Obviously Fatherhood logically implies being a Father, i.e., to the Son (within DT). @David McPike, you write: A thing's essence is a kind of cause, its intrinsic cause. On the other hand, in order to eliminate the other possible perspectives that you look at that could be alternatives to Scholastic realism (Platonism and Aristotelian realism) you need to have a posteriori knowledge. But Aquinas says PC and PD are the same. I hope that didn't cause any (more) confusion. Kripke finds this to be analytic a posteriori because there once was a time in which people thought of Hesperus and Phosphorus as two different stars, later on they found out that they we're actually the same planet. Regarding Jewish belief - prior to the fall of Jerusalem most of Jewish theology believed that Wisdom was an attribute of God that was also divine, thereby believing in something analogous to a Binity rather than Trinity.The innovation of Christianity is that it made the Spirit of God another person, bringing the number up to 3. Theories of cognitive judgment both prior to and after Kant tend todivide dichotomously into the psychologistic andplatonisticcamps, according to which, on the one hand,cognitive judgments are nothing but mental representations ofrelations of ideas, as, e.g., in the Port Royal Logic (Arnaud &Nicole 1996), or mentalistic ordered combinings of real individuals,universals, and logical constants, as, e.g., in Russell’s earlytheory of judgment (Russell 1966), or on the other hand, cognitivejudgments are nothing b… To say that it needs a cause else it doesn't exist is to confuse the finite with the infinite, the contingent with the non-contingent.The whole enterprise of the four causes is to demonstrate that every act/potency composite of necessity is caused because its essence, by virtue of its composition, stands in need of a cause. Here you clearly are. Only by multiplication can we have a common essence and individual instantiations of the essence, but since God cannot be multiplied, there cannot be multiple persons or instantiations of God. of Metaphysics 41:1 (September 1987), pp.3-22. "everything that can be predicated of God (the divine essence) can be predicated of the relations, and if the relations are NO DIFFERENT than the divine essence, then we can predicate "Father" to the "Son" and vice verse. Kripke argued that there are necessary a posteriori truths, such as If the latter, you have composition. Because the only way we can even get the ball rolling on this discussion is because we first "believe only because God has revealed it". You have to visualize the dots or otherwise invoke the faculty of intuition, perhaps by counting on fingers or by manipulating formal symbols according to certain rules.Nonetheless, "2 + 2 = 4" is true just in virtue of the meanings of these concepts, as descriptions of possible experience. Cheers,Daniel, But I don't want to appear to be taking the easy route out, so I was hoping to delve a little bit further: When we speak of a human person, the word person does not signify only the human nature, but the singular, concrete, and distinct individual who exists. As a practicing Catholic, who almost gave up the Faith when I lacked good arguments for God's existence, I can honestly say that robust and serious philosophical argumentation is the reason that I'm a Christian. Likewise, the right side of the line is the same as the line itself. I am examining the logical implications of the Trinity and merely saying that some logical extensions are indistinct from modalism, whether or not you accept it. Your selective "rebuttals" don't entitle you to accuse me of begging the question. Though, for some reason largely forgotten, there is an extensive and thorough critique of Kant in Physical Realism by Thomas Case. Moreover, a being's dependence on another for its existence means that it DOES NOT have in itself this "intrinsic causality" which suffices to explain itself. Bill,I think you are mistaken. Then in that case "pure form" is incoherent because nothing cannot be coherently said to have any form at all.If the form in "pure form" is of something, then "pure form" is incoherent because then the form is not pure, rather, of that something. However, you're pursuing this to justify God the Son's eternal generation, that the Son's being is dependent on the intrinsic causal activity of the one, simple and undivided essence of God, and that's a different kind of causality. But it is it a logical contradiction to say that an infinite substance is really related to itself? That is because the term ‘bachelor’ itself tells me these things analytically. It leaves room for the question, “What is that something?” The doctrine of the Trinity is the answer.Finally, if you DID perform a math problem and received the answer 1 = 0, is it not possible that you simply wrote down the wrong number in the beginning and made a calculation mistake? That would make the Father a composite of divinity and aseity (D + A). I hope that's clearer.That's a gratuitous assertion. I wish that I could speak a foreign language as good as you do.The mathematical construct that you offer doesn’t demonstrate a real distinction in God’s essence; it demonstrates an abstract distinction. I believe Aquinas thinks the best way to do this is via the authority of scripture (and I would add the authoritative teaching of his church and its councils) when it comes to doctrines that fall in this category. I’m glad that I at least got you thinking, even if you ultimately disagree with me.My understanding though, is, first, given the nature of abstract forms, God is certainly more similar to an abstract form than he is to human being, given that He is immutable, unchanging, immaterial, etc.But given the principle of proportionate causality, God must be personal, and along with the special revelation of the Scriptures, man is made in His likeness.So, correct me if I'm misunderstanding this, but the is that given that the three members of the Most Holy Trinity share the same perfectly simple, and totally actualized act of being, then any distinction between them would be impossible.I would say that notional or logical distinctions are fine. I've read many