That's no different than saying the essence is real, so the essence is real. Whatever He is as it turns out, is a self-relational yet simple entity. The essence of angels are not identical to their existence. Aquinas agrees that because “the persons agree in essence, it only remains to be said that the persons are distinguished from each other by the relations (ST 1.40.2). Sorry, but you're firing blanks.Only an apparent contradiction. That's the a priori. article from which I just quoted, Aquinas cites the proposition “that Nevertheless, there are certain likely arguments that should be brought forth in order to make divine truth known. In God, there is no real distinction between substance and accident, between existence and essence. Folks, please don't feed the StardustyPsyche troll. Synthetic a posteriori is the "standard" empirical knowledge; the peculiar Kantian contribution is with synthetic a priori, that is the foundation for arithmetic and geometry. If two things be the same both really and logically, wherever the one is there must the other be. If he had that causality, He would not need the Father's begetting. As he goes on to say in that same lecture, wanting a demonstration for everything leads to an infinite regress. Nothing has atributesThis conclusion do talks about what we actually know(creation), so we don't have the same dificult and can just point out that this don't make any sense.In the end, i believe we should just believe in what is revealed to us, even if we can't actually understand what is revealed, and never try to "prove" the Trinity by arguments. What they have in common (the divine essence) is what produces/grounds/gives rise to the real distinction (among the divine persons).Now, this CAN work in genus/species composites. If the whole is "God," then the blue (and white) books are only part of God.Against this you can object that no temporal analogy will perfectly illustrate divinity, and I readily agree. It seems like that if we could have a situation where a “PD” is (in some us of the word) a PC, then we would have an out. The distinction between a priori and a posteriori knowledge must be separated from two other distinctions with which it is closely connected and sometimes confused. In order to understand bodies and extension, one would first have to have a clear picture of time and space. If you stepped outside the box for just a second, you would see how patently absurd your statement is. But wait! Here's a snippet:I’ve not argued that logical or notional distinctions are unreal. A proposition that is the proposition that water is H2O (if it is true). However, since such arguments are not available for the second kind of divine truth, our intention should not be to convince our adversary by arguments: it should be to answer his arguments against the truth; for, as we have shown, the natural reason cannot be contrary to the truth of faith. You have to be infinite. [And it does not differ except as following/according to/in consideration of (secundum) the reason(ing)/account/concept (rationem) of the understanding, so far as in 'relation' is implied a relation to its opposite, which is not implied in the name 'essence.'] Aquinas lists a few here in chapter 6. These real relations are the real distinctions of three Persons of the Godhead. In fact, I would see such a submission of his intellect to the data of faith as a movement of grace in his life. @Bill:Aseity is not a "presupposition." I do not mean that this shows there are three Gods, of course.The trinitarian is not saying that there are three totally diferent selfs or a Cerberus on the Godhead like, say, William Lane Craig believes, he is saying that there is some sort of relation on God(not that they are diferent) that separates the three persons in a way that is not a numerical one(because them we would have three Gods) neither a mere logical one(because the opositions actually are the essence). @Feser: A synthetic proposition is true by virtue of something beyond the relations between its constituent concepts.This is not quite right. When you argue that the Son has an "origin" or is "caused" or "begotten" by the Father, you deny His divinity. ; He just simply IS. The fact that you can make it work on paper in some mathematical construct doesn’t translate into real-world distinction.When modalists deny “real” distinctions, they are denying that there are aspects of the essence that are actually different from each other. I think I'm understanding quite well that you said I said something that I didn't say. Some analytic propositions are a priori, and most synthetic propositions are a posteriori. And the mind does not have any material to work with until it has concepts; and it does not have any concepts until it has abstracted essences from sense input. If God is self conscious and knows himself, how can you, as a finite human being, know what that is like? I think you're badly misunderstanding the essence/being distinction. I'm certainly confident it's (b), not (a). Welcome to modalism. Welcome to begging the question!And this again shows that you're not paying attention. Synthetic & Practice Activities 3) Necessary vs. Since, in forming the judgment, I must not go outside my concept, there is no need to appeal to the testimony of experience in its support' [Kt1:11; cf. That's not the issue. These relations of distinction, though, not only define the differences between the persons of the holy trinity, they are the persons of the holy trinity. I see several strands of your argument to extend to the opposite of what you intend. I have even used the term "real" in that God's attributes are real and their effects are really different. Yet now we can ask, how do we know this? From what I read of Gilson's book as well as David S. Oderberg's "Real Essentialism," analytic a posteriori is necessary to come to an understanding of the essence of a thing. So, does that mean "a prior in a sense" but not "a priori absolutely"? Your thesis on the Eucharist was amazing. Fr. From one perspective, God is love, from another, He is judgment, but all of His attributes are one in Him. The Son and Spirit are God because they eternally possess the fullness of the divine nature/essence/being. Since relation is the divine essence, there is nothing to relate to other than the simple, undivided essence of God. You're just being stubborn and silly at this point. 