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January 06, 2016

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Having allowed both reason and love to do their proper work, the conclusion is unavoidable:

"......the Trinity is not a problem, but a magnificent solution to a host of other problems...."

We are compelled by Scripture and reason to move on to the Christian paradigm – the express instantiation of the Triune God by which and in which reason herself is, as truth-finder, obligated to chase after love's categorical elements rather than after contours of some other, lesser, smaller reality (lest reason herself as truth-finder be factually and ontologically *un*-reasonable).

In and by Christ – in and by the transposition of Logos – in and by love’s eternal sacrifice of Self – in and by “…… the God who is glorified by sacrificing Himself for creation and not by sacrificing creation for Himself…..” (Fischer) all which any mutable and contingent creature attempts to call sacrifice is subsumed into non-entity as we spy the fullness of the God Who is love. While it is true that God is our First, is our Last, it is also true that in Him we find all moral and relational vectors converging within the metaphysical landscape of Love’s Eternally Sacrificed Self streaming seamlessly amid the Beloved within what we are told is Living Water void of what we call first, void of what we call last – without beginning, without end.

The peculiar relational interfaces unique to the Christian’s Triune God carry us into the immutable love of the Necessary Being as Mankind’s true metanarrative streams from unicity’s singularity within love’s seamless simplicity summing to Trinity in Whom Being Itself houses three unavoidable vertices as all those same corridors constitute the Imago Dei. In all these lines we discover what just does sum to the infinitely worthy Self amid the infinitely worthy Other as such relational interfaces unendingly beget love’s infinitely worthy and singular Us. Such sums to love’s ceaseless reciprocity amid the relational interfaces housed within the unavoidably triune landscape of “Self / Other / Us” as the Triune God transposes Himself into time and physicality such that the Imago Dei obtains in and by being’s three unavoidable vertices as reason affirms that such, and no less, constitutes infinite love.

All things are means toward the Divine Perfections themselves wherein we find the triune corridors of love – Being’s inescapable vertices – constituting all such contours. M. Henry comments,

“And faith, hope, and love, are the three principal graces, of which love is the chief, being the end to which the other two are but means. This is the divine nature, the soul’s felicity, or its complacential rest in God, and holy delight in all his saints. And it is everlasting work, when faith and hope shall be no more. Faith fixes on the divine revelation, and assents to that: hope fastens on future felicity, and waits for that: and in heaven faith will be swallowed up in vision, and hope in fruition. There is no room to believe and hope, when we see and enjoy. But love fastens on the divine perfections themselves, and the divine image on the creatures, and our mutual relation both to God and them.”

Continuing with M. Henry's comment, we travel into Man's final good – his true felicity – constituted of Man in God, of God in Man – fully actualized – the ontology of the only metanarrative there ever has been:

“……..and there will love be made perfect; there we shall perfectly love God…..and there shall we perfectly love one another…… When faith and hope are at an end, love will burn forever with the brightest flame……. Those who border most upon the heavenly state and perfection are those whose hearts are fullest of this divine principle…… It is the surest offspring of God, and bears His fairest impression. For God is love. And where God is to be seen as He is, and face to face, there love is in its greatest height – there, and there only, will it be perfected.”


To be more precise the trinity is a theological solution to a theological problem

and

the trinity is a belief and cannot be assumed to be a reality.

One needs to first need to believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God to proceed further.

Flying Donkey,

You say that the Trinity "is a belief and cannot be assumed to be a reality." Could you explain this more?

Hi Daniel,

Happy New Year.

I'm always in a hurry because I work some really long hours and I come to STR with just a few free minutes available and sometimes my posts don't read well. Sorry I'm unclear at times. I probably should not have posted anything because the issue of the trinity doesn't interest me. The headlines is what caught my eye in that it says the trinity is a reality, which I thought was odd.

Of course people can assume whatever they want so if you want to assume the trinity is a reality go ahead but its based upon an assumption, or actually several assumptions so how can you call it a reality?

The headlines above says "the reality of the Trinity". So perhaps I should ask how is it a reality? Isn't the trinity a religious doctrine that religious people debate? I know they debate the issue, I've debated the issue myself back when I was an evangelical I'd "lock horns" with Jehovah Witnesses.

Did that help clear things up or did I just make a bigger mess of things?

All the best my friend


The two PDF’s for this two part series on the Trinity are both very helpful works on one of the more exquisite attributes of God. David Bentley Hart, in referencing God and our many sightlines of Him, fittingly terms such contours “The Beauty of The Infinite” in his book by that title. Thank you Greg and STR. FWIW, this was linked in another blog’s thread of comments and also at still another thread’s comments.

To clarify a little more, yes, if someone begins with the belief that the Bible is the inspired and inerrant word of God then a pretty good case can be constructed for the Trinity. I just feel that the dictionary definition of belief fits much better when discussing the trinity than either "fact" or "reality".

The Bible of course does not contain the word "Trinity" nor even engage in direct discourse on the subject nor expressly states it is necessary to believe in the Trinity. The Trinity is an invention of early Christian theology so as to reconcile the claim that Jesus was / is divine. I don't believe the Trinity was settled on until sometime in the 300 CE era (give or take some time, I don't know exactly). in the meantime various proposed solutions were being tossed about. If I ever go back to the belief the Bible is the inerrant Word of God I will likely believe in the Trinity as well.

So enough of that. Now I'd like to thank Greg Koukl for enabling these blogs on his website and for allowing contrarian points of view. Greg spoke at a church that I attended years ago and Greg projects a very friendly demeanor and seems like a nice guy.

The Trinity certainly can be assumed to be a reality without assuming the inerrancy of the Bible.

There are many believers in the Trinity who believe that the Bible contains some errors.

Some Hindus are Trinitarian. The Hindu Trimurti is a little different than the Trinity...instead of Creation, Calling and Salvation as the differentiating properties of the Divine Persons, Creation, Maintenance and Destruction are the differentiating properties. Still, Hindus do not, I think, believe in the inerrancy of the Bible.

Our entire experience of being and of perception and of referent and of definition and of love (and therein of all moral lines) and of the very concept of Self and of the very concept of Other and of the singular totality that is the collective Whole transpires in totality within and upon an inescapably triune matrix. The Imago Dei defines, simply, the Adamic.

That is simply to say that Being Itself is expressly constituted, metaphysically speaking, of three irreducible vertices.

What does it look like when "Pure Actuality", or "Being Itself" states, "Let Us make man in Our Image"?

The Divine transposes into possible worlds. Into time and physicality. Into the Adamic.

Both reason and love affirm all which Mind transposes as Mankind’s true metanarrative streams from unicity’s singularity within love’s seamless simplicity in Trinity.   Being Itself houses three unavoidable vertices as all such corridors constitute the matrix that is our totality -- else we cannot define anything -- ever -- for there can be no "definitions" at all but for relation even as there is no *this* but for *that* even as all such definitions by these vertices can never be found void of yet another for these two ipso facto beget a third and final distinct in what just is Being’s collective singularity through and through. Should Pure Actually create, it seems that "Let Us create" cannot be some other phrase. Not, that is, if the very "definition" of the word "definition" is to survive logic's relentless demands for lucidity.

Both the Knower and the Known emerge and the Logos proceeds.

In and by all vectors we discover what just does sum to the infinitely worthy Self amid the infinitely worthy Other as such relational interfaces unendingly beget love’s infinitely worthy and singular Us. Such sums to love’s ceaseless reciprocity amid the relational interfaces housed within the unavoidably triune landscape of “Self / Other / Us” as the Triune God transposes Himself into time and physicality such that the Imago Dei obtains in and by being’s three unavoidable vertices as reason affirms that such, and no less, constitutes infinite love -- and in fact all conceivable worlds.

Hi Scbrownlhrm,

How are you doing? I trust you new year is going well. I don't usually understand your post but I appreciate your time and effort, your probably on a higher spiritual level than I can and therefore see things differently. All the best my friend, all the best.

Sorry Schbrownlhrm,

Apparently I can't type :)

See ya around

Now, Wisdom Lover, do just enjoy hassling me or what? What does the Hindu Trimurti have to do with the Christian Father, Son and Holy Spirit Trinity thingamajig? That is the topic you know. You're not suggesting the Christian's plagiarized the idea, are you?

Regarding the Christian that believes the Bible has errors and also believes in the Trinity that sounds like it maybe be true, so I stand corrected, thank you. However as a practical matter I've never seen that in a church's "statement of faith". The Bible has errors and we affirm the Trinity :)

Anyway my real point was intended to say that you need to believe other "stuff" before you can believe in the Christian Trinity so calling the Trinity a reality strikes me as salesmanship. One obvious belief is you need to have is a belief that God exists. I was simply trying to point out that the Trinity is a belief and to say it is a reality strikes me more like something a salesmen / salesperson would say than a scholar. Imagine if everybody talked like that? The Bigfoot followers would talk about the reality of Bigfoot, the alien guys would talk about the fact of extra-terrestrials, etc. It's ok to believe something and its ok to call it a belief, no over selling is necessary. Where is that Bible verse, "without faith it is impossible to please God for those who come to Him must BELIEVE that he is and that he is the rewarder of those who earnestly seek him" or something like that. Greg and you believe God inspired people to write about the virtue of belief and faith so I see no need to avoid those words, not if your a Christian.



FD-

The point of the Trimurti is that the idea of a Triune God does not require belief in the inerrancy of the Bible.

As for inerrancy and the Trinity in Christendom. Most denominations DO NOT affirm inerrancy. Most quite explicitly specify some lower standard of the veracity of Scripture, e.g. infallibility as a guide in faith and practice.

Most of those same denominations, however, DO affirm the Apostles, Nicene and Athanasian Creeds.

you need to believe other "stuff" before you can believe in the Christian Trinity
Making the Christian Trinity like just about every other belief in your head and mine.

There are two doctrines of the Trinity. The one found in most of the historic creeds which hold the "eternal generation of the Son" (eternal Son-ship of Christ) and the less popular but perhaps more accurate, the "incarnate Son-ship of Christ". That is, there is no generation of the other members of the Godhead by the Father as in the eternal Son-ship view, but instead, the Word of God became flesh with the conception and birth of Christ. Instead of Father, Son and Holy Spirit a more accurate view would be Father, Word and Holy Spirit (Jn 1:1).

