Models Of The Trinity

As I noted above, the basic intuition underlying all traditional accounts of the Trinity is that the divine essence is somehow shareable. On the face of it, this would seem to favour those theories that allow that the divine essence is a universal. I shall argue that this is the right response, and that the reasons generally offered by those Western theologians who want to deny that the divine essence is a universal have more to do with their eccentric or at least distinctive theories of...

Sameness Without Identity And The Problem Of Material Constitution

The point of departure for our solution is Aristotle's notion of accidental sameness''. Elsewhere, we have proposed (for the sake of argument, at any rate) that the phenomenon of material constitution be understood in terms of accidental sameness.8 What we here propose is that the unity of the divine Persons also be understood in terms of this relation (or more accurately, in terms of the genus of which it is a species namely, numerical sameness without identity9). In this section, therefore,...

Events And The Trinity

There is one Jane, but she was present many times over in the chorus line. At one point in our lives, many discrete maximal episodes in her life were co-present. These episodes were discrete in that along Jane's own personal timeline, they did not overlap (they were strictly successive). These episodes were maximal in that any point during each included one event in Jane's life of which every other event occurring at that point in Jane's life was part, and at any point we could say, for a...

Sameness Without Identity And The Problem Of The Trinity

If we accept the Aristotelian solution to the problem of material constitution, then, as we have seen, the familiar particulars ofexperience must be conceived of as hylomorphic compounds that is, as matter-form structures related to other things sharing their matter by the relation of accidental sameness. The relevance of this Aristotelian solution to the problem of the Trinity is perhaps already clear. For like the familiar particulars of experience, the Persons of the Trinity can also be...

Jesus Self Designation The Son of Man and the Recognition of His Divinity

Apart from the divine identity of Jesus as the Son there could not be a Trinity at least not in the traditional Christian sense. The concept of Trinity expresses the idea that the three Persons that make it up are fully divine, fully God God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Theologians, philosophers, and apologists have debated and will continue to debate whether or not Jesus was divine and in what manner he related and or relates to God. The historical exegete is left to...

I

Fig. 1.1 Leftow's dilemma for Trinity monotheism Plantingian Arianism. But if there is in fact only one way to be divine, then there are two alternatives. One is that only the Trinity is God, and God is composed of non-divine persons. The other is that the sum of all divine persons is somehow not divine. To accept this last claim would be to give up Trinity monotheism altogether.4 How should the Trinity monotheist respond to this dilemma Starting with the first disjunction, he will clearly want...

Unity of Divine Will

Although not itself a metaphysical thesis, Affective Monotheism presupposes Intellectual Monotheism. This is the thesis that the divine persons are not properly called gods because they are not distinct enough from each other. As it stands, that characterization is rather vague, but one version of it would be the thesis that the three persons necessarily agree. In this way we arrive at the thesis of the Unity of Divine Will. A further reason for believing in the Unity of the Divine Will is that...

Some Consequences Of Divine Thisnessless

I shall now argue that divine thisnessless implies that the divine persons are quasi-individuals not individuals and that this permits divine fission. First, I claim that nothing lacking in thisness is an individual unless it derives its individuality from something with thisness. The primordial God does not have such derived individuality. So the primordial God is not an individual but what I shall call a quasi-individual. I further claim that quasi-individuals can survive fission. Here I...

Social Trinitarianism

Are there brighter prospects for a viable social trinitarianism Brian Leftow has distinguished three forms of social trinitarianism on oflEr Trinity monotheism, group mind monotheism and functional monotheism. To consider these in reverse order, functional monotheism appeals to the harmonious, interrelated functioning of the divine persons as the basis for viewing them as one God. For example, Richard Swinburne considers God to be a logically indivisible, collective substance composed of three...

Two Models of the Trinity

A commonplace of the history of doctrine has it that the East (following the Cappadocian Fathers) and the West (following Augustine) adopt radically divergent accounts of the Trinity, though it is less commonly agreed just what the differences between the accounts are. For example, it is often held in the textbooks that the Eastern view somehow 'starts from' the persons, whereas the Western view somehow 'starts from' the essence.1 As Lewis Ayres has powerfully argued, it is decidedly unclear...

