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.

78 Comments

  1. H. E. Baber
    January 12, 2015 @ 1:11 pm

    Where else would you start? And why? The formula suggested by the Athanasian Creed is the Trinity doctrine at its most minimal–the bare logic puzzle. It’s what makes a doctrine count as Trinitarian. Of course, maybe God isn’t Trinitarian (your view?) Or maybe there is no God. I’m not interested in those alternatives. I’m interested in the Trinity as an identity puzzle–like the dividing self, the Ship of Theseus, etc.

  2. Dale
    January 12, 2015 @ 9:59 am

    “then the Trinitarian formula violates transitivity of idenitity–and indiscernibility of identicals. End of story.”

    Well, remember that we’re – I think wrong-headedly – choosing to start with the “Athanasian” creed. And I think it may be possible to read that creed as apparent self-consistent. Currently thinking about that. If that’s a well-motivated reading of that 5th c. creed, then we perhaps should look elsewhere as a base from which to jump off and start doing theological metaphysics…

  3. Dale
    January 12, 2015 @ 9:56 am

    ““Dr. van Inwagen is just taking an apologetic stance – that “the” doctrine, as exemplified by the “Athanasian” creed, can be demonstrated to be inconsistent with itself.”

    CAN’T be demonstrated. It seems my lack of enunciation caused a problem – I apologize for that.

    If he thought the “Athanasian” creed was contradictory, he’d think it was (in part) false. But he urges that one can’t rule out the relative identity interpretation, on which it is self-consistent.

    Honestly, it is an intellectual contortion that most non-philosophers find hard to maintain. He in fact believes in (non-relative) identity, and doesn’t actually endorse the relative identity interpretation. His views, as reported by him to Bill Hasker are social trinitarian (see his Metaphysics and the Tri-Personal God, pp. 122-3). Thus, for him, Father and Son are two different, divine selves.

    But of course, a divine self is just a god. Why think this is self-consistent monotheism?

    I think he’d be inclined to beg off, on the grounds that he’s not a theologian. But of course, in a sense he is, and we all are…

  4. H. E. Baber
    January 10, 2015 @ 6:41 pm

    What do you mean by ‘subscribe to classical identity’? I’m not, at this point, committed to Geach’s view there there is no such thing, but I think his view, from ‘Identity’ (1967) is very much worth exploring and I may be converted. What I do claim is that some identity puzzles, including the Trinity puzzle, can be solved if we recognize that the ISs that figure don’t express classical identity but other equivalence relations–in particular sortal relative identity relations.

    I’m not a theologian or a Biblical scholar, so I’m not interested in what account, if any, can be extracted from the Bible, or in the religious ramifications of the Trinity doctrine, if any. I’m just interested in the logic puzzle, and how to solve it with the least possible metaphysical baggage. Which relative identity does.

  5. Mario
    January 10, 2015 @ 3:57 pm

    Harriet,

    thank you. It is not clear to me if you subscribe to “classical identity”, or to Geach RI or what. In any case, is the final “God wins” of your presentation consistent with / justified by the “noises that are made in liturgical churches”?

  6. Mario
    January 10, 2015 @ 3:43 pm

    Rivers,

    You should check what you wrote in your comment of January 8, 2015 at 3:06 pm, because EVERYTHING that I wrote in my immediately following comment of 5:32 pm is based ENTIRELY on what your wrote. Let me summarize again, also in light of your latest comment.

    1. You spoke of “the writer” (4 times), and of “the Johannine writer” (once). In the last paragraph you attributed to “the writer” (without distinguishing), the GoJ, 1John and Revelation. (BTW, of course, “Johannine writer” does NOT mean “John” and, even less, the Apostle John, the brother of James)

    2. All your s.c. “lot of internal evidence” in favor of the authorship of Lazarus of the 4th Gospel boils down to the cryptic (self?) reference to the author as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” or “befriended” (John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7; 21:20). There is scant “internal evidence” for the 3 letters.

    3. Once again, the apostles and disciples NEVER referred to Jesus as “‘O LOGOS during the time of his public ministry”. Only the (Johannine) “writer” ever used the expression “‘O LOGOS” to refer to Jesus, and THAT, “in hindsight”.

    If my (previous and present) summaries (of your recent comments) are inaccurate, point out where, rather than divagating. 🙂

  7. H. E. Baber
    January 10, 2015 @ 3:02 pm

    Mario, if you don’t buy RI you can’t. If ‘sameness’ and ‘distinctness’ are understood as affirming and denying classical identity then the Trinitarian formula violates transitivity of idenitity–and indiscernibility of identicals. End of story.

    You can play metaphysical games to finesse the formula, but if you interpret ‘=’ as classical identity then in classical logic Father=God, Son=God, HS = God but Father ? Son ? HS is false. Relative identity (on the non-Geach account) has the virtue of being a ‘thin’ theory without heavy metaphysical commitments. We just say that the relations in question are equivalence relations short of identity. And this means we can happily make Trinitarian noises about Father, Son and Holy Ghost, do churchy ceremonies, and cheerfully sing the hymns, without incoherence or metaphysical commitments.

    And my personal view is that what matters is Church: making the noises that are made in liturgical churches. Not the Bible. Not church teachings. Not the Fathers, not the Tradition.

  8. Rivers
    January 10, 2015 @ 10:10 am

    Mario,

    Only the Revelation is attributed to a man named “John” (Revelation 1:1). The 4th Gospel and the 3 letters don’t identify the author as anyone name John. Thus, I don’t assume that they were all written by the same person.

    There is a lot of internal evidence that suggests that the young disciple (and friend of Jesus) named Lazarus was the author of the 4th Gospel and the 3 letters. The internal evidence also makes it almost impossible for John (the apostle) to have been the writer.

    However, it isn’t the purpose of this thread to discuss the details. But, maybe some other time. 🙂

  9. Mario
    January 10, 2015 @ 4:12 am

    … where G is more general than F it doesn’t follow that being the same G implies being the same F (if we buy RI)

    Harriet,

    if you don’t “buy RI”, can you make sense of the “same being and distinct persons” of the “trinity”?

  10. H. E. Baber
    January 9, 2015 @ 10:05 pm

    Oops. Forgot to close those HTML tags–sorry for to much italics 🙁

  11. H. E. Baber
    January 9, 2015 @ 10:03 pm

    Thanks for all these comments!

