Trinity and Divine Simplicity

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Re: Trinity and Divine Simplicity

#31

Post by Seraph » Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:11 pm

The thing that's always baffled me about divine simplicity is: how can a mind be simple? The human mind is increadibly complex (at least the part of the mind that is directly affected by brain chemical reactions), and it's imperfect as opposed to God's perfect mind. Something that is perfectly simple and irreducible seems like it should be something with no qualities whatsoever, like a spaceless singularity or something; not a powerful, loving, omniintelligent God. To say that these are all just essential part of God's nature and not separate attributes seems to just be a play on rhetoric that can't really have grounds in reality.
Last edited by Seraph on Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Trinity and Divine Simplicity

#32

Post by Jac3510 » Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:17 pm

Craig is right that the argument from contingency requires a simple God. His "weaker" version of simplicity, however, is not simplicity at all. He still has a composite God, and a composite God is necessarily contingent, even if He is only contingent on His parts for His existence. Put differently, if the parts did not exist in the manner in which they do in the configuration in which they exist relative to one another, God would not exist the way He does. So a composite God is necessarily contingent on quite a few things.

Craig doesn't like simplicity because he wants God to be temporal and because he is a molinist, neither of which are compatible with DS. All of this is based on a few very fundamental assumptions that he works from that I think are just false. For on thing, he thinks that God stands in real relations with creation. For another, he holds that universals actually exist, which is to say, he is a Platonist. Finally, he holds that God knows the future based on his actualizing this particular world as opposed to all others by the necessity of His nature--for on Craig's view, if there were a better world possible, then God, being good, would necessarily have to actualize that one instead of this one. So the very fact that we exist means this is the best possible world.

All of those assumptions, when taken together, absolutely make it impossible to accept DS. So rather than give up his assumptions, he gives up DS to keep his temporal, contingent God who is bound to create this way rather than that.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Trinity and Divine Simplicity

#33

Post by Seraph » Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:34 pm

It seems to me that a lot of those assumptions that WLC has about God are pretty biblical ideas about God. Perhaps the "truly" simple God as you describe it is not really compatible with the God described in the Bible. y:-?

Just pondering out loud here.
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Re: Trinity and Divine Simplicity

#34

Post by Jac3510 » Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:51 pm

Sure, that's his argument. And I think he's wrong, as does the vast majority of theologians throughout church history. Truth isn't decided by vote, of course, but when you tell Irenaeus, Ignatius, Origen, Athanasius, Tertullian, Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Lombard, Scotus, Calvin, and other such men that they ALL got the God of Scripture wrong, and that it wasn't until process philosophers of the past 100 years came along to correct us all (which, conveniently enough, they came along in response to Hegel, who in turn came out of an extremely liberal "Christianity"), then you ought to tread very carefully. And further, I can also say with absolute certainty that if you reject DS, then you cannot in principle affirm the Trinity in the way that the Church developed it. Again, perhaps the Church has always been wrong in her understanding of the Trinity. But I tend to think that they were more right than not.

As far as why people tend to think that the assumptions I just listed about God are biblical, I would only add that they don't get that idea from Scripture. In fact, all they are doing is wanting a God that is more like them. We anthropomorphize God, and we end up denying His nature in one way or another. The basic problem of Craig and others is that they want a God like themselves. But God is not like us. He is wholly other. We tend not to like that, so we make Him smaller. We define Him. We limit Him.

And the sad part is that if we are going to be logically consistent, then Craig's god is dependent upon and subjected to the God of classical theism, anyway (after all, go back to the argument from contingency--there must be a necessary being that is God, and necessary beings are necessarily simple; to the degree you add ANY composition you necessarily deny simplicity and require the existence of a more simple being still).

So take it all for what it is worth. I'll just say again what I've been saying all along. This is so important because this goes to the very notion of the nature of God. Perhaps I'm wrong and Craig is right, but if that is the case, you need to be honest about what you really saying. Because what you are saying i that for almost 1900 years, the Church has been uniformly wrong in the understanding of His nature.

Possible? Sure. But likely? I don't think so.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Trinity and Divine Simplicity

#35

Post by domokunrox » Thu Feb 20, 2014 10:58 pm

Oh Lord, Jac, seriously. Stop with the rediculous assertions. Rejecting DS is not rejecting Trinity doctrine. It is clear as day in scripture.
John 20:28-29 and in a host of other places.

More specifically, the DS doctrine as you've described it is much more entrenched in the debate of what kind of substance God is. KEY WORD BEING "IS". It is begging the question to simply assert what you are saying without supporting that Aristotlean/Thomism philosophy is applicable to Christian theology.

Also, it isn't the case that these objections are trying to get God to be more like them. We are made in His image and likeness, and it is He who defines us. He is a loving God who is personal and wants to have a relationship with his creation. Our relationship with Christ doesn't anthropomorphize God. It displays the perfection of His love and grace. He walked with us, talks with us, and cries with us. Ultimately, has taken part in suffering the ultimate penalty for us.

You said yourself that God is wholly another, and I wholly agree. Which is why Aristotlean/Thomism is not applicable in my view. This is not an age old question that anyone should be taking lightly, either.

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Re: Trinity and Divine Simplicity

#36

Post by Jac3510 » Fri Feb 21, 2014 7:49 am

You need to get a better grasp on your fallacies, dom.

Obviously, DS is dependent on Thomistic metaphysics. It is not "begging the question," however, not to provide a proof of those metaphysics in order to prove DS. That would be a fallacy of requiring an explanation for an explanation. On the contrary, if DS turns out to be the only coherent view of God (and in my view, it is), and if DS entails Thomistic metaphysics, then THAT proves Thomistic metaphysics.

So, its not begging the question.

On the other hand, it is much easier to demonstrate Thomistic metaphysics than to demonstrate DS. And I already said earlier that I would address that in some detail later. What you are doing, however, is objecting to DS on non-Thomistic grounds. And that's perfectly fine, but people need to understand that your objection, then, is not to DS proper so much as it is to Thomism in general. You are making a more basic critique, so don't pretend to be doing something you aren't.

As for the Trinity, to reject DS certainly is to reject the Trinity inosfar as the Trinity is a traditional doctrine. You seem to be confusing the acceptance of the biblical propositions about the Godhead (i.e., there is one God, the Father is God, the Son is God, the Spirit is God) as an acceptance of the Trinity. But that's not true at all. That's just accepting the biblical propositions. The Trinity is an explanationas to how all of those propositions can be held true at the same time. So some people hold all those propositions but insist on modalism. They reject the Trinity, even as they hold all the biblical propositions. Other people hold to a social Trinity, which is a rejection of the Trinity, even as they hold all the biblical propositions. And still other people are just irrational and insist that there are three gods who are in some mysterious way really just one God. They, too, reject the Trinity, even as they accept the biblical data.

Now the Trinity, BY DEFINITION, is built on DS. If you reject DS, you reject the Trinity. You are, at that point, perfectly free to come up with your own trinitarian doctrine--that is, your own explanation as to how the Father, Son, and Spirit are all God even as there is only one God. But your explanation will NOT be the explanation of the historical church, because, historically speaking, DS was THE means by which Trinitarian thought was governed. I emphasize, that doesn't make DS true. Those of us who are not Catholic do not make tradition theologically binding. But it does say that you do NOT get to say that you agree with the historical church on what the Trinity is even as you reject the foundational doctrine that governed it.

If you fail to understand that, you are just factually mistaken. This isn't a matter of debate. It's a matter of your need to research the subject.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Trinity and Divine Simplicity

#37

Post by jlay » Fri Feb 21, 2014 8:36 am

The over-anthropomorphization (is that a word) of God is exampled at it's worst in Greek mythology. Interesting how much was accomplished by the ancient philosophers considering they were marinated in this paganism. This forced them to seperate their theology and philosophy and thus never connect the two.

Isn't that ultimately what we want when debating these matters; to connect our theology to our philosophy? Sure, as Dom pointed out, we would all agree on this statement:
He is a loving God who is personal and wants to have a relationship with his creation. Our relationship with Christ doesn't anthropomorphize God. It displays the perfection of His love and grace. He walked with us, talks with us, and cries with us. Ultimately, has taken part in suffering the ultimate penalty for us.
But that doesn't reconcile the two. We are still left with our philospohy and theology compartmentalized.
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Re: Trinity and Divine Simplicity

#38

Post by B. W. » Fri Feb 21, 2014 3:34 pm

Jac3510 wrote:I'll provide more substantive replies to both Dom and BW later. For now, I'll only say this. It appears to me that Dom's post boils down to the old debate between what has been sometimes positions that have sometimes been called platonic realism, aristotelian/thomistic moderate realism, and nominalism. I assume the second. I won't presume which of the first or third Dom is presuming, but, again, I'll offer more detailed commentary later.

