Saturday, July 23, 2011

Islam's Scourge Returns

Anatomy of a killer

Faith is the problem, which can and does lead to fanaticism. Admit it you schmucks, or stay in denial. ;-)

Breivik is a guy. Guys are the problem, which can and does lead to fanaticism. Admit it you schmucks, or stay in denial. ;-)

Breivik is blond. Blonds are the problem, which can and does lead to fanaticism. Admit it you schmucks, or stay in denial. ;-)

Breivik is a bodybuilder. Bodybuilders are the problem, which can and does lead to fanaticism. Admit it you schmucks, or stay in denial. ;-)

Breivik is a thirty-something. Thirty-somethings are the problem, which can and does lead to fanaticism. Admit it you schmucks, or stay in denial. ;-)

Breivik is single. Singles are the problem, which can and does lead to fanaticism. Admit it you schmucks, or stay in denial. ;-)

Breivik is a classical music buff. Classical music is the problem, which can and does lead to fanaticism. Admit it you schmucks, or stay in denial. ;-)

Breivik is a Facebook user. Facebook is the problem, which can and does lead to fanaticism. Admit it you schmucks, or stay in denial. ;-)

Breivik is a farmer. Farmers are the problem, which can and does lead to fanaticism. Admit it you schmucks, or stay in denial. ;-)

Breivik is tall. Tall people are the problem, which can and does lead to fanaticism. Admit it you schmucks, or stay in denial. ;-)

Breivik is Norwegian. Norwegians are the problem, which can and does lead to fanaticism. Admit it you schmucks, or stay in denial. ;-)

Anders Behring Breivik

Friday, July 22, 2011

Free Will, Moral Responsibility, and Reformed Theology: A Contemporary Introduction

The trials of Tuggy


“This is no more problematic than the existence of intrinsic change generally. Some philosophers think this is a big problem, but as I explained, I think the existence of intrinsic change is evident. (Thus, any argument that it's impossible must be unsound.)”

i) To say you think that’s “evident” begs the question in the teeth of philosophical arguments to the contrary.

And, of course, your statement is reversible. Thus, any claim that it’s evident is undermined by arguments to the contrary.

ii) You try to hold Trinitarians to rigorous standards, but you suddenly go lax when we measure your own position by the same criteria.

iii) Not to mention how you chronically fudge your appeal to monotheistic prooftexts, which you arbitrarily modify to allow for godlike agents while disallowing the deity of Christ.

Nice cheapshot. Anything to divert attention from the obvious truth, eh?

How is it a “cheap, diversionary” tactic to quote your own formulation verbatim?

You need to go back and look at my logic (i.e. my precise formulation of L's Law) and see that it allows for intrinsic change.

When you proceed to verbalize your formulation in your own words, the problem recurs, as I pointed out.

Glad to see that you're not denying L's Law.

Not affirming or denying. For one things, L's Law is ambiguous. Different interpretations and formulations are possible. 

Still waiting to see that your Trinity theory is in line with it.

My “Trinity theory” only has to be in line with it if that’s a requirement of God’s self-revelation.

L's Law applies to anything there is or can be; it is a necessary truth.

You still don’t get it. At most, L’s Law applies in cases where “absolute/numerical” identity is asserted.

You haven’t shown that your prooftexts assert absolute/numerical identity. You haven’t exegeted that technical notion of unicity from your prooftexts. You haven’t shown that they assert quantitative identity rather than qualitative identity.

Instead, what you’ve done is to gloss your prooftexts in light of that extratextual understanding. But you haven’t show that Bible writers are operating with that concept of unicity.

Appealing to “count nouns” won’t do the trick, in part because Bible writers use count nouns loosely (e.g. Jn 10:30; 17:21-23), and in part because Bible writers explicate divine unicity in terms of certain unique actions or attributes. They translate the quantitative aspect into qualitative aspects.

(Aside: I think you're confused about what ‘necessity’ means here; it is not ‘worldview-variant’. Basically, a nec truth is one such that it is absolutely impossible that it not be true.) Thus, it applies to God. What *sort* of thing he is can be disputed. But that that thing will ‘obey’ L's Law shouldn't be.

Which disregards arguments to the contrary:

Take psychologism:

In a world where logical laws are reducible to psychological laws, you don’t have logical necessity. And psychologism dovetails very nicely with evolutionary psychology.