of his books, and he is directly responsible for solidifying my Thomist leanings.The conversations here are great, excepting of course the troll posts, but I guess that has to be endured due to the nature of the platform used.All the best. What about that revelation? (Hurray for apophaticism-gone-wild!) At best I think you'll get a probable case, but if you don't address the basic issue of intelligibility, that will still come back to bite you in the ass, and logically you're either left with saying that scripture is unreliable (irrational, nonsensical) and/or that faith and reason are contradictory.You write: "And when I said, "it's a mystery -- period" I only mean that it is a revealed article of faith which must be accepted first before we can develop our understanding of it. Would that do anything to sway your opinion? Instead they are multiplied by causal procession.I'm not referring to hylomorphic composition. Real relations possess two aspects: It exists, not just conceptually, but in reality of things. Read the whole chapter and the first verse of Chapter 19. Let me try again to lay out my discomfort, this time with the "synthetic" idea. My recommendation would be to analyze the veracity of the revelation itself first, then come to the Trinity. So God’s judgment demanded the destruction of Sodom and its inhabitants, but His mercy also acted to save Lot and his family. But Kant wouldn't deny that this is a relation between the concepts of "2+2" and "4". To assert the contrary is not just question begging but absurd.You can only legitimately say that if you directly addressed my rebuttal, which you told Scott is something that's required of somebody defending your version of the Trinity. You have but two options: He either loves Himself or He loves somebody else. Your comments about love being the object of another appear to be question-begging. an angel), then its existence is caused and sustained by something that cannot be caused. Perhaps that was a mistake on my part. That's the a priori. @David McPikeThe primary definition of invert is of course "to turn upside down." We can say, however, that Pure Act is the sufficient explanation of itself, but we cannot say that it is the cause of itself. But I would say you should be Catholic. These relations of distinction, though, not only define the differences between the persons of the holy trinity, they are the persons of the holy trinity. Their essence is the same, but they are really opposed by the mode of procession. This is what we Catholics call the obedience of faith. Hi (blank), thanks for stopping by.Can you explain how the term "pure form" is in any sense coherent?Or at least, can you employ a logical, rational argument to refute my argument on the merits?I mean, it should be pretty simple, after all, I provided a very specific argument as to why "pure form" is incoherent.It should be pretty simple for you to point out specifically on the logical rational merits where exactly my argument is mistaken, shouldn't it? For Bill's argument to go through, it seems to me he needs to know the unknowable -- that there are no logically possible modes of being of which we are simply ignorant due to our nature.It's true, of course, that our 1D being will never understand the 3D explanation (unless somehow it were to become 3D itself), but I think it could nevertheless affirm it to be true on the basis of *testimony* from a 2D or 3D being that interacts with it.Also, the accusation that people will go to hell for incorrect understandings of the Trinity is mostly a red herring. If the cause is not the essence, then what is the cause? It seems you have nothing but gratuitous assertion here. I point you back to the words of Saint Thomas[4] Another benefit that comes from the revelation to men of truths that exceed the reason is the curbing of presumption, which is the mother of error. The important thing to remember in our present context is that while we may see as through a glass, darkly, it's not so dark that we can't (in principle) see the difference between good and bad arguments for, and correct and incorrect formulations of, the revealed doctrines. Trinitarians (at least Thomistic ones) do not deny this.Again, you are wrong that mercy and love in God are really distinct. @Bill: Sorry, I just noticed your 11:22PM post. Adding a smart switch to a box originally containing two single-pole switches, Panshin's "savage review" of World of Ptavvs. Now, that either means that God loves Himself or it means that the act of love is a personal relationship between two minds. Second though, given that you accept the heart of Christian revelation that God is love, it is necessary to examine what that means as a philosophical category. His intrinsic causality (his divine essence/being) is thus sufficient to explain itself, notwithstanding its relationally differentiated position within the divine life of the Trinity. Therefore yes, I also know enough to apply the meaning of these terms to the case of God: If God exists, he has an essential/formal/intrinsic cause (which of course can also be shown to be identical to his existence). These real relations (not merely logical relations) of the one essence to itself are the impetus for the three distinct Persons. Most notably, the American philosopher W. V. O. Quine (1951) argued that the analytic-synthetic distinction is illegitimate (see Quine's rejection of the analytic-synthetic distinction). Thus the analogy moves as such: Humans generate persons, Angels generate persons, and God generates persons. However, you do want to be cautious, as I said. That is true insofar as the dependent being's existence is really distinct from its essence (i.e., in the case of creatures); but not in the case of the natural generation of a divine person. Don't switch to "It's a mystery -- period." If you don't expect me to believe it, I sincerely thank you. doing an experiment to discover the temperature at which water boils There is an inherent 'ease' with analytic claims, since all one needs to do to know it is "extract" the predicate from the subject. You and I can be happy about that because we now exist.You didn't actually answer my question though. it is