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THE 5TH ELEMENT.
Ok- let’s talk philosophy today- the last post on this subject I traced what we normally refer to as the beginning of Greek philosophy- a man by the name of Thales- 6th century BCE.
We said that Thales had an idea that water was the principle element- water seemed to have the ability to move [motion] by itself- so Walla- maybe water is the principle thing.
He was what we refer to as a Monist.
Monists believed that there was one principle element- responsible for all other things.
Now- the pre Socratic philosophers debated about this- some said it was air- others earth- some said fire- as a matter of fact- some said all 4 of these elements were responsible for existence.
Now- some sought a 5th element- some yet to be discovered thing that would explain it all.
A man by the name of Anaximander described it as ‘the boundless’- something that has no origin- he said it was ‘both unborn- and immortal’ ahh- you can already see the attributes of God in this [boundless- what Theologians call omnipresent- God having no limits- he is everywhere [but not everything- get to that in a moment] and ‘unborn’ that is he himself has no beginning].
Ok- this 5th element [some called it Ether- or Aether- a sort of wave theory- that light travels along this ether- this idea lasted till the day of Einstein- who showed us that Ether does not exist [in this way] but that light itself is made up of particles- photons- this was one of the major breakthroughs of modern physics].
A few years ago the movie ‘the 5th Element’- Bruce Willis- hit on this theme- sort of like the ‘God particle’- that is they were in search for some type of being that was eternal – self existent.
The term Quintessence [quint- 5] came to be defined as this 5th element- and today we use the word Quintessential to describe the pure essence of a thing- the perfect embodiment of something.
Over time the Greek thinkers would arrive at the idea that yes indeed- there was one main thing- Monism- that could be the source of all other things.
It is interesting to note that the Jewish prophets- and wisdom literature- which predates these guys- already started from the standpoint of Monotheism- one God.
Now- Monism is not Monotheism.
Monism is really a form of what we call Pantheism [in the study of religion].
Pantheism says that God is ‘everything’- some eastern religions hold to this concept.
The Christian view is that God is separate from creation- that he is indeed the original source of creation- but not the creation itself.
The Geek philosophers even described this 5th element as ‘The One’- see- they were getting close.
In today’s debates- some espouse an idea that there was no beginning point- that the universe is either eternal [something Einstein disproved with the Big Bang theory] or that there is a sort of infinite regress- that there is no one starting point- but that there have been a never ending [or beginning] series of ‘big bangs’ that go on forever.
This defies the laws of logic- and math.
Yeah- many of the great physicists were also great mathematicians [like Einstein- and Max Plank- who was first a mathematician].
If there was no beginning point- mathematically it doesn’t ‘work’.
You would never be able to arrive at the present time- if there was no starting point to measure from [I know this might sound strange- but this is indeed a proof- that there had to be a starting point].
What these thinkers show us is that even thru the ancient field of Philosophy- you still arrive at some type of ‘thing’ that is responsible for all other things.
Some Christians reject the Big Bang theory- but in my view it gave the Christian apologist the greatest tool to argue for the existence of God.
For many centuries it was believed that the universe was eternal- and if that was true- then indeed you did not have to have an outside source that was responsible for it.
But Einstein showed us that there was a beginning point- that the universe is in a continual expansion mode- and if it is getting ‘bigger’ by the second- then yes- it did have a starting point.
Many today think that it ‘popped’ into existence on its own- this is both scientifically and logically impossible- it violates the law of Cause and Effect [every effect has to have a cause also ‘out of nothing- nothing comes’].
There was a famous Christian who abandoned the faith- Bertrand Russell- he said ‘if everything has to have a cause- then God must have one too- and if God needs a cause- then why not see the universe as the cause’.
Tough Russell was a good man- he made a mistake here.
The laws of logic do not say that everything has to have a cause- but every effect has to have one.
In essence- somewhere along the line- going back to the beginning- there must be an initial cause- that has no beginning- Anaximander’s Boundless One.
Ok- I won’t do too many of these posts in a row- because as you can see- this takes time- and you lose people along the way.
But- over the next few weeks I’ll slip a post like this in- it helps when dealing with those who have sincere objections to the faith- and it also debunks some common misconceptions.
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