Trinity and Divine Simplicity

Discussions on a ranges of philosophical issues including the nature of truth and reality, personal identity, mind-body theories, epistemology, justification of beliefs, argumentation and logic, philosophy of religion, free will and determinism, etc.
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Re: Trinity and Divine Simplicity

#16

Post by RickD » Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:22 am

Jac,

I'd really like to understand DS. Any good "Divine Simplicity for Dummies" books out there?
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Re: Trinity and Divine Simplicity

#17

Post by Jac3510 » Sun Feb 16, 2014 7:00 am

Unfortunately, there are no good books I know of that explain DS "simply." One of my goals for this year is to write one myself, but it's a difficult job just because the subject matter is difficult.

That doesn't mean there is no hope! I would recommend (again) Edward Feser's book Aquinas: A Beginner's Guide. It won't explain DS specifically, but he does as good a job as anyone I have ever read in explaining the underlying ideas you have to understand. Once you get those, there are several other works that you'll be well equipped, I think, to work through and so to really grasp it. You can also read Feser's The Last Superstition--you might even want to read it before Aquinas, because he gives an even broader overview of the fundamentals in that book. Both are pretty easy reads and very interesting to boot. Others here have read them and can, I think, attest to 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

#18

Post by B. W. » Sun Feb 16, 2014 10:20 am

Well, the Athanasian Creed makes it as simple as you can get... all on one page!
Athanasian Creed

1. Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith;

2. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.

3. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;

4. Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance.

5. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit.

6. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.

7. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit.

8. The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated.

9. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible.

10. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal.

11. And yet they are not three eternals but one eternal.

12. As also there are not three uncreated nor three incomprehensible, but one uncreated and one incomprehensible.

13. So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Spirit almighty.

14. And yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty.

15. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God;

16. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.

17. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord;

18. And yet they are not three Lords but one Lord.

19. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord;

20. So are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say; There are three Gods or three Lords.

21. The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten.

22. The Son is of the Father alone; not made nor created, but begotten.

23. The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

24. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits.

25. And in this Trinity none is afore or after another; none is greater or less than another.

26. But the whole three persons are coeternal, and coequal.

27. So that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.

28. He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.

29. Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

30. For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man.

31. God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and man of substance of His mother, born in the world.

32. Perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.

33. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood.

34. Who, although He is God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ.

35. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of that manhood into God.

36. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person.

37. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ;

38. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead;

39. He ascended into heaven, He sits on the right hand of the Father, God, Almighty;

40. From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

41. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies;

42. and shall give account of their own works.

43. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.

44. This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully he cannot be saved.

http://www.ccel.org/creeds/athanasian.creed.html

Lastly, my main point is that DS attempts to do the impossible to make the incomprehensible God (Job 11:7-19, Rom 11:33) comprehensible. There is great mystery we have of God and the Lord helps us gain a glimpse of this mystery through revelation of his nature and attributes. He reveals himself as he does in the theophanies of himself contained within the pages of the bible.

For example, He appeared to Moses , Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel (Exo 24:9, 10, 11) They saw God (Elohim) in theophany. Then in Exo 24:12 YHWH called to Moses to meet him on the mountain top. He charged the leaders to stay and wait for him if they could (Exo 24:14) then spent 40 days with YHWH.

Later in Exo 33:18-23 Moses desired to see the full Glory of God but God would not permit this to mortal man. That Full Glory was his three Presences (Panim) in full oneness. Moses encountered each Panim of the Godhead. Moses wanted YHWH’s Panim to go before Israel (Exo 33:14, 15). Moses saw God’s Presences in theophanies and now want to see the full Glory of God's Form.

In the Bible, the Lord reveals himself according to his three presences. The Athanasian Creed expresses the mystery of the YHWH’s presences. It is through the bible how we come to gain a simple glimpse of the incomprehensibility of God’s nature, essence, which leaves one in awe and wonderment. I am content with that and find great peace in that too. Far greater than I can even express in word or print.

In my opinion, DS, goes beyond this wonderment. People do see the same things differently. The Elders saw Elohim – God – and shared a meal with Him. Yet, what later happened after that? Moses, was called by YHWH to go into the cloud and fire and meet him on the Mountain Top. The three presences of God’s oneness was on the Mountain. Moses had to go through the cloud Theophany and the Fire Theophany to meet YHWH on the Mountain (Exo 24:16-17).