true within itself. In us, human persons, this individuation comes from matter. Yet now we can ask, how do we know this? Putting that on paper yields composition, so you have to deny it, but your official denial doesn’t produce what you think. Therefore the "Son" is not God.Wow, fun! Formal causality is clearly a 'cause' in one of the classical senses of 'cause.' Pure Form needs no cause but it is a cause. If Bill is not already committed to the doctrine of the Trinity, no amount of discussion will help him resolve his issues. "One of the best contemporary writers on philosophy" National Review I think you have a healthy kind of Jewish-Muslim dogmatic monotheist revulsion to the scandal of the Trinity, which is in part admirable compared to the lazy, insouciant belief of many Christians. Neither the Son nor the Spirit are a se, and that makes it impossible for them to be God. Hence, it is necessary (at least in the natural order) that sensation precede knowing. That is, a priori and a posteriori claims are about epistemology (i.e. In fact, I would see such a submission of his intellect to the data of faith as a movement of grace in his life. I have seen things that make my writings like straw.I don't think these statements necessarily lead to voluntarism and the will to power, because I don't believe that the human intellect has within it that capacity to be the measure of all things. Are there any estimates for cost of manufacturing second if first JWST fails? Bill,Thank you for the clarification. Also, I believe the best method to prove the doctrine of the Trinity is via revelation, which seems beyond the scope of this blog. (Who am I to judge?) Because the form is potential, it needs actualization, but Pure Form needs NO actualization, hence, it needs no cause. (Is Sabellius still clapping? If you apply the same language to the persons of the Trinity (F, S & HS), then you have modalism. But a posteriori (after revelation takes us out of the box of our natural presuppositions) we come to know more about God's aseity. "I'm not confused, so there's nothing to "allay." Of course even that breaks down because of the essence/existence distinction.The point is, God actually IS something. (*That is, able in principle. "Such is the outline of a realistic theory of self evident analytical judgments a posteriori, of which the points are, first, that such judgements are not always about names and conceptions, but also about objects of sense and reason; secondly, that we discover the objects by general reasoning from sense, by perfect abstraction apprehend a simple kind of object, and analyze it into subject and predicate by, not from, the principles of identity and difference, or contradiction, a posteriori; thirdly, that analytical judgements are self-evident to one who has abstracted the objects, universal without exception, and convertible; and, fourthly, that analytical judgements about objects of reason in the abstract are sometimes principles of science." Per my argument above, the PC ≠ PD, but if the PC is the divine essence, then the relation must be “outside” God’s essence, hence, creatures. A Priori Knowledge of God? That is not to say that God is proposing something contrary to reason. But then the "Son" is also not God relating to Himself, as you want to maintain. And if there is a REAL difference in the divine essence unique to each person, then per above, the essence is composed. The Son and Spirit are God because they eternally possess the fullness of the divine nature/essence/being. But once I do understand the essence of "triangle", I can go through a proof showing that the base angles of an isosceles triangle are equal, without ever having seen an isosceles triangle. But you have provided no argument to reject the Christian revelation.I am under no obligation whatsoever to refute your hallucinations. Right: "same thing" in one respect; "something else" in another respect.For you, that "something else" is the Father, but the Father is the one, undivided, simple essence of God. Maybe "2" in some sense "contains" the idea of "add", but why would we say it is contained within "1" as it is of its own self? There is some intrinsic principle that props God up and that somehow justifies your saying that the "being" of the Son is "caused" by an eternal procession, which is absurd. Can you expand them please? So whatever Aquinas means, it is probably something a little more subtle than something that a small child could point out as a contradiction.I will try to illustrate that subtlety as follows: You say that the Principle of Commonality cannot be the same as the Principle of Distinction. How can a relation exist unless the persons having the relationship are already distinct? Pure Act is explained by the fact that it is Pure Act. "One of the best contemporary writers on philosophy", Philosophers Thus person includes nature and signifies something more than nature. Indeed, manor rabbit. Instead they are multiplied by causal procession. If a metaphysical being of essence/existence composition exists (e.g. So that the human mind, therefore, might be freed from this presumption and come to a humble inquiry after truth, it was necessary that some things should be proposed to man by God that would completely surpass his intellect.I think its just a matter of humility to accept that there are some things we cannot ever know, in principle, because of our finite human understanding. It is independent of language of compiler and types of hardware. On your terms, left-ness and right-ness arise from the point on the line. "Well, our revelation is superior..." And I reply that proof by assertion is still fallacious. Can you use the Eldritch Blast cantrip on the same turn as the UA Lurker in the Deep warlock's Grasp of the Deep feature? Of course, that is pretty much what you are forced to do if you want to talk about an Infinite God. The relation is one and the same, no different than God Himself. Nothing has atributesThis conclusion do talks about what we actually know(creation), so we don't have the same dificult and can just point out that this don't make any sense.In the end, i believe we should just believe in what is revealed to us, even