The argument is that "eternal Son-ship" involves the Son and Holy Spirit as dependent on the Father for their existence whereas the "incarnate Son-ship of Christ" results from complete eternal equality of the Trinity with each member.

Hi Wisdom Lover,

"The point of the Trimurti is that the idea of a Triune God does not require belief in the inerrancy of the Bible."

Yes and completely irrelevant because the topic is the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. Obviously a Hindu doesn't need to believe or even know of the Bible to believe in its own concepts so again the illustration is, ah... otiose. However my really point was that the Trinity requires other belief(s) as well and the same would hold true for the Hindu.

Then you say:

"Making the Christian Trinity like just about every other belief in your head and mine"

And that's my point. It is a belief, there some things we know. I know my phone number but I believe in the Trinity (or not) and when we start substituting reality and fact for belief it makes conversing more difficult if not weird. It is basically overstating your case as in the Bigfoot example. Also, in another blog I wrote something like we know blah blah blah and you took great exception to me saying "we know", which is like saying fact or reality. Your point was that it was my belief about blah, blah, blah and it wasn't a fact. If I recall correctly you were quite adamant about it.

Regarding my illustration of inerrancy perhaps it wasn't all that good but to repeat myself that really wasn't the primary point. I guess I used it because the audience here at STR seems to be mostly "born again" Christians and I figured it would resonate with them.

I'm hope were finished here, as I stated early on I'm not even interested in the topic and if I could "unpost" I would.

Take it easy Wisdom Lover.


Hi Dave,

Thank you for providing a comprehensive explanation of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.

Have a good weekend.

FD,


From Wiki: “Reductio ad absurdum (Latin: “reduction to absurdity”; pl.: reductiones ad absurdum), also known as argumentum ad absurdum (Latin: “argument to absurdity”, pl.: argumenta ad absurdum), is a common form of argument which seeks to demonstrate that a statement is true by showing that a false, untenable, or absurd result follows from its denial, or in turn to demonstrate that a statement is false by showing that a false, untenable, or absurd result follows from its acceptance……. this technique has been used throughout history in both formal mathematical and philosophical reasoning, as well as informal debate.”

The problem with things you can see and measure within the five senses is that you claim to know that they are real.

You cannot claim that.

Unless by know you really mean believe.

I know, rather than believe, that Mind and Reason and Logic and Being are *fact*. Given said facts, well the material senses can count for something.

Outside of God, your reductio ad absurdum awaits (at some ontological seam somewhere) your claims of "know".

Why?

Because reason:


“Talk of “reducing” mind to matter or “explaining” the former in terms of the latter disguises what is really an attempt to eliminate from our conception of the world everything that is essential to mind and to replace it with a materialistic-cum-mechanistic substitute. A “materialist explanation of the mind” is thus like a “secularist explanation of God” or a “mechanistic explanation of formal and final causes.” Secularism doesn’t “explain” God, but denies that He exists; mechanism doesn’t “explain” formal and final causes, but denies that they exist; and materialism ultimately doesn’t “explain” the mind at all, but implicitly denies that it exists. “Eliminative materialism” makes this denial explicit rather than implicit. It is sometimes characterized as an “extreme” form of materialism, but it is more accurately described as an “honest” or “consistent” form of materialism. It is also insane, and a reductio ad absurdum of the entire materialist project.” (E. Feser)


As for our entire experience of being, as for all "definitions", as for perception, as for mind, well you cannot evade (without embracing the unintelligible) the uncanny and triune geography of referent as such ushers us into all that sums to Knower, to Known, and to the Unicity thereof. Metaphysically speaking, being itself constitutes three irreducible vertices.

Else -- absurdity.

Logos amid the Divine Mind has far more to offer us of course, but if the Non-Theist is claiming to know when he really means believe, well progress isn't possible.


Of course, on love's three irreducible vertices, well, that is unavoidable as we find in the immutable love of the Necessary Being love's ceaseless reciprocity amid the unavoidably triune landscape of all which sums to "Self/Other" as these timelessly and ipso facto beget love's unicity amid the singular "Us".

Being, perception, knowing, and far more, testify to reason, and reason as truth-finder retains lucidity by retaining God.

It is a belief, there some things we know. I know my phone number but I believe in the Trinity (or not) and when we start substituting reality and fact for belief it makes conversing more difficult if not weird.
Everything we know is also something we believe. This is because knowledge is belief that is either proven or self-evident. Any proven belief depends on premises. Premises that must also be proven and known...and believed.

What you are trying to say...and what you should just come out and say, because everything else comes across as disingenuous...is that there is no proof for the Bible (and hence no proof for Biblical claims like the Trinity).

And let's be clear, you know very well that plenty of proofs for the Bible have been proposed. So what you really are saying is that they are all flawed in one way or another.

Now, as you say, maybe you should have not posted in the first place, because you don't want here to have the conversation where we wrestle with whether there are decisive reasons to believe the Bible.

What is more, most people engaged here are assuming that the Bible is true as a premise. All of them, presumably, are convinced by one or more of the arguments for the Bible that have been proposed. None of them are under any illusions. If the Bible were shown to be false, all claims based on the assumption of its truth become suspect

WL: The point of the Trimurti is that the idea of a Triune God does not require belief in the inerrancy of the Bible.

FD: Yes and completely irrelevant because the topic is the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.

At least part of that topic is whether God is triune. Some Hindus agree with us about that point. They don't agree because of the Bible.

Wouldn't it be interesting if it turned out that if you believe in God at all, you're logically driven to the Triune nature of God? Maybe both Christians and Hindus have cottoned on to that? I think it's worth considering.

Wisdom Lover,

I don’t appreciate being called disingenuous, that was neither necessary nor accurate. Though we have bummed heads in the past I considered you a friend. Any inclination I had to return to evangelical Christianity has been quickly dissipating since engaging with most of the bloggers here on the STR website.

Are you familiar with an old country song titled “Saddle Tramp”? It’s a nice song and some of the lyrics are “I’m free as the breeze and I ride where I please…..”, spiritually speaking that’s me (physically I am stuck at a job that takes over 50 hours per week). The point here is that if someday I feel that Christianity is mostly true and Jesus died on the cross for my sins I will again repent of my sins and return in a heart-beat and it won’t be ironic at all because I value truth above dogma. As I mentioned early on I believe that the Bible does indeed teach the Trinity, though the doctrine needs construction in that it is not clearly spelled out.

My first inclination as to why you brought up the Trimurti thing was as you now explain in your most recent post. Where is the evidence that this isn’t anything more than a coincidence? If you want to drive down Coincidence Avenue further you can also talk about the H2O argument that has been suggested as an example of the Trinity. Nonetheless I’m always open to new evidence because why in hell would I want to get this wrong? You are familiar with the Pasqual’s Wager, no? I have everything to lose and nothing to gain with the position I now hold, well except for my integrity. I understand it all to well. If I go to hell for all eternity I’ll have gone there doing my best to figure things out and to be as honest and as compassionate with others as I know how. To me it is worth the gamble but if something changes my mind so much the better.

"Everything we know is also something we believe"

Yea, I know that. But the words we use like believe, faith, reality and fact exist for the purpose of expressing ideas and for differentiation so when you use a word when the definition doesn't fit it misrepresents the thought that was being communicated. This is common sense stuff that should not even need to be explained or blogged about.

"What you are trying to say...and what you should just come out and say, because everything else comes across as disingenuous...is that there is no proof for the Bible (and hence no proof for Biblical claims like the Trinity)"

I entered my first comment strictly based upon what I thought as odd in that Greg said the Trinity is a reality, my reaction was that sounded like a salesmen trying to close a deal. Even among Christians who believe the Bible is without error the Trinity is debated. The first few centuries it was a hot issue and as mentioned nowhere in the Bible is it clearly explained, rather it’s a puzzle that needs to be fitted together. Even now an obvious example that the Trinity isn’t a fact or reality are the Jehovah's Witnesses and they believe, last I knew anyway, the Bible is inerrant. When I say there are other beliefs that are required I was actually first thinking that you’ve got to believe that a God exists however it is also true that to believe in the Christian Trinity you would need to have a lot of confidence in the Bible. It wouldn't need to be perfect, and you kind of addressed this issue earlier, just reasonably accurate, I suppose.

Towards the end of your rant you seem to go off on extremes. You suggest the Bible is either false or true. That doesn’t resonate with me considering there are lots of authors that have contributed over many of years but we won’t go into how many authors or how many years, as we would obviously disagree. Parts of the Bible are true and many parts, in my opinion are erroneous.

I’m tired of writing now.

FD-

I'm not calling you disingenuous. I was assuming that you are not disingenuous and did not wish to sound so.

You don't believe that the Bible is accurate enough to be reasoned from. I think you should stick to that without proposing how Christians who disagree with you on that point should talk about downstream issues. That effort is just going to end up making it look like you want to get Christians to smuggle into their own words your verdict on the status of the Bible.

Your initial claim was that "the trinity is a belief and cannot be assumed to be a reality. One first needs to believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God to proceed further." You were not arguing that the teachings of the Bible do not imply the Trinity...though you may be easing toward that now.

That initial way of proceeding was to say that it was somehow illegitimate for Christians to use the word "reality" to refer to the Trinity. I don't think I noticed what you think we should call it instead.

I don't think you can seriously imagine that we would call it a "sales pitch" instead. It's surprising to me that you can say things like "calling the Trinity a reality strikes me as salesmanship" and yet get upset when I say that this makes you sound disingenuous. Don't you see that this is tantamount to saying that the Trinity is a lie or half-truth told just to get people to buy in?

OK, maybe you didn't mean that...but don't you see how someone could reasonably read it that way?

I suspect that you just meant that Christians should just call the Trinity an opinion or a belief.

But even here. what I was pointing out to you about the relationship of knowledge and belief is that belief in the Trinity is, of course, an opinion. But there is more to be said. Christians like Greg and me are convinced, by argument, that the Bible is true. To be convinced by argument of something is to believe that that thing has been proven to you. Thus we believe that we know that the Bible is true.

