Page is loading...

Section Two: Philosophical Theology (Knowing God)

Introduction

In this section the main emphasis is on the Eminent Greek Philosophers Plato and Aristotle. However, it is appropriate to first briefly look into the theology during “The Period Of Fantasies” and “The Cosmologists Before Socrates” and then during the time of Socrates.

Period of Fantasy

The period before Philosophy is usually propounded as the period of fantasy in Greece and the most fundamental matter pertaining to the fantasy of this period is the matter of gods. It seems that choosing the name ‘fantasy’ for this period has a close connection with the matter of gods and divine myths such that the Greeks without any rational and philosophical analysis were directly considering a supernatural agent for every natural, social and ethical manifestations. Indeed, for everything which they encountered in this world they expounded the happenings with those agents (living) out of this world. These super-natural agents were the same numerous gods of the Greeks who had a close connection with the various matters of this world.

Thus, as a means for expounding the happenings of this world, the matter of gods was propounded in the Greek culture with extensive and simple fantasies and without rational and philosophical examination. These gods, who attracted the whims and fancies of the Greeks, were accompanied with analogy, simile and syllogism for justifying the natural and human affairs. Therefore the Greek gods had mostly human figures while some possessed beastly forms, and they took shape from the syllogism and simile of gods with the natural agents.

The journey of fantasy did not end here by way of simile. Rather in the same way, they contemplated biography, ethics, manner of living, ancestors and sons for the gods and these were explained in the mould of myths.

Of course, as it was mentioned in the first section, the Greek fantasies were in the form of images placed upon the previous matter. This prior matter was the divine ‘Fitrah’ and the reminding of the previous religions. That the Greeks turned towards fantasies of gods and not to any other thing for analyzing the events of this world shows their special condition and state of affairs.

From the time when human beings began to expropriate the divine ‘Fitrah’ (innate disposition) through fantasies, the human Greek culture was born. In the subsequent periods, this kind of expropriation underwent a change and took the form of philosophical expropriation and finally mystical expropriation.

It appears that the above explanation explains the most fundamental factor in the multiplicity of gods. However, this does not mean that other factors like political and tribal considerations were not having any effect in aggravating the multiplicity of gods. Similarly other justifications for the origin of fantasy of gods have been explained, which are not inconsistent with the above explanation and it is needless to mention them.

With regard to the above matter, we mention here a testimony:

“Political and tribal separations added fuel to so many gods and made impossible the worship of One God…When the religious fantasies of the Greeks came out from the local limits it became the cause of myths and common gods of the Greeks. For every social and natural manifestation, for each of powers of the land and the heavens, for every joy, good fortunes, evils and works the Greeks considered one source or one god for them. The Greek gods were having human figures. This too is another specialty of Greece and no other nation has ever imagined there gods resemble so closely the human beings… With regard to each of the gods, there existed a myth, which would clarify their race, their human connection and similarly the customs related to them. These myths which would arise either out of the local exigencies or was the product of the poets brought into existence the beliefs, philosophy, etiquette and history of ancient Greece… In the Greek myths, the world is not the creation of gods. The world was existing prior to the gods.”1

The theology at the time prior to philosophy can be summarized and said as such: During this period, the gods were propounded in a polytheistic manner through fantasies, imaginations, simile and syllogism. This theology in general is categorically opposite to the divine theology and this disagreement will be discussed in the section of religions. However the point which is worthy of attention is the influence which the theology of this period had on the later periods of philosophy especially during the time of Plato and Aristotle. This influence was to such extent that the later philosophers were speaking of gods and the matter of imagination and analogy too has always been propounded in Greece.

When Aristotle proves the multiplicity of gods by means of multiplicity of movement he coincides his ancestors gods with immutable essences (original movers). He says: “On account of the former ones and ancient forefathers you have like a heritance remained in your place in the form of a myth… He imagined that the original essences are the gods.”2

Period of Commencement of Philosophy

The birthplace of Greek philosophy and the foremost Greek philosophers were among the people of ‘Ayooniya’ Miltus was the cradle of ‘Ayooniyus’ philosophy because it was in Miltus that Thales the first famous ‘Ayooniyus’ philosopher sparkled. The philosophers of ‘Ayooniya’ were deeply under the influence of variable affairs, nativity and development, disintegration and death.

However, as much as these philosophers have employed their mind and intellect in explaining the Universe they have paid attention to this point that in spite of every change and transition a thing should have a firm and steadfast existence since change is from one thing to another. Thus a thing which is prior, fundamental and remaining and takes different forms should be existing. The philosophy and cosmology of ‘Ayooni’ is basically an endeavour in making clear the point that what is the first agent or the matter of (all) the matters and the source of each and every thing.

The thinkers of ‘Ayooniya’ were having differences in the nature of “matter of (all) the matters” but all of them were unanimous in its being material. Thales was of the opinion that it was water, Anaximans believed it was air, Heraclites reckoned it to be fire and so on…3

In the philosophy and reflection of this period, the matter of God and theology is not propounded, the witness being that some words and references about gods have been narrated by some of these thinkers4.

In other words, the belief in God, which was propounded in all the periods, was still not given a place in the mould of philosophical system.

Basically, during this period science and philosophy were not yet distinguished from one another and scientific and philosophical research too were mostly concentrated in finding the original agent in the material world and this situation continued up to the time of Socrates and sophists. Rational theology had still not a solemn place in the reflection of the Greeks and whatever has been related with regard to God in the rational forms and figures and in philosophical orderly reflection are very insignificant and imperfect which the best specimen of that can be found in the philosophy of ‘Anaxagoras’.

