Saturday, December 1, 2018

Thomistic Divine Simplicity

I listened again to Bishop Barron and William Lane Craig’s exchange on Divine Simplicity.
I still question if I rightly grasp Craig’s proposal.

Four objections were discussed against the Thomistic version of divine simplicity:

1. Divine simplicity is unbiblical.
2. Divine simplicity makes God unknowable.
3. Divine simplicity entails God is a property.
4. Divine simplicity entails a modal collapse (necessitarianism) in which creation is both necessary and inextricable.

They discussed the differences between what may be considered Classical theism and Theistic Personalism.

Classical theism: God is without any parts or properties. This view assumes substances are ontologically composed of both essence and existence. But God is not composed of both essence and existence. God’s essence is His existence. They are one and the same. God’s essence is identical to each of His attributes.

Theistic personalism: God is not composed of separable parts or properties. This view denies substances are ontologically composed of both essence and existence. Nevertheless, substances admittedly may possess conceptual distinctions between essence and existence. This view may deny a constituent ontology yet assert simple substances can possess inseparable parts or properties. If I understand Craig properly perhaps an example may help. Suppose theistic conceptual realism is true, it may be argued the concept of a triangle was never created nor composed (with ontologically separable parts). It is an eternal divine idea. A divine idea that is not an instance of a composite of three (instances?) angles to make a triangle. The divine idea is to be understood properly as the universal that may be instantiated. Thus the very concept of a triangle does seem to possess ontological properties or parts (e.g. three angles, three sides) that avoids the threat of composition in virtue of the fact that the properties or parts are essential, ontologically (and logically?) necessary and inseparable.

Substances with parts does not require nor necessarily entail composition. A substance may possess inseparable parts or properties without denying some formulation of simplicity.

I found it fascinating univocal and analogical predication was discussed. It reminded me of  the Cornelius Van Til and Gordon Clark Controversy.

I eagerly await the video footage of a recent discussion on the same topic at this years ETS/EPS conference.

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