1:26, the next verse says, “So God created man in HIS own image, in the image of God created HE him; male and female created HE them.” Isaiah 44:24 says, “I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens ALONE; that spreadeth abroad the earth by MYSELF.” In fact, the creation account is given many times in the Old Testament and EVERY time God refers to himself in the first person singular (I, Me, Myself) or is referred to with the masculine singular pronouns He, Him and His. I imagine, from a strictly experiential perspective, I am sometimes showing Arian or Sabellian tendencies. The better approach will be to argue from scripture first. Perhaps they've already been made, but so far I've yet to see them. Scott""Thank you for your reply. You are saying that relation MUST be between one part and another part, one individual and another individual, or one species and another species or some combination therein.But why is it impossible for a whole substance to be related to itself? We come to know that it can/should/must be understood in a sense which includes the internal processions and relations of the persons of the Trinity, without prejudice to and in clear distinction from (despite your gratuitous assertions to the contrary) the non-aseity characterizing the being of and God's ("non-real") relations to creatures/creation. The sole real distinction that is found in God is the distinction between the persons themselves (and not between the persons and the divine nature). You're going to sum it all up just like that? If “Father” cannot be predicated of the Son, and if the Son is really different from the Father, how do you avoid genus/species composition?By the way, I am a Christian who affirms modalism. Thus you have no grounds for asserting that it also applies to circumscribing and delimiting the intelligibility of God in His own essential being.Arguing that an uncaused cause can be caused is turning language on its head, and no amount of "revelation" can undo that obvious contradiction.Again, Bill, as with reading Aquinas, you have to remember that words have multiple significations. "One of the best contemporary writers on philosophy", Philosophers @ScottI realize that all finite analogies of things infinite will falter at some point, and I've seen plenty of hyper-critics jump on an analogy to sidestep a point, but your analogy fails for very obvious reasons.You offer a line running left to right, the essence of which is its infinite length. In this pair of Traditionally there are taken to be four causes needed to full explain a thing. How can a relation exist unless the persons having the relationship are already distinct? Taking these Hey David, I got my learner's hat on hear, so not addressing Bill in particular, but I thought I would give a stab at clarifying the concepts at least - can you confirm if I'm on the right track? What points we place on the line in order to categorize things more effectively fit our pespective, not the line's.Moreover, though we affix the labels left and right to arbitrary segments of the line, said labels are not the line's essence. I'd love to see you do so. Analytic a posteriori judgments cannot arise, since there is never any need to appeal to experience in support of a purely explicative assertion. When we choose values such as 2.1 or 2.0001 we evaluate right-handed limits.Sometimes, right handed and left handed limits coincide - sometimes they don't. Then you have the first council of Jerusalem, which defines the pattern for Christians on how to settle disputes about the teachings of the faith. It is impossible. manifestly true) through the meaning of the terms of the proposition. There is some intrinsic principle that props God up and that somehow justifies your saying that the "being" of the Son is "caused" by an eternal procession, which is absurd. I explained in detail why your "defense" of the Trinity is something no modalist or Arian would object to. But Kant thought it was synthetic, not analytic. God is merely having relations with Himself to fulfill whatever purpose pleases Him. If you apply the same language to the persons of the Trinity (F, S & HS), then you have modalism. That's sufficient for the distinction. I had a similar idea, that denial of the PSR is a invitation to solipsism, but i could not argue very well to that conclusion.But could not the skeptic just agree with the argument and deny that we have any justification in believing that we know any empirical fact? The issue is affirming logical contradictions. I feel like you are reading modernist assumptions into the Trinity.All Modalists deny REAL distinctions in the Godhead. I tend to agree with him. "Son" is not God + Son, but Son = the one, simple undivided divine essence (God). This is the result of the combination of essence and existence. So what is the point? And how does he know that only one person is sufficient to express the divine essences' existence?If you want to know what I think, why don't you ask me? Modalists deny that there can be such a real relation between the whole essence and the whole essence. It is logically deduced from a posteriori arguments for God's existence.Excellent observation. And while coming to understand a particular simple sum may be directly rooted in some particular sense experience, the nature of arithmetic is badly misunderstood if it is understood as being essentially dependent on verification by means of any particular contingent sense experience (past, present, or future) -- as would be the case if such propositions were a posteriori.If you still think there are difficulties, well fine, so did Quine (he famously attacked the supposed analytic/synthetic distinction in "Two Dogmas of Empiricism").One Brow,The principle of all numbers is "1" (as Tony suggested), and I think the concept "4" is most basically "four ones," certainly not "two plus two" or "three plus one." assistance comes via a divine revelation backed by miracles, and in particular And as I've been saying many times now, that's nothing "trinitarian. I would consider idiomatic communication, such as the usage of prepositions, to be a good example. And as I've been saying many times now, that's nothing "trinitarian. Right. My understanding though, is, first, given the nature of abstract forms, God is certainly more similar to an abstract form than he is to human being, given that He is immutable, unchanging, immaterial, etc.And if the relations are the essence (per Aquinas), then “Father” can be equally predicated of the Son, and “Son” can be equally predicated of the Holy Spirit. @David McPike, you write: A thing's essence is a kind of cause, its intrinsic cause. :). Nothing caused is a se. Perhaps you can do so, but it is very easy that, being a non-expert, you are making a subtle mistake in your thinking, which seems to be evident.I am not saying that to shut down the discussion. @Daniel, you write:The sole real distinction that is found in God is the distinction between the persons themselves (and not between the persons and the divine nature).But if the Persons are no different from the divine nature, and are one and the same with the divine nature (per Aquinas), then the "persons" can only relate to each other in a manner that God relates to Himself. Having said all that, I also believe that you are in the small 0.01% of the population that actually does have an adequate understanding. I'm curious why you think I badly misunderstood that. It will give exact answer. I never said, "Even if the Son fully possesses the divine nature, He is not God." But the Father generates the Son necessarily and eternally from the nature of his own being/essence and the Son necessarily receives fully and eternally the divine nature as his own being/essence.If the Son "receives" the divine nature by something other than Himself, then He is not God by definition. Your selective "rebuttals" don't entitle you to accuse me of begging the question. Is it worth getting a mortgage with early repayment or an offset mortgage? Empirical facts are a form/matter compound of concepts and sensory intuitions. There is, however, an analogy. No analogy can undermine the law of non-contradiction because it cannot be undermined. Thanks for contributing an answer to Philosophy Stack Exchange! (And this advice should of course be taken to have general application.). If two things are the same with each other, where one is there is the other. Not every claim that something is beyond comprehension is of equal value. The interior principle of action of a being and of its development. Relativism 101This is a question of revelation. What do we call a proposition that is known through a combination of "by virtue of the relations between its constituent concepts" and in part through empirical facts gathered through sense. Any attempt to explain the line segments composing a cube would doubtless lead to many apparently absurd contradictions, leading many such beings to insist the 3D being is talking nonsense.Given this analogy, it seems clear that there may be ways of existing which we simply are incapable of understanding because they do not obtain in our world. -- but that would require a lot of retractions on your part).Another way of putting this: if the "Son" is eternal in the sense in which the redemptive plan is eternal since the eternal plan requires the "Son," then creation is eternal in the same sense as the "Son," since the eternal plan of redemption requires creation no less than it requires the "Son." If the Son has a cause, the Son is not God.Each of the subsistent relations/divine persons is identical to the divine essence, but it doesn't follow that the terms referring to the persons have the same sense and are interchangeable in predication.I never said that they "have the same sense." 