History of Philosophy and Christian Thought - Lesson 15

View of God, Psychology

Aristotle's philosophy as it relates to attributes of God and fundamental assumptions about psychology.

Ronald Nash
History of Philosophy and Christian Thought
Lesson 15
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View of God, Psychology

Aristotelian Philosophy

Part 4

VII. View of God

A. Metaphysical Foundation

1. Potentiality

2. Actuality

3. Change

a. Generation

b. Corruption

B. God is Perfect, Pure Form.

C. God is unchanging.

D. Relationship to Creation

1. God cannot relate to changing beings.

2. The only thing God can do is think about Himself.


VIII. Psychology

A. The Soul

B. Three Levels of the Soul

1. Vegetative Soul

2. Sensitive Soul

3. Rational Soul

  • Thales and Anaximander were two philosophers in the sixth century BC that lived in Miletus.

  • Heraclitus and Pythagoras lived into the 5th century BC.

  • Any worldview addresses the subjects of God, ultimate reality, human knowledge, ethics and human persons.

  • Fundamental beliefs of a naturalistic worldview is that nothing exists outside the physical universe and that all things evolved.

  • Plato was a student of Socrates and lived into the fourth century BC. He opposed hedonism, empiricism, relativism, materialism, atheism and naturalism.

  • Plato described the universe as having three levels: the world of particulars, the world of forms, and the form of the good.

  • Plato's view of the universe was dualistic.

  • One of Plato's fundamental arguments is that the human soul is immortal.

  • Evaluation of Plato's arguments and comparison of Plato's philosophy with biblical theology.

  • Empiricism teaches that all human knowledge arises from sense experience. Rationalism teaches that some human knowledge does not arise from sense. experience

  • Aristotle was a student of Plato and lived in the fourth century BC.

  • Aristotle rejected Plato's doctrine of two worlds.

  • Discussion of Aristotelian philosophy as it relates to the incarnation.

  • Aristotle's philosophy as it relates to attributes of God and fundamental assumptions about psychology.

  • Aristotle made a distinction between passive intellect and active intellect.

  • Discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the law of non-contradiction.

  • Discussion of the nature and substance of matter.

  • Hellenistic philosophy was an approach that was popular from the fourth century BC to the fifth century AD.

  • Stoics were determinists who believed in living according to nature.

  • Hedonism emphasized pleasure as the greatest good. "Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we might be dead."

  • Philo's philosophy was based on a synthesis of Stoicism and Platonism.

  • Implicit "Logos" Christianity is an underlying theme in the book of Hebrews.

  • Plotinus lived in the third century AD and is considered the founder of Neoplatonism.

  • Augustine is a Latin church father, is considered by many to be one of the most important figures in the development of Western Christianity.

  • Augustine wrote Confessions as an autobiographical work to record his experience as a sinful youth and his experience becoming a follower of Christ.

  • Augustine wrote to refute some heresies of the day by focusing on the concepts of faith and reason.

  • Augustine writes about the problem of evil and describes evil as the absence of good.

  • Augustine writes to refute Pelagianism by focusing on the biblical teaching about sin.

  • Augustine writes to refute Donatism.

  • The fundamental idea of skepticism is that no one can know anything. Augustine this statement contradicts itself because the skeptic is claiming that you can know that you can't know anything.

  • When Augustine wrote "The City of God," he had a linear view of history.

  • In Augustine's theory of knowledge, he says that eternal reason and human reason are two different levels of reason.

  • Augustine was personally convinced of the importance of divine illumination.

  • The intellectual background of Thomas Aquinas was influenced by the discovery of ancient manuscripts, the rise of universities, the rise of religious brotherhoods and the rise of Muslim philosophy.

  • Aquinas describes faith as whatever a human can know through special revelation, and reason as whatever a human can know outside of special revelation.

  • Aquinas attempts to prove God's existence.

  • Aquinas describes four kinds of law as eternal, divine, natural and positive.

  • The rationalists and empiricists set the stage for Kant and other philosophers of the modern era.