The symbolism of this event is lost to folks due to how one views it. However, John the Baptist declared that Jesus would Baptize with Fire which has been discerned as the Holy Spirit. Moses entered the onto the Mountain Top through the Cloud (Exo 24:18) which represents Jesus Christ because no man can approach the Father unless through Jesus. There, Moses met the Father midst the Fire and Cloud.

Now, others reading Exodus 24 will see something different, or when Reading Genesis 18:1,2 they see these verses differently too. In Genesis, people see angels and not the three theophany of Panim of God’s oneness with the Holy Spirit and Jesus heading off to destroy the cities on the plains after examining Lot’s fruit – no other righteous in the cities, Gen 18:17-33. Amos 4:11 JSP explains it further. People will see the same things, yet, not see the LORD as he revels himself in Theophany.

I can’t speak for William Lane Craig, only what he wrote on DS. For example, God’s omniscience is not the same as His omnipotence. Well, the word meaning of each word is different. That appears to me to be Craig’s point regarding the differences of words used to describe God. As for myself, I see both as part of God’s Nature – words used to describe him in a manner we can understand him. So, would that make me a full blown DS person? No… I view God in the mystery He himself sets forth in the bible.

I don’t get lost in Aristotle, or Plato, or the ancient Greek Philosophic system to look at wonderment of God’s theophany of Self to us. After all, 1 John 2:15, 16, 17 says what and then add that too what Col 2:6, 7, 8, 9, 10c mentions. How much ‘does’ DS rely on points from the philosophic world rather than how God from the Bible reveals himself? So, if you can write a book on DS without appeals from philosophic traditions, you might be able to make DS simple to grasp as the Athanasian Creed does keeping the wonderment of God alive in the heart and the peace it brings to the longing soul seeking to know God more and more.
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Re: Trinity and Divine Simplicity

#19

Post by Jac3510 » Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:42 pm

Again, BW, it is all rather clear that you don't understand the doctrine at all. Does it not bother you that you are critiquing something you don't understand? At best, you are attacking a straw man. I have enough respect for you not to start pulling out individual quotes and showing where you are wrong, but let me just point our a few errors in your post in general:

1. The Athanasian Creed is not describing DS at all. It presumes it, but it is not at attempt to explain it.
2. DS does not attempt to remove the mystery from God. On the contrary, it makes the mystery more clearly seen so that it can be more clearly known. We must understand that reason is never to be used in a mystical way, and mysticism should never be used to make reasonable arguments; instead, reason must be followed so that we can reasonably encounter the mystical so that we can have a true experience. DS allows us to do just that.
3. You don't have to try to say anything about or for Craig. He has already made his argument clear, and I've provided you his own words.
4. His argument is not about semantics. I keep telling you, and this is something you need to grasp, BW, that the disagreement over DS is NOT about the meaning of words. It is about the nature of God.
5. No DS proponent appeals to Aristotle or Plato as an authority. We simply recognize that what they said on some matters was true. When you cite the law of non-contradiction, you are appealing to them, too. Perhaps not in name, but you are appealing to them. It is perfectly possible to explain DS and never mention any Greek philosopher. That's because the arguments for the doctrine are arguments from reason. Therefore, when you argue against the philosophy underlying the doctrine, you are actually arguing against reason, which is self-defeating.
6. It is very important for you to know that the arguments that Athanasius and others used to formulate the Trinity use exactly the same arguments as the arguments for DS. You cannot throw out the philosophy under the DS without also throwing out the philosophy under the Trinity. And the hypostatic union, by the way. I mean, look at the word hypostatic union. Where do you think that word comes from? When the Church declares that Christ is two natures in one person, where do you think they got that language? Answer: from philosophy--exactly the same philosophy that necessarily concludes in DS.

So I'm asking you to stop misrepresenting the doctrine. You don't have to take the time to learn it if you don't want to. It is very difficult. But don't pretend that it is unimportant or that the differences in DS and non-DS positions is semantic or surface or just a matter of unnecessary complication. We are saying different things about God. If I am right, Craig has many heretical ideas about the nature of God. And if Craig is right, then I (and almost the entire Church for the last 1800 years) hold heretical ideas about the nature of God. The issues here are SERIOUS, and your attempt to stifle debate and sweep those differences under the rug by appealing to the unrelated Athanasian Creed only allows those issues to fester. Evangelical theology is on a dangerous road precisely because we have been doing that very thing for too long.

