Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Philosophical theology

I’d like to follow up on something I said to Tuggy. I mentioned that, to some degree, I was speculating about the Trinity. That’s because he’s raising questions that go beyond the range of revelation.

However, this doesn’t mean that Trinitarians must resort to speculation to salvage the Trinity. The witness of Scripture is sufficient to warrant the Trinity.

Moreover, both unitarians and Trinitarians engage in theological speculation. For instance, Trinitarian philosophers analogize from human psychology to God, but that’s hardly confined to Trinitarian philosophers.

When a unitarian philosopher tries to explicate the mental attributes which the Bible ascribes to God, he, too, will analogize from human psychology to fill in the picture as best he can. In what sense is God a "person"? 

Moreover, unitarianism (at least in principle), ranges along a continuum. At one end of the spectrum you could have a “classical” unitarian theist who subscribes to divine simplicity (in the Scholastic sense), aseity, omnipotence, impassibility, timeless eternality, and exhaustive foreknowledge. A unitarian version of Boethius or Thomas Aquinas.

At the other end you could have a unitarian neotheist. A unitarian version of William Hasker or Gregory Boyd.

Both ends of the unitarian spectrum will appeal to Scripture, both ends will extrapolate from human psychology. However, the “classical” unitarian theist will posit more discontinuity between man and God than the unitarian neotheist. He will make more allowance for anthropomorphic representations.

A unitarian theist will also argue from analogy. And his analogies will take various disanalogies into account. This is not unique to Trinitarian theology, or Trinitarian apologetics. 

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