  • Kant argued that moral requirements are based on a standard of rationality he dubbed the “Categorical Imperative."

  • Kants two worlds are the phenomenal world and the noumenal world.

  • Discussion of criticisms and questions about Kant's ideas.

  • Similarities between Kant's ideas and postmodernism.

  • The dialectic is a central idea in Hegel's philosophy.

  • Ideally, Marxism begins with class struggle, then revolution, dictatorship of the proletariat, withering away of the state, and a utopian classless society.

  • Discussion of four faces of Marxism.

  • Nietzsche proclaimed that, "God is dead." His cure was to live life knowing there is no ultimate meaning. Kierkegaard emphasized a worldview based on true faith.

In this class, you will explore the rich history of philosophy and its relationship with Christian thought. The course begins with an introduction to the definition and importance of philosophy in Christian theology. You will then delve into the evolution of philosophical thought from the Pre-Socratic era, through the Classical Greek philosophers, and into the Hellenistic period. As you progress, you will discover how early Christian thought emerged and developed during the Patristic period, with a special focus on Augustine. The class continues with an examination of medieval Christian thinkers, such as Anselm and Thomas Aquinas, and concludes with an analysis of modern philosophers like Descartes, Kant, and Kierkegaard, and their influence on contemporary Christian thought.

Dr. Ronald Nash

History of Philosophy and Christian Thought


View of God, Psychology

Lesson Transcript


In case you have not realized it, Every time we deal with a major thinker, we are trying to explain that thinker's total worldview. We did that with Plato. So now we're ready with Aristotle. Here's what we've covered actually, in all of the work that we've done on Aristotle. We've basically had to focus on his view of metaphysics, and we still have a little bit more to do. But this is definitely going to be the last day we talk about Aristotle, and you don't have to applaud unless you feel so let. All right. I'll applaud. This is our last day on Aristotle. Here is had your note, give your notes. This part of your notes. This heading here is the metaphysical foundation for Aristotle's view of God. We've already told you that for Aristotle, everything is composed of form and matter. Let's take that business of matter and form another step. Okay. Because Aristotle says that in addition to their being form and matter, there is something else important going on in. In metaphysics. And he calls those two terms potentiality and actuality. Now, these terms are hard to define. Don't let that trouble you too much. There are a lot of terms in in language that are hard to define. In fact, I'll give you a couple of examples of terms that probably cannot be defined. All right. Right now. And I'm kidding. Define for me in one sentence the word yellow. And in your definition, distinguish yellow from red. Kind of hard to do. Now, maybe if you were a physics major, you learn the you know, the the what you might call it.


[00:02:42] But even though you may find it impossible to define the color yellow, you know what it is when you see it? Okay. Right. So sometimes, even though we cannot define a word, nonetheless, we can give examples. Remember Plato here? But remember, think too, that I'm I'm making a little different point here than I did earlier when I distinguished Plato's difference between a definition and an example. So let me give you some examples of how potentiality and actuality work. Suppose here we had a piece of lumber, a piece of wood, a two by four. Okay, A piece of wood is potentially many other things. There are here are several sentences. There are many potentialities of a of a substance. Yeah. I was going to write the word thing of a substance. But what is a substance? It is a any given thing that exists. Keep that in mind. Okay. Now, what are the potentialities of a two by four? Well, you can cut it up and you can make it into a bookshelf. A little different shape of wood could be made into a door. Obviously a two, but you'd need several two by fours to make a door. So any particular thing is at any given time, potentially many other things, obviously the potentialities of anything are limited. I mean, you cannot make a steel wolf trap out of a wooden two by four. That's not among the potentialities of a piece of wood. Obviously, you cannot make a human being out of a two by four. That's not one of the potentialities of a piece of wood. Take a developing fetus of any mammal at any given time. It is. And I don't mean to be gross here. And notice I didn't say a human fetus.


