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Thread: My brief (and polemical) thought about Christianity...

  1. #71
    Professor Cerebrum123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    William Lane Craig used to use the analogy of Cerberus, the three-headed hellhound of Greek mythology to help get the idea across of 3 persons in one being which I found helpful, but has since put it to the side,

    Source: https://www.reasonablefaith.org/media/reasonable-faith-podcast/is-there-a-good-analogy-for-the-trinity/

    I don't like to use analogies like the triple point of water, or water being steam and ice and liquid, these sorts of things. I just see no reason to think that there should be anything truly analogous to the Trinity. Rather in Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview what I am doing is trying to make sense out of the doctrine of the Trinity that the notion that there are three persons who are not three beings, but are one being. And what I look at is this illustration of Cerberus, which was this three-headed dog guarding the gates of Hades in Greek mythology, and I press this and adapt it and adjust it in certain ways to try to see if we can make sense of the idea of three persons which are nevertheless one being rather than three beings. And in the end I reject the analogy of Cerberus. I say it doesn't go far enough because even if we adjust the Cerberus story so that we now have not three canine minds, which are one dog, but we invest them with self-consciousness so that we actually have three persons which are one dog, which seems now getting very much closer to the idea of the Trinity, still, the difficulty is when Cerberus dies, when his body dies, it would seem that you have three separate persons three souls or whatever, three minds that wouldn't be one being. So ultimately Cerberus, though it gets you some direction toward the Trinity, it ultimately falls short. And so what I finally propose is that we need to think of God as a soul, an unembodied mind, endowed with three sets of rational faculties each of which is sufficient for personhood. And that will get you a doctrine of three persons in one being.

    Now in the Florida Veritas Forum I think I spoke too quickly in saying this is an analogy of the Trinity. Certainly there are analogous elements in the Cerberus story, but it's not a complete and finally satisfactory analogy for the Trinity, as I explain in Philosophical Foundations. The good thing about the illustration, though, is it does help to get us thinking about how can you have a tri-personal being? That's the question that unitarians and other skeptics of the Trinity would pose for us trinitarians. What sense can you make of a tri-personal being? And I think the Cerberus story can help us to make some advance in understanding that if we invest these three canine minds with self-consciousness and hence personhood. And then we do see here we seem to have a tri-personal dog, a tri-personal entity.

    The reason I feel uncomfortable with the Cerberus story is not because it isn't helpful in understanding the question of how you can have a tri-personal entity.[2] But rather because people who are unsympathetic to the doctrine of the Trinity, who are just looking for something to criticize or to mock, will find it disrespectful and unhelpful to compare God to a dog. And that is obviously something that makes one very uncomfortable.

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    I personally like the analogy of Marvel's The Living Tribunal (being a Norrin Radd fan, you obviously know something about that), but ultimately all analogies fail for one reason or another.

    Is the Living Tribunal kind of like Alien X in the Ben 10 Alien Force series? I remember the Living Tribunal being mentioned in the Secret Wars comics, but they didn't explain much about it.


  2. #72
    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerebrum123 View Post
    Is the Living Tribunal kind of like Alien X in the Ben 10 Alien Force series? I remember the Living Tribunal being mentioned in the Secret Wars comics, but they didn't explain much about it.