As for BW, the reason I didn't go private is because you are publically saying things that are factually untrue. For you then to call it sin for me to inform others here that you rae factually mistaken is beyond unfair on your part. It is a personal attack of the deepest sort and as a moderator you should be absolutely ashamed at such behavior. I am aghast that just because you find a position incomprehensible that you would accuse those of us who have taken literally yeras to study this material of sin when it is pointed out that you have some fundamental misunderstandings on the doctrine. Remember, it's not simply me who is telling you that you are mistaken. William Lane Craig plainly and explicitly insists that DS is NOT true, and I have quoted him in this very thread in which he also shows that you are wrong. As such, you are not only accusing me of sin, but him as well. The only sin in this thread so far comes from you--the sin of presumption and arrogance, not only of insisting on blatantly misrepresenting a position when you have been informed that what you are saying is factually incorrect but now when you say that merely being informed as much constitutes sin.

That's wrong, BW. You say you repented of "philosophic intellectualism" long ago. You would do well to repent now. And as you point out, since you have attacked and smeared me publically, this repentance ought to be public as well, so with that, I leave you to go back to work and I await your apology. Moreover, I am pubically asking other moderators to follow this discussion, too. We can certainly agree to disagree on doctrinal matters, especially matters as difficult as divine simplicity. It is, in fact, one of the hardest of all classical doctrines. What we absolutely do NOT have the right to do is accuse each other of sin over the disagreements. I realize BW is a fellow mod and can't be held accountable to the same level I can, but if he persists in such brazen character attacks, public censure of him (or me, for that matter--of anyone who engages in such hateful language) seems very appropriate from my perspective.
Well, I held off responding...

Again - I wasn't attacking DS only stating that it is not coherent. There is a big deference. Again, I was not attacking you and stated so several times that very thing as I know you well enough over the years how your perception often misreads things, and now again, you say I was what y:-?

I know myself well enough to know I wasn't attacking DS. Again, Mr. Morrison - your ego is something else. No matter how old we get, pride does goes before a fall.

If I am really so ignorant of DS, ask yourself, why you cannot make it coherent enough for low life's like myself to understand it?

Fact is, people do reason differently. No two people will see things quite the same way. To say all must agree with the Aristotelean/Thomism mode of reason and deduction in order to be correct is well, disingenuous. I mentioned that William Lane Craig considers himself a partial DS, or as Rick pointed out with the link a "weaker form of divine simplicity" well I was correct about that.

Mr Morrison you are a very polemic kind of person who attacks your friends as you would an enemy. If I wanted that, then I would simply read John Calvin's, Institutes of the Christian Religion and become angry and bitter after the first few chapters. You share a common trait with Mr Calvin - very polemic... Very sad to see that in you. Well, I am thankful to have learned that you cannot trusted to share ideas with before it was too late.

God Bless...
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Re: Trinity and Divine Simplicity

#39

Post by Jac3510 » Fri Feb 21, 2014 4:54 pm

Okay, so on to Dom's post from earlier, now that I have a few minutes:
domokunrox wrote:What Jac has specifically argued and his claims (backed by his research) in regards to DS and the nature of God's existence; is (predication) in short entirely dependent on the idea that God's "attributes" have no distinctions. Specifically, the ontological ones and "within" God (whatever he means by within).
Actually, you have this backwards. DS doesn't depend on that. DS concludes with that. The argument is:
  • 1. God is simple;
    2. That which is simple has no distinctions of any kinds;
    3. God has attributes (e.g., omnipotence, omniscience)
    4. Therefore, there is no real distinction of any kind between God's attributes.
I cannot emphasize this enough. Look at the underlined part in your comments above and compare that to what I am actually saying. My equation of the attributes is based on DS. My argument FOR DS is not based on my equation of the attributes.
So, let me go ahead and explain my position on why DS and why God's aseity, composition, attributes, "parts", etc are not a threat to your Christian biblical view if you reject it. I do infact insist that rejection of such a thing is necessary to remain coherent philosophically. Let me go ahead and get this out of the way.
And let me just say in passing here that there are two widely employed tactics for arguing against DS: arguing that it is philosophically incoherent and that it is inconsistent with Scripture. You are taking the first approach, and that is perfectly fine. But if you are going to do that, you have to really do it--you have to show that the doctrine is intrinsically and inescapably self-contradictory within the framework of its own assumptions.
Simply put, the claim that God's omniscience, omnipotence, etc etc implies or even suggests that it is (by identity) a "part" or some kind of "composition" or "set of attributes" that "make up" the personhood of God is sufficient to pretty much take this objection and chuck it in the garbage bin. First of all, nobody has ever really conceded that the Aristotelean/Thomism view on metaphysics/existence/substance is correct way of our understanding of reality. More specifically, the reality of God.
But if the Thomistic view on metaphysics is correct, then the objection stands and is very forceful. But more than that, you seem to have just confused yourself. Divine Simplicity is really a negative claim. It is the claim that God is not composed of parts. So the arguments from that are very simple. Anything that entails composition in God is to be rejected. Thus;
  • 1. DS claims that God is not a composite being;
    2. Some views make God a composite being;
    3. Therefore, some views are opposed to DS.
So the question is whether or not the attributes you mentioned here (omniscience, omnipotence, etc.) are identical with God or not. If they are not identical with Him, then He is a composite being. That's just definitional. In other words, if those attributes are not identical with God, then we would say that God is a being that has the following set of properties: x, y, z, etc.

On the other hand, if those attributes are identical with God, then He is not composite and you have simply affirmed DS and the first syllogism applies as to the relations between the "various" attributes.
Second, the basic tenets of orthodox Christianity (in regards to God's nature) can be held rationally without the presuppositions of full blown Aristotlean/Thomism philosophy. As much as one who believes and supports DS would like to deny up and down that Aquinas simply took Aristotle's philosophical structures regarding metaphysics and epistemology and inserted the Judeo Christian God into it and then stitched it up. Problem with this is that Aristotle and subsequently Thomas believed that God was examinable as if it was natural science and all that "parts", "attributes", etc are an analogous philosophy to theology.

This is incorrect.
You clearly haven't read any Thomists on any of this. May I recommend to you volume 2 of Frederick Copleston's History of Philosophy? I think you will find the reading there helpful. I certainly did.

Anyway, the point is that we all (proudly) recognize that Thomas borrowed heavily from Aristotle. Absolutely no one seeks to deny that. But that's hardly an objection to Thomas' metaphysics. You can't say he was wrong because he borrowed from Aristotle . . . that would be a genetic fallacy. Of course, you could try to do the work of showing why Aristotle was wrong, in which case, I wish you the best of luck, because he was not.

Second, I don't even know what the underlined part refers to. I've read both Aristotle and Thomas extensively and talked with a lot of Aristotelians and Thomists, and I've never heard ANYONE make that claim or anything remotely close to it. I'm just going to ask you to quote Aristotle and Aquinas here. Provide your source or I'll just write you off as making stuff up.

I can tell you, by the way, that "this is incorrect." You'll find no such quote from either of them.
If you believe that the Judeo Christian God is Perfect, and his "substance" is not analogous to any other "substances" then it should be clear as day that not only are Jac's specific objections false, but they are purposely misleading. DS being a complete hunk of FUD to boot as a result. I've already argued this with Jac a few times. I think his tactics on this subject are purposely predatory and philosophically bankrupt, and he thinks I don't know I am talking about (insisting that none of his claims are via illicit process).
So all you have here are a bunch of assertions . . . so let me just ask:

1. How is it "clear as day" that my "specific objections (which ones, by the way?) are false" if "God is Perfect, and his 'substance' is not analogous to any other 'substance'"? Please demonstrate.
2. How is it "clear as day" that my given the qualifiers in (1) my objections are "purposely misleading"? I note that not only do you need to show that my objections are misleading, but that they are purposefully so. Please demonstrate.
3. How is "DS being a complete hunk of FUD to boot as a result"? As a result of what? What is your argument?