The fact that others believe that we don't know is not of great significance. There are all sorts of things that I know to be true that a lot of people, perhaps even the vast majority of people in human history do not know to be true, and in fact may believe they know to be false (here's a good example of a really simple statement that might fit that description. The person who wrote the article is utterly correct, but check out the confused and sometimes even vitriolic comments! The statement under discussion is one of my favorite examples of a provable statement that is generally not believed.)

Greg is then arguing from his knowledge that the Bible is true, for the truth of the Trinity. If that argument is successful, then he also knows that the Trinity is true. I need hardly point out that Greg is also convinced by the argument he is sharing with us now. He believes he has a proof, then, of the Trinity itself. Why should he call it anything other than what he believes it to be: a provable reality?

Your talk of how it depends on other claims and so it's not quite a reality strikes me as a backhanded way of tricking him into giving up the claim of knowledge without actually attacking the argument that convinced him that it is so. Can you see, then, why I thought that talk sounded disingenuous?

Maybe want to say "Greg, your argument that the Bible is accurate enough to be argued from isn't good, and here's what's wrong with it"

If so, great...have at it. That's straight up criticism of his claims.

Or perhaps you want to say (and you seem to be inching toward this now) "Greg, your argument from the Bible for the Trinity doesn't work, and here's what's wrong with it."

Again, that's grand...say that. That's another straight up criticism of his claims.

But this? "Don't you think you should call it an opinion instead of a reality, after all, it depends on first believing the Bible?"

No.

I don't believe you intended it, but that sounds like you're trying to trick him (and his fellow travelers like myself) into 'admitting' that this confidence in the Bible is only an opinion. It's not, we are convinced by argument.

Just to be clear. The doctrine of the Trinity consists of these seven claims (sometimes called the "Shield of the Trinity"):

  1. There is only one God, and YHWH is His name
  2. The Father is YHWH-God
  3. The Son is YHWH-God
  4. The Holy Ghost is YHWH-God
  5. The Father is not the Son, nor is the Son the Father.
  6. The Father is not the Holy Ghost, nor is the Holy Ghost the Father
  7. The Son is not the Holy Ghost, nor is the Holy Ghost the Son.
That's it. If Scripture teaches these seven claims, then Scripture teaches the Trinity. If not, not.

It is not necessary that the term "is" be used univocally throughout. In particular, it is not necessary to say that each Person is God using "is" in exactly the same sense in which it is used when we say that no person is any other Person.

As you can see, the full Deity of Christ is one of the claims on this list (number 3, in fact).

Now here's a point I disagree with Greg about. He thinks that arguments like the parallel between Isaiah 40:3 and the various descriptions of John the Baptist (and the One he is preparing the way for in the wilderness) are only hints at the Deity of Christ. And that the real powerful passages are things like Thomas's "My Lord and my God" declaration, or John 1 or Titus 2.

I think that's actually backward. The passages where NT authors quote the OT and put Jesus in the place of YHWH in the quote are literally saying that Jesus = YHWH. This doesn't just hint at the Deity of Christ, as Greg suggests. It identifies Christ with the One and only God of the OT. It's interesting to notice that the Jehovah Witnesses were clever enough, in their 'translation' of the Bible to change John 1 and Titus 2. They do not say "the Word was God" and "of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus". Instead they say "the Word was a god", and "of the great God and of our Savior, Jesus Christ". And they can say of Thomas's declaration "My Lord and my God", that Thomas was really just saying "Jesus it's you!...OMG!"

But the JW's weren't clever enough to fix their translations to get rid of those pesky OT-NT links that equate Jesus with YHWH...and there are a lot of them...not just the John the Baptist passages and Isaiah 40:3.

WL,

"I suspect that you just meant that Christians should just call the Trinity an opinion or a belief"

Yes, it was as simple as that. Generally people do not speak about the fact of God or the reality of God, they usually say they believe in God so it seems like common sense to carry the same terminology over to the Trinity after all it is a belief in a God that exists in three entities so it seems similarly enough to use similar terminology and when you change the terminology it appears (to me) that you are overstating your case. Its all that simple and there is no need to to make it more complicated than it is.


That's accurate.

Believing in philosophical naturalism or in God or in "Man cannot know".

It's all built atop the same terms in that sense.

WL,

Should God beat out the proverbial reductio ad absurdum at some ontological seam somewhere, your comment about various vectors potentiality compelling logic into a triune landscape is not only interesting but is also relevant IMO to the entire topic of "Trinity".

Good stuff.

FD

Of course, believing in things which compel us into a whole array of reductio ad absurdums, such as Non-Theism's array of items, leaves you making exactly no point about anything whatsoever.

"Generally people do not speak about the fact of God or the reality of God"

Are you kidding?

People speak about the reality of God all the time.

They do this, not to overstate their case, but because they are convinced that God is real.

It is not necessary that the term "is" be used univocally throughout. In particular, it is not necessary to say that each Person is God using "is" in exactly the same sense in which it is used when we say that no person is any other Person.
I probably should have been more clear about this.

In claims 2-4, it is said of each Person that He is the same entity as YHWH-God.

In claims 5-7, it is said of each pair of Persons that they are not the same person as each other.

That is how the senses of "is" differ.

WL,

"Generally people do not speak about the fact of God or the reality of God" Are you kidding? People speak about the reality of God all the time"

When I ask people if they believe in God they don't reply "God is a reality" or "God is a fact", I get either "I believe in God" or "I do not believe in God"

Also, I said generally which leaves open the possibility of something else.

May I ask an off topic questions? (Obviously I can ask we will see if you answer)

What do you do for a living? Are you a teacher?


Used to be.

Program computers now.

Nice. I'm an accountant.

FD,

"The first few centuries it was a hot issue and as mentioned nowhere in the Bible is it clearly explained, rather it’s a puzzle that needs to be fitted together."

Actually more than four centuries until the Nicene Christians were able to use the Roman Government to fully suppress the Arian Christians, along with Nestorians, Monophysites, etc. At one time, it could be argued, Nicene Christians were the minority position...

I wonder what Christianity would look like now if the Emperors had remained Pagan.

"When I ask people if they believe in God they don't reply "God is a reality" or "God is a fact", I get either "I believe in God" or "I do not believe in God""

That's because you are asking them whether they believe in God.

I daresay that if you asked them whether they believe in gravity, they'd say that they believe in gravity. Not that gravity is a reality.

Try asking them whether God is real.

Goat Head 5,

Good to have your input. It's usually insightful and your courteous, I've discovered blogging tends to bring the worse out in a lot of people but as far as I can recall you've always taken the high road, which by the way, at least emotionally, adds more credence to your positions. I'll miss the exchange of ideas with you.

WisdomLover,

Yeah, I know it was a poor example. As I've said before there should be an "unpost" button :) Nonetheless believers are just that, believers. I'm a believer too but of course I don't see the Christian or Muslim portrayal of God as accurate. When people use the words reality and fact in regards to the belief in God I still maintain it is an attempt to oversell the ideology.

As you can readily see I'm pretty much tired of blogging and bantering back and forth so I wish you the very best. Maybe I'll drop in to read some posts now and then.

All the best to both of you.

Following neuroscience to its logical ends is not overselling. It's simply believing, or knowing, the evidence at hand, both the material evidence and the immaterial evidence. Nor is believing, or knowing, that it is a fact that, say, "things which force necessary absurdities cannot give us accurate pictures of reality" is somehow a statement motivated by a zeal in overselling. The simple, casual, unhurried, and innocent intellectual habit of following evidence and reason and logic seems like a good habit to maintain. In fact, one would have to "oversell" in order to convince us that such a simple, casual, unhurried, and innocent intellectual habit is somehow immoral or somehow anti-intellectual.

Which is, of course, why the Christian ought to oppose overselling anything.

Compelled By Logic Into The Triune God:


Earlier:

As discussed earlier (and *not* the main point of this particular post/comment), our entire experience of being and of perception and of referent and of definition and of love (and therein of all moral lines) and of the very concept of Self and of the very concept of Other and of the singular totality that is the collective Ontic-Unicity transpires in totality within and upon an inescapably triune matrix. The Imago Dei vis-à-vis the Triune God defines, simply, the Adamic. That is simply to say that Being Itself is expressly constituted, metaphysically speaking, of three irreducible vertices. The Divine transposes into possible worlds. Into time and physicality. Into the Adamic. In the Triune God and in our entire perceptual series both the Knower and the Known emerge and the Logos proceeds as Motion ceaselessly pours / ceaselessly fills within Unicity . As discussed (in part) earlier in this thread. And, too, WL commented on the Hindu and the Christian similarly finding themselves in three irreducible contours and with these other vertices amid perception/conclusion thereby adds to the question of logical compulsions as we confront reality.

Moving forward:

The primary point here is in the following excerpt from Fred Sanders’ book, The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything as we take another approach to the question of logical compulsion into the Triune. It is no accident that the philosophy of Aristotle and of Spinoza emerge in what sums to a choice between the Triune (on the one hand) or else (on the other hand) the wide and painful array of reductio ad absurdums constituting both Materialism (Naturalism) and Spinoza’s vacuous attempt to repackage and rename the same.

That strange abstraction, self-sufficient nature…..

Aristotle, had he the advantage of both science and of Trinitarian metaphysics (as the quote from Sanders discusses) would not have made the “mistake” of what sums to Spinoza’s definition of the (created) order.

However, before we get to that quote from Sanders, there is first this other quote to give us necessary background information for we may be tempted to suppose that all the unpacked affairs of, well, say, Goodness Itself and Being Itself and of Mind Itself and of Logic Itself and of Know and of Knower and of Known and of Love and of The Necessary and of Reason and Personhood and Self and Identity, and so on, just may be feasible in some other end outside of something Triune.

That is fine.