    Professor Baber just cannot excape from the ‘shackles’ of her Catholic upbringing -it seems.

    In fact, I was brought up heathen. And while currently Catholic I am not ROMAN Catholic.

    As for my presentation, and typos–which I couldn’t fix because my computer died on the plane…The bottom line is that I proved, by producing a counterexample, that generality does not imply dominance: that where G is more general than F it doesn’t follow that being the same G implies being the same F (if we buy RI). So even if we recognize being as a maximally general sortal, and hold that the Father is the same Being as the Son, it doesn’t follow that it doesn’t follow that the Father is the same (Trinitarian) Person as the Son.

    As Dale notes, I was not in this paper interested in the Bible but only making a logical point. And whatever typos got into the PowerPoint: I PROVED IT.

  12. Mario
    January 8, 2015 @ 5:32 pm

    So, let’s recapitulate from the latest post:

    1. The “Johannine writer” was “probably” Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary, whom Jesus “raised out of the tomb”.

    2. Throwing all previous critical prudence aside, the “Johannine writer” is the author of the Gospel of John, of the 3 Letters that go under the name of John, and even of the Book of Revelation (aka Apocalypse).

    3. The apostles and disciples NEVER referred to Jesus as “‘O LOGOS during the time of his public ministry”. Only the “Johannine writer” ever used the expression “‘O LOGOS” to refer to Jesus, and THAT, “in hindsight”.

    Well-I-never! I’m flabbergasted!

  13. Rivers
    January 8, 2015 @ 3:06 pm

    Mario,

    1. Yes, the writer occasionally used “us” (John 1:14; 1 John 1:2-3). Presumably, this would be inclusive of himself along with the other disciples (John 21:24).

    Based upon substantial internal evidence, the Johannine writer was probably the young “disciple” and “friend” of the apostles (John 11:11) named Lazarus who was also “raised out of the tomb” by Jesus (John 12:9) and to whom he gave his mother when he died (John 19:26-27).

    2. From what we can tell, the Johannine books were definitely written after the ascension of Jesus Christ, and the writer had become an “elder” among the brethren (2 John 1:1; 3 John 1:1). I also think the cryptic reference to this disciple surviving until the Parousia suggests that some time had passed since Jesus made that statement about him (John 21:21-24).

    All we know is that ‘O LOGOS (the word) was a term the writer used for Jesus Christ in hindsight (John 1:1-3, 14; 1 John 1:2, Revelation 19:13). I don’t see any indication that the disciples were calling him ‘O LOGOS during the time of his public ministry. However, the writer usually used LOGOS to refer to the words that Jesus was speaking during the time of his public ministry.

  14. Mario
    January 8, 2015 @ 1:25 pm

    1. Evidently, the writer came to know Jesus personally when he lived with him …

    2. The writer understood that Jesus embodied everlasting life after they [sic] saw the Lord when he was raised from the dead …

    Who is “they”? Is “the writer” part of “they”?

    Elsewhere you wrote:

    “The term LOGOS was never used of Jesus Christ until after the apostles knew him as a person “from the beginning” of his public ministry (1 John 1:1-2).” [bolding added]

    So, when did “the term LOGOS” begin to be “used of Jesus Christ” by “the apostles”? How long “after the apostles knew him etc.”?

  15. Rivers
    January 8, 2015 @ 11:41 am

    Mario,

    1. Evidently, the writer came to know Jesus personally when he lived with him (John 1:14; 1 John 1:2) after John the baptizer “manifested the Christ to Israel” (John 1:30-31) and told the disciples to follow him (John 1:34-49). This is what Jesus referred to as “the beginning” (John 15:27; John 16:4) of his association with them.

    2. The writer understood that Jesus embodied everlasting life after they saw the Lord when he was raised from the dead (John 20:17-20; 1 John 1:1-5) and was prepared to go to the Father (John 20:17). This is what he is referring to in John 1:1b, as well as 1 John 1:2).

  16. Mario
    January 8, 2015 @ 11:03 am

    [1] The fact that ‘O LOGOS (the word) was only used to speak of Jesus Christ in John 1:1-3, 14 and 1 John 1:1 and Revelation 19:13 is indicative of the fact that there was nothing known as ‘O LOGOS until the writer knew Jesus Christ personally (1 John 1:2, John 1:14-18)

    [2] The writer doesn’t even give any indication that anyone was calling Jesus Christ “the word” during the time of his earthly ministry. (…) Since the Johannine writer only used LOGOS to refer to a “spoken” saying or message (and almost always that which was spoken by Jesus himself during his public ministry), or to refer to Jesus Christ himself after the resurrection, it seems more reasonable to think that Jesus Christ came to be known to the writer as ‘O LOGOS (the word) after the resurrection when the apostles realized that he embodied the message about everlasting life that God had given him to speak to the people (1 John 1:1-5).

    (i) When did “the writer” come to “know Jesus Christ personally”?

    (ii) When did “the writer” come to know Jesus as the one in whom was “embodied the message about everlasting life”?

    Careful …

  17. Rivers
    January 8, 2015 @ 10:06 am

    Mario,

    That’s exactly the point. The fact that ‘O LOGOS (the word) was only used to speak of Jesus Christ in John 1:1-3, 14 and 1 John 1:1 and Revelation 19:13 is indicative of the fact that there was nothing known as ‘O LOGOS until the writer knew Jesus Christ personally (1 John 1:2, John 1:14-18).

    It’s also evident in the Prologue that the writer is speaking of Jesus Christ only after he had completed his public ministry and gone to be with the Father (John 1:1b; John 1:14-18). The writer doesn’t even give any indication that anyone was calling Jesus Christ “the word” during the time of his earthly ministry.

    Your idea that ‘O LOGOS in John 1:1-3 was referring to some kind of “eternal attribute of God” is implausible. There is no apostolic usage of ‘O LOGOS that means “attribute” and there is no usage that requires any implication that ‘O LOGOS referred to anything or anyone prior to the time when the Johannine writer actually knew Jesus Christ personally.

    Since the Johannine writer only used LOGOS to refer to a “spoken” saying or message (and almost always that which was spoken by Jesus himself during his public ministry), or to refer to Jesus Christ himself after the resurrection, it seems more reasonable to think that Jesus Christ came to be known to the writer as ‘O LOGOS (the word) after the resurrection when the apostles realized that he embodied the message about everlasting life that God had given him to speak to the people (1 John 1:1-5).

