Ibn Rushd God-World Relationship and Continuous CreationJune 27, 2021
Although it is clear that there is a causal relationship between the necessary being and the contingent beings, the problem of how this relationship takes place, or rather how to reconcile this with the principle of the absolute Oneness of God, has troubled theologians and philosophers a lot.
In his Tafsîru Maba’dettabi’a, Ibn Rushd evaluates the thinkers who comment on this problem in three groups: those who completely contradict each other and those who are in between. According to him, ehlü’l-kumûn and ehlü’l-ibda’ ve’l-ihtirâ’ are located at the two extremes. According to the theory of kümûn, everything is in everything or is intertwined (kullü thing’ fî kulli thing’); Becoming (al-kevn) is the coming out of things, and the function of the agent consists only of taking things from each other (ihrâc) and separating them (appeal). According to Ibn Rushd, the active cause in the theory of cumun, which is based on the thesis that nothing comes from “nothing”/”absence”, is a mover (muharrik) rather than a creator: The second view, which is the antithesis of the cumun theory, is based on the theory of Islamic theologians. and the theory of “creation out of nothing” (ibdâ’, ihtirâ’) advocated by Christian theologians. According to this, the universe was created by Allah from nothing and afterwards, without any possibility or first principle. Ibn Rushd considers the theory of emanation defended by Fârâbî and İbn Sînâ as an approach between these two interpretations in the state of thesis and antithesis. (Ibn Rushd, 1980a: 294; 1948: III/1497 et al.)
To put it briefly, the understanding that God, who is one in all respects, created this multitude directly, according to the principle of “only one interest out of one” adopted by the Sudurian philosophers, is incompatible with the “principle of tawhid”. In addition, the idea of ”post-creation” brings with it some other paradoxical questions, whether God was passive (inactive) before creating the world. Based on such reasons, Fârâbî and Avicenna wanted to interpret the relationship between the unchanging and the changing, the absolute and necessary and the many and contingent beings, in a hierarchical order called the theory of sudûr or emanation.
According to Ibn Rushd, who clearly stated that he did not adopt this theory, Fârâbî and Avicenna’s inclination towards this theory, which is inaccurate and contains logical contradictions, stemmed from the misunderstanding of these philosophers’ “only one interest out of one” principle accepted by Aristotle. What Aristotle wants to convey with this expression is this: The existence of all beings one by one in both the superlunar and sublunar realms is ensured by the causal relationship between them. Objects that come into existence thanks to this relationship constitute the “world as a whole” in this way. The “liaison” that enables them to exist one by one and to form the world by forming a whole in this way is made by an agent, whose existence is not dependent on any other, but is the First Agent existing by its essence. In that case, the First Agent is, in a way, the cause of the unity in the world and, in another, the cause of the multiplicity in it. In other words, the world as a whole is the work of the First Agent, that is, it emerged from him. (Ibn Rushd, 1980a: 303-304)
According to Ibn Rushd, the debate about whether the world is eternal or created later (hadith) arises from naming and giving different meanings to the same term. The philosopher speaks of three different classes of beings, two of which are in opposition to each other and one between them: (a) The Necessary Existent whose Existence is from himself, that is, God. Theologians and philosophers are in agreement that he is eternal. (b) There is an agreement between the theologians and the philosophers about the particular things that are created from and through something and are related to time, and that these are also created later (muhdes, hadith). (c) Among the eternal and later created beings is the “world as a whole”. With this position, the universe was not created from something and time. That is, it resembles the existent that was created later in terms of being created by an agent, and resembles the existent in the sense that it is not related to time and is not something else. According to Ibn Rush, the whole discussion stems from this two-way similarity. (Ibn Rushd, 1992: 85-87) However, the world does not have all the features of either the pre-existing or the post-existing. Therefore, the world can be considered neither truly pre-eternal nor truly post-created.
Ibn Rushd tries to reveal the paradoxical structure of this important problem that compels the human mind with the following questions: (1) Is the eternity of the universe possible or not? (2) Is the afterlife of the world possible or not? (3) Even though its eternity is not considered possible, is its laterness possible? (4) When the afterlife of the world is accepted, is it possible for it to be the first act of Allah or not? According to him, it is almost impossible for the human mind to accept any of these options without contradiction. Therefore, although the last word on this issue should be left to revelation, this issue can be thought about and various interpretations can be put forward.
Discussions about the eternity and the afterlife of the world