Thursday, January 19, 2017

Stuck in a rut

I just noticed that last week, apostate unitarian Dale Tuggy attempted to critique one of my posts:

As best I can tell, he’s never really had a developed view of the matter. 

I've presented detailed models of my position. Dale's problem is that he can't adapt to categories outside his blinkered repertoire of conceptual resources. 

Unfortunately, these aren’t sufficient for a trinitarian theology.

I never suggested otherwise. To the contrary, I prefaced that as a "crude" formulation. Why is Dale forever unable to follow the trail of bread crumbs?

One can easily interpret these sentences in a unitarian way, or in a modalist / Oneness way. Where’s the tripersonal god part? (He’s assuming that i-v imply it… but just look at them!)

I'm sorry, but Dale comes across as a incorrigibly dim. My purpose is to present that crude formulation as a foil. As it stands, that formulation is inadequate. That's a given. That's the point. It requires further explication and clarification. Why is Dale forever unable to follow the trail of bread crumbs? 

So i-v seem contradictory on the assumption I start this paragraph.

Now he's paraphrasing what I said, as if he uncovered something. As if he exposed something I didn't intend to say. Which, typical of Dale, misses the point. 

And that assumption is implied my trinitarian traditions on which each “Person” alone “is God” or is fully divine, e.g. the “Athanasian” creed.

Except that "is God" and "is fully divine" aren't interchangeable ideas, although they are certainly related ideas. 

BTW a mere verbal contradiction (e.g. “I’m tired but I’m not”) isn’t the same as a formal contradiction (e.g. P and not-P). The first is supposed to have to do with the surface, grammatical structure, while the latter is supposed to be about the deep or true formal structure of the propositions expressed.

Actually, I was using "formal" in implicit contrast to "material". A "material" contradiction would be substantive, whereas a "formal" contradiction is merely verbal–like a rhetorical paradox (e.g. "If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there").

But I think he’s gesturing at the point that not every apparent (formal) contradiction really is one…

Correct, although I wasn't "gesturing" at that. 

This move, I think, is confused. “Divinity” is not a meaning of “God” by itself. Rather, “is God” can express “is divine.”

True to form, Dale utterly misses the point. As an abstract noun, "God" is qualitative; as a concrete noun, "God" is quantitative. 

I never suggested "divinity" is a meaning of "God" by itself. Rather, I pointed out that "God" can have more than one meaning. For instance, the difference between "God" as an abstract noun and "God" as a concrete noun. 

But Dale never misses a chance to miss the point. Forever stuck in a rut. 

The Son, etc. can’t be numerically identical to a property.

Beside the point. Divinity is what the persons share in common, not what differentiates them.

Moreover, divinity is only "a property" in the sense that it's a singular noun. But, of course, singular nouns can function as collective nouns, &c. "Divinity" in the sense of the divine nature is an umbrella term for a set of attributes.

i) There is one God.

ii) The Father is divine.

iii) The Son is divine.

iv) The Spirit is divine.

v) The Father is not the Son, &c.

Has this eliminated any appearance of incoherence? No!

To the contrary, that clearly eliminates the "appearance" of incoherence. 

But then ii-iv entail that each is a god. 

No, it entails that each person has the divine nature or divine attributes. 

Finally, Steve admits what I pointed out at the start – that i-v don’t fully express any trinitarian theology.

Notice that Dale has things backwards. He writes as if I'm responding to something he wrote, when he's responding to something I wrote. 


  1. Dale Tuggy attempted to respond to my recent post:

    "I think he means that 'God' can be used as a singular referring term. Right, that's the almost always the function of 'ho these' and 'these' in the NT, the referent almost always being the Father. A problem for Trinity theories!"

    Poor Dale keeps repackaging the same rotten arguments long after the expiration date, no matter how often he's corrected.

    i) To begin with, the NT frequently uses "God" as a proper name for the Father. That's not a problem for Trinitarians. It's like saying there's only one Dale in the world. But that's clearly no implication of a proper noun.

    iii) In addition, the NT typically uses another divine title (Kurios) as a designation for Jesus.

    ii) Sometimes the usage is more subtle. Take Jn 1:1: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

    In the first occurrence (second clause), "God" is a proper name for the Father. But in the second occurrence (third clause), "God" functions more like a common noun or abstract noun (i.e. the Word was divine). There's a similar distinction in 1:18.

    1. Dale Tuggy says:

      "And *by definition* what has the divine nature is a god, and what has all the divine attributes is a god."

      i) That wouldn't be an "apparent" contradiction. Rather, that would be, at best, creating a contradiction by adding something to the syllogism. So it's not the syllogism itself that's apparently contradictory. But that in combination with Dale's definition. He goes behind the syllogism to define a term his way.

      ii) And, of course, he's smuggled in a unitarian definition of divinity. So he's moving in a tight little circle, as he rides his tricycle around the unitarian cul-de-sac.