However, should one suppose such, well one must then come to the table with his final elimination of all those vectors just mentioned (for Aristotle’s Nature exists *necessarily* and sums to Spinoza) and, then, present us with that strange abstraction called “self-sufficient nature” which both Aristotle and Spinoza (and the materialist and the naturalist and so on….) are committed to. On Spinoza’s (or whoever’s) self-sufficient nature, well, one can tell us that “nature is god / necessary” all day long – but the problem is that we’ve never even conceived of this supposed self-sufficient nature. The reasons are not what one may initially suspect for none of this lands in the problem of a Gap to fill in with new information – not at all – but rather the whole show lands in an unavoidable ocean of reductio ad absurdums as such moves us into the philosophy of Mind, of Being, of Identity, of Good, of… and of…. and so on. From David Bentley Hart in his book, “The Experience of God” we look at the key background information before moving into the quote from Sanders on Aristotle:

Quote:

“The most egregious of naturalism’s deficiencies, however, is the impossibility of isolating its supposed foundation – that strange abstraction, self-sufficient nature – as a genuinely independent reality, of which we have some cognizance or in which we have some good cause to believe. We may be tempted to imagine that a materialist approach to reality is the soundest default position we have, because supposedly it can be grounded in empirical experience: of the material order, after all, we assume we have an immediate knowledge, while of any more transcendental reality we can form only conjectures or fantasies; and what is nature except matter in motion? But this is wrong, both in fact and in principle. For one thing, we do not actually have an immediate knowledge of the material order in itself but know only its phenomenal aspects, by which our minds organize our sensory experiences. Even “matter” is only a general concept and must be imposed upon the data of the senses in order for us to interpret them as experiences of any particular kind of reality (that is, material rather than, say, mental).

More to the point, any logical connection we might imagine to exist between empirical experiences of the material order and the ideology of scientific naturalism is entirely illusory. Between our sensory impressions and the abstract concept of a causally closed and autonomous order called “nature” there is no necessary correlation whatsoever. Such a concept may determine how we think about our sensory impressions, but those impressions cannot in turn provide any evidence in favor of that concept. Neither can anything else. We have no immediate experience of pure nature as such, nor any coherent notion of what such a thing might be. The object has never appeared. No such phenomenon has ever been observed or experienced or cogently imagined.

Once again: we cannot encounter the world without encountering at the same time the being of the world, which is a mystery that can never be dispelled by any physical explanation of reality, inasmuch as it is a mystery logically prior to and in excess of the physical order. We cannot encounter the world, furthermore, except in the luminous medium of intentional and unified consciousness, which defies every reduction to purely physiological causes, but which also clearly corresponds to an essential intelligibility in being itself. We cannot encounter the world, finally, except through our conscious and intentional orientation toward the absolute, in pursuit of a final bliss that beckons to us from within those transcendental desires that constitute the very structure of rational thought, and that open all of reality to us precisely by bearing us on toward ends that lie beyond the totality of physical things. The whole of nature is something prepared for us, composed for us, given to us, delivered into our care by a “supernatural” dispensation. All this being so one might plausibly say that God – the infinite wellspring of being, consciousness, and bliss that is the source, order, and end of all reality – is evident everywhere, inescapably present to us, while autonomous “nature” is something that has never, even for a moment, come into view. Pure nature is an unnatural concept.”

End quote.

The philosophy of Mind, and of Being, and of Goodness, and of…. and of far more shatters the sky above our heads and transforms Spinoza’s (and Aristotle’s) supposed self-sufficient nature into we-know-not-what – or else naturalism’s (or whatever’s) unavoidable absurdity amid its own reductio ad absurdum awaits us. But that is expected – for Spinoza’s and Aristotle’s “necessary god” named “Self-Sufficient Nature” just does carry all that is Know and Knower and Known, and…. and…. and….. into the pains of its litany of, not gaps, but inescapable reductio ad absurdums.

That is to say, to even get to “self-sufficient nature” one must:

[A] Demonstrate such in and by Mind and Reason and Perception (and so on), which leaves one committed to God should one retain lucidity. Therefore “The Necessary” becomes for Aristotle a DI-une God for the God part of his logic must remain in order to salvage any and all claims about the “nature/material” part of his logic. Spinoza’s case is lost all together. Think it through. It’s there.

[B] Demonstrate this strange abstraction of self-sufficient nature in and by the physical sciences, which means to explain the entirety of our own reality as a stand-alone reality (it exists necessarily) and, therein, one becomes reluctantly committed to scientism within this “Necessarily Existing Seamless Continuum of Particle (or whatever) In Motion”. Think it through. It’s there.

[C] So far (therefore) we have Spinoza’s ends of absurdity (on the one hand) and also (on the other hand) the much better (but still not complete) ends of Aristotle’s Di-une God which embraces at some foci somewhere the subtle but unavoidable pains of scientism in “half” of his “DI”-une. The Uncaused Cause and (more specifically) the First Cause in the true A-T Metaphysical sense (which in part carries his name), begins to suffer (hence the “T” of “A-T”). Perhaps if Aristotle had access to an uncanny third contour……..

Now for the quote from Sanders.

We find here in this quote Aristotle and self-sufficient nature and, oddly, we find a perfectly rational reason (there are no other contenders in the arena at this time) as to why he may have unknowingly committed himself to an (ultimate) mistake.

Here is the excerpt from Fred Sanders’ book, The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything as we take another approach to the question of logical compulsion into the Triune:

Quote:

Christians through the ages have always grasped the connection between the self-sufficiency of God as Trinity and the graciousness of grace, but there is one evangelical who understood it especially deeply and expressed it exceptionally well. For Susanna Wesley (1669–1742), mother of John and Charles, the first thing that came to mind whenever she thought about the Trinity was this absolute self-sufficiency of God, with the accompanying sense of his graciousness in reaching out to us in total freedom. “Consider the infinite boundless goodness of the ever blessed Trinity,” she exhorted herself in her private devotional journal:

“…..adore the stupendous mystery of divine love! That God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost should all concur in the work of man’s redemption! What but pure goodness could move or excite God, who is perfect essential blessedness! That cannot possibly receive any accession of perfection or happiness from his creatures. What, I say, but love, but goodness, but infinite incomprehensible love and goodness could move him to provide such a remedy for the fatal lapse of his sinful unworthy creatures?”

………[ ] In this model piece of theological reflection, Susanna Wesley begins with recognition of God’s infinite happiness in being God, affirms the double gratuity of divine freedom in creation and redemption, and ends with an allusion to God’s self-description (Ex. 33:19) of the only basis of his mercy: “He would have mercy because he would have mercy.” Finally, she sums up her doctrine of the graciousness of grace with the simple paraphrase: “He loved us because he loved us.”

Susanna Wesley may have been a warmhearted pietist with a burning experience of God’s grace in her own life, but she was not just expressing a heartfelt religious sentiment when she wrote this. She was also writing from a well-formed Trinitarian theology that she had thought out to the end. Her journal from about 1710 includes an impressive entry that shows how seriously she took the doctrine. She began by accusing the great Aristotle of falling into error when he taught that the world eternally existed along with God, “streamed by connatural result and emanation” from all eternity. She mused that “this error seems grounded on a true notion of the goodness of God,” which Aristotle “truly supposes must eternally be communicating good to something or other.” It is true that the Supreme Being is infinitely good and that his goodness is of a kind to be always inclined to give itself away to others. Without any further information, this speculation would demand an eternal world as the eternal recipient of God’s self-giving goodness. An eternally, essentially self-giving God would require an eternal world. But that sort of eternal world would make God dependent on the world for his own satisfaction. Without the world, God would be a frustrated giver.

The conclusion, which Susanna Wesley found utterly unacceptable, would be that God depended on something outside himself to make possible his full self-expression. Pondering this mistake in the great Aristotle’s philosophy, Susanna mused, “It was his want of the knowledge of revealed religion that probably led him into it.” Aristotle’s problem came from the fact that he had no access to the revealed doctrine of the Trinity:

“For had he ever heard of that great article of our Christian faith concerning the Holy Trinity, he had then perceived the almighty Goodness eternally communicating being and all the fullness of the Godhead to the divine Logos, his uncreated Word, between whose existence and that of the Father there is not one moment assignable.”

Susanna Wesley’s skirmish with Aristotle is a pretty tidy speculative engagement with the philosopher, and it is worth remembering that Susanna was not a theology professor but a full-time homeschooling mother when she wrote it. Little John Wesley was probably about seven years old at the time Susanna recorded these thoughts in her personal devotional journal. She obviously had a lively intellect and a mind for what mattered. What mattered, in her well-formed evangelical Trinitarianism, was that the deep Trinitarian background of the gospel stayed firmly in place so the astonishing graciousness of God’s free grace could be seen for what it is.

End quote.

Lastly, a bit of nuance from a comment at E. Feser’s blog, which takes us much further along should we follow it through, which won’t be done here:

“Scott” comments:

Quote:

You stated, "It seems to me that every causal chain in our Universe is a per se causal chain. Am I missing something?"

Yes. What makes a causal series a per se series is that the relevant causal power is transmitted from each member to the next, whereas in the Father-Son series the Son has His own causal power to procreate and doesn't merely transmit the Father's.

In fact that's exactly why a per se series has to have a first member: because without one, there's no source for the causal power that each member is passing along. The case is different with the father-son series; since each member is exercising its own causal power and not merely passing along something it's receiving from the previous member, it's at least not just obvious (and Aquinas thought it wasn't demonstrable at all) that the series can't just extend infinitely backward.

The order of the argument is not that a per se series can't be infinite and therefore must have a first member. It's that a per se series must have a first member and therefore can't be infinite (at least if the first member is a member of the series in the strict sense; if the "first member" stands outside the series altogether, as God does, then the series itself can be infinite, do loop-the-loops, or whatever).

End quote.

The peculiar relational interfaces unique to the Christian’s Triune God carry us into the immutable love of the Necessary Being as Mankind’s true metanarrative streams from unicity’s singularity within love’s seamless simplicity summing to Trinity in Whom Being Itself houses three unavoidable vertices as all those same corridors constitute the Imago Dei. In all these lines we discover what just does sum to the infinitely worthy Self amid the infinitely worthy Other as such relational interfaces unendingly beget love’s infinitely worthy and singular Us. Such sums to love’s ceaseless reciprocity amid the relational interfaces housed within the unavoidably triune landscape of “Self / Other / Us” as the Triune God transposes Himself into time and physicality such that the Imago Dei obtains in and by being’s three unavoidable vertices as reason affirms that such, and no less, constitutes infinite love.