1. A Person is a singular being existing distinctly from others.Christ, as an example, has both a divine nature and a human nature united in the second person of the Trinity. They affirm merely logical distinctions. I said that your statement is akin to saying that, "If God creates another God, then the other being is God by definition." From this empiricist point of view, whatever is analytic is a priori and whatever is synthetic is a posteriori, and vice versa. Though there are an infinite number of blue books, they are not the whole bookcase. To both of you: my underlying point is that the distinctions proposed are less than clear - they have difficulties that are by no means easily solved - and one may well doubt the usefulness of the proposed categories. iii), this argument holds, that whatever things are identified with the same thing are identified with each other, if the identity be real and logical; as, for instance, a tunic and a garment; but not if they differ logically. I have honestly tried to consider the arguments of my interlocutors in the best possible light, imperfectly of course, and sincerely do not see how they're connecting the dots.You write in reply to my assertion that a contradiction exists:Wrong. *Existence: Shared in common. And if the essence is real, it can relate to itself, which is all your word shell verbiage accomplishes.And proof by assertion is still fallacious. But that doesn't alter the distinction; even if all our knowledge begins with sensory experience, there are still things we can know to be true purely a priori. philosophers tend to distinguish more clearly the notion of "I think it might allay your confusion if you amended this to say: "The very thing that 'makes' (in the same respect (ITSR)) them 'alike' (ITSR) cannot be the thing that 'makes' (ITSR) them 'different' (ITSR). Garrigou Lagrange, commenting on this issue, says:"[...] This is the same as saying that this axiom does not apply to God. For the angel knows God on the basis of a more noble effect than does man; and this by as much as the substance of an angel, through which the angel in his natural knowledge is led to the knowledge of God, is nobler than sensible things and even than the soul itself, through which the human intellect mounts to the knowledge of God. Yea, thanks Luke. You write: But it isn't the essence considered as essence, that makes the distinctness intelligible to us, it is the essence considered as cause......So the cause of the processions of the persons is most certainly the (concrete) essence, considered as real cause, not just as (intrinsic) essence (i.e., considered through the mode of intelligibility we signify by the term 'essence').So, the essence causes three somethings (I don't mean that disrespectfully) and these three somethings are actually and completely the essence. But again: yes, the actualization (in a subject) of the simple concept "1," or of the synthetic proposition "6+6=12," comes about only through sense experience (just as the actualization of the ability to use language and form concepts in general only comes about only through sense experience); but the mind, once actualized, does not depend on sense experience to grasp the form of "1" or the truth of arithmetical operations/propositions. @Bill: A quick note on "logical inversion": Given "If P then Q," the logical inversion is "If not P then not Q." Your square-circle analogy breaks down because squares and circles are both very easy to understand. It has made me reexamine a lot of the arguments and analogies I have heard for the Trinity, and agree that at first blush it certainly seems contradictory. Analytic a posteriori example? 2 + 2 = 4 is the result of how we define "2" and how we define "4".However, I understand that for those who think of quantities as universals, that sort of thinking does not appeal. Most notably, the American philosopher W. V. O. Quine (1951) argued that the analytic-synthetic distinction is illegitimate (see Quine's rejection of the analytic-synthetic distinction). However, the left-ness and right-ness of the line are really opposed to each other and stand in a real relation to each other. And since English is not my native language, I am not sure I can articulate my ideas as I would do in portuguese. For things which are identified with the same, are identified with each other. on what basis we can believe a claim) while analytic and synthetic claims are about language. Can the Father be caused? The judgment "Either it is raining or it is not raining" is not an affirmative subject-predicate judgment; thu… Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby." "Well, those isms are false because our ism is older than their ism." While doing so, I am acting as her husband, but she may also want to discuss some spiritual issues that she’s facing. Because the only way we can even get the ball rolling on this discussion is because we first "believe only because God has revealed it". Second, the person adds to the nature the features that give it its singularity, its individuality. I thought you were following my interaction with others here. It leaves room for the question, “What is that something?” The doctrine of the Trinity is the answer.Finally, if you DID perform a math problem and received the answer 1 = 0, is it not possible that you simply wrote down the wrong number in the beginning and made a calculation mistake? It seems you are assuming that what Thomas says should rather serve as a warning to your interlocutors; but why not rather as a warning to yourself?So that the human mind, therefore, might be freed from this presumption and come to a humble inquiry after truth, it was necessary that some things should be proposed to man by God that would completely surpass his intellect.So does Thomas mean (a) completely surpass his understanding altogether (so that Augustine's/JPII's dictum "understand that you may believe" should be rejected); or (b) completely surpass the ability of his unaided reason to positively ascertain apart from the assistance of grace and revelation? Relation and divine