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.


  1. John
    April 30, 2014 @ 1:01 am

    Trinitarians frequently do this in conversation – to the point that one is tempted to ask
    “are you talking about the alleged ‘triune’ God, or the God who is the Father of Adam, Moses, Abraham and Isaac – and our Lord Jesus Christ”?
    I truly believe that they have confused themselves!

  2. Tully Borland
    April 28, 2014 @ 5:58 pm

    I too have been struck by how often Plantinga talks in the ways you illustrate above. But where more subtlety is called for in his publications, he has been known to make the appropriate distinctions. For instance, in his book with Tooley on “Knowledge of God” he speaks of God as a person, but in the first footnote mentions that the “Christian doctrine of the Trinity introduces complications” (implying that he affirms the doctrine) and that he will use “‘God’ as a name of the first person of the Trinity.”

    • Dale
      April 29, 2014 @ 11:04 pm

      Thanks for that reference, Tully. Yeah, Swinburne clearly does that too sometimes – uses “God” not for the Trinity, but rather for the Father. The thing is, all the NT assumes that the Father and YHWH are one and the same, while later trinitarian tradition identifies the one God with the Trinity. Using “God” ambiguously sort of just splits the difference, and confuses, it seems to me.

  3. Dale
    February 12, 2014 @ 10:40 am

    Update: by email Dr. Plantinga basically confirms that I guessed right. I don’t feel free to share more; he is very welcome to comment here if he wants to.

  4. Jaco
    February 12, 2014 @ 4:42 am

    God responds by sending his son into the world to suffer and die so that human beings might once more be in a right relationship to God. God himself undergoes the enormous suffering involved in seeing his son mocked, ridiculed, beaten and crucified. And all this for the sake of these sinful creatures.

    It is always interesting how Social Trinitarians seem to ignore the misfit between what they proclaim when the say: “There’s no love unless God Himself comes down to suffer in order to save mankind;” and when they get the opportunity to relate the story, it wasn’t God who suffered physically by being crucified. His son was crucified which caused God to suffer vicariously (as Platinga seems to spontaneously admit above). In fact, the insistence that love can only be shown by suffering as man is very short-sighted if one considers that the Father didn’t die; or that the (personal) Holy Spirit didn’t suffer and die. By the argument above, neither the Father nor the Holy Spirit had such sovereign love, since they didn’t suffer and die themselves!

    The most important ground of belief is probably not philosophical argument but religious experience. Many people of very many different cultures have thought themselves in experiential touch with a being worthy of worship. They believe that there is such a person, but not because of the explanatory prowess of such belief.

    This is very interesting from a psychological perspective, since Platinga seems speak intuitively here, and obviously not from a philosophical/doctrinal position. And notice how the same God he experiences as God is the one who sent someone else to die for the world’s sins. Implicitly, experientially and spontaneously, Platinga does seem to default to a One Self Supreme Being, contra a three-self trinity.

  5. camcintosh
    February 11, 2014 @ 7:55 pm

    I think Dale highlights a real problem here. Trinitarians, at least Social Trinitarians, should not casually say things like “by ‘theism’ I mean there is such a person as God, and he…” etc. It’s misleading, at least if they mean to refer to the ST God. I haven’t see any good replies to this by Social Trinitarians. Interpreting such statements non-literally is not satisfactory.

  6. Agustin Astacio
    February 11, 2014 @ 12:14 pm

    Your reading too much into his comments. It is quite common for trinitarians to make references to God as one person the primary in this case, the Father. I find Unitarians do this quite often with Trinitarian scholars, theologians, or even in casual every day encounters. There is such a strong desire to transform or morph Trinitariians into a Unitarian Christology that they will prooftext a Trinitarian into their ontological realm. It’s wishin upon a star theological supposiitions like this that realy compromises so many Unitarians and makes for shoddy scholarship and asumptions much like the Jehovah’s Witness “Trinity” (anti) booklet which used the theological assertions of Alvan Lamson on reading the early church with wanting eyes.