if we can't actually understand what is revealed, and never try to "prove" the Trinity by arguments. Following such And not only just ANY sense input, but enough sense input to allow the mind to formulate the concepts of 2, 4, +, and =. contingent and a priori would best fit into Kant's epistemological He thus exists necessarily, like the Father, and not in dependence on the free will of the Father (which he naturally fully shares with the Father).If it (the Son) has that intrinsic quality, He would not need generation from another. @Casual ThomistI am simply somebody who is analyzing trinitarian arguments in good faith. God may also grant grace to those who, while *knowingly* affirming heresies, admit that they were wrong once confronted with the reality of God Himself after death. This means that part of God's Act is to love and relate to God, hence the idea that the Son is Begotten by the Father and that the Spirit is that love manifest. Now, for the minds of mortal men to assent to these things is the greatest of miracles, just as it is a manifest work of divine inspiration that, spurning visible things, men should seek only what is invisible. "I don't buy that. Gilson's book was actually a response to those Neo-Thomists that were trying to integrate Cartesian epistemology into Thomism (and failing). At the same time I would not wish to be personally uncivil toward you or any of the good folks here.“If you are treating God like a simple math problem with easily understood finite terms, you are clearly misunderstanding something.”The OP asserts that one can reason from sense experience to the Thomistic assertion of god, including the notion of “being itself” variously stated as “existence itself”, “pure being”, and “pure existence”. So, the PC for each person is the divine essence (per Aquinas) and the relations are the PD. @David McPikeThanks for your reply. But being itself is not a mere abstraction. Or, if you simply paused to consider my rebuttal, you would see the silliness of your retort....continued... God is uncaused by definition! How do we come to know extension? And because truth cannot contradict truth, what appears to you as a contradiction, cannot in reality be so. He has looked for his keys all over the place, and not just under the lamppost, but he still can’t find them.A passerby asks him if he’s looked in his pockets, because they might have been there all along. Recall my infinite bookcase filled with alternating white and blue books. Analytic a posteriori claims are generally considered something of a paradox. "you should say: "That amounts to saying that it's really possible for F, S & HS to be distinct (in one respect) without differing (in another respect). Is it possible to reformulate the 4 categories so that sense information is built into the required knowing of concepts? And so does the Father and the Son.Of course, this reasoning does not prove the existence of subsistent relations in the Godhead. Bill would appear to be happier maybe with only one person being generated by God's essence and existence? For instance, some of them say that geometry is "not a science" because it "doesn't deal with empirical knowledge". And since the Son is also the one, undivided, simple essence of God and, per Aquinas, the relations are also one and the same and no different than the one, undivided, simple essence of God, we're back to saying that God is really having a relationship with Himself (Sabellius is still clapping). Bill wrote:According to Aquinas, “In whatever multitude of things is to be found something common to all, it is necessary to seek out the principle of distinction” (ST 1.40.2). Sometimes it's said that our perceptual faculties are fallible, so they're guilty until proven innocent; but our rational faculties are fallible as well, so this won't do. Now everybody can say "apparent contradiction" and resolve all difficulties. It can only be actualized by something other than itself, and that is God (all perfections being eminently in Him). Hey David,So in your estimation, does your interpretation of St Thomas seem true, and so you assume it is true? "However, there is no incoherence in the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity nor is it incompatible with Divine Simplicity. And that is not at all the same kind of causality that you're trying to defend because that is polytheism. Ultimately, we should investigate whether or not there are good reasons to accept the Authority if Christ and His Church (based on the historical data) and proceed from there.Pace Christi! The fact that the Jews today do not believe in the Trinity does not imply that the revelation made to the Jews did not reveal the Trinity. I mean, do you actually understand what the Incarnation means? The further constructions are genuine a priori (not dependent on the senses) elaborations of synthetic propositional knowledge from the simpler concepts. As you note, I am most sincere in my efforts to understand the arguments defending the Trinity, and I am definitely not being obstinate about it. You can make the real distinction work in that instance (God is one essence and the persons are instantiations thereof) but at the expense of monotheism.Again, you are wrong that mercy and love in God are really distinct. God’s mercy, judgment, love, etc., are REAL. Sounds like composition to me. Can the Father be caused? considerations of Kripke and others (such as Hilary Putnam), What do you think? My understanding though, is, first, given the nature of abstract forms, God is certainly more similar to an abstract form than he is to human being, given that He is immutable, unchanging, immaterial, etc.And if the relations are the essence (per Aquinas), then “Father” can be equally predicated of the Son, and “Son” can be equally predicated of the Holy Spirit. One could never close their eyes, look within, and discover that the Titanic sunk on April 15, 1912, or that water is two parts hyrdogen and one part oxygen. Lots of persons are "generated" by God's existence; they're called creatures. How is the Q and Q' determined the first time in JK flip flop? I've already stated that I'm a Thomist, so I'm quite familiar with "analogical