To continue Baber’s attempt to retool Sabellianism:
Suppose your car, named KITT, has temporal parts. KITT, then is the sum of, the whole composed of these parts. (KITT at t1, KITT at t2, KITT at t3, KITT at t4…etc.) Further, Baber urges each of these car-stages (temporal parts of a car) is itself a car. So, e.g., KITT at t3 is just as much a car as the whole KITT. But now, suppose David Hasselhoff is driving KITT on, say, Easter. He’s actually, on this metaphysics, driving two cars, for KITT on Easter is a different car than KITT (the sum of KITT-stages).
Not to worry, argues Baber. We simply need a concept of “tensed identity”. This is not numerical identity as normally understood, but is rather the relation between KITT and KITT at Easter, such that they “count as one”. (p.5) Thus, Baber suggests that if we believe in temporal parts, the thesis of “tensed identity” is a “plausible way to avoid over-population.” (p. 5)
Back to God. She’s exploring the idea that God is a whole composed of three temporal parts - the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, each of which is a god, but each of which is, while it exists, the same god as God. In this way, even though there are four gods – God, plus each Person of the Trinity) – nonetheless monotheism is true, because while none of these four is identical with any other, they are, by the thesis of tensed identity, to be counted as one god. So when you properly count gods, the count is: 1. (p. 5) This supposes that you’ll grant that one should count gods by “tensed identity” rather than by identity.
Thus, in her view we’ve secured the distinctness of the persons (they are non-identical), and monotheism – 2 of the 4 criteria she laid down for a successful Trinity theory.
But are these three really divine at all? For none is everlasting. For example, the Son begins to exist when the Father ceases to exist, and the Son only exists until the Spirit begins to exist. One may be forgiven for thinking that none of the three is really divine. She also suggests that because each of the Three exists only for awhile, it may be that none of them are omniscient or omnipotent. So again, it seems they can’t be divine. (p. 6)
Next time: time for a little Parfit.