essence are one and the same. God the Father has a relationship with Himself; he knows and loves himself as God and as principle of generation within the Godhead. If the cause is not the essence, then what is the cause? What if you had a brilliant math teacher who, among other things, could rise from the dead who told you that you were wrong? Each person cannot be different from that which they are common on pain of contradiction. "I'll end my side of this discussion on this note. Who is the Father loving, Daniel? That's why I used the expression "essence/being of God" to begin with, to emphasize and remind you of that. working out what 900 divided by 7 is; A posteriori knowledge: knowledge that can only be acquired from experience of the external world . We deduce that the ground of all composition is Pure Act whose essence is to exist. In this way, if we believe Aquinas has failed to adequately describe how God can be both three persons in one Godhead, it is only because we have either failed to properly understand Aquinas or there is some better explanation out there still to be discovered which can help us understand. You are saying that there is a REAL distinction in God's essence (because the relations ARE God's essence). Hence they are distinguished from each other. What if we were trying to explain to a 1-Dimensional being, though? I think that I am taking the terminology at face value and evaluating its implications.I realize that any trinitarian worth his salt will say that an airtight, positive argument is not possible due to the nature of the subject, and I can go along with that. The point is, Thomists do not admit distinctions in the essence, although they do admit distinctions in the Persons/Relations.I would be careful not to put too much emphasis on the psychological analogy. You can read Palmquist's whole book here. I claimed that a real distinction in the essence is composition defined. I think Aquinas would agree with me on this. If so, then the Father isn't God either. And if there is a REAL difference in the divine essence unique to each person, then per above, the essence is composed. You’re simply saying in a more elaborate manner that God can have a relationship with Himself. I would hold with Aquinas that to love is to will the good of the other. But trinitarians insist that the distinction in attributes isn’t the same as the distinction in persons. I believe relations in the Godhead are sui generis. Granted the essence of gold, it is not contingent whether its density is Y and its electrical conductance is Z. Tony,I read you post on numbers, and it was interesting and thought-provoking. And recall that the DT insists that each person is the "the same, perfectly simple, and totally actualized act of being (God)." Some people in modern universities make distinctions that are less than worthwhile. What makes them the same is not what makes them different. Scott,“I think you are being incredibly uncharitable.”I appreciate your thoughtful response, but skepticism toward ideologies, beliefs, and attempts at logical arguments is, in my view, a very good thing. He is not a mere abstraction. Again, Paul's message was believed partly because he had this authority to back him up. The existence of analytic a posteriori, the existence of knowledge that is empirical and self-evident, completely destroys most of modern epistemology.Aquinas wrote about these men when he said "For these sophists desire that demonstrative arguments should be given for all things; for it is obvious that they wanted to take some starting point which would be for them a kind of rule whereby they could distinguish between those who are healthy and those who are ill, and between those who are awake and those who are asleep. (Last note: I hope I didn't 'chastise' Daniel, I just tried to point out some problems with his argument. Why must love always be directed toward another? You see a real PERSON of the Son loving and communicating with OTHER PERSONS (Father & Holy Spirit). Pure act is pure (unactualized) form. And if we're discussing three persons of the divine essence, we have three Gods. Again, they’re both infinite (PC), but “really” distinct. "I'm not confused, so there's nothing to "allay." So, no. There are not two lines, but only one line.Granted, this is an analogy, so it is not perfectly sufficient, but does it help you understand how the Principle of Commonality can be the Principle of Distinction for an infinite substance? I recently heard E. Michael Jones interviewed on his newest book “Logos Rising”. As we all know by now, the intricacies of God’s essence are beyond the reach of human reason, so though you see an inconsistency between Jewish teaching and the Bible, it’s only due to your failure to see God’s higher level of existence. Moreover, a being's dependence on another for its existence means that it DOES NOT have in itself this "intrinsic causality" which suffices to explain itself. Is it Bill's fault that the church's grasping at words that express the mystery of the Holy Trinity fall short of expressing the reality? If you can appeal to revelation, so can they. So in your estimation, does your interpretation of St Thomas seem true, and so you assume it is true? Hence, if the human intellect comprehends the substance of some thing, for example, that of a stone or of a triangle, no intelligible characteristic belonging to that thing surpasses the grasp of the human reason. A thing can be self-evident in either If one agrees with Quine's dissolution of the Analytic/Synthetic distinction, what is left of