If you want to contribute, then, please do. Let's talk about the doctrine proper. If you aren't willing to talk about the doctrine proper, please stop pretending that you can prove that the doctrine proper is something other than what those of us who have studied it and are willing to talk about it say it is.
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

#20

Post by Jac3510 » Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:21 am

RickD wrote:Jac,

I'd really like to understand DS. Any good "Divine Simplicity for Dummies" books out there?
Rick,

I already replied to this above. But I'll say that the lack of anything helpful is bothering me quite a bit, so I actually started working on it tonight. I hope I'll be able to keep it under 100 (of regular book print) with very simple language. Here's a quick excerpt to give you a flavor of what I'm working on:
  • So it should be clear enough that something that is “simple” may well be easy to understand, but whether that is or is not the case, we can also say thing are more or less “simple” depending on how many parts they have. A human being is pretty complicated (in the sense of having a lot of parts). So is a cell, but less complicated than a human. A new car is less complicated still, and a Model T (the first care Henry Ford mass produced, if you aren’t up to date on your history) seems pretty simple in comparison.

    This brings us to the basic idea behind DS. The idea is that God is not composed of parts.

    Simple, isn’t it?

    Not so much, actually. The test you always have to apply is this: “Does this imply parts in God? If so, then DS rejects it.” It turns out that it is really hard for us to imagine a truly simple God. For example, you and I are not simple beings. We are composed of all kinds of parts. We have hands and feet and legs and brains and organs and cells and everything else. So take that all away from God. In other words, we have bodies. So DS would insist that God can’t have a body, because if He did, He would not be simple since He would be composed of parts.
Obviously this is written in very conversation, non-technical language. It makes it a bit longer, but I think the breezier style makes it easier to follow. This is also a pretty easy section to address, but I'm hoping to keep everything at about this level.

Thoughts?
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

#21

Post by RickD » Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:38 am

Jac,

If that's the basic idea behind DS, then I understand that as you wrote it. What's a little troubling to me, is that you're claiming WLC has fundamental differences about God's nature. It's not troubling that you make the claim. It's troubling that it may be true. While understanding DS is not a salvation issue in itself, it seems like I need to get a grasp on it.
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Kenny wrote:
"You don’t need faith, logic, reason, proof, or anything else to be atheist, all you need to do is reject what someone told you."



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Re: Trinity and Divine Simplicity

#22

Post by Jac3510 » Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:50 am

That's the basic idea. The problem, and Craig says the same thing, is how far we take it. I insist that we be logically consistent. Craig likes to think of some parts of God as "simple" (he says he thinks God's intellect is simple, but I would argue that he's even mistaken there given his belief that God is temporal and that therefore His ideas are constantly changing) but not all of Him.

Anyway, it's very clear that God's nature is pictured as fundamentally different. I've already walked through some of the examples. For Craig, God is temporal, mutable, and contingent on humans for the way in which He exists at any given moment. For me, God is timeless, immutable, and exists absolutely independently of His creation. We aren't talking about mere attributes here. We are talking about what kind of being God is.

All this has major ramifications for how we end up doing theology. Craig's Molinism, for instance, is completely incompatible with DS. So the way Craig has God knowing the future is another way in which we differ. But that difference is rooted in how we understand His nature. The practical application in this case has to do with the Problem of Evil. Craig follows Plantinga in using Molinism as a means of helping to explain the balance of good and evil in this world. But that if DS is true, then Craig's answer to that is invalid. This is related to the question of whether or not God could have created a "better" world. In light of the PoE, people tend to argue that this is for some reason unknown to us the best possible world. It has the perfect optimal balance of good and evil (for reasons known only to God) to bring Him the most glory. But when Craig and others say that, they are wrong, because they have misunderstood the nature of God. If I may quote a book I've been reading on this subject . . .
  • God did not will this present order of things necessarily, and the reason is that the end of creation is the divine goodness which so exceeds any created order that there is not and cannot be any link of necessity between a given order and the end of creation. The divine goodness and the created order are incommensurable, and there cannot be any one created order, any one universe, which is necessary to a divine goodness that is infinite and incapable of any addition. If any created order were proportionate to the divine goodness, to the end, then the divine wisdom would be determined to choose that particular order; but since the divine goodness is infinite and creation necessary finite, no created order can be proportionate in the full sense to the divine goodness.

