The External Activity of the Godhead: Cosmology

Torstein Theodor Tollefsen

in Activity and Participation in Late Antique and Early Christian Thought

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199605965
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738227 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies

The External Activity of the Godhead: Cosmology

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The chapter describes the doctrines of creation or of the external activity of God, in Gregory of Nyssa, Dionysius the Areopagite, and Maximus the Confessor. The author questions whether Dionysius has an orthodox doctrine of creation. The section on Maximus raises the question of whether he could have been acquainted with the philosophy of John Philoponus, who played an important role in the Christian critique of Neoplatonist doctrines of creation. The Christian view is that the cosmos is the result of a definite divine will to create, and that it had its beginning a definite number of time units ago. The chapter also discusses how the three thinkers viewed the participation of created beings in the divine activity.

Keywords: beginning; cosmology; creation; Dionysius the Areopagite; divine activity; divine will; external activity; Gregory of Nyssa; John Philoponus; Maximus the Confessor; Neoplatonist doctrine; participation; time

Chapter.  21416 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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