predication.". Aquinas gave his advice on which route best serves in discussions such as these. [4] We may easily see the same point from the gradation of intellects. Note, a distinction is a difference, and if A & B are really distinct from each other, as existing beings they would have some things in common and some things uncommon. What if we were trying to explain to a 1-Dimensional being, though? You pretend to "acknowledge" this "already," then you qualify your acknowledgement, saying you'll "concede it arguendo." And that extends to each person being but a fraction of the whole, which is the opposite of what you elsewhere affirm (that each person is NOT a fraction of the whole).Well, except for all the times that God asserts the same for Christ and the Holy Spirit as well.Yes, and modalists would reply that since "Christ" is the human manifestation of God (1 Tim. . If not, then the Father has something the Son and Spirit do not have. So what IS that thing that He is? I feel like we are simply at an impasse. You and David might call this approach silly, but from my perspective, you are letting your human pride get into the way of the truth. You have no basis for refuting any competing view. In this way they necessarily point to the same object but this has been found out through the empirical evidence. Although the essence and relations (qua relations) are distinct, each relation (qua subsistent (personal) being) is really identical to the essence. I think this is rather like Kripke, for whom essences are necessary insofar as they become fixed (analytic) a posteriori, relative to our knowledge of them. The PC cannot be the PD (PC ≠ PD), for that forces us to assert that the thing which makes A & B common is the very thing that makes them different (C = ~C), which of course is a straight contradiction. The wrathful aspect of God "determined" to destroy Sodom, but God's mercy "stepped in" and said, "Let me save Lot." And if the distinction is in the relations, there is no "Father" without a "Son." "And yet the because the processions are real, the relations are real, and they are really relationally distinct. Aquinas (and I) affirms real distinctions in the way described above. I don't think God cares too much, so long as the truth of God's nature as expressed by his Church remains a part of one's understanding. Relation and divine essence are one and the same. "Pure Act is a cause of other being, but there is no cause of something uncaused, by definition. "Bill would appear to be happier maybe with only one person being generated by God's essence and existence? If he had that causality, He would not need the Father's begetting. And that cause is is that which needs no cause whatsoever because its essence is eternal Act. God's attributes being all one in Him is mind-boggling but not contradictory. Why is there a connection between Fitch's paradox and atheism/theism?It seems that analytic a posteori statement are related to notions about knowability. I'll pray for your soul and wish you the best. Created essence is a kind of cause due to potency actualization and multiplication. So it's not so much that the so-called "a priori" items are known before sense input, but that they are known because they are evident (i.e. He even warns against trying to logically prove the Trinity as a fools errand which will likely only solidify non believer's view that we are full of it on this. Since God's essence is identical with His existence, He is not an instance of a kind like we are. known only through empirical investigation). Your "it has no material cause" is gratuitously appended to make room for some immaterial cause and it contradicts your first statement. First of all, I completely agree with you when you say that a logical contradiction can not be solved with an appeal to mistery. Aquinas says something like that several times on his talk about the passions and habits when responding to the objections who use the fact that something can't be at the same time mover and moved.How does that work on the Trinity? But Pure Act is devoid of potency and multiplication, so "kind of cause" doesn't apply to its essence. Building algebraic geometry without prime ideals. 1:26, the next verse says, “So God created man in HIS own image, in the image of God created HE him; male and female created HE them.” Isaiah 44:24 says, “I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens ALONE; that spreadeth abroad the earth by MYSELF.” In fact, the creation account is given many times in the Old Testament and EVERY time God refers to himself in the first person singular (I, Me, Myself) or is referred to with the masculine singular pronouns He, Him and His. Rejecting that would mean that it is possible for A to be really distinct from B without differing in any way.According to Aquinas, “In whatever multitude of things is to be found something common to all, it is necessary to seek out the principle of distinction” (ST 1.40.2). But Aquinas says PC and PD are the same. The principle of non-contradiction is universal and transcendent - and even Fr. God is a HE not an IT. What is this "somebody else"? He's still right though. But being a “thing”, He is not a mere abstraction (even if He is not material). Analytic a posteriori judgments cannot arise, since there is never any need to appeal to experience in support of a purely explicative assertion. Bill accepts the authority of scripture but interprets it differently. But of course, that is not true in the case of the Trinity. Analytic a priori, 2. Hence, the angel is not able, by means of his natural knowledge, to grasp all the things that God understands in Himself; nor is the human reason sufficient to grasp all the things that the angel understands through his own natural power. Pure Act is a cause of other being, but there is no cause of something uncaused, by definition.You're insisting that Pure Form is caused because contingent form is caused. *Nature: Shared in common. And if we insist that they are nonetheless "fully God," then there must be something in addition to divine essence to set the Father apart from the other two. Doesn't Saul Kripke argue for analytic a posteriori truths also? He must throw away the ladder, so to speak, after he has climbed up. @Bill:Aseity is not a "presupposition." Scott, thanks for the little lesson on relations, but it was unnecessary because I’m quite familiar with it. Let's try to sort through your claims. 