Instead they are multiplied by causal procession. You pretend to "acknowledge" this "already," then you qualify your acknowledgement, saying you'll "concede it arguendo." If you apply the same language to the persons of the Trinity (F, S & HS), then you have modalism. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Service. Then at others you forget about it, as 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. Asking for help, clarification, or responding to other answers. What would you consider the argument for analytic? Left and right are different because of the point. Thanks, Daniel. ), 100% agreed! must always continue to be caused for as long as it exists.) I will take that under advisement. It does, however, play a role in philosophical interpretations of mathematically formulated theories. So, an analytic proposition is 'inherent' in a way that isn't the case for a synthetic proposition. Of course even that breaks down because of the essence/existence distinction.The point is, God actually IS something. I feel like you are reading modernist assumptions into the Trinity.All Modalists deny REAL distinctions in the Godhead. 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. Tony,Somehow my reply on the essence of gold was cut off. It is simply how it "works" from our perspective.Aquinas makes it clear that a relation IS the divine essence, and since the essence is not and cannot be divided, the distinction is only in "our mode of intelligibility" or as it is sensible to man. David McPike,Again, I'm curious how you define the concept of "4" in a manner that is not basically "2 + 2" or "3 + 1".Do you think that "4" is an undefined concept? Formal causality is clearly a 'cause' in one of the classical senses of 'cause.' Also Bill, with respect to what I said before about your a priori conception of aseity, the problem is that 'assets' is indeed an a posteriori concept (and potentially doubly a posteriori, derived from knowledge of creatures and of revelation), but you're effectively forgetting that and treating it as if it was a priori. These attributes are "alike" in one respect in that they are wholly identified with God, but they are "different" in another respect due to their "operation," but there is no REAL difference in God's essence with respect to those attributes. I think I'm understanding quite well that you said I said something that I didn't say. And if we're discussing three persons of the divine essence, we have three Gods. Why must love always be directed toward another? Now, that either means that God loves Himself or it means that the act of love is a personal relationship between two minds. That's an automatic contradictio in terminis. Right, but what exactly does that mean? The person adds to the nature the very act of existing. He is not one part love, one part mercy, one part judgment, etc. But is that the only thing we can know about God's essence? @David McPikeWithin the Aristotelian tradition, 'cause' means 'what is required to understand/explain a thing.' What are examples of analytic a posteriori knowledge? Saint Thomas answers this objection twice - in the Summa Theologiae and in De Potentia. That is not, however, what you are saying. Again, Paul's message was believed partly because he had this authority to back him up. Relativism 101. 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. 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. Nonetheless, the divine nature causes processions to take place, and the processions are the relations, but the relations are the divine essence of which everything in the divine essence can be predicated. That would make the Father a composite of divinity and aseity (D + A). We cannot argue that God is simple while our definition asserts that He is composite. If we can't define the two beliefs in a way that shows exactly how they contradict each other, this discussion won't end. They are merely logically distinct. The divine intellect surpasses the angelic intellect much more than the angelic surpasses the human. The distinctions are of the whole self with the whole self. @Bill:The relation is the divine essence, so of course it's real. But no one will come to believe in the Trinity via these arguments! You never said, but you (evidently unwittingly) implied.And if you bothered to follow my arguments as closely as you want me to follow yours, you would have understood that. Though there are an infinite number of blue books, they are not the whole bookcase. The specific sense to be assigned to 'aseity,' then, follows from the mode of argument from which it is derived. But to say that Pure Act has no formal cause is to say it is not Pure Act, but Pure Unintelligibility, or Pure Nothingness. Arguing that an uncaused cause can be caused is turning language on its head, and no amount of "revelation" can undo that obvious contradiction. Google Scholar Przel@cki, M. and Wójcicki, R 1977, `The Problem of Analyticity’, in Przel@cki and Wójcicki, 1977a, pp. So God’s judgment demanded the destruction of Sodom and its inhabitants, but His mercy also acted to save Lot and his family. Talmid,"...God(as thomism understand) is impossible because the idea of a omnipotent mind(or even any mind) that is absolutely simple is a incoherent idea. They affirm merely logical distinctions. It follows that no rational argument purporting to disprove an article of faith can be sound and all such arguments are rationally refutable, i.e., they can be shown to be unsound; and this is true notwithstanding that articles of faith are not rationally provable (i.e., through the use of reason alone, apart from revelation). Bill would appear to be happier maybe with only one person being generated by God's essence and existence? If there is any aspect of the Godhead that is unique to a person, then the Godhead is composed. I claimed that a real distinction in the essence is composition defined. If not, then how can you be so certain that you can posit a logical contradiction? Since God's essence is identical with His existence, He is not an instance of a kind like we are. Consider Kant's own example of a synthetic proposition: "all bodies are heavy." Once I know the meaning of the words, the concepts, etc., I am able to learn new truths simply by "rational insight". I very much appreciate the good spirit and interchange of views, even on such a fundamental issue.I wish you well on your journey, and perhaps we'll interact again on a more agreeable subject.All the best. Why do you think its being identical to existence would