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2 years ago  ::  Jun 15, 2012 - 9:26AM #1
Miguel_de_servet
Posts: 17,050

Yes, I know, this is, inevitably, yet another, umpteenth variation on the theme, but bear with me if you will ...


This is what we read in Wikipedia:


"In Christian theism (to be accurate "Classical theism"), God is simple, not composite, not made up of thing upon thing." (Wikipedia > Divine simplicity > In Christian thought) [GS]


Now, which Christian, of whichever denomination, would not agree with the above? None, I believe.


Which Christian, of whichever denomination, would not agree that "God is ... not made up of thing upon thing." None, of course.


But isn't the above sentence, which depends essentially in the use of the term "thing" too restrictive? So restrictive, in fact, as to be a strawman?


To verify this, let's leave the term expressed above with "thing" undefined, and let's replace it with "x". Then the above sentence becomes:


"In Christian theism (...), God is simple, not composite, not made up of x upon x." [GSx]


Is it still so obvious? I don't think so. To verify this, let's further replace the rather colloquial expression "made up of x upon x" ("thing upon thing ... upon thing ... etc.") with a more normal "made of x's" ("things"). Now we have:


"In Christian theism (...), God is simple, not composite, not made of x's." [GSx']


Is it still so obvious? Definitely NOT. For a counterproof, let's put:


x = person


Then we have ...


"In Christian theism (...), God is simple, not composite, not made up of persons." [GSp]


But, of course, this is rather difficult to reconcile with this "orthodox" sentence:


"In orthodox Christian theism (...), God is, not composite, not made of three persons." [GSt]


Unless someone provide evidence that [GSp] has been arbitrarily derived from the original [GS], the consequence is that we have two contradictory statements: [GSp] and [GSt].


Put in different words: God's simplicity according to "Classical theism" is incompatible with "orthodox trinitarianism".


MdS

Revelation is above, not against Reason

“The everlasting God is a refuge, and underneath you are his eternal arms ...” (Deut 33:27)
“Do you have an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like his?” (Job 40:9)
“By the Lord’s word [dabar] the heavens were made; and by the breath [ruwach] of his mouth all their host.” (Psalm 33:6)
“Who would have believed what we just heard? When was the arm of the Lord revealed through him?” (Isaiah 53:1)
“Lord, who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” (John 12:38)
“For not the hearers of the law are righteous before God, but the doers of the law will be declared righteous.” (Romans 2:13)

“Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.”(Romans 13:8)
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2 years ago  ::  Jun 15, 2012 - 9:40AM #2
Adelphe
Posts: 28,705

Jun 15, 2012 -- 9:26AM, Miguel_de_servet wrote:


Yes, I know, this is, inevitably, yet another, umpteenth variation on the theme, but bear with me if you will ...


This is what we read in Wikipedia:


"In Christian theism (to be accurate "Classical theism"), God is simple, not composite, not made up of thing upon thing." (Wikipedia > Divine simplicity > In Christian thought) [GS]


Now, which Christian, of whichever denomination, would not agree with the above? None, I believe.


Which Christian, of whichever denomination, would not agree that "God is ... not made up of thing upon thing." None, of course.


But isn't the above sentence, which depends essentially in the use of the term "thing" too restrictive? So restrictive, in fact, as to be a strawman?


To verify this, let's leave the term expressed above with "thing" undefined, and let's replace it with "x". Then the above sentence becomes:


"In Christian theism (...), God is simple, not composite, not made up of x upon x." [GSx]


Is it still so obvious? I don't think so. To verify this, let's further replace the rather colloquial expression "made up of x upon x" ("thing upon thing ... upon thing ... etc.") with a more normal "made of x's" ("things"). Now we have:


"In Christian theism (...), God is simple, not composite, not made of x's." [GSx']


Is it still so obvious? Definitely NOT. For a counterproof, let's put:


x = person


Then we have ...


"In Christian theism (...), God is simple, not composite, not made up of persons." [GSp]


But, of course, this is rather difficult to reconcile with this "orthodox" sentence:


"In orthodox Christian theism (...), God is, not composite, not made of three persons." [GSt]


Unless someone provide evidence that [GSp] has been arbitrarily derived from the original [GS], the consequence is that we have two contradictory statements: [GSp] and [GSt].


Put in different words: God's simplicity according to "Classical theism" is incompatible with "orthodox trinitarianism".


MdS




Tell St. Thomas Aquinas that--along with the rest of the Catholic Church.


