The jist of his argument is that a divine self wouldn’t be perfect unless he eternally brought about two other equals.
I argue that this hasn’t been shown. To the contrary, it seems possible that there be just one perfect being, one self who is all-knowing, all-powerful, completely good, and so on. Being perfectly loving, being happy, being generous – I argue that no such perfection, as best we can tell, would compel a perfect self to bring about another, or two others.
In the second half of this episode, I reason about divine aseity, and how I believe this creates difficulties for Professor Swinburne’s Trinity theory. It strikes me that there’s some inconsistency in his views here. I’m assuming, because the claims don’t appear in his 2008 treatment, that he no longer holds that each person of the Trinity permissively causes the other two, as I explain about his 1994 book here. If he holds that, then I think it would follow that it was impossible for any being to exist a se! But I argue here that he should say that the Father has that property, and not the Trinity, which exists because of the Father and Son, in his view.
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Links for this episode:
- Was Jesus God? (kindle) – Correction: in the episode I say that this came out in 2010 – but is was rather 2008.
- podcast episode 57 – Richard Swinburne on the Trinity
- previous trinities posts on a priori proofs of a three-self Trinity
- Christian Philosophy of Religion, ed. Colin Ruloff (The University of Notre Dame Press, 2014).
- (Penultimate draft of my chapter in this book, “On the Possibility of a Single Perfect Person.” Please don’t cite the draft, but only the book version.)
- Richard of St. Victor, On the Trinity