开一个生日会 explanation as to why 开 is used here? Perhaps they've already been made, but so far I've yet to see them. Do you think this person would be able to grasp the concept of a body? Modalism empties out the content of the faith and the declarations of Christ. And it doesn't help matters when the attempt is made to pat things into place by appealing to God's ineffable essence. However, some modern critics like Stephen Palmquist have argued that in fact philosophy requires these aposterior analytic claims to function in its characteristic 'hypothetical' mode: To begin with, the impossibility of analytic a posteriori knowledge is generally considered to be 'quite evident' [P5:182-3]: indeed, it is a nonsensical contradiction in terms for those who equate 'analytic' and 'a priori' [see Ap. So I am not implying that God is material. Asking for help, clarification, or responding to other answers. Historically speaking, I think the councils were looking at which position most aligned with scripture and tradition. I wonder how you square the apparent contradictions there, but we can stay on topic.Regarding the predicates of the Persons of the Trinity, as Bill Clinton famously said, it depends on what “is” means. I cannot imagine what it is like to be part of the Trinity. Thank you. Does it assume that concepts are known without regard to sense information? I also sometimes pray to the Father directly. Modalism makes sock puppets out of them! So the personal essence/being of the Father (IOW, God the Father tout court) causes (generates) the personal essence/being of the Son, etc. I see no reason why there could not be a being with three selves. But it shows that the alleged contradiction is not a contradiction at all.That's what I had to say. Otherwise, God is really and actually generating another God with the "exact" essence as the generator (a metaphysical Xeroxing). Obviously, no one who insists on telling God to His face that He is lying about His own nature will get into heaven, but surely that's more a matter of them refusing to see reason and insisting on having reality bow to their own wishes than a matter of a misunderstanding somehow keeping them from heaven. Conceding arguendo what you say about causality, the intrinsic principle that makes God God is different than the cause that generates the being of the Son, else the divine essence too would need a similar generation.But if God the Son's being is dependent on eternal generation, then what generates is either the same thing or something else. Let me transcribe the objection and Aquinas' reply.Summa Theologiae:"Objection 1: It would seem that the divine relations are not really distinguished from each other. You're just being stubborn and silly at this point. I would say the contradictions are only apparent because we have no direct experience of infinity or what God's substance is like. The Son receives and has sufficient causality to explain both what he is and that he is, because he receives the fullness of the very being/essence of the Father. If the latter, you have what you say you don’t have.All Modalists deny REAL distinctions in the Godhead. As I’ve told you repeatedly, what you say is what a modalist theologian would say, and you’ve yet to show me what the difference is.My two cents: What you say isn’t what you think. :). But the intellect of an angel surpasses the human intellect much more than the intellect of the greatest philosopher surpasses the intellect of the most uncultivated simple person; for the distance between the best philosopher and a simple person is contained within the limits of the human species, which the angelic intellect surpasses. Empirical facts are a form/matter compound of concepts and sensory intuitions. David McPike,We need to be careful to not confuse vocabulary with the concepts they represent. Bill can only be certain of his declarations of contradictions if he is treating the notion of person univocally. Well it appears that whatever the infinite and eternal Divine Act is, it is this wholly threefold act of procession. It's the prime example of his famous synthetic a priori. Thus, there are the wonderful cures of illnesses, there is the raising of the dead, and the wonderful immutation in the heavenly bodies; and what is more wonderful, there is the inspiration given to human minds, so that simple and untutored persons, filled with the gift of the Holy Spirit, come to possess instantaneously the highest wisdom and the readiest eloquence. I am not sure which distinctions you are referring to. Moreover, God's "being" is not an IT. To say that God is a se is to deny of God an imperfection that pertains to all creatures. So, no. The revelation as expressed in/by Christ forms the content. That of course can be resolved if the difference is merely logical. If you understand "four ones", you also understand "two and another two", even if you don't yet express that under the more abstracted terms of addition. Standing-O. A priori propositions are those knowable independently of sensory experience. Yes, I realize that the OP makes clear that Dr. Feser considers himself among the learned who are able to have “reasoned from the existence of the things of our experience” to “being itself”.When I work a long math problem and at the end I arrive at the profound conclusion that 1=0 I do what most reasonable people do, realize that the fact I have reached an incoherent conclusion indicates that I made a mistake in my prior reasoning. God is something of which all other being is derived. "St Thomas means you have to be able to show the error in arguments against the faith, such as Bill's. They are relations that subsist. must always continue to be caused for as long as it exists.) 