In and by Christ all conceivable worlds – all conceivable vertices – converge:

Love’s Eternally Sacrificed Self finds no First, no Last within the Triune’s ceaseless pouring / ceaseless filling amid Privation / Unicity as Pure Actuality finds no such vector of “potential self-sacrifice yet to be actualized”. Ceaseless Pouring/Filling amid Timeless Privation/Unicity transports us into the metaphysical singularity in Whom all vectors sum to the Great I AM, to YHWH, wherein love’s eternal sacrifice of self streams unendingly as the eternal filling of the beloved-other finds, likewise, no First and no Last within the Divine Perfections summing to the immutable love of the Necessary Being.

At one time, it could be argued, Nicene Christians were the minority position...
Really? What time was that? Was that before or after the first vote on the subject when the Arian bishops were voted down about 300 to 20?

Clarification:

On the question of Non-Stasis, or of Motion, as such relates the uniquely triune affairs of YHWH, the last paragraph states that all vectors sum to the Great I AM. Depending on one's approach, "motions" may be a better (more satisfying, more precise) word than "vectors" as we look into the Triune’s ceaseless pouring / ceaseless filling amid Privation / Unicity as Pure Actuality finds no "vector" -- or no "motion" -- of “potential self-sacrifice yet to be actualized” for Privation in God not only exists within the infinitely worthy Self, but, also, Privation in God just is the Great I AM, just is YHWH.

And it is expected, then, that while Privation and the Self are Good and Worthy (in God) such in isolation can only find All Sufficiency in the Necessary Being for in Him alone does such motion beget, land on, or what have you -- the Great I AM -- YHWH. And, just the same, we also expect that all contingent beings necessarily find that in them also the Self is also found Worthy and Good, but that, not existing necessarily, if found in isolation, in privation, such can only find or taste or know insufficiency, or lack, or want, for God cannot create God.

Of course, there is talk of a Wedding of sorts, there is talk of love's acquiescence amid Self/Other, and there is talk of something about an amalgamation of sorts, talk of such amid God/Man, and there is talk of something about love ....begetting..... love.... ad ....infinitum.....

[However, despite the fact that all such lines converge amid Good and Evil, Self and Other, Privation and Incarnation, Wedding and Begetting and despite the fact that all such lines also compel us into the Triune God, such is obviously another topic for another day].

So, for the sake of those concerned with "motion" amid Self/Other, of Pouring/Filling, of Privation/Unicity, of YHWH, and so on, the slightly modified last paragraph:

Love’s Eternally Sacrificed Self finds no First, no Last within the Triune’s ceaseless pouring / ceaseless filling amid Privation / Unicity as Pure Actuality finds no such vector of “potential self-sacrifice yet to be actualized”. Ceaseless Pouring/Filling amid Timeless Privation/Unicity transports us into the metaphysical singularity in Whom all vectors – all motions – sum to the Great I AM, to YHWH, wherein love’s eternal sacrifice of self streams unendingly as the eternal filling of the beloved-other finds, likewise, no First and no Last within the Divine Perfections summing to the immutable love of the Necessary Being.

More logical compulsion:


Trinity:

The problem for all Non-Triune metaphysical explanatory termini is their intrinsic and constitutional incoherence vis-à-vis The Necessary.

As in:

A clipped assembling of related and nascent contemplations blended with selective paraphrases and manipulations of Garrigou-Lagrange’s “The Trinity and God the Creator” – a book which is neither recommended here nor the reverse here – mingled with embryonic ruminations, random pontifications, and underdeveloped reflections on the silhouettes of metaphysics, necessity, and the Triune God:


That which sums to the Necessary realizes satisfaction in Trinity – that is to say – the means and ends of Actvoid of Cause and of the Perfect Good’s diffusiveness void of Contingency surface as the fundamental shape of reality. The Necessary carries us to the Triune in all that we spy, whether such be the contours of being or of life or of act or of intention or of some other contour of being. That which causes the universe from without rather than from within appears before us void of contingency’s potentiality in need of this or that actualization and begins to come into focus. Trinity reveals to us the very contours of, not causation, but of transposition within and by all that sums to Mind’s lucidity even as we encounter that which sums to the essence of relational collocation in all that sums to the very delineation of Person as love’s filiation void of causation establishes its incantation of ceaseless reciprocity.


Perfect Goodness is essentially diffusive of itself and in the Necessary Being we find the means and ends of Perfect Goodness such that God is essentially and to the greatest degree diffusive of Himself. Indeed, Thomas notes, "….the goodness of God is perfect and is able to be without other beings since nothing of perfection accrues to it from other beings." Here Leibnitz erred by saying that creation is not physically but morally necessary, and that God would not be perfectly wise and good if He had not created and moreover if He had not created the best of all possible worlds and indeed Malebranche erred in this seam toward Occasionalism. This obscurity is clarified by the revelation of the mystery of the Trinity, for, even if God had created nothing, there is still in Him the infinite prolificacy of Logos amid the ceaseless filiation of that which sums to Spirit eternally in transposition’s procession.


Thomas notes, "The knowledge of the divine persons was necessary for right thinking about the creation of things. For when we say that God made all things by His Word we avoid the error of those who say that God made all things necessarily because of His nature. But when we discover in God the procession of love we see that God produced creatures not because of any need, nor because of any extrinsic cause, but because of the love of His goodness…..” Indeed as Scheeben points out the revelation of the Trinity perfects and confirms our natural knowledge of God the Creator and of creation as an entirely free act of God.


The principle that good is diffusive of itself is perfectly verified in Trinity and in fact the highest Good is necessarily diffusive of itself within itself and this not by causality but by communication – such sums not only to a participation in its entire nature but also to a communication of His entire nature, of His entire intimate life in the generation of that which sums uncaused to the begotten. From such a higher plane comes confirmation that creation is an entirely free act by which God communicates – transposes – Himself a participation of His being, His life, and His knowledge. Thus also it is more evident that God is not the intrinsic cause but the extrinsic cause of the universe, the end for which it was created, the being that created, conserves, and keeps it in motion. If, therefore, God created actually, it was through love, to show in an entirely free act His goodness, and not in any way by a necessity of His nature.


In the Triune God we find all such processions not by local motion nor by transitive action but by the intellectual emanation of all that sums to the intelligible word from Him who enunciates His continuous Speech. Procession in Trinity finds the Spirit of – the actuality of – Truth which proceeds – the begotten logos – by which all things were made – which proceeds from all eternity – ever with God – ever in God – ever God – ever the communique of transposition. Trinity reveals the very wellspring of reality itself wherein that which does not produce its own being instead by continuous incantation communicates all that is Himself as the very identity of communicate transcends efficient and final causality. Such ushers us to the realization that the begotten logos is not more perfect than the begetter as begetting is not causing. That which is caused does not exist before in Act, whereas that which is communicated exists before in Act. Analogous to C.S. Lewis’ Cube abstraction so too the first angle of the triangle communicates its surface, already existing in act, to the other two angles…….. Thus there cannot be two Fathers or two Sons in the Trinity just as in an equilateral triangle the first angle constructed renders the area of the triangle incommunicable inasmuch as it belongs to that first angle; nevertheless this same area remains communicable and is communicated to the other two angles. Reality’s shape here reveals that in the Divine Procession there is no diversity of nature (the nature remains numerically the same) but only a diversity of persons according to the collocation of relation as transposition there in all that sums to Logos carries all that is God Himself as begetting in God casually transcends contingency’s change from non-being to being.


Person here renders a finite nature such as Man incommunicable of itself which, since it is finite, is filled by the one personality. On the other hand the relative (relational) personality according to the collocation of relation finds, for example, that the person of the Father does not render an infinite nature incommunicable to other persons. The divine nature being infinite and infinitely prolific is not adequately filled by one relative, relational, personality – or let the critic here prove the contrary. Personality in God differs from human personality inasmuch as it is not something absolute but something relative – relational – and it is of the nature of relative things that they have a correlative. The Father cannot be without Logos in whom He communicates His Nature – which is Himself – which cannot be otherwise – as we find in the immutable love of the Necessary Being the milieu of Trinity wherein love’s ceaseless reciprocity comes into focus and carries us onward, inward, into the depths of reality’s Eternally Sacrificing Self Who in relative – relational – love ever embraces reality’s Eternally Filling Other. We here resist the urge to pull back for all which sums to “Self” and all which sums to “Other” and all that sums to Genesis’ peculiar yet fateful and Singular “Us” just is the revelation of the infinite God Who is Himself that which defines, circumscribes, demarcates all that sums to love. That Person is to us that which cannot transpose all that is the Self short of contingency need not bother us. As a Line is to a Cube so too are we to Him Who in Logos begets all that is Himself in His continuous Speech there in Trinity’s unavoidable topography of Self-Other-Us. Here we expect precisely that and no less both of ourselves and of Necessity Himself even as the enigmatic contours of all moral vectors emerge within the Necessary. The fundamental shape of reality unalterably reveals the inimitable contours of the Triune God – from A to Z – in the express meta-narrative of an uncanny sonnet borne within the ceaseless reciprocity of the immutable love of the Necessary Being.

Then, even further into the Necessary:

Perfect Mediation between God and Man:

The Platform:

“God is by definition the greatest conceivable being. As the greatest conceivable being, God must be perfect. Now a perfect being must be a loving being. For love is a moral perfection; it is better for a person to be loving rather than unloving. God therefore must be a perfectly loving being. Now it is of the very nature of love to give oneself away. Love reaches out to another person rather than centering wholly in oneself. So if God is perfectly loving by His very nature, He must be giving Himself in love to another. But who is that other? It cannot be any created person, since creation is a result of God’s free will, not a result of His nature. It belongs to God’s very essence to love, but it does not belong to His essence to create. So we can imagine a possible world in which God is perfectly loving and yet no created persons exist. So created persons cannot sufficiently explain whom God loves. Moreover, contemporary cosmology makes it plausible that created persons have not always existed. But God is eternally loving. So again created persons alone are insufficient to account for God’s being perfectly loving. It therefore follows that the other to whom God’s love is necessarily directed must be internal to God Himself. In other words, God is not a single, isolated person, as unitarian forms of theism like Islam hold; rather God is a plurality of persons, as the Christian doctrine of the Trinity affirms. On the unitarian view God is a person who does not give Himself away essentially in love for another; He is focused essentially only on Himself. Hence, He cannot be the most perfect being. But on the Christian view, God is a triad of persons in eternal, self-giving love relationships. Thus, since God is essentially loving, the doctrine of the Trinity is more plausible than any unitarian doctrine of God.” (W.L. Craig)

Before going further, to briefly reaffirm some of what was just described, which will repeat but a few earlier lines:

Perfect Goodness is essentially diffusive of itself and in the Necessary Being we find the means and ends of Perfect Goodness such that God is essentially and to the greatest degree diffusive of Himself. Indeed, Thomas notes, "….the goodness of God is perfect and is able to be without other beings since nothing of perfection accrues to it from other beings." Here Leibnitz erred by saying that creation is not physically but morally necessary, and that God would not be perfectly wise and good if He had not created and moreover if He had not created the best of all possible worlds and indeed Malebranche erred in this seam toward Occasionalism. This obscurity is clarified by the revelation of the mystery of the Trinity, for, even if God had created nothing, there is still in Him the infinite prolificacy of Logos amid the ceaseless filiation of that which sums to Spirit eternally in transposition’s procession.

