of Natural Law. We can learn much from His creation (Romans 1:20) as it teaches us truths.
An example of reasoning from truth about women is this: God’s Natural Law teaches us that women are valuable in many ways. Here are a few ways: 1. His Natural Law teaches us that men and women are designed to need each other for procreation; 2. Women have a special reproductive design which compliments that of a man’s; 3. The physical design to feed and emotionally bond with their babies is given to women; 4. A certain beauty is brought to the world via women; The strength of a woman is different than a man’s.
Aren’t the Differences Between Reasoning To and Reasoning From Obvious?
It all depends on the individual and how he/she has been discipled. Many Christians will see the errors in Aristotle’s attempts of reasoning to truth. In this case, these Christians are demonstrating their ability to reason from the truths of God’s Word. Some things are more subtle. However, when we learn how to reason from Biblical principles, we gain discernment.