Demiurge (Greek δημιουργός Demiourgos " craftsmen " ) is in philosophical and theological teachings of the ancient world, particularly in Platonism, the name of the Creator God. The Creator God as architect of the sensible cosmos is called " artisan " because it creates like one on a fixed schedule from existing material something molded. Representatives of Gnosticism, a religious flow of the Roman Empire, and heretical Christians took up the idea and suggested it to. While Plato and Platonism in the Demiurge an exalted being who only wants the best possible and brings forth, it appears in the Gnostic tradition as questionable figure who has created an imperfect, characterized by diverse evils world.
In modern religious studies and the history of philosophy texts as a demiurge creator god called, which is not identical with the supreme principle, but of lower rank. In religious or philosophical systems in which a demiurge exists as creator of the world, there is a supreme deity who is not directly involved in the creation of the world.
Etymology and History vorplatonische term
The word Demiourgos consists of the components Demio ( from the adjective Demios "the people concerning ", " public" is derived ) and - ( ϝ ) orgós or - ( ϝ ) Ergos ( " producer ", " moving ", derived from ( ϝ ) ergon " work" ). Meant was originally a " matters of public importance Functioning ", a specialized professional who produces expertly to the public products or services. In this sense, Homer already counted besides craftsmen, doctors and heralds to the Demiurge. Later, artists and some state officials were called Demiurge.
In archaic Attica the Demiurge were allegedly in the 6th century BC, apart from the peasants and the nobles one of the three citizens stands, but this breakdown of citizenship shall not delivered as reliable. Until the classic era were referred mainly artisans as demiurge. But when it came to increasing devaluation craft professions in the course of time, the name usually used disparagingly bánausos ( " philistine ") was common to the craftsmen, while still being called members of respected professions demiurge.
The pre-Socratics was the concept of the Demiurge unknown. The use of the term " demiurge " of the Creator God was apparently introduced not only by Plato, but had already begun earlier. Plato's contemporary Xenophon, Socrates already have compared the Creator God with a wise and friendly foreman ( Demiourgos ).
Plato emphasized the primacy of the spirit over matter. He taught that material things are spiritual origin. Do not be results of a random event, but produced by a divine entity and sorted reasonable. The sensible ephemeral objects and conditions are images of timeless archetypes, the Platonic ideas.
In his dialogue Timaeus, Plato describes in mythical language the relationship between intellectual ( intelligible ) prototypes and material images. To this end, he introduces the Demiurge, a creator God who holds the world in a rational way to plan creates as an artist or craftsman, and sets up. Plato points out that the Demiurge was difficult to find and can not be proclaimed to all people; he considers it difficult to communicate something about the creator and his work. Since it represents the Demiurge as a living being, he writes to him to have feelings; he indicates, the creator was pleased by his work.
According to the description in the Timaeus there before creation only the random motion of matter in the chaos that follows the "necessity". In this chaos the Demiurge intervenes. He does not create out of nothing, but rearranges the existing matter by having them formed by shape and number and the things lends measure. So he brings forth from chaos the world, which he designed for spherical cosmos, the well-ordered universe. It makes for harmony among the constituents of the universe and established the mathematical laws following best possible world order. His creative activity he performs by " hinblickt " on the ideas and the originally formless matter conveys something of the nature of mental models. This, however, he accomplishes not directly, but he needed for the soul of the world, he creates as a mediating agency between the purely spiritual world of ideas and the physical world body. The soul of the world has the task to revive the Cosmos and steer. A little later arisen product of the creator god is the eternal part of every individual human soul. Finally, the Demiurge withdraws, although the creation is not yet completed; the rest of creation activity, including the creation of ephemeral soul and part of the human body, he leaves the subordinate gods who are his creatures.
In the myth of the Timaeus creation processes are described as giving the impression that it was an act of creation meant that took place at a certain time. Thus, the sensible world would not have existed before and would be attributable to the resulting time-dependent things. Since this notion in the context of Platonism leads to considerable philosophical difficulties were the most ancient Platonists believe Plato have described the creation of the world only for the purpose of illustrating how a temporal process, in reality he meant a supra-temporal causality and kept the cosmos forever. According to this interpretation, which probably Plato's view correctly reflects the creation neither a beginning has an end.
Epoch of the Platonic Academy
In the period between the death of Plato ( 348/347 BC) and the demise of his School, the Platonic Academy, in the early 1st century BC seems the concept of God the Creator in the Platonists played a minor role to have. Plato's pupils Speusippus said, the Demiurge is identical with the pure intellect ( Nous, world reason ). This interpretation probably corresponds to Plato's conception. On the other view was Aristotle, a student of Plato, who later turned away from Platonism. He presented arguments against the adoption of a creation. Aristotle was convinced that the hypothesis of a resultant, the area of growth and decay belonging cosmos is incompatible with the notion of an immutable good Demiurge. Both assumptions are wrong; the world was forever and a demiurge does not exist.