19:4, “Have ye not read, that HE which made them in the beginning made them male and female.” God is one person, not three. So, no. You have to start with the data of faith first, then work your way towards understanding how that data might be explained in a logically coherent way. How do we know what bodies are? The essence of the line is to have infinite length. (Last note: I hope I didn't 'chastise' Daniel, I just tried to point out some problems with his argument. @Bill:And if God is revealing Himself as Son, the reason is God's eternal redemptive plan. But thank you for your charitable discussion. It seems like that if we could have a situation where a “PD” is (in some us of the word) a PC, then we would have an out. So, there must be something about A that differs from B in order to be really distinct, and that something is the PD. These real relations are the real distinctions of three Persons of the Godhead. But there is a virtual difference between them: the end of the past is a terminal point and the beggining of the future is a starting point. Stack Exchange network consists of 176 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers. God simply is. As I've stated several times now, there's nothing especially "trinitarian" about that.I truly don't see how the above avoids the inversion roadblock. The principle of non-contradiction is universal and transcendentI wanted to clarify that I did not agreed with Bill that there was a logical contradiction, only that there was an apparent contradiction. However, I have read less on that. To argue otherwise is to assert that it is possible for A to differ from B without differing in any way.It does not matter where the point in the line is because the line is of infinite length, and thus spans the entire length of the line.Ah, but "left" does not span the entire length of the line (nor does "right"). So if you must take it that way, then I have to respect your decision. Instead, the relation is a different one. As Mister Geocon points out, analytic a posteriori doesn’t jive well with modern epistemology. I've seen many of these discussions disintegrate into knock-down, drag-out brawls. The very thing that makes them alike cannot be the thing that makes them different. You may well believe in hopes of understanding, but if understanding fails (or concludes that a belief is irrational) then belief is no longer possible, or at least not reasonable, and so you are left with voluntarism and the will to power. Whatever He is as it turns out, is a self-relational yet simple entity. Obviously if one disputes this interpretation, then it could be argued that believing there has to be a way in which we can say that God is perfectly simple and yet three persons without contradiction is special pleading. Maybe you understand that too, abstractly, sometimes; but if so, I think it might help if you stopped putting the doctrine in an obviously obfuscated way.I put a lot of options on the table in order to avoid putting words in your mouth, so I'll dispense with all of that and stop the "obfuscation." Logical contradictions don't clear anything up. Hence in the same place he says that although action is the same as motion, and likewise passion; still it does not follow that action and passion are the same; because action implies reference as of something "from which" there is motion in the thing moved; whereas passion implies reference as of something "which is from" another. I hope you don't take it in the spirit of a personal attack. I can see the truth of the principle of non-contradiction a priori, but only insofar as I know the meaning of the words, and I didn't learn the meaning of the words by a priori reasoning or i sight, but by my extended experiences in a community of speakers, etc. No difference. We cannot argue that God is simple while our definition asserts that He is composite. Instead you've replaced it with something that shows, as I said before, that you don't understand the essence/being distinction. The The PC cannot be the PD on pain of contradiction, but that appears to be what you are arguing. Bookcase A has alternating rows of white and blue books whereas Bookcase B has nothing but white books. Perhaps, the Synthetic process of intuition, is the closest thing to a-priori, but that is only implicitly independent of previous knowledge. Analytic a posteriori. http://books.google.com/books?id=04CSCh06t0MC&lpg=PP1&pg=PA102#v=onepage&q=hesperus&f=false, the Wikipedia article "A priori and a posteriori", “Question closed” notifications experiment results and graduation, MAINTENANCE WARNING: Possible downtime early morning Dec 2, 4, and 9 UTC…. I don't believe that and I think Aquinas did not either. I'm curious why you think I badly misunderstood that. You write: But it isn't the essence considered as essence, that makes the distinctness intelligible to us, it is the essence considered as cause......So the cause of the processions of the persons is most certainly the (concrete) essence, considered as real cause, not just as (intrinsic) essence (i.e., considered through the mode of intelligibility we signify by the term 'essence').So, the essence causes three somethings (I don't mean that disrespectfully) and these three somethings are actually and completely the essence. This may seem similar but it is distinct from the analytic-synthetic question (which again is about whether the subject contains the predicate or not); note that many a priori claims are also synthetic. Your, "If the Son fully receive and thus fully possesses the divine nature, then He is indeed God, by definition" is akin to saying, "If God creates another God, then the other being is God by definition!" Please do explain. Your description reduces to God relating to God. This of course yields a straight contradiction: The divine essence cannot be identical with the relations (per above) and the essence is identical with the relations. @Daniel:Let's think about but St Thomas says: Another benefit that comes from the revelation to men of truths that exceed the reason is the curbing of presumption, which is the mother of error. And when you tell me that said belief is something on par with square circles and married bachelors, then I'm also correct to say that you're telling me to believe something unintelligible.When you attempt to resolve the very clear contradiction by appealing to a zone beyond which reason can reach, I can also rightly