The Berean Expositor
Volume 27 - Page 171 of 212
Index | Zoom
Wisdom; Human and Divine.
Being a comparison of the groping after the truth of the ancient
philosophers with the truth as it is revealed in Scripture,
in order that the believer may the better appreciate the Word of God.
#7.  Anaximines: His conception of the "first principle"
approaches the Scriptural "Spirit", but fails to reach it.
pp. 8 - 11
As the theory of Thales was rejected by Anaximander, so Anaximander's theory was
rejected by Anaximines (born B.C.588). He rejected the water of Thales as being too
determinate, and the infinite substance of Anaximander as being too indeterminate, and
assumed air to be the arche, or ground of all things. This was rather in the nature of a
compromise between the two. He conceived the principle of the universe to be "the
unlimited, all-embracing, ever-moving air" from which by rarefaction (fire) and
condensation (water, earth, etc.) everything else is formed.
To the student of Chemistry, this attempt of Anaximines will be seen to contain more
than a wild guess at the truth. Many of the solids and liquids with which we are familiar
contain the gaseous elements Oxygen and Nitrogen, which are the principal constituents
of the air we breathe; and both these gases can be liquefied and solidified. The idea that
air in rarefaction causes fire contains an element of truth, for we now know that no
combustion is possible without oxygen.
If the modern chemist finds some food for thought in Anaximines' choice of air as the
primal substance, the student of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures is equally impressed.
We have already turned back to Gen. 1: when considering the theory of Thales and the
theory of his successor. We do so again for the third time.
Following the description of chaos, we read in Gen. 1: 2: "And the Spirit of God
moved upon the face of the waters."
The word "Spirit" here is the Hebrew ruach, which occurs in the following passages:--
"The breath of life" (Gen. 6: 17).
"God made a wind to pass over the earth" (Gen. 8: 1).
"The blast of Thy nostrils" (Exod. 15: 8).
"O remember that my life is wind" (Job 7: 7).
"By His Spirit He hath garnished the heavens" (Job 26: 13).
"All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils" (Job 27: 3).
These examples are representative of the use of ruach throughout the O.T. The N.T.
equivalent is pneuma, and its usage is similar.