Is that my own position? No. But you can’t say it’s “self-evidently” false. For it’s not “self-evidently false” in a psychologistic world. It’s only false in a non-psychologistic world. So you’d need to know which type of world you’re in.

Do I think evolutionary psychology and psychologism are ultimately self-refuting? Yes. But those positions need to be argued down. 

But this is Tuggy’s modus operandi: just keep paraphrasing the same repetitious claim while ignoring the counterarguments.

You've admitted L's Law, and thus that your 3 claims are apparently contradictory, and strongly so.

i) No, not to deny something is not to affirm it. I’ve simply bracketed that issue. And I’ve also pointed out that that’s been challenged by philosophers like Benjamin Schnieder.

But I don’t need to go there since this is ultimately a question of exegetical theology.

ii) Moreover, it’s only contradictory within you assumptions regarding “absolute/numerical” identity. But you haven’t shown that Scripture operates with that specialized concept of unicity. Rather, that’s an assumption you constantly bring to you prooftexts.

Bible writers tend to write in popular, picturesque language. They flag the true God as having certain defining attributes or certain defining deeds, in contrast to false gods who lack those defining deeds and attributes. And that’s it.

There’s no reason to think they’re operating with a highly-refined concept of “identity.” More likely, they’re operating with a rough-n-ready concept sufficient to distinguish the true God from false claimants.

They don’t begin with Tuggy’s customized formulation of L’s Law (“for any four things, the second and third are identical only if the fourth is a way the second is at the first just in case the fourth is a way the third is at the first”), then construct a concept of God according to Tuggy’s specifications. 

Philosophical theology can, of course, operate with more highly-refined concepts of identity, but in that case it needs to refine Biblical concepts rather than importing more refined concepts into Biblical texts.

“No, of course logic doesn't tell you what to do now. That's a matter of considering evidence. That's what my published work on this is all about.”

Your article does nothing to show that Scripture preferentially applies L’s Law to the Father, making him Yahweh rather than the Son and/or Spirit. Your article does nothing to show that Scripture falsifies one (or more) of these three premises (from my previous post), much less which premise(s) it falsifies.

In Christian theology, you can’t give revelation short shrift. You can’t bypass the exegetical spadework and jump straight to philosophical theology. As a preliminary step you need to ascertain what God has revealed about himself. You can then proceed to build on that foundation.

The Deliberate Protestant

HT: Patrick Chan

Dale's dissimulation


Sorry, but this shows you didn't understand what was going on the post. I start with a simple, too simple formula, actually two of them. I use that to draw attention to a fundamental intuition we all have - that a thing can't at a time be and not be some way.

Of course, that oversimplifies the issue. That’s a statement of synchronic identity (“that a thing can’t at a time be and not be some way”).

But the issue for you, given your temporalist view of God, is the problem of diachronic identity. Whether one and the same thing (i.e. God) can be one way at one time and another way at another time.

And you yourself unwittingly raised this issue when you brought up 1 Cor 15:24-28. For in that passage, the Father is one way at one time, but another way at another time.

I go through a couple of obvious problems with the simple formulations, then come up with a more complex, but true one.

And after doing all that, you fall back on this formulation: “Yet, things which have differed can’t be numerically one.

Yet in 1 Cor 15:24-28, the Father differs depending on the time-frame. During the church age, he transfers dominion to the Son; during the final state, he resumes dominion.

So, by your own logic, the Father is two different Gods.

Denying L's Law to save a cherished theological theory…

I realize that you suffer from a limited attention span, but in my various responses to you I haven’t denied L’s Law. Rather, I’ve done some other things:

i) I’ve documented your failure to show, on exegetical grounds, that divine unicity must meet that condition.

ii) I’ve pointed out that logical necessity is not worldview-invariant.

iii) I’ve pointed out that you dissemble over logic. Take your recent reply to Sam: “It's not easy to take seriously someone pushing a patently contradictory theology - that Jesus and YHWH are numerically identical, and yet differ.

But even if (arguendo) that’s “patently contradictory,” mere logic doesn’t map a way out of that patent contradiction. Mere logic doesn’t say the Father is Yahweh rather than the Son.

If, in various ways, the NT says:

a) The Father is Yahweh

b) The Son is Yahweh

c) The Father and Son differ

L’s Law has no directional force to relieve that “patent contradiction.” L’s Law doesn’t tell you which premise is false. The exegetical data don’t yield any preferential application of L’s Law.

iv) More recently, I pointed out that your unitarian temporalist view of God fails to meet that condition.

