01/04/2010

Correction to CLT

Correction: It is possibly misleading to say that the CLT (= Constitutional Latin Trinitarianism) position affirms that (1)-(3) are predications. It might be better to go with what Brower and Rea have called "sameness without identity". Instead of 'God', I'll use "the divine essence". So, recasted in this way we get:

(1*) The Father is the same as but not identical with the Divine Essence.
(2*) The Son is the same as but not identical with the Divine Essence.
(3*) The Holy Spirit is the same as but not identical with the Divine Essence.

In this way, when we ask, "what does the Father communicate to the Son?" We can say the Father communicates something that is not identical to the Father. The Father communicates the divine essence to the Son. Hence, the Father doesn't generate another Father, but the Father communicates the divine essence to the Son. If the Father communicates what is identical to the Father, to the Son, then the Son would be identical to the Father. Hence, the Son would be the Father. But that's not right. There's only one Father, one Son, and one Holy Spirit.



Further, William Craig asked of Brower and Rea (in "Does the Problem of Material Constitution Illuminate the Doctrine of the Trinity?, Faith and Philosophy, 2005): does the relation "sameness without identity" obtain between the persons, too? Should we say

(A) The Father is the same as but not identical with the Son.

There might be a sense in which this is true. That is, (A) is true if reduced to (1*) and (2*). So, (A) is true only because the Father and Son each are the same as but not identical to the divine essence. So, it is perhaps unhelpful to posit (A).

So, what's the relation between the Father and the Son? Well, it is at least a real distinction, under a certain definition of 'real distinction' (e.g., not identical, not separable, incompatible in the same primary substance). Why not say that the relation from the Father to the Son is paternity, and the relation from the Son to the Father is filiation? There might be other relations too (e.g., disparate relations), but these would seem to be incidental to CLT.

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