Timetravel Paradoxes

The killing my earlier self'' paradox is the most disturbing intuitively. This paradox applies to Jane can Jane as rightmost turn and kill Jane on her left, before next-left Jane made it to the time machine to re-emerge and take her rightmost place A no'' answer seems untenable. Surely it's physically possible for Jane to pick up a knife on the way to her rightmost station, turn toward the next person in line, etc. But if yes, then there is a physically possible world in which Jane arrives at a...

Affective Monotheism

The God of a quite unmoderated Social Trinitarianism is an It, not a He or a She. But why does it sound strange to refer to God as It I submit that the religious attitude expressed in acts of worship requires for its object a personal being. A preliminary characterization of this attitudes would be that of unconditional submission to the divine will 'Islam' leading to a kind of trust and love which it would not be proper to have in a mere human person. If Extreme Social Trinitarianism were...

Anti Social Trinitarianism

Is Thomistic anti social trinitarianism viable Thomas's doctrine of the Trinity is doubtless inconsistent with his doctrine of divine simplicity. Intuitively, it seems obvious that a being that is absolutely without composition and transcends all distinctions cannot have real relations subsisting within it, much less be three distinct persons. More specifically, Aquinas's contention that each of the three persons has the same divine essence entails, given divine simplicity, that each person...

Logos Christology

The stage for both the later trinitarian controversy and the christological controversies, in which the doctrines of the Trinity and Incarnation were forged and given creedal form, was set by the early Greek Apologists of the second century, such as Justin Martyr, Tatian, Theophilus and Athenagoras. Connecting the divine Word Logos of the prologue of John's Gospel Jn 1 1 5 with the divine Logos Reason as it played a role in the system of the Hellenistic Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria c....

Introduction

One of the most noteworthy developments in contemporary philosophy of religion has been the ingress of Christian philosophers into areas normally considered the province of systematic theologians. In particular, many Christian philosophers have taken up a share of the task of formulating and defending coherent statements of Christian doctrine. In the next three chapters we shall examine briefly a few of the most important peculiarly Christian doctrines which have attracted philosophical...

Arianism

In 319 an Alexandrian presbyter named Arius began to propagate his doctrine that the Son was not ofthe same substance with the Father, but was rather created by the Father before the beginning of the world. This marked the beginning of the great trinitarian controversy, which lasted through the end of the century and gave us the Nicene and Constantinopolitan Creeds. Although Alexandrian theologians like Origen, in contrast to Tertullian, had argued that the begetting of the Logos from the...

Three Persons in One Being On Attempts to Show that the Doctrine of the Trinity is Self Contradictory

Enemies of the Church have frequently contended that two of its central doctrines are not only false but violate various elementary logical principles. These two doctrines are, of course, the doctrine of the Incarnation of the Word and the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. I shall investigate the contention that the doctrine of the Trinity is logically self-contradictory. I shall proceed as follows. I shall try to imagine a way of stating the doctrine of the Trinity that has the following feature...

Modalism

The Logos-doctrine of the Greek Apologists was taken up into Western theology by Irenaeus, who identifies God's Word with the Son and his Wisdom with the Holy Spirit Against Heresies 4.20.3 cf. 2.30.9 . During the following century a quite different conception of the divine personages emerged in contrast to the Logos doctrine. Noetus, Praxeus and Sabellius espoused a unitarian view of God, variously called modalism, monarchianism, or Sabellianism, according to which the Son and Spirit are not...

Divine Fission A New Way of Moderating Social Trinitarianism

The topic of this paper is a way of speculating about the Trinity in which we start with a heterodox Social Trinitarianism and then moderate it to ensure that various desiderata are satisfied. We could think of this as the synthetic approach understanding God as a unity formed out of three divine persons. This may be contrasted with the analytic approach in which we start with the one God and discover the three persons in God. St Augustine's Psychological Trinitarianism is an example of that...