on Stoic physics/cosmology

from The Cambridge Companion to the Stoics, article by Michael J. White:

"Another illustration of Stoic accommodation of ontological monism to more conventional ways of thinking and speaking about reality is found in one feature of the Stoic doctrine of cosmic cycles. For a monist such as Spinoza, the identity of god and nature is axiomatic. For orthodox Stoics, the doctrine of cosmic cycles allows them to 'qualify' this identity to a degree. During the phase of conflagration or ekpurosis within a cosmic cycle, god may be regarded as completely existing 'in himself', so to speak. As a passage from Origen, quoted previously, puts it, 'the god of the Stoics has the whole of substance (ten holen ousian) as its controlling principle, whenever there is the conflagration'...This 'god-phase' of the cosmic cycle imparts a quasi-transcendence to god and allows the Stoics more naturally to speak of a deity as the creator of the world order - as the 'creative fire that proceeds systematically to the creation of the cosmos encompassing all the seminal principles (spermatikous logous)...' During the remainder of the world cycle, however, god is immanent in the cosmos as its soul or rational, controlling principle...Thus, the temporal phases of the world cycle permit the orthodox Stoics to maintain their monistic commitment to the unity and cohesion of what exists by identifying god and cosmos, while allotting to god a phase where he is manifested in quasi-transcendental perfection" (p. 137-8)
Written on November 4, 2007