Creation: A Comparative Study between Avicenna's and Aquinas' Positions
In this study, I compared Avicenna's position concerning the nature of creative action and the beginning of the universe to that of Aquinas. Before comparing their positions on these two issues, first I discussed whether their theories can be examined according to the same criteria, and I showed that they can be. Secondly, I discussed whether they share a similar conception of God, to which one can relate the similarity, or the difference, between their positions regarding the nature of creative action and the beginning of the universe. I argued that Aquinas and Avicenna agree on essentials concerning human knowledge and talk about God. They also have similar conceptions of divine simplicity, necessity, immutability, eternity, and knowledge. Contrary to what is commonly accepted, their conceptions of divine creative action are not fundamentally different. They do argue for different positions concerning the beginning of the universe. While Avicenna argues that the universe must have always existed, Aquinas argues that neither the sempiternity nor the posteriority of the existence of the universe can be established on philosophical grounds. Although they argue for different positions, none of these two squarely contradicts their common conception of God.
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