About him, Aristotle says as such:

“In this manner whenever a person would say that intellect is the cause of regularity and order in the entire nature just as it is in the animals, then as against the aimless sayings of the past people, he is considered to be a wise man. We certainly know that Anaxagoras was having this opinion. In spite of this, it is believed that ‘Hermutimus’ the native of Klazumanai has spoken about that more than him.”5

Anaxagoras uses intellect as a mechanical tool in the making of Universe and whenever he became helpless in the explanation of the cause of existence then, out of necessity he would bring intellect in the forefront. But in other instances he reckoned (other) things and not intellect to be the cause of events. 6

‘Parmenides’ who was one of the philosophers prior to Anaxagoras disbelieved the presence of any kind of movement in life and in this way he created problems for the future thinkers. As such, every thinker after him who reflected in the affairs of life and nature, instead of conceiving movement to be a certain and undeniable reality had to strive hard in its explanation and justification.

Anaxagoras who had imagined the picture of life in the beginning (intermixed in numerous forms) to be from innumerable and static matter, when faced with the matter of power or the power which is entrusted with giving movement to the original mass and creating the things of the world, introduced the principle of ‘Nus’.

‘Nus’ in distinct moments, gives the initial shake to that unlimited mass and becomes the cause of spinning and rotation, which accomplishes in various break-up of the original matter and then continues its motion till it results in the formation of happenings of nature. Thereafter ‘Nus’ in between becomes alien and idle and perhaps becomes only a spectator to the factory of existence. 7

With regard to ‘Nus’ there are a few points, which are worthy of attention.

1) According to Aristotle, whenever Anaxagoras would get stuck up in explaining something, he would bring intellect in the forefront.

2) On the one hand ‘Nus’ (intellect) is possessing divine attributes like ‘infiniteness’ ‘free-will’, ‘independent subsistent’ and ‘regulator of the Universe’ but on the other hand Anaxagoras ascribes attributes like ‘the most delicate things’ and ‘place being incumbent’ to ‘Nus’. It is for this reason that it is said Anaxagoras has not gone further than imagining a bodily principle. Aristotle too likens ‘Nus’ to a mechanical tool.

3) Even if we accept ‘Nus’ as one philosophical god, this god is not entrusted with sufficient role in this world and secondly it passes through the channel of simile and imagination and thus Nus like the other things of the world possesses a place.8

Such kind of defective philosophical theology had been propounded in a more defective form at the time of Anaximanas, Kasnufanas and Heraclites (much before Anaxagoras).

Over here we mention in brief the philosophical theology of these three philosophers.

Anaximanas: In his philosophical reflection, he imagined the source of the Universe to be the ‘air’. On the other hand ‘Anaximanas’ determined air to be the God which is in existence and is great, unlimited and always in motion. He says ‘that the air is God’ and even the gods too ‘have come into existence from air’.9

In this way, Anaximanas takes God in his philosophical mould and considers it (i.e. God) as equal with the original source of the Universe (i.e. air).

Kasnufanas: He says: “One God, the greatest god among all the gods and the humans which neither in figure nor in thinking is similar to the mortal creatures.” “A god which is static and firm in its place and which never moves.”10

About him, Aristotle says as such: “By only paying attention to the entire cosmos, he says that one (To hen) is God (To Theon).”11

According to Aristotle’s report, Kasnufanas believed in some kind of Unity of Existence and Oneness. It seems that he replaces ‘Aarkhe’ or the original source of the previous philosophers with Oneness and names it as God and considers God too as equal to the Universe. In this regard Plato says that according to Kasnufanas “Whatever we can name the entire things they are the creation of One.”

In none of his sayings Kasnufanas shows what he means by God is something outside this world and his idea is a continuation and logical expansion of philosophical course of the ‘Ayooniyus’ thinkers who searched the source of existence in every place and everything.12

Heraclites: He gives a more philosophical meaning to god after Kasnufanas.

The basic principles of his world-view (Ontology) and theology comprises of:

1) Existence in spite of its numerousness is one.

2) Oneness, born of contention is constantly in paradoxes.

3) Contrast and contradiction in existence is the very ‘logos’ or “the Universal everlasting laws.”

4) The world is constantly in the state of change and perfection.

5) The original source of the world is fire.13

6) According to Heraclites, fire the everlasting rotator is god. He says: “The One, who only He is the wise, wishes to and also does not wish to be named by the name of Zayus.” “God is day, night, winter, summer, war, peace, statiety and hunger and changes in the form of fire such that whenever it is mixed with fumigation’s then it is named according to the (particular) smell of each one of them.”

“This saying of Heraclites has become the source of numerous research, debate and differences of opinion in its interpretation. The thing which can be clearly inferred is that the world and its various occurrences are countless manifestations of God.”

Heraclites himself says: “All things are One.”14

In this manner, theology in rational and philosophical form, is one temporal matter in human civilization and culture. By philosophical theology is meant imagining God and proof of his existence in the mould of one rational system and giving shape to it based on the principle of this system. We shall witness the complete specimen of this kind of rational theology in the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle.

Basically, such kinds of reflections are generated at the time when philosophical reflections have sufficiently developed in the field of ‘beings’ and the philosophical systems are on the verge of growth and expansion.

Considering that the world of existence without God cannot be explained and justified, the matter of God finds its place in the philosophical systems. This matter can clearly be observed in the beginning of Greek philosophy.

In the initial stages of this period when philosophy had not yet adequately developed and the philosophical systems had not entered the scene, rational and philosophical theology and the matter of God was not at all propounded in its philosophical mould. Right from the time when philosophical system began to lay foot in the field of human culture and civilization, God too like other things, took a mental shape and philosophical color and it is precisely for this reason that the visualization of God, by gradual development of philosophical reflection, took birth from the mother of human mind and in the custody of human thoughts, it grew bigger and bigger.