Wink

Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason, my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, for to go against conscience would be neither right nor safe.  Here I stand.  I can do no other.  God help me.  Amen.
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2 years ago  ::  Jun 15, 2012 - 9:44AM #3
Ed.W
Posts: 9,423

Jun 15, 2012 -- 9:40AM, Adelphe wrote:


Jun 15, 2012 -- 9:26AM, Miguel_de_servet wrote:


Yes, I know, this is, inevitably, yet another, umpteenth variation on the theme, but bear with me if you will ...


This is what we read in Wikipedia:


"In Christian theism (to be accurate "Classical theism"), God is simple, not composite, not made up of thing upon thing." (Wikipedia > Divine simplicity > In Christian thought) [GS]


Now, which Christian, of whichever denomination, would not agree with the above? None, I believe.


Which Christian, of whichever denomination, would not agree that "God is ... not made up of thing upon thing." None, of course.


But isn't the above sentence, which depends essentially in the use of the term "thing" too restrictive? So restrictive, in fact, as to be a strawman?


To verify this, let's leave the term expressed above with "thing" undefined, and let's replace it with "x". Then the above sentence becomes:


"In Christian theism (...), God is simple, not composite, not made up of x upon x." [GSx]


Is it still so obvious? I don't think so. To verify this, let's further replace the rather colloquial expression "made up of x upon x" ("thing upon thing ... upon thing ... etc.") with a more normal "made of x's" ("things"). Now we have:


"In Christian theism (...), God is simple, not composite, not made of x's." [GSx']


Is it still so obvious? Definitely NOT. For a counterproof, let's put:


x = person


Then we have ...


"In Christian theism (...), God is simple, not composite, not made up of persons." [GSp]


But, of course, this is rather difficult to reconcile with this "orthodox" sentence:


"In orthodox Christian theism (...), God is, not composite, not made of three persons." [GSt]


Unless someone provide evidence that [GSp] has been arbitrarily derived from the original [GS], the consequence is that we have two contradictory statements: [GSp] and [GSt].


Put in different words: God's simplicity according to "Classical theism" is incompatible with "orthodox trinitarianism".


MdS




Tell St. Thomas Aquinas that--along with the rest of the Catholic Church.







From same wiki article on "divine simiplicity":


This doctrine also helps keep trinitarianism from drifting into tritheism, which is the belief in three different gods: the persons of God are not parts or essential differences, but are rather the way in which the one God exists personally.

Have you got anything I can sink my teeth into?
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2 years ago  ::  Jun 15, 2012 - 10:37AM #4
Blü
Posts: 24,653

Ed


"This doctrine also helps keep trinitarianism from drifting into tritheism, which is the belief in three different gods: the persons of God are not parts or essential differences, but are rather the way in which the one God exists personally."


If God merely had three hats, as himself (Yahweh), and as President of the Jesus Club and acting the role of Ghost in the pageant, he could still be an individual.  But quite expressly, Father is not Son or Ghost, and Son is not Ghost.


So if God is the Trinity then God is three and God is composite.


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2 years ago  ::  Jun 15, 2012 - 11:20AM #5
Miguel_de_servet
Posts: 17,050

Quickies ...


Jun 15, 2012 -- 9:40AM, Adelphe wrote:

Tell St. Thomas Aquinas that--along with the rest of the Catholic Church. [:Wink:]


I frankly don't see what is there for Adelphe to :Wink: ...


... perhaps she is trying to deflect everybody's attention from the fact that she hasn't confuted nether MdS' argument nor his conclusion ...


Jun 15, 2012 -- 9:44AM, Ed.W wrote:

From same wiki article on "divine simplicity":


“This doctrine also helps keep trinitarianism from drifting into tritheism, which is the belief in three different gods: the persons of God are not parts or essential differences, but are rather the way in which the one God exists personally.” [Wikipedia > Divine simplicity > In Christian thought]



What the wiki-article doesn't say, is that the "beast" that is implied in the above is Social Trinitarianism (ST), and that within the same "orthodox fence" is also "corralled" another "trinitarian" beast, Latin Trinitarianism (LT) which, if left free to roam, would inevitably drift into the diametrically opposite belief, modalism/sabellianism.

Jun 15, 2012 -- 10:37AM, Blü wrote:

If God merely had three hats, as himself (Yahweh), and as President of the Jesus Club and acting the role of Ghost in the pageant, he could still be an individual.  But quite expressly, Father is not Son or Ghost, and Son is not Ghost.


So if God is the Trinity then God is three and God is composite.


Yep, this is the problem that the "orthodox fence" is becoming less and less apt to ...


... fence ...


... also because, while in the past it only few specialists knew about it, nowadays, thanks also, to a large extent, to websites like Beliefnet and their forums, it is swiftly becoming an open secret (in Italian, segreto di Pulcinella, "Pulcinella's secret").


