Point of contact:
Mohamad Mostafa Nassar
Written by Br. مدثر إسماعيل إبن دانيال
P1 The Father is God
P2 The Son is God
P3 The Holy Spirit is God
P4 The Father is not the Son
P5 The Father is not the Holy Spirit
P6 The Son is not the Holy Spirit
P7 There is exactly one God
𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 𝟕 𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐦𝐢𝐬𝐞𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐦 𝐚𝐧 𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐬𝐞𝐭—𝐢𝐧 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐬, 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐜𝐚𝐧𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐛𝐞 𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐞.
What exactly is the problem? The basic problem is Tritheism.
If the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are God, and not each other, it logically follows that there are 3 gods.
This then calls into question how the statements are to be analysed.
The key distinction is over the phrase “is God” in premises 1 to 3.
If “is God” is taken to be an “ ‘is’ of identity”, then by classical identity,
the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit would be identical to each other, which would entail Modalism.
Modalism is a heresy. That’s something Christians will want to avoid.
Maybe it’s an ‘is’ of relative identity?
This would mean that 2 things (Father and Son)
could be identical (to God) and yet not identical (to each other).
This violates classical identity—and most people are reluctant to do so.
What about analysing “is God” in terms of predication?
Well, if each person is ascribed the quality of divinity & they are not each other—then we are back to 3 gods.
No matter how similar they are in terms of their attributes, will, actions, etc.
𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐦𝐚𝐲 𝐛𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐨𝐩𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧.
Maybe each person “is God” in the sense that they are “parts” of God.
This is William Lane Craig’s solution in an attempt to avoid Tritheism.
However, this is clearly unorthodox Partialism, as none of the persons is said to possess the divine nature.
What if all 7 premises are true, and we accept that true contradictions exist?
This has recently been proposed by J.C. Beall, but involves denying the Law of Non-Contradiction,
which most people will be reluctant to do—
most people will not be likely to reject the Law of Non-Contradiction or the Law of Identity.
Maybe the 7 premises are all true and they are only apparently contradictory, but not actually contradictory.
Even if we cannot tell you how or why they aren’t contradictory.
This is a form of Mysterianism, which has been proposed by James Anderson.
This isn’t technically a “solution” to the Logical Problem of the Trinity from the Classical paradigm.
Rather, it is questioning whether or not a solution is required from an epistemological standpoint—
“are mysteries acceptable in theology, and if so, when?”—
How do we determine when something is actually contradictory vs. merely apparently contradictory?
𝐐𝐮𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐫.
𝐒𝐨, 𝐠𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐟 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐋𝐨𝐠𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐏𝐫𝐨𝐛𝐥𝐞𝐦 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐓𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐩𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐞𝐬, 𝐰𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐥𝐞𝐟𝐭 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡:
2) Denying Classical Identity with respect to this problem (‘is’ of identity option)
3) Tritheism or Partialism (‘is’ of predication option)
4) Denying the Law of Non-Contradiction
5) Affirming a form of Mysterianism
and arguing that the Logical Problem of the Trinity may be unsolvable,
but Christians are still justified in affirming the doctrine of the Trinity.
Admittedly, this is a brief sketch of the complexities of the problem
and its various solutions proposed, but I hope you find this somewhat beneficial.
I, myself, am not satisfied with any of the above for reasons already stated.
This problem has been around since the 4th century CE, when the doctrine was authoritatively established.
𝐓𝐚𝐤𝐞, 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐞𝐱𝐚𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐞, 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐨𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐬𝐞𝐭𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐦𝐢𝐬𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐜𝐜𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐥𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐝𝐢𝐠𝐦:
P1 Adam is a Human
P2 The Author is a Human
P3 The Reader is Human
P4 Adam is not the Author
P5 Adam is not the Reader
P6 The Author is not the Reader
P7 There are exactly 3 Humans
𝐑𝐞𝐠𝐚𝐫𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐞𝐯𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐓𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐲, 𝐞𝐢𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫:
I) we can know what the true belief is
ii) we can’t know what the true belief is (it is rationally unknowable)
if I, either:
I.I) we can know the true belief is not a contradiction
I.ii) we can know the true belief is a true contradiction
(denying Laws of Non-Contradiction & Identity)
if I.I, either:
I.I.I) we know the belief is a statement of Predication
I.I.II) we know the belief is a statement of Identity
if I.I.I, either:
I.I.I.I) the belief is classical Predication
I.I.I.ii) the belief is non-classical Predication (special-pleading numerical identity — Social-Trinitarianism [1+1+1=1])
if I.I.I.I, either:
I.I.I.I.i) the predication subsists within some other essence (the belief is Partialism [⅓+⅓+⅓=1])
I.I.I.I.ii) the predication does not subsist within some other essence (the belief is Tritheism [1+1+1=3])
if I.I.II, either:
I.I.II.i) the belief is modes of Identity, mutually equative Predication
(the belief is Modalism [1|2|3=1])
I.I.II.ii) the belief special-pleads/denies the Law of Identity (Relative Identity Trinitarianism)
In light of the Classical Laws of Logic, because of what the Trinity has historically claimed,
leading to the Logical Problem of the Trinity, we are left with the “options” of:
1) ( ii, I.ii) Some type of Mysterianism, or
2) ( I.I.I.ii, I.I.II.ii) what isn’t a solution at all, nor acceptable to classical logic, or
3) (I.I.I.I.i, I.I.I.I.ii, I.I.II.i) heresies that are against the Doctrine of the Trinity.
I don’t think new solutions are coming.
𝐏𝐫𝐨𝐩𝐡𝐞𝐭 𝐉𝐞𝐬𝐮𝐬 𝐒𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐲 𝐍𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐚𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐓𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐥𝐥.
May Allah guide us all.
Source: Br. مدثر إسماعيل إبن دانيال
Allah Knows Best.