Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Justin M and More Greeks

Today, I start writing about Justin Martyr's Hortatory Address to the Greeks.  It is very similar to the address to the Greeks that I wrote about last time, but it is longer and more detailed.  It also has more details about the ancient philosophers, which I love.

Justin starts by critiquing all the people that the Greeks look to for religion starting with their poets.  Homer writes a theogony, which we defined as a genealogy of the gods.  He writes that the ocean and the mother Tethys begot the gods.  Zeus makes war with men, has sex with many women, and all the gods try to kill each other.  These are the gods presented by Homer or else there are no gods.

Next, Justin critiques their philosophers starting with the first one: Thales.
Thales figured out that all of life comes from water.  Water is the defining element and the first principle of all things.  Later philosophers disagreed and said that fire, air, or the infinite (earth) are the elements.  They all say that one is the element and not the others.
Pythagoras declared that numbers are elements, including unity and an indefinite binary.  He made a whole religion based on math.
Epicurus declared element to be bodies that are perceptible by reason.
Empedocles added his notion that life is made of the four original elements plus 2 elemental powers: love and hate, aka union and separation, which seems to echo Pythagoras's unity and binary.

None of these philosophers can agree on the origins of life.  How can we look to them for salvation?  They look to the earth and nature.  This is very telling for naturists today.

Plato and Aristotle are the next philosophers who the Greeks name as ones who learned the true and perfect religion.  Justin asks one thing: where did they learn it from?  And how come they don't agree on anything?

Plato believes he has seen all in heaven and that God exists in a fiery substance.
Aristotle overthrows Plato saying that God is an ethereal and unchangeable body.  He also cites Homer, who Plato rejected.  Sadly, Aristotle also rejects Homer on other topics when it's convenient.
Plato believes in three elements: God, matter, and form.
Aristotle believes in two elements: God and matter.

Despite Plato's belief in 3 elements, he also sometimes adds a fourth element: the universal soul.  He also is inconsistent on whether matter is eternal or if it is produced.  Not only does Plato not agree with Aristotle; Plato doesn't agree with Plato.  These guys are confused and cannot lead people to the correct religion.

Only the Christians can lead people to the true religion.  His name is Jesus.  Their writings do not contradict.  God revealed himself to Adam, Noah, Abraham, etc as the redeeming Word of God.  Moses was the first great teacher to the Christians.  He is attested to in history along with the exodus from Egypt.
Polemon mentions Moses in Hellenics.  Apion son of Posidonius notes him in a book that is against the Jews.  Moses historically led a revole from Egypt.  Ptolemaeus includes the same in his history of Egypt.  People today will say that the Egyptians have no record of an exodus.  Granted, the Egyptians lost that battle and would not include that in their history.  But other people such as Hellanicu, Philochorus, Castor, Thallus, Alexander Polyhistor, and the Jews Philo and Josephus all attest to Moses and the exodus as substantial history.  These were non-Christian writers who got their information from the Egyptian priests themselves.

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