Aug 7, 2021

In the Eye of the Beholder

2 Min Read

Have you ever heard the adage “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”? In this brief clip, R.C. Sproul explains how John Locke’s ideas of primary and secondary qualities continue to influence the way many people view the world.

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Now, following John Locke's work as a pioneer here there came a very strange philosopher (strange in the sense of the ideas that he represented) who was very much concerned about the growing view of people in the 17th and 18th century towards materialism and consequently towards atheism. And, the man I am talking about is a man who was a bishop of the Anglican Church. And, his name was George Berkeley. I never spell it right. But, if you look at it, you think it reads: Berkeley because it's spelled like the university campus that we have in California that we pronounce Berkeley. But the pronunciation of his name is Berkeley. And, he was born in 1685 and he died in 1753. So, his work really takes us into the middle of the 18th century. There are those, for example who believe that Bishop Berkeley's philosophy had a profound influence on America's greatest philosopher, who of course, was Jonathan Edwards. But in any case, Berkeley's concern, remember we said that if we are going to understand a philosopher, we have to ask what problem is he trying to solve? What concern is he wrestling with? Well, being a Bishop of the church, Berkeley was concerned that science was moving more and more away from God, and more and more towards a metaphysical view that said, that what is ultimately real is not God, but matter itself. And, that the universe is nothing more and nothing less than a sum experience of material things. And, this became the bridge in Berkeley's day for the whole kind of revival of atheism. And, the atheists said that they don't need to postulate some kind of supernatural spiritual being to explain the universe and to explain our significance. The only thing that is real is matter. There is no spirit. And if there is no spirit realm, then there is no room for God. So, Berkeley is concerned, not only as a philosopher, but chiefly as a theologian, to rescue modern civilization from this rushing tide of materialism, which brings in its wake, atheism. And, he wants to see a scientific paradigm or model that has a real place for God.