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James

40 Posts

Posted - 06 Dec 2008 :  11:34:51  




Hello

What is Plato's idea of God? And do you think his idea is just a concept or a collection of concepts that relate to his particular understanding of what he means by "the virtues", to that of the divine creator of this world? So, in essence our understanding of God only comes to light by becoming like the virtuous man, who approaches God and, becomes godlike in the purification process himself? If this is Plato's understanding of God, then does it not mean that his God in some way is determined by Human nature and all the limitations and imperfections that go along with this state of affairs? It's difficult, unless one really believes in the truth of Christ's human status, to reconcile the divine and the human in such a movement, as each could appear to be their opposites, until one is no longer and time becomes no more, i.e the divine movement in humanity ceasing to be, due to it becoming perfect once more?

Regards



 

George

Greece
615 Posts

Posted - 07 Dec 2008 :  13:41:13  

 

I'm not sure I understand you. For example in Theaetetus 176b f we read that "God is never in any way unrighteous - he is perfect righteousness", and that "he of us who is the most righteous is most like him". Therefore perfection (provided we have a true sense of righteousness and we are not deceived) brings closer to the divine life.

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James

40 Posts

Posted - 09 Dec 2008 :  16:25:48  

 

Hi George

Socrates quote from Theaetetus, literally shed's light upon the scattered workshop floor of what constitutes creation. And this shedding away is the constant, active dialectical drive or movement towards or away from the divine-

"Wherefore we ought to fly away from earth to heaven as quickly as we can; and to fly away is to become like God, as far as this is possible; and to become like him, is to become holy, just, and wise" or the opposite of just, holy and wise.

However- Socrates makes clear what failure from this way of living means - "And if we tell them, that unless they depart from their cunning, the place of innocence will not receive them after death; and that here on earth, they will live ever in the likeness of their own evil selves, and with evil friends - when they hear this they in their superior cunning will seem to be listening to the talk of idiots-"

Yet, two problems remain with this assessment, namely, the fact that a righteous God produced evil in order to create the supreme radical choice, that would singularly let a man, freely choose his destiny (by the course of his life) for all eternity. In other, words, God has to almost absence himself or any "objective" evidence of himself from mankind, in order that its members freely choose their fate. Such a God could, I suppose, with many traditional moral qualifications being annulled, be still called righteous and wise, despite the fact that he can do nothing to prevent Evil in the world, because its essentially a part of his free creation.

Nevertheless by such understanding, we are left with the problem that there will always be people who have freely chosen to be Evil and, they are now and, indeed will always be happy to be such for all eternity after their lives have ceased to be too. It seems, that creation in general, but human creation in particular shows us, as free agents, what Evil really means or entails (baseness, cruelty, greed, stupidity and the rest) more than what divine perfection could be, which seems to imply the opposite of the above vices and, these are always rarer to find in the world than the others. However, it does seem to suggest by Socrates assessment above, that when God is "happy" that this world is held to be no more, that the two shall never become one again, in the sense, that the making of this virtue anew, will no longer need to experience evil again.

So in essence, when virtue can no longer be made because it's become perfect or because the world has become so banal, that there's no longer the human remembrance of God or Evil, then it seems that continual creation in the world of Homo sapiens will no longer be necessary, as there's nothing to be gained.


Regards

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George

Greece
615 Posts

Posted - 11 Dec 2008 :  05:34:37  

 

Although he attained a world-view (including creation and the creator) surprisingly close to the Christian (Old and New Testament) view, Plato still was an ancient Greek. I don't think we can find in his works a notion of a continuous advancement, a perfection without limits and an ever-increasing union with God.

Even in Christianity such a notion is clearly achieved only in the 4th century with St. Gregory of Nyssa, and it becomes central in the Orthodox East, but not in the West, so far as I know.

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gentleexit

USA
2 Posts

Posted - 18 Dec 2008 :  13:13:31  

 

There's no need for a Christian prism. If you read Plato through Plotinus, the "journey of the alone to the alone" takes work, is a matter of continuous purification, disembodied experience etc. and one you can make alone. If you go on to Iamblichus, you need help, help from the gods.

A key aspect of the journey is what happens if you don't get to your destination? Well, then there's the Myth of Er. Back you come.

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James

40 Posts

Posted - 21 Dec 2008 :  16:10:25  

 

Quote: If you read Plato through Plotinus, the "journey of the alone to the alone" takes work, is a matter of continuous purification, disembodied experience etc. and one you can make alone> Yes, this was also a defining theme with the Gnostics and Plotinus was greatly influenced by many of their doctrines.

It often seems when reading Plotinus that the material world was build in order to purify the soul, yet we are let asking why the soul needed to be purified in the first instant? Was there a kind epistemological or creative impasse in the divine Godhead that need a fall to occur in order for it to creatively experience and renew itself once more?

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