The only assertion I'll agree with you on is that I think you don't know what you are talking about. My personal assessment of your philosophical acumen is very low. And that is not because you disagree with me, by the way. It is because you make assertions without backing them up and assign fallacies to statements incorrectly all while misrepresenting historical positions.
Now, I am not saying that everything Jac has said is completely wrong is every aspect. However, men of God who wanted to understand and find the differentiation between our Creator and His creation was done under another philosophical school. Their findings are far more rational while remaining in line biblically. There is no reason at all to feel DS is a threat to your beliefs. Feel free to ignore it is my suggestion.
Again, all I see are a bunch of assertions.

Who are these other men? What was this other school? What makes their findings more rational? What makes them more biblical?

All you've done, dom, is make assertions, and that without evidence. There is a beautiful Latin phrase that applies very well here:

quod gratis asseritur gratis negatur

I'll let you Google that if you don't already know.

---------------------------------

Now, in all this, I want to point out something I mentioned earlier. Notice that Dom consistently brings up Aristotelianism and Thomism and tells us that it is wrong. He never tells us why, of course. I want to say something about why it is right, but I am afraid I simply do not have the space here. It's a very long discussion. It is not necessarily confusing, but it takes more space than a post can handle. You'll get lost in the giant wall of text. So instead I am going to point you to two sources. First, you can read pp. 139-147 of my thesis, which is available at http://cmmorrison.files.wordpress.com/2 ... licity.pdf)

But even before that, I STRONGLY recommend reading the first 24 pages of The Unity of Philosophical Experience by Gilson, which can be found for free here.

Dom, do you in particular, I would appreciate it if you would read those two sources and tell me where they are mistaken--not in general assertions but if you would take specific comments and demonstrate where the mistake is.

Thank you
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Trinity and Divine Simplicity

#40

Post by Jac3510 » Fri Feb 21, 2014 5:21 pm

Now, as to BW's posts
B. W. wrote:Jac, first, I am not critiquing DS and next, I am not attacking it.
Of course you are. Look what you just wrote above:
You wrote:I wasn't attacking DS only stating that it is not coherent.
To state the doctrine is not coherent IS to attack it. If something is not coherent, it is not true. If it is incoherent, it is false. Unless you are using the word "attack" or "coherent" in some non-standard way . . . are you?
You present a common problem I have run across with those presenting DS: attack those that raise a simple question that DS is not coherent for the average Marry and Joe out there. That is what you are doing with me. I forgive you in advance as at one time I shared the same sin as you do regarding philosophic intellectualism and repented of that long ago.
I'm going to issue the same challenge to you that I issued to Dom. Provide quotes, because bluntly, I think you are making stuff up. Tell me one DS advocate who has "attacked those that raise a simple question that DS is not coherent for the average Marry and Joe out there."

I've certainly done no such thing with you, and I forgive you in advance for continuing to tell lies about me.
I considered going in privet with you on this but considering that you publicly falsely labeled me, I do not see how I could. You should have sent me a PM, instead. Put it simply Jac, you crossed the line often here on this forum by falsely labeling folks with the you-are-ignorant-label while you wear the Jac-is so-superior-label and continue to do so. I say this for you learning as none of us are without faults and we have need of improving. Your ego appears to me to be rather inflated and there is no easy way to say it other than that. There is danger associated scholastic thought and that is the superior attitude which borders upon theistic hubris. Please examine yourself on this matter and I pray you will deal with it. If not, it will come back and hurt you when you least expect it as that is the Lord’s way of chastising.
I think I already dealt with this before. It is telling that you didn't address the complaint. Shame on you. I'm PMing the mods and asking them to monitor this discussion, because your rhetoric and continued accusations of sinfulness are highly inappropriate. That's not mere arrogance. That's judgmental and, I would add, in direct violation of the board rules.
  • Within discussions, please be civil and courteous and do not resort to personal attacks. If you feel inappropriately attacked, please bring such cases privately to a moderator who can then intervene as necessary.
I'll add that the only reason I've responded to this publicly rather than privately is because you have made such an egregious public defamation. Accusing someone of sin is very low and you should be absolutely ASHAMED of yourself.
Now back to the subject:
Yes, with the personal attacks out of the way . . .
As for DS, yes God is simple in his oneness. We can agree with that about his essence. What you haven’t coherently explained is how can there be differences in relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and then no differences. That in particular is not what is clear with the DS model and why I mention that it is incoherent, not error. Big difference.
I don't think you are using "incoherent" correctly. You seem to be using it in a sense of "confusing," but there is a big difference in "confusing" and "incoherent."

Since you want to talk about all the DS advocate attacking people, let me quote from an actual DS scholar (and this is on the first page of my thesis, by the way!):

DS is "the strangest and hardest to understand" medieval doctrine and "one of the most difficult and perplexing tenets of classical theism." Eleonore Stump, “Simplicity,” in A Companion to Philosophy of Religion, ed. Philip Quinn and Charles Taliaferro (Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1997), 250.

It is hard to understand, BW. But since when does theology or philosophy being hard count against it? Election is hard. The Trinity is hard. Greek is hard. So what? That doesn't mean it is not true, and still less does it mean that we should allow people to base their theology on ideas that directly contradict it just because we haven't done the necessary work to understand it.
Are you familiar with the Eastern Orthodox view or just with the Western Scholastic view of theology? You have two schools of thought on the same issues, and both have their respective faults and solid biblical truths. Each of their solid biblical truths ‘are’ not enemies of each other. In a nutshell, the western tradition is so only black and white in its concepts to gain understanding. While the Eastern deals with connecting the dots, stepping back and looking at the entire picture to gain understanding. One just sees a few pigments of paint and that is all, the other steps back, seeing the whole picture and marvels.
I am familiar with both, and both schools adhere to DS, BW. Craig and Dom and people like that don't just disagree with the Western Scholastic View. They disagree with the Eastern Orthodox view, TOO. Go look up Gregory Palamas on divine simplicity. The great theological problem he dealt with was trying to reconcile his view of the distinction between the divine essence and energies with DS! So the EO people are on MY side, not on modern theologians'.
With DS, for me, simply remains incoherent in explaining how there can be no differences yet there be differences in relationship within the Godhead at the same time. That is where there needs to be clarity and a Divine Simplicity book for Dummies written as Rick suggested. So I ask you, how many times do you, jac, appeal to Thomasistic thought in explaining it and using it solely to buttress DS on?
I don't appeal to Thomistic thought to buttress DS. I appeal to Thomistic thought because it is right. And DS, as I've already shown you, precedes Thomism.

Anyway, I'm working on a "DS for Dummies" type book. The working title is actually "Divine Simplicity Made Simple." I have already given select portions to several people and have gotten good feedback so far. I hope to have it done in about a month or so. I'll let you know when it is done, and I would appreciate it if you took the time to read it and let me know if it clarifies things for you.
Many years ago, when being mentored to prepare a sermon, the Pastor asked me to explain my entire sermon to him in one or two sentences. I could not do it as I ended up rambling through my outline. The pastor said to me, you are not ready to preach next week. This went on for several weeks. Instead of getting mad and huffy, I learned from him.
Some things cannot be explained in one or two sentences. That's a nice idea, but it doesn't work for everything. I'm sorry, but sometimes theology is hard, BW. That's just the way it is. If people don't want to do the work of understanding theology, it's their problem, not anyone else's. Now, obviously, the theologian needs to be as clear and simple as possible. But if something is as simple as it can be, then it is up to you and me to do the work in understanding it.
After preparing another sermon for the church, he called me into his office. The pastor asked me the same question. I explained it in one sentence: A man was pushed off a subway platform and like that man, we all need redemption from the oncoming train.

The pastor looked at me and smiled, you are ready, you preach Sunday morning. I did and continue to do so. I was being tested and had to shed my intellectual hubris. My mentoring pastor was wise. Therefore, can you explain the difference in relationship within the Godhead while there is no difference - all in one or three sentences, in your own words?
I'm glad that you found a Proposition for your sermon. All sermons need a Proposition. But I bet you said an awful lot more than that one sentence in that sermon, didn't you? I bet there were people who thought the Proposition, by itself, was absurd and needed explaining, and I bet you spent awhile explaining what it meant and why it is true. Just the same with DS. I can give you a one sentence summary:

"In God, there is no composition of any kind, meaning that in God omnipotence is omniscience which is omnipresence and, in fact, God is omnipotence and He is omniscience, etc."