The commencement of philosophy was conceiving of a birth which, for the first time flaunted in the form of ‘Nus’ (intellect) in the philosophy of Anaxagoras. It is for this reason that the philosophical portrait of God was born and in philosophies like the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle it requires ample of years for this powerless child to settle down and appear in the form of one rational and philosophical powerful God.

Theology of Socrates

Speaking about the views of Socrates is indeed difficult. The description of one of his students by the name of ‘Guznafun’ is not compatible with the description of another of his student by the name of ‘Plato’ in all the instances. Similarly the depiction of Socrates which is presented in the first conversation of Plato is not the same as the Socrates propounded in the later depictions.

Nevertheless, if this certification of Aristotle that Socrates did not teach exemplary ideas is accepted, then the true Socrates is the same, which has been propounded in the primary works of Plato. As such, it would also have less contradiction with the descriptions of Guznafun. Previously, we had mentioned something about the aim and method of Socrates and it was explained that with the great attachment which Socrates had in the manner of ethics he intended to find a reliable base for ethics and finally reckoned this base to be the Universal and ethical definitions. According to him the manner of reaching these Universals is dialectics and discussion in the definitions so that one can move from a partial definition to a more general definition.

Aristotle explicitly asserts that Socrates was preoccupied with ethical matters and did not engage in the whole of nature. Rather he was in search of the whole in ethical fields and he was the first person who focussed contemplation of definition.15

The aim of Socrates was achieving a virtuous and ethical life and recognition and knowledge of the Universal definition, which is attained through dialectic and debates. On the other side, the specification of Socrates ethics is a relation, which is set forth between knowledge and virtue, meaning that a wise person, who knows what is the truth, also acts upon it. In other words, no person intentionally and by knowledge involves in evil actions. Thus, knowledge of the Universal definition is the necessary and adequate condition for a virtuous living.

Just as Aristotle used to state, there does not exists any weakness in the views of Socrates about ethics, obligation and responsibility because, there does not exists a possibility that after (achieving) knowledge of the definition, man does not act, due to moral vices, upon the necessities of ‘Ma’rifat’ (gnostic knowledge). In other words, ethical qualities and habits are having no place in the philosophy of Socrates.

Now regardless of this that the necessary consideration between knowledge and action, self-love and essentials of man is towards perfection or other things, this result can be understood from the philosophy of Socrates that perfection and guidance of man lies in the knowledge (Ma’rifat) of the Universal definition and the mechanism of guidance is dialectics.

The General Principles of Socrate’s Theology

By paying attention to what was said earlier, the theology of Socrates is capable of being projected in few sentences:

1) In view of the fact that Socrates has not presented a philosophical system with regard to the world, rational philosophy too are not propounded in his philosophy.

2) More than any other thing, Socrates focussed his attention towards man and presented one ethical system for man.

3) Socrates reckoned the guidance and perfection of man to be in ethical and virtuous life and for the reason that virtue is necessary after acquiring knowledge of Universal definition and the fact that virtue is the same as knowledge, the perfection of man lies in recognizing the Universals.

4) According to Socrates, the mechanism of guidance is inductive dialectic with this meaning that dialectic and dialogue begins from partial definition and along with the contravention and confirmations which is mooted in relation to the definition, a Universal definition with regard to ethical actions is finally achieved.

5) In the view of Socrates, ‘Ma’rifat’ (gnostic knowledge) is the same as virtue and ‘Ma’rifat’ accompanies the virtue. Therefore, there remains no place for moral purification or striving for keeping aloof from mental vices or becoming endowed with spiritual habits. Ethical weakness, obligation and responsibility too are devoid of any meaning and is seen as a kind of practical compulsion in Socrates philosophy.

6) In the philosophy of Socrates God has not been given any place and for a prosperous living, man 15 needless of God, divine Prophets and religions and he should only bear the trouble of dialectics.

7) It is narrated that Socrates has spoken about the traditional Greek gods and similarly it has been narrated that Socrates had reckoned the human intellect to be a part of ‘Universal intellect’. 16

If these talks have been said on the part of Socrates, perhaps one can consider a role for gods or Universal intellect in the philosophy of ethics of Socrates, in such manner that the gods in the form of genetic and without sending the Prophets guide the intellect of man. Moreover, by paying attention to the other sayings of Socrates, the help of gods is either through presentation of intellect and or by means of placing the Universal definition, in the human soul and or in reminding the Universals.

Describing the differences of Socrates ethical system with the divine religions is outside the scope of this discussion. However, inasmuch as this system does not consider any place for sending of Messengers and the matter of divine rules and legislation’s, its encounter with the divine religions becomes manifest. With regards to the origin of God’s existence and His role in the Universe, Socrates has not narrated self-sufficient discussion and only some scattered words from him are at hand which indicate the multiplicity of gods. Hence its difference with the monotheism of religions. About ‘Universal intellect’ too, there is no explanation at hand.

On the whole, it can be said that Socrates is not the master of cosmology and theology. Rather, just as it has been said by Aristotle he was engaged more in ethics and his ethics too leave no place for the divine religions.

Theology of Plato

The matter of God and Theology are among the complicated and vague matters in Plato’s philosophy regarding which, many discussions and interpretations have taken place and these interpretations too have mostly been propounded on the basis of probability.