[00:05:09] One could say that of the fetus of a pig, for example, that among the many possibilities is that it might be food for some other animal. That's a gross example. But it you see the point. But if. If the fetus of any living mammal is allowed to develop naturally without interruption. And if, let's say it is the fetus of a pig, here's a really tough question What would the fetus of a pig naturally develop into if nothing interrupted its development? Tough question. It would develop into a pig. Okay. Now, this requires us to put still another word on the board. It's the word. And tell a key and. Aristotle's point is this the intel? A key of any given thing is that one potentiality that will become realized if that thing is allowed to develop naturally. For example, take an acorn if an egg an acorn is potentially many things. Okay. It's it could be a tool in some kind of con game. All right. Guy cuts the acorn in half and uses it in some kind of a little game. It could be food for a squirrel. But if the acorn is allowed to develop the one potentiality that it has, naturally that ACORN would develop into an oak tree. The oak tree is the and tell a key of the acorn a human baby is the intel a key of a developing human fetus? A baby calf is the until a key of the fetus in a in the uterus of a of a of a cow. So everything has a certain and towards which it naturally strives. Unless something hinders its development such as death or some kind of interruption. So everything has many potentialities, but it only has one actuality at any given time.


[00:08:03] Take our acorn. Our acorn, let us say, develops into an oak tree. Once the acorn develops into an oak tree, its other potentialities are negated. I have yet to meet a squirrel that's going to eat an oak tree. It'll eat the acorns, but it won't eat the oak tree. The oak tree has many potentialities. The oak tree can be cut down. It can be made into a door. It can be made into a bookcase. Lots of things. But all of the potentialities of the oak tree. Only one of them can be actual at any given moment. Now when the oak tree is cut down and it's turned into, let us say, a pile of lumber. That pile of lumber has many potentialities, but it only has one actuality at any given time. Now, Aristotle's point then, is this The potentialities of any substance are a part of its matter. What it is made up, the actuality of any given thing, is a function of the form that it possesses at any particular moment. When the acorn becomes an oak tree, it's it has matter, but it has a new form. It has a new essence. We could call that oak tree ness oak. When the oak tree is cut, it loses the form of oak tree ness. It. It. It achieves a new form. And we could call that lumber ness or whatever. And then if it becomes a door, you have form plus matter. The new form here we could call this form one form to form three. The essence of oak tree ness. The essence of Lombard ness. The essence of door ness. I know this is a crazy way to talk. All right, But this is Aristotle. So things lose their form and gain a new form.


[00:10:27] And Aristotle has a name for that. Think back to what we said a couple of weeks ago when we talked. Maybe it was last week when we talked about the ten categories. And those ten categories were substance, quantity, quality and all the rest. Well, corresponding to each of those categories, there is a corresponding kind of change. And when you get a change of substance, Aristotle's name for that change of substance. Aristotle's name for that is either generation or corruption. I have a little diagram on an earlier page in your textbook when an old substance is destroyed. That is, when something is altered in such a way that it ceases to be a ball or it ceases to be a tree, or it ceases to be a human being. A change of substance has occurred. That thing is no longer the kind of thing that it was. And Aristotle calls that corruption. But at the same time that the old substance ceases to exist, a new substance is born. And Aristotle calls that process generation. Generation is his name for the creation of a new kind of substance. That's what happens when the acorn becomes an oak tree. The acorn is destroyed. The oak tree is generated. Everything that's a substance, with the exception of God, is matter plus form. But when the acorn ceases to exist, the form is destroyed and a new form is added to the old matter. Every time something changes, there is something else that doesn't change. What doesn't change the matter? Here's the matter of the acorn. It continues to exist in the case of the oak tree, even though it's greatly expanded. Then we cut down the oak tree. We have the same matter. The matter never changes. It is still wood.


