Comapring Aristotle's Prime Mover and the Judeo-Christian God

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Compare Aristotle’s idea of the Prime Mover, and the Judeo-Christian idea of God.

Aristotle was very interested in the idea of motion, and said that “the world is in a constant state of motion and change” An example of how the world is always changing is the growth of trees and plants. Aristotle believed in a prime mover, which is the being which creates change in the world. Some people think this is the same as the Judeo-Christian idea of a creator God, although there are important differences.

Aristotle’s had a theory known as the Four Causes, which are the things that make up everything on earth. These were: The Material Cause, which refers to the substance that something is made from; The Formal Cause, which refers to what gives the thing it’s structure; The Efficient Cause, or the thing that caused it to exist; and the Final Cause, which is the ultimate reason something exists, and what purpose it serves. He rejected Plato’s Theory of Forms because he was more interested in explaining how things came to be and how they change, and he did not believe in dualism. He defined change as Potentiality and Actuality; the ability to change, and something which has reached its final cause. Because the physical world is in a constant state of change, Aristotle believed something must exist that creates the changes. This being is described as “pure actuality” meaning it cannot change, and therefore Aristotle concluded it must exist outside the physical world. This being is the Prime Mover. The Judeo-Christian idea of God is similar to the Prime Mover as their God is responsible for creating the world. This is shown in the Bible when in the Creation story it says “In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth.” The Second Way of Aquinas’ cosmological argument for God’s existence is that everything comes from something else, and so there must be a First Cause outside of this chain and therefore outside this Universe. He decided this must be God.

However, Aristotle’s Prime Mover did not interact with the World because he had to exist outside of our world in order to be “pure actuality”, and this contradicts Judeo-Christian belief that God interacts with their lives and who created them all individually. This is presented in the Bible through the quote “I knitted you together in your mothers womb “The Prime Mover is not implied to have directly created anything on earth, but is merely responsible for the changes that were necessary for them to exist. . Believers in a Judeo-Christian God believe He is transcendent and has lived on Earth through Christ. This means that they can feel close to a God which otherwise they could not relate to. They also believe that God continues to interact in the world today through miracles and that they can talk to Him through prayer. It says in the Bible to “pray on all occasions” and so this is why Christians believe that God will listen to them. This is in contrast with Aristotle’s Prime Mover who is impersonal because it is not a physical being, and therefore cannot respond to prayer.

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Another part of the idea of God is the idea of Him as a Judge, who is responsible for what happens to everyone after death. Christians believe that God decides whether to send them to Heaven or to Hell, depending on how they have lived their life, this is shown in the Bible in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. Aristotle believed that the Prime Mover was the Final Cause, and therefore all our actions are directed at him, another way of thinking about this is that everything in the universe is drawn to the Prime Mover like ...

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