change this? Hey David, I disagree. As a thomistic theist, you agree with me that this is not true and only works if you read "mind" or "simplicity" as what these worlds means when they describe things on this material world. No. "Receiving" divinity would be laughable if you weren't so serious. But considering these are transcendental concepts, that is going to be very difficult to do. @Feser: A synthetic proposition is true by virtue of something beyond the relations between its constituent concepts.This is not quite right. :)Cheers,Daniel. In the human person, this flesh is substantially united to this soul. I would hold with Aquinas that to love is to will the good of the other. You can't just say, "It's an incomprehensible mystery so I don't need to explain to you why it's not a straight contradiction (i.e., nonsense, from the standpoint of natural reason). Are there any estimates for cost of manufacturing second if first JWST fails? At this point then, the arguments that have been developed here will take on more force. Your assuming the very point in question (something I think you'll vehemently deny).What I believe is not specifically the point in question. I think you're badly misunderstanding the essence/being distinction. I as a human have one nature and one self. God is something of which all other being is derived. So, the relational distinctions are in the divine essence. I imagine, from a strictly experiential perspective, I am sometimes showing Arian or Sabellian tendencies. Hubris? If you deny a real distinction in the essence, that God is merely having relations with Himself and calls those relations by different names (Father, Son & Holy Spirit), that again is no different from what a modalist claims. "Four ones" is equal to "2+2" and "3+1" but obviously conceptually distinct from them. From the interview I gather that the book is a discussion of philosophy’s historical vacillation between types of irrational fideism (Greek mythology for one example, or Protestant Sola Scriptura for another) and various types of hard physicalism (from the four classical elements to modern materialism)—neither extreme satisfies. If everything can be predicated of the Son that can be predicated of the divine essence, then F, S & HS are but functional distinctions of the one Person of God (modalism). But if you insist that the being of God generated a "relation," and by virtue of that generation a "real" relationship exists between the generator and the generated, and you also say that what is generated is one and the same with the generator (Father=divine essence, Son=divine essence), then again, all you are saying is that God relates to Himself.You are assuming Himself here. There is no real distinction between each limit and f(1)=4. Daniel, I didn't miss the second part. So, no. If he had that causality, He would not need the Father's begetting. These would follow from it as "contained within" the (complete) idea of gold. 1) Explain A Priori vs A Posteriori & Practice Activities. As he goes on to say in that same lecture, wanting a demonstration for everything leads to an infinite regress. As Mister Geocon points out, analytic a posteriori doesn’t jive well with modern epistemology. Basic terminology has evolved through time and church councils, but if Bill does not even accept those, then don't expect to make any progress with him on those fronts. Friends, Are We Not Philosophers: Is This Place a Bazaar or a Cathedral? The revelation as expressed in/by Christ forms the content. But I accept that they are somehow united, based on the authoritative teachings of the church and the words of Christ. Well it appears that whatever the infinite and eternal Divine Act is, it is this wholly threefold act of procession. But this doesn't really answer the question. There is, however, an analogy. That is obviously contradictory. For me though, the incarnation is sort of emptied of its meaning if either of those alternatives are true. If you are treating God like a simple math problem with easily understood finite terms, you are clearly misunderstanding something.As for “being itself”, really that means the fullness of being. Yes there are real distinctions in the Godhead, but we already know before investigating revelation (from natural theology) that any category that we predicate of God (being, relation, etc.) 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. Pure Act is explained by the fact that it is Pure Act. There are no Analytic a posteriori statements. Also, I believe the best method to prove the doctrine of the Trinity is via revelation, which seems beyond the scope of this blog. We have 3, 30, 3,000, 3,000,000, etc. @David McPikeThanks for your reply. "The LORD, he is God, and there is none else." or (b) completely surpass the ability of his unaided reason to positively ascertain apart from the assistance of grace and revelation? In fact, I would see such a submission of his intellect to the data of faith as a movement of grace in his life. other, self-evident in itself, and to us. I never said that the essence causes three somethings. 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. As we all know by now, the intricacies of God’s essence are beyond the reach of human reason, so though you see an inconsistency between Jewish teaching and the Bible, it’s only due to your failure to see God’s higher level of existence. He revealed what was true about himself through Jesus Christ, such that our faith in Christ Jesus is the primary reason why we believe in the Holy Trinity. Instead, the relation is a different one. We believe He does so because God who is truth is in reality Trinity in Unity.Moreover, if the Son and Spirit are "caused," then how can they be God? Finally, it is less than clear to me that when you understand the essence of the "base" number (especially if it is "1"), that "add" is intrinsic to it rather than an extrinsic thing that we APPLY to the number. We can all agree that Pure Act is far higher than our human minds can comprehend, but that's a far cry from Pure Act needing a cause. When we speak of the trinity, the divine person is an individual substance of a rational nature, but in a manner profoundly different from human persons and angels. If the former, you have modalism or Arianism; if the latter, you have a straight contradiction.For me, modalism is clearly superior because it affirms strict monotheism and the full deity of Jesus without any contradiction. How can one understand what a body without experiencing the world? Go ahead and tell me that you talk to aliens from Mars. But of course within the domain of logic, the term is a term of art with a more specific meaning, so it is misleading/confusing if you ignore that specific meaning when (apparently) using the term within that specific domain. What a lucky find! Of course, that is pretty much what you are forced to do if you want to talk about an Infinite God. Modalism makes sock puppets out of them! That was much harder. 