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.

12 Comments

  1. James Goetz
    April 27, 2013 @ 8:35 pm

    Hi Dale,

    Dale said:
    “Probably the assumption, though, is that the Logos was generated, and so began to exist as a self alongside God at some finite time ago, but before the creation of the heavens and the earth.”

    My Reply:
    You established clear evidence of two-stage Logos theology for various pre-Nicene fathers. I buy that hook, line, and sinker. But in the case of Irenaeus, you have not provided strong evidence that he taught two-stage Logos theology.

  2. villanovanus
    March 3, 2013 @ 2:58 pm

    @ Dale [#10, March 3, 2013 at 7:31 am]

    [a] I note that you’ve switched from asserting Origen to be a trinitarian, to asserting that he’s neither trinitarian nor unitarian.

    [b] About Irenaeus, you are right that he commits to divine simplicity. This creates further problems, which I didn’t want to get into.

    [c] I do think that John 1:14 is true, rightly understood.

    [a] It is you, not I, who insists on proposing a simplistic, nay false dilemma, but, as you insist, then I will repeat that Origen’s understanding of the Godhead, that he explicitly and repeatedly calls Trinity, consisting of three hierarchically subordinated hypostases, is far closer to “trinitarianism” (even in the eventual, restricted, Constantinopolitan sense of “co-equal, co-eternal”) than it is to “unitarianism”.

    [b] Pity, because Irenaeus’ position, whereby God’s Logos and Pneuma are NOT two distinct hypostases (although there are some inconsistencies and oscillations in his texts), BUT God’s “hands”, is, IMO, the ONLY possible way to reconcile Jewish Monotheism with Christian Monotheism, and even (in spite of further aporimes) with Muslim Monotheism.

    [c] And what, pray tell, is, according to you, the “right understanding” of John 1:14?

    MdS

  3. Dale
    March 3, 2013 @ 7:31 am

    I note that you’ve switched from asserting Origen to be a trinitarian, to asserting that he’s neither trinitarian nor unitarian.

    About Irenaeus, you are right that he commits to divine simplicity. This creates further problems, which I didn’t want to get into.

    I do think that John 1:14 is true, rightly understood.

  4. villanovanus
    March 3, 2013 @ 4:22 am

    So, you be the judge:

    The Son and Father and Spirit as equally divine persons, none greater than any other, and “persons” within a tri-personal deity? (trinitarian)
    Or: the Father as greater than, because the source of (eternally, or in time) the Son and Spirit, but the one true God and Creator (in the ultimate sense) is the Father alone. (unitarian)

    Once again, Dale is trying to force upon us his false dilemmaIt is simply a JOKE that Origen’s “trinity” (that he explicitly and repeatedly calls … Trinity), consisting of three (hierarchically subordinated) hypostases would be “unitarian”.

    MdS

  5. villanovanus
    March 3, 2013 @ 4:13 am

    @ Dale [#4, March 2, 2013 at 4:52 pm]

    An attribute is not a part. An attribute is like: my weight, your height, being green, having an IQ of 120, etc. An arm or a sperm is a thing, not an attribute. Attributes only exist *in* things. The size of a sperm would be an attribute of it. A zygote (fertilized egg) seems to be a thing, not an attribute of anything.

    Your comment is affected by overzealous philosophical fussiness. Try to see it this way: it is NOT your arm (or your lucky sperm), per se, that is an attribute, BUT, your having an arm (or fertile sperms) that is an (essential) attribute. This is, of course, a poor analogy for what happens with God, because a man is still a man even if, accidentally (and for whatever reason), he is without an arm or without sperm, whereas God, being by definition perfect, is all He is, and has all He has essentially: so having Logos (and having Pneuma) are (the) two essential attributes of God: His arms (or hands), to use the mysterious metaphor at Deut 33:27, made clear by the dabar and ruwach at Psalm 33:6.

    These fellows [two-stage theorists about the Logos] are thinking of the Logos as God’s reason or intelligence (at stage 1, earlier). Then, it becomes a substance/entity in its own right, a mighty self (the pre-human Jesus). Nonsense.

    Really? Is what we read in the Scripture, kai ho logos sarx egeneto (“And the Word became flesh” – John 1:14) “nonsense”? Or “mere metaphor”? Would the metaphor be incompatible with the fact of the incarnation? What?

    MdS

  6. Abel
    March 3, 2013 @ 12:54 am

    Chad,
    You are quite right.
    Irenaeus would have been forced to fit in ‘with the pack’ or face some horrible fate.!
    Recant or burn!
    Best
    Abel

  7. Mark
    March 2, 2013 @ 10:22 pm

    Dale,

    You conclusion is very accurate, if you really like to call the Fathers unitarians, you can, as long as you explain well what do you mean by that.

    BTW, is Augustianian trinitarianism also Unitarian, as there is only one object, the person is not real, nor even exist but being the mode of the one thing. Their God is not Father, nor Son nor HS, but the one simple essence which manifest itself in three modes.

  8. Chad
    March 2, 2013 @ 6:06 pm

    Let’s consider another quote from St. Irenaeus:

    2. Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere. (Against Heresies, Book 3, Chapter 3)

    So, maybe Irenaeus had the wrong view then, but we know what view he would hold now since we know what the Church of Rome teaches. 🙂

  9. Dale
    March 2, 2013 @ 4:52 pm

    An attribute is not a part. An attribute is like: my weight, your height, being green, having an IQ of 120, etc. An arm or a sperm is a thing, not an attribute. Attributes only exist *in* things. The size of a sperm would be an attribute of it. A zygote (fertilized egg) seems to be a thing, not an attribute of anything.

    These fellows are thinking of the Logos as God’s reason or intelligence (at stage 1, earlier). Then, it becomes a substance/entity in its own right, a mighty self (the pre-human Jesus). Nonsense.

  10. villanovanus
    March 2, 2013 @ 2:29 pm

    @ Dale [#2, March 2, 2013 at 1:32 pm]

    Perhaps a little terminology check is necessary, here.

    Instead of (immaterial) God and His Logos, consider yourself and one of your arms, or even, say, your sperm(s).

    Question: according to your terminology, are you a substance? Is your arm a substance or an attribute of yours? Is your sperm (say, a successful one, before it turns into a baby) a substance or an attribute of yours?

    MdS

  11. Dale
    March 2, 2013 @ 1:32 pm

    It seems impossible that either at the same time, or at two differing times, anything should be both a substance and an attribute of some other substance.

    This would leave them believing something which there is, I claim, strong reason to believe to be false.

  12. villanovanus
    March 2, 2013 @ 1:03 pm

    [1.] … for them [Justin, Tatian, and Athanagoras], the Logos existed from all eternity as an attribute of God, and was only at a certain time, just before or at the time of God’s creation, expressed, so as to exist as another alongside God (cf. Proverbs 8), by means of whom God created the cosmos.

    [2.] The idea, though, that this agent used to be an attribute of the Father is evident nonsense.

    [3.] In sum, at most, the Logos, the pre-existent Son, is “eternal” in that he always existed as an attribute of God, the Father.

    I have read your link from [2.]. Care to explain, also in view of [1.] and [3.], what exactly would be “evident nonsense”, and where would it leave all the Church Fathers who shared in this “evident nonsense”?

    Thanks,

    MdS