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Ethical Theories Combined

It seems there have been as many ethical theories as there have been major philosophers. From the far West to the far East, in times modern and ancient. In ancient and recent cultures. From the sophisticated to the bizarre. In religions and antireligions. Do I have to add anything meaningful to all this confusion? To some extent yes and mostly no. What I attempt to add is taking the four basic functions of the human being and see how the Scriptures address them, viz. the body, mind, soul and spirit. Therefore, basically, all I do is to group Bible texts and arrange them according to these four functions. In this way we can see that the Bible speaks to us at all levels. The Bible verses in the golden background address our conscience, will and heart; but so do the verses as to the four functions. Some may accuse me of forcing Scripture into a philosophical mould that thwarts the liberty of the Holy Spirit, or worse, that involves us in worldly thinking. Like putting dark glasses on that do not let the light of the Lord through. Let us remember then that the Holy Spirit Himself employs the words for these functions, calling them 'body', 'mind', 'soul', 'spirit', 'conscience', 'will' and 'heart'. Holy Writ does not give philosophical definitions for these seven 'essences.' Therefore we are forced to interpret the Bible in this regard. The Lord exhorts us to also love Him with all our understanding. That is what I feel called to do. What is new, if it might be called that, is my attempt to arrange Bible verses according to the four basic functions. For the Lord, Who created us, has something to say to all the 'constituents' of our being. Many such verses, as quoted in this subsite, overlap of course and therefore my attempts must remain a looking through a dim window pane into an enigma.

"Put on Christ"

"Put off the old man"

"Put on the new man"

Literal or physical aspect

Intellectual aspect

Emotional aspect

Spiritual aspect

"You can judge a tree by its fruit." Christian consequentialism

"Be renewed in the spirit of your mind." "Be transformed through the renewal of the mind, that you may know the will of God." Christian deontology

"All that is true, worthy, righteous, holy, amicable, of good repute, if there is any virtue and any praise; think on those things." "Do these things and the God of peace will be with you." Christian virtue ethics

"Be full of the Holy Spirit. "Do not quench, do not grieve the Holy Spirit." "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, pleasantness, goodness, faith, humble character, self-control." Christian spirituality

Aristotelian episteme, phronesis and techne


Environmental Virtue Ethics

Stoicism. Jainism. Yin-Yang.


Utopianism. Taoism. Hinduism.




Philosophy that judges an act right or wrong based on its outcome.


Philosophy that teaches adherence to rules.

Virtue Ethics

Philosophy that teaches that one's character ought to be imbued with virtues so as to behave ethically.

For the deviating philosophies consult the internet.

There are, of course, exceedingly many theories that deviate from the golden mean of the Bible. Therefore, the examples given, serve only as an indication. Evolutionism is pure cynicism in its view of creationism, which it mostly ridicules, or turns into a hybrid mixture.

Aristotelianism might be given as an example to show that the mind breaks away to the left and Platonism that the soul with its emotive ideas can exaggerate its own importance and go off on a tangent to the right. From there one can go through one red light after another, on both sides.

To understand these breakaway theories, look at our charts on ethical theology.

What I have done in the above schema is to assign ethical ideas to the areas of the body, mind, soul and spirit; respectively combining consequentialism fot the body, deontology for the mind, virtue ethics for the soul and spirituality for the spirit. If one were to put to work these fields in a practical way in one's life, one would be, I am sure, a successful Christian. Let us be warned, however, not to sink away into mere theorizing. The most important thing is to let the quoted Scriptures be absorbed by our heart. Theory must be put to practice, or it remains dead like faith without fruit.

How to combine them then in practice? It is the Holy Spirit in us that wants to combine our spirits, souls, minds and bodies into a wholesome union to the Lord's honor. If one is full of the Holy Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit will live in you richly. The soul, as a result will not only think on virtuous matters, but will seek and succeed to put them into action. The mind, then, will be illuminated and the body will carry it out. It is, therefore, not simply a question of combining the four basic functions; but everything hails down from the efficacy of the Holy Spirit.

How to become full of the Holy Spirit? It is at any rate not attained by a quasi-fervent beseeching for fire from heaven. Fire stands for judgment. We need to be regenerated by the washing of the Word applied by the Holy Spirit. Milk for the babes in Christ and solid food for the more mature. The water cleanses our heart with its conscience. Therefore we must be vigilant not to sear away the pangs of conscience, nor fall into exaggerated holiness, which leads to hypocrisy and unreasonable judgmentalism. And so, forget terms like consequentialism, deontology and what have you and leave them in the hands of barren theoreticians and let the Word of Christ live richly in you.



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