[00:12:49] And then we turn the pile of lumber into a door. That's the same matter that underlies every change throughout the process. What does change is the form. When the acorn changes into an oak tree, it loses the form of acorn ness. It loses that essence. It then gains a new form, the form of train us. When it's cut down, it ceases to possess the form of train us. It acquires a new form, the form of lumber, nuts or something. And then when we turn it into a door, we have still another form. When change occurs, the form is lost, a new form is gained. But the matter underlies all of the change there. There are really two kinds of matter. There is the kind of specific matter that you find in an acorn and an oak tree. That stuff can be destroyed, obviously. I mean, you can do it by just burning this stuff up. But underneath this is really tricky stuff and it plays a very important role in a lot of bad Roman Catholic theology. All right. A lot of bad Roman Catholic theology comes out of Aristotle. What we call primary matter cannot be destroyed. It's eternal. May I give you an analog to Aristotle's primary matter just so that you're. We're all on the same page here. Aristotle's what Aristotle calls primary matter and read the book and I'll I'll, I'll find a couple of minutes to talk about it a little later today. It's very similar to the matter that Plato talked about in his theory of creation. Remember, there were four eternal things that combined to make the world. There was. There were the forms. There was the spacetime receptacle. There was the demiurge. And then there was what Plato called matter.


[00:14:59] And I think I told you that Plato's matter bore a striking resemblance to something we covered earlier called the Boundless OC in an ax and Anaximander thinking, Well, I told you at the time this was weeks ago that Aristotle, other than Anaximander is boundless, would keep showing up in all kinds of unexpected ways in this course. And this is really what Aristotle meant when he talked about primary matter. Do you remember the musical theme we have for The Boundless? The Darth Vader theme? Dum dum dum dum dum dum dum dum dum dum dum dum, dum dum. We change keys. That's called modulation. Yes. Now. Every given thing. Get this in your notes. Every given thing possesses only one actuality at a time. If that that actuality that that that a particular thing exists at any possesses at any time is a consequence of its form. When the form of that thing is lost or changed, then that actuality ceases to exist. And one of the other many potentialities of that thing will be realized. I will repeat, everything possesses many potentialities at any given time, but only possesses one actuality in any given time. That actuality is a function of its form. The potentialities are a function of its matter. Okay. Now what is change? Get this in your notes. What is change for Aristotle? Here's this answer. Change is any movement from potentiality to actuality. That is change or that is a substantial. Yeah. That's just. Let's just say that's that's change. It's any movement from potentiality to actuality. Okay. Now we're ready to talk about Aristotle's view of God. Aristotle believed that God was perfect. In Aristotle's thinking the perfection of God meant that God could not change in any way whatsoever. Now, some of you are thinking, Hey, we just studied that in systematic theology part one.


[00:18:03] Am I right? Or you will someday. It is true that in Christian theology we believe we teach that one of God's essential attributes is divine immutability. Right now within the church, and I use the word church in this sentence very loosely. Okay. Right now, within evangelicalism, there is a big fight going on over some. Bad evangelical theologians. Who are denying divine immutability. They're saying that God can change. For example, I'll give you I don't think I mean, I'll give you the name of one of these fellows, even up even for the tape. His name is John Sanders. Okay. He used to teach at Oak Hill Bible College in Minnesota. He now teaches at Huntington College in northern Indiana. It's related to one of the Brethren movements, John Sanders and some other people who teach at Huntington College and people who teach it at other places like Bethel College, for example, and Bethel Theological Seminary. They are teaching that God changes, that God can change his mind. Now, let you in on a little secret. Most of these people like, Let me come up with a percentage. Oh, 99% of these people who think that God can change and God must change and God's knowledge changes and God's mind changes. 99% of these people. I think it is fair to say, are our minions. Okay. Now, when I talk about an Armenian, I do not mean people who come from the geographic region east of east of Turkey. You spell out with an Armenian. Let me paraphrase John Sanders in his book, The God Who Risks. Yeah. What a title. John Sanders in in his book, The God Who Risks, says that before the end of Jesus earthly ministry, God, the Father had no idea that Jesus was going to die on the cross.