  18. Mario
    January 8, 2015 @ 4:06 am

    There is no evidence in the apostolic testimony that ‘O LOGOS (“the word”) was known until after he was manifested to the apostles (1 John 1:2)

    There is no evidence anywhere in the NT that the expression ho logos was ever used in association with Jesus other than in John 1:1, John 1:14, 1 John 1:1, Rev 19:13. All this, long after Jesus’ earthly mission had been completed. So what?

  19. Rivers
    January 7, 2015 @ 6:59 pm

    Mario,

    Very good, as long as it is understood that “embodiment” requires no incarnation or preexistence. Attributes don’t get “embodied” either. There is no evidence in the apostolic testimony that ‘O LOGOS (“the word”) was known until after he was manifested to the apostles (1 John 1:2)

    The apostles understood that Jesus Christ himself had everlasting life in him (John 1:4) because he received holy spirit (John 6:63) which began “remaining upon him” when he was baptized (John 1:32-34). This is when Jesus Christ himself understood that God had sent him to preach the gospel (Luke 4:17-21).

    The idea that Jesus Christ was some kind of impersonal “eternal attribute of God that became human flesh” has nothing to do with the testimony of the apostles. The noun LOGOS is never used of an “attribute” in biblical Greek.

  20. Mario
    January 7, 2015 @ 5:37 pm

    The writer … explained that Jesus Christ himself embodied “the word (‘O LOGOS) of life” (1 John 1:1-2).

    Rivers,

    the above is the only sentence worth retaining from all your post. It is appropriate to call Jesus “Word of God” and/or “Word of Life” because, indeed, “Jesus Christ himself embodied” [River’s words] God’s Word of Life. So entirely obvious … 🙂

  21. Rivers
    January 7, 2015 @ 4:58 pm

    Mario,

    If fine if you want to “insist” on those things, but there is no evidence that makes your dehumanization of ‘O LOGOS a likely interpretation at all. However, if you want to disregard the implications of Revelation 19:13, that is up to you.

    As I’ve noted before, you can’t produce any exegetical evidence in scripture that anyone used ‘O LOGOS to refer to an “attribute.” Why would you favor that interpretation unless you don’t take the biblical usage of the word seriously? I think you made an appeal to a couple of spurious people from the 2nd Century who might have held a similar view, but that’s essential worthless when they misrepresent the apostolic usage of the term as well.

    I think it’s more reasonable to consider how the Johannine writer actually used the term ‘O LOGOS (e.g. Revelation 19:13) in order to determine a likely interpretation The writer also explained that Jesus Christ himself embodied “the word (‘O LOGOS) of life” (1 John 1:1-2). Thus, it seems evident that this is why ‘O LOGOS became a “name” for Jesus Christ himself (Revelation 19:13).

  22. Mario
    January 7, 2015 @ 3:32 pm

    Let me insist: “name”, that is, appellative or epithet, and ONLY in Revelation 19:13. In John 1:1-18 and in 1 John 1:1-4, logos is NEITHER a name, NOR a “name”.

  23. Rivers
    January 7, 2015 @ 3:19 pm

    Mario,

    I’m glad we agree on the name (Revelation 19:13). Since attributes do not have proper names in scripture, there’s also no reason to think ‘O LOGOS (“the word”) refers to anyone other than Jesus Christ himself in John 1:1-3 or John 1:14 either.

  24. Mario
    January 7, 2015 @ 1:33 pm

    We also know from scripture that ‘O LOGOS was a “name” given to Jesus Christ himself after he was glorified (Revelation 19:13).

    I fully agree: from the “also”, to the quotes around “name”, to the “after he was glorified”.

  25. Rivers
    January 7, 2015 @ 8:25 am

    Mario,

    Yes, I am aware of the differences between the preexistence and incarnation concepts and that is why I usually refer to them with the different terms.

    I agree that John 8:58 is an entirely different context. However, I don’t think there is any grammatical or contextual reason to conclude that the Prologue was intended to convey that ‘O LOGOS (the word) was referring to anything (or anyone) that preexisted or was an incarnation either.

    It’s evident in 1 John 1:1-2 that the Johannine writer understood that “the word” referred to the audible and tangible person that the apostles knew “from the beginning.” We also know from scripture that ‘O LOGOS was a “name” given to Jesus Christ himself after he was glorified (Revelation 19:13).

  26. David Kemball-Cook
    January 6, 2015 @ 6:55 pm

    Hi Dale

    Just re-reading these comments
    You said
    “Dr. van Inwagen is just taking an apologetic stance – that “the” doctrine, as exemplified by the “Athanasian” creed, can be demonstrated to be inconsistent with itself. (Because we can’t rule out that it’s to be understood as involving only relative identity claims, which he has rigorously proved formally self-consistent.)”

    I don’t understand. How can he be taking an apologetic stance if he believes the creed to be inconsistent?
    And if we can rephrase it using relative identity, and it is then self-consistent, how is it still inconsistent?

  27. Mario
    January 3, 2015 @ 4:06 pm

    Rivers,

    in the 4 paragraphs of your reply, you use, 4 times, one for each paragraph, like a mantra, the expression “preexistence and incarnation”, with the slight variant “preexistence and/or incarnation” in the second paragraph. That would seem to suggest that you are vaguely aware that “preexistence and incarnation” are not conjoined twins, but that you still consider the latter —with or without the former …. “Impossible! Ungrammatical! Non contextual!”

    It must definitely be a … logical blind spot … 😉

    BTW I know how strongly you feel about your peculiar understanding of John 8:58, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with the Johannine logos.

  28. Lars
    January 3, 2015 @ 2:00 pm

    Mario
    Lo sciento mucho!
    Looking forward to it!
    Best
    Lars

  29. Rivers
    January 3, 2015 @ 1:45 pm

    Mario,

    I understand how various Trinitarians and biblical unitarians view the implications of the virgin birth and conceive of things like preexistence and incarnation and try to incorporate those concepts into the defense of their different positions. I’ve followed the debates for many years.

    As I examine the biblical evidence for myself, I just don’t think the preexistence and/or incarnation doctrines of post-apostolic Christendom are a necessary deduction from the Synoptic accounts of the birth of Jesus or any of the more controversial Johannine texts.

    If I thought it was reasonable to think that preexistence and incarnation were behind the apostolic testimony (in any sense), I would have no problem espousing those ideas and aligning myself with explanations of passages like John 1:1-3, John 1:14; John 8:58 that suit them.