Regarding this, Plato himself in the treatise of ‘Taima’oos’ says: “It is difficult finding the creator and father of the Universe and in case of discovering Him, it is impossible to talk about Him with every one.”17

Moreover, in the treatise of ‘Jamhur’ he says: “The source of goodness lies in the farthest end of the world of rational ideas and one can see that with hardship.”18

Before the matter of God in Plato’s philosophy is discussed, it is appropriate to cast a short glance over his philosophy. Just as it was said before, Plato believed that perceptible things are in the state of ‘becoming’ whereas rational recognition is with regard to those things which are in the state of ‘are’ and the constant Universals which intellect can recognize them, are existing in a world different from the perceptible and variable world.

These Universals or parables are placed with special arrangement and in an orderly manner in the world of exemplary ideas such that the more we go up in the chain of exemplary ideas the more encompassing and Universal parables we do achieve. On top of this is placed the ‘absolute goodness’ which according to the statement of Aristotle is the same as ‘Oneness’.

On the other hand, Plato propounds the matter of ‘Creator’ or ‘Demurage’ for explaining the relation between the perceptible world and the rational world and the manner of formation of the perceptible world. “In the treatise of Tima’oos, Plato explicitly mentions that God or the Creator makes the things of this world according to the pattern of images (exemplary ideas).”19

“It cannot be denied that Plato speaks in ‘Tima’oos’ in such manner that as though the Creator (Demurage) i.e. the efficient cause of regularity in the Universe makes the things of this world out of images as an exemplary cause. Thus the image or exemplary ideas are completely separated from the Creator such that if we name the Creator as God we should then conclude that the images are not only far away from the things of this world but are also away from god.”20

Till here it appears that the god of Plato is the very Creator or Demurage which is separate from the exemplary ideas and absolute goodness and its work is making the perceptible world from the pattern of exemplary ideas.

On the other hand, Aristotle states that in the view of Plato, ‘Oneness’ is the cause of (essence) of images”21

Plato himself says in the book of Jamhur that: “I suppose that the source of goodness is having a place in the farthest end of the world of rational ideas and it can be seen with great hardship. However if a person witnesses that, then he will inevitably admit that the source of every good and beauty is the same and the creator of illumination and center of light in the perceptible world is none other than that and the source of reality and intellect in the world of rational ideas too is the same.”22

“In the same way one should acknowledge that those things too which are recognizable, not only acquire the quality of recognition from the source of goodness but their existence and essence too are from goodness. This is not withstanding the fact that goodness is not exactly as existence but with respect to power and greatness, it is by many degrees higher than existence.”23

As such, in the philosophy of Plato we are faced with two gods: ‘Creator’ and ‘absolute goodness’. Plato too in his sixth letter to his friends endorses this matter. In that letter he asks his friends “to swear faithfulness in the name of god who is the Leader of all present and future things and in the name of father of that Leader and Cause.”24

This god and its father have been adapted to Demurage (Creator) and Absolute goodness (oneness).

Now let us see how in the view of Plato, people can recognize God. According to him, the real recognition is the very recognition of the Universals and image and the most Universal images too is Absolute goodness and Oneness which was the god of Plato and is placed on top of the image. It is to be seen as to how the recognition of image and Universals is to be acquired.

Plato narrates in detail the way of achieving the recognition of the image in the seventh book of Jamhuri: In the beginning of this book, he sets forth the famous example of the cave in the words of Socrates and then mentions that it is only the philosophers who have liberated themselves from the darkness of the cave and obtained the brightness of the sun and Absolute goodness.

Thereafter he continues and says: “A philosopher who has met Absolute goodness should come down to the territory of the captives and take over the reign of their affairs until a virtuous city is established and the people reach prosperity. However if someone wishes to become a philosopher and engage in witnessing the ideas, absolute goodness and god he should from before, pass through some stages.

The first knowledge, which Socrates25 recommends is the knowledge of numbers and arithmatics. By means of this knowledge, the soul elevates from the environments of the transient world to the position of real perception. Concerning this, man can lead his soul to an upper world and incite it to reflect about the reality of numbers and not allow the soul to consider the numbers to be the agent of visible and perceptible things.

The second knowledge, which is recommended, is Geometry. Since the matter of geometry is an existing everlasting and subsistent knowledge it drives the soul towards the realities. Thereafter the geometry of space and stars are discussed. In this course the research moves from plane geometry to space geometry until it helps one philosopher in getting closer to the abstractional ideas through advancement from the next perusal of difficulty number two to the next perusal of difficulty number three.

The last stage in the premises of dialectic is the knowledge of voices and music. Of course, the emphasis is not on studying the voices itself but studying their relation between them. After successfully passing the above premises, a person is now worthy enough to participate in Dialectic (rational argumentation, debate and dispute) so that he is able to release himself completely from the shadows of the cave and is able to remember the rational ideas.

However, the debater should possess other qualities too which consist of: Will, courage, beauty, natural disposition, sharp-mind, memory, untiring aspirations, love towards every kind of work and physical and spiritual powers.

Of course the aged cannot pass this path because it is easier for the old to avoid rather than acquire knowledge and the difficult and heavy works should be entrusted to the young.

As such, the philosophers should learn the above teachings from childhood and till the age of eighteen they should have the primary knowledge of literature, music and mathematics. Thereafter till the age of twenty they should be given physical and military training. Then, for a period of ten years they should engage in mathematics and should by now put together those knowledge which they had learnt in a diversified manner in their childhood. At that time, the best are chosen and for five years, i.e. till the age of thirty-five, they should strive in acquiring the knowledge of debate. After that, he should spend fifteen years in acquiring methodical experiences until at the age of fifty, this selected person finally succeeds in meeting Absolute goodness.26

Universal principles of Plato’s Theology

The theology of Plato can be summarized in a few sentences:

1) For Plato, searching God is difficult and speaking to people about God is impossible.

2) In Plato’s theology we come across two existences which in all probabilities both are god and or one is the real god and the other a secondary one just as Plato remembers them as father and son.

