Refutation of their belief in the eternity of the world Details of the theory of the eternity of the world : THE philosophers disagree among themselves as to the eternity of the world. But the majority of the philosophers — ancient as well as modern-agree upon its eternity, holding that it always coexisted with God exalted be He as His effect which was concurrent with Him in time -concurrent as an effect is with the cause, e. Plato is said to have maintained that the world began in time. He said that he did not know whether the world is eternal or originated. Often he would argue that the nature of the world could not be discovered — not because of any deficiency on his part, but because of the inherent difficulty of the problem which baffles all minds.
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Refutation of their belief in the eternity of the world Details of the theory of the eternity of the world : THE philosophers disagree among themselves as to the eternity of the world. But the majority of the philosophers — ancient as well as modern-agree upon its eternity, holding that it always coexisted with God exalted be He as His effect which was concurrent with Him in time -concurrent as an effect is with the cause, e. Plato is said to have maintained that the world began in time.
He said that he did not know whether the world is eternal or originated. Often he would argue that the nature of the world could not be discovered — not because of any deficiency on his part, but because of the inherent difficulty of the problem which baffles all minds. But such instances are few and far between. The consensus of opinion among the philosophers is that as a rule it is inconceivable that something which has a beginning in time should proceed from the eternal without there being any intermediary.
Exposition of their arguments If I were to relate all the arguments advanced by the philosophers and the counter-arguments which have been handed down to us, I should have to devote innumerable pages to the problem. But prolixity is no good. Let us, therefore, omit such of their arguments as tend towards arbitrary and fanciful reasoning; for any observer will find it easy to deal with them. Our attention should be confined to those arguments which really appeal to the mind. It is such arguments which could possibly shake the faith of the maturest thinkers.
As regards weaker minds, their faith can be shaken by the flimsiest thing. I In the first argument, they say The procession of a temporal being from an eternal being is absolutely impossible.
For, if we suppose the Eternal at a stage when the world had not yet originated from Him, then the reason why it had riot originated must have been that there was no determinant for its existence, and that the existence of the world was a possibility only. So, when later the world comes into existence, we must choose one of the two alternatives to explain it — namely, either that the determinant has, or that it has not, emerged.
If the determinant did not emerge, the world should still remain in the state of bare possibility, in which it was before. But if it has emerged, who is the originator of the determinant itself? And why does it come into being now, and did not do so before? Thus, the question regarding the origin of the determinant stands. In fine, since all the states of the Eternal are alike, either nothing shall originate from Him, or whatever originates shall continue to originate for ever.
For it is impossible that the state of leaving off should differ from the state of taking up. To elucidate the point, it may be said : Why did He not originate the world before its origination?
And both senses are absurd. Nor can it be said that, before the time of the origination of the world, there was no purpose, and that a purpose emerged later. Nor is it possible to ascribe the non-origination of the world before it actually originated to the lack of means at one stage, and to its existence at another. But the origination of the will in the Divine being is impossible ; for He is not subject to temporal events.
And the origination of the will not-in-His-being cannot make Him a wilier. Whence does the will originate? Why does it originate now? Why did it not originate before? Does it now originate from a source other than God? If there can be a temporal existent which has not been brought into existence by anyone, then the world itself should be such an existent, so as to be independent of the Creator. For what is the difference between one temporal existent and another?
Was it due to the absence of means, or power, or purpose, or nature? If so, the transition from this stage to that of existence will revive the difficulty we had to face at the outset.
And if it is said to have been due to the absence of will, then one act of will will stand in need of another, and so on ad infinitum. From this it is absolutely clear that the procession of the temporal from the eternal is impossible, unless there were a change in the eternal in respect of power, or means, or time, or nature.
And it is impossible to suppose a change in the states of the eternal. For as a temporal event, that change would be like any other change in non-eternal beings. Therefore in case of the eternal , change of any kind whatsoever is impossible. And now that the world has been proved always to have existed, and the impossibility of its beginning in time has been shown, it follows that the world is eternal.
This is their most clever argument. Their discussion of all other metaphysical problems is less substantial than the discussion of this one. For here they have access to a variety of speculations which would not be available to them in any other problem. This is the reason why we began with this problem, and presented this their strongest argument at the very outset. The foregoing argument is open to objection on two points. Firstly, it may be said How will you disprove one who says that the world came into being because of the eternal will which demanded its existence at the time at which it actually came into existence, and which demanded the non-existence of the world to last as long as it lasted, and demanded the existence to begin where it actually began?
And it was an object of the will at the time when it actualised. What can prevent us from believing such a thing, and what is the contradiction involved in it? If it is said The contradiction involved here is self-evident. For that which originates in time is an effect or a product.
The existence, of the effect is necessary, when the cause is operative, and all causal conditions are complete. The postponement of the effect is as impossible as the existence of a temporal but uncaused thing.
Now, before the existence of the world, the Willer existed: the will existed, and the relation of the will to its object existed. The Willer did not have to make a new appearance: nor did the will emerge as a new acquisition, nor did it acquire a new relation to its object. For anything of this kind would amount to change. How, then, did the object of will emerge as something new? And what prevented it from emerging before it actually did?