In the last phase of the history of the Academy, the epoch of skepticism ( " academic skepticism " ), the provability of philosophical and theological statements was generally denied. Even the idea of creation of the world and the divine world were the steering academic skeptics to the unprovable hypotheses against which they put forward weighty objections and which confers on them as mere conjecture no cognitive value.
In Mittelplatonismus, which arrived after the end of the academy, set up a new confrontation with the creation of a topic. In the context of Plato interpretation the Mittelplatoniker arranged the Demiurge described in the Timaeus a different way in the classification of ontological entities of Platonism. Some of them, including Atticus, identified him with the supreme deity, which they equated with the idea of the good, while others considered him a minor instance. The identification of the Demiurge with the highest deity was problematic when the creation was seen as an activity or effort (a type of "work") (such as Plato's metaphor of the craftsman - demiurge would suggest), because this was considered unworthy of the supreme being. Philosophical opponent of Platonism as the Epicureans attacked the idea of a wimpy located around the world deity.
Was dominant in the Mittelplatonikern the view that the Demiurge is the Nous, but whether the nous with the highest deity is identical with or subordinate to it, went over opinions differ. Often the tasks of the Demiurge been divided among several instances. Some Mittelplatoniker were of the opinion that I'm a demiurgic function from the Nous emerged and subordinate soul of the world. Another problem was the question of whether the Demiurge of the archetypal world of ideas ( paradigm ) is preceded in the hierarchical order of being or follows or is equal in rank ordered. In addition to these classification issues, the philosopher Plato also discussed the importance of finding the Demiurge is not only the creator, but also Father of the universe.
The Mittelplatoniker Numenius of Apamea difference between the first, the supreme god, let him be separated from the material cosmos completely and therefore could not be the creator of the world, and the second God. The first God he believed to be the Demiurge of being ( the source of the immutable spiritual world ), the second for the Demiurge of becoming ( the creator of the physical world in terms of Timaeus ). The first God is the good in itself, and the second, subordinate thereto is good by participation in goodness. The demiurge of becoming bring through consideration of the first of God forth the idea of the cosmos and customize according to this idea, the All, by restructure the formless matter. In contrast to the first God he was moved. The demiurge of becoming generating, arrange and steer the sensible world; if you look at it from the point of this function, it appears as a third God. How Numenios also took Harpocration of Argos in three gods or three aspects of the Godhead. He distinguished between the uppermost non- working God and the Demiurge, whom he regarded as a double or divided into two aspects.
Strongly influenced by Platonism was the Jewish thinker Philo of Alexandria, who took the concept of the Demiurge and introduced him to the Jewish doctrine of creation. Also in the hermetic literature comes before the Demiurge; he will have been equated with the Nous, with Zeus or the sun.
The famous physician Galen held the Demiurge for the originator of the body, the nature of which he had optimally defined in detail. However, the Demiurge is not like the God of the Jewish religion omnipotent, but he was able to create only the best possible under the circumstances; on necessities of nature he could not defy.
In Neo-Platonism is the absolutely transcendent and undifferentiated One, the supreme deity; from him comes the nous forth from the Nous, the world soul which animates the sensible cosmos. Between the One who separated from everything else highest entity, and the material world is possible in the Platonic world view is no direct relationship. Only indirectly, through the mediation of the nous and the world soul, is the one the cause of the existence of the visible cosmos. Therefore, the supreme deity can not be identical to the welter creative demiurge. For the role of the creator of the world are only the nous and the world soul into consideration.
Plotinus, the founder of Neo-Platonism, assigns the role of demiurge both the nous and the world soul. In his doctrine of the Nous appears in terms of its creative productivity as a demiurge, that is, as the instance that contains the forms ( the Platonic ideas) in and she gives him the under range. Plotinus demiurge not with wool and consideration, but acts instantaneously so that the world he created order could not be better if it were the result of deliberation. The Neoplatonist Porphyry, a pupil of Plotinus, is opposed to the view of the editing Demiurge as a craftsman an existing matter; he says, the creator create the world including the matter of itself by its mere existence, he acted like a seed of the cosmos. Porphyry assumes a very close connection between Nous and world soul, the soul of the world is for him the unfolded Nous; therefore both are - understood as a unit - the Demiurge. In contrast, Iamblichus and Proclus turn, separate the nous and the world soul sharp and assign it to the world soul no demiurgic function.