    My endeavor is only to offer a different and plausible reading of the controversial Johannine texts that isn’t dependent upon begging questions about preexistence and incarnation (which I see happening so often in Chrstological debates from both sides). It isn’t my responsibility to convince anyone either way. I think we all need to consider the evidence for ourselves and make up our own minds. 🙂

  30. Mario
    January 3, 2015 @ 12:35 pm

    Rivers

    thank you for your P.S. My “ideas about the Trinity doctrine” will always be … non-trinitarian … 😉

  31. Mario
    January 3, 2015 @ 12:29 pm

    Rivers,

    I find it truly disconcerting, that, you, like Dale, like many here, find it perfectly normal to be confronted with the 4 options to Dale’s question, “Who was born on the first Christmas?” (to wit: 1. God, 2. The eternal Son of God, 3. The ancient Son of God, 4. The virgin born, human Son of God), if only to discard the first 3 on “scriptural” ground (and God only knows how Rose, Sean and a host of others here will protest to the contrary), WHEREAS, when it is suggested, in all simplicity, that the one born on the first Christmas is the Son of God, NOT ONLY in the sense of the miracle (Matt 1:18; Luke 1:35), BUT ALSO so as to make the unusual use of the word logos in John 1:14 consequent from —and consistent with— its equally unusual use in John 1:1-3, you, like Dale, like many others, immediately tear you clothes, crying, “Impossible! Ungrammatical! Non contextual!”

    It must be a … logical blind spot … 🙂

  32. Mario
    January 3, 2015 @ 11:49 am

    Thank you, Lars.

    (Yo no soy español, pero tengo los cojones 😉 )

  33. Lars
    January 3, 2015 @ 9:04 am

    It will be interesting to hear Mario talk about what he really thinks!
    He has a lot to say – but is he man enough to put up?
    I wonder.

    Abrazios
    Lars

  34. Rivers
    January 3, 2015 @ 8:21 am

    Mario,

    P.S. I’m glad that Dale is giving you an opportunity to put up a couple of guest blog posts so that you’ll have the opportunity to present and summarize your ideas about the Trinity doctrine. I hope you will find the time to follow through with it. 🙂

  35. Rivers
    January 3, 2015 @ 8:01 am

    Mario,

    I accept every detail of the nativity accounts in the Synoptic Gospels. That is one reason that I don’t think the apostles were teaching any kind of preexistence or incarnation doctrine. Jesus was a man who began his existence when he was born of the virgin Mary by the power of holy spirit causing her to conceive (Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:14, 35).

    With regard to your personal beliefs, there is nothing in the Synoptic accounts that suggests anything about “an eternal attribute of God turning into an human being.” You derive that idea from taking the first parts of John 1:14 out of context and forcing LOGOS to be defined in a way that is completely foreign to the apostolic usage.

    For myself, I’d rather trust the eyewitness testimony of the apostles who knew Jesus “from the beginning” as an human being (1 John 1:1-2) and try to interpret scripture using a sound and critical exegetical approach. As I’ve said before, if there was any biblical merit to your perspective, I would have no problem agreeing with (or any part of it).

  36. Mario
    January 2, 2015 @ 9:22 pm

    Rivers,

    it is up to you to decide whether the Nativity Accounts in the Gospel of Matthew and Luke (however they may differ in secondary details) are faithful to the essential fact, that is the miraculous and mysterious conception and birth of the Son of God, or if they are only pious fraud.

    God likes to “destroy the wisdom of the wise, and thwart the cleverness of the intelligent”. Paul was thinking of the “folly” of the cross, when he wrote these words (1 Cor 1:19,27; cp. Isaiah 29:14). Once again, it is up to you to decide whether the above describes a general trait of God’s behavior towards humans, or if you would rather choose to depend on (merely human) considerations of “context”. For my part, I choose to side with this …

    “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Cor 1:31; cp. Jer 9:24)

    … again, regardless of “context” …

    … I believe that both Paul and Jeremiah were applying their words to the “smart ones” and the “clever ones” … 😉

  37. Rivers
    January 2, 2015 @ 6:23 pm

    Mario,

    Yes, I agree that Jesus received everlasting life from God the Father (John 5:26-27). However, there is no evidence that this occurred until Jesus received holy spirit when he was baptized. This is when John the baptizer recognized who Christ was and “manifested the Christ to Israel” (John 1:30-33).

    Jesus taught that “it is the spirit that gives resurrection life” (John 6:62-63). There is no evidence in the apostlic testimony that Jesus Christ had holy spirit until he was baptized. Jesus also didn’t baptize anyone with holy spirit until after he was glorified (John 7:39; Acts 1:8).

    Thus, Jesus did not embody resurrection life until the time when the apostles began follow him at the beginning his public ministry (John 1:1-2). That is what “the word became flesh AND dwelt among us” was referring to (John 1:14). That is why the writer described the LOGOS as “what we have heard, seen, observed, and handled from the beginning” (John 1:1-2) and called him “the word (LOGOS) of life.”

  38. Mario
    January 2, 2015 @ 4:09 pm

    The “word of God” (John 1:1-3) suggests that Jesus was a person who embodied the message (LOGOS) about everlasting life that the apostles “heard” from him after he was “manifested” to them at the beginning of his public ministry (1 John 1:1-2; John 1:14).

    Rivers

    Quite good. I could not expect you to make use of Note #1 for the smart ones …

    I will only add this important remark: Jesus “embodied the message (LOGOS) about everlasting life” because, unlike ALL other humans, he had, mysteriously and miraculously received that very “everlasting life” (zôê) that only God can give, and, through Jesus, to all whom Jesus Christ will judge worthy of it:
    26 For just as the Father has life [zôê] in himself, thus he has granted the Son to have life [zôê] in himself, 27 and he has granted the Son authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. (John 5:26-27)

  39. Mario
    January 2, 2015 @ 3:22 pm

    Dale

    [January 2, 2015 at 10:31 am]… it is not only bizarre, but obviously impossible that an attribute should (literally) turn into a man – an attribute of any kind.

