Monday, January 18, 2010

Novatian's De Trinitate 7 and Metaphoric God-talk


"But when the Lord says that God is a Spirit, I think
that Christ spoke thus of the Father, as wishing that
something still more should be understood than merely
that God is a Spirit. For although, in His Gospel, He
is reasoning for the purpose of giving to men an
increase of intelligence, nevertheless He Himself
speaks to men concerning God, in such a way as they
can as yet hear and receive; although, as we have
said, He is now endeavouring to give to His hearers
religious additions to their knowledge of God. For we
find it to be written that God is called Love, and yet
from this the substance of God is not declared to be
Love; and that He is called Light, while in this is
not the substance of God" (De Trinitate 7).

Notice that propositions such as "God is love" or "God is light" are not metaphysical pronouncements (according to this passage), which is to say, Novatian thinks that they do not speak to the divine essence in se. One can find similar reasoning in orthodox writers belonging to the ancient and medieval period.


Edgar Foster

Lactantius on the "Brightness" of Divine Truth

Hello all,

This is taken from Divine Institutes 1.5.1 (Numbering based on Anthony Bowen and Peter Garnsey's

"the effect of the actual truth is too strong for even
a blind man not to see divine brightness when it
forces itself on his eyes."


Friday, January 15, 2010

Andrei Orlov on Metatron (the lesser YHWH)

Dr. Orlov is pretty good about making some of his works available online:

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Bavinck on the Proper Name of God

"By means of proper names, especially by means of the name Jehovah, God made himself known unto Israel. Through the Mal'akh in whom his name abides, Ex. 23:20, he revealed himself to Israel" (Herman Bavinck, The Doctrine of God, 84).

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Alexander R. Pruss on the Absolute Divine Simplicity of God

I am going to be editing this post, but I wanted to go ahead and submit it to my blog. It has been my contention that without the doctrine of divine simplicity being presupposed, the Trinity doctrine falls. Conversely, other Trinitarians have argued that it is difficult to make sense of the Trinity doctrine if one presupposes or believes in a simple or non-mereological deity. But it seems to me that without the presupposition or belief that God is simple while also being three persons in one God (one divine substance), what one has with the doctrine of God's triunity is really tritheism or modalism (depending on the respective formulation of the dogma). In any event, a number of thinkers have taken issue with the simplicity doctrine. One of these individuals is Dr. Alexander R. Pruss. You can reference his entire discussion at

Pruss' first objection to the divine simplicity doctrine is that it does not seem to allow for a meaningful predication of those attributes which distinctly characterize God. Let A = "God's perfect justice" and B = "God's perfect mercy." If the divine simplicity doctrine is correct, then A is ontologically identical with B such that it appears that it is not meaningful to discourse about God's perfect justice or perfect mercy since the two attributes would be identical in this case.