reply that any "ism" can claim the same. Modalists claim the same thing, so there's no difference between the two on that score. However, the left-ness and right-ness of the line are really opposed to each other and stand in a real relation to each other. Simply by the way we have defined the words "body" and "extension". So, we have either flat inversions or nothing that sets the DT apart from modalism or Arianism.If it is pressed that the essence itself contains real distinctions, so that there is an aspect of the essence unique to each person, then we have composition defined.Your comments about love being the object of another appear to be question-begging. This is tricky. who relates to Himself in three different ways, then you're affirming modalism, not the Trinity.At bottom, I don't think the very good argument you present here at all applies to the Trinity. Bill June 12, 2020 at 7:53 AM“God is not an abstract; He is a living being, or Being Itself.”The term “being itself” is incoherent. This is the result of the combination of essence and existence. First to Christ, then the magisterium he setup, then the evidence from tradition and authoritative councils and the like. These two distinctions form four types of knowledge: Kant thought analytic a posteriori is self-contradictory. Hubris? For if there is any aspect of the essence unique to a person, then the whole is dependent on the parts. I would only be "begging the question" in that regard if I were articulating a defense of modalism. The point is not the line's essence; its essence is to simply be infinite. That's a metaphysical principle that is inviolable. If the justification for a claim depends also on verifying the particular condition of a thing (on particular (not universal) "empirical facts"), then it's a posteriori. A proposition that is It is fundamentally about what God is not, not what God is (God's essence). I will take that under advisement. The distinction between a priori and a posteriori is closely related to the distinctions between analytic/synthetic and necessary/contingent. Perspective: (I) Mathematics, Method and Pure Intuition", The Review Again, that's not true. Once your intellect has the concepts and their meanings, it can learn new truths a priori. Your assuming the very point in question (something I think you'll vehemently deny). Their answers to that question on the end show that this would be completely irrational, but a complete skeptic would probably insist that it is still possible to doubt.Of course, it is probably a waste of time to argue with someone like that, but some people act this way if they see a conclusion they don't like. That’s NOT something a modalist will deny. At least on issues like the proper understanding of the Trinity. As I have said above, the Trinity is not a simple math problem where you can easily understand all of the terms and predicates and then realize a clear contradiction is being made. the conclusion of Fitch’s paradox of knowability (not all truth can be known even in principle) is true. But trinitarians insist that the distinction in attributes isn’t the same as the distinction in persons. When you feel the love of God are you simultaneously feeling His wrath? So how can you so confidently affirm that one, two, or three persons in God constitutes composition in the essence? So cause may mean "reason" or "explanation" for an act. Granted the essence of gold, it is not contingent whether its density is Y and its electrical conductance is Z. Tony,I read you post on numbers, and it was interesting and thought-provoking. You write: So, the essence causes three somethings (I don't mean that disrespectfully) and these three somethings are actually and completely the essence. God is HE.So you can't say: "the divine nature causes processions to take place," unless you understand it concretely to mean "the divine nature fully possessed by the Father generates the divine nature fully possessed by the Son," etc. Aquinas (and I) affirms real distinctions in the way described above. What if the unknowable intrinsic essence of God can produce other Gods? @David McPike, you write:...when you talk about the essence as if it were (according to anything that I've said or anything contained in DT) an entity in itself, which apart from/prior to the being of any of the persons could from itself (from its own being) cause the being of the three persons.I've always understood the essence of God to be the being of God, and I've argued from the first that the PC is the essence. If you want to appeal to scripture, okay, but is that going to be an easier argument? The edifice that holds the Catholic teaching up is the Bible in combination with magisterial teachings expressed in councils and papal proclamations, and the witness of tradition. On the otger hand, I would never want to argue with them in the first place. If we have nothing but PC, then A = B, the labels 'A' and 'B' are then nominal, not actual (real) distinctions. The existence of analytic a posteriori, the existence of knowledge that is empirical and self-evident, completely destroys most of modern epistemology.Aquinas wrote about these men when he said "For these sophists desire that demonstrative arguments should be given for all things; for it is obvious that they wanted to take some starting point which would be for them a kind of rule whereby they could distinguish between those who are healthy and those who are ill, and between those who are awake and those who are asleep. Thus, Thomism solves nothing.We start out realizing that the nobody understands the ultimate explanation for all that exists in our sense experience, then we apply Thomism, only to arrive at the conclusion that nobody understands the ultimate explanation for all that exists.Why do Thomists seem to think they have solved a problem when all they have done is stated that the "solution" to the unknown is unknowable? And again, "6+6" is not actually intrinsic to "12"; therefore "6+6=12" is a synthetic proposition. How, then, is what you believe different from modalism?If you argue for modalism and call it the Trinity, there's nothing to "rebut."

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