There, that's one sentence. Now, give me time to finish the book, and I'll explain in 100 pages of non-technical language what Thomas Aquinas was able to explain in 8 pages of very technical language. In the meantime, don't complain to me about it being too hard to understand it if you won't do the work of trying to understand it.

---------------------------

As to your second post . . .
B. W. wrote:Well, I held off responding...

Again - I wasn't attacking DS only stating that it is not coherent. There is a big deference. Again, I was not attacking you and stated so several times that very thing as I know you well enough over the years how your perception often misreads things, and now again, you say I was what y:-?
See my comments above. You are either using "coherent" or "attack" in a weird way or else you are just mistaken. And you most certainly DID attack me, no matter how many times you said you did not. When you falsely accuse someone of sin, you are attacking them

So once again, since you PUBLICLY accused me of sin, I am demanding that you either demonstrate that sin by quoting my own words or you PUBLICLY withdraw the attack.
I know myself well enough to know I wasn't attacking DS. Again, Mr. Morrison - your ego is something else. No matter how old we get, pride does goes before a fall.
More personal attacks . . .
If I am really so ignorant of DS, ask yourself, why you cannot make it coherent enough for low life's like myself to understand it?
I didn't call you a "low life," and that kind of sarcasm is unbecoming a moderator. It seems intended to make me look bad and amounts to another personal attack.

Shame on you.

As to the content of your question, I can't make you understand anything. When you decide to stop presuming and to start asking questions and start doing the research, you'll find that while the doctrine is difficult, you certainly CAN understand it. And perhaps the booklet I am working on will help you in that endeavor.
Fact is, people do reason differently. No two people will see things quite the same way. To say all must agree with the Aristotelean/Thomism mode of reason and deduction in order to be correct is well, disingenuous. I mentioned that William Lane Craig considers himself a partial DS, or as Rick pointed out with the link a "weaker form of divine simplicity" well I was correct about that.
And Craig is objectively wrong. Just because someone "thinks differently" doesn't make them right. Atheists who claim morality can be objective without God are incorrect, BW, and you know as much. The same is true here. Craig's problem is that he is an admitted Platonist. He is wrong about that, and that leads to false conclusion in his theology. And anyone who follows Craig is going to make the same mistake here, too.
Mr Morrison you are a very polemic kind of person who attacks your friends as you would an enemy. If I wanted that, then I would simply read John Calvin's, Institutes of the Christian Religion and become angry and bitter after the first few chapters. You share a common trait with Mr Calvin - very polemic... Very sad to see that in you. Well, I am thankful to have learned that you cannot trusted to share ideas with before it was too late.
Ah, couldn't resist one more personal attack, now could you?

Shame, shame, shame. I forgive you, but shame, shame, shame.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Trinity and Divine Simplicity

#41

Post by 1over137 » Fri Feb 21, 2014 11:15 pm

Hebrews 13:1 ESV / 43 helpful votes

Let brotherly love continue.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ESV / 31 helpful votes

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

Romans 12:10 ESV / 28 helpful votes

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

John 13:34 ESV / 28 helpful votes

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

John 15:13 ESV / 25 helpful votes

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

1 John 4:20 ESV / 21 helpful votes

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.

1 John 4:7 ESV / 19 helpful votes

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

1 John 3:18 ESV / 18 helpful votes

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

John 13:35 ESV / 15 helpful votes

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 ESV / 14 helpful votes

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;

1 John 3:11 ESV / 12 helpful votes

For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

1 Corinthians 16:14 ESV / 10 helpful votes

Let all that you do be done in love.

1 Thessalonians 4:9 ESV / 9 helpful votes

Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another,

1 John 4:12 ESV / 8 helpful votes

No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

1 John 3:16 ESV / 8 helpful votes

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

1 John 3:14 ESV / 8 helpful votes

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.

1 Peter 3:8 ESV / 8 helpful votes

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
-- Philippians 1:6

#foreverinmyheart

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Re: Trinity and Divine Simplicity

#42

Post by domokunrox » Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:01 pm

Jac3510 wrote:Actually, you have this backwards. DS doesn't depend on that. DS concludes with that. The argument is:
Stop right there. Read what I said again. "What Jac has specifically argued and his claims (backed by his research) in regards to DS"
So, no, I don't have it backwards. Stop trying to confuse me.
Jac3510 wrote:1. God is simple;
And what is "simple", Jac? What constitutes that? Is it "simple" by identity? Is simple a substance? Is this the only "simple" substance that exists?
We got problems, Jac.
Jac3510 wrote:2. That which is simple has no distinctions of any kinds;
What is a "distinction"? What constitutes that?
If I have a physical substance that is only made up of that single substance 100%, is that simple?
Jac3510 wrote:And exactly how is God applicable
3. God has attributes (e.g., omnipotence, omniscience)
So, by your definition, are God's attributes "parts"?
Jac3510 wrote:4. Therefore, there is no real distinction of any kind between God's attributes.
Here is the problem, Jac. You haven't clarified what kind of substance God IS. It is begging the question to assume that I have conceded what "simple" and "distinctions" are. Nevermind that 4 contradicts 3.
If you in fact did conclude that there is "no real" distinction between God's attributes (We don't ever know what that is, yet), then how are you even speaking in plurality? Attribute(s)
And I can't help by the fact that you said "no real". What does that mean? That needs to be explained, too.
Jac3510 wrote:I cannot emphasize this enough. Look at the underlined part in your comments above and compare that to what I am actually saying. My equation of the attributes is based on DS. My argument FOR DS is not based on my equation of the attributes.
And I cannot emphasize this enough that THESE 3 premises and the conclusion is a completely illicit process. Nothing in here is even coherent with itself. You need to get right down to the grit and explain how premises 1, 2, and 3 are in any coherent way axiomatic to conclude 4.
Jac3510 wrote:And let me just say in passing here that there are two widely employed tactics for arguing against DS: arguing that it is philosophically incoherent and that it is inconsistent with Scripture. You are taking the first approach, and that is perfectly fine. But if you are going to do that, you have to really do it--you have to show that the doctrine is intrinsically and inescapably self-contradictory within the framework of its own assumptions.
Well, I just did. Lets see if I can find more assumptions on your part that don't work philosophically. Lets chug along.
Jac3510 wrote:But if the Thomistic view on metaphysics is correct, then the objection stands and is very forceful. But more than that, you seem to have just confused yourself. Divine Simplicity is really a negative claim. It is the claim that God is not composed of parts. So the arguments from that are very simple. Anything that entails composition in God is to be rejected. Thus;
And what constitutes "PARTS", Jac? I cannot stress it enough that is it begging the question to assume that something is true, and I have not conceded it. We have a fundamentally and drastic worldview on "PARTS" and "COMPOSITION", and how it is applicable to the VERY SUBSTANCE IN QUESTION.
Jac3510 wrote:1. DS claims that God is not a composite being;
2. Some views make God a composite being;
My view isn't that God is a composite being; I don't even know what you mean by composite yet and I can already tell you that I don't agree. Thats how ridiculous 1 and 2 are.
Jac3510 wrote:So the question is whether or not the attributes you mentioned here (omniscience, omnipotence, etc.) are identical with God or not. If they are not identical with Him, then He is a composite being. That's just definitional. In other words, if those attributes are not identical with God, then we would say that God is a being that has the following set of properties: x, y, z, etc.
Well, first off. These "attributes" we are talking about. We don't even agree if they make something a "composition". Even less, how this even applies to the substance of God. Never mind anything else.
Jac3510 wrote:On the other hand, if those attributes are identical with God, then He is not composite and you have simply affirmed DS and the first syllogism applies as to the relations between the "various" attributes.
Ok, I am going to go ahead and write out your syllogism here.

God is omniscient
God is omnipotent
Omniscient is omnipotent

That right?

Let me go ahead and write a syllogism of my own

Jac is siting
Jac is reading
Siting is reading

That right?
Jac3510 wrote:You clearly haven't read any Thomists on any of this. May I recommend to you volume 2 of Frederick Copleston's History of Philosophy? I think you will find the reading there helpful. I certainly did.

