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 http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/ap85/papers/On3ProblemsOfDivineSimplicity.html

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.

2 comments:

bakemiester said...

Thanks Edgar
for pointing out the ontological deficiency in the trinitarian Godhead if the attribute of Simplicity is rejected. Without Simplicity it appears the persons are separate personalistic subjects from the Divine essence and from each other, in other words the trinity is made up of 4 parts, F,S,HS,DN or is that 5 parts counting in the HN of Jesus, and that's just ontologically speaking. I've now realized that when some Trinitarians state there are 3 persons within the Godhead they are differentiating the Godhead as the Divine Nature in which the 3 persons subsist; sort of like a Divine biosphere.

Edgar Foster said...

You're welcome, Bakemeister. I would like to finish this blog entry one day, but I am glad you derived some benefit from the information on divine simplicity. Speaking of different formulations about the Trinity, have you been able to read any of the articles written by Dr. Dale Tuggy on the Trinity? He also has a blog named Trinities.