Trinity reveals to us the very contours of, not causation, but of transposition within and by all that sums to Mind’s lucidity even as we encounter that which sums to the essence of relational collocation in all that sums to the very delineation of Person as love’s filiation void of causation establishes its incantation of ceaseless reciprocity. Thomas notes, "The knowledge of the divine persons was necessary for right thinking about the creation of things. For when we say that God made all things by His Word we avoid the error of those who say that God made all things necessarily because of His nature. But when we discover in God the procession of love we see that God produced creatures not because of any need, nor because of any extrinsic cause, but because of the love of His goodness…..” Indeed as Scheeben points out the revelation of the Trinity perfects and confirms our natural knowledge of God the Creator and of creation as an entirely free act of God. The principle that good is diffusive of itself is perfectly verified in Trinity and in fact the highest Good is necessarily diffusive of itself within itself and this not by causality but by communication – such sums not only to a participation in its entire nature but also to a communication of His entire nature, of His entire intimate life in the generation of that which sums uncaused to the begotten.

From such a higher plane comes confirmation that creation is an entirely free act by which God communicates – transposes – Himself a participation of His being, His life, and His knowledge. Thus also it is more evident that God is not the intrinsic cause but the extrinsic cause of the universe, the end for which it was created, the being that created, conserves, and keeps it in motion. If, therefore, God created actually, it was through love, to show in an entirely free act His goodness, and not in any way by a necessity of His nature. In the Triune God we find all such processions not by local motion nor by transitive action but by the intellectual emanation of all that sums to the intelligible word from Him who enunciates His continuous Speech. Procession in Trinity finds the Spirit of – the actuality of – Truth which proceeds – the begotten logos – by which all things were made – which proceeds from all eternity – ever with God – ever in God – ever God – ever the communique of transposition. Trinity reveals the very wellspring of reality itself wherein that which does not produce its own being instead by continuous incantation communicates all that is Himself as the very identity of communicate transcends efficient and final causality. Such ushers us to the realization that the begotten logos is not more perfect than the begetter as begetting is not causing. That which is caused does not exist before in Act, whereas that which is communicated exists before in Act. Necessarily it is the case that we find Logos in Transposition such that Necessity is in fact that which is in God, is with God, is God.

Therefore:

Mediation amid Perfect Mercy and Perfect Justice finds us again within the Necessary as all that sums to less lands again in the express insufficiency of Moses.

The Necessary finds us in the topography of the Good and the Good finds us – again – in the landscape of the Good’s diffusiveness and here we begin to see – yet again only vis-à-vis Trinity – just how it is that Necessity finds the Good demanding the dichotomy of Full and Final Justice such that Mercy is aborted even as the Good demands Full and Final Mercy such that Justice is aborted. The Privation of the Self – while fully God in Trinity’s Great I AM – can sum to nothing more than Evil in any Created Being. Trinity alone allows us to sum His Goodness there to Perfection as the Self flows in Him without First, without Last, eternally poured out – debased – emptied – even as such is eternally filled, made full again – as it were – in Him without First, without Last. Whatever degree of Privation it is which we the mutable think we spy here inside of contingency is but some portion of some degree which sums – necessarily – to a mere glimpse of what full and final Privation sums to within the topography of love’s ceaseless reciprocity amid the contours of Self/Other in Whom we spy love’s Eternally Sacrificed Self even as we spy love’s Eternally Filling Other. Perfect sacrifice just is Perfect Loss and Perfect Loss just is Perfect Privation even as Perfect glorification just is Perfect Filling of said Privation. In Trinity such living water flows without first/last and this to degrees far, far beyond the horizon which we within contingency refer to as “death” or as “loss” for such privation to *us* just is death, just is destruction, however, such privation, emptying, in Trinity just is the Great I AM.

Trinity alone finds us, then, within that which actually *does* sum to Perfect mediation between God-In-Man, Man-In-God as by no other means do we necessarily reach the coherence of the ends housed in, "Just as it pleased the Lord to make you prosper and increase in number, so it will please him to ruin and destroy you” as such finds Necessity in the Good demanding the dichotomy of Full and Final Justice such that Mercy is aborted even as the Good demands Full and Final Mercy such that Justice is aborted.

If we think such motions amid the ceaseless and infinite reciprocity of love’s ceaseless and infinite Self/Other, if we think such infinite emptying, such infinite privation, such infinite filling, such ceaseless and infinite full-again, if we think such contours are contours contingent upon a created some-thing then we not only annihilate (once again) the Perfect Good in Perfect Diffusiveness, but we also annihilate the very ontology of what Perfect Mercy actually *is*, of what Perfect Justice actually *is*. The express ontology of All Sufficiency filling In-Sufficiency, of what Privation actually *is*, of what Evil actually *is*, of Contingency, of the Perfect Good, of Love and of the Necessary – that is to say, of the immutable love of the Necessary Being, all of these carry us unavoidably into the topography of the Triune God.

Whence Perfect Mediation amid Necessity/Contingency?

Shall the In-Sufficient, the Contingent, reach such distances?

In Christ we find just such Necessity fully actualized, fully beheld. God in Christ takes Man where Man cannot reach and He therein reconciles the world to Himself. Christ reveals to Man His complete and completed will. Justice and Mercy are in Him finished here within Contingency – the Perfectly Good forever complete forever in the seamlessness of Divine Simplicity – and such seamlessness houses on necessity those peculiar contours of privation – of love’s emptying – of love’s filling – as such vis-à-vis Trinity comes into focus.


In and by *Christ* we spy the nature of all things – of the Created and Uncreated – literally.

Let us add that these Necessities are unavoidable both to Logic’s Eye and to Love’s Eye. That we find such ontological topography captured nowhere at all to the degree which Christ's Fullness in Trinity captures them is perhaps one of Christianity’s strongest claims on reality. All moral claims made by paradigms outside of such seamless simplicity must give up some degree of mercy – some degree of filling – or else they must give up some degree of justice – some degree emptying – and we speak here of actual ontological real-estate within the Necessary.

We find here all definitions flowing downhill from the Necessary to the Contingent.

Reality cannot be some other way.

Christ is the singular stand-alone actualization within the metaphysical landscape of contingency – within time and physicality – of the Necessary should God in fact house perfect love void of contingency – of Final Actuality there in the immutable love of the Necessary Being should God in fact house perfect privation amid prefect justice/emptying void of contingency, should God in fact house perfect privation amid perfect mercy/filling void of contingency. Whatever Justice is to we in our contingency, whatever Mercy is to we in our contingency – whatever Privation is to we in our contingency – we find in Him such contours in degrees and in distances which our eyes cannot contain. Death is a peculiar definition and in Trinity we find Actuality to be the palindrome wherein the Lord says to my Lord Prepare for Me a Body. Where Death can and does hold Contingency – Death cannot hold the Necessary – and in Christ we begin to spy the Necessary degree and the Necessary distance such that Perfect Privation sums to that which Death must at some seam somewhere release or must at some seam somewhere suffer defeat. Perfect Mediation summing to Perfect Mercy/Justice amid Self/Other, amid God/Man, cannot sum to some lesser some-thing – to that which Death can finally hold – as the express Insufficiency of Moses – or any other Insufficient Some-Thing, is, and are, done away with – forever – by the All Sufficiency of All Sufficiency – that is to say – such being a palindrome – by the God of All-Sufficiency – or – by the All-Sufficiency of God.

On logic’s compelling us into the Triune, an essay about Trinity and Divine Spatiality references some interesting nuances. Here’s the quote:

Quote:

Hans Urs von Balthasar opens his seminal study on Gregory of Nyssa with a chapter on the idea of ‘spacing’ – or, more precisely, he opens his study with an observation of an apophatic nature: the creature is not God. This seems somewhat obvious and perhaps even trivial, but it’s fundamental in his concept of spacing. Space, for Balthasar, is roughly the character of the creature that establishes quantity and number. It denotes the non-identity of the material world – non-identity being another way of denoting the material worlds created-ness. To think in terms of space is, then, to think apophatically. The world and the creature are created and this is set against God, who is uncreated. This is the sharpest possible distinction that can be drawn. The creator/creature distinction, Balthasar says, is a ‘fact of creation’ that is the ‘limit’, as it were, of finite being:

‘The first essential characteristic of the creature is therefore negative. It consists of the very fact that the creature is not God. In taking its referential bearings entirely from him, the creature distinguishes itself from him by this self-same referential relationship: “It is precisely through its comparison and union with the creator that it is other than him,” (Balthasar citing Gregory of Nyssa). The abyss that separates the two forms of being is the fact of creation, which in and of itself surrounds that which is created with a magic circle, which it will never escape…our being reveals to us the fact of creation and how it is “in every way ineffable and incomprehensible.” (Balthasar, ‘Presence and Thought’, pp. 28-29)

For Balthasar there is no space in God, since space is ultimately a way of stating the non-identity of the creature marked out by the fact of creation.

