Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Trinitarian analogies

I hope there's more context to White's statement. If God's absolute uniqueness means we can't use analogies, then that commits us to apophaticism. If nothing in creation, nothing in human experience, is analogous to God, then we no comparative frame of reference to know what God is like or unlike. Yet Scripture itself is chockfull of theological metaphors for God, drawn from the natural world or social world of human beings. 


  1. We would end up like John Hick and his "Real," which is "trans-categorical," and of which nothing can be said in human terms.

  2. Yep. It figures White would say something like that.

  3. Our reality is created by God, why shouldn't He put some reflections of Himself in it? As you point out, the Bible has God comparing Himself, His attributes and His plans to very mundane things.

    I personally find the analogy of three-dimensional space to be very close to describing the Trinity: https://twitter.com/BibleHats/status/1025153419323949056

  4. The fact of the matter is that the world is a lot stranger than we think it is. There are a lot of Christians out there who are not used to thinking about philosophical matters and who find it difficult to process metaphysical issues.

    So analogies serve as a heuristic or a teaching tool that help these folks come to a realization such that, "Look. Its not just the Trinity that is something abstract and out there. If you just even think the nature of water or an egg or just consider the sun and its rays coming through the window, then you will find that there is plenty more here than meets the eye."

    When people see that the entire world is laced with a wondrous metaphysics, that even in looking at a 3 leaf clover, there is more than meets the eye - and this on a philosophical level - then the the Doctrine of the Trinity become much less strange.

    Look. The complaint always is that the clover or the sun or water or whatever are nothing but instances of Modalism or Sabellianism or something like that. Hence we should not teach them. However the fact is also that no teacher worth his salt utilizes said analogies without offering clarifications on the limitations of the analogies. Who out there is teaching that God is an egg? No one.