    I suggest that you don’t call something “impossible”, just because you don’t understand it. This is the strong impression one gets reading your post on Irenaeus, anyway … 🙁

    As for John 1, if you have problems with God’s Logos itself becoming incarnated in/as Jesus, then try to think of God con-forming the holy one to be born from Mary to His Logos. Still find it impossible? You definitely have a problem there … 🙁

    I recommend that you find the time to expand on John 1 vs OT and relative apocrypha. I am sure you would benefit from it. 🙂

    [January 2, 2015 at 10:35 am]Mario, in probably half a dozen posts recently, you seem to say that you’ve got the correct, scriptural, understanding of the Trinity worked out.

    Ther is no such thing as the “correct, scriptural, understanding of the Trinity”. There is though, the correct, scriptural, understanding of God with His essential, “structural” attributes.

    With the above essential clarification, I would be pleased to be invited to do 1 or 2 guest posts on the subject at trinities.org.

    I may have some problems complying with next week, but I’ll see what I can do.

    As for the pics, I presume that would imply having access (more or less) to the same editing tools as you have. 🙂

  40. Mario
    January 2, 2015 @ 1:56 pm

    John

    [January 2, 2015 at 10:20 am]

    I have already agreed that three conjoined triplets are three distinct persons, whereas to call the “ensemble” 1 or 3 beings is purely a matter of convention (personally, I go for 1 being).

    As for how three conjoined triplets could be used as a model for the trinity, think of Ted, Fred (and Ned), collectively, as Jed.
    Ted is Jed; Fred is Jed; Ned is Jed. Ted is not Fred; Fred is not Ned; Ned is not Ted.

    Likewise, think of Father, Junior and Spook, collectively, as Yahweh. Etc.

    (WARNING: The above model is purely hypothetical, and has NO foundation whatsoever in the Scripture)

    [January 2, 2015 at 12:57 pm]

    You’re nearly there, John, nearly there … 🙂

    Through His Holy Spirit (the other essential attribute of God) God took care of the miracle of the virgin conception; through a mystery, God conformed the one to be born to His own essential logos.

  41. Rivers
    January 2, 2015 @ 1:46 pm

    Mario,

    Your “appellatives” idea doesn’t work and is fallacious. According to the biblical testimony, Jesus had the “name” ‘O LOGOS (the word, Revelation 19:13) just as he had the “name” IHSOUS (Jesus, Matthew 1:21). Moreover, even if we assume your “appellative” idea in Revelation 19:13, you have no reason to suggest that it wasn’t referring to the same person in John 1:1-3.

    Here’s a little excercise for you …

    1. The “lamb of God” (John 1:29) suggests that Jesus was a person who became the perfect sacrifice.

    2. The “word of God” (John 1:1-3) suggests that Jesus was a person who embodied the message (LOGOS) about everlasting life that the apostles “heard” from him after he was “manifested” to them at the beginning of his public ministry (1 John 1:1-2; John 1:14).

  42. Rivers
    January 2, 2015 @ 1:24 pm

    John,

    That would only be “possible” if you can show from biblical usage that LOGOS meant “attribute” or “holy spirit.” Unfortunately, there isn’t any evidence that the apostles used LOGOS either way. Thus, there’s no basis for speculating about LOGOS referring to an attribute or holy spirit.

    If you think you can show from the apostolic usage of LOGOS that there is any reason to consider it an “attribute”, please put it forward. All we can get from Mario is condescending rhetoric. This suggests to me that he really doesn’t have any substantial to offer as a responsible defence of his viewpoint.

  43. Mario
    January 2, 2015 @ 1:00 pm

    Jesus Christ is called “the lamb” in Revelation 5:9. Since he’s also called “the lamb” in John 1:29, doesn’t it seem reasonable to consider that “the word” was a name the writer used for him in John 1:1-3 too?

    As already amply argued and explained for everybody who has ears to hear, neither “the Lamb” (Rev 19:7) nor “the Word of God” (Rev 19:13) are names, BUT appellatives (or epithets= descriptive substitute for the name or title of a person), and ALWAYS suggest something relevant about the person.

    A little exercise
    “The Lamb” suggests that Jesus was the perfect sacrificial victim.
    “The Word of God” suggests that Jesus Christ is …?

    (Note #1 for the smart ones: John 1:1 tells us about the eternal relationship between God and His Word; John 1:3 tells us about the instrumental role (di autou) of God’s Word in Creation; John 1:14 tells us about … ho logos sarx egeneto)

    (Note #2 for the clever ones: while the God of the Scripture is NOT a “trinity of persons”, He is NOT simple either …)

  44. John
    January 2, 2015 @ 12:57 pm

    All
    I know that its ‘off subject’ but is it possible that ‘logos’ is an annribute – in the form of Gods Holy Spirit?
    It’s possible that the ‘power from on hign’ that came into Mary was the Holy Spirit – Gods ‘logos’.?

    Blessings
    John

  45. Rivers
    January 2, 2015 @ 12:17 pm

    Dale,

    Thank you for the brief comment.

    I think the idea that LOGOS (John 1:1-3) refers to the person of Jesus Christ fits perfectly with what you call the “logic” of when the writer is saying in the Prologue. I always strive to offer interpretations that are consistent with both the grammar and the context. Perhaps I can explain things in detail for you sometime.

    I’m glad we agree that Mario’s “divine attribute becomes a human being” idea is nonsensical. There’s no grammar, context, or logic to support that view. It’s difficult from some folks to let go of the post-apostolic “preexistence” and “incarnation” ideas so they have to get unnecessarily creative in order to try to dehumanize ‘O LOGOS in the first section of the Prologue.

  46. Dale
    January 2, 2015 @ 10:35 am

    Oh yeah – you’d also have to supply 1-2 pics for each post.

  47. Dale
    January 2, 2015 @ 10:35 am

    Mario, in probably half a dozen posts recently, you seem to say that you’ve got the correct, scriptural, understanding of the Trinity worked out.

    Would you like to do 1-2 guest posts here, and explain just what that is?

    If you like to, email me your post, as well as some biographical information that I can use to “introduce” you. If I think it’s suitable, we’ll put it out next week.

  48. Dale
    January 2, 2015 @ 10:31 am

    Rivers,

    About “logos” – this is off-topic, but a few brief comments.

    I think you rely far too much on grammatical points. The usage of “logos” in Revelation is not enough to settle the matter of its usage is John 1. What’s most most important is understanding the “logic” of a passage, the flow of thought in the author’s mind. Not easy to get at, many times, from this distance?

