Moses, Plato and Aristotle on the Origin of the World

Maimonides disagrees with Plato and Aristotle regarding the origin of the world. He speaks of the view of Moses in contrast to the other two.

Moses: the world was created ex nihilo. Plato: the world was formed de novo from a material substrate. Aristotle: the world is eternal.

In Kabbalistic terminology, these three opinions correspond to the mindsets of the three lower worlds, Creation, Formation, Action.

The mindset of Creation links to the Divine consciousness of the World of Emanation. So does Maimonides understand the Torah's world view.

Maimonides argues that the mindset of Formation (Plato) though not the Torah truth is not heretical, whereas that of Action (Aristotle) is.

A curtain of "anger" separates the worlds of Formation and Action. This is the anger aroused by those who believe the world to be eternal.

In the World of Action God's presence is hidden. Only nature and its physical laws appear to exist. But this is where God desires to reside.

It is our purpose to bring the consciousness of Creation, and of Divine Emanation, above (but connected to) Creation, into Action.

This we do by our good actions, in accordance with the directives of the Torah and its commandments, emulating the ways of God.

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