Plato’s universe

Stephen Nichols, in his For Us and For Our Salvation: The Doctrine of Christ in the Early Church, gives a helpful description of Plato’s view of the universe, which influenced Greek philosophers in the ancient world, including the early centuries of the Christian church.  Below is a chart that’s in his book, with some further explanations drawn from his book in brackets:

The Ideal [God-like, but impersonal]

The Demiurge (creator god) [created by the Ideal]

The World, Humanity and Matter [these are the perfect concepts, or ideals, of justice, beauty, and truth, as well as the forms of material things]

[boundary between World of Forms (above this line) and material world (below)]




Flora and Fauna

Rocks and Dirt

Nichols writes that according to Plato, our souls would escape their imprisonment in our bodies upon death and then go to be in the world of Forms.  Also, Plato’s separation of God in the Ideal and the Demiurge influenced docetists like Valentinus who believed that God in the Old Testament was the Demiurge, rather than the God of both the Old and New Testaments.


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