3) ‘Ma’rifat’(gnosis) is only reminiscence and rational intuition27 of images and intellectual ideas. This intellectual ideas or concepts become feasible through rational disputation and debate.

4) One of the two god’s of Plato is placed on top of the rational ideas which is ‘Oneness’ and ‘Absolute goodness’

5) When the other god of Plato i.e. Creator (Demurage) appears in Plato’s philosophy and the relation between the two perceptible and rational worlds are propounded in an interrogatory manner and Plato sets forth the other god for solving this problem. This god i.e. Creator occupies no more a place in the chain of exemplary ideas and gets separated from Oneness and Absolute goodness.

6) The theology of Plato is in reality a philosophical theology. That is to say, Plato is capable of being imagined and perceived only within the framework of philosophical system.

7) The more abstract and universal the images the more difficult become their recognition. Therefore recognizing the Absolute goodness, which is placed on top of the rational idea and is one of the two gods of Plato, is the most difficult recognition and from the viewpoint of time too, it is reckoned to be the last recognition.

8) Both the gods of Plato, especially the Absolute goodness are capable of being recognized only by the philosophers and the philosophers are restricted people who possess physical, external, spiritual, mental and… abilities who, after passing through many stages become capable at the age of fifty of perceiving the Absolute goodness. The rest of the people i.e. the majority are deprived from perceiving god and their prosperity lies only in being obedient to the philosophers and rulers of Plato’s virtuous city.

The above discussion is the result of Plato’s theology. All these outcomes are against the construing of divine religions from Almighty God and the way of His recognition.

In the next section divine theology will be evaluated in detail and then its glaring difference with the above results will be revealed. We shall index-wise present here the views of divine religions especially with regard to the above discussion. Its explanation will be given later on.

1) The Ma’rifat (gnosis) of God is Universal and is not exclusive for some particular people.

2) There is no knowledge, which is preliminary step towards recognition of God, and the recognition of God is not propounded in the mould of philosophical systems.

3) Recognition of God does not need philosophical and rational deliberation. Rather making the people to recognize God is the responsibility of God and so it does not involve any intellectual problem for man.

4) The fundamental pillar of divine theology is ‘Tauheed’ (monotheism).

5) God cannot be described and depicted in any rational and mental form. His holy presence is pure and free from any rational imagination. All the human conception about Him is an imagination, which is the outcome of the system of human mind and is not capable of being accepted in the presence of Holy God.

6) The real Ma’rifat (gnosis) of God is not possible by means of Dialectic and disputation but the heart of man is the focal point of Ma’rifat (gnosis) and he is the address of God’s definition. Of course, one should not utilize this talk in the sense that we reject every kind of reflection and debate in the domain of religious belief. Good argumentation and disputation enjoys a special position in all the religious sciences, which shall be clarified in the future, discussion.

Theology of Aristotle

In the first section it was mentioned that Aristotle’s logic seeked to discover the unknown by making use of the capital of Universals and by employing his own special method. Now the same matter will be discussed from another dimension until we reach the theology of Aristotle. Basically the logic of Greek philosophers is composed of two important parts:

1) Discovering the Universals.

2) Transition from one Universal to another Universal or from one incident to another incident through the method of deduction.

Taking into consideration the interpretation of a philosopher, the discovery of the Universals is accomplished from the Universal. In this way, Socrates who reckons the place of the Universals to be in human conscience strives by means of dialectic and conservation, to take out the Universals and description of the Universals from the soul of man.

Since Plato considers the world of exemplary ideas to the place of Universals he strives to meet the Universal idea by transition from this world of ideas and since Aristotle reckons the perceptible world and the particulars to be the place of Universals, he propound the matter of separation of the Universals from the particulars.

Therefor the matter of separation is having a deep relation with the interpretation of Aristotle of the Universals and the important means of difference of Aristotle with Plato and Socrates should be searched in this region, not in the second part of logic where the matter of deduction and the passing of one Universal to another is discussed.28

The matter as to how this separation takes place and by which means it is fulfilled is a complicated and important part of the world-view of Aristotle. He i.e. Aristotle himself was aware of the problems of separation. “By being aware of this that we are not by any means able to always acquire innate or real description (which is fulfilled through separation and composition of genus and differentia) Aristotle reckoned nominal or descriptive definition although he was not so much optimistic about them.”29

Surely the discussion about separation requires a separate time. However, it should be said in brief that by being heedful of the common and contrast points ‘Universal’ becomes separated. The common points among the parts get separated to one category in the form of ‘species’ and the common points among the various species get separated in the form of ‘genus’. Acquiring the separation from the contrast points among the species forms the ‘differentia’ These Universals from lower to higher ones, are classified in such manner that on top of the various classes is placed the ‘categories’.

Till here, the capital of logic has been brought together. From here onwards we enter the second stage of logic namely, movement from known imaginative principles to an unknown aim and in other words, the act of deduction. For example, from composition of two known imaginations (genus and differentia) we reach to one unknown imagination (quality of species) and finally we describe the specie by means of genus and differentia.

This part of logic, which is usually regarded as the entire logic of Aristotle and is labeled as formal logic, is having a perfect relation with the first part. That is to say, this logic has been designed for a journey from special elements (abstractional elements) to special unknowns (Abstractional Universal Unknowns) and for this reason there exists a relation between contents and forms which one can call the logic of Aristotle as the logic of contents also.30

However in the section of confirmations, we should first of all achieve the known confirmations. A known confirmation is a confirmation which has been formed from two known imaginations called subject and predicate which the relation between these two also are known and self-evident.

Therefore, the foundation of every confirmation is imagination. On the other hand, if the relations of all the unknowns to the subjects are unknown and not evident then, no knowledge can be acquired and a philosopher in his journey will never reach his destination.