Barth takes a different route. In a fabulous essay, ‘Divine Spatiality’, Murray Rae traces the concept of spacing in Barth’s theology – where the concept effectively refers to the condition by which persons are differentiated from each other. Space is, then, an attribute of God in himself, since God is three distinct persons in the Trinity. Barth is able to reach this conclusion reasoning in roughly the following way: whatever God is in revelation he is antecedently in Himself, in the economy of revelation he is distinct (we see space, in other words, in the economy), therefore space is an attribute of the immanent Trinity. Rae argues, against John Webster and Ian MacKenzie that this does not represent a reading of the economic back into the immanent, since Barth is not reasoning *from* the economic *to* immanent, but arguing that if God is one way in the economy, he is antecedently that way in himself:

‘The basis upon which Barth speaks of God having his own space is the differentiation of the persons of the Trinity, revealed in the economy as belonging to the being of God in himself. The triune differentiation of God as Father, Son, and Spirit is not an accommodation of God to the demands of revelation, but belongs to the character of the eternal God who is before all things.’

‘Barth’s contention that God has his own space, that God is spatial in himself, is not based upon considerations of space in general but upon the particular divine action in space by which God reveals himself as Father, Son and Spirit. On this basis we may develop a relational and differential account of what space is in accordance with God’s disclosure in space and time of his eternal being as Father, Son, and Spirit.’ (‘Divine Spatiality’, in ‘Trinitarian Theology After Barth’, pp. 78-79)

A difficulty here: if we are basing the notion of divine space on God’s revelation and developing a concept of space in accordance with that revelation, but that revelation takes place in space and time, have we really avoided reading the economic into the immanent?

Rae goes on to argue an anthropological point: the divine spatiality, the distinction and differentiation of the persons of the Trinity, is the ground for creaturely space:

‘…what is given to the creature in the act of creation is distinct being, that is, being in distinction from God…the creature is given space by God, space that enables it to live freely in relationship with that which is other than itself.’ (pp. 82-83)

Creaturely space, for Rae, cashes out to mean being that is distinct from God. Creaturely being is ‘at a distance’, as it were, from God’s being (an infinite, qualitative distance, we have to add), and in creating the creature, in creating this distinct being that is not his own, God gives the creature its own space. Thus the distance between the creature and God is a gift from God, but for Rae greater weight is given to the proximity of the creature to God:

‘The creature exists in proximity to God. The space of creation is, as Barth puts it, the external basis of the covenant. It is given to the creature precisely so that there may be a covenant relationship between the creature and God.’ (pp. 82-83)

The parallels and contrasts here should be apparent. Balthasar and Rae/Barth all see space as a creaturely concept, but for Balthasar space is purely dealing with created being while for Rae/Barth created being has its own ground in divine space. A good deal here turns on whether or not Barth can successfully avoid reading the economy back into the immanent Trinity – Paul Molnar has argued that Barth does exactly this when it comes to the eternal subordination of the Son and I have similar feelings here, as I noted above. Given this as well as Balthasar’s argument that space and spacing belong to creation and not to the divine being, I think we have cause to at least question whether or not the concept of divine spatiality, as argued by Rae, is coherent. In short, we have here two problems: (1) Balthasar makes a compelling case that space is purely creaturely and (2) it doesn’t seem that Rae/Barth can avoid reading the economic into the immanent.

Perhaps, if not a rapprochement, a kind of compromise can be had with the help of Sonderegger, who argues that in the economy it is God’s hiddenness that is revealed, and not a ‘direct local visibility’:

‘The presence of the One God takes place in the Mode and form of invisibility: when He is disclosed, He is not seen. When He draws near in great power, He gives rise to the agency of His servants, who act as His heralds, His “placeholders” – as lieutenants. This, we may say, is the very odd feature of the God of Israel: as He approaches, He appears to withdraw; His nearness takes the form of hiddenness.’ (p. 74)

She is quick to note that God is not present in the same way an extended object is (p. 52). He is indirectly present, such that when he is disclosed he is not seen. Though God ‘descends’ (to use Sonderegger’s term) with and into creaturely categories he is not exhausted by this descent:

‘…I believe it is more properly and justly said that God descends down through the earthly categories, humbling Himself in this way of His, all the while remaining the Lord, the Holy and Transcendent one…the Divine Nature is not exhausted nor circumscribed by its decent down into creaturely truths and goods; but rather, in the admixture of God with creature, the divine reality remains transcendent and sovereign.’ (‘Systematic Theology’, p. 452)

We can take a methodological cue from Sonderegger’s discussion of divine omniscience as well:

‘As the Omniscient Lord, that is, God is admixed into human knowing – God Himself! – without being reduced or identified with any. In scholastic idiom: God utterly transcends all categories of thought and predication, while being exemplified with them all.’ (p. 463)

Though he is exemplified in all of these categories into and with which he descends, he transcends them all, and the relation between God and the categories He descends with/into is not one of identity. Thus we can say that, on Sonderegger’s account, divine space is real, but in his indirect presence and hiddenness which God communicates to us, we also have to say that though the spatiality of God is real – God is truly and really present as spatial – the differentiation of the persons of the Trinity is not a spatial kind of differentiation. Though this is more of a variation on Sonderegger’s theme (I can’t say for sure if she’d agree with how I made use of her work), I believe that this is a way in which we can affirm God’s spatiality without identifying him with creaturely concepts.

End quote.

Even further into that which sums to the logical compulsion into the Triune shape of ultimate actuality – of God:


“The dogmatic definitions of the fourth century ultimately forced Christian thought, even if only tacitly, toward a recognition of the full mystery — the full transcendence — of Being within beings. All at once the hierarchy of hypostases mediating between the world and its ultimate or absolute principle had disappeared. Herein lies the great “discovery” of the Christian metaphysical tradition: the true nature of transcendence, transcendence understood not as mere dialectical supremacy, and not as ontic absence, but as the truly transcendent and therefore utterly immediate act of God, in his own infinity, giving being to beings. In affirming the consubstantiality and equality of the persons of the Trinity, Christian thought had also affirmed that it is the transcendent God alone who makes creation to be, not through a necessary diminishment of his own presence, and not by way of an economic reduction of his power in lesser principles, but as the infinite God. In this way, he is revealed as at once superior summo meo and interior intimo meo: not merely the supreme being set atop the summit of beings, but the one who is transcendently present in all beings, the ever more inward act within each finite act. This does not, of course, mean that there can be no metaphysical structure of reality, through whose agencies God acts; but it does mean that, whatever the structure might be, God is not located within it, but creates it, and does not require its mechanism to act upon lower things. At the immediate source of the being of the whole, he is nearer to every moment within the whole than it is to itself, and is at the same time infinitely beyond the reach of the whole, even in its most exalted principles. And it is precisely in learning that God is not situated within any kind of ontic continuum with creation, as some “other thing” mediated to the creature by his simultaneous absolute absence form and dialectical involvement in the totality of beings, that we discover him to be the ontological cause of creation. True divine transcendence, it turns out, transcends even the traditional metaphysical divisions between the transcendent and the immanent.” (David Bentley Hart)

Logic compelling us through reason into Trinitarian landscapes yet again:

Quote:

“The freedom of God from ontic determination is the ground of creation's goodness: precisely because creation is uncompelled, unnecessary, and finally other than that dynamic life of coinherent love whereby God is God, it can reveal how God is the God he is; precisely because creation is needless, an object of delight that shares God's love without contributing anything that God does not already possess in infinite eminence, creation reflects the divine life, which is one of delight and fellowship and love; precisely because creation is not part of God, the context of God, or divine, precisely because it is not "substantially" from God, or metaphysically cognate to God's essence, or a pathos of God, is it an analogy of the divine; in being the object of God's love without any cause but the generosity of that love, creation reflects in its beauty that eternal delight that is the divine perichoresis and that obeys no necessity but divine love itself. Thus Rahner's (utterly necessary) maxim can serve a genuinely theological end only if taken to mean that the Trinity who is economically revealed is indeed, without remainder (such as some Sabellian singularity prior to all hypostatic identity, or a fourth divine person, or a nature distinct from the one assumed in the order of relations within the mystery of salvation), the true and everlasting God as he is in himself: for God is not a finite subject, whose will could be other than his being, and so is truly fully himself in all his acts ad extra, and the taxis of his salvific activity toward us is the same taxis that is his triune life. The maxim stands then as a guard against any kind of nominalism on the one hand, and on the other, any tendency to forget that the dogma of the Trinity is required and defined – and permitted – by the narrative of Christ.

But, one might ask, how can the temporal event of God in our midst be the same as God's event to himself in his eternity if so absolute a distinction is drawn between the enarrable contents of history and the "eternal dynamism" of God's immutability, apatheia, and perfect fullness? How can the dereliction of Christ, his self-outpouring, truly be the same action as the eternal life of blissful immunity from suffering that classical Christian metaphysics insists upon? These are the questions that largely animate the Hegelianizing project in modern theology, and have long inspired theologians to reject aspects of the tradition that they see as a metaphysical corruption of the Bible's "narrated" God: the distinction between being and becoming, between eternity and time, between the Logos as eternally begotten in the bosom of the Father and the Son of Man begotten "this day" (of course, in truth, it is never a matter of whether such distinctions are to be made, but how to make them, without compromising the narrative of Scripture and the unity of God in Christ). Immutability, impassibility, timelessness – surely, many argue, these relics of an obsolete metaphysics lingered on in Christian theology just as false belief and sinful inclinations linger on in a soul after baptism; and surely they always were fundamentally mentally incompatible with the idea of a God …….. of love who proves himself God through fidelity to his own promises against the horizon of history, who became flesh for us (was this not a change, after all, in God?) and endured the passion of the cross out of pity for us. Have we not seen the wounded heart of God, wounded by our sin in his eternal life, and wounded by it again, even unto death, in the life of the flesh? This is why so much modern theology keenly desires a God who suffers, not simply with us and in our nature, but in his own nature as well; such a God, it is believed, is the living God of Scripture, not the cold abstraction of a God of the philosophers; only such a God would die for us. At its most culpable, the modern appetite for a passible God can reflect simply a sort of self-indulgence and apologetical plaintiveness, a sense that, before God, though we are sinners, we also have a valid perspective, one he must learn to share with us so that he can sympathize with our lot rather than simply judge us; he must be absolved of his transcendence, so to speak, before we can consent to submit to his verdict (and, after all, in this age we are all rather bourgeois about such things and very jealous of our "rights"). At its most commendable, though, this appetite testifies to our capacity for moral rage and perplexity, our inability to believe in a God of perfect power and imperturbable bliss in the wake of the century of death camps, gulags, killing fields, and the fire of nuclear detonations. We long for a companion in pain, a fellow sufferer; we know we have one in Christ; and we refuse to allow any ambiguity – metaphysical, moral, or theological – to rob us of his company. All of this I shall address when I discuss Christology, particularly in section 111.2, but I shall make two observations now. First, as valid as all such concerns are in their way, they entirely miss the point: the Christian doctrine of divine apatheia, in its developed patristic and medieval form, never concerned an abstract deity ontologically incapable of knowing and loving us; far from representing an irreconcilable contradiction or logical tension within Christian discourse, the juxtaposition of the language of divine apatheia with the story of crucified love is precisely what makes the entire narrative of salvation in Christ intelligible. And second, it is an almost agonizing irony that, in our attempts to revise trinitarian doctrine in such a way as to make God comprehensible in the "light" of Auschwitz, invariably we end up describing a God who – it turns out – is actually simply the metaphysical ground of Auschwitz.

