Introduction to Judaeo-Christianity

Information on Judaeo- Christianity

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Introduction to Judaeo-Christianity
Having emerged from the Roman Empire which adopted much of the Ancient Greek tradition, the New
Testament is written in a Hellenistic context ­ it brings Greek philosophy into a Judaeo-Christian
understanding of God. However, whilst this has lead to many parallels between Plato's Form of the Good,
Aristotle's Prime Mover and the Judaeo-Christian God, the Ancient Greek approach to theology is markedly
different to that of Judaeo-Christianity.
The key difference is that the Greeks adopted a philosophical approach to solving the mystery of the divine.
Their concepts of the Form of the Good and the Prime Mover have been devised as an attempt to logically
explain the existence of mankind and provide a purpose for life. A Greek philosopher's starting point
therefore is to form a rational, coherent argument to explain why God may or may not exist. However the
Judaeo-Christian approach is based on the premise of faith ­ an abiding trust in God and a belief in the
events and teachings of the bible. The bible thus does not adopt a philosophical outlook; rather it is the
culmination of written works by people who all share the same faith. Furthermore, biblical language adopts a
non-cognitive approach ­ it uses metaphors, analogies and symbols usually in a narrative form to explain its
concepts, which contrasts greatly with the constructive, well-reasoned lines of argument of Ancient Greek

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This has lead to very different understandings of God and of the divine. The monotheistic God of
Judaeo-Christianity is concerned with the actions of man and makes demands; he intervenes in the world
and is responsive to human behavior. This is very unlike Plato's Form of the Good which is an impersonal
and non-interactive entity that does not have the capacity to love.…read more

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The will of God is required to make physical matter exist, he creates the components of the universe on his
word, according to his whim: `Let there be...' and there is.
Poetic descriptions of God's skill as craftsman of the universe can be compared with the work of an expert
builder in the book of Job.
This contrasts with Aristotle's Unmoved Mover.…read more

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The soul is released form the body when you die (Dualism)
· The concept of good has helped Christians perceive God as perfect and the source of all goodness
(goodness as an ideal form)
Aristotle's influence on Judaeo-Christian thought
· God is unchanging, eternal, and beyond time and space (transcendental)
· The universe and everything in it exists for a reason ­ it is purposeful (telos)
· God is the causer of the creation of the universe (Prime Mover)
· A pattern of design only…read more

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God can also be moved to pity. For example at the beginning of 1 Samuel, Hannah was distraught because
she had no children and asked God for a child in prayer. She conceived a baby boy soon after.
God is affected by the ways in which people respond to him.…read more

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We can all conceive of a perfect being in our minds, however we can also conceive of an even greater
being that exists both in our minds (in intellectu) and in reality (in re)
3/ Beings that exist in both the mind (in intellectu) and reality (in re) are greater than those that only exist in
the mind (in intellectu)
4/ Therefore God must exist both in the mind (in intellectu) and in reality (in re) otherwise something greater
in reality (in re) could be…read more

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Cosmological Argument
The word `cosmos' refers to the universe as an ordered, harmonious and holistic entity. The Cosmological
argument therefore argues for the existence of God a posteriori based on the apparent order in the universe.
Central to Thomism ­ the life work of St. Thomas Aquinas (1225 ­ March 7, 1274) is the idea that Philosophy
can help us come to a better understanding of Theology ­ the study of God.…read more

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Russell however refused to accept the notion of a necessary being as one that cannot be thought of not
existing, and concluded that the regress of causal events could not be held responsible for the existence of
everything in the universe:
"what I am saying is that the concept of cause is not applicable to the total"
Just because each human has a mother does not mean the entire human race has a mother.…read more

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Design qua Purpose ­ the universe was designed to fulfil a purpose
2. Design qua Regularity ­ the universe behaves according to some order
Analogy of the watch:
A man walks across a heath and finds a rock. He attributes the existence of the rock to nature. He walks
further and stumbles across a watch. After some examination he concludes that its purpose is to measure
time.…read more

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Nearly all the things which men are hanged or imprisoned for doing to one another are nature's everyday
For Mill, there is no intelligent design apparent in the universe and if there is a designer he is either an
incompetent or cruel designer:
"Either there is no God or there exists an incompetent or immoral God"
Charles Darwin is the proponent of the theory of Natural Selection.…read more


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