The state of its new-emergence cannot be distinguished from the preceding states in respect of any thing or any factor or any state or any relation whatsoever; for all things remain as they were. If, in spite of all things remaining the same, the object of will is not produced at first, but comes into being later, the whole affair must be exceedingly contradictory. And contradiction of this kind arises not only in case of evident and essential causes and effects, but also in case of those which are conventional and qualified.
For instance, if a man pronounces divorce to his wife, and if separation is not the immediate result of the pronouncement, it is inconceivable that it should take effect afterwards. For, in accordance with convention and legal usage, the pronouncement is made the cause of the judgment.
Therefore, the postponement of the effect is unintelligible, unless the enforcement of the divorce should be bound up with, say, the coming of the next day, or entering into the house. Only then will the divorce take effect at the time of the coming of the next day, or the entering into the house, and not immediately; for the pronouncement is made a cause of divorce in relation to something which is yet awaited. Since the condition, i. So the effect, i. But if the man desires — without binding up the effect with the appearance of something which is not present at the moment — to postpone the effect, it would not be an intelligible thing, notwithstanding the fact that he has the right to make the pronouncement, and is at liberty to choose whatever details he likes.
Since it is not possible for us to arrange these conventional things as we like, and since our capricious determinations are bound to be unintelligible, it follows that an arbitrary arrangement should be still less intelligible in the sphere of essential, rational and self-evident causation.
Even in the case of morals, the object of our intention is not posterior to the intention, if the intention exists, and there is no hindrance. Therefore, with intention being coupled with power, and with all obstacles having been removed, it is unintelligible that the intended thing should be delayed.
Such a thing is conceivable only in the case of inclination; for inclination by itself is not sufficient to bring about an action. For instance, the mere inclination to write does not produce writing, unless there emerges an intention, i.
So if the eternal will is to be likened to our intention, it is inconceivable that its object should be posterior to it. Unless there is a hindrance, there cannot be a gap between the intention and its object. It makes no sense to have an intention today that one would stand up tomorrow. One may only have an inclination to do so. But if the eternal will is like our inclination, it shall not by itself be sufficient to bring about the object of inclination.
For it is indispensable that something else — viz. But the emergence of such a thing means a change in the Eternal. And, then, the difficulty remains as it was. Namely, why does this agitation, or intention, or will, or whatever you may like to call it, originate now, and why did it not originate before? Thus, either one must posit a temporal event which is uncaused, or an infinite regress will follow. The sum and substance of what has been said by you is this : That the Cause existed; that all the conditions of its efficiency were complete, so that nothing else remained to be awaited; that, in spite of all this, the origination of the effect was postponed over a length of time, the beginning of which cannot be imagined, and which could not be measured out even by millennia ; and that eventually the effect made its appearance all of a sudden, without a new factor coming into operation, or a new condition being realised.
And such a thing is intrinsically impossible. The answer to the foregoing may be stated as follows How do you know the impossibility of ascribing the origin of something to an eternal will? Is it the self-evident rational necessity, or theoretical knowledge, which is the ground of your judgment?
Or, to use the terms employed by you in Logic, are the two terms in your judgment joined by means of a middle term, or without a middle term? If you claim that they are joined by means of a middle term — i. But if you claim that this impossibility is known as a self-evident fact, why do not your opponents share this knowledge with you?
People who believe in the temporal origin of the world are confined neither to a number nor within a city. And no one would suspect that, out of spite for reason, they believe in something which they know to be untrue. It is, therefore, necessary for you to prove, in accordance with the rules of Logic, that it is impossible to ascribe the origin of the world to the eternal will.
All you have said so far only amounts to a suggestion of improbability, and to a comparison of the Divine will to our inclination or will. The comparison is false; for the eternal will does not resemble temporal intentions.
And the mere suggestion of improbability, unsupported by an argument, is not enough. If it is said : We know by rational necessity that, if all the conditions for causal operation are complete, it is inconceivable that the cause should fail to produce the effect. He who admits the possibility of such a thing challenges the necessity of reason.
Background[ edit ] In July , at the invitation of Nizam al-Mulk, Al-Ghazali became professor of law at the Nizamiyya of Baghdad , one of the most prestigious colleges at that time. Al-Ghazali stated that he did not find other branches of philosophy including physics, logic, astronomy or mathematics problematic, his only dispute was with metaphysics in which he claimed that the philosophers did not use the same tools, namely logic, which they used for other sciences. But in three other chapters, he accuses them of being utterly irreligious. Among the charges that he leveled against the philosophers is their inability to prove the existence of God and inability to prove the impossibility of the existence of two gods. Showing their equivocation of the following two statements: God is the creator of the world vs. The inability of philosophers to prove the existence of the Creator.
Incoherence of the Philosophers: S. Kamali
In addition to being a confidante of the Seljuq Sultan and his court in Isfahan, he now became closely connected to the caliphal court in Baghdad. He was undoubtedly the most influential intellectual of his time, when in he suddenly gave up his posts in Baghdad and left the city. He realized that the high ethical standards of a virtuous religious life are not compatible with being in the service of sultans, viziers, and caliphs. He continued to teach, however, at small schools singl. Falsafa was a movement where Christians, Muslims, and even pagan authors participated.
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