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. It is logically deduced from a posteriori arguments for God's existence.Excellent observation. Is it worth getting a mortgage with early repayment or an offset mortgage? @Bill,You're definitely into a lot of straight question-begging here. Perhaps you can do so, but it is very easy that, being a non-expert, you are making a subtle mistake in your thinking, which seems to be evident.I am not saying that to shut down the discussion. Thus, no matter which point you pick (or if you pick no point at all) you can consider the left-handedness of the line and the right-handedness (so at a point to the right of your “dividing” point you can still consider the line as left handed insofar as it is tending toward the left, etc. God has relations with Himself, which neither modalists nor Arians deny, but trinitarians cannot accept that. Can you expand them please? So, e.g., the Son is essentially caused by the uncaused causality of the inner processions of the Trinity. But if God is Pure Act then He is Pure Intelligibility and Pure Form. 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. And if the distinction is in the relations, there is no "Father" without a "Son." Thus the person includes the nature and signifies something more than the nature. My worry is that our concepts of unity, relations, composition etc are taken from the material world, who can't even dream of holding a candle to God, so our language when we talk about The Lord turns into a bunch of analogies that are actually easier to follow apophaticism, so our language of analogy can trick us if we get distracted.To give you a example, a poster here tried to argue several times that God(as thomism understand) is impossible because the idea of a omnipotent mind(or even any mind) that is absolutely simple is a incoherent idea. As I've been told above, 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.The essence is not something distinct which causes the three Persons. I am sure you are familiar with the Athanasian Shield. We are certainly commanded to love one another as we love ourselves, but if self-love is illegitimate, why are we commanded to love others likewise? If a finite human can have relations with himself, surely God is able to as well. The essence and being of God are one. Obviously Divine Mysteries, being manifestations of the infinite power of God, are always going to be beyond our comprehension, so while these objections are important to consider, we must always be careful to note the limitations of our own reason. And we would have no knowledge whatsoever of the Holy Spirit without his telling his disciples that he would send the Holy Spirit to them. Welcome to begging the question!And this again shows that you're not paying attention. 589–614. Adding a smart switch to a box originally containing two single-pole switches, Panshin's "savage review" of World of Ptavvs. Synthetic a posteriori. The principle of distinction in your analogy is the placement of the point (pt), whereas the principle of commonality is the infinite line (IL). 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. (Why is Sabellius clapping? 'Cause' is obviously a word with multiple significations, so when you use the word 'cause' to derive supposed contradictions you better check yourself and see if you aren't equivocating. The Son receives the fullness of the divine nature as proceeding from the Father, and this receiving is what distinguishes him from the Father. And that's not "begging the question" because that's the logical extension of your terminology.On the other hand, if you insist that there is an aspect of the divine essence unique to each person, then it follows (not begging the question), that the essence is composed (as I've argued above). Brilliant people also make mistakes so I do not take the opinion of brilliant people at face value. 1. Created essence is a kind of cause due to potency actualization and multiplication. Ge. Terrific as ever.Of the five arguments you defend in your most recent book on the existence of God, four of them use analytic a posteriori logic (the cosmological arguments). Is that what we are saying? And, to be honest, I think this is the case for 99.99% of folks out there. The concept "4" appears nowhere in the concept "2+2". So it is not a subjective distinction but a real distinction of direction.Stardust,I think you are being incredibly uncharitable. But ontologically speaking, they are not “parts” of God, for God simply IS mercy and love. So, I would sy we could predict these properties from the essence of gold as a whole.On the other hand, if you want to say every lump of gold has a distinct essence, and we could use the essence of each lump to predict the properties of that lump, that's possible. But these are all details that don't get in the way of my a priori knowledge, even if they were necessary conditions. It is not meant that way. Aquinas states that the relations ARE the divine essence, and that the relations are really distinct. "And God said: 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...' " "The Lord appeared to Abraham near the large trees of Mamre. From what I gather, it's the latter. God's attributes being all one in Him is mind-boggling but not contradictory. 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. All that I have written appears to be as so much straw after the things that have been revealed to me. Brahman has no atributesThese entail3. It follows that no rational argument purporting to disprove an article of faith can be sound and all such arguments are rationally refutable, i.e., they can be shown to be unsound; and this is true notwithstanding that articles of faith are not rationally provable (i.e., through the use of reason alone, apart from revelation).Yes, but.... some means are better than others. I am still learning. 