Anyway, the point is that we all (proudly) recognize that Thomas borrowed heavily from Aristotle. Absolutely no one seeks to deny that. But that's hardly an objection to Thomas' metaphysics. You can't say he was wrong because he borrowed from Aristotle . . . that would be a genetic fallacy. Of course, you could try to do the work of showing why Aristotle was wrong, in which case, I wish you the best of luck, because he was not.
What my specific objections are about Aristotle is quite easy. We've seen the painting before. Aristotle is gesturing with his hand down saying "THIS is the true reality". We've had this conversation before, Jac. Aquinas had taken his philosophy and while it seemed like it was a good fit with Christianity at the time, it really wasn't. We figured that out once the scientific revolution went into full swing.
Jac3510 wrote:Second, I don't even know what the underlined part refers to. I've read both Aristotle and Thomas extensively and talked with a lot of Aristotelians and Thomists, and I've never heard ANYONE make that claim or anything remotely close to it. I'm just going to ask you to quote Aristotle and Aquinas here. Provide your source or I'll just write you off as making stuff up.

I can tell you, by the way, that "this is incorrect." You'll find no such quote from either of them.
What they believe about God is implicit by their philosophy. For example, plants, animals, and people have a differing gradation of "soul".
Jac3510 wrote:So all you have here are a bunch of assertions . . . so let me just ask:

1. How is it "clear as day" that my "specific objections (which ones, by the way?) are false" if "God is Perfect, and his 'substance' is not analogous to any other 'substance'"? Please demonstrate.
Specifically, your objections that pretty much run along the lines that "If it doesn't agree with DS, you can't rationally hold trinity doctrine", "If you don't agree with DS, you can't have objective morality because of the Eur Dilemma", and probably anything else along the lines of "If you don't agree with DS..."

Lastly, if there was any (contingent) substance that is analogous to perfect substance (God, eternal), thats a contradiction. It would be calling it something it IS NOT and CANNOT BE.
Jac3510 wrote:2. How is it "clear as day" that my given the qualifiers in (1) my objections are "purposely misleading"? I note that not only do you need to show that my objections are misleading, but that they are purposefully so. Please demonstrate.
It is misleading. How are you even advocating that the eur dilemma is a valid argument if you don't hold the DS position? That is purposely and predatorily misleading people. Think about that again for a few minutes. Then look at where you are typing it. Then look at who you are typing to around here. You can't be serious. At first I thought it was a joke, but then looking at it again this past month. You were serious, and I was shocked you would even make such an argument.
Jac3510 wrote:3. How is "DS being a complete hunk of FUD to boot as a result"? As a result of what? What is your argument?
Well, the way you present it, Jac. Its awful. Maybe DS is a good and rational doctrine after all. Maybe I actually do agree with it, but you didn't explain it right. Your presentation of it however is awful.
I'm giving you my feedback, and weather or not you want to take it is up to you. Honestly, I hope you take what I am saying and go back to the drawing board with it because I don't think we're very far apart at all. Its just a matter of definitional and coherency issues. Specifically, the illicit process I have pointed out.
Jac3510 wrote:The only assertion I'll agree with you on is that I think you don't know what you are talking about. My personal assessment of your philosophical acumen is very low. And that is not because you disagree with me, by the way. It is because you make assertions without backing them up and assign fallacies to statements incorrectly all while misrepresenting historical positions.
Well, my personal assessment of you is that you approach the subject too cocky. Its even more cocky then I get, and thats pretty bad. You say that I make assertions, and sure I do. Some of it is simply my take on it based on a few axioms that I really like to defend. But lets not pretend you're not making assertions, either.
Jac3510 wrote:Again, all I see are a bunch of assertions.

Who are these other men? What was this other school? What makes their findings more rational? What makes them more biblical?
Men who wanted to stop looking at their perceived reality and try to work backwards. What makes their findings more rational is that they stopped looking at the way our perceived reality was, and instead came up with some different ideas. They tried them out and see if they would work. They did work, and then it begin to make much more rational sense that the ideas are the 1st in order; Not the substances that Aristotle gestured down at.
Jac3510 wrote:All you've done, dom, is make assertions, and that without evidence. There is a beautiful Latin phrase that applies very well here:

quod gratis asseritur gratis negatur

I'll let you Google that if you don't already know.
No, I don't need to google it.
My response? Right back at ya, Jac.
Jac3510 wrote:Dom, do you in particular, I would appreciate it if you would read those two sources and tell me where they are mistaken--not in general assertions but if you would take specific comments and demonstrate where the mistake is.

Thank you
I'll give it a look

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Re: Trinity and Divine Simplicity

#43

Post by jlay » Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:22 am

God is omniscient
God is omnipotent
Omniscient is omnipotent

That right?

Let me go ahead and write a syllogism of my own

Jac is siting
Jac is reading
Siting is reading

That right?
Seems like an analytic response for an analogous example. When we say God is powerful, we aren't using the term in a univocal way or an equivocal way, but in an analogous way. Just as the bible says He measures the universe by the span of his hand. This doesn't mean God has a hand, or is some physically enormous being. We might say God is big, but I think we all know what we do and don't mean by that measure.

Also, your comment about science indicates that because there were flaws in Aquina's phyisics (which there were by the way) that there are equally flaws in his metaphysics. Do we really need to point out the fallacy here? It seems like a lot of your criticisms (like many) of DS are because you either refuse or simply don't recognize what DS is presenting.
So, by your definition, are God's attributes "parts"?
Again, this gets back to the previous point. When DS speaks of attirbutes we are speaking in a analogous way, and it is obvious that you are speaking in a univocal way.
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Re: Trinity and Divine Simplicity

#44

Post by Jac3510 » Sat Mar 01, 2014 11:28 am

domokunrox wrote:
Jac3510 wrote:Actually, you have this backwards. DS doesn't depend on that. DS concludes with that. The argument is:
Stop right there. Read what I said again. "What Jac has specifically argued and his claims (backed by his research) in regards to DS"
So, no, I don't have it backwards. Stop trying to confuse me.
I've seen people quote others out of context. It's funny to see people quote themselves out of context. :pound:

Here's what I was responding to:
You wrote:What Jac has specifically argued and his claims (backed by his research) in regards to DS and the nature of God's existence; is (predication) in short entirely dependent on the idea that God's "attributes" have no distinctions. Specifically, the ontological ones and "within" God (whatever he means by within).
Now, perhaps you phrased this wrong, but your sentence there says that my claims are "entirely dependent on the idea that God's "attributes" have no distinctions." That is what you wrote. And that is what I said was wrong, and it is wrong. My claims are not dependent on the idea that God's "attributes" have no distinctions. As I said already, you have it backwards. In fact, the idea that God's attributes have no distinctions is dependent on my claims and the nature of God's existence.

That's part of the problem with your whole attempt at critiquing my argument. You, like most anti-DS advocates, are simply ignoring the arguments for DS (which, at the end of the day, amounts to little more than begging the question). The less charitable interpretation of your attempt is that it is just an incoherent non-sequitur. Here are the two options in syllogistic form so that you and other readers can see this more clearly. On the charitable assumption, your argument is:
  • 1. DS entails God's attributes are all identical with one another;
    2. But God's attributes are not identical with one another (that is, they are distinct from one another);
    3. Therefore, DS is wrong
That's just a standard modus tollens. It's valid in this form. But the real problem is how you then go about defending (2). As a point of fact, I've never seen you or anybody else (not even WLC) offer a proper defense of (2). They just say it has to be the case, that it is just obvious. Some of the more sophisticated defenders (like Alvin Plantinga) say it must be true given a commitment to Platonism, and Platonism is can be conceived as supporting (2). But in the end, (2) never amounts to much more than an assertion. A better argument for (2) would be;
  • 1. Either God's attributes are identical with one another or they are not;
    2. DS entails God's attributes are all identical with one another;
    3. But DS is false;
    4. There is no warrant for claiming God's attributes are identical with one another other than DS;
    5. Therefore, there is no warrant for claiming that God's attributes are all identical with one another;
    6. Unwarranted claims should not be held true;
    7. Therefore, we should not claim that God's attributes are identical with one another;
    8. Therefore, we should claim that God's attributes are not identical with one another.
This would be a perfectly valid defense, but note that the falsity of DS is found as a premise. It should be clear when so phrased why you cannot logically appeal to the distinction of God's properties as a defeater of DS without begging the question. You need to show that DS is false on some other terms. As I said before, you can do so by attacking it's internal coherence. The other way to do so is by attacking it's consistency with Scripture. Frankly, you haven't done either of those in any of your arguments thus far.