    I'm not certain. I never watched Ben 10. The Living Tribunal is an extremely powerful cosmic being in the Marvel universe (likely the most powerful outside of The One Above All) whose duty it is to safe guard the universe and keep things in order. I think. He doesn't really show up very often in the comics (at least, not when I was reading them). He has three faces representing different aspects of judgement: equity, just vengeance, and necessity, and they all must agree before the Tribunal passes judgement on someone or something. Again, analogies to the Trinity always break down, but yeah.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    I'm not certain. I never watched Ben 10. The Living Tribunal is an extremely powerful cosmic being in the Marvel universe (likely the most powerful outside of The One Above All) whose duty it is to safe guard the universe and keep things in order. I think. He doesn't really show up very often in the comics (at least, not when I was reading them). He has three faces representing different aspects of judgement: equity, just vengeance, and necessity, and they all must agree before the Tribunal passes judgement on someone or something. Again, analogies to the Trinity always break down, but yeah.
    Kind of similar, the Alien X has three internal faces that represent various aspects(reason, aggression, compassion IIRC), and they have to agree to do anything. There are however more than one Alien X. It was one of the more interesting parallels I have seen, even though it does break down pretty quick as an analogy. I think it was either inspired by Living Tribunal, or very loosely by the Trinity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrawnus View Post
    I agree that the Trinity is something beyond human understanding. I very much disagree that it is "like the concept of a square circle" however, i.e that it is logically contradictory. I have yet to see one single argument that has been able to demonstrate a logical contradiction in the orthodox conception of the Trinity.
    It is logically contradictory because it is has, as we would say, mutually excluding attributes. That prevents us from having a clear idea of what it is.

  6. #75
    tWebber Christianbookworm's Avatar
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    One God, three persons not three gods or one person and three persons
    So, one What and three whos. No reason a being outside of our space time continuum should have the same psychology as a human. There's a buch of terrible analogies though.
    If it weren't for the Resurrection of Jesus, we'd all be in DEEP TROUBLE!

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    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    You know what might be really helpful to you (and was helpful for me having come out of a cult that was anti-Trinity), you might want to check out William Lane Craig's Defender's class on the Trinity.

    https://www.reasonablefaith.org/podc...f-god-trinity/

    He goes into quite a bit of depth about the topic, and makes it easy to follow and understand.

  8. #77
    Professor and Chaplain Littlejoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    Who was it that had that "treaty" analogy for the trinity? I thought that was a very good one.
    That was me.
    "What has the Church gained if it is popular, but there is no conviction, no repentance, no power?" - A.W. Tozer

    "... there are two parties in Washington, the stupid party and the evil party, who occasionally get together and do something both stupid and evil, and this is called bipartisanship." - Everett Dirksen

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  10. #78
    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Littlejoe View Post
    That was me.
    I called it!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    Who was it that had that "treaty" analogy for the trinity? I thought that was a very good one.
    That would be ME!

    Quote Originally Posted by Littlejoe View Post
    Let's suppose that there is a treaty drawn up between the US and Germany. How many treaties are executed? The answer is three: A treaty executed in English, a treaty executed in German, and a treaty executed in French (which of course is the language of the UN). Every one of the these three treaties is fully the treaty, they are not just copies of the treaty. The English Treaty is fully and actually the treaty apart from and separate from the other two. The French version is fully and actually the treaty...again apart from and separate from the others. At the same time, the German Treaty is also fully and separately the actual treaty. Yet, there is no question that the treaties are different as one is in English, one in French and one in German. So, you have one "Thing", the treaty between the US and Germany can be made up of three "Things" (the English, German and French treaty) where each of them is fully the "Thing" (the treaty) but each of the 3 things are distinct from each other.

    There you have it, three things that are one thing.
    Every problem is the result of a previous solution.

  11. Amen Littlejoe amen'd this post.
  12. #79
    tWebber NorrinRadd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    William Lane Craig used to use the analogy of Cerberus, the three-headed hellhound of Greek mythology to help get the idea across of 3 persons in one being which I found helpful, but has since put it to the side,

    Source: https://www.reasonablefaith.org/media/reasonable-faith-podcast/is-there-a-good-analogy-for-the-trinity/