MdS

Revelation is above, not against Reason

“The everlasting God is a refuge, and underneath you are his eternal arms ...” (Deut 33:27)
“Do you have an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like his?” (Job 40:9)
“By the Lord’s word [dabar] the heavens were made; and by the breath [ruwach] of his mouth all their host.” (Psalm 33:6)
“Who would have believed what we just heard? When was the arm of the Lord revealed through him?” (Isaiah 53:1)
“Lord, who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” (John 12:38)
“For not the hearers of the law are righteous before God, but the doers of the law will be declared righteous.” (Romans 2:13)

“Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.”(Romans 13:8)
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2 years ago  ::  Jun 15, 2012 - 11:22AM #6
Ed.W
Posts: 9,423

Jun 15, 2012 -- 10:37AM, Blü wrote:


The contents of this post have been hidden for this blocked user.


You can manage your blocked users list here .





Ah,  that's better.

Have you got anything I can sink my teeth into?
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2 years ago  ::  Jun 16, 2012 - 1:00AM #7
Blü
Posts: 24,653

Ed


Since I posted nothing you quoted, do you mean you're blocking my posts?


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2 years ago  ::  Jun 16, 2012 - 4:11AM #8
Jiwe
Posts: 492

Jun 15, 2012 -- 10:37AM, Blü wrote:


Ed


"This doctrine also helps keep trinitarianism from drifting into tritheism, which is the belief in three different gods: the persons of God are not parts or essential differences, but are rather the way in which the one God exists personally."


If God merely had three hats, as himself (Yahweh), and as President of the Jesus Club and acting the role of Ghost in the pageant, he could still be an individual.  But quite expressly, Father is not Son or Ghost, and Son is not Ghost.


So if God is the Trinity then God is three and God is composite.





Let's try an analogy: Gold is the element with atomic nr 79, so let's for simplicity say that Gold is the 79-ity. Then Gold is 79 and Gold is composite. Clearly the 79 protons are not each Gold taken individually, only collectively. And the mathematical sum of the protons is 79 - not Gold: The Gold atom is a certain collection and arrangement of the protons (and more) - not the mathematical sum of those things.


So it should be clear that the Gold atom conceptualized as a chemical element possesses a certain unity. It can't be divided without ceasing to exist. Knock of one proton and you get Platinum instead. Gold is an element precisely because it possesses this unity. However, nothing prevents us from changing perspective and conceptualizing it simply as a collection of protons (and some more stuff). From that perspective Gold is composite. But this depends on the conceptualization.


James

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2 years ago  ::  Jun 16, 2012 - 5:18AM #9
Miguel_de_servet
Posts: 17,050

Jun 16, 2012 -- 4:11AM, Jiwe wrote:

Jun 15, 2012 -- 10:37AM, Blü wrote:

Jun 15, 2012 -- 9:44AM, Ed.W wrote:

“This doctrine also helps keep trinitarianism from drifting into tritheism, which is the belief in three different gods: the persons of God are not parts or essential differences, but are rather the way in which the one God exists personally.” [Wikipedia > Divine simplicity > In Christian thought]


If God merely had three hats, as himself (Yahweh), and as President of the Jesus Club and acting the role of Ghost in the pageant, he could still be an individual.  But quite expressly, Father is not Son or Ghost, and Son is not Ghost.


So if God is the Trinity then God is three and God is composite.


Let's try an analogy: Gold is the element with atomic nr 79, so let's for simplicity say that Gold is the 79-ity. Then Gold is 79 and Gold is composite. Clearly the 79 protons are not each Gold taken individually, only collectively. And the mathematical sum of the protons is 79 - not Gold: The Gold atom is a certain collection and arrangement of the protons (and more) - not the mathematical sum of those things.


Having duly noted that Jiwe does not take issue with the OP, let's look at this.


What Jiwe is saying is that an atom of Gold (BTW, a very ... er ... significant choice for an analogy of God, worthy of a Father of the Church ... ) is NOT a mere collection of protons (and neutrons, and electrons), BUT a structured collection, and that the properties of the atom of Gold cannot be reduced to, and deduced from the properties of its constituting protons (and [118] neutrons and electrons).


Now, the above is not entirely true, because, while the properties of the atom of Gold CANNOT be reduced to the properties of its individual constituting protons (and neutrons and electrons), OTOH, they can be deduced, through the Schrödinger equation, from the constituting "ingredients".