………Theology must, to remain faithful to what it knows of God's transcendence, reject any picture of God that so threatens to become at once both thoroughly mythological and thoroughly metaphysical, and insist upon the classical definitions of impassibility, immutability, and nonsuccessive eternity. This is in no way a contradiction of the story of God as creator and redeemer and consummator of all things: because God is Trinity, eternally, perfectly, without any need of negative probation or finite determination. God does not have to change or suffer in order to love us or show us mercy – he loved us when we were not, and by this very "mercy" created us – and so, as love, he can overcome all suffering. This is true in two related and consequent senses: on the one hand, love is not originally a reaction but is the ontological possibility of every ontic action, the one transcendent act, the primordial generosity that is convertible with being itself, the blissful and desiring apatheia that requires no pathos to evoke it, no evil to make it good; and this is so because, on the other hand, God's infinitely accomplished life of love is that trinitarian movement of his being that is infinitely determinate – as determinacy toward the other – and so an indestructible actus purus endlessly more dynamic than any mere motion of change could ever be. In him there is neither variableness nor shadow of turning because he is wholly free, wholly God as Father, Son, and Spirit, wholly alive, and wholly love. Even the cross of Christ does not determine the nature of divine love, but rather manifests it, because there is a more original outpouring of God that – without needing to submit itself to the order of sacrifice that builds crosses – always already surpasses every abyss of godforsakenness and pain that sin can impose between the world and God: an outpouring that is in its proper nature indefectible happiness. These are matters to be addressed later, but here I can at least offer a definition of divine apatheia as trinitarian love: God's impassibility is the utter fullness of an infinite dynamism, the absolutely complete and replete generation of the Son and procession of the Spirit from the Father, the infinite "drama" of God's joyous act of self-outpouring – which is his being as God. Within the plenitude of this motion, no contrary motion can fabricate an interval of negation, because it is the infinite possibility of every creaturely motion or act; no pathos is possible for God because a pathos is, by definition, a finite instance of change visited upon a passive subject, actualizing some potential, whereas God's love is pure positivity and pure activity. His love is an infinite peace and so needs no violence to shape it, no death over which to triumph: if it did, it would never be ontological peace but only metaphysical armistice. Nor is this some kind of original unresponsiveness in the divine nature; it is divine beauty, that perfect joy in the other by which God is God: the Father's delectation in the beauty of his eternal Image, the Spirit as the light and joy and sweetness of that knowledge. As Augustine says of the three persons, "In that Trinity is the highest origin of all things, and the most perfect beauty, and the most blessed delight. Therefore those three are seen to be mutually determined, and are in themselves infinite, that is, infinitely determined as the living love of the divine persons – to "one another" – to which infinity no moment of the negative or of becoming or even of "triumph" can give increase. Hence God is love.”

End quote.

Excerpts from David Bentley Hart’s, “The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth”.

Two nuances which move us into Trinitarian topographies, from David Bentley Hart’s book, The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth:

Quote:

The analogy also allows one to see the difference between being and beings, and the "withdrawal" that permits beings to stand forth from being – which involves, obviously, a seeming "constriction," "occlusion," and "withholding" holding" of being – not as negation or nihilation but as kenosis. For anything to appear, it is true, there must be a more general hiddenness: the unseen sides of an object that, in being hidden, allow a distinct form to emerge from "total" presence, the obscuration of everything the object shields from view, the hiddenness of past and future that allows the object to disclose itself out of its temporal "ecstases," and indeed the invisibility of being itself, its deferral of its absoluteness in its gracious giving way to the finite; but it makes all the difference in the world whether one sees this movement of hiddenness within manifestation in terms of an original negation or in terms of that perfect self-outpouring that is itself the original movement of plenitude, of full manifestation.

After all, if the continuity between being and beings is not univocal but truly analogical, being must not be conceived in an ontic fashion – as, say, a great reservoir of possibility that must be apportioned by the "nothinging" of the nothing – but is a transcendent act that is full in being utterly "exposed"; it is the immediate act of being sustaining the entire circle of manifestation in the realm of the ontic, granting actuality equally to visibility and invisibility, presence and absence, and allowing both to share in its own resplendent, self-manifesting, manifesting, self-knowing, self-loving apatheia and bounty. Being cannot be negated by the negative, for the entire economy of manifestation is its good gift; there can be no strife, no original violence, between being and beings, because, as Maximus says, it is impossible for the infinite to be on the same level as the finite that shares in it (AmbiguumVII), for beings know nonexistence as the contrary of their existence (which is participated being), while being itself is beyond contrariety altogether (Centuries on Love 3:27-29). Ontological analogy instructs the pure eye how to see what it sees as the gracious kenosis of the supereminent in the finite, and as the simultaneous exaltation of the finite in the peaceful coincidence of all its transcendental moments; it teaches vision to see that coincidence not as the savage blaze of "total light," a substance that is rent asunder in the plurality of existence, but as the embracing unity that allows the finite the space to be. But for the analogy, one might fail to see that in the very "hanging together" of the moments of experience there is a prior act of grace in which unity and difference both subsist (as if, in a crudely structuralist way, one were to see language as consisting only in the differential placing of signs and lexemes, but fail to note how a prior unity shows itself in the very "ontological" pertinacity of language's structure);"' one might not see that the great sea of possibility that is fitfully actualized as "world" is still infinitely distinct from the actuality – the unity – that allows the possible to be. In short, the analogy instructs us to see the world as creation, as God pouring himself inexhaustibly exhaustibly forth as the place – the chora – of the not-God, of the as-nothing, giving distance to beings in the infinite distance of the Father's self-outpouring in his eternal "manifestation" and image: the lamb slain from the foundation of the world, always raised up by the Spirit.

This is why consideration of the analogia entis concludes this long meditation on trinitarian doctrine: the Father forever sees and infinitely loves the whole depth of his being in the Son, illumined as responsive love in the fullness of the Spirit, and in the always determinate infinity of his triune being God begets all the riches of being – all that all things might ever be – in the image and light of his essence; and thus God himself is already his own analogy, his own infinite otherness and perfect likeness.

All things – all the words of being – speak of God because they shine within his eternal Word. This trinitarian distance is that "open" in which the tree springs up from the earth, the stars turn in the sky, the sea swells, all living things are born and grow, angels raise their everlasting hymnody; because this is the true interval of difference, every metaphysics that does not grasp the analogy of being is a Tower of Babel, attempting to mount up to the supreme principle rather than dwelling in and giving voice to the prodigality of the gift. It is the simple, infinite movement of analogy that constitutes everything that is as a being, oscillating between essence and existence and receiving both from beyond itself, and that makes everything already participate in the return of the gift, the offering of all things by the Spirit up into the Father's plenitude of being, in the Son. By the analogy, each thing comes to be as pure event, owning no substance, made free from nothingness by the unmerited grace of being other than God, participating in the mystery of God's power to receive all in giving all away – the mystery, that is, of the truth that God is love.

End quote:

Lastly,

Only in and by the Triune God is it the case that Christ’s Cross does not determine the nature of divine love, but rather manifests it:

“In him there is neither variableness nor shadow of turning because he is wholly free, wholly God as Father, Son, and Spirit, wholly alive, and wholly love. Even the cross of Christ does not determine the nature of divine love, but rather manifests it, because there is a more original outpouring of God that – without needing to submit itself to the order of sacrifice that builds crosses – always already surpasses every abyss of godforsakenness and pain that sin can impose between the world and God: an outpouring that is in its proper nature indefectible happiness.”


Apparently Greg has a book titled The Story of Reality coming out.

The Story of Reality

What a great title.

The metanarrative of reality is One Metanarrative because (whatever the truth happens to be) there cannot be 1.00000998 true stories about the actual story of reality nor can there be 0.999999472 of a story that is the full content of the actual story of reality.

That said, well, the audaciousness of Greg to claim such a title.

Is reality intelligible? Is perception itself merely a Big-Con with respect to what ultimately exists at bottom? Reason as truth-finder compels us into a peculiar and unique "Y" in the road for on such questions it will be some form of nihilism at some ontological seam somewhere or else it will be, well, three unavoidable vertices.

We may just find, therein, that reason and logic compel us into three unavoidable vertices, such as in all that we find within our own first person experience. Perception itself in that first person experience is itself constituted of all that we perceive as the distinction that is [1] the 'self' and all that we perceive as the distinction that is [2] the 'other' and all that we perceive as the distinction that is [3] the singular whole that is reality -- which in our first person experience would amount to something akin to the term "us", which is itself not actually [1] nor is it actually [2] but rather it is an unavoidable third distinction where perception is concerned.

We find the same three unavoidable vertices inside of reciprocity, which is to say inside of love.

We find the same three unavoidable vertices inside of all that is Knower and Known.

We find the same three unavoidable vertices inside of all that is Mind.

We find (in and by and through all of those) that we come upon the remarkable fact that the same three unavoidable vertices constitute all that is Being Itself.

In fact, the Story of Reality is (*if* we claim that reality is in fact intelligible) the story of an unavoidably triune singularity.

There's more to all of that of course, and the term "E Pluribus Unum" in such contours is itself, while relevant in a few interesting ways, *not* a replacement for what *is* [Father, Eternally Begotten, Spirit] vis-à-vis Trinity, but the title "The Story of Reality" captures something which transports reason and logic into one particular kind of genre which itself testifies of the elemental and irreducibly triune shape of Being Itself.

Uncanny.

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