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Aristotle, His Idea of a Prime Mover and Its Links To Christianity

Updated on January 28, 2011

This essay will debate about how many similarities there are between the different ideas of creation from Aristotle and Christianity. The reason for the existence of everything is, according to Aristotle, a universal might called “Prime Mover”. It is the final cause of everything existing which means that it was the first movement. In a metaphorical way you can say that the Prime Mover was the first domino in the history of everything. It was the first effect and is the reason why we are here. Christianity has the opinion that God is the creator of the universe. Christians see him as the highest of all beings and believe that he created the world in six days by just creating the most important things like the sun or the sea.


A lot of philosophers would say that they are equal in many ways. Firstly they create both a world full of purpose.Aristotle believed that we would live in a world where everything has a reason to be there. For example a bookhas the purpose or final cause to be read by humans so that they learn something and get informations out of it.

The Prime Mover is the final cause of everything and so we live in a teleological world. Christians belief that Godis an intelligent designer whose concerned with the purpose of things. For example he created the moon and sun sothat we have day and night which means that it is a teleological concept,too. Another argument is that they are both immaterial.

The Christian story of creation is about the force of will. God only commands through his word whatshall exist. For example he said “Let there be light” and everything enlightened. The Prime Mover is also a highermight and can not be compared with something that exists on earth. So they are both not working in a physical way.

One other argument which shows that they have both the same characteristics is that they created everything out of nothing. Christians hold the opinion that God created the whole universe just from his own will which is called“Creatio ex nihilo”. Followers of Aristotle believe also that nothing existed before the Prime Mover came becausehe was the first thing which started the chain of causes.

Important Differences


But there are also problems with this statement. There are some points which could proof that the Prime Moverand god are not the same. First of all it may be true that God is normally known as an immaterial thing but the Biblecontains passages where God becomes material.

For example, in the New Testament, God becomes man in theperson of Jesus which is known as incarnation. Jesus may be not exactly human but he shows a lot of characteristicswhich are similar to humans. He wanders around the earth and he is also described as a normal man who grows,feels pain and so on.

This is in drastic contrast to Aristotle's concept as this is clearly not showing any big signs of human abilities. Another problem is that the Prime Mover does not show any signs of thinking about the earth. He is just a transcendental might which simply is there and created everything without considering how humanity shall act andso on.

The Christian God cares about humanity and build up a system which is best for humans. The last argumentagainst this is that the Prime Mover created a universe without heaven and hell so its universe is a lot different from the universe of God.


In conclusion it can be said that God and the Prime Mover show a lot of similarities. They are both very powerful and created everything out of nothing. On the other side they can be seen as something different as each other because the Prime mover is not thinking about humanity. So I conclude that they are not the same.


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    • aries3296 profile image

      Jeannie Ramirez 

      10 years ago from South Florida, USA

      Well done! The debate continues. Very interesting analogy. Bravo!


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