[00:20:42] John Sanders. Again, I'm paraphrasing John Sanders, the God. The father looked down. And all of a sudden saw his son hanging on the cross. And here's what he thought. Quote. Oops. Oops. We've got to go to we've got to go to plan B. End of quote. Now, that's a paraphrase, but that's what Sanders. Who knows what plan A wants. But when Jesus suddenly died on the cross, God, the father said, Wow, we got to go in a different direction here. Now, those of you who know your Bible, you ought to know that Jesus death was foreordained from the foundations of the world. All right. But now, listen. I am criticizing in my usual gentle and sanctified way those heretical evangelicals who are saying God can change his mind. You know what else they teach? They teach the God doesn't know the future. The future is close to God. In fact, if you read a book and I'll recommended here, it's a book titled God's Lesser Glory, published by Bruce Weber at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He proves that the logical implications of their. Of their heretical views on God's. Future knowledge imply logically that poor God can't know the present or the past either. This is a serious error. Okay. So God doesn't know the future. Do you know what that means? Means right now. God has no idea if the Cleveland Indians are going to win or lose tonight. He has no idea. Shucks, I can. I can guess. All right. Now. I'm not. I'm not I'm not denigrating the Lord. I'm speaking ill of those people who do denigrate the Lord. Okay. Well, now, because Aristotle believe that God is perfect, let's write some sentences down that illustrate Aristotle's thinking. God is perfect, but let's put that in quotation marks, because sooner or later we're going to have to distinguish several different senses of the word perfect.


[00:23:29] And we may decide that Aristotle doesn't really know the sense in which the God of Scripture is perfect. Okay. That also means that for Aristotle, God is immutable. That means God cannot change in any way whatsoever. Now, lest you are getting ready to applaud, let me point out one little but serious problem in Aristotle's position. If God can't change in any way whatsoever, does this mean that God cannot know those creatures that change? Mm hmm. Because, listen, you and I do change. And if God's immutability means that he cannot know anything else besides himself, that changes, then that implies that God can't know you. Mm hmm. Okay. Now, what else? God has no matter. Why did Aristotle say God possesses? No matter? Because matter is the basis of potentiality. And potentiality. For Aristotle implies imperfection and the possibility of change. So then Aristotle goes on to say God is pure form, which is another way of saying God is pure actuality. Now, earlier I told you that everything else in the universe, with the exception of God, and maybe a few other things that we'll talk about, everything else in the universe other than God is matter plus form. But because God is pure actuality, He is pure form. He possesses no matter at all, which does ground the claim that he cannot change. Okay. Now, let's just play around with this business for a little while and let me let me relate it to two very important parts of Christian theological thinking. Let's relate everything Aristotle says about God to the business of creation. Okay, Christians teach. We believe that God is the efficient cause of the world. Christianity teaches that God is the efficient cause of the world. That's one of the things we mean when we talk about creation ex nihilo.


[00:26:25] In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. God brought the world into existence from nothing. And God did that by being what Aristotle called earlier. This is a this is an Aristotelian term, but we can use it. God is the official cause of the world. But for Aristotle, God cannot be the efficient cause of the world. Why? Because for God, Aristotle's thinking was for God to be the efficient cause of the world. God would be involved in the process of change. And if God is involved in a process of change, then God Himself may must be undergoing change. And that's that contradicts Aristotle's thinking about God and creates lots of other problems for Aristotle. So that's one problem with treating God as pure actuality or pure form. So then how does Aristotle's God affect the world? Here is Aristotle's answer. God is the. This is Aristotle, the formal cause of the world. Now, who knows what in the world that means. We can understand what it would mean for God to be the efficient cause. He brings the world into existence from nothing by his sovereign power. Okay, so without God's creative activity, there would be no world. But Aristotle can't. Can't say that because he's forced for reasons. Some of the reasons we're explaining here, that would introduce change into God's nature, and thus we can't have that. So he says God is the formal cause of the world. Now, that's tough to figure out. Let me give you an example, and I'm quoting right from Aristotle. He says, God. Moves the world by being an object of the world's desire. Put that in your notes. God moves the world not by pushing it as an efficient cause would do, but by drawing it.