    I don't like to use analogies like the triple point of water, or water being steam and ice and liquid, these sorts of things. I just see no reason to think that there should be anything truly analogous to the Trinity. Rather in Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview what I am doing is trying to make sense out of the doctrine of the Trinity that the notion that there are three persons who are not three beings, but are one being. And what I look at is this illustration of Cerberus, which was this three-headed dog guarding the gates of Hades in Greek mythology, and I press this and adapt it and adjust it in certain ways to try to see if we can make sense of the idea of three persons which are nevertheless one being rather than three beings. And in the end I reject the analogy of Cerberus. I say it doesn't go far enough because even if we adjust the Cerberus story so that we now have not three canine minds, which are one dog, but we invest them with self-consciousness so that we actually have three persons which are one dog, which seems now getting very much closer to the idea of the Trinity, still, the difficulty is when Cerberus dies, when his body dies, it would seem that you have three separate persons three souls or whatever, three minds that wouldn't be one being. So ultimately Cerberus, though it gets you some direction toward the Trinity, it ultimately falls short. And so what I finally propose is that we need to think of God as a soul, an unembodied mind, endowed with three sets of rational faculties each of which is sufficient for personhood. And that will get you a doctrine of three persons in one being.

    Now in the Florida Veritas Forum I think I spoke too quickly in saying this is an analogy of the Trinity. Certainly there are analogous elements in the Cerberus story, but it's not a complete and finally satisfactory analogy for the Trinity, as I explain in Philosophical Foundations. The good thing about the illustration, though, is it does help to get us thinking about how can you have a tri-personal being? That's the question that unitarians and other skeptics of the Trinity would pose for us trinitarians. What sense can you make of a tri-personal being? And I think the Cerberus story can help us to make some advance in understanding that if we invest these three canine minds with self-consciousness and hence personhood. And then we do see here we seem to have a tri-personal dog, a tri-personal entity.

    The reason I feel uncomfortable with the Cerberus story is not because it isn't helpful in understanding the question of how you can have a tri-personal entity.[2] But rather because people who are unsympathetic to the doctrine of the Trinity, who are just looking for something to criticize or to mock, will find it disrespectful and unhelpful to compare God to a dog. And that is obviously something that makes one very uncomfortable.

    © Copyright Original Source



    I personally like the analogy of Marvel's The Living Tribunal (being a Norrin Radd fan, you obviously know something about that), but ultimately all analogies fail for one reason or another.

    I quit collecting comics around 1987 or so. I don't know that I ever read a story in which the Living Tribunal appeared, but I do recall seeing him(?) in the original version of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. There the being's heads floated above its body. I just took a quick glance at the entry. There are references to other cosmic beings apparently associated with the Tribunal, but distinct from it -- Lord Chaos, Lord Order, and the In-Betweener; I mainly recall the In-Betweener. None of this even mentions Eternity, which for a while seemed to be the Marvel equivalent of "God."
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  13. #80
    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorrinRadd View Post
    I quit collecting comics around 1987 or so. I don't know that I ever read a story in which the Living Tribunal appeared, but I do recall seeing him(?) in the original version of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. There the being's heads floated above its body. I just took a quick glance at the entry. There are references to other cosmic beings apparently associated with the Tribunal, but distinct from it -- Lord Chaos, Lord Order, and the In-Betweener; I mainly recall the In-Betweener. None of this even mentions Eternity, which for a while seemed to be the Marvel equivalent of "God."
    Huh. I figured that the Silver Surfer had interacted with the Living Tribunal a few times before that, but maybe not. Maybe he was more a Dr. Strange type character. Lord Chaos and Lord Order, Death, Eternity, The Living Tribunal, and few others are all cosmic beings, so yeah, in that sense they're all associated, and when you see one you usually see the other. I believe that The Living Tribunal is supposed to be more powerful and greater in hierarchy than Eternity, but I'm not sure by how much, or if it's even relevant when it comes to cosmic powers that powerful in the Marvel Universe. The Marvel equivalent of "God" is the One-Above-All; Sometimes represented as the writer or artist at Marvel (I think it was once asserted that Jack Kirby was the One-Above-All). I stopped collecting seriously by the early/mid-90s, so there might be someone greater that I haven't heard of yet.

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