In this way, the principles and confirmations are fixed which can be recognized through intuition and without the establishment of proofs and the foundation of a rational movement is towards the direction of the unknowns. Thus the primary perceptions enjoy a special place in the philosophy of Aristotle.

With regard to the law of non-contradiction and the law of three exclusion, Aristotle says: “Therefore it -is evident that such a principle is the most perseverant of all the principle. Now we shall mention this principle:

The being and non-being of one thing - both of these is not possible at one time and in the same thing and for the same cause… This is the strongest of all the principles.”31

“However, in reality the existence of no central thing in between two contradictions is possible. Rather with regard to one thing, (only) one thing (whatever it may be) should be either confirmed or rejected.”32

Of course more than their direct usage in reasoning as minor and major ones, these evident principles are a guarantee to the authenticity of the reasoning. This is because as soon as we accept the preliminaries in deductive reasoning we cannot reject anymore its result; otherwise we will have believed that there is and (also) there is not Oneness in a thing.33

However, Aristotle describes the manner of passing from known confirmations to unknown confirmations by means of syllogism, induction and analogy. Now, by paying attention to the above points let us see how Aristotle acts with regard to recognition of God.

Rational recognition is the same recognition of the Universals and Universals too consists of two parts:

1) Known imaginations.

2) Unknown imaginations.

First of all, Aristotle must gather together one known Universal imagination of God since his ultimate aim is proving existence for God. Thus a known imagination should be brought about from existence. Thereafter the relation between these two imaginations should be proved through syllogism and through two known propositions, which the subject and predicate as well as the relation in them are known. Therefore, for proving God three stages should be passed:

1) A known imagination of God.

2) A known imagination of being existent.

3) Proving and making clear the relationship between the above two imaginations by means of two known proposition which are placed next to each other in the form of syllogism and giving effect to the third proposition (acknowledging the relationship between God and existence)

Now it should be seen as to how these three stages are passed.

A) Imagination or Notion of God

Basically, every philosopher who in the beginning builds a mental system for himself and in the end of the affair engages in proving God, pays attention and proves God by considering his philosophical and mental principles. This matter was explained before and was also seen in Plato’s philosophy. In the same manner, Aristotle too creates an imagination of God in his mind.

Now we refer to the important elements of Aristotle’s philosophy, which have had a role in giving shape to the imagination of God:

1-the world was existing from eternity without having been created from eternity. This matter is the characteristic of Greek culture wherein the matter of creation of world by the hands of God is not discussed.

2-There exists motion in the world and this motion is necessarily eternal.

3-As against existence, Motion actually requires a source. Therefore the world in general requires one ‘original mover’ which itself is motionless. Otherwise it would require another mover and this would result in an endless chain.

4-The original mover cannot, by will and intention or as an efficient cause run the Universe as according to Aristotle, in the mode of motion, a reaction is shown from the motion upon the mover and so the mover too undergoes change and motion. Nevertheless since the original mover is the beloved and the goal of existents, for this reason, the existents are having love and attraction towards the original mover and this becomes a cause for movement towards the original mover. Therefore the original mover is the source of motion in the form of un-voluntary final cause.

5-The original mover should be a pure act and non-material and there should not be any potentiality in it; otherwise reaction, change and movement will occur (in that).

6-since an act is having a general resemblance with the doer, the original mover, by decree of its being non-material, cannot perform any bodily action. Rather his activities should be purely spiritual and intellectual. Therefore the only work of the original mover is contemplating.

7-The Ma’rifat (knowledge) which the original mover possesses is not a knowledge which requires change, sensation and newness. Therefore the original mover only understands it and so Aristotle introduces the original mover as intellect and thought of thought and according to his owns interpretation “Contemplating about him is contemplating the contemplation” and “contemplating with the contemplation is one and the same.”34

8-It was mentioned before that Aristotle usually places the Universals in ten stages and on top of each is placed one category which all together we will be having ten categories. One of these categories is essence while the other nine are accidents. Aristotle places the original mover under the category of essence and remembers it as a motionless essence.35

9- Aristotle has probably reckoned multiplicity for the motionless movers. Inasmuch as Aristotle reaches to the imagination of God through motion and from the other side various kinds of motions are existing in the world, therefore as a rule, Aristotle is bound to believe in the multiplicity of gods. Regarding this he says: “As far as we see, apart from the absolute motion of the entire world (which we say the original essence causes movement for their motionless ones), there exists other spatial motions like, the everlasting wandering stars (i.e. the planets); so each of these spatial motions too should be brought into motion by means of one essence.

Therefore it is obvious that the essences will necessarily be having the same number as the spatial motion of stars… the total number of spheres… would amount to fifty-five. However if we do not add to the moon and sun those motions which we talked about then the number of spheres would amount to fourty-seven. So let us consider the number of spheres to be of this amount just as the essences and motionless bases can probably be imagined to be of the same number. This is because we should leave the talk to a more capable thinker.”36

It seems that Aristotle was not having a clear notion in mind of the number of gods and so with humbleness he entrusted with humbleness, the actual and integral opinion to much more capable thinkers than him and he sets forth his own views on the basis of probability only.

10-The god of Aristotle can neither be worshipped nor loved nor one can expect help from him. In the Great Ethics, Aristotle explicitly says: “Those who imagine that they can love god are in error because god cannot answer our love and (so) we cannot, in any condition say that we are loving god.”37

From the above points we come to this conclusion that the god (or gods) which Aristotle has imagined on the basis of his philosophy is the original mover and the beloved of the Universe who is having no Will and Capability and is only occupied in thinking about himself.