[00:28:47] God moves the world. By drawing the world. Which. Which implies that there is no potentiality on God's part. Now, frankly. I you know, I've taught Aristotle now for 45 years. I have I don't have a clue what Aristotle means. I cannot explain what he's saying there in any way that makes any sense to me or anybody else. For myself, this body of information and Aristotle illustrates the way in which philosophers get trapped by their own system. Let me elaborate on that for just a little bit. Even though this course is now half over or assumed to be half over. One of the lessons I'm trying to teach you here is that always, it seems in the minds of the greatest philosophers who have ever lived, all they've ever done is take one innocent step after another. Okay? And before you know what? They're sinking in deep doo doo. And if you if you are able to understand the thinking of these great thinkers, you know, you say, well, that step makes sense. That makes sense. And before you know it, you're trapped. And you're then being pushed into a dead end street with nothing but quicksand at the end. Maybe those are mixed metaphors. I don't know. You're you're trapped into a dead end street where the ship is sinking. Maybe that's. You know, I think you're backed into a dead end street where you're playing without a full deck. There, that same thing. And it happens every time in the history of philosophy, with the exception of one great philosopher. Yeah. I don't know how I managed to escape that, but I just do, All right? I just do. And so I'm encouraging you to follow my steps here. I'll tell you this. If you follow my lead, you will never walk in the path of deep doo doo.


[00:31:30] But the choice is yours. I'm not dogmatic here. If you want to be a doo doo thinker, you can be. I'm not going to worry about you. Okay. God moves the world by being an object of desire. I can illustrate that, but I cannot explain it. When you love something or when you love a person, you are attracted to that person. I mean, take my grandchildren. Take my children, take my wife. All right? When you love someone, you're you want to be where they are. That makes sense as a human analogy. But how can a rock? How can a tomato plant desire to be like God? Now, I'm not going to answer this question completely, but you've got to understand that we've got to we evangelicals have got to be very careful when we talk about divine immutability, because if our God can't change in any way whatsoever, we may have the same problems that Aristotle had. Let me describe in a final sentence Aristotle's final picture of God. He pictures his God sitting on the circle of the earth. Okay. And then he asks this question Can this God know the world for which his answer is no, because for Aristotle's God to think about the world would be to commit Aristotle's God to thinking about things that change and that would introduce change into the nature of God. Next question Can Aristotle think about you? Can Aristotle's God think about, you know, Aristotle's God can't know about you? Let me warn you here. Do we evangelicals, do we want a view of God that makes it impossible for God to know us? That's not the biblical view of God. When I think about Aristotle's God, I get a mental image here of Rod Diane, Statue, The Thinker.


[00:33:55] Any of you ever seen that? I've seen that statue in the flesh. Well, you know, in stone there's a role, Dan. There are a lot of copies of the Thinker. But if you go to Paris and spend your time, like most scholars do, instead of going to the Eiffel Tower and all of this stuff, going to the Rodin museum, Rodin is the spelling. You'll never see the real world. And you know the thinker and he's buck naked. All right, But naked, no clothes on. This is Aristotle's God sitting like this on the throne. And you know what? He's thinking about himself. He can only think about himself because he's got to think about something that is immutable and perfect and that and so you have a God who can't know what's or think about us. Real serious problems here. Now, what I do, and that's all I'm going to do, is refer you to one of my books in my book, The Concept of God. I have a chapter on all of the major attributes of God, and there is a chapter, I think, at Chapter seven on Divine Immutability. And I suggest that we have to really distinguish two senses of divine immutability. And that's all I'm going to say here, because that's another course and that's another book. And if you want to know more about Divine Immutability, look it up in that really great non Pulitzer Prize winning book. Okay. We must distinguish two different senses of divine immutability, because obviously the God of the Bible is a God who knows us, who loves us, who cares about us. Okay. And so we got to we got to beware of Aristotle's trap there. All right, Now we got to move on, if I may, when I want to talk about Aristotle, psychology.


