Theology of the ancient Greek philosophers

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Greek philosophers caused disruption within their community with the ideas they introduced, often they were forced to be exiled from their country, and others to be put to death (Socrates). The broad scope of knowledge they had, was difficult for the average man to comprehend.
Thinkers, prophets and philosophers of the past suspected the existence and the power of an Almighty force, without however any proof. Democritus was certain about the structure of the atom and its behavior. The discovery of gravity by Empedocles, 'the prime mover' as called by Aristotle, is responsible for order and harmony in the universe, and this was inconceivable to people in ancient times.

In Greek «Θεογονία«Theogony» (the origin or genealogy of the gods) the early Paleolithic Greeks of the mountains as soon as they reached the ability to think, they never imagined that some one from heaven created the world,

they stood up and reviewed the facts and came to conclusion that no creature on earth is superior to them, for this they called them selves Θεοί (=Gods), the word «ΘΕΟΣ» (=God) meaning MAN because man is the only creature on earth to use logic and thorough knowledge can reach God (=logic), the word ΘΕΟΣ is a replacement of the ancient word «ΘΑΩ» meaning broad vision and mind, and did not resemble the God we know today. Long before the floods (cataclysm) they created the 12 Gods of Olympus (=heavens).

Ancient Greeks created 12 Gods according to their needs, plus many demigods (half-gods), their beliefs where Idea-latric (latria =Greek for worship) and not idol worship. This Gods never make miracles but teach humans to use their minds to solve their problems. Gods did not create the world but they played an important role in improving it. Teaching the people through knowledge and awareness to reach the (Θείων = God-like). They worshiped the perfection of body and mind, art, music, mathematics, health and medicine, physics, and mostly the love of nature, all this based on justice that all people are equal.
Each God representing a task like a ministry and that was a bond of law to the people, with festivals, and celebrations, expressing their gratitude to Gods.
Asian beliefs are endless circle of dying and reborn. Judaism Islam and Christianity is to choose between punishment those who sin in hell, and those who don't go to heaven (everlasting fear). Monotheism (one God) «I am the only God and you shall not worship another» we read in the bible, (Those who are with me or those who are against me!!!) Greeks had a democratic choice and flexibility worshiping each God,

(never been recorded religious fanaticism,

because they supported the free religion) people choosing a God as a guardian angel as it is customary today with Christianity, in «Homer's Odyssey» we read the straggle of Odysseus in the seas, damned by Poseidon God of the sea, and at the same time receiving help from Goddess Athena. Greek philosophers accepted one true God but never worshiped him.

Conflicting with the Hebrew philosophy of the Bible, to prohibit man eat from the forbidden tree, the tree of knowledge and wisdom.

Greeks believed that all people are equal, and they should never bow, or kneel in front of a king a God, or another human, but stand and look at him straight in the eyes.

Man's mind should be used to study and examine all things with no fear, including Gods, and Kings and criticize them. Islam and Christianity based on the Bible led humanity to dark ages, until the 14th century when Renaissance was most welcomed to the western world.
Socrates once said there are two religions, one for the noble and wise, and one for the masses (religious blind-chauvinistic mob). There was no belief amongst the ancient Greeks of an evil deity, their belief was that the 'evil' existed only within one's soul and through self-exploration and self-awareness it could be overcome and expelled from within. This is why no evidence of statues and images of a 'devil' have ever been recovered. "Christianity to became a powerful religion had to be judged by the Greeks?" all holy scriptures and the New testament were written in Greek because the Greek language was the international language.


ARISTOTLE (384-322 BC)


Greek philosopher and scientist, who shares with Plato and Socrates the distinction of being the most famous of ancient philosophers. Aristotle suggested However, the Prime Mover, or God, as described by Aristotle is not very suitable for religious purposes, as many later philosophers and theologians have observed. The Prime Mover does not, for example, take an interest in what goes on in the world, and did not create the world. Aristotle limited his "theology", however, to what he believed science requires and can establish

Aristotle believes:

God is a universal force (The prime Mover does not, for example, take an interest in what goes on in the world)


SOCRATES 470 - 399 BC


Greek philosopher who initiated a question-and-answer method of teaching as means of achieving self-knowledge. His theories of virtue and justice have survived through the writings of Plato, his most important pupil. Socrates was tried for corrupting the minds of Athenian youth and subsequently put to death (399 bc).
Socrates accepted the existence of one God, truly wise and immortal.

He believed:

Socrates excepted the existence of one God, truly wise and immortal God is knowledge, logic, comprehension, apperception


THALES OF MILETUS 624-546 B.C.




Greek philosopher who is traditionally considered the first Western philosopher and a founder of geometry and abstract astronomy. He maintained that matter is composed of water. Thales was the first to suggest a single material substrum for the universe.
The entire universe is a living organism. To Thales, that "the magnet has soul because it attracts iron, "and that" all things are full of gods.

