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Thread: Does the Trinity constitute three separate consciousnesses?

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    Undergraduate Physiocrat's Avatar
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    Does the Trinity constitute three separate consciousnesses?

    My understanding of Classical Theism is that the only distinction in the Trinity is that of procession. The Son proceeds from the Father and the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. And that is that. It seems to me far more plausible for there to be be three separate consciousnesses and not just procession as it would make far more sense on the incarnation for one thing.

    Are there any problems with such a view? I understand the philosophical objections from those who argue that God must be simple otherwise he couldn't be the first cause etc but is there any particular Biblical issues or are they inextricably linked to the philosophical objections to there being three separate consciousnesses?

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    tWebber NorrinRadd's Avatar
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    I thought the definition was "One God comprising three distinct persons."

    I don't see how there can NOT be three "consciousnesses" without rendering Scripture incomprehensible.
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  3. Amen Obsidian, Chrawnus amen'd this post.
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    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Physiocrat View Post
    My understanding of Classical Theism is that the only distinction in the Trinity is that of procession. The Son proceeds from the Father and the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. And that is that. It seems to me far more plausible for there to be be three separate consciousnesses and not just procession as it would make far more sense on the incarnation for one thing.

    Are there any problems with such a view? I understand the philosophical objections from those who argue that God must be simple otherwise he couldn't be the first cause etc but is there any particular Biblical issues or are they inextricably linked to the philosophical objections to there being three separate consciousnesses?
    Just one comment: I would consider the Trinity as Classical 'Christian Theism,' and not Classical Theism.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Physiocrat View Post
    My understanding of Classical Theism is that the only distinction in the Trinity is that of procession. The Son proceeds from the Father and the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.
    This is incorrect. The Son is begotten from the Father and the Spirit proceeds from the Father (in the West, from the Father and the Son, but that's not the classic formulation).
    And that is that. It seems to me far more plausible for there to be be three separate consciousnesses and not just procession as it would make far more sense on the incarnation for one thing.

    Are there any problems with such a view? I understand the philosophical objections from those who argue that God must be simple otherwise he couldn't be the first cause etc but is there any particular Biblical issues or are they inextricably linked to the philosophical objections to there being three separate consciousnesses?
    I'm not quite sure what you intend by 'consciousnesses'. Your view, on the surface, appears to be perilously close to tritheism. Classically, God is three hypostases in one Being. Three Persons, but one will.
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  6. Amen Teallaura, Jedidiah, JohnHermes amen'd this post.
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    Undergraduate Physiocrat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    This is incorrect. The Son is begotten from the Father and the Spirit proceeds from the Father (in the West, from the Father and the Son, but that's not the classic formulation).

    I'm not quite sure what you intend by 'consciousnesses'. Your view, on the surface, appears to be perilously close to tritheism. Classically, God is three hypostases in one Being. Three Persons, but one will.
    The formulation I provided was from a theologian in a Thomistic Institute lecture. As to what the appropriate "classical theistic" view is to a large extent redundant for the issues I wish to explore.

    With respect to consciousness I mean each member of the Trinity has their own internal experiences that the others do not have. I'd also say they have three wills but that the wills are united (they agree as it were)

    What are the problems of this position apart from arguing it is tritheism? The accusation of tritheism depends on what concept of God you are using. I think it is philosophically defensible and doesn't violate the way scripture discusses God.

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    Undergraduate Physiocrat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shunyadragon View Post
    Just one comment: I would consider the Trinity as Classical 'Christian Theism,' and not Classical Theism.
    Fair enough. I was using Classical Theism mainly to denote Divine Simplicity which is common to Aristotle and Islam at least.

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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shunyadragon View Post
    Just one comment: I would consider the Trinity as Classical 'Christian Theism,' and not Classical Theism.
    Shuny, might I kindly point out that this forum is "theist only"?

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  10. Amen Teallaura amen'd this post.
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    As to the question of the thread title,
    Quote Originally Posted by Physiocrat View Post
    Does the Trinity constitute three separate consciousnesses?
    Yes.
    But the error is not in the concept of the Trinity but in trying to explain the explanation. The Trinity is the explanation.
    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    This is incorrect. The Son is begotten from the Father . . . [Nicene Creed]
    Now this concept is extra Biblical and it is a foundation of the error of Arianism, the creed being written in refutation of that error needs to add the words "not made" which it does. [Over this issue and one other (John 1:2), I am considered unorthodox here on Tweb.] I hold the three Persons are the one and the same God, which is orthodox.
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    tWebber Obsidian's Avatar
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    Yes, it is three consciousnesses.

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    tWebber Chrawnus's Avatar
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    I don't see how there could be anything but three consciousnesses(sp?) without making nonsense of the concept of personhood.

  14. Amen Cerebrum123, Obsidian, NorrinRadd amen'd this post.

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