The religion of Christ was born amongst Judaism and Hellenism. The monotheism inherited from Judaism whilst embracing the international language of Greek positioned Christianity in a unique position.
The reconciliation of profane science with theology would flavor Christian history. The emphasis on science / cosmology by Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle would bring about a synthesis made possible by a Christian tradition devoted to God.
While the history of Christian doctrine is impossible to summarize quickly, there are a few things medieval Christian theologians liked, and disliked about Greek science / cosmology.
The medieval theologian found certain aspects of Plato's philosophy very attractive. For instance:
- The attribution of creation and ordering of the cosmos to divine providence,
- alongside the hierarchical order according to inner dignity and perfection, lent Platonism to an easy assimilation into medieval Christianity.
- The ordered connections of creation was determined by the order in which they have been received by God's wisdom.
- The sight of the sky at night was a source of religious emotion. Religious sentiment presents itself in the study of the cosmos, as is present in Ptolemy's epigram:
Mortal though I be, yea ephemeral, if but a moment I
gaze up to the night's starry domain of heaven, Then
no longer on earth I stand; I touch the Creator, And
my lively spirit drinketh immortality.
The ancient Greeks were not perfect though. Medieval theologians did not like:
- For, no matter how gifted the eminent scholars of antiquity were, they nevertheless had had no share in the light of revelation.
- Pagan philosophers who criticised creation, Providence, and free will on the basis of the negative aspects of the prevailing cosmology.
- World was made from a pre-existent matter.
- Theological errors in the Greek world picture.