Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Trinity Doctrine in the Light of Reason-Part 3

I will now list some objections to the doctrine of divine simplicity that make it an unlikely candidate for buttressing the Trinity doctrine or accounting for its conceptual feasibility.

The doctrine of God's simplicity (simplicitas Dei) does not fail to encounter its own logical problematics. Paul Copan and William Lane Craig argue that it "seems patently false" to make the claim that God does not exemplify properties that are objectively distinct from one another since the property of being good apparently is objectively distinct from the property of being omniscient, just as the property of being omnipotent is not metaphysically identical with the abstract property of being omnibenevolent. Moreover, Christopher Stead maintains that it is problematic to insist that God's action toward the world is "simple and uniform." He maintains that divine simplicity does not seem to explain adequately how God loves numerous creatures simultaneously or providentially guides the multitudinous events that repeatedly and continuously occur in creation; nor does the doctrine evidently account for the notion of an immanent God, who personally acts in creation. Those who advocate this doctrine, however, contend that the supposed difficulties associated with God's simplicity emanate from dissimilar ontological emphases between the medieval and contemporary period, not from the concept of divine simplicity itself. They insist that medieval thinkers stress constituent ontology (i.e. entities are what they are as such) whereas contemporary thinkers are inclined to emphasize relational ontology (i.e. entities have essences, properties or sets of properties). In the light of relational ontology, Alvin Plantinga has contended that divine simplicity possibly leads to the logical conclusion that God is a property. Plantinga writes:

In the first place, if God is identical with each of his properties, then each of his properties is identical with each of his properties, so that he has but one property … In the second place, if God is identical with each of his properties, then since each of his properties is a property, he is a property—a self-exemplifying property.


Yet, there are other logical objections to divine simplicity that seem to function as sound defeaters for the doctrine. The next blog post will review some of these objections.

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