Now, there are philosophers who do challenge the facile appeal to L’s Law, viz.

I haven’t gone into that, but your “self-evident” principle isn’t as “self-evident” as you think it is.

Yes, Kant's version of the noumena/phenomena distinction has to do with sense perception of the physical world, but Hick's distinction does not.

Which you trotted out as a diversionary tactic. And you're the one who linked the two. 

If I thought you were serious, I’d ask you what you think the ‘ad intra/extra distinction’ amounts to.

Ad intra: God’s necessary attributes.

Ad extra: God’s contingent effects.

You’ve said that the EC is God's relation to the world, and inconsistently with that, you've said that it is (the sum total of?) his actions.

And that’s inconsistent…how, exactly? How do you think God relates to the world apart from his mundane actions?

But I thought you invoked 2, so as to say that one changes and the other doesn’t.

A changeless God effects change.

In any case, back to special ed for me, and back to anger management therapy for you.

You underestimate your unwitting capacity for comic relief. But that’s the fate of the straight man.

Christopher and the Church "Fathers"

Christopher Lake said:
I meant (that was) my last comment at Triablogue, nor merely my last comment under that thread.

And we can all see what good fruit that bore.

Scripture itself does not say that all we need to believe and do, as Christians, is explicitly stated in Scripture.

How can he then also affirm the words of Psalm 119?

In 2 Timothy 3:15-17, we see the richness of what the Scriptures are, and what they do:
-can give one wisdom…
-…so as to be saved (through faith)
-breathed out by God (cf: Matthew 22:31)
-profitable for teaching and correction
-can train one in righteousness
-to render the man of God adequate for every good work.

Jesus thought enough of it to say "The words I have spoken are spirit and are life" (John 6:63).

John 20:30Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.
Two things about this passage:
1) John's Gospel alone apparently was, to his mind, sufficient to have life in Jesus' name. What else do I need, again?
2) The "other signs Jesus also performed", which by his own admission receive no mention, are unnecessary to have life in Jesus' name.

I've done a whole debate on this.
So has TurretinFan. Oh, wait, he's done more than that.
James White might have done a few as well.

It does not even say that everything which is "essential" is *clear* in Scripture. 

"All things are clear and open that are in the divine Scriptures; the necessary things are all plain." (John Chrysostom, Homilies on Second Thessalonians, 3, v. 5)
More on why Christopher won't accept this teaching from Chrysostom in a moment.

As a Calvinist Protestant, I had to, and did, assert that my own "private judgement" on the meaning of Scripture was better than that of Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Augustine, Athanasius, and the other early Church Fathers

And you continue in that to this very day.
Here's the proof - they've said things that are contrary to the modern dogma of Rome, and you don't believe those things.
Now, you or some other Roman Catholic/Eastern Orthodox might remind us that a given Church Father taught elsewhere something that does in fact agree with the modern RCC/EOC.  So now we have two different teachings from the CF on a given topic. What do we do?

Let's just say for the sake of argument that you're right - the CF taught in more than one other place the opposite doctrine to what the Sola Scripturist already quoted.  
For example, that Athanasius taught Sola Scriptura.  Or that John Chrysostom, Basil of Caesarea, Jerome, Ambrosiaster, Hilary of Poitiers, and (Pope) Clement of Rome taught Sola Fide. Then an RC or EO friend counter-cites one or all of these men with clearly non-Sola-Scriptura/Fide verbiage.

That leaves us with CFs who have contradicted themselves. 

Now, to fulfill what Christopher wants us to do, namely to be consistent with these CFs (and remember, my claim is that modern RCC/EOC is inconsistent w/ them), we would either have to:
A: Teach just as inconsistently as these two guys do, sometimes saying one thing, sometimes the other, or
B: Call these teachings not actually part of Divine/Apostolic Tradition.

The problem with resolution A is that the cognitive dissonance would be pretty much unbearable. The upshot is that I don't know if I'd expect a lot of people to turn away from RCC/EOC in real life.

The thing about resolution B is that they have indeed already done just that. Somehow these godly, forcible, powerful writers, from whom RCC/EOC (and thus, by profession, Christopher) ostensibly derives much of their tradition and doctrine, also produced impious, ungodly, and flat wrong teachings.