    Yes, it is not only bizarre, but obviously impossible that an attribute should (literally) turn into a man – an attribute of any kind.

    I don’t read John 1 as saying that, though. (I’m not sure about Mario.) I read John 1 along lines suggested by our OT and some similar passages from the OT apocrypha (which are in Catholic Bibles). Can’t take time to go into all that right now though – sorry. Another time and place.

  49. John
    January 2, 2015 @ 10:20 am

    Mario,
    I still don’t get it!
    If we consider conjoined twins (or triplets for that matter) we still have two consciousnesses, two souls,
    sharing a common ‘home’
    When we consider them we call them by their names ” Ted” and “Fred’. These are their unique identies
    We don’t
    generally have a name for the ‘common user parts’ that connect them.
    How would you use this data to construct a hypothetical model of a trinity?
    Blessings
    John

  50. Rivers
    January 2, 2015 @ 9:35 am

    Mario,

    What do you think it means in Revelation 19:13 where it says that Jesus Christ was “named” and “called” ‘O LOGOS?

    Why do you scoff at the possibility that this is what Jesus Christ himself was being “named” or “called” in John 1:1-3, as well?

    You pointed out earlier that Jesus Christ is called “the lamb” in Revelation 5:9. Since he’s also called “the lamb” in John 1:29, doesn’t it seem reasonable to consider that “the word” was a name the writer used for him in John 1:1-3 too?

  51. Mario
    January 2, 2015 @ 9:02 am

    Dale,

    in a scholarly environment, one can afford to display some “sense of humor” only if her presentation is impeccable. This is certainly not the case with Baber (I have provided a couple of hints).

    And why was her main point the criticism of Rea? Easy! Because Rea’s RI + P cannot be used as a “logical lifesaver” for the “trinity”. In particular if one sets G: being and F: person. (Check …)

    As I said, I used to feel the same about RI. Not so anymore. I have provided examples. You may want to consider them (unless you find it diminishing for a professional …).

    Finally, Dr. van Inwagen, like many “analytical philosophers”, likes to have his cake and eat it too … 😉

  52. Rivers
    January 2, 2015 @ 8:07 am

    John wrote:

    “He [Jesus] is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called the word (LOGOS) of God” (Revelation 19:13).

  53. Rivers
    January 2, 2015 @ 7:52 am

    To whom it may concern,

    The scriptures plainly tell us that LOGOS was a “name” that was used for Jesus Christ himself (Revelation 19:13). It’s a shame that there are people who blatantly ignore the evidence and make up their own definition of the term.

    I’ve tried to give careful (and respectful) consideration to the “LOGOS is an eternal attribute of God that became flesh” idea but there is simply no exegetical merit to it. When trying to interpret scripture, I think it’s necessary to do sound exegesis that is based upon determining the meaning based upon word usage and context.

    There isn’t any evidence that LOGOS was ever used to speak of an “attribute” in biblical Greek or that it was associated with the concept of “eternal.” There also isn’t any reason to think that John 1:14 is about an “attribute” turning into a human being. What could be more “bizarre” than that? 🙂

  54. Mario
    January 2, 2015 @ 7:31 am

    John,

    that would be a mere convention. Curiously enough, along the same line of God’s inscription “WE’RE I” on “His” glove, in Harriet Baber’s “funny” slide.

  55. Mario
    January 2, 2015 @ 7:24 am

    David,

    you are right: I should have written “DO NOT have any foundation in the Scripture”. I must have been tired. 🙁

  56. David Kemball-Cook
    January 2, 2015 @ 6:52 am

    Mario

    Thanks but I am confused. You said

    “First, I believe that NOT ONLY the full-fledged “trinity”, BUT ALSO the “diluted” version of Subordinationism have any foundation in the Scripture.”

    Maybe you meant to say ‘DO NOT have any foundation in the Scripture’?
    Otherwise you seem to be contradicting yourself, or else saying that the NT contradicts itself.

  57. John
    January 2, 2015 @ 5:41 am

    Hi Mario
    Sorry to be ‘slow’ but the conjoined twins are two persons – and we would refer to them as ‘them’ – NOT ‘him’.

    Blessings
    John

  58. Mario
    January 2, 2015 @ 3:22 am

    John,

    (i) If it helps the visualization, think of Zeus Poseidon Hades
    (ii) I prefer to avoid the slippery word “soul”. So, definitely distinct persons. As for “identity”, consider that none of them would survive, if the body died.
    (iii) I believe you should ask yourself the question if “concurrent Modalism” is Modalism at all, or rather the only possible way to give a logically consistent picture of the “trinity”. If it helps the visualization, think of the “trinity” as the three conjoined twins at (ii). Just in case, I insist on the purely hypothetical, non scriptural character of this “trinity”.

  59. Mario
    January 2, 2015 @ 2:52 am

    Rivers,

    it is clear, by now, that it is simply impossible to make normal conversation with you, not only on your pet “logos as a name” theory, but even on anything surrounding it. Please don’t reply to this comment.

  60. Rivers
    January 1, 2015 @ 8:20 pm

    Mario,

    I don’t think your “three distinct moments” analysis of John 1 makes any difference in how the word LOGOS is interpreted in the context. Anyone could argue that it means nothing more than that LOGOS was referring to Jesus Christ himself in all the sections.

    There’s no reason to conclude that John didn’t know who Jesus was when he was “testifying about the light” (John 1:6-9). I don’t know where you would get the idea from the language there.

    I don’t know of any Bible translator who puts “parentheses” around John 1:15 so I have no idea where you are getting that from the text either. John 1:15 simply refers to the fact that John “testified” that “the word” (John 1:14) who was ‘the begotten son” (John 1:14) who was “coming after him” (John 1:15). This shows that “the word” (LOGOS) was that man of flesh that John introdoced to the disciples (John 1:34-51).

    I don’t know what you mean be “real time.” Presumably John the baptizer was dead when the writer described him in both John 1:6-15 and John 1:19-37. I think it’s more likely that the writer was simply reiterating in John 1:19-37 some of what he said about John and Jesus in the Prologue section.

  61. Mario
    January 1, 2015 @ 5:03 pm

    Rivers,

    you avoided to confront my logic and my premises. So I won’t bother with you bizarre “logos as a name” theory.

    Just few details.

    In John 1, John appears in three distinct (and separate) moments:

    John 1:6-9, which is a parenthetical anticipation on the role of John as “witness to the light”. John still didn’t know Jesus.