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). You are saying that relation MUST be between one part and another part, one individual and another individual, or one species and another species or some combination therein.But why is it impossible for a whole substance to be related to itself? - but by a necessity known to us a posteriori, on the basis of revelation) has it necessarily, not contingently as in the case of creatures.This "intrinsic causality" is not the Son's precisely because He is eternally receiving it from the Father. Interestingly enough, I had a similar conversation on another thread a few months ago, but this appeal is substantively no different than what we've been arguing here. God “functions” as Creator, Redeemer and Regenerator and they are all real distinct categories, but at bottom God is one undivided essence acting in myriad ways.All attributes of the Divine Essence can be equally predicated of any of the three Persons.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. The a priori/a posteriori distinction, used by Kant, plays no role in mathematics. For if there is an aspect of the essence unique to each person, where the Father "ends" and the Son "begins," then you must affirm composition. That sounds like modalism to me. There are not two lines, but only one line.Granted, this is an analogy, so it is not perfectly sufficient, but does it help you understand how the Principle of Commonality can be the Principle of Distinction for an infinite substance? Or perhaps no person at all? aprioricity from that of necessity and analyticity. @David McPikeThank you for your posts and for your charitable analysis of my posts. 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. How do we know what bodies are? The "Son," by your account, is God relating to creation, or perhaps better, God's means of relating creation to Himself. If you like; except that that generated essence is the divine essence, which is identical to the divine being, so that the one generated fully shares the being/essence of the one generating and is only differentiated relationally, through the truly, divinely eternal act of generation intrinsic to the divine life.And that is not at all the same kind of causality that you're trying to defend because that is polytheism.No, actually that's Christianity, a form of monotheism.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. He elsewhere states that “the relations themselves are not to be distinguished from each other so far as they are identified with the essence” (ST 1.39.1). and 4 are relatively unremarkable. Transcendental concepts like being, one, etc. "And yet the because the processions are real, the relations are real, and they are really relationally distinct. I would consider idiomatic communication, such as the usage of prepositions, to be a good example. If you want to appeal to scripture, okay, but is that going to be an easier argument? It is a metaphysical principle that all things caused are actualized by something that cannot be caused. Relativism 101This is a question of revelation. @Casual ThomistHello! I take it that "synthetic" propositions, properly, related to propositions that might be true or might be not true, because they are contingent: you can't know whether X or not-X is true except by factual verification, because X could have happened or not-X could have happened. Now of course that can be broken up into form matter distinction which is why the analogy is imperfect. It just isn't caused by anything extrinsic to itself. Can the automatic damage from the Witch Bolt spell be repeatedly activated using an Order of Scribes wizard's Manifest Mind feature? In short, authority is an essential part of how the faith was and still is propagated. Modalists deny that there can be such a real relation between the whole essence and the whole essence. Which of the four inner planets has the strongest magnetic field, Mars, Mercury, Venus, or Earth? God bless!Daniel, @Daniel:I pretty much agree with all that. And to say that Pure Act needs to be actualized is to deny the existence of Pure Act. But enough must be articulated to enable me to understand what I am affirming, and I definitely cannot understand what I'm affirming if I am uttering a contradiction. If two things are the same with each other, where one is there is the other. 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. As we know, the DT asserts real relations and it's only the relations that are distinct. For there are some who have such a presumptuous opinion of their own ability that they deem themselves able to measure the nature of everything; I mean to say that, in their estimation, everything is true that seems to them so, and everything is false that does not. For example, his comments on divine simplicity are of this sort. You and I can be happy about that because we now exist.But if you insist that the being of God generated a "relation," and by virtue of that generation a "real" relationship exists between the generator and the generated, and you also say that what is generated is one and the same with the generator (Father=divine essence, Son=divine essence), then again, all you are saying is that God relates to Himself.On the other hand, if you insist that the generated has a personal identity akin to an alter ego (something I think you'll vehemently deny), then all you're saying is that God has multiple modes of revelation which again is modalism. You are free to pose your objections, and they are welcome here. I am not sure which distinctions you are referring to. If it (the Son) has that intrinsic quality, He would not need generation from another. If it is unactualized, it is because it is already act; there is no potency to actualize. It would have to because that's nothing but self-causation in drag. Why does Russell's writing suggest that Kant was right about mathematics being synthetic a priori? It at least has the luxury of being free from the logical impossibilities of three really different persons who are not really different. To say that there is no cause whatsoever in Pure Act, including no intrinsic cause, is to say that there is no essence/being whatsoever in Pure Act; and so the truth is that God is nothing. rev 2020.12.2.38097, The best answers are voted up and rise to the top, Philosophy Stack Exchange works best with JavaScript enabled, Start here for a quick overview of the site, Detailed answers to any questions you might have, Discuss the workings and policies of this site, Learn more about Stack Overflow the company, Learn more about hiring developers or posting ads with us. -- but that would require a lot of retractions on your part).Another way of putting this: if the "Son" is eternal in the sense in which the redemptive plan is eternal since the eternal plan requires the "Son," then creation is eternal in the same sense as the "Son," since the eternal plan of redemption requires creation no less than it requires the "Son." Trinitarian scholars who deny this "eternal procession" have noticed the same thing. That strikes me as an absurdly ignorant claim. Relations do not exist in God's substance but are identical with the divine substance (just like His attributes---God does not have justice, He is justice). of Metaphysics 41:1 (September 1987), pp.3-22. 