Now, how would Christopher know judgment about wrong teachings? Apparently from judging these non-"Apostolic Traditions" by... yup, you guessed it! What The Church® Says.
In the end, it's a vicious circle of question-begging. I claim the modern RCC/EOC is not totally faithful with CFs and then cite them when challenged. Then they say, "Hey, those aren't part of ApostolicTradition!" I say, "Thanks for proving my point."

I also pause to note how pernicious this is. The Lord Jesus set an authoritative example for how one is to judge tradition - by Scripture. The RC/EO refuses to do that and instead appeals to his own doctrinal construct which is already in place to then look back on tradition and Scripture and pick and choose what he will and won't believe. Thus the RC/EO holds to the Scriptural teaching of the Deity of Christ and rejects the Scriptural teaching of salvation by grace alone thru faith alone. He accepts the Trinity and rejects Sola Scriptura. He accepts the fact that we should pray to God as commanded in the Scripture and rejects the fact that prayer to dead people and angels is strictly prohibited in the Scripture.

It becomes easy to see how this not only dishonors God in ideal (that is, that we should not judge men's teachings by God's) but also later in practice (bowing down to images, praying to dead people, trying to work one's way to salvation).

A few more points on this:

As Steve already reminded you, but you either didn't read, were too disingenuous to care, or didn't understand how this wrecks your point, you had to engage in private interpretation to choose Rome over other "infallible interpreters", other rival magisteria, such as the WatchTower, the LDS, the Eastern Orthodox, the Copts.
It's either sheer obstinacy or rank ignorance that brings Roman Catholics back to this ridiculous "argument" time and again. It's as predictable as a priestly sex scandal.

Christopher Lake said further:
anytime that I dipped into the above Church Fathers and found anything faintly "Catholic," I asserted that my understanding of Scripture was simply better than theirs. 

As mentioned above, however, you do that, and I commend you for it. The Apostle Paul's command to "test everything, hold fast to that which is good" is meant for everyone and anyone.  We test the 1st generation of the church just like we test this current generation.
Your problem is that you do the same thing but reproach us for preferring what the Scripture teaches versus the limited selection of "Church Father" teachings that Rome enjoins upon us. This brings up another fundamental incoherency of the "Church Father" argument.

  • You don't know that what these guys said is what the church of their time believed. 
  • You don't know how what they wrote was received by other churches. Any mere claims to "we believe thus" are not necessarily true. Not without proof, and  more proof than their say-so.
  • You don't know whether they were held in the highest respect by their contemporaries.  Maybe you're reading the Charles Stanley of their time - not really all that bad, but quite shallow compared to others, most of the time.
  • You don't know whether you have all their writings, or even what % their today-extant writings form of the total things they wrote over their lifetime. Thus you don't know if they ever took it all, or part of it, back.
  • You don't know whether what they said in public or in private teachings actually comports with the extant writings you have.
  • You don't take everything that is extant from a given "Church Father" and believe it. You believe only the parts that the modern Roman Catholic (though this applies to Eastern Orthodoxy too) Church has dogmatised and accepted for modern times. Why call them "Church Fathers" at all? Seems to me a traditional nomenclature that fails to take the above into consideration, fails to think through the divide between what any of them believed and what modern Rome believes, and has served as a useful tool for you, so you decided to keep it. And it is useful - citing "Fathers" sounds so imperial, so high-fallootin', so mysteriously powerful, that often it causes a brain block within the mind of the Sola Scripturist.  I myself have experienced this many times. 
Is this overzealous, unreasonably radical skepticism? Depends on whom you're asking, I suppose.
What this illustrates for certain is that our certain guide, our certain lamp for our feet, is the Scripture. The Scripture is simply not subject to these kinds of questions (at least not within the RC/EO/Sola Scripturist circle of debate), for we all accept its authority and sourcing - it is the very Word of God.
Such is demonstrably not the case for "Church Fathers", however. We read them like we read DA Carson today - to understand who they are, what they taught, and their theological contexts. They are not authorities. They (and I, or my pastor, or Billy Graham, or John MacArthur) have power only insofar as they repeat the Word of God. Where they do so, let us praise God for the insight they have shared. Where they have not, let us learn not to repeat their mistakes.

The only sense in which they are "fathers" is that they are older and came before us. They made many mistakes, however, and we do not necessarily know even the majority of what any one of them believed and/or taught.

Nobody invests them with great authority - not Sola Scripturists, not RCC, and not EOC.
Sola Scripturists - obviously.
RCC and EOC, for reasons mentioned above - if these men really were their authorities, they would teach like them: inconsistently. And they certainly wouldn't anathematise Sola Fide, for example.
No, for the RC and EO, the modern church is the only authority in practice. "By their fruits you shall know them."