Kant's epistemology? The relations' function may be distinct (as the "function" of mercy and wrath), but not really distinct.And, yes, that is the "opposite" of what you intend to argue (perverse and contradictory). "One of the best contemporary writers on philosophy" National Review the conclusion of Fitch’s paradox of knowability (not all truth can be known even in principle) is true. Created essence is a kind of cause due to potency actualization and multiplication. I think Bill is wrong, but you need to address the contradiction. He would be the sufficient explanation of Himself.But the Son has that intrinsic causality because he has it from another; and remember that he (necessarily! But if essence is a "kind" of cause in creation, it does not follow that it is any kind of cause in Pure Act (begging the question?). @Bill:The relation is the divine essence, so of course it's real. Well it appears that whatever the infinite and eternal Divine Act is, it is this wholly threefold act of procession. known only through empirical investigation). There is not one “part” of the Divine Essence different from the other, because there are no parts. "And yet the because the processions are real, the relations are real, and they are really relationally distinct. Pretty much. But then the "Son" is also not God relating to Himself, as you want to maintain. Arrogance? "The LORD, he is God, and there is none else." Now, that either means that God loves Himself or it means that the act of love is a personal relationship between two minds. Those attributes are REALLY distinct in that they have DIFFERENT functions. I as a human have one nature and one self. This is what we Catholics call the obedience of faith. It does, however, play a role in philosophical interpretations of mathematically formulated theories. You are a Christian, yet you reject the Trinity?I feel like square circles is a poor illustration because it gives the impression that you can easily comprehend the terms and the predicate. On your terms, left-ness and right-ness arise from the point on the line. Conceding arguendo what you say about causality, the intrinsic principle that makes God God is different than the cause that generates the being of the Son, else the divine essence too would need a similar generation.But if God the Son's being is dependent on eternal generation, then what generates is either the same thing or something else. But Aquinas didn’t say that, did he? What I am conceding for sake of discussion is YOUR allegation that the being of the Son is caused, and I did so to make a point. "Receiving" divinity would be laughable if you weren't so serious. And when you tell me that said belief is something on par with square circles and married bachelors, then I'm also correct to say that you're telling me to believe something unintelligible.When you attempt to resolve the very clear contradiction by appealing to a zone beyond which reason can reach, I can also rightly reply that any "ism" can claim the same. Thus the person includes the nature and signifies something more than the nature. Perhaps, the Synthetic process of intuition, is the closest thing to a-priori, but that is only implicitly independent of previous knowledge. If F and S are fully and completely “the same, perfectly simple, and totally actualized act of being (God),” and if they really differ in some way, then what makes them the same cannot be what makes them different (else we assert that S = ~S, which is of course a contradiction)… There must, then, be a principle of distinction which enables both sameness and differentiation, and Catholicism affirms that the distinction is in the relations between the persons. python-is-python3 package in Ubuntu 20.04 - what is it and what does it actually do? And of course, God cannot be comprehended at all. Sorry, but you're firing blanks. The PC is what makes each person God. Stephen Palmquist) treat it as valid. God is something of which all other being is derived. Pure Act is a cause of other being, but there is no cause of something uncaused, by definition.You're insisting that Pure Form is caused because contingent form is caused. Export citation . I am still learning. I apologize and will try to be sharper. Everybody can cry, "Mystery!" It's obvious someone can (and we pretty much all do) understand "4" before and independently of understanding adding two and two. However, this identity does not take away the distinctness of the distinctions. I think, therefore, that love does not necessitate an additional person in order to exist or be exercised. "You're quite confused, I dare say. )Otherwise, God is really and actually generating another God with the "exact" essence as the generator (a metaphysical Xeroxing). Synthetic a priori, 2. Something, then, must account for their being dissimilar, and that is the PD. Well, as usual, I loved everything in the OP until you folded in the Trinity part: If we had a perfect grasp of the divine essence, we would see that the claim that God is three Persons in one divine nature is as necessary and self-evident as “All bachelors are unmarried.”But "three persons in one essence" isn't hard to grasp at all. But thank you for your charitable discussion. And if there isn't a difference to begin with, then the relations indicate self-interaction. From the interview I gather that the book is a discussion of philosophy’s historical vacillation between types of irrational fideism (Greek mythology for one example, or Protestant Sola Scriptura for another) and various types of hard physicalism (from the four