Explain the way Plato’s concept of the Form of Good might influence the way Christians understand God
Plato said that the knowledge of the Good is the highest knowledge a human is capable of. A human being struggles to see past the illusion of this world because they are ruled by their senses. Only the person who investigates and questions learns the truth behind this illusion. Plato believed that most things have a Form, however some do not, such as evil. The Forms he believed that some were greater than others. Ideal forms have something in common, this is that they all have a presence of Good in them, this is why Plato believed Good is the most important Form or ‘The Form or the Forms’.
Plato began trying to understand life with reasoning and he came to and understanding of a higher being, Christians would call this higher being God. Christians might see the Form of Good as an understanding of God as both are absolute and eternal. Plato’s Form of the Good existed in all eternity; there was no time when they did not exist. There is no variation between them either. The Christian God is also absolute and eternal, it always existed. It is also absolute as God exists in one form- it is unchanging. Both Form of the Good and God are absolute perfections, which are the very best thing possible. Both of the concepts have a quality of being morally absolute and unchanging. The form of the Good is always there and the morality will always stay the same way forever. This is similar to the Christian concept of God.
Another reason as to why Christians might link their understanding of God to Plato’s Forms is about duty. Plato thought that humans were to seek knowledge and that the absolute knowledge came with the highest form- the form of the Good. So for Plato people needed to strive to learn the form of the Good and act upon it, knowing what actions are the right ones. Christian’s God has a similar element-people need to do their duty on doing what is right and good, and that knowledge comes from God. Also between the two is about highest reality. Plato’s forms and all particulars are ultimately dependent on one thing- the Form of the Good. Also by knowing the Form of the Good gives the knowledge of all other forms. As for God, to understand him is to have all knowledge possible.
However a difference between the two could be that while the form of the good does not interact with humans at all, Christian God interacts with humans and is somewhat involved with humanity. Taking the assumption that what is written in the Bible is true, God interacted a lot with humans, teaching them morality and showing them wrong from right and even good for bad. An example of this is the Ten Commandments; these are almost teachings from God. Another difference between Plato’s Form of Good and God is in the qualities they poss. The form of the good is an idea, which is present in the Realm of the Forms on top of the pyramid of the Forms and has no real qualities to it whereas Christian God is not entirely an idea as such, as he supposedly has a lot of omni qualities. One being omnipotent, God is an all-powerful being. This however does not occur for Plato’s Form of Good.
In conclusion, Platos Form of Goods have many things which can be linked in the Christian understanding of God as his ideas bring reasoning into Christians believes of God. However, there are differences which makes Platos Form of Good quite dissimilar from the understanding of God.