May 7, 2013
Great Ideas I
Man’s nature has remained the same over history, and the need for some sort of divine aid has never been solely a Christian idea. Many early Greek philosophers understood that men have an innate desire to benefit themselves, but argue over whether they need to strive for justice, or benefit themselves by undermining others. This Greco-Roman philosophy was mainly seen in stoicism, and Platonism and each were incorporated into the Christian mindset.
Paul warned people against philosophy however, because man’s thought is foolishness compared to God’s, and he knew that it might cause early Christians to stumble. This was because Greek philosophy had become so prominent in the Hellenized world, and an increasing number of church leaders were being influenced by the Greeks. For example, Plato taught that there were ideal forms of objects that are perfect in every way, within their own nature. The Aristotelian view of God rooted from this theory, and thought of God as perfect, and unmoved power. This conception played into The Hellenized Christians’ thoughts, in that they began to take all the things they thought of as good, such as love, kindness, mercy, and power, and attributed them as infinite aspects of God. Anselm of Canterbury composed the ontological argument for the existence of God, which he believed to be irrefutable. In essence, he argued that because God is by definition the being that which no greater can be conceived, and it is more perfect to exist than not to exist, that conceiving God not to exist was not conceiving God at all; it was conceiving a being less than perfect, which would not be God. Therefore, the argument proceeded, God could not be conceived not to exist. This ontological argument is a clear example of Hebrew and Greek thought coming together, because of the ideas that came from Platonism, such as realistic philosophy. Essentially, realism is the idea that things we...
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