It is important to realise that the Christian church of the first millennium saw Greek philosophical concepts not a being a challenge to their religion but as being complementary to it. Plato did not, of course, know of the Jewish God or the Jewish Messiah but he did recognise the existence of a creator. Confusingly, Plato went further by believing that the world was fashioned by a kind of supernatural artisan craftsman - the “Demiurge” that was not as one with the God figure. Yes, it’s confusing, isn’t it? It’s worth remembering also that the Greek philosophers were thinking this way at the same time as the Greeks in general, as well as the Romans, were polytheistic and, in the case of the Romans, even deifying their emperors.
The Greek philosophers had views on how the world was and how it was kept in balance through forces such as Plato’s “Cosmic Harmony”. If you find it hard to understand how the Christian church could reconcile this with their monotheistic culture think of it this way: God was the Creator, the ideas of the Greek philosophers were to do with what he created. I would suggest that modern Christians have to make similar accommodations to reconcile a God-made universre with the Theory of Evolution. “Who created Evolution? God did”. Of course, fundamentalists who believe the literal story of the seven day creation and a world that is 4500 years old manage by dismissing the idea of Evolution altogether which at least has the virtue of being nice and tidy!
There is something comforting about the concept of “Cosmic Harmony”, isn’t there? The Greeks were also the first culture (as far as I know) to see the mathematics that they codified as being part of God’s plan. They saw a world in harmony and they observed it in both mathematics and music. You think this is an alien idea too? Well think about the appearances in nature of the Fibonacci Sequence (Google it if you don’t know what I’m talking about) and the geometrical symmetry of snowflakes.
Plato’s Microcosm and Macrocosm sounds awfully complex but it isn’t. Having said that, I am going to rely on a third party account of it from http://science.jrank.org/pages/10209/Microcosm-Macrocosm-Plato.html.
“Plato argued that human beings and the universe are both composed of an elemental body and a rational soul, and that just as the human body derives from the universe's body, the human soul must derive from the universe's soul. The universe is, therefore, not only an orderly system but an intelligent organism as well. Plato expounded this theme at greater length in the Timaeus,, where he explained how the structure of the human being parallels that of the universe through certain correspondences in body and soul. Just as the body of the universe is spherical, and its soul is composed of orbits along which the planets wander, so too the soul of the human being is composed of orbits along which its emotions rove, and it inhabits the head, which is spherical. The rest of the human body exists merely to serve the head.
Unlike the macrocosm, which contains all things and is immortal, and hence has no need of sensory or digestive organs or limbs for locomotion, the microcosm is only a part of the whole, and its existence is threatened by the surrounding elements, so that it needs such additional parts to perceive and avoid danger and to replenish the nutrients it loses. Furthermore, the external disturbances that threaten the microcosm cause the orbits of its soul to be disrupted, throwing its emotions into disarray. Yet when the disordered microcosm observes the heavens, it sees there the orderly motions of the planets following the orbits of the macrocosmic soul. With the aid of philosophical study, it becomes aware of the correspondence between itself and its great counterpart. Having attained this insight, the microcosm realizes that just as the universe employs reason to govern the planets, it too should employ reason to govern its emotions. In this way the microcosm overcomes its inner discord and prepares its soul for a return to the heavens from which it came.”