classical elements to modern materialism)—neither extreme satisfies. There has to be some triple personal real distinction in the essence/being of God, but the explanations you offer don't achieve that. Otherwise, composition cannot be avoided. But wouldn't even one person being generated constitute a problem for bill? That doesn't work.And in order to cling to your a priori conception of God's asseity you are prepared to assert that even if the Son fully possesses the divine nature, He is not God.You're again misreading me. Relations do not exist in God's substance but are identical with the divine substance (just like His attributes---God does not have justice, He is justice). Daniel, If you think you have answered Bill adequately, then stick to that answer. c. analytic a priori d. analytic a posteriori. But you believe its tautological? And again, "6+6" is not actually intrinsic to "12"; therefore "6+6=12" is a synthetic proposition. We are certainly commanded to love one another as we love ourselves, but if self-love is illegitimate, why are we commanded to love others likewise? Analytic a posterior exists iff. other, self-evident in itself, and to us. If that's your argument, you are again affirming something indistinct from modalism. The "relations" are the "somethings" I'm referring to.So the personal essence/being of the Father (IOW, God the Father tout court) causes (generates) the personal essence/being of the Son, etc. 1:26 does NOT teach a Trinity. Essentially all ontological arguments can be summarised as follows: God, whose definition contains the property of existence, must exist. Perhaps the clearest examples of a priori claims are mathematical expressions (2+3=5). @Casual ThomistHello! My knowledge of her as her husband relates to the counsel that I give her as her pastor, yet I remain one person.When I’m alone and trying to think things through, the chess player in me will relate to the father in me which helps me to solve a developing situation with my children. Standing-O. That doesn't contradict the the fact that Pure Form is a cause (an intrinsic formal essential one, not an extrinsic one). Do you have direct experience of what this is like? Thus, Thomism solves nothing.We start out realizing that the nobody understands the ultimate explanation for all that exists in our sense experience, then we apply Thomism, only to arrive at the conclusion that nobody understands the ultimate explanation for all that exists.Why do Thomists seem to think they have solved a problem when all they have done is stated that the "solution" to the unknown is unknowable? @Bill:The whole enterprise of the four causes is to demonstrate that every act/potency composite of necessity is caused because its essence, by virtue of its composition, stands in need of a cause.Really, "the whole enterprise"? Pass the popcorn.The Son receives and has sufficient causality to explain both what he is and that he is, because he receives the fullness of the very being/essence of the Father. “The PC cannot be the PD on pain of contradiction, but that appears to be what you are arguing.”Can you spell out what PC and PD stand for in this context? The wrathful aspect of God "determined" to destroy Sodom, but God's mercy "stepped in" and said, "Let me save Lot." From my perspective as a Catholic, this just smacks of .... not sure how to say this politely... pride? . :)Cheers,Daniel. diverge in subtle ways from those of Kant. David McPike,Again, I'm curious how you define the concept of "4" in a manner that is not basically "2 + 2" or "3 + 1".Do you think that "4" is an undefined concept? But Aquinas clearly states that the relation IS the essence, so how does that help matters? synthetic a posteriori in one context might be analytic a priori in Direct download . Apologies if I have added nothing new to the discussion, but speaking like this is a good exercise for me in stretching my theological chops, so I figured I'd give it a shot. In addition, you have not explained why you somehow have insight into what it is like to be the infinite and eternal being. Welcome to modalism.If you wish, you can indeed say to the Trinitarian: "the one who is the Father is also the son; therefore modalism." So, yes, the relation is real because the essence is real. In us, human persons, this individuation comes from matter. I see no reason why there could not be a being with three selves. Why does Russell's writing suggest that Kant was right about mathematics being synthetic a priori? Hence, it is necessary (at least in the natural order) that sensation precede knowing. If you don't expect me to believe it, I sincerely thank you. b. Knowable from experience. If the latter, you have composition. Traditionally there are taken to be four causes needed to full explain a thing. Can you expand them please? But wouldn't even one person being generated constitute a problem for bill? But to say that Pure Act has no formal cause is to say it is not Pure Act, but Pure Unintelligibility, or Pure Nothingness. It is simply how it "works" from our perspective.Aquinas makes it clear that a relation IS the divine essence, and since the essence is not and cannot be divided, the distinction is only in "our mode of intelligibility" or as it is sensible to man. "No, God is three selves, not just Himself. Historically, most philosophers have maintained that all a priori knowledge corresponds to knowledge of necessary truths. @LuizThanks for your reply and allow me to say that your English is very good indeed. However, I have read less on that. Justified by appeal to experience. God's