But for us who love and follow Jesus and believe His words in Mark 7:1-13 wherein He told us to test traditions by Scripture, our Church Fathers are named: Jesus, Mark, Luke, Paul, Peter and John and the rest of the 11, James, Jude, and the guy who wrote Hebrews. Do you want to know what the earliest church believed? Read the New Testament.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Special Ed for Dale Tuggy


Your position is that the IT isn't the ET? Thus, there are at least two Trinities, and at least six divine persons?

I see it’s now necessary to tutor Tuggy in the rudiments of Christian theism. The “economic Trinity” is a traditional designation for the Triune God’s relation to the world. A synonym for the creative, redemptive, miraculous, and providential deeds of the Father, Son, and Spirit in their respective economic roles.

But what God does is not identical with what God is. For one thing, not only is there all that God actually does, but all that God might have done, but refrained from doing. God’s counterfactual power. Likewise, God’s making Adam and Eve is not identical with God’s omniscience. God’s contingent, in ad extra works are not conterminous with God himself.

That doesn’t generate two Trinities unless you’re as clueless as Dale Tuggy.

I said:

Far from safeguarding unitarianism, Tuggy’s combined assumptions yields serial polytheism. Every time God changes, you have a new and different God.

To which Tuggy responds:

Conclusion jumping is fun!

Needless to say, my conclusion came on the heels of a supporting argument. Is Tuggy so spacey that he doesn’t know the difference between “conclusion jumping” and a reasoned conclusion?

Yes, all this as-it-is vs. as-it-appears business comes from Kant. It is notoriously deployed, e.g. by John Hick in his theory of religious pluralism. Distinguished Reformed Christian philosopher George Mavrodes has pointed out a crucial ambiguity of Hick's lingo in an excellent essay called "Polytheism." Many non-Kantian philosophers think this sort of talk tends to confuse things - e.g. Kant's noumena (things as they are) vs. phenomena (things as they appear) - are these one domain of objects or two - interpreters of Kant go round and round on that.

i) I see. Theologians prior to Kant (e.g. Aquinas) didn’t draw ad intra/extra distinctions with reference to God.

One wonders if Tuggy conducts his classroom lectures in clown makeup.

ii) Tuggy also confuses the ad intra/extra distinction in Christian theism with the appearance/reality distinction in certain theories of sensory perception (e.g. indirect realism), as if that’s somehow interchangeable.

I'd be careful not to confuse this with the essential vs. non-essential property distinction. But yes, in principle a unitarian could employ both.

Since I didn’t confuse them, I don’t have to be careful about not confusing them. But it’s useful to see Tuggy’s grudging concession.

No, nothing I've said makes change impossible, for God or for anything else.

Before we proceeds, let’s set the stage. The question at issue is whether diachronic identity (i.e. identity through time) meets the stringent conditions of numerical identity, as Tuggy defines it (a la Leibniz). And the problem is especially acute for Tuggy, given his temporalist view of divine eternalit–in tandem with his Leibnizian definition of numerical identity. For Tuggy’s God is a diachronic entity.

Is persistence (with attendant change) is compatible with numerical identity? That’s the question.

Coincidentally, I just posted on = today, and this topic comes up.

Let’s have a little look-see, shall we?

In the italicized line, I’m applying something called Leibniz’s Law, or the Indiscernibility of Identicals. I sometimes put this roughly as, some x and some y can be numerically identical only if whatever is true of one is true of the other. That’s a sloppy way to put it.
In logic, a more precise way of stating it (used e.g. by Richard Cartwright) is:
(x)(y)(z) ( x= y only if (z is a property of x if and only if z is a property of y))
Literally: for any three things whatever, the first is identical to the second only if the third is a property of the first just in case the third is a property of the second.
The basic intuition is that things are as they are, and not some other way. So if x just is (is numerically the same as) y, then it can’t be that x and y qualitatively differ. This seems undeniable.
There are a few problems, though, with the above formula, which any person trained in philosophy may spot.
First, don’t things change? e.g. Last year you weighed 200, and now you weight 210 lbs. But does this mean that the you of 2010 is not numerically the same as the you of 2011? Ridiculous! Things can qualitatively change while remaining numerically the same. That’s just common sense.

