escape the difficulty of imagining a production without use of preexisting material. Basilides (flourished 125) and Valentinus (died 160), the representatives of this view, were influenced also by Hindu philosophy, anti their dualism is almost indistinguishable from pantheism. A similar new has been held in modern times by John Stuart Mill and apparently by Frederick W. Robertson.
Dualism seeks to show how the One becomes the many, how the Absolute gives birth to the relative, how the Good can consist with evil. The u[lh of Plato seems to have meant nothing but empty space, whose not-being, or merely negative existence, prevented the full realization of the divine ideas. Aristotle regarded the u[lh as a more positive cause of imperfection ? it was like the hard material, which hampers the sculptor in expressing his thought. The real problem for both Plato and Aristotle was to explain the passage from pure spiritual existence to that which is phenomenal and imperfect, from the absolute and unlimited to that which exists in space and time. Finiteness, instead of being created, was regarded as having eternal existence and as limiting all divine manifestations. The u[lh , from being a mere abstraction, became either a negative or a positive source of evil. The Alexandrian Jews, under the influence of Hellenic culture, sought to make this dualism explain the (doctrine of creation.
Basilides and Valentinus, however, were also under the influence of a pantheistic philosophy brought in from time remote East ? the philosophy of Buddhism, which taught that the original Source of all was a nameless Being, devoid of all qualities, and so, indistinguishable from Nothing. From this Being which is Not-Being all existing things proceed. Aristotle and Hegel similarly taught that pure Being = Nothing. But inasmuch as the object of the Alexandrian philosophers was to show how something could be originated, they were obliged to conceive of the primitive Nothing as capable of such originating. They, moreover, in the absence of any conception of absolute creation, were compelled to conceive of a material, which could be fashioned. Hence the Void, the Abyss, is made to take the place of matter. If it be said that they did not conceive of the Void or the Abyss as substance, we reply that they gave it just as substantial existence as they gave to the first Cause of things, which, in spite of their negative descriptions of it, involved Will and Design and although they do not attribute to this secondary substance a positive influence for evil, they notwithstanding see in it the unconscious hinderer of all good.
Principal Tulloch, in Encyclopedia Brit., 10:701 ? ?In the Alexandrian Gnosis the stream of being in its ever outward flow at length comes in
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