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Back You are here: Home Library God Fundamentals of Knowing God Section Two: Philosophical Theology Chapter Five: Theology of Aristotle

Chapter Five: Theology of Aristotle

Chapter Five: 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 philosophers 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.[14]

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.” (History of Kapilstan's Philosophy; vol. 1; Part II; Pg. 385-386)

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.[15]

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.” (Metaphysics of Aristotle; Pg. 97)

“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.” (Same source; Pg. 119)

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. (Metaphysics-Paul Fulkia)

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'refat (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.” (Metaphysics of Aristotle; Pg. 409; Similarly History of Kapilstan's Philosophy; vol. 1; Part II; Pg. 428-434)

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 essences. (For example, Metaphysics of Aristotle; Pg. 395-404, 405 & 406)

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.” (Metaphysics of Aristotle; Pg. 403-407)

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.” (History of Kapilstan's Philosophy; vol. 2; Pg. 432)

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 Universal (Metaphysics of Aristotle; Pg. 76-last line) 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.” (Metaphysics; Pg. 89-90)

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.[16]

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'.[17]

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'refat (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'refat' (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 'Fitrat' (innate disposition), man pays attention to his external Creator with His Divine Beauty and Majesty and calls Him with all his strength.


[10]  10-For example. Aristotle attributes this saying: “All the things are filled with God” to Thales. History of Kapilstans philosophy; vol. 1; Pg. 38.

[11]  11-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

[12]  12-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.

[13]  13-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.

[14]  14- 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.

[15]  15-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.

[16]  16-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.

[17]  17-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).


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