God, unity of

God, unity of
   Islam places great emphasis on the unity of God, and this became an important theme in all the varieties of Islamic philosophy. It explains a motive for the attraction to Neoplatonism, which has as a central issue how there came to be many things in existence when really there exists only one absolute being or principle. For the Neoplatonists what happens is that the One thinks and through thinking brings other things into existence, since once it thinks it understands that it is a thinking thing, and this brings about a mental division in its perfect unity, and that leads to the production of a range of beings that exist either closer to or more distantly from it. The more perfect and abstract they are, the nearer, the less perfect and the more material are more distant. Another issue was how God related to the world. If God is identified with the One, then He creates the world by emanation, not production. God thinks about Himself and as a result other things are brought into existence, but it would be an interference with God’s perfection and unity were He to know or think about any of these lesser things. The only thing He should think about is Himself, and the world comes about indirectly while the One contemplates the One. Since God is eternal, His thinking is also eternal, and so is what He thinks about, the world. The doctrine of unity then leads to implications that do not accord with the literal meaning of the Qur’an, and the philosophers spent a lot of effort in showing why this was not a problem.
   Although the first employers of Neoplatonism were the Peripatetics, it was also much used by the Isma‘ilis, Illuminationists and Sufi thinkers. The notion of emanation as holding the universe together could be reinterpreted in terms of light for the former, and the idea that the world really is just an aspect of divine unity proved very fertile ground for the last of these.
   Further reading: Leaman 1985/2002; Watt 1962/85

Islamic Philosophy. . 2007.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • God — (Allah)    The rich, impressionistic portrait of God that emerges in the Qur’an looms large over all subsequent discussions of the divine within the Islamic tradition. There Allah is pictured as absolutely unitary and unique, the one true reality …   Islamic philosophy dictionary

  • God, anthropomorphic descriptions of —    Numerous passages in the Qur’an known as the ambiguous or anthropomorphic verses describe God in strikingly human terms. One finds anthropomorphic characterizations of (1) God’s external appearance (e.g. God possesses a face, eyes, hands,… …   Islamic philosophy dictionary

  • unity — (tawhid)    See God, unity of …   Islamic philosophy dictionary

  • Unity Church — Unity also known as Unity School of Christianity and informally as Unity Church , is a school of thought founded upon holistic Christian principles within the New Thought movement. It is informed by a wide range of spiritual, metaphysical and… …   Wikipedia

  • Unity (As a Mark of the Church) —     Unity (as a Mark of the Church)     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Unity (as a Mark of the Church)     The marks of the Church are certain unmistakeable signs, or distinctive characteristics which render the Church easily recognizable to all, and… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Unity of the Brethren — hymnal, 1561 For the Moravian Church, see Unitas Fratrum. The Unity of the Brethren (Czech: Jednota bratrská, Latin: Unitas Fratrum, also known as Czech or Bohemian Brothers or Brethren) is a C …   Wikipedia

  • Unity School of Christianity/ Association of Unity Churches —    Unity, the most outwardly Christian of the several New Thought groups, began in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1889, when its cofounders, Myrtle (1845 1931) and Charles Fillmore (1854 1948), created an organization to embody what they called… …   Encyclopedia of Protestantism

  • God — • Links to five articles about the subject Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. God     God     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • unity — unity, solidarity, integrity, union can all denote a combining of all the parts, elements, or individuals into an effective whole, or the property or character of the whole achieved by such a combining. Unity is the comprehensive term applicable… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • God is still speaking, — also known as The Stillspeaking Initiative , is the name of the identity, branding, and advertising campaign of the United Church of Christ that was launched in 2004.The Initiative was originally promulgated by the national office s Stillspeakin …   Wikipedia