The uncharitable way, by the way, to interpret you so far would be something along these lines:
  • 1. DS entails that there are no parts in God;
    2. If God's attributes are to be conceived of as parts, then DS is false;
    3. But God's attributes are not to be conceived of as parts;
    4. Therefore, DS is false.
Now, I'd rather not assume that you aren't making such an asinine claim as that. So I'm going with the more charitable interpretation. Of course, you could offer a totally different interpretation of your words, still, and that's fine, too.
Jac3510 wrote:1. God is simple;
And what is "simple", Jac? What constitutes that? Is it "simple" by identity? Is simple a substance? Is this the only "simple" substance that exists?
We got problems, Jac.
Have you really not read anything about DS?

"Simple" is just a positive way to state a negative attribute. When we say "God is simple," we are merely saying, "God is not composite." That is, "God is not composed of parts," and "parts" there is understood absolutely. God cannot be "broken up" and analyzed into more basic pieces. For instance, I can say this:

H = {X, Y, Z, etc}

Where "H" = "The Human Substance", {} = "The Set of Properties", "X" = "a rational mind," "Y = "bipedalism," "Z" = "binocular vision," etc. In theory, you could describe a human in this way by defining all the attributes that make a human a human. In good analytical philosophical language, you could identify all the essential properties, list them all together, and you would thereby have a complete description of "Human."

On this model, simplicity says you cannot say

G = {X, Y, Z}

Were X, Y, and Z = the essential properties of God (e.g., omniscience, omnibevolence, etc.). God is not composed of essential properties.

It should be clear, then, that "Is simple a substance" is a meaningless question. That would be like saying, "Is tall a substance?" Now, if you are trying to ask if God is a substance, then the answer is no. So Aquinas says,
  • The word substance signifies not only what exists of itself--for existence cannot of itself be a genus, as shown in the body of the article; but, it also signifies an essence that has the property of existing in this way--namely, of existing of itself; this existence, however, is not its essence. Thus it is clear that God is not in the genus of substance. (ST Ia.3.5.ad 1)
We can speak of God's "substance" in an analogous way. But God transcends every time of genus, even the genus of substance.

And yes, there are truly simple substances. Angels, for instance, are simple substances. They are not as simple as God, however, since being substances, their nature must be actualized, meaning that by nature their essence exists in potentiality to existence. They are, then, at least act/potency composites relative to their own existence. As such, what we ought to say is that some substances are more or less simple relative to others. Only God is absolutely simple.
Jac3510 wrote:2. That which is simple has no distinctions of any kinds;
What is a "distinction"? What constitutes that?
If I have a physical substance that is only made up of that single substance 100%, is that simple?
A distinction is anything that is not identical with the whole with which it is identified (it is precisely in this sense, by the way, that we affirm the simplicity of the soul, but that's another debate). In other words, if you can think of anything, any part, any aspect of any particular idea, then that thing, part, or aspect is a "distinction." Since I am not identical with my hand, we make a distinction between my body and my hand. Since I am not not identical with my thoughts, we make a distinction between my thoughts and me, and so on.

And no, a 100% single substance wold not be simple for the simple reason that it would be extended. Take a hunk of absolutely pure gold. There is nothing in this hunk of metal other than the element gold. It is a composite entity--it has internal distinctions--in multiple ways. First, it is extended. Since every individual gold atom is not identical with the entire lump, you could number every individual gold atom. You could distinguish them from the whole, such that the whole is composed of the collection of them all. You could also distinguish between this region and that region. Perhaps I could cut it into four quadrants, for instance. This hunk of gold would be composed of these four quadrants.

The point is that all bodies are necessarily extended, and therefore, no body, by necessity, can be considered simple, since all bodies (being extended) admit to internal distinctions.
Jac3510 wrote:And exactly how is God applicable
3. God has attributes (e.g., omnipotence, omniscience)
So, by your definition, are God's attributes "parts"?
Of course not. What kind of question is that? That would be like an atheist saying to you, "So by your definition, Jesus is not God?" That's absurd. Just as the essence of Christianity is that Jesus is God, so the essence of DS is that God's attributes are not parts. But you cannot say that God's attributes are not parts unless you affirm DS. Put differently, to deny that God's attributes are parts is to affirm DS.
Jac3510 wrote:4. Therefore, there is no real distinction of any kind between God's attributes.
Here is the problem, Jac. You haven't clarified what kind of substance God IS. It is begging the question to assume that I have conceded what "simple" and "distinctions" are. Nevermind that 4 contradicts 3.
If you in fact did conclude that there is "no real" distinction between God's attributes (We don't ever know what that is, yet), then how are you even speaking in plurality? Attribute(s)
And I can't help by the fact that you said "no real". What does that mean? That needs to be explained, too.
Once again, I have to assume that you haven't studied the position you are critiquing. God is not a substance at all. His essence is pure existence. It is not question begging to assume that you have conceded what "simple" and "distinctions" are. Far from question begging, it is making the charitable assumption that you are familiar with the terminology. And the fact that you think that (4) contradicts (3) further demonstrates not only your ignorance, but in fact your gross ignorance, on this subject matter.

Allow me to quote from Alvin Plantinga on this matter. He wrote a book titled Does God Have a Nature? in which he argued that God is NOT simple. He said:
  • Now I think the intuition—call it the sovereignty-aseity intuition—underlying the doctrine of divine simplicity must be taken with real seriousness. Suppose God has essentially the property of being omnipotent and suppose that property is an object distinct from him, is uncreated by him and exists necessarily. Then in some sense he does depend on that property. For in the first place he could not have existed if it had not; its existence is a necessary condition for his existence. And secondly he couldn’t have the character he does have, couldn’t be the way he is, if omnipotence didn’t exist or weren’t the way it is. (p. 34)
And again,
  • Among a thing’s properties is its nature or essence . . . if an object is distinct from its essence, then its essence is in some way
    a cause of that thing, so that the latter is dependent—causally dependent—on the former. . . . If God were distinct from such properties as wisdom,
    goodness and power but nonetheless had these properties, then . . . he would be dependent on them in a dual way. First, if, as Aquinas thinks, these properties are essential to him, then it is not possible that he should have existed and they not be ‘in’ him. But if they had not existed, they could not have been in him. Therefore he would not have existed if they had not. . . . The point is that he would be dependent upon something else for his existence, and dependent in a way outside his control and beyond his power to alter; this runs counter to his aseity. Secondly, under the envisaged conditions God would be dependent upon these properties for his character. He is, for example, wise. But then if there had been no such thing as wisdom, he would not have been wise. He is thus dependent upon these properties for his being and the way he is . . . and there is nothing he can do to change or overcome it. . . . And this doesn’t fit with his existence a se. (p.30)
What Plantinga is recognizing in all this is that since, on his view, God has parts, God is not simple. In fact, he is arguing that since God is not simple, having parts, He is therefore dependent on those parts. Plantinga is positively and intentionally denying God's aseity.

That you seem to fail to understand this just tells me that you don't understand the position that you are critiquing.
Jac3510 wrote:I cannot emphasize this enough. Look at the underlined part in your comments above and compare that to what I am actually saying. My equation of the attributes is based on DS. My argument FOR DS is not based on my equation of the attributes.
And I cannot emphasize this enough that THESE 3 premises and the conclusion is a completely illicit process. Nothing in here is even coherent with itself. You need to get right down to the grit and explain how premises 1, 2, and 3 are in any coherent way axiomatic to conclude 4.
You ought not throw words around that you don't understand. An illicit process is a formal fallacy in which a term is distributed a premise and not in the conclusion. So, take the following as an example:
  • 1. All cats are animals.
    2. No cats are dogs.
    3. Therefore, no dogs are animals.
There is no fallacy of that sort in my argument, which I will repeat here for your sake and for the sake of any poor souls who are still trying to wade through all this nonsense. So I said,
  • 1. God is simple;
    2. That which is simple has no distinctions of any kinds;
    3. God has attributes (e.g., omnipotence, omniscience)
    4. Therefore, there is no real distinction of any kind between God's attributes.
Far from being an illicit process, this is a valid argument. You either have to show that one of the premises (1)-(3) is false or else you have to accept the conclusion. As it is, the premises are very easy to understand. A simple being (1) is, by definition, a being that has no distinctions within it of any kind (2). We attribute things like omniscience and omnipresence to God--we call those "attributes" (3). Since a simple being has no distinctions in it, and since God is simple, then those things we attribute to God cannot therefore be distinguished one from another.
Jac3510 wrote:And let me just say in passing here that there are two widely employed tactics for arguing against DS: arguing that it is philosophically incoherent and that it is inconsistent with Scripture. You are taking the first approach, and that is perfectly fine. But if you are going to do that, you have to really do it--you have to show that the doctrine is intrinsically and inescapably self-contradictory within the framework of its own assumptions.
Well, I just did. Lets see if I can find more assumptions on your part that don't work philosophically. Lets chug along.
No, you haven't. You've demonstrate a gross understanding of DS. Do you think that asking definitions constitutes an objection? Do you think that claiming a logical fallacy where there is none constitutes such an objection?

