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Understanding Christianity from an Aristotelian point of view - Essay Example

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Understanding Christianity from an Aristotelian point of view

This paper will compare and contrast the characterization of God in the Summa Theologica and the neo-Platonist view. Both the summa theological and neo-Platonism account for the existence of a superior being or God. In the summa theological, Aquinas advances arguments that seek to establish and prove God’s existence (Brian 22). Aquinas states that there is a God simply because the world itself needs him as an explanation. The first part of the Summa Theologica concludes by Aquinas quipping that God cannot fail to exist. Aquinas proposes that the world cannot function with such efficiency without a grand architect who is God (Edward & Aquinas 39). The smoothness with which the world functions cannot be created by chance but must be the product of God’s work. Aquinas in his first three arguments aims at explaining the existence of God by accounting for the change in the physical world, the presence of the physical world, and existence in itself. Neo-Platonism also accepts the existence of the one who is infinite (Albert 30). The one gets painted as the source of life and the sole cause of the only real existence. The one is the source of all life. The one is beyond all forms of being. The one gets portrayed as the most reality and a source of less real things. The one is a divine power that is complete and self-sufficient (Remes 132). The Summa Theologica and neo-Platonism acknowledge the existence of a superior being who is all-knowing. The summa theological derives its characterization of God from an Aristotelian point of view (Brian 103). The neo-platonic conception of the one gets derived from Plato’s teachings. The Summa Theologica rejects the idea of the neo-Platonists that knowledge of the Supreme Being gets based on ideas and forms that exist in the mind (Aquinas & Edward 93). Aquinas disputes Plato’s view that knowledge gets derived from the mind alone. He suggests that knowledge gets derived from the soul which has intellect in its composition. He argues against Plato’s view by suggesting that if knowledge only got derived from the mind alone, then the soul would be of no use to the body. Aquinas affirms the need for the body in the acquisition of knowledge and rejects the theory of innate ideas forwarded by the Platonists (Brian 74). Neo-Platonists argue that the knowledge of the one gets contemplated by the mind, which generates ideas and forms (Remes 100). By generation of ideas and forms, the knowledge about the one gets divided and multiplied. The knowledge about the one gets transcended into the physical world through the world soul. The world soul according to the neo-Platonists is separate from the individual human souls (Albert 145). Summa Theologica differs with neo-platonic concepts on the basis of how the knowledge of God gets inferred to human beings. Both the Summa Theologica and the neo-platonic concepts on the characterization of God agree that the mind assists in the acquisition of knowledge. The mind acquires knowledge about God by creating images. Aquinas refers to these images as ‘phantasms’ in the Summa Theologica (Aquinas & Edward 123). Aquinas argues that the mental images about God get based on sensual experience, and this creates universal ideas and principles.  ...Show more

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The following essay "Understanding Christianity from an Aristotelian point of view" is focused on the philosophical approach to Christianity. As the text has it, Summa Theologica gets made up of three parts. The first explains the existence and nature of God and the planet he created. …
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