That’s it? “Ridiculous”? “That’s just common sense”?

Tuggy carries on and on and on about “absolute identity,” attacking Trinitarians for (allegedly) flouting Leibniz’s law; he wraps himself in the mantle of logic, but then, when confronted with a standard objection regarding diachronic identity, what do we get? Does he attempt a philosophically rigorous response? No. We’re treated to this rhetorical cop-out.

Why do philosophers engage in intricate debates over the respective merits of endurantism and perdurantism if they could simply exclaim, “That’s just common sense!”

Moreover, his denial is in point blank contradiction to what he just said. Notice how he himself laid down the necessary conditions of identity:

Some x and some y can be numerically identical only if whatever is true of one is true of the other.

So if x just is (is numerically the same as) y, then it can’t be that x and y qualitatively differ.

That’s how he framed the issue. So x and y can’t be numerically identical if they differ qualitatively. They can’t be numerically identical unless whatever is true of x is true of y.

Then, a moment later he says x and y can be numerically identical even if there’s a qualitative change between x and y–even if something that’s true of x isn’t true of y, viz. what’s true of you at one time is not longer true of you at a later date (i.e. weight loss or weight gain). Yet, according to Tuggy, it’s still one and the same you! “That’s just common sense!”

But that clearly fails to meet the conditions of identity which he himself specified at the outset. 

Self-stultifying methodological naturalism

Dale's dilemma


About "qua", here's a basic question. Consider "Jesus qua divine is omniscient." and "Jesus qua human doesn't know some things." One may think this is better off than "Jesus does and doesn't know all." But no one has ever shown how.

We don’t need to show how. We only need to be faithful to God’s self-revelation.

The "qua" or "as" would normally be read as citing a cause or reason, i.e. because he's human he doesn't know some things, and because he's divine he knows all. D'oh! The contradiction comes right back.

What you’re pleased to call a “contradiction” is simply the revelation of Christ in Scripture.

And you’re in no position to assert a contradiction, for this would only be contradictory if the hypostatic union can’t account for that difference. Yet we no direct access to the theanthropic mind of Christ. We don’t know what it’s like to be him. We lack his indexical viewpoint. Theanthropic psychology is sui generis. That’s not something we can ever grasp from the inside out.

So the "qua" is supposed to qualify some term. Which? Subject? (Jesus-qua-human vs. Jesus-qua-divine) Copula? (is-qua-man vs. is-qua-human) or Predicate? (all-knowing-qua-divine vs. limited-in-knowledge-qua human). These seem the only options, and each has severe problems. Reformed philosopher Tom Senor shows some of them.

Of course, Douglas Blout responded to Senor’s position. Cf. “On the Incarnation of a Timeless God.”

You claim to discern some metaphysical distinction underlying some such move; I wonder what that is.

More to come.

Better to actually read Rauser's carefully reasoned piece.

Rauser’s article is a red herring. He’s attacking Rahner’s slogan that the immanent Trinity is the economic Trinity, and vice versa. I didn’t say that. Indeed, that’s contrary to my stated position.

There's no hint of any "economic" vs. "immanent" Trinity idea in that passage, of course.

Well, if you want to be a stickler about it, there’s no hint of monotheism, much less unitarianism, in that passage. Taken by itself, 1 Cor 15:24-28 refers to a god called the father, who has a son, who temporarily reigns in his place.

That’s entirely consistent with polytheism, which had father gods and filial gods aplenty.

Indeed, that’s more than hypothetical. After quoting this and some similar passages, Margaret Barker says “there can be little doubt, in light of passages such as these, that Jesus has been identified with the second God…" The Great Angel (WJKP 1992), 152. 

Her reference to the “second God” distinguishes El/Elohim/Elyon (=the Father) from Yahweh (=the Son).

Do I agree with her? No. But 1 Cor 15:24-28, considered in isolation, no more “hints” at monotheism (much less unitarianism) than it does Trinitarianism or even polytheism.

That passage has to be contextualized by Pauline theology in general.

Given that change means intrinsic change...

Are Cambridge changes intrinsic changes?

(Tuggy says "no").

So, by your own belated admission, it's erroneous for you to say “change means intrinsic change.”

Therefore, the economic Trinity and/or the Son qua Incarnate can undergo real changes which, however, involve extrinsic (rather than intrinsic) properties vis-à-vis the immanent Trinity or the Son qua Son.

