"Not three Gods; but one" - why reductionism doesn't serve our theological discourse

Lawson, F. (2018) "Not three Gods; but one" - why reductionism doesn't serve our theological discourse. Athens Journal of Humanities & Arts.

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Abstract

The triune nature of God is one of the most complex doctrines of Christianity, and its complexity is further compounded when one considers the incarnation. However, many of the difficulties and paradoxes associated with our idea of the divine arise from our adherence to reductionist ontology. I will argue that in order to move our theological discourse forward, in respect to divine and human nature, a holistic interpretation of our profession of faith is necessary. The challenge of a holistic interpretation is that it questions our ability to make any statement about the genuine, ontological individuation of persons (both divine and human), and in doing so raises the issue of whether we are, ontologically, bound to descend in to a form of pan(en)theism. In order to address the “inevitable” slide in to pan(en)theism I will examine the impact of two forms of holistic interpretation, Boolean and Non-Boolean, on our concept of personhood. Whilst a Boolean interpretation allows for a greater understanding of the relational nature of the Trinity, it is the Non-Boolean interpretation which has greater ontological significance. A Non-Boolean ontology, grounded in our scientific understanding of the nature of the world, shows our quest for individuation rests not in ontological fact but in epistemic need, and that it is our limited epistemology that drives our need to divide that which is ontologically indivisible. Whilst this ontological shift may be necessary, it raises questions about how divine-human relations are to be understood, and I conclude by examining some possible solutions.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Open Access Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Holism; ontology; individuation; Trinitarian relations
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BT Doctrinal Theology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BT Doctrinal Theology > BT0010 Doctrinal Theology (General) > BT0098 God > BT0109 Doctrine of the Trinity
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BT Doctrinal Theology > BT0010 Doctrinal Theology (General) > BT0198 Christology
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Humanities
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Finley Lawson
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2018 10:49
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2018 12:30
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/17876

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00