Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Religious Education, PhD

First Advisor

John B. Youngberg

Second Advisor

George H. Akers

Third Advisor

Hans K. LaRondelle


Problem and Purpose

In the educational world of the 80s there is a renewed interest in moral education after nearly half a century of neglect. However, since most moral philosophers reject the teaching of objective moral values in favor of subjectivity, Christian educators have felt the need to restate the principles of character education to harmonize with biblical truth. This study analyzes the concept of character in the Apocalypse against a background of humanistic philosophy originating in Plato and Aristotle, noting in each system the concepts regarding the norm of character, the nature of man, the nature of good and evil, and the method of character development.


The biblical view of character differs from that of the philosophers in that the concepts of man and values are tied to the character of God. Thus, in the Apocalypse man is seen as created in the image of God to reflect the character of God, which is the norm from which are derived the concepts of good and evil. Evil character is hostility to God; righteous character means exalting God and being loyal to Him to death. Character is developed through participation in Christ's legal victory over sin at the cross, followed by experiential victory through union with Christ. Character in the last days will be tested over the issue of worship, whether to a pseudo-Christian power or to God. Judgment is Christocentric, depending upon one's treatment of the Lamb. Since the philosophers, by contrast, lacked the "solar" concept of a personal God, they drove the "satellite" concepts of man and values from their courses into darkness. Centuries of philosophical dialectic have deprived man of "soul," "essence," eternity, freedom, and even mind, so that educational goals have been reduced to problem-solving, social adjustment, self-actualization, and moral autonomy. These limited goals may be responsible for the academic and moral crises facing public schools in America today.


This research concludes that it is only in the framework of the God-man relationship that man can find his origin and destiny, malady and remedy, meaning and values, and a character that reflects the character of God.

Subject Area

Character, Education.


Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."