"Given that" means IF by "change we mean intrinsic change..." God created, and exercising a power is intrinsic change.
Can there be extrinsic changes? I suppose so. But our issue was whether the ec. vs. imm. distinction was needed to understand how God changes. My point is, if it works for extr. change, it does not for intr. change.

i) To begin with, you’re the one who cast the issue in terms of “change,” not me. And given your temporalist view of divine eternality, that makes sense on your position. But it doesn’t follow from my position.

ii) I’m talking about differences in status over time. Change may entail differentiation, but differentiation needn't entail change. 

iii) Apropos (ii), from the eternalist standpoint, there was never a time when these extrinsic properties weren’t divine properties (or relations) There was never a time when these differences did not obtain. Sub specie aeternitatis, there was never a time when God was not the Creator.

iv) And even if (arguendo) we were going to frame the issue in terms of change, you’ve given no reason why God’s creatorship couldn’t be an extrinsic property or Cambridge change rather than an intrinsic property.

For those who aren’t familiar with distinction, take the following comparison:

If I become a father, I make my late father a grandfather.

My father’s death is a real change, but his becoming a grandfather is a Cambridge change. That’s a change in his status. A relational predicate.

v) These are technical circumlocutions. In popular usage, we can speak of God changing. Ordinary language is vivid and imprecise.

Like many Christian philosophers, I hold that he does undergo change, given the existence of time. It's no good saying that "in himself" he doesn't change, but "in relation to others" he does. Given that change means intrinsic change, this is inconsistent...

i) One problem is that Tuggy’s claim about intrinsic change seems to ignore Cambridge changes.

ii) But there's a deeper problem. How is diachronic identity tenable on his view? Given his definition of numerical identity, vis-à-vis Leibniz's law, his temporalist view of God generates McTaggart’s paradox.

On the one hand, change demands sameness. A God who changes must be self-identical. Must be one and the same God both before and after the change–otherwise we have two Gods with different, incompatible properties rather than one God who changes.

On the other hand, change demands difference. Alterity. For change to obtain, the same God must be what he is not, since God must have a former property, then have a different, incompatible property later on.

But how can one God be both the same and different?

Far from safeguarding unitarianism, Tuggy’s combined assumptions yields serial polytheism. Every time God changes, you have a new and different God.

So Tuggy’s objections to the Trinity now circle back to bite him on the tuchus.

For Tuggy decided to quote 1 Cor 15:24-28 against Trinitarians. Yet that text specifies a change in the status of the Father, as we transition from the church age to the final state.

I’ve already discussed the conceptual resources available to Trinitarian eternalists. But for a unitarian temporalist like Tuggy, this involves real, intrinsic change. How can Tuggy can still say, consistent with Leibniz's law, that his God is one and the same God before and after the transitional phase? If the Son reigns during the church age, while the Father resumes his reign after the church age, and if, what is more, God (=the Father) subsists in time, then those are incompatible, rather than indiscernible, properties. How can Tuggy’s God be self-identical through time, given the intrinsic changes which he underwent?

I guess that “absolute identity” ain’t so “absolute” after all.

I think Randal Rauser has shown this distinction to be either trivial or mistaken. So, no, I don't think there's any such important distinction, despite the theological tradition of this sort of discourse. Steve, as you spell it out, one of them's timeless, the other in time. Therefore, the one Trinity isn't the other (since they differ). Therefore, there are (at least) two Trinities. Yikes!

A basic problem with this response is that it’s not confined to Trinitarianism. Although the immanent/economic distinction is conventionally associated with Trinitarian theology, a unitarian could evoke an analogous distinction. Tuggy happens to an open theist, so he denies the timeless eternality of God.

However, it’s quite possible for a unitarian to take a more “classical” view of God.  There's nothing in unitarianism per se that prejudges your position on the nature of God’s eternality.

So a classical unitarian would distinguish between God in himself and God in his relation to the world. God’s creatorship would be a economic relation. Between God qua God and God qua Creator.

Likewise, a unitarian could argue that God’s creatorship is a contingent property rather than an essential property. God was free to refrain from making the world, or free from making this world rather than some other world.

So we'd have a distinction between the immanent unitarian God and the economic unitarian God. Some things are true of one which don’t hold true for the other.

But doesn't that invite the same objection concerning numerical identity? Is the immanent unitarian God one and the same God as the economic unitarian God? They aren’t indiscernible.

According to Tuggy's application of Leibniz’s law, classical unitarianism generates two Gods.