So it should be clear that the Gold atom conceptualized as a chemical element possesses a certain unity. It can't be divided without ceasing to exist. Knock of one proton and you get Platinum instead. Gold is an element precisely because it possesses this unity. However, nothing prevents us from changing perspective and conceptualizing it simply as a collection of protons (and some more stuff). From that perspective Gold is composite. But this depends on the conceptualization.

Jiwe, in his enthusiasm for the analogy, must have forgotten to check it.


If what happens to Gold, when we "knock off one proton" is that we get Platinum, does it mean that we can also "knock off one person" from (the "trinitarian") God? Would we perhaps get ... 



... or maybe ... ???


MdS

Revelation is above, not against Reason

“The everlasting God is a refuge, and underneath you are his eternal arms ...” (Deut 33:27)
“Do you have an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like his?” (Job 40:9)
“By the Lord’s word [dabar] the heavens were made; and by the breath [ruwach] of his mouth all their host.” (Psalm 33:6)
“Who would have believed what we just heard? When was the arm of the Lord revealed through him?” (Isaiah 53:1)
“Lord, who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” (John 12:38)
“For not the hearers of the law are righteous before God, but the doers of the law will be declared righteous.” (Romans 2:13)

“Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.”(Romans 13:8)
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2 years ago  ::  Jun 16, 2012 - 5:34AM #10
Ed.W
Posts: 9,423

Jun 16, 2012 -- 5:18AM, Miguel_de_servet wrote:


Jun 16, 2012 -- 4:11AM, Jiwe wrote:

Jun 15, 2012 -- 10:37AM, Blü wrote:

Jun 15, 2012 -- 9:44AM, Ed.W wrote:

“This doctrine also helps keep trinitarianism from drifting into tritheism, which is the belief in three different gods: the persons of God are not parts or essential differences, but are rather the way in which the one God exists personally.” [Wikipedia > Divine simplicity > In Christian thought]


If God merely had three hats, as himself (Yahweh), and as President of the Jesus Club and acting the role of Ghost in the pageant, he could still be an individual.  But quite expressly, Father is not Son or Ghost, and Son is not Ghost.


So if God is the Trinity then God is three and God is composite.


Let's try an analogy: Gold is the element with atomic nr 79, so let's for simplicity say that Gold is the 79-ity. Then Gold is 79 and Gold is composite. Clearly the 79 protons are not each Gold taken individually, only collectively. And the mathematical sum of the protons is 79 - not Gold: The Gold atom is a certain collection and arrangement of the protons (and more) - not the mathematical sum of those things.


Having duly noted that Jiwe does not take issue with the OP, let's look at this.


What Jiwe is saying is that an atom of Gold (BTW, a very ... er ... significant choice for an analogy of God, worthy of a Father of the Church ... ) is NOT a mere collection of protons (and neutrons, and electrons), BUT a structured collection, and that the properties of the atom of Gold cannot be reduced to, and deduced from the properties of its constituting protons (and [118] neutrons and electrons).


Now, the above is not entirely true, because, while the properties of the atom of Gold CANNOT be reduced to the properties of its individual constituting protons (and neutrons and electrons), OTOH, they can be deduced, through the Schrödinger equation, from the constituting "ingredients".


So it should be clear that the Gold atom conceptualized as a chemical element possesses a certain unity. It can't be divided without ceasing to exist. Knock of one proton and you get Platinum instead. Gold is an element precisely because it possesses this unity. However, nothing prevents us from changing perspective and conceptualizing it simply as a collection of protons (and some more stuff). From that perspective Gold is composite. But this depends on the conceptualization.

Jiwe, in his enthusiasm for the analogy, must have forgotten to check it.


If what happens to Gold, when we "knock off one proton" is that we get Platinum, does it mean that we can also "knock off one person" from (the "trinitarian") God? Would we perhaps get ...



... or maybe ...  ???


MdS




What  you are missing here from both the wiki snippet, and from Jiwe's post, that the problem lies in how we conceptualize God versus how God would see himself.



That we say God is the most simple AND we can experience him as a Trinity does not reduce his simplicity.


We can say Gold is simple; it's an element not a compound; it cannot be reduced further.  But someone will say oh no.... gold is protons, neutrons, and electrons....  of course it's not gold anymore at that level....


Or we say God is most simple and the same "scholar" says oh no it's Father Son and Spirit, but then it's not God anymore(! exactly he says). 


But to remove one of the persons of God does not "destroy" that Person, it's only a mental, temporary thing.  To remove a proton of Gold is permanent, it can't be put back.


And likewise if we permanently remove one of the persons of God, then God no longer exists.



The Son is still God by himself because the Father and Spirit still do exist, and they are still not actually separated, but only separated in one's mind.


Have you got anything I can sink my teeth into?
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