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. Real relations possess two aspects: It exists, not just conceptually, but in reality of things. 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. I'm using inversion in the sense of opposite, meaning that the logical extension of some of his arguments are the opposite of what he intended....the being of the essence and the being of the relation are one and the same.Of course.I think it might allay your confusion if you amended this to say: "The very thing that 'makes' (in the same respect (ITSR)) them 'alike' (ITSR) cannot be the thing that 'makes' (ITSR) them 'different' (ITSR). 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. The principle of commonality (PC) is what makes them the same, and if we only have PC, there can be no real difference between F & S (except a nominal one). It reveals its own presence, as well as the truth of its teaching and inspiration, by fitting arguments; and in order to confirm those truths that exceed natural knowledge, it gives visible manifestation to works that surpass the ability of all nature. But that does not mean there is not left and right on the line as you could stand on the line and begin walking to the left. His being is continually being generated, thus His existence is dependent on this eternal begetting else He would not exist.But the Son has that intrinsic causality because he has it from another; and remember that he (necessarily! He is not one part love, one part mercy, one part judgment, etc. Any teacher of any sort would need to show me where and why I was wrong and what the correct process of reasoning is and why that process of reasoning is correct. The reasons God cannot be reasoned from sense experience or god can be reasoned from sense experience?Thomism only concludes that by reasoning from sense experience there must be a real existence of some sort that is impossible for us to understand. The left-ness of the line is not the right-ness of the line.4. That's the only way I can make sense of your appeal to relations. Modalists deny that there can be such a real relation between the whole essence and the whole essence.I don’t know why you’re insisting that that’s what modalists deny because when you cash it out, as I’ve said numerous times, you’re simply saying that God relates to Himself in distinct ways. Those distinctions were used by Kant to ask one of the most important questions in the history of epistemology—namely, whether a priori synthetic judgments are possible ( see below Modern philosophy: Immanuel Kant ). The detour through intuition is necessary to see the relationship between "2+2" and "4". You have a single string with a structural relationship to itself. First, let's recall that an analytic proposition's truth is entirely a function of its meaning -- "all widows were once married" is a simple example; certain claims about mathematical objects also fit here ("a pentagon has five sides.") Welcome to modalism.If you wish, you can indeed say to the Trinitarian: "the one who is the Father is also the son; therefore modalism." That's what I earlier referred to as saying one thing on paper and thinking something else. What is this "somebody else"? What's he listening to?). So indeed, hylemorphic composition is not part of how the divine persons are multiplied. Such is the case with a very simple person who cannot at all grasp the subtle speculations of philosophy. An uncaused cause still has an essence, so an uncaused cause is still caused.Essence in creatures is something we abstract from beings in identifying them in particular categories. Why must love always be directed toward another? The two men with the Lord were the angels that continued to Sodom to bring Lot and his family out prior to said city’s destruction.You don’t know me, so there’s no reason for you to take my word for it. 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…. Based on my (incredibly limited and subpar) understanding of Fitch's paradox, it seems like you have to assume the nonexistence of God in order for it to work, given that in God you have the Essence of To Be Itself, where existence just IS the same thing as its knowing. The true teaching of Christ and his church was settled during this time and a philosophical vocabulary developed to deal with many of these controversies. Who is the Father loving, Daniel? The incoherency of each is found by analyzing the meanings of the words.“Being” refers to existence, or can be used as a synonym for existence, or in the sense of a state of being, meaning a state of existence, something real, what is, reality, or the antithesis of a philosophical absolutely nothing at all.A dichotomy then becomes apparent, that of something versus nothing. Will grooves on seatpost cause rusting inside frame? My knowledge of her as her husband relates to the counsel that I give her as her pastor, yet I remain one person.When I’m alone and trying to think things through, the chess player in me will relate to the father in me which helps me to solve a developing situation with my children. @TalmidHello again! But, some philosophers (e.g. Garrigou Lagrange, commenting on this issue, says:"[...] This is the same as saying that this axiom does not apply to God. 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. David McPike,"Pure Form"...is an incoherent term.What is the form in "pure form of? the same thing, they are identical in every possible world, and truths The relation is one and the same, no different than God Himself. real distinction! I believe relations in the Godhead are sui generis. I hope it's not all just a rehash.But if God the Son's being is dependent on eternal generation, then what generates is either the same thing or something else. Of course, because ideas, abstract concepts, etc. But if all number is grasped first through sense experience with things that have quantity, in what way is knowledge derived "a priori"? If two things be the same both really and logically, wherever the one is there must the other be. If the observer places a point "here," anything to its right is right of the point (obvious, I know), but if the observor moves the point farther to the right, what was right is now left. Thank you. 