[00:35:53] And that will get us to his view of human nature and the soul and so on. Aristotle wrote books on so many different subjects. He was the first guy to write a book about psychology. And here's the Greek title, Perry Sook, about the soul. Okay. This book is known more often under its Latin title, and the reason why the Latin title becomes so prominent with Aristotle is because of the attention he received in the in the Middle Ages from people like Thomas Aquinas. The Latin title would be de Anima Suke is the Greek word for soul. Animal Anima is the Latin word for soul. But now, can any of you think of the most obvious English words that come from the Latin word anima? And let's pay attention to some of these English words. Give me some examples of English derivatives from the Latin here. Animal. Okay. Animation and some variations of that animation animated. Okay. Any others? Now, what are these words? These English words suggest might be a good fundamental sense to to animal. Well, I'll tell you to make a long story short. Animal is life for Aristotle. The soul and life are synonyms. Okay. The first thing you got to understand about Aristotle's view of the soul is it's totally different than Plato's view. What was the soul for Plato? It was an invisible, immaterial substance that existed within the human body, but which could exist outside of the human body and which was really immortal. Now, when Aristotle talked about the soul, he was not talking about an immaterial, invisible substance that inhabits the human body and can exist independent of the human body. What Aristotle meant by soul was life the essence. And he also went on to say that the soul is the form of the human body.


[00:38:47] Let's write that sentence on the board. In the case of a human being, the soul is the form of the body. In other words, a human being is a composition of two things. For Aristotle, the body which is matter, plus the soul, which is the form. Okay. Now, as in the case of anything that is matter plus form, what happens when the form is lost? Answer You have a new kind of substance. So when a human body loses its soul, which means that human being dies. What you have left is no longer a human being. What you have left is a cadaver, a corpse, or the remains of a corpse. When you go to a funeral to put this in Aristotelian language, this is not an Susie in the coffin. This is the remnant of what an Susie was. This is. And Susie's. And I hope none of you have loved ones who are named and Susie. All right? I just. This is. This is the remnant of the person that you knew. Which then still raises the question, is there life after death? Now I want you to turn in your text to the right page here. Page 108 Aristotle taught that there are three levels of soul, three levels of life. The three levels of soul are, first of all, the vegetative soul. And I draw, you know, a long little box like this. Now, what is the vegetative soul? Well, in the case of plants, it's the only level of soul that plants possess. The vegetative soul has to do basically with these three functions, has to do with nutrition, the acquisition of nourishment. Okay. Plants do that. It also has to do with growth and it has to do with reproduction.


[00:41:24] Tomato plants do all three of those things, but so do animals and so do human beings. So that means that, you know, here we have plants that possess the vegetative soul. Then you come to the second soul, which we could call the animal soul or the sensitive soul. Aristotle believes that animals possess both a vegetative soul and a sensitive soul. And what are the basic functions of the sensitive soul? And where by sensitive, we don't mean that they're compassionate or feeling all right. We mean having to do with bodily sensations, feeling, desire, locomotion, No parentheses here. All right. When I teach a philosopher, I part of me says, Get yourself into the system and try to empathize with it. But I can't with Aristotle, you know. Let me repeat that. If you ever become a professor of philosophy or professor of ideas, you've got to try and get yourself into the system. But it's hard to do with this stuff because I see so many problems. And I'm afraid that you're sitting there saying, this is the biggest bunch of garbage I've ever heard in my life, and Nash is teaching it. Yeah, I am teaching it, but that doesn't mean I believe it. All right. So the sensitive soul. And then there is the rational soul. And that has to do with thinking. And that would be only true of human beings. Okay. Now, when I was working on my master's degree at Brown University many, many years ago, I held down for jobs. Some seminary students don't hold any jobs. Maybe they hold one. I had four. All right. What were they? First of all, I was an orderly in a hospital. Ambulance. Orderly. We went around picking up dead bodies after accidents.


