Today, we seek to understand what we believe. We believe the Son is co-equal with the Father, because he has the divine nature. We believe the Son is co-eternal with the Father, ever from the Father. But how to understand something so lofty?
We have patristic images or metaphors for this. These are beautiful and more easily accessible. We also have a great achievement of dogmatic or speculative theology. This is so beautiful, though difficult. Let us begin the journey of the mind to God by following Augustine and Aquinas on this great labor. Bonaventure and scores of other great saints also took this journey.
In this podcast, we lay out the basic dogmas on the Holy Trinity. But before going through the sundry dogmas, we lay out the several conceptual stages for rightly thinking about this mystery. Although the Mystery is Simple in itself, it is complex in our understanding. If we are rightly to order our minds towards the Mystery, we need to have a sense of how the different terms signify God differently. Then, we can have a better sense of the Mystery, however feeble it is, so that we might break forth into contemplation and love.
It would be of considerable help to have a set of published outlines with you as you listen to the podcast. The link to these outlines is HERE.
Why dogma? Why doctrine? Jesus has gifted us with the Truth. The Truth is both the way to love and the final end of love. For Truth is the Real, and we Love not just “to love” but “The Real.” A person. In fact, Three Persons. Hence, dogma is foundational to the Catholic way of life.
In this podcast, we treat Subordinationism, aka Arianism. The life and death of Arius (good fun here) and his sundry theses, some reasons for these theses, and why these theses are erroneous. Also, how to classify subordinationism: Is it tritheist (the standard diagnosis) or monarchianist (my diagnosis)?
Reason for the picture? All heresy is rubbish and wasteland.
In this podcast, the first of two, we take up a dogmatic or speculative analysis of the varieties of heresy concerning the Trinity. The two major extreme heresies are these: Monarchianism (which denies the distinction of persons) and Tritheism (which denies the unity, simplicity, and unicity of substance or essence). Question is: What about Subordinationism? We will take up that topic next podcast.
In this podcast, we make the pivot from Scripture to Dogma. The topic is Trinity. This is the podcast “in between.” We offer some guidelines for sound Catholic study of history. An absolute must is the historian’s commitment to this proposition: Dogma is infallible and unchangeable. The historian who refuses to acknowledge this will almost always go astray in the reading of history. After all, we are reading theologies. Theology is a sacred science. The historian who refuses to accept dogma as infallible (certainly true) and unchangeable will fail to have the equipment necessary to read things in the best light.
We do see the Fathers and Doctors struggling in this early time. Hence, the image above of “furrowing the ground.”
With this podcast, we begin our treatment of the Most Holy Trinity, the heart of Christian faith. We explore various biblical points of departure for this Mystery. We do so in the manner that dogmatic theology does. This does not involve re-inventing the wheel of labor in biblical theology. Rather, it involves reaping the harvest of the heavy labors of those in biblical theology. We reap, also, with the aid of dogmatic theological precision and of Magisterial Dogmas and Doctrines.
Many 20th century theologians, even Catholic ones, present us with a God that changes. “The unchanging God is dead,” they say. They premise their musings on God, esp. on his inner Trinitarian life, on this thesis that God changes.
In fact, the thesis that God changes is heresy. The Church in her constant and universal teaching condemns it. Thus, a good theologian should condemn it. Not to do so is heresy.
It helps us to see why God must be immutable. We attempt to do that in this podcast. We also consider and reply to various objections from recent thinkers who argue that God is mutable. While these thinkers are trying to get God closer to them, in fact they push him away. For the God who is beyond all change is more interior to me than is the god who changes, who is on the level with me, only bigger … but in a corner of the universe, far away.
In this podcast, we examine God’s simplicity. The upshot of the proofs for God’s existence has tremendous yield. In order to be the Act without potency that is source of the world, God must be utterly simple. So, we have a theological reason for affirming divine simplicity. We also have a dogmatic reason for affirming it: The Church teaches it. And since the Church teaches it, there is a Scriptural basis for this affirmation as well. If it is not explicitly in Scripture, it is at least not contradictory to Scripture. But the great Old Testament is built around the unicity and oneness of God. So, it is a Scriptural affirmation as well. If you’d like to follow the argument more closely, you might acquire my text (linked here) that outlines this and other treatments of dogmatic issues.
In this podcast, I first indicate the range of the “First Way,” its analogical extensions. These extensions indicate the richness of the yield of the first way. I consider the First Way to be demonstrative; however, even if one only considers it invitational to thought, the yield to which it invites is rich.
Second, I offer a reading of the Fourth Way indebted to some great thinkers of the 20th century and also to Edward Feser. As sketched in the ST, the 4th Way needs supplementing. It is, as are the other arguments, a “thumbnail sketch” of a deep line of argumentation. The 4th Way is often called the “Platonic” way. However, Aquinas cites only Aristotle. Indeed, elsewhere, when he approaches God’s existence in this line of argumentation, he cites Aristotle. I suggest, following the above thinkers, that there is an Aristotelian causal argument underlying this way. The global, macroscopic picture is Platonic, in the manner of Christian Platonism, but the underlying argument is Aristotelian. In short, Platonic Participation calls for an Aristotelian causal analysis. But Aristotelian causal analysis is shored up and macroscopically expressed in the Platonic idiom.