What’s the Matter?

Deceitful is the title, for I know not what the problem is or isn’t, neither am I asking a question. ‘Matter’ is the subject or better yet, substance is the subject for discussion. My thoughts are inspired by a frail attempt to understand Aristotle’s statement on ‘substance.’ “The substance of anything is that in it which gives it continuous and independent existence, which makes it more than a passing quality or quantity  or other characteristic, that may exist in some thing else but never alone. Substance is then what is, the permanent core or substratum underlying the fleeting qualities. There must, however, be more to substance than purely material stuff or matter. (thus the title, ‘what’s the matter’) For matter by itself, though permanent, is indefinite, inactive, characterless, chaotic, with merely a capacity latent in it to become something more, given the necessary, urging force. In everything we see or know there is something besides matter, that lends to it properties, dimensions, contour, makes it really be.”

H..m..m…, let me think on that a little. There is a core called substance. There is matter which is chaotic but with a hidden capacity to be more. That something more can only come forth by an unseen urging force. Once the hidden becomes, it has properties that makes it who or what it is.  (I think.) Let me take the Scriptures and relate this to man which of course where Aristotle was headed.

Psalm 8:4  What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

This is a verse that identifies the ‘urging force’ necessary to make matter a being. God, is the one in this verse that is mindful of man and of course, prophetically, it is looking forward to Christ, God, as the Son of Man.

David marveled at God’s as his “urging force.”

Psalm 139:13  For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.

139:14  I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

139:15  My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

139:16  Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

Substance, according to Aristotle is that permanent core. Matter is material stuff but chaotic but with a hidden capacity of being. (We could argue about the ‘chaos,’ for David does not indicate a state of chaos. He says ‘unperfect’ (not complete, but wonderfully made).

This imperfect state has the capacity for a wonderful change into a specific meaningful being. Each conceived human has an infinite value and capacity to be more than matter or substance.

In order for this change to take place in man, an infinite being must cause the change. Therefore, we have the great statement of Jesus. He simply says, “I am.” He first said that to Abram when He promised the miraculous birth of Isaac. Of course, a great change took place in Abram and Sarai for this to happen which looks forward to the miraculous birth of God’s Son. So a miraculous birth is what the hidden capacity in matter is. John is the book that continually identifies Christ as the “I am, the infinite being with perfect character or perfection or completion—the only ultimate being. Thus, man, though imperfect or incomplete can become like the infinite being, ‘I am’ by faith in that one being. Heb 11:1  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  (hidden capacity of being). John said very simply, “Ye must be born again.”