This is the Platonic tradition and has been used, especially by the great Cappadocian fathers of the Church, to describe the ultimate aim of human existence.

A third doctrine is a doctrine of the soul falling down from an eternal participation in the essential or Spiritual world, being on earth in a body, trying to get rid of the bondage to the body, coming to an elevation above the material world, in steps and degrees. This again was an element which was used not only by all Christian mystics, but also by the official Church Fathers to a large extent.

The fourth point in which the Platonic tradition was important was the idea of PROVIDENCE. This again seems to you to be a Christian idea, but it was formulated already in the later period of Plato’s writings, and was a tremendous attempt of the ancient world to overcome the anxiety of fate and death. And in the later ancient world the anxiety of ‘Tyche’ and Heimarmene’ (the goddesses) of accident and necessity – of fate, as we would call it today – was the most important thing. And in the greatest hymn of triumph in the New Testament, in Romans 8, we hear ” that it is the function of the Christ to overcome the demonic forces of fate.

That Plato anticipated this situation is one of his greatest contributions; that providence, coming from the highest God, gives us the courage to escape the vicissitudes of fate, is something we should never forget when we speak of the “bad pagans.” They produced this concept by their own philosophizing, by their own philosophizing in terms of an ultimate concern.

Fifthly, in Aristotle another element is added to the Platonic tradition: the Divine is a form without matter, perfect in itself and – what is the profoundest idea in Aristotle – this highest form, called God, is moving the world, not causally, not by pushing it from outside, but by driving everything finite towards Him in terms of love. Aristotle developed, in spite of his seeming merely scientific attitude towards reality, one of the greatest systems of love, where he says that God, the highest form – or pure actuality, as he calls it–moves everything by being loved by everything.