So we’re done with ch.14. Now on to ch.15. Here’s a paraphrase of his argument:
- With divine persons, the perfection of one requires another, and so the perfection of a pair requires union with a third. Each such person is perfectly benevolent and so shares his perfection with the other. But if each is perfectly benevolent, then each with equal desire and for a similar reason seeks a sharer of his joy. Why?
- Well, if two such persons mutually supremely love each other, the love each has for the other includes supreme joy. If only the one is loved by the other, only the one has such joy. And if the second doesn’t have one who shares in love for a third (condilectus), the second lacks the sharing of joy. (We must wait until ch.19 for Richard to spell out more fully the idea of condilectus.) So that each may share such joy, each must share in love for a third.
- So if those who mutually love each other have perfect benevolence and so they desire that each perfection they have is shared, then it must be that each with equal desire and for a similar reason has a third with whom to share love.
Re 1. This is our conclusion: if there are at least two, there are at least three divine persons.
Re 2. The basic idea is this. The Father and the Son are perfect and perfectly love each other. Naturally, they take perfect delight in such love. The Father enjoys the love the Son has for him and the joy this brings. And so does the Son: the Son enjoys the love the Father has for him and the joy this brings. So each, being perfectly good, wants to share such love with another. The Father wants to share the love the Son has for him and the joy this brings with another. And the Son wants to share the love the Father has for him and the joy this brings with another. So each seeks out a third (the Spirit), one who is also loved by the Son and one who is also loved by the Father and also takes delight in such. To evaluate Richard’s argument here, we must consider what the mark of perfection is here. If perfection involves sharing and a perfect being is loved by another perfect being, will the first also share the perfection of being loved by the second? Richard apparently coins the term ‘condilectus’. We will meet this term again in ch.19.
Re 3. This is a summary of points made already.
In ch.16, there will be a change of gear. There he will go back to the start and work his way up to the claim that if at least one, then there are at least three divine persons. In ch.16 he claims that supreme power and knowledge can exist in a single person. In ch.17 he claims that supreme happiness can’t exist in fewer than two persons. And then in chs.18 and 19 he claims that supreme goodness and shared love can’t exist in fewer than three persons.