What was the theological opinion of the ancient Greek natural Philosophers?

In this article we will analyze an excerpt from Aristotle which, we think, satisfactorily answers the question of our title.

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Aristotle delivers through his “Physics“:

First, in ancient Greek: “άπαντα γαρ η αρχή ή εξ αρχής, του δε απείρου ουκ έστιν αρχή. Είη γαρ αν αυτού πέρας. Έτι δε και αγένητον και άφθαρτον ως αρχή τις ούσα. Το τε γαρ γενόμενον ανάγκη τέλος λαβείν, και τελευτή πάσης εστί φθοράς. Διό καθάπερ λέγομεν, ου ταύτης αρχή, αλλ’ αύτη των άλλων είναι δοκεί και περιέχειν άπαντα και πάντα κυβερνάν, ως φασιν όσοι μη ποιούσι παρά το άπειρον άλλας αιτίας οίον νούν ή φιλίαν. Και τούτ’ είναι το θείον. Αθάνατον γαρ και ανώλεθρον, ως φησιν ο Αναξίμανδρος και οι πλείστοι των φυσιολόγων”

Then, in English: “Because all things are or originate from an authority, for the infinite, though, there is no beginning, because then it would have an end, too. Additionally, infinity is unborn and indestructible, since it is some kind of authority. For everything that has come to be, it is necessary to have an end and for every wear there is an end. That is why, as we say, it has nothing else to begin with, but this seems to be the beginning of others and contains everything and governs them, as say those who think that there are no other causes except infinity, such as the nous (Νους) or friendship/love (Φιλία). And this (infinity) is the divine, since it is immortal and not subject to wear, as Anaximander and most of the natural philosophers say”

(NovoScriptorium: ‘Φιλία’ is translated as ‘friendship’ or ‘love’, but it also means the  ‘binding -coherence- creative- force’, too).

Analysis:

As we understand, beyond any doubt, ‘most of the natural philosophers’ deeply believed in the Divine, to the True/Actual Being, to the one God and Creator of all. We therefore have the following characteristics – idioms that are attributed to God: bornless, indestructible and imperishable, beginning and authority of everything, without beginning, beyond comprehension and reach (this is declared by the term ‘infinite’). The expression ‘contains everything and governs them’ intimates what in our days is said ‘omnipresent and all-filling‘. Let us declare at this point (and we will systematically demonstrate it through future articles) that each and every one of the genuine Philosophers were not only scientists but, theologists as well, in the sense that they questionned themselves about the Divine Being and put forward theological thoughts about its idioms and energies. We can unreservedly name them Monotheists. For the Philosopher it is unthinkable to perform Science (or live a Life) without God…

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Research-Analysis for NovoScriptorium: Isidoros Aggelos

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