[00:43:45] Then I sold fuller brushes. Then I was teaching at Barrington College, and I was pastoring a church for jobs. I had to remember which uniform I had to have on. You know, once I got up in the pulpit to preach and I had my orderly uniform on, that was and I said, Boy, that looks classic preacher. I remember one day on several occasions in the ambulance business, we would have to take people with serious mental problems to the state mental hospital in the state of Rhode Island. That's a bad place to go into. Now, I understand these places have changed quite a bit in the sense you've turned a lot of these people loose on the streets. But I remember going through this mental hospital carrying some person on a stretcher, and you'd see people sitting in the corner of a cell, a padded cell, and they had lost their mind, no thinking ability. They had lost the rational soul. Okay. You couldn't speak to these people. You couldn't get a response from them. They just sat around, you know, in a really a pathetic, pathetic sight. Now, what do we call a person? I mean, what what what would be a common way of referring to someone? And I hope I'm not referring to anybody that is in your family. You know, Alzheimer's will do this to you as well. And I'm not speaking pejoratively of anyone. I'm just trying to make a point. What do we what what how do we commonly refer to someone who has lost their mind? He's become an animal. Become an animal because you bring in the food, you know, and but they have lost that distinctive feature of human. Parentheses. Is that person still a human being? Of course it is.


[00:45:50] Of course it is. But I'm just saying that it would be quite natural to describe someone like that as saying, well, they, you know, they become an animal. They've lost the faculty of reason. Now, also, from my orderly days, I remember on a couple of occasions there would be people who were, I guess in this particular case, suffering from serious brain damage or brain tumors. One particular patient had no. No ability to respond to sensation. Doctors would stick needles in them. They would talk to them. They would pinch them. No, no response at all. What do we say of someone like that? He's become a vegetable. Now, I'm not encouraging that kind of talk. I'm simply saying that kind of talk is a part of our vocabulary. True story about Archie Sproul. He told me this when R.C. Sprawl was working through some college, or I don't know where he was in his education. He was a an apprentice for an A for an electrician. And one day his boss got a call to a mental hospital in whatever city this was, and Archie went with him and they were I don't know, there was some shorting on the wires or something else, and it came to be 4:00, and the big boss said, okay, ah, see you finish up and I'll see you tomorrow. So he left. Okay. And Archie is still behind bars and his and his mental institution. So at 5:00, Archie finished and he knocked on the door and the big burly guard came over and he said, Yes. Archie says, I'm ready to get out. And the guard says, I hear that every day, man. Everybody wants to get on it. No, Archie said, You don't understand. I'm not mentally retarded or anything else.


[00:47:50] They're I just want to get out. I'm the electrician's apprentice. And the guards said, that's a new one guy. Now, I could may I could add to this story myself. You know, it is funny. Sproles spent that night in the mental hospital. They never let him out. So for those of you who are, it won't work. All right? You can't just say I'm a I'm a electrician's apprentice. I understand some of the terrorists we have in bars in New York City have tried that already. Now, another angle at this. And don't misunderstand me, all right? I can't. I you know, when people people doze off and then they come back to consciousness and they've missed the transition. But listen, in a very real sense. A newborn baby. Is a manifestation of just that. This is for about three, you know, couple of days maybe. Manifestation of just a vegetative soul. What is that new baby? Newborn baby interested in doing? It's interested in nutrition. Boy, give me that milk. Only the kid doesn't speak. All right. And reproduction. Oh, and I forgot something else here. Excretion of wastes. All right. That's also the vegetative soul. And kids do that, too, don't they? The excretion of waste. Will they better, or they're going to be in trouble. Okay, But then after maybe one or two days, maybe a few hours, the baby becomes conscious of its environment. It begins to sense. Okay. And then after a couple of more days, the eyes begin to open up and focus. And after a few more days, the baby can recognize its parents, maybe through smell or through sight or whatever else. And of course, as we know, sometimes the development of a baby is arrested by some tragic circumstance or other so that it maybe doesn't develop very far beyond the stage.


[00:50:14] But then the great joy, the great joy of being a parent or grandparent is watching the mind develop, the reason develop. And, you know, even then sometimes this is arrested by various things. So I'm just offering this. As you know, I'm I'm doing my best here to help you understand that Aristotle's notion of three souls isn't really that crazy. It can be made intelligible.