    John 1:15 is another parenthetical anticipation of John’s role as witness to Jesus. It is a revealing exhibition of your bias that you claim that John 1:14 would also refer to John’s role as witness.

    John the Baptist is spoken of in “real time” starting at John 1:19, through John 1:37

  62. John
    January 1, 2015 @ 4:48 pm

    Hi Mario
    Thanks for your reply.
    Not sure about your comments on relational identity
    Regarding points raised
    (i) Will have to think more about point (i)
    (ii) The conjoined twins argument. To me there are two consciousnesses which share a range common user facilities -( like two CPUs and a range of accessories – power supplies , scanners and printers etc.)
    Undoubtedly two souls and two identities
    (iii) looks like a person suffering from aa multiple personality disorder. Translated into the Trinity scenario it looks a lot like modalism to me !
    Someone once said that the Trinity was ‘perched’ between polytheism and modalism – how true!

    Blessings
    John

  63. Mario
    January 1, 2015 @ 4:14 pm

    David,

    “Is there any evidence the Jesus or the apostles used any concept of identity other than numerical?
    They certainly did not use relative identity, did they?”

    NO to the first, and NO, they didn’t to the second.

    “I agree there is a contradiction between the fully-fledged Trinity and numerical identity. The question is maybe whether the fully-fledged Trinity actually has any foundation in scripture.”

    I believe this is precisely what I wrote in my reply to John. 🙂

  64. David Kemball-Cook
    January 1, 2015 @ 4:05 pm

    Reply to Mario

    “First, I believe that NOT ONLY the full-fledged “trinity”, BUT ALSO the “diluted” version of Subordinationism have any foundation in the Scripture.
    Second, if one adopts absolute (or numerical) identity, I see no way of reconciling it with the full-fledged “trinity”.”

    Is there any evidence the Jesus or the apostles used any concept of identity other than numerical?
    They certainly did not use relative identity, did they?

    I agree there is a contradiction between the fully-fledged Trinity and numerical identity. The question is maybe whether the fully-fledged Trinity actually has any foundation in scripture.

  65. Rivers
    January 1, 2015 @ 3:08 pm

    Mario,

    Based upon the usage of the word LOGOS by the Johannine writer, it either means a “spoken” message or it refers to the “name” of the person of Jesus Christ himself (1 John 1:2; Revelation 19:13).

    In the context, of the Prologue, it seems that LOGOS is referring to a person that was “manifested to Israel” by John the baptizer (John 1:6-9; John 1:14-15; John 1:30-31). The LOGOS is also described as an audible and tangible person in 1 John 1:1-2 by the same writer (in an arguably parallel introduction to his first letter).

    Thus, I think the simplest explanation of the use of LOGOS in the Prologue is that it was a name given to Jesus Christ himself on account of the fact that the writer understood that he embodied (1 John 1:1-2; John 1:14) the message about eternal that he began to preach from the time of his baptism by John.

  66. Mario
    January 1, 2015 @ 12:54 pm

    John

    First, I believe that NOT ONLY the full-fledged “trinity”, BUT ALSO the “diluted” version of Subordinationism have any foundation in the Scripture.

    Second, if one adopts absolute (or numerical) identity, I see no way of reconciling it with the full-fledged “trinity”.

    Third, I also used to think that “relative identity” was little more than an amusing oxymoron. I don’t think so any more.

    I will not go into details. I will just propose three examples.

    1. An alto-relief of three mythological figures.
    2. Three conjoined twins, sharing one body, but with three separate heads.
    3. The purely hypothetical “trinity”, with three “persons” sharing the same “being”.

  67. Mario
    January 1, 2015 @ 11:40 am

    Rivers,

    this is what I wrote:

    “For instance, one does not need to assume that John has filched the logos from Philo, but it would be ignorance to … ignore that the Prologue to the Gospel of John was written in a cultural environment that was well aware of Philo’s doctrine of the logos.”

    This is your reply:

    “Jesus and the apostles used the term dozens of times in their own testimony and it always had one connotation (a “spoken” saying or message). Philo and the philosophers certainly never used it as a “name” for Jesus either (Revelation 19:13).”

    Now, there are a few instances of the use of the word logos (all Johannine – John 1:1,14; 1John 1:1) that cannot be easily reduced to “spoken saying or message”.

    Now, from where did you get the idea that, in those (few) instances, logos would be some sort of “name” (or epithet) attributed to Jesus by the apostles? It cannot be Revelation 19:13 because you had not even considered it, when we got started on this diatribe.

    So, how would your reading be “simple”?

  68. John
    January 1, 2015 @ 11:16 am

    All
    Perhaps someone can explain to me , who is relatively ‘simplistic’ in his outlook, how it is possible for trinitarians to postulate a theory of the Trinity which is ‘consistent ‘and within the realms of possibility, while at the same time being in line with the scriptures!
    In other words how would a ‘Relative Identity’ (trinitarian ) model work?

    For me, the idea of ‘numerical identity’ is the only thing that makes sense -yet some (particularly Roman Catholics) seem to cling to ‘relative identity’ thoughts as if they were a life-raft.

    Professor Baber just cannot excape from the ‘shackles’ of her Catholic upbringing -it seems.

    Blessings
    John

  69. Rivers
    January 1, 2015 @ 9:21 am

    Mario,

    Yes, I’m always striving to determine a “simple” reading of the the text because that is most likely to be the correct one. However, I’m not suggesting that my interpretations are always accurate. I’m doing the best I can today, and learning with the desire to do better tomorrow.

    With regard to your appeal to “the historical and philosophical background”, it’s essentially fallacious because there is no evidence that Jesus or the apostles depended upon anyone like Philo or the rabbis to derive their understanding of the gospel.

    For example, it doesn’t matter if there are 15 other definitions of LOGOS in a lexicon that incorporates several hundred years of extra-biblical usage when Jesus and the apostles used the term dozens of times in their own testimony and it always had one connotation (a “spoken” saying or message). Philo and the philosophers certainly never used it as a “name” for Jesus either (Revelation 19:13).

    Many biblical unitarians (e.g. Buzzard, Schoenheit) commit the fallacy of redefining LOGOS as something like “wisdom” or “plan” or “purpose” in the Prologue (based upon some of the extra-biblical uses) despite the fact that there is no internal evidence that the biblical writers understood it that way. They also don’t seem to take into account that biblical Greek had other words for “wisdom” and “plan” and “purpose” that the writers did use when they meant to convey those concepts.