    From the above is made apparent the answer to the question whether God could make better things than He has made or could make the things which He has made better than they are. In one sense God must always act in the best possible manner, since God's act is identical with His essence and with infinite goodness; but we cannot conclude from this that the extrinsic object of God's act, creatures, must be the best possible and taht God is bound, on account of His goodness, to produce the best possible universe if He produces one at all. As God's power is infinite, there can always be a better universe than the one God actually produces, and why He has chosen to produce a particular order of creation is His secret. St. Thomas says, therefore, that absolutely speaking God could make something better than any given thing. But if the question is raise din regard to the existent universe, a distinction must be drawn. God could not make a given thing better than it actually is in regard to its substance or essence, since that would be to make another thing. For example, rational life is in itself a higher perfection than merely sensitive life; but if God were to make a horse rational it would no longer be a horse and in that case God could not be said to make the horse better. Similarly, if God changed the order of the universe, it would not be the same universe. On the other hand, God could make a thing accidentally better; He could, for example, increase a man's bodily health, or, in the supernatural order, his grace.

    It is plain, then, that St. Thomas would not agree with the Leibnizian 'optimism' or maintain that this is the best of all possible worlds. In view of the divine omnipotence the phrase 'the best of all possible worlds' does not seem to have much meaning: it has meaning only if one supposes from the start that God creates from a necessity of His nature, from which it would follow, since God is goodness itself, that the world which proceeds from Him necessarily must be the best possible. But if God creates not from necessity of nature, but according to His nature, according to intelligence and will, that is, freely, and if God is omnipotent, it must always be possible for God to create a better world. Why, then, did He create this particular world? That is a question to which we cannot give any adequate answer, though we can certainly attempt to answer the question why God created a world in which suffering and evil are present": that is to say, we can attempt to answer the problem of evil, provided that we remember to that we cannot expect to attain any comprehensive solution of the problem in this life, owing to the finitude and imperfection of our intelligences and the fact that we cannot fathom the divine counsel and plans.
So Copleston insists (rightly, I think) that God could have made a better world. If we say that He could not have on the basis that He had to pick the best possible world, and this is the world we are in, so therefore this is the best possible world (which is similar to Craig's reasoning), then we are making God contingent on us. We would be saying that God does something out of necessity, that we are putting Him under obligation--obligation to us, of all the silly little things.

So I'll say it yet again and again and again. The issue at stake is nothing less than the very nature of God. That's why I think this is important.

And I'm glad I'm writing this. I already have the first two chapters finished in rough draft form. Since I'm not doing a scholarly work and not providing myriads of footnotes and references, it's going pretty quick. Hopefully it will only take me a couple of weeks to finish the whole project. We will see.
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

