0

Though apparent, the framework of the Triune Godhead appears logically incoherent in juxtaposition to the Absolute Divine Simplicity model. Looking through the works of Thomas Aquinas, who is the most crucial figure in the development of this model, has led to me to presuppose this conception. A basic notion of this model is that God is not composite, and God is identical to his divine essence or properties. Thus from this arises another basic notion: There cannot be any real distinction or divisions in God, for the simple reason that the absolute oneness of simplicity would crumble under these distinctions. Now setting the Trinity into this framework, I see no coherence. The hypostasis are necessarily and relationally distinct in respective to their personhood. The Father is relationally distinct from The Son in respective to His Fatherhood. This essential distinction between the hypostasis cannot be compatible with a model that disallows any real distinction in God. Although relations are conceptual and uphold a apprehensive framework, because relations are by essence, abstract. What would this mean for the Triune Godhead, if the relational distinction is purely conceptual? Wouldn't this entail that the hypostasis are not relationally distinct in reality? And if so, then doesn't the Trinitarian conception of God plunders into a crisis, as there is there no "real" framework for this distinction?

Another issue is the divine and personal properties of paternity, filiation and procession. Recall earlier that a basic principle of Absolute Divine Simplicity is God being identical to his divine essence. Though in a Trinitarian context, the divine properties of paternity, filiation and procession seem to hinder this. These properties are unique to each hypostasis and is not shared nor communicated. The Father upholds the property of paternity, the Son, the property of filiation and the Holy Spirit the property of procession.

A quote from Charles Hodge reads, "Paternity, therefore, is the distinguishing property of the Father; filiation of the Son; and procession of the Spirit” (1:461)"

This falls under ignorance in context of Absolute Divine Simplicity. If God is identical to his divine essence, then on what basis can the hypostasis possess unique and separate properties? If the hypostasis have an identical essence, then it logically follows that any personal property that is not shared or communicated within the essence is a disruption of that very identity-relation. Even if we were to remove the ADS model, from a purely Trinitarian perspective this seems conflicting, because the doctrine still holds that the hypostasis share the same and one essence. But with the personal properties each hypostasis uniquely possess, this contradicts the very definition of identical essence which in this case, is the same group of properties. Can anyone help me understand or correct me on this?

2
  • I like Aquinas on angels, reconciling scriptural accounts by identifying it as a role, of messenger, rather than type of being. But recognising the heavenly beings with uncommon appearance, were a type of messenger only witnessed by prophets, those capable of facing them. I'd go with the modalism heresy, of one being in different roles. But then I'm a Buddhist, & bodhisattvas have no problem being both one & many (the Pali Brahmanjala sutra includes Buddha giving a teaching to the Creator, Maha Brahma, on where that being came from).
    – CriglCragl
    Oct 12 at 19:30
  • 3
    Christianity SE seems like a more suitable place for this question.
    – Conifold
    Oct 13 at 0:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.