Trinity and Creation: The significance of the Neoplatonic and Aristotelian perspective


College of Liberal Arts


Theology and Religious Education

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Archival Material/Manuscript


In this paper, I discuss the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and Creation in view of the Neoplatonic and Aristotelian influences. My argument is that although Neoplatonism and Aristotelianism represent an important factor in the development of a Christian understanding of the universe and the principle of its existence, the Christina doctrine differs substantially from the two philosophical systems, so that it cannot simply be reduced to them.

The paper has three parts.

First, I begin by making a brief treatment of the Christian doctrine of Trinity and Creation. Creation, it must be pointed out, is not Christianity’s most fundamental teaching. It is not the starting point in doing Christian theology. Instead, it is a doctrine that came to be developed as corollary to the more basic teaching about the Trinitarian God.

In the second part, I treat Neoplatonic and Aristotelian influences on the doctrine of creation. Here I discuss the parallelism between the Neoplatonic doctrine of the One, from which the physical world proceeds, and the Christian teaching about the Trinitarian God, who, out of his infinite love and overflowing goodness, pours himself out ot a finite being, the universe, by creating it. In the same vein, I also underline the similarity between the Aristotelian teaching of the Unmoved Mover and the Christian conception of God who invites creatures to take part in the divine community of love. This culminates in what Aquinas calls “beatitude perfecta.”

Finally, in the last part, I point out the diversity of Christian belief from the two philosophical schools of thought. More specifically, I accentuate the weight of the element of freedom in the creative act of the Trinitarian God, and the personal dimension that characterizes his rapport with his creatures.



Philosophy | Religion


Trinity; Creation

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