Philosophy in Service of Theology

“What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?”

Tertullian first asked this question in 197 AD, challenging the relevance of philosophical study to the Christian life. Since then, Christians in every age have worked to show that there is much that Athens has to offer Jerusalem, so long as it does not set itself up over Jerusalem as judge, but rather submits to it in service.The Church has remained committed to the belief that the faith, while it is mysterious, and so beyond our ability to exhaustively understand, is nevertheless reasonable.

This year-long course will explore the relationship and interaction of philosophy and theology by considering the fundamental questions of each. Philosophy’s first question, for example, is: “Why is there something rather than nothing?” Theology responds: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Philosophy asks “from what?” and theology responds: “from nothing.” Philosophy asks “for what reason?” and theology responds: “for his own glory and pleasure.”

Thus we will see that philosophy is characteristic of humans, for it is the discipline where we gather all of our questions of meaning. Every search for God begins in such questions, and so begins in philosophy; but a search for God that never rises above that first questioning stance will never arrive at God. And so we will see that when philosophy continually looks to theology to have its questions answered, it leads to deeper and more robust faith; but when it turns away from theology and seeks to set itself up as the highest arbiter of truth, it ends in confusion, skepticism, and despair.

Texts will be taken from selections various authors, including Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Nietzsche, Augustine, Aquinas, and Chesterton.

Tuesdays, 1:30 - 3:00 pm CT (daylight savings will be observed)
August 19, 2024 - May 9, 2025

Grades 9-12

$650 / student

  • Dr. Johnson uniquely combines his analytic thinking with his vast theological knowledge and his love for wonder and imagination to expand our view of reality and what is possible.

  • Dr. Johnson’s 12-week online course “The Wisdom of Possibility: the Practice of Thinking Through the Imagination” offers up a virtual gourmet buffet for any person hungry to explore a deeply Christian and highly intelligent theological treatment of the creative impulse so central to human experience. Small class size, accessible readings, and robust interaction under Johnson’s keen grasp of the critical issues at stake together offer up a deeply satisfying immersion into the world of wondering about the world. For the price and the substance, there is no better value on the continuing-ed market.

  • I thoroughly enjoyed this investigation into the Christian imagination! As an active musician and teacher, I have wondered about how the imagination works, how the mind uses both reason and imagination in concert to solve problems and invent new ideas. Junius took us deeply into these subjects, helping us discover philosophical truths, logical connections, and practical applications. I cannot “imagine” a more thoughtful and masterful teacher than Junius and would highly recommend this class. The readings were interesting and do-able, the discussions fascinating, and the content truly formative.

  • I was already deeply into writing a trilogy of science fiction novels when I heard about Wisdom and Imagination. So, I was a little hesitant to detour. But, following the Lord’s prompting, I registered. I am ever so glad I obeyed! Junius Johnson’s genius in weaving together science, the arts and music has inspired me to even greater creativity. And his sound theological perspective has challenged me to expand my universe. I highly recommend this course to anyone desiring to bring our Creator’s creativity into their life, work and service.