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Back You are here: Home Library God Fundamentals of Knowing God Section Two: Philosophical Theology Chapter Two: Period of Commencement of Philosophy

Chapter Two: Period of Commencement of Philosophy

Chapter Two: 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, m 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, Heraculitis reckoned it to be fire and so on… (History of Kapilstan's philosophy; vol. 1; first part from Pg. 25 onwards)

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 thinkers.[10]

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.” (Aristotle - Metaphysics; Pg. 14-15)

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. (Same source: Pg. 17)

'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. (“The first Greek philosophers”- Dr. Sharaf; Pg. 409-412)

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. (History of Kapilstan's philosophy; vol. 1; first part; Pg. K 95-101)

Such kind of defective philosophical theology had been propounded in a more defective form at the time of Anaximanas, Kasnufanas and Heraculitis (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'. (The First Greek Philosophers; Pg. 147)

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.” (History of Kapilstan's philosophy; vol. 1; first parts; Pg. 69)

About him, Aristotle says as such: “By only paying attention to the entire cosmos, he says that one (To hen) is God (To Theon).” (Aristotle-Metaphysics; Pg. 22)

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 every thing. (Same source; Pg. 167)

Heraculitis: 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.[11])

6) According to Heraculitis, 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 Heraculitis 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.”

Heraculitis himself says: “All things are One.” (Same source; Pg. 239, 258 & 259)

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.

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