essence to exist is mind-boggling but not contradictory. So analogy is required, right? My worry is that our concepts of unity, relations, composition etc are taken from the material world, who can't even dream of holding a candle to God, so our language when we talk about The Lord turns into a bunch of analogies that are actually easier to follow apophaticism, so our language of analogy can trick us if we get distracted.To give you a example, a poster here tried to argue several times that God(as thomism understand) is impossible because the idea of a omnipotent mind(or even any mind) that is absolutely simple is a incoherent idea. To make it work, you either have to adopt some form of composition (which you vehemently deny) or you must equivocate terms like cause and aseity, which renders your argument unintelligible.Nothing begotten is a se. The comments on this blog that are clearly trinitarian show a thinking that there are really three centers of consciousness in God that are unique to each person, that there really is some ultra-mysterious committee of three divinities that somehow exist as one divinity. What is this “being” in “being itself”? He who has the superior intellect understands many things that the other cannot grasp at all. Now, that this has happened neither without preparation nor by chance, but as a result of the disposition of God, is clear from the fact that through many pronouncements of the ancient prophets God had foretold that He would do this. I will take that under advisement. Before I slide into modalism a question: would not a modal understanding of this relationship require God to exist in different states(modes) of existence compared to Himself at the same time? Is he at a hoedown? Tony,Somehow my reply on the essence of gold was cut off. @TonyThe fact that the Jews today do not believe in the Trinity does not imply that the revelation made to the Jews did not reveal the Trinity.If you’ve read the posts above, you should know that your line of reasoning doesn’t work. But can't we do the same mistake when talking about the Trinity? The essence is just the divine nature, the inner life of which is expressed in the processions and the tripersonal relations of you know who.Yes, I understand that. As Hamlet said to Horatio: There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.I'll end my side of this discussion on this note. Maybe "2" in some sense "contains" the idea of "add", but why would we say it is contained within "1" as it is of its own self? What are examples of analytic a posteriori knowledge? I will respond to your objection later this evening when I have some time.In the meantime, to better understand your views, do you believe in the Divinity of Jesus Christ? That is true insofar as the dependent being's existence is really distinct from its essence (i.e., in the case of creatures); but not in the case of the natural generation of a divine person. FYI, the logical inverse is also true: If God does not exist, he does not... And the contrapositive is also true: If God has no essential/intrinsic/formal cause, then God does not exist. The existence of analytic a posteriori, the existence of knowledge that is empirical and self-evident, completely destroys most of modern epistemology. Why is there a connection between Fitch's paradox and atheism/theism?It seems that analytic a posteori statement are related to notions about knowability. God is something of which all other being is derived.”Ok, so “being itself”, in that case refers to something, and therefore cannot be of itself, rather, of that something. Thus, the explanation or reason (since it is "in" God) is real, but not really distinct from God (no real difference in His essence). Kant thought this category was paradoxical, as he thinks you never need to resort to experience to justify analytic claims. They are both infinity. Regardless the counterpoints you may make in response to those verses (and many others), I've made no assumptions about the literally thousands of times the Bible refers to God with singular personal pronouns. If all you’re saying is that God really has relations with Himself, your doctrine is indistinct from modalism or Arianism. If the former, you have modalism or Arianism; if the latter, you have a straight contradiction.For me, modalism is clearly superior because it affirms strict monotheism and the full deity of Jesus without any contradiction. How do we come to know extension? For that which is above the human reason we believe only because God has revealed it.If we can prove from scripture that scripture does in fact hold a trinitarian view, then Bill would have two choices: reject scripture or accept that what he views as a contradiction is only apparent. (That's a priori analytic, to get back to Feser's OP. To understand this, we must keep in mind that between Divine essence e the relations there are no real distinctions - there is, however, a virtual distinction, i.e., a logical distinction grounded in reality.Paternity and the Divine essence, for example, are really the same, but there is an opposition between Paternity and Sonship - an opposition that does not exist between Sonship and the Divine Essence. incorporeal substances are not in space” as an example of something “self-evident That amounts to saying that it's really possible for F, S & HS to be distinct without differing in any way.Though trinitarians deny a real distinction between the persons and the essence, they insist by revelation that there is a real distinction between each person as an "opposing" relation.