There is a reason I told you early on that I don't respect your philosophical acumen. There are real objections to be made against DS. If you want to learn them, then read my thesis (chapter two, in which I provide 34 pages of such arguments!). The stuff you are saying here is just absurd. You really ought to be embarrassed by it.
Jac3510 wrote:But if the Thomistic view on metaphysics is correct, then the objection stands and is very forceful. But more than that, you seem to have just confused yourself. Divine Simplicity is really a negative claim. It is the claim that God is not composed of parts. So the arguments from that are very simple. Anything that entails composition in God is to be rejected. Thus;
And what constitutes "PARTS", Jac? I cannot stress it enough that is it begging the question to assume that something is true, and I have not conceded it. We have a fundamentally and drastic worldview on "PARTS" and "COMPOSITION", and how it is applicable to the VERY SUBSTANCE IN QUESTION.
Do you realize that what you "cannot stress enough" is that you don't understand the definition of a term? This is not MY definition, Dom. This is THE definition. EVERYONE accepts it. If you don't accept it, it is because YOU don't understand what it means. Once again, it is not begging the question to use standard terminology. The debate is not over the meaning of "part." The debate is over whether or not God has them. If He does not, He is simple. If He does, He is not. If you deny simplicity, you are saying that God has parts. That is what the words mean, Dom.
Jac3510 wrote:1. DS claims that God is not a composite being;
2. Some views make God a composite being;
My view isn't that God is a composite being; I don't even know what you mean by composite yet and I can already tell you that I don't agree. Thats how ridiculous 1 and 2 are.
Did you REALLY just write that? You don't know what I mean, but you know you disagree? REALLY?
Jac3510 wrote:So the question is whether or not the attributes you mentioned here (omniscience, omnipotence, etc.) are identical with God or not. If they are not identical with Him, then He is a composite being. That's just definitional. In other words, if those attributes are not identical with God, then we would say that God is a being that has the following set of properties: x, y, z, etc.
Well, first off. These "attributes" we are talking about. We don't even agree if they make something a "composition". Even less, how this even applies to the substance of God. Never mind anything else.
I refer you back to Plantinga's comments above. Again, I remind you and the reader that He is writing to prove that God is not simple. For you to say, "God is not composed of attributes, yet God is not simple" is self-contradictory drivel. What your statement boils down to is this:
  • 1. A simple being is not composed of parts.
    2. God is not composed of parts
    3. So God is not simple
That's the uncharitable reading I'm really trying to stay away from. But your refusal to acknowledge the basic terms you are debating makes it hard to get away from. You say, "Never mind anything else." On that, you are right. If you don't even know what your terms mean, then there is nothing else to say!
Jac3510 wrote:On the other hand, if those attributes are identical with God, then He is not composite and you have simply affirmed DS and the first syllogism applies as to the relations between the "various" attributes.
Ok, I am going to go ahead and write out your syllogism here.

God is omniscient
God is omnipotent
Omniscient is omnipotent

That right?

Let me go ahead and write a syllogism of my own

Jac is siting
Jac is reading
Siting is reading

That right?
Jlay responded correctly to this poor argument already, but let me go with it all the same. The only thing you are missing is one premise. I'm going to restate your argument correctly:
  • 1. God is simple (= non-composite)
    2. God is omniscient
    3. God is omnipotent
    4. Omniscient is omnipotent

    5. Jac is simple (= non-composite)
    6. Jac is siting
    7. Jac is reading
    8. Siting is reading
Can you guess where your argument fails? (4) is true if (1) is true. By the same token (8) is true is (5) is true. But (5) is not true, and therefore, (8) is not true.
Jac3510 wrote:You clearly haven't read any Thomists on any of this. May I recommend to you volume 2 of Frederick Copleston's History of Philosophy? I think you will find the reading there helpful. I certainly did.

Anyway, the point is that we all (proudly) recognize that Thomas borrowed heavily from Aristotle. Absolutely no one seeks to deny that. But that's hardly an objection to Thomas' metaphysics. You can't say he was wrong because he borrowed from Aristotle . . . that would be a genetic fallacy. Of course, you could try to do the work of showing why Aristotle was wrong, in which case, I wish you the best of luck, because he was not.
What my specific objections are about Aristotle is quite easy. We've seen the painting before. Aristotle is gesturing with his hand down saying "THIS is the true reality". We've had this conversation before, Jac. Aquinas had taken his philosophy and while it seemed like it was a good fit with Christianity at the time, it really wasn't. We figured that out once the scientific revolution went into full swing.
Yes, I remember that exchange. You offered your misunderstanding of the painting. I responded, saying:
  • Either your understanding of the debate the picture represents in flawed or your explanation of it is. The issue wasn't about what is "true reality," that is whether there were ideal forms beyond nature or whether nature itself is true reality. The question is where true forms exist. For Plato, true forms exist only in a Third Realm, whereas for Aristotle, all forms (thus, true forms) exist in the things they inform. Thus, Aristotle denied the reality of abstract objects, whereas Plato founded is philosophy on them. Thus, Aristotle was an empiricist (in the classical default, non-Humean sense), whereas Plato was a rationalist. Aristotle believed that all knowledge original came through the senses, whereas Plato believed that all knowledge was inherit in the person, and "learning" was really the process of "remembering" innate ideas. To go on to argue, then, that Aristotle thought that only things that could be compared against nature were real or that if there were no perceptible qualities in things then there was nothing there is just absurd and shows a gross misunderstanding of classical empircism. It's simply an anachronistic reading of Hume back into Aristotle and a confusion of scientism with Aristotelianism.
Rather than admit your error, you just said, "There are many ways to look at the picture, but what I described is word for word the simpler account." As a matter of fact, your view is not "simpler." It is wrong. It points, as is common with you, to a basic misunderstanding of the subject matter.

The simple fact, dom, is that you don't know what you are talking about.

Anyway, if you want to try to overturn DS, it isn't enough just to say "Aristotle was wrong" (even if you knew what Aristotle meant, and you have proven that you don't). You have to show why Aristotle was wrong on the issues that provide the basis for DS. You've not done anything close to that.
Jac3510 wrote:Second, I don't even know what the underlined part refers to. I've read both Aristotle and Thomas extensively and talked with a lot of Aristotelians and Thomists, and I've never heard ANYONE make that claim or anything remotely close to it. I'm just going to ask you to quote Aristotle and Aquinas here. Provide your source or I'll just write you off as making stuff up.

I can tell you, by the way, that "this is incorrect." You'll find no such quote from either of them.
What they believe about God is implicit by their philosophy. For example, plants, animals, and people have a differing gradation of "soul".
What does having differing gradation of the soul have to do with whether or not Thomists are willing to admit they are Aristotelian? Once again, you fail to understand the subject matter, because even if they did not make that admission, an error in one place does not entail an error in another (that's a genetic fallacy). In the second place, Aristotelian/Thomists are right in their discussion of the gradation of the soul (have you even bothered to read De Anima or are you just rejecting the position out of incredulity? I have read it. You should invest some time doing so, too. After, of course, you learn your basic definitions). And finally all Thomists admit that they agree with and get their philosophical ideas on the soul from Aristotle. Are you not aware of the fact that not only does Aquinas appeal regularly to De Anima (which is the latin title of Aristotle's book Peri Psyches), but in fact he even wrote a commentary on it?!?
Jac3510 wrote:So all you have here are a bunch of assertions . . . so let me just ask:

1. How is it "clear as day" that my "specific objections (which ones, by the way?) are false" if "God is Perfect, and his 'substance' is not analogous to any other 'substance'"? Please demonstrate.
Specifically, your objections that pretty much run along the lines that "If it doesn't agree with DS, you can't rationally hold trinity doctrine", "If you don't agree with DS, you can't have objective morality because of the Eur Dilemma", and probably anything else along the lines of "If you don't agree with DS..."