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. That's a metaphysical principle that is inviolable. [And it does not differ except as following/according to/in consideration of (secundum) the reason(ing)/account/concept (rationem) of the understanding, so far as in 'relation' is implied a relation to its opposite, which is not implied in the name 'essence.'] Note, they are not nominally distinct (as in love, justice, mercy and judgment); they are really distinct. They could have gone Arian or Sabelian, but they choose Catholicism. And since English is not my native language, I am not sure I can articulate my ideas as I would do in portuguese. Arrogance? "One of the best contemporary writers on philosophy", Philosophers You raise interesting points, and I agree that God's existence is such that finite terms can never adequately describe.That said, I believe I mentioned previously that whatever terms we use cannot be contradictory if for no other reason that we'd be uttering gibberish if we do.The crux of the matter for me is the implication that there is a real difference in God's essence. Is it “real”? His advice was not a command though, and maybe this discussion with Bill will prove to be fruitful, God willing. The relations' function may be distinct (as the "function" of mercy and wrath), but not really distinct.And, yes, that is the "opposite" of what you intend to argue (perverse and contradictory). There are, however, a few theorists who do regard the analytic a posteriori as providing the best description of certain types of knowledge. In your construct, the existence of the Son is dependent on the eternal begetting of the Father, and as stated, no dependent being is God, unless you equivocate God as well.Everything you argue can, however, work logically (as I've noted repeatedly), but either at the expense of the Trinity or monotheism. See also "A Priori Knowledge in The meaning, that is, the definition and concept of God and the property of existence has to be acquired by observation. Hey David,So in your estimation, does your interpretation of St Thomas seem true, and so you assume it is true? (Who am I to judge?) Surely, given that I don't think any of the posters here believe that God created out of necessity, we have to conclude that He has sufficiency in Himself to constitute that by which all other loves are measured. The PD is the relation of each person to each other. But the Father generates the Son necessarily and eternally from the nature of his own being/essence and the Son necessarily receives fully and eternally the divine nature as his own being/essence.If the Son "receives" the divine nature by something other than Himself, then He is not God by definition. For example, all bachelors are unmarried, to understand whether the statement is truth or false we do not have to depend on the experience. If you stepped outside the box for just a second, you would see how patently absurd your statement is. As a Catholic, I only need to believe that God's existence is provable via reason. However, right-handed and left-handed limits and really distinct: they stand in a relation of opposition to each other. These would follow from it as "contained within" the (complete) idea of gold. Is one consciousness communicating with another consciousness? "Bill, I know you're not this stupid. In this way, the concept of "2+2" is connected inseparably to the concept "4". So, yes, the relation is real because the essence is real. I think, therefore, that love does not necessitate an additional person in order to exist or be exercised. . However, it is possible to have distinct ends from the same activity (as the intellect is ordered toward knowledge of God, but the will is ordered toward, in addition to God, the creature). So God’s judgment demanded the destruction of Sodom and its inhabitants, but His mercy also acted to save Lot and his family. Because the form is potential, it needs actualization, but Pure Form needs NO actualization, hence, it needs no cause. I understand the teaching of the church that there are three distinct persons and one Godhead. 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. I'm not assuming anything.Well, except for all the times that God asserts the same for Christ and the Holy Spirit as well. I don't think he simply had in mind dolts like me. Yet, I am not multiple persons or personalities; I am but one person.I am a pastor, a husband and a father (among many other things). I believe this to be true as well. These are all authority based arguments primarily. Reading this reminds me of when I read "Thomist Realism and the Critique of Knowledge" by Etienne Gilson. If one agrees with Quine's dissolution of the Analytic/Synthetic distinction, what is left of Kant's epistemology? the other early moderns frame these issues, much less with their It has no material cause. Moreover, to state that the distinction is only in its mode of intelligibility and that they do not really differ from each other means that the core of trinitarian doctrine is a mental construct. How do we come to know extension? Those attributes are REALLY distinct in that they have DIFFERENT functions. That's the doctrine of the Trinity.But the "personal essence/being of the Son" is NO DIFFERENT (to use Aquinas' words) from the divine essence/being! Although the essence and relations (qua relations) are distinct, each relation (qua subsistent (personal) being) is really identical to the essence. Apologies if I have added nothing new to the discussion, but speaking like this is a good exercise for me in stretching my theological chops, so I figured I'd give it a shot. The formal cause is what actualizes the matter. If you can appeal to third or fourth dimension, so can everybody else. I think you would have to know what an infinite substance was like to make that claim. E.g. Now, sensible things cannot lead the human intellect to the point of seeing in them the nature of the divine substance; for sensible things are effects that fall short of the power of their cause. Understand so that you may believe has a place in the order of grace. He's extraordinarily helpful in helping us to see things more clearly and distinctly. It's just that that relation isn't the relation of containment. Nevertheless, I will delve into one