#23

Post by RickD » Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:32 am

Jac wrote:
That's the basic idea. The problem, and Craig says the same thing, is how far we take it. I insist that we be logically consistent. Craig likes to think of some parts of God as "simple" (he says he thinks God's intellect is simple, but I would argue that he's even mistaken there given his belief that God is temporal and that therefore His ideas are constantly changing) but not all of Him.
It's a bit difficult for me to follow Craig sometimes. Just like it's difficult for me when anyone gets too philosophical. But, if Craig says God is temporal, and His ideas are constantly changing, then on the surface, I disagree with him.(Of course without hearing why Craig says this, I can't see the context).
Jac wrote:
Anyway, it's very clear that God's nature is pictured as fundamentally different. I've already walked through some of the examples. For Craig, God is temporal, mutable, and contingent on humans for the way in which He exists at any given moment. For me, God is timeless, immutable, and exists absolutely independently of His creation. We aren't talking about mere attributes here. We are talking about what kind of being God is.
I'm following you here. And as far as I can tell, I agree with you. For me, this gets into the whole discussion of God isn't really "The one True God", if He isn't timeless, immutable, and independent of His creation. That seems like "God 101" to me.
Jac wrote:
All this has major ramifications for how we end up doing theology. Craig's Molinism, for instance, is completely incompatible with DS. So the way Craig has God knowing the future is another way in which we differ. But that difference is rooted in how we understand His nature. The practical application in this case has to do with the Problem of Evil. Craig follows Plantinga in using Molinism as a means of helping to explain the balance of good and evil in this world. But that if DS is true, then Craig's answer to that is invalid. This is related to the question of whether or not God could have created a "better" world. In light of the PoE, people tend to argue that this is for some reason unknown to us the best possible world. It has the perfect optimal balance of good and evil (for reasons known only to God) to bring Him the most glory. But when Craig and others say that, they are wrong, because they have misunderstood the nature of God. If I may quote a book I've been reading on this subject
I've listened to, and have read Craig's Molinism, and honestly, I couldn't follow him on it. I don't know if it was just too deep for me to understand, or maybe I disagreed with it in some sense.
As far as God being able to create a better world, or this being the best possible world, I tend to think this temporary world is "perfect" for its ultimate purpose of bringing about the end of evil. I see it as perfect (exactly fitting the need in a certain situation or for a certain purpose) in that regard. Not perfect in the sense of entirely without any flaws.
Jac wrote:
So Copleston insists (rightly, I think) that God could have made a better world. If we say that He could not have on the basis that He had to pick the best possible world, and this is the world we are in, so therefore this is the best possible world (which is similar to Craig's reasoning), then we are making God contingent on us. We would be saying that God does something out of necessity, that we are putting Him under obligation--obligation to us, of all the silly little things.
Taking into account that God has given man "free will", I tend to think God did a great job of creating our world. So I guess I see that since God chose for man to have free will, then this may be the best possible world, that will bring about the end of evil. But then again, I'm certainly not saying that God couldn't have made a better world. I just don't know.
Jac wrote:
So I'll say it yet again and again and again. The issue at stake is nothing less than the very nature of God. That's why I think this is important.

And I'm glad I'm writing this. I already have the first two chapters finished in rough draft form. Since I'm not doing a scholarly work and not providing myriads of footnotes and references, it's going pretty quick. Hopefully it will only take me a couple of weeks to finish the whole project. We will see.
I'm looking forward to your book. Hopefully, like you have in other instances, you will help me understand better, and solidify what I believe.
John 5:24
24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Kenny wrote:
"You don’t need faith, logic, reason, proof, or anything else to be atheist, all you need to do is reject what someone told you."



St. Richard the Sarcastic--The Patron Saint of Irony

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Re: Trinity and Divine Simplicity

#24

Post by domokunrox » Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:49 am

So, I was pretty much going to let this one run a bit before I put my opinion out there. So here it is.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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Re: Trinity and Divine Simplicity

#25

Post by RickD » Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:14 am

Oh boy...let the fun begin.
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Re: Trinity and Divine Simplicity

#26

Post by B. W. » Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:23 am

Jac3510 wrote:Again, BW, it is all rather clear that you don't understand the doctrine at all. Does it not bother you that you are critiquing something you don't understand? At best, you are attacking a straw man. I have enough respect for you not to start pulling out individual quotes and showing where you are wrong, but let me just point our a few errors in your post in general...
Jac, first, I am not critiquing DS and next, I am not attacking it.

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 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.

Now back to the subject:

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.

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.

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?

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.

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?
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Re: Trinity and Divine Simplicity

#27

Post by Jac3510 » Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:01 am

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.
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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

#28

Post by Seraph » Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:38 pm

Wait, William Lane Craig doesn't believe in divine simplicity? I thought his entire argument for God's existence from His incontingency was founded on the idea that God is simple and doesn't consist of any parts that are contingent. Reading his arguements for God was largely what exposed me to the idea of divine simplicity in the first place.

I would think he's one of DS's biggest proponents today. If he thinks that God consists of distinct attributes, the whole arguement from contingency kind of falls flat on its face.
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Re: Trinity and Divine Simplicity

#29

Post by RickD » Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:56 pm

Here's what WLC says about divine simplicity(as he sees divine simplicity). Since I have no idea what divine simplicity is, I'm not sure if Craig's idea of DS is even the same as how Jac understands it. Anyways, fwiw:
http://www.reasonablefaith.org/divine-simplicity
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Re: Trinity and Divine Simplicity

#30

Post by RickD » Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:04 pm

In this, Craig says he holds to a "weaker form of divine simplicity", as opposed to Thomas Aquinas' "very strong view" which Craig rejects. And again, it's all Greek to me.
John 5:24
24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Kenny wrote:
"You don’t need faith, logic, reason, proof, or anything else to be atheist, all you need to do is reject what someone told you."



St. Richard the Sarcastic--The Patron Saint of Irony

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