  70. Mario
    January 1, 2015 @ 6:30 am

    Rivers

    [December 31, 2014 at 11:36 am]”We have to accept the fact that the 66 books were determined to be the most trustworthy during the canonization process (especially since the weight of the manuscript evidence follows from their popularity as well).”

    To be accurate, Dale was explicitly referring to the NT, the Canon of which, by the end on the 2nd century comprised 22 of 27 books.
    Hebrews, James, 1-2 Peter and 3John were not included. Curiously enough, the Muratorian Canon included an Apocalypse of Peter.

    But the real problem, as I have written to Dale, is that, in the NT, “there are quite a few controversial points, that the Catholic Church (and, to some extent, the other Christian Churches) has interpreted in a mandatory way.

    [December 31, 2014 at 12:35 pm]”From an exegetical and logical standpoint, the simplest reading of a text is more likely to be the correct one. Suggesting a complicated grammatical solution that is not required, or assuming a definition of a word that is not consistent with usage, is not a good way to derived an accurate interpretation.”

    Once again (this time without mocking), the weakness of your position is taking for granted that yours is “the simplest reading of a text”. Let me break it to you: it isn’t, once you have carefully factored in ALL the aspects, and in particular the historical and philosophical background. For instance, one does not need to assume that John has filched the logos from Philo, but it would be ignorance to … ignore that the Prologue to the Gospel of John was written in a cultural environment that was well aware of Philo’s doctrine of the logos.

  71. Dale
    December 31, 2014 @ 3:12 pm

    “rather amusing piece of projection”

    Mario, please watch your manners. There’s no need to mock.

  72. Rivers
    December 31, 2014 @ 12:35 pm

    Mario,

    My point wasn’t to give a “self-apology” at all.

    From an exegetical and logical standpoint, the simplest reading of a text is more likely to be the correct one. Suggesting a complicated grammatical solution that is not required, or assuming a definition of a word that is not consistent with usage, is not a good way to derived an accurate interpretation.

  73. Rivers
    December 31, 2014 @ 11:36 am

    Mario,

    The fact is … regardless of the imperfect process of transmission and compilation … the biblical canon is what we have to work with. It is the only historical record of the teachings of Jesus and the apostles that apparently originated from the testimony of eyewitnesses. We have to accept the fact that the 66 books were determined to be the most trustworthy during the canonization process (especially since the weight of the manuscript evidence follows from their popularity as well).

  74. Mario
    December 31, 2014 @ 11:32 am

    I don’t understand why many folks endeavor to give a complicated explanation of any biblical text when we know that Jesus and the apostles were communicating back and forth with ordinary people in the common language of the day.

    LOL! This is a rather amusing piece of projection, and, of course, of self-apology. Something like: “I am NOT one of those ‘many folks [who] endeavor to give a complicated explanation of any biblical text'”. 🙂 😉

  75. Mario
    December 31, 2014 @ 11:24 am

    Dale

    aw c’mon. You (should) know that the NT wouldn’t even exist, if, in the first centuries, there wasn’t a Church that (through a lengthy, laborious an sometimes conflicted process) hadn’t collected, selected the books that now comprise the NT, and, in so doing, rejected many other books, which we now know as the “apocrypha”.

    Besides, if it was true that “[t]hose books where … understandable by all, in their key points”, our arguments here would be easily settled once an for all.

    In fact, there are quite a few controversial points, that the Catholic Church (and, to some extent, the other Christian Churches) has interpreted in a mandatory way.

    It’ not the NT, it’s the dogma, Dale (;

  76. Rivers
    December 31, 2014 @ 10:23 am

    Dale,

    You said … “I guess I think that all Christians have a duty to study apostolic tradition as enshrined in the NT, and to understand it as best they can. It’s not to be left to the pros. Those books where plainly meant for all, and I think are understandable by all, in their key points.”

    I agree. I don’t understand why many folks endeavor to give a complicated explanation of any biblical text when we know that Jesus and the apostles were communicating back and forth with ordinary people in the common language of the day.

  77. Dale
    December 31, 2014 @ 10:16 am

    Personally, I enjoy her sense of humor and her bold personality. Why so critical, Mario?

    Could she have said more about the Trinity per se? Yes. But as she said, she was mainly making a point in criticism of Rea. We philosophers like to hone in on a fine point like this. We like to get it right on a fine point, even at the expense (or delay) of the Big Picture.

    As a philosopher, I don’t have any sympathy with relative identity; I never saw a problem which I thought it solved or even illuminated. And I don’t think it works here with the Trinity. Dr. Baber thinks it may be the best way to construe the doctrines as enshrined in current catholic practice. (She’s not concerned with historical orthodoxy or with the Bible per se.) In contrast, Dr. van Inwagen is just taking an apologetic stance – that “the” doctrine, as exemplified by the “Athanasian” creed, can be demonstrated to be inconsistent with itself. (Because we can’t rule out that it’s to be understood as involving only relative identity claims, which he has rigorously proved formally self-consistent.)

    The point of the whole thing which I most disagree with, though, is where Dr. van Inwagen said that he’s not a theologian – this to absolve himself – or maybe all non-theologians – from taking a positive stand on the issues regarding God, Jesus, and the Trinity (or trinity). I guess I think that all Christians have a duty to study apostolic tradition as enshrined in the NT, and to understand it as best they can. It’s not to be left to the pros. Those books where plainly meant for all, and I think are understandable by all, in their key points.

  78. Mario
    December 31, 2014 @ 9:39 am

    The core of Harriet Baber’s presentation is the “proving wrong” of Rea’s P, viz. the claim that his “Generality and Dominance Principle” is wrong. Now, apart from the fact that Baber’s “demonstration” is rather fuzzy (see, for instance, the introduction of z in her (8) F dominates G [28′ 02″] and the sloppy “y or other” in her “demonstration” [28′ 30″]), she doesn’t even bother to conclude with the obvious, viz. how that would apply to the notion of “Trinity” not being inconsistent. Instead of a proper check, all she can do, is to conclude her presentation with the (most unscholarly) yelp, “God wins”, of course accompanied by the (most ludicrous) image of God in the Sistine Chapel, where God wears a glove inscribed with “WE’RE I”.

    If I were Peter van Invagen, I would be … most embarrassed 🙁