Binding Matter, Unbinding God

Stephen H. Webb

in Jesus Christ, Eternal God

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199827954
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919468 | DOI:
Binding Matter, Unbinding God

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Aristotle's position on the eternity of matter posited a profound challenge to theology, as did the Greek philosophical conviction that matter is infinite (which Aristotle exceptionally did not hold). Christian theologians met this challenge with the doctrine of creation out of nothing. Theologians also transferred the concept of infinity from matter to the divine. This chapter outlines four fundamental weaknesses with the doctrine of creation out of nothing. It also looks at Georg Cantor's work on infinity in order to make the point that the theologians paid a high price for putting an absolute beginning on matter, namely, the mystification of the divine. This chapter also discusses David Hart's recent thesis on infinity and God, and develops Colin Gunton's critique of Augustine's appropriation of Plotinus.

Keywords: Aristotle; David Hart; Colin Gunton; Augustine; Cantor; Plotinus; infinity

Chapter.  14026 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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