In other words the god of Aristotle is a perfect example of one philosopher (like Aristotle himself).

B) Imagination of Existence

According to Aristotle, existence is the most Universal38 and it can be carried over all the categories. He says: “The word existence is used in many ways but regarding one nature it is (used) in a prescribed form and is (also) not used in homonymous manner (by commonness in name). Rather (it is used) in the same manner which every healthy thing is attributed to good health…Thus the term existence is used in many meanings but all those meanings return back to one derivation (or source)… because they too are a demonstration of one and the same concept in some manner.”39

Therefore inasmuch as existence is used in different meanings it is not ideal homonymy and since the various meanings of existence find connection with one fixed nature it is also not expressional homonymy, rather existence is a kind of equivocal category i.e. existence is not having one meaning but its different meanings finds connection with one meaning by some means or the other.40

C) Proof of God

In the previous two stages, Aristotle attained a clear imagination of god and existence. Now he should clarify and reveal the relation between these two notions and should prove the proposition that “God (original mover) is existing.” In proving too, the fundamental reasoning of Aristotle is the reasoning of motion. His proof can be discussed in this manner:

1) The world is in motion.

2) Every motion is having a mover.

Conclusion: The world is having a mover

1) If that mover is having another mover too till no end, then an infinite regress comes into picture.

2) Whereas infinite regress is false and impossible.

Conclusion: The mover of the world is itself not having a mover i.e. he is propounded as the original mover.

With these two exceptive and categoric syllogism Aristotle succeeds in proving the original mover. The minor and major above syllogism should be known from before. It seems that Aristotle has deduced the motion of the world from change and decadence of the existents of the world which he reckoned to be self-evident and has understood the dependence of motion on a mover from the obvious principle of ‘Sufficient mode’.41

Universal Principles of Aristotle’s Theology

Now it’s appropriate to summarize the Universal principles of Aristotle’s theology in few sentences:

1) The matter of God is resolved in a broad sense at the conclusion of Aristotle’s philosophy and after natural sciences and theology. It means that before the discussion of natural sciences and general principles of philosophy one cannot talk of God and God too can be proved after passing the various sciences like physics and general philosophy. Therefore imagination of God in the position of affirmation and also its confirmation in the position of proof is fulfilled in preliminary sciences and philosophical systems on the basis of proven matters.

2) Since Universal is a matter of recognition and notion of the intellect, God too is set forth as one Universal. Aristotle places God under the Universal category of essence.

3) The notion of God takes shape by paying attention to the rational systems, which has been planned from before. This matter is absolutely clear in the diverse interpretation of Plato and Aristotle about God.

4) On the basis of Aristotle’s philosophical system, God is one mover who being an extreme limit, sets the world into motion and he neither possesses any Wills nor does he perform any act. Rather God is an intellect, which puts himself in the state of thinking i.e. a perfect deceitful Greek philosopher.

5) God is having no work with this Universe and so he neither introduces himself to the people nor he is capable of sending a Prophet or religion for the guidance of the people. On the other hand, the people too cannot love and hence worship god.

6) God and his existence are imagined as the two Universals (category of essence and equivocal category of existence).

7) Existence of god is dependent on rational proof (and there is no other way for recognizing god).

8) The rational system of Aristotle is unable to reject the matter of polytheism. Rather with the special move, which Aristotle makes, not only he proves the existence of the highest mover as a motionless essence but through multiplicity of kinds of motion, he also proves the multiplicity of motionless essence and the multiplicity of gods.

9) For Aristotle, the matter of monotheism and polytheism is propounded as one difficult and vague matter. Therefore he leaves its decisive view to the more capable thinkers than himself and what he does is only he confirms the matter of polytheism on the basis of probability.

The above point is the conclusion of Aristotle’s theology. Some of these points have already been discussed in the previous section and the rest of the points too will be compared with the viewpoint of religions in the next section.

Over here, we mention briefly the divine principles, which are set forth against Aristotle’s principles:

1) Recognition of God is needless of any philosophical system. Rather definition (of God) is fulfilled through God and man is needless of knowledge in remembering the Ma’rifat (gnosis) of God.

2) Definition and Gnosis of God is prior to this world and all the human sciences (from the viewpoint of time).

3) Rank-wise too, ‘Ma’rifat’ (gnosis) of God is placed in the beginning of religion.

4) Since definition (of God) is the action of God, therefore it is far from any kind of ambiguity and God has uniquely introduced Himself to man. So in divine theology, there is no place for polytheism.

5) In place of the matter of ‘proof’ the matter of ‘reminding’ is set forth in religion.

6) The notion of God is not discussed in religion by any meaning.

7) The God of religion is a God to be loved who looks at His creatures with Grace and Mercy. The humanity of the people too is on the basis of the degree of their relationship with God and this relationship in the form of worship, is counted as the ultimate aim of creation.

8) The God of religion is a personal God. Therefore at times of remembering the ‘Fitrah’ (innate disposition), man pays attention to his external Creator with His Divine Beauty and Majesty and calls Him with all his strength.