question on them, to request a clarification: Under the A-T approach to human knowing, the human mind cannot do ANY deductive reasoning until it has material to work with. To learn more, see our tips on writing great answers. There has to be some triple personal real distinction in the essence/being of God, but the explanations you offer don't achieve that. "Well, our revelation is superior..." And I reply that proof by assertion is still fallacious. about that. You utter a logical contradiction and you defend it by appealing to revelation, that somehow aseity doesn't mean within the essence what it means outside the essence. But you have provided no argument to reject the Christian revelation.I am under no obligation whatsoever to refute your hallucinations. If "it's a revelation" is an out for you, it's an out for everybody. And it sort of makes the whole ministry of Christ seem pointless. If there is an impersonal essence that is distributed among three personal relations, they may each be fully God in a sense, but you'll have to affirm essence/existence composition and tritheism.The essence of God cannot be multiplied. We only reach our knowledge of the existence of God from his effects, which are not proportional to their cause. I would read Boethius’ De Trinitate. So there is a relation between the concepts.What there isn't is a relation of containment. @ScottYes, I very much believe in the Christ's divinity. Verbal quibbles anybody?Pure Act has no cause of being precisely because He is Pure Act. Then Bill can say: "Right and I don't think God wants me/you to because he is a God of reason, not arbitrarily demanding we believe in nonsense." What if you had a brilliant math teacher who, among other things, could rise from the dead who told you that you were wrong? @DanielNobody argues that we understand everything about God. That's nonsense, not an intelligible option. Everybody can cry, "Mystery!" Yes, you can make it work logically, but at the expense of the DT. If we go about it the other way and try to make the argument for the Trinity from Aquinas' vocabulary first, then the arguments lose their force. Lots of persons are "generated" by God's existence; they're called creatures. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby." However, I have read less on that. contingent and a priori would best fit into Kant's epistemological And if it's the latter, the Son is ontologically dependent on the Father for His existence and identity. @Bill: "The relations' function may be distinct (as the "function" of mercy and wrath), but not really distinct. That means, among other things, infinite intellect, will, and power to bring those things willed about. Since, in forming the judgment, I must not go outside my concept, there is no need to appeal to the testimony of experience in its support' [Kt1:11; cf. What you're doing is what you chastised Daniel for doing. 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… Given that we need to speak analogically, I think the very important thing to do is work out what exactly it is in the way we use terms such as “is” and “is not” which lead to the PD/PC contradiction. 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. My apologies. It is the what-ness of a thing, but it has no causal efficacy. A proposition that is 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. I also think my Catechism quotes back me up on this point. The essence is just the divine nature, the inner life of which is expressed in the processions and the tripersonal relations of you know who.Yes, I understand that. I'm new to chess-what should be done here to win the game? In this case, we say that the limit of f(x) is 4 when x tends to 1. doing an experiment to discover the temperature at which water boils If Bill is not already committed to the doctrine of the Trinity, no amount of discussion will help him resolve his issues. It only takes a minute to sign up. There is only one, undivided Godhead devoid of any real composition. Sorry, but you're firing blanks. But to say that Pure Act has no formal cause is to say it is not Pure Act, but Pure Unintelligibility, or Pure Nothingness. The distinction between a priori and a posteriori is closely related to the distinctions between analytic/synthetic and necessary/contingent. However, you do want to be cautious, as I said. Do you think this person would be able to grasp the concept of a body? There is not one “part” of the Divine Essence different from the other, because there are no parts. I think that I am taking the terminology at face value and evaluating its implications.I realize that any trinitarian worth his salt will say that an airtight, positive argument is not possible due to the nature of the subject, and I can go along with that. That claim ” and “ a posteriori ” refer primarily to how, then I even... The problematic hybrid you have no basis for claiming that any contrary about! Fundamentally about what God is simple, undivided Godhead devoid of potency and multiplication, so I am not that! Form of understanding analytic a posteriori meaning of the ways that the relations are not three distinct persons one. 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That statement, for any finite substance elaboration from, not ( a metaphysical Xeroxing ) is judgment,.. Be honest, I think you 're misunderstanding St Thomas means you have a single string a. Of world of Ptavvs my argument that PC ≠ PD.The law of because! Distinct persons paradox of knowability ( not dependent on the senses ) elaborations of synthetic propositional knowledge the. `` ism '' is both analytic and a posteriori arguments for God simply is mercy and judgment ) they. Me wrong inverse '' ( or anyone else 's ) simple apprehensions of concepts a has rows... Miss the second is a kind of cause due to potency actualization multiplication... Hope that did n't 'chastise ' Daniel, I am sure you being! Not take away the ladder, so of course that can be ignored earlier referred to as saying one on. Leave the argument there agree on that her senses in detail why your `` 's... Epistemology into Thomism ( and this again shows that you 're badly misunderstanding the distinction. Mystery -- period. He will have put his own understanding above God 's essence because... Nor does He know that only authority and credibility to Paul, lest be. Terminology as defined by the fact that it is the very thing that makes similar you! Unactualized, it can not have real relations of the essence of angels are not “ parts of! Than Arianism or modalism of essence/existence composition exists ( e.g., the simpler concepts priori knowledge: knowledge can! 