Lastly, if there was any (contingent) substance that is analogous to perfect substance (God, eternal), thats a contradiction. It would be calling it something it IS NOT and CANNOT BE.
*sigh*

I asked you to list and demonstrate where my arguments are false "clear as day." You listed a few objections of mine, but you never offered a demonstration. At best, you offered a seemingly unrelated incorrect assertion. Why in the blazes would you think that we do not stand in analogy God? That is precisely what we do and what we are. Nothing else is possible. To suggest that we are not analogous to God is to suggest that we are not analogous to existence or causality, and that would be to say that there is no way that we can say that we exist or cause. Do you not see how blatantly ridiculous such a claim is?

Please, dom, please go actually read something on this subject. Go buy An Interpretation of Existence by Etienne Gilson and An Elementary Christian Metaphysic by Joseph Owens. Go read The Last Superstition and Aquinas: A Beginner's Guide by Edward Feser. Heck, just go read Aristotle himself. Start with his logical works, then do his categories, then the the physics, then de anima, and then his metaphysics. Or read Aquinas' Summa Contra Gentiles, or if you want to do the hard work of trying to do his Summa Theologica (without the necessary training to appreciate it), and least read it alongside a good commentary Reginald Gerrigou-Lagrange has an excellent one available for free online here: http://www.thesumma.info/one/index.php
Jac3510 wrote:2. How is it "clear as day" that my given the qualifiers in (1) my objections are "purposely misleading"? I note that not only do you need to show that my objections are misleading, but that they are purposefully so. Please demonstrate.
It is misleading. How are you even advocating that the eur dilemma is a valid argument if you don't hold the DS position? That is purposely and predatorily misleading people. Think about that again for a few minutes. Then look at where you are typing it. Then look at who you are typing to around here. You can't be serious. At first I thought it was a joke, but then looking at it again this past month. You were serious, and I was shocked you would even make such an argument.
I am serious. And it is a serious argument made in the literature. I refer you to Erik Wielenberg's article, “Dawkins’s Gabmit, Hume’s Aroma, and God’s Simplicity,” Philosophia Christi 11 (2009): 113-27. If you don't want to take the time to read the article, just read pp. 148-51 of my thesis, where I give an overview.

In the meantime, I will point out that incredulity is not an argument (once again).
Jac3510 wrote:3. How is "DS being a complete hunk of FUD to boot as a result"? As a result of what? What is your argument?
Well, the way you present it, Jac. Its awful. Maybe DS is a good and rational doctrine after all. Maybe I actually do agree with it, but you didn't explain it right. Your presentation of it however is awful.
I'm giving you my feedback, and weather or not you want to take it is up to you. Honestly, I hope you take what I am saying and go back to the drawing board with it because I don't think we're very far apart at all. Its just a matter of definitional and coherency issues. Specifically, the illicit process I have pointed out.
Perhaps you should stop making so many assumptions and start asking questions. You can't say my presentation is "awful" when you don't even understand the basic terms. Now, if you want to just admit that you can't follow the language, then that's fine. There's no shame in that. It took me two years of studying to figure it out. Ask Byblos how long he's been working on it. But you present yourself as someone who knows something about philosophy.

Now, I'm working on a book titled Making Simplicity Simple. Initial reviews from some sample sections have been positive. Maybe you'll find that presentation more helpful. In the meantime, I strongly advise you to stop arguing so vehemently against a position that you do not understand. If you fail to understand something, just ask. I am not saying that I do a great job of explaining it. DS is a VERY difficult doctrine to understand and explain. I say as much on the FIRST PAGE of my thesis, and I've made that admission here countless of times. I think I've even quoted scholars saying as much in this thread. What I am saying, again, is if something confuses you, then argue less and ask more. You're more likely to learn something.
Jac3510 wrote:The only assertion I'll agree with you on is that I think you don't know what you are talking about. My personal assessment of your philosophical acumen is very low. And that is not because you disagree with me, by the way. It is because you make assertions without backing them up and assign fallacies to statements incorrectly all while misrepresenting historical positions.
Well, my personal assessment of you is that you approach the subject too cocky. Its even more cocky then I get, and thats pretty bad. You say that I make assertions, and sure I do. Some of it is simply my take on it based on a few axioms that I really like to defend. But lets not pretend you're not making assertions, either.
The difference in me and you is that I'm making assertions based on years of research on a very narrow topic. The only reason I'm "cocky" is because the certainty with which you argue such a grossly ignorant position.

I say this YET AGAIN: I do not and would not fault you for rejecting DS. It is a truly hard doctrine, not just to understand, but to accept. I do not and and would not fault you for saying that you don't know the arguments on its behalf and that they seem very opaque. The material you have to understand in order to appreciate the arguments is very old, and no one studies it unless they do so intentionally. It is not taught in seminary (unless you go to a conservative Catholic one). It is not taught in secular philosophy programs. Anthony Flew, God rest his soul, was wrong in a lot of things, but he was a good philosopher--one of the few good atheist philosophers. And even he admitted to not understanding, to not even having read, Aristotle.

Dom, I truly don't think less of you or of your philosophical acumen because you don't know the intricacies of this argument. Few people do. The ONLY reason I do is because I had an odd professor (Richard Howe of Southern Evangelical Seminary) who was very into this. Moreover, I try very hard not to transfer my expertise in this very small, very narrow area, into other areas of philosophy. So I don't hold it against you in the least for not knowing this stuff.

What I do hold against you is the force with which you make such irrational arguments, as if you understand this material when you clearly don't. Where you see cockiness you ought to see indignation. I'm not even asking you to let me "teach" you anything. I am saying if you don't understand something, ask. If you think you see a weakness, point it out. And if you want to argue about this position, at least go read some of the literature that I've made freely available to you so that we can have an intelligent, informed conversation.
Jac3510 wrote:Again, all I see are a bunch of assertions.

Who are these other men? What was this other school? What makes their findings more rational? What makes them more biblical?
Men who wanted to stop looking at their perceived reality and try to work backwards. What makes their findings more rational is that they stopped looking at the way our perceived reality was, and instead came up with some different ideas. They tried them out and see if they would work. They did work, and then it begin to make much more rational sense that the ideas are the 1st in order; Not the substances that Aristotle gestured down at.
I've already addressed this ad nauseum.
Jac3510 wrote:All you've done, dom, is make assertions, and that without evidence. There is a beautiful Latin phrase that applies very well here:

quod gratis asseritur gratis negatur

I'll let you Google that if you don't already know.
No, I don't need to google it.
My response? Right back at ya, Jac.
Ah, but I have given arguments. Many of them. What you've given is little more than incredulity and a failure to understand basic definitions.
Jac3510 wrote:Dom, do you in particular, I would appreciate it if you would read those two sources and tell me where they are mistaken--not in general assertions but if you would take specific comments and demonstrate where the mistake is.

Thank you
I'll give it a look
[/quote]
I would appreciate that.

----------------------------------

All, I know the above was very long. I took way too long typing it all out. I don't have the energy for too many long posts of that nature. If you worked your way through all of that, then you have my condolences! I take it that you must be very interested in this subject. I'll only, then, offer a plug for myself on that point. As I have said to both Dom and BW, I am in the process of trying to write a book on this subject that gets rid of all the technical speak (or as much of it as possible) and keeps things as simple as I can. I have had to stop writing for two weeks, but I will resume on March 10 and hope to have it finished by the end of March. I will make it available for free when it is finished.

Thanks.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Trinity and Divine Simplicity

#45

Post by Byblos » Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:44 am

Jac3510 wrote:It took me two years of studying to figure it out. Ask Byblos how long he's been working on it.
It is one of those doctrines I found to be very simple to grasp on the surface, very logical. What could be simpler and more logical than saying God is not composed of parts. For if he were composed of parts, he'd be dependent, at a minimum, on the process that put him together. And if we do understand that God cannot be composed of parts, then God's aseity must hold and that all his attributes must be identical to him.

But when one gets into the details in terms of philosophical proofs, well, that's when things get pretty dicey, at least for a novice like me. Imagine what it's doing to poor Dom so cut him some slack Jac, will ya. :mrgreen:
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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