He believed:

The entire universe is a living organism God is the entire universe


XENOPHANES 570- 475 B.C



Greek religious thinker and reputed precursor of the Eleatic school of philosophy. Xenophanes discuss theology, cosmology,and epistemology. "There is one God, "he wrote, "greatest among gods and man, who neither in shape nor in thought resembles mortals....Yet men imagine gods to be born and to have raiment and voice and body, like themselves. "Carrying his criticism of such anthropomorphism a step further, he asserted that "oxen, lions, and horses, if they had hands wherewith to grave images, would fashion gods after their own shapes and make them bodies like to their own. Xenophanes' teaching in the formula "That all is one and the one is God,"

He believed:

There is one God, he wrote, greatest among gods and man, who neither in shape nor in thought resembles mortals Xenophanes' teaching in the formula "That all is one and the one is God" God has no image


PYTHAGORAS sixth century B.C.




Greek philosopher and mathematician who founded in southern Italy a school that emphasized the study of musical harmony and geometry.He proved the universal validity of the Pythagorean theorem and is considered the first true mathematician "all is number," meaning that all existing things can be ultimately reduced to number relationships; the dependence of the dynamics of world structure on the interaction of contraries, or pairs of opposites, the first of which is the even-odd relationship essential to numbers.

He believed:

All is number God is mathematics, geometry, architecture, chemistry, color


PARMENIDES 500 B.C.




Parmenides, Greek philosopher, considered by many scholars to have been the greatest member of the Eleatic school. He is said to have visited Athens at the age of 65, and on that occasion Socrates, then a young man, heard him speak. Parmenides expounded his philosophy in verse form, his only surviving work being large fragments of a didactic poem, On Nature. This work argued for the existence of Absolute Being, the non-existence of which Parmenides declared to be inconceivable, but the nature of which he admitted to be equally inconceivable, since Absolute Being is dissociated from every limitation under which human beings think. Parmenides held that the phenomena of nature are only apparent and due to human error; they seem to exist, but have no real existence. He also held that reality, True Being, is not known to the senses but is to be found only in reason. This belief makes him a precursor of the idealism of Plato. Parmenides' theory that being cannot arise from nonbeing, and that being neither arises nor passes away, was applied to matter by his successors Empedocles and Democritus, who made it the foundation of their materialistic explanations of the universe.

He believed:

Parmenides' theory that being cannot arise from nonbeing, and that being neither arises nor passes away God existed, exists, and will continue to exist (nothing can be created from 0 but from 1+ can)


HERACLITUS (Heracleitus) 500 B.C.




Greek philosopher who maintained that strife and change are natural conditions of the universe, in which fire forms the basic material principle of an orderly universe. In his system, God was neither a creator nor omnipotent but was limited to an identification with the opposites, for example, good and evil, hot and cold, and other opposites are similarly related. The soul consists of fire and endures the same cycle of change that other things experience, and death brings the soul's complete extinction.
He stated that a person could not step into the same river twice, because the water continually changes, meaning that  all things in the universe change from one stage to the other. He also stated that without quarrels  and anger (opposites) there wouldn't be harmony in the world. 
Mans character and morale is his fate and destiny.
«Γνώθι σ' αυτόν» (gnothi s' eauton)= know thyself, learn who you are, search in your conscience, and try to became emotionally a perfect human being.

He believed:

God was neither a creator nor omnipotent God is a universal law that all things in the universe are continually changing


DEMOCRITUS (460-370 B.C.)



Greek philosopher, who developed the atomic theory of the universe that had been originated by his mentor, the philosopher Leucippus. Democritus was born in Abdera, Thrace. He wrote extensively, but only fragments of his works remain. According to Democritus's exposition of the atomic theory of matter, All things are composed of minute, invisible, indestructible particles of pure matter (atoma, = "indivisibles"), which move about eternally in infinite empty space (kenon, "the void"). Although atoms are made up of precisely the same matter, they differ in shape, size, weight, sequence, and position. Qualitative differences in what the senses perceive and the birth, decay, and disappearance of things are the results not of characteristics inherent in atoms but of quantitative arrangements of atoms. Democritus viewed the creation of worlds as the natural consequence of the ceaseless whirling motion of atoms in space. Atoms collide and spin, forming larger aggregations of matter. Democritus also wrote on ethics, proposing happiness, or "cheerfulness", as the highest good-a condition to be achieved through moderation, tranquillity, and freedom from fear. In later histories, Democritus was known as the Laughing Philosopher, in contrast to the more sombre and pessimistic Heraclitus, the Weeping Philosopher. His atomic theory anticipated the modern principles of the conservation of energy and the irreducibility of matter.
Aristarchus Greek philospher  to unravel the celestial plan Empedocles Greek philospher to unravel the gravitational field of the universe

He believed:

All things are composed of minute, invisible, indestructible particles of pure matter (atoma, = "indivisibles") God is the universal matter


EMPEDOCLES (495 - 435 B.C.)





Empedocles thought that the 4 substances fire, solids, liquids, and air are elements of the universe that causing the universe to die and reborn, (today we know that earth elements can change with appropriate temperature to solid, liquid, and air).

He believed:

God is a circle whose center is everywhere and its periphery is nowhere,
that planets twirling around the Sun and not falling in to it was in fact of two forces «Φιλότης, and Νεϊκος»  Φιλότης - Philotis =friendliness - attractiveness (=Gravity by Isaac Newton).
and Νεϊκος - neikos = escapee - unfriendly (=Centrifugal force).

The orbital direction of the universal bodies according to Empedocles.
As a result to the two opposite forces (Φιλότης, and Νεϊκος) the attracted body is finely forced to an endless circling movement.


Στρατής Χατζηβλάστης‚
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