Dale Tuggy

Dale Tuggy is Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Fredonia, where he teaches courses in analytic theology, philosophy of religion, religious studies, and the history of philosophy.

One Comment

  1. Miguel de Servet
    August 28, 2015 @ 1:26 pm

    Logically, for Christians to be trinitarian, in the sense defined at Constantinople (381), they have to believe certain things. One is that the Son is divine, and [1] just as divine as the Father (“true God from true God”), not in some lesser way. Another, relatedly, is that Son is [2] eternal, that he never came into existence, never began to exist.

    Of the two conditions above, [1] is already stated in the original creed of
    Nicea (325), even though the first “true” was not there, so it was “G[g?]od from true God”. As for [2], the clause “before all worlds/aeons” was added to the original Nicene expression “begotten of the Father” only at Constantinople.

    Arguing against the gnostic Hermogenes, Tertullian explicitly asserts that the Father is older, nobler, stronger, and more powerful than the Son.

    I believe you have missed the gist of Against Hermogenes and in particular of Ch. XVIII, form which you quote. Tertullian resorts to a rhetoric argument, in distinguishing between God and His Wisdom, so as to preempt and void Hermogenes’ claim that matter pre-exists creation. Something like (paraphrasing and summarizing):
    “If we can say that Wisdom – which is ‘inherent in the Lord’ – was ‘born and created’, ‘for the especial reason that we should not suppose that there is any other being than God alone who is unbegotten and uncreated’, ‘how much more impossible is it that anything should have been without a beginning which was extrinsic to the Lord [like matter is]!”