Al-Ghazali and Ibn Rush (Averroes) on Creation and the Divine Attributes

In Jeanine Diller & Asa Kasher (eds.), Models of God and Alternative Ultimate Realities. Springer. pp. 141-156 (2013)
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Al-Ghazali (1058-1111) was concerned that early Islamic philosophers were leaning too heavily and uncritically on Aristotelian and Neoplatonic ideas in developing their models of God and His relation to the world. He argued that their views were not only irreligious, but philosophically problematic, and he defended an alternative view aimed at staying closer to the Qur’an and the beliefs of the ordinary Muslim. Ibn Rushd (1126-1198) responded to al-Ghazali’s critique and developed a sophisticated Aristotelian view. The present chapter explores their views in light of a problem facing any philosophical model of God in Islam or classical theism more generally, the problem of conceiving of God’s nature and relation to the world in a way that places an appropriate distance between God and humans. On the one hand, we want a notion of God that is not overly anthropomorphic, or that does not make him to be too much like us. On the other hand, we want to be able to say something positive and substantive about God. And we want to do this while preserving the harmony of reason and revelation, of philosophy and religion, as much as possible.
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