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Christian Tractatus

(Text as at 12/08/2007 10:17:46)

Christian attempts (eg. by Francis Schaeffer) to explain human personhood by reference to the Divine Persons (and their supposed relationships within the Trinity) are fallacious on several counts.

  1. Firstly, Trinitarian doctrines are not well developed in the Bible, which, on the assumptions of this paper, is our sole reliable guide on Christian doctrine.
  2. Secondly, we have the application to this issue of the Apophatic tradition in theology. The Apophatic tradition states that it is easier to state what God is not than what he is. All attempts to define him, whether Scriptural or not, are based on analogies that ultimately fall short of their object. Consequently, personality is attributed to God by reference to human personality.
  3. Hence, we may not (without circularity) deduce, establish or explain human personality by reference to personality within the Godhead.
  4. Admittedly, the eternal relationship between the Divine Persons (at least between the Father & the Son) is given a measure of space in John's Gospel. However, this proceeds by analogy with human relationships.
  5. Finally, there is the general elementary point that we should argue from the more to the less familiar. We are more familiar with human persons than divine ones. Therefore, human personality "explains" (or illustrates) divine personality, not vice versa.

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12/08/2007 10:17:46 420 (Purpose - Persons) Purpose

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