Dale Tuggy has been leaving belated comments on an archived post of mine. Since readers may be unaware of that exchange, I'm going to repost my responses here:
"When we add in the claim, which I'm sure you'll agree to, that the Bible teaches monotheism, we get a perfectly clear apparent contradiction."
No, not a clear contradiction. Not even a prima facie contradiction. The Bible describes monotheism by contrasting the one true God with paganism, not by contrasting the one true God with Jesus.
"Steve, please find me one usage of 'God' or any other term in any language, before Nicea, which in the original context of that place and time, was meant to refer to a tripersonal god."
Nice exercise in misdirection, but patristic usage isn't my standard of comparison.
In addition, you're committing the word=concept fallacy. The Trinity is a theological construct based on many lines of Biblical evidence. It doesn't depend on use of the word "God" to specify the Trinity.
"Perhaps "doing exegetical theology" here means quoting authors with whom Steve agrees."
Dale, that's one of your dumb, uninformed responses:
i) To begin with, I don't just quote authors I agree with. I mount my own exegetical arguments. I've done so in detail in many posts responding to you. Is your memories a sieve?
ii) In addition, there's a difference between quoting scholarly opinion and quoting scholarly arguments.
"1. There is only one divine being. 2. Jesus is divine, and the Father is divine. 3. - (Jesus = Father) [it is not the case that f and s are numerically identical] Assuming any two, you'll see that the third must be false. I urge you to try out all the combos."
i) That's just you playing little word games. We could easily recast it as:
There is only one God. The Trinity is God.
The Father, Son, and Spirit share all the same divine attributes.
No contradiction in that formulation.
ii) In addition, I view the Trinity as a symmetry of persons who mirror each other. Are three mutual reflections one or three? They are both, considered from different viewpoints.
iii) Likewise, we need to resist the temptation of visualizing Trinitarian distinctions as if these were spatial boundaries or surfaces, like separate physical objects. If, a la classical theism, we're dealing with timeless, spaceless entities, then they aren't distinct in that sense.
"This is a perfect illustration of why I think your reading is uncharitable to the authors at hand, and that it takes a lot of chutzpah to put it out there are the correct reading. It's *apparently contradictory*, which we usually take as a very, very tough problem to overcome, unless we're willing to just say that the author is confused. The normal response is to carefully re-examine the various readings that imply the contradiction."
Dale, God is not an ordinary object of knowledge, like a tree or a game of checkers. God is the most complex being in all reality. We'd expect God to be baffling in some respects. God is not a merely man-sized object of knowledge.
This isn't like harmonizing historical accounts, where we're dealing with mundane events which we could fully grasp if we were there to see it unfold in real time and space. It's not like reconstructing questions from answers, when we only have one side of the correspondence (e.g. Pauline letters.).
You don't even open your mind to the possibility that God is bigger than your mind. But unless God is bigger than your mind, what kind of "God" is he?
Like a 9/11 Truther, you've developed a conspiratorial narrative that's become plausible to you. Hence, you dismiss any appeal to "mystery" as special pleading. But that doesn't take seriously the transcendent nature of God.
"No. Rather, the point is that if some community lacks any term meant to express some concept, then it is likely that they have no such concept."
That's like saying if anthropologists discover an Amazonian tribe with no word for jealousy, then they have no concept of jealousy. That's a ridiculous inference.
"It needn't be a patristic example. Could be NT too. But we both know that there is no such word or phrase."
Dale, complex concepts are not reducible to single words or phrases. At best, there can be technical words or jargon that stand for the concept, but you wouldn't know that from the word or phrase in isolation.
The question at issue isn't the use of a word or phrase, but the logical implications of the Biblical data.