In the late Neoplatonism, the world model is more hierarchical differentiated; the Neoplatonists slide between the One and the lowermost portion of the spiritual world, a number of intermediate steps a. This results in some models between the One and the Demiurge is a considerable distance. For thinkers of the late antique Neoplatonic School of Athens ( Syrianos, Proclus ) receives the Demiurge in the spiritual world a low rank because his level of that of a far away. In the mythological terminology Proclus ' Demiurge corresponds to the god Zeus. Superior to him, his mother Rhea and his father Kronos. These three gods form a triad ( the triad), the lowest of the three gods triads of the spiritual world in Proclus. The range of this triad characterized Proclus as "intellectual" ( noerós ); it is the most highly developed triad and thus the unit farthest.
A tendency towards differentiation is also reflected in the fact that the Demiurge receives an internal structure in some models. As early as the 3rd century divides Amelio Gentilianos, a pupil of Plotinus, nous, which he equates with the Demiurge, into three areas or distinguishes three aspects in it: the first, second and third intellect. The first intellect he characterized as wanting, the second as by thinking erschaffend, the third as physically generating. All three considered Amelio as demiurgic, which he ascribes to the Creator quality primarily the third. Also Theodoros of Asine that assigns the Demiurge one ontologically independent area between the Intellektebene and the soul level, sums it up as Trinity.
In the 5th century teaches the Neoplatonist Hierocles of Alexandria, the Demiurge, whom he also called, and Zeus with the Pythagorean Tetraktys ( tetrad, tetrad ) equates, was the creator of the entire visible and invisible world order. Immediately below the demiurge he assigns a the immortal gods that the Demiurge owe their existence, in his view, but are not made in time.
Ancient Christian United Church
In the Greek translation of the Tanakh, the Septuagint, the term Demiurge is as well as the associated verb dēmiourgeín avoided, but in the New Testament, the Creator is referred to in Hebrews as the Demiurge. Early church fathers such as Justin Martyr and Clement of Alexandria approve key aspects of the Platonic concept; they see God in the good Demiurge, the Creator has ranked as the chaos of matter.
Not only God the Father, but Jesus Christ appears early in the 2nd century in the patristic literature as the Demiurge. In the 3rd century, says the well-known church writer Origen, God the Father had instructed his son to create the world; the term " demiurge " should be applied to both.
Also the strong Platonic influence church father Eusebius of Caesarea called both God the Father and Christ as the Demiurge, but uses this term mainly for the Son ( the Logos ). He holds the logo for the cosmic intermediary between the remote, absolutely transcendent, unknowable God the Father and the material universe. The logos looks at the world of ideas of the Father, to reflect them in things and to mold the matter and order. The famous theologian Basil of Caesarea deals with the concept of creation presented in the Timaeus activity of the Demiurge and turning against its neo-Platonic interpretation.
Gnosis and Marcionism
In the Roman Empire gnostic oriented writers draw on the idea of a God acting as demiurge, but interpret them radically. They reject the belief of the Platonist and the Christian United Church, that the Demiurge is only good and only wants the best possible and create. In their opinion, the defectiveness of the afflicted with evils creation forces the conclusion that the Creator is itself characteristically imperfect. Therefore, they distinguish between two gods: an ethically questionable, ignorant or even malicious demiurge as Creator and Lord of the existing bad world and an absolutely good God, who appears Viewed from Earth as an alien. The strange God had not willed the creation and was not involved in it. Therefore, he was not responsible for the conditions in the world. Nevertheless, that he intervenes as Savior. With this model, the Gnostics answer the problem of theodicy.
Akin to Gnostic thought in some ways and in some cases even more radical is the theology of the Marcionism, the doctrine which justified the extra- ecclesiastical ( heretical ) Christian Marcion in the 2nd century. Marcion found many followers and established a religious community. He identified the Demiurge with the God of the Old Testament, of having serious character deficiency. The Demiurge is the creator and ruler of the world, the author of the Old Testament law, but not the father of Christ. Christ had a different, absolutely good God announced by the Demiurge knew nothing. This God may be perfect and merciful, go from him the grace and salvation from.
Plotinus and Christian writers opposed the doctrine of the Demiurge bad emphatically.
In modern times, the philosopher John Stuart Mill in his 1874 posthumously published essay Theism ( " theism " ) discussed the possibility that the world was created by a skilled, but not omnipotent demiurge. Here, Mill restricted his considerations to what one can say about natural theology in his view. According to the hypothesis of the Demiurge did not create the world out of nothing, but by already existing materials combined it of a given texture. The two major elements of the universe, matter and force, he has not produced, but found it. Although he was able to bring forth the world, but he faced many obstacles that made him achieve his purposes only partially. These obstacles can view either by Mills lie in the predetermined characteristics of the material or the limitations of the capabilities of the Demiurge. Mill doubts that you - as the ancient Platonists - can claim the skill (skill ) of the Demiurge had " reached the utmost limit of perfection that had with which to work with the material used by him and the forces that it was compatible ".