  • 1. Will Durrant - History of Civilization; New edition; chapter 8; pg. 197-203.
  • 2. Aristotle – Metaphysics.
  • 3. History of Kapilstan’s philosophy; vol. 1; first part from pg. 25 onwards.
  • 4. For example. Aristotle attributes this saying: “All the things are filled with God” to Thales. History of Kapilstans philosophy; vol. 1; pg. 38.
  • 5. Aristotle - Metaphysics; pg. 14-15.
  • 6. Aristotle - Metaphysics; pg. 17.
  • 7. “The first Greek philosophers”- Dr. Sharaf; pg. 409-412.
  • 8. History of Kapilstan’s philosophy; vol. 1; first part; pg. K 95-101.
  • 9. The First Greek Philosophers; pg. 147.
  • 10. History of Kapilstan’s philosophy; vol. 1; first parts; pg. 69.
  • 11. Aristotle-Metaphysics; pg. 22.
  • 12. Aristotle-Metaphysics; pg. 167.
  • 13. Regarding this matter, researchers are having difference of opinion as to whether fire is meant to be discussed as the original source for the beings or that Heraculitis finds fire as the best example to show the idea of constant change of things through their forms and perceptibility. Aristotle while emphasizing the first view says: “Hipasus a native of Metapuntus and Heraculitis a native of Afsus reckoned (this principle) [matter of all matters to be the fire” (Metaphysics; pg. 13)
  • 14. Aristotle-Metaphysics; pg. 239, 258 & 259.
  • 15. Aristotle - Metaphysics; pg. 25 and 428.
  • 16. History of Kapilstan’s Philosophy; vol. 1; pg. 160.
  • 17. History of Kapilstan’s Philosophy; pg. 247.
  • 18. Plato – Jamhur.
  • 19. History of Kapilstan’s Philosophy; vol. 1; pg. 234.
  • 20. History of Kapilstan’s Philosophy; vol. 1; pg. 238.
  • 21. Aristotle - Metaphysics; pg. 26.
  • 22. Book of Jamhur 7th section; pg. 400, 401.
  • 23. Book of Jamhur 6th section; pg. 384.
  • 24. History of Kapilstan’s Philosophy; vol. 1; Part 1; pg. 247.
  • 25. The book of Jamhur is arranged in the form of narrative sayings of Socrates and it is presumed that in the year 411 BC Socrates entered into a debate one night with some people in the house of an old man by the name of Safalus and the next day he narrated the points of his discussion to his friends.
  • 26. Jamhur 7th section; pg. 392-446.
  • 27. With regard to intuition of Plato, the matter of discussion is whether this intuition is of mystical or rational type. The intuition of Plato is one mental and rational intuition because his method for the intuition of rational ideas is the method of dialectic and debate and the preliminaries of Dialectic too like mathematics, strengthen more the mind of a person until it gives a spiritual and seizing condition to him. The commentators of Plato too like ‘Estees’ and ‘Ritar’ believe that exemplary ideas are rational and are perceived by means of intellect and only ‘Tilur’ in the treatise of ‘Mehmani’ has interpreted the words of Plato as one spiritual journey. (History of Kapilstan’s Philosophy; vol. 1; First part; pg. 271 onwards.)
  • 28. Here two points are worthy of attention:
    a) Logic takes shape by being attentive to the philosophy of logic and the basis of gnosiology of a philosopher. For example Aristotle, by being heedful of his philosophical viewpoint with regard to the universals, attains the matter of abstraction and by paying attention to the matter of abstraction, he sets forth the logic of deduction of the unknown from the abstractional affairs.
    b) Some people by mistake compare the dialectic logic of Socrates or Plato with the deductive logic of Aristotle whereas dialectic is placed in front of abstraction because dialectic and abstraction are both used for discovering the Universals. If we wish to compare the deductive logic of Aristotle with the logic of Plato, the portion of division and composition of Plato should be correspondingly placed in front of Aristotle’s logic and then compared.
  • 29. History of Kapilstan’s Philosophy; vol. 1; Part II; pg. 385-386.
  • 30. In modern times especially in Europe great attempt has been made to wipe as far as possible the tint of content from this logic and make it more formal. However in this logic or rather in any other logic, one cannot empty its mould from the contents under the condition that a special mould is placed upon every kind of contents and gives a positive result. This affair will be ascertained at the time when more encompassing and absorptive moulds than the existing mould are assembled.
  • 31. Metaphysics of Aristotle; pg. 97.
  • 32. Metaphysics of Aristotle; pg. 119.
  • 33. Metaphysics-Paul Fulkia
  • 34. Metaphysics of Aristotle; pg. 409; Similarly History of Kapilstan’s Philosophy; vol. 1; Part II; pg. 428-434.
  • 35. For example, Metaphysics of Aristotle; pg. 395-404, 405 & 406.
  • 36. Metaphysics of Aristotle; pg. 403-407.
  • 37. History of Kapilstan’s Philosophy; vol. 2; pg. 432.
  • 38. Ref. Metaphysics of Aristotle; pg. 76- last line.
  • 39. Aristotle - Metaphysics; pg. 89-90.
  • 40. In transcendental wisdom, existence is ideal homonymy but its predication upon its meanings takes place in various manner and this difference is due to differences in applicability and not in meaning and concept. Therefore existence, while possessing ideal homonymy is also one equivocal category. The reason as to why this category is considered as equivocal is that on that on the one hand, it is having one singular meaning but on the other hand its predication upon its meanings takes place in various forms (first principle, precedence, ancientness and severity and so it creates a doubt for man whether it possesses one or many meanings. If we observe Aristotle’s views from the view-point of transcendental wisdom, (we have to then say that) Aristotle or such wisdom believe in ideal homonymy of existence and its doubtful predication upon its meanings and or the equivocalness of existence has also caused Aristotle to commit mistake and so has traversed a path between ideal homonymy and expressional homonymy.
  • 41. This principle is counted to be the source of many other rational principles like the principle of causality, principle of essence and principle of effect and as the real pivot, the principality of intellect is discussed. However till the time of ‘Laibnits’, much attention was not given to this principle. As per this principle, every existence is having a fixed cause and there is nothing, which is void of rational mood. This principle is also remembered as the principle of general and inclusive intellectual concepts. (For details refer to Metaphysics of Paul Fulkia; pg. 92-96).

Share this page