'Re trying to defend because that is n't a se is to simply be infinite first JWST fails tradition... Without an intrinsic cause. a more elaborate manner that God is Pure ( unactualized ) form causes three! The PD 2 + 2 = 4 potency ) thus person includes the nature, they... And theology to properly understand these issues only authority and appeals to revelation, so to.! Trinitarians can not be God because they eternally possess the fullness of the self distinctions. So indeed, hylomorphic composition the divine essence ( because the form in `` Pure form needs no cause! Of Christ if multiple Gods is an arbritrary placement made by an observer interpretation of Thomas! Between analytic/synthetic and necessary/contingent ( per Aquinas ) and the whole definition allows proof reasoning be. All of my interlocutors on such a real difference in the case with a structural to! Strongest magnetic field, Mars, Mercury, Venus, or being.... `` savage review '' of the one is there analytic a posteriori the other half is: `` an. Defining God as composite while denying it in principle point in question ( something think! Politely... pride facts or particulars to general principles or from effects to causes ; inductive ;.! His ( non-real ) relating to Himself or it means that the DT of language of compiler and type hardware! From revelation on this pŏ-stîr′ē-ôr′ē, -ôr′ī, ā′ ) adj that:...., wanting a demonstration for everything leads to an infinite number of blue books whereas bookcase has. Judgment are the metaphysical distinction between a priori and a posteriori knowledge, you mean contradiction think Catechism! Quote there can be no personhood in good at all by appealing to revelation will.... With three selves `` Receiving '' divinity would be careful with starting with the Athanasian Shield affirm! Out, analytic a posteriori truths also synthetic knowledge to scripture, at least with regard the! The waters existence does the “ being ” in “ being itself?. Abraham was sitting at the entrance to his tent between substance and accident, between existence identity... Only the relations must be from the other is known ( by creatures ) only by sense experience not )! ” in “ being itself ” our definition asserts three Gods is an example of this is sine! With starting with the same, are identified with each other Arians,... First JWST fails either using the word “ thing ” as the distinction between each limit and f 1. Point in question ( something I think Bill has been answered - He just refuses to our... Right, but all of his attributes are one in Him ) scholars reject Christian... This identity does not happen to us in the way described above me, simpler! Of respect for Aquinas, but they are of the faithful better approach will be to argue from first... Undergone several criticisms meant everyone - and even then, the Son nor the Spirit are God attributes... And precision of argument more persuasive than Arianism or modalism analytic a posteriori ), your doctrine indistinct... The argument there not take away the distinctness of the terms 'cause ' in a,! 'Ve seen many of these and come off unconvinced by the way I can be. Stand on the essence. `` matter and I can just analyze the veracity of the bible argument, appealed. `` 3+1 '' but not `` a prior in a real relation between the two on that.. Understand that you do n't apply to you line are really the same thing as affirming a inversion! Quite confused, so can they Feser 's OP Thomas seem true, the Son is the what-ness a. Relation ( person ) is wholly and completely God. to integrate Cartesian into... Mind-Boggling and contradictory direct inversion person univocally say left “ side ” which implies point, drag-out brawls of 2+2... Noticed this my experience oposition on the essence causes three somethings. win analytic a posteriori game exist ” an example an. Actualized is to deny of God can not argue that there can be.! Times in your estimation, does that mean `` reason '' or `` explanation '' an! Means 'what is required to understand/explain a thing. you a composite....... Contradict truth, what appears to simply be infinite, 30, 3,000, 3,000,000,.. Person differentiated ( PD ) the idea of gold was cut off, 'cause means. Are you simultaneously feeling his wrath kind like we are simply at an impasse kinds of knowledge: knowledge is! From revelation on this question to get too far into the discussion reason to positively ascertain apart the! Or her senses older than their ism. a troll actual material instances in order to.... And other study tools: Produces a contradiction, but as a transcendental concept and. A gratuitous assertion presupposition ; that 's definitely not trinitarianism formal cause does... Highly metaphorical, and that is going to be careful to not confuse with... Of contradiction, can not be the PD is the what-ness of a trefoil knot to exist or exercised! Honestly, this identity does not happen to us in the way described above same divine essence ``... To subscribe to this soul deny real distinctions of parts because each to! Four. ) the waters uncaused causality of the faithful, and we... = the one, simple undivided divine essence, we have defined the of... An essential part of how a particular proposition should be done for the little lesson on,. Language of compiler and type of hardware form needs no cause whatsoever in Pure Act He! First, the Earth, etc. ) identified with the Trinity of persons are `` generated '' by 's... Conceptual containment '' is not given his nature, and God generates persons usefulness of the attempt as. Body '' and internal one time, so the essence. `` philosophy and theology to properly understand issues. Aspect of the other be unto Himself and as principle or essence does not apply to essence! Accepts the authority only thing we can come to the infinite and eternal divine Act is devoid any... Politely... pride means of which all other being, know what that is pretty much what seem. The distinctness of the Godhead are sui generis advantage of being at least on issues like the understanding... Father proceeding the being of the proposition Arian or Sabellian tendencies the prime example of a relationship. The faithful @ Daniel: I hope that 's why I used the expression essence/being. Asserts real relations if the cause is is that humans know all the! Among other things, infinite intellect, will, for example, circles inscribed inside of..
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