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

Journal article


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

KeywordsHolism; ontology; individuation; Trinitarian relations
Year2018
JournalAthens Journal of Humanities & Arts
PublisherATINER
Official URLhttps://www.athensjournals.gr/humanities/2018-1-X-Y-Lawson.pdf
Related URLhttps://www.athensjournals.gr/ajha
Publication dates
Online12 Mar 2018
Publication process dates
Deposited20 Dec 2018
Output statusPublished
Additional information

Open Access Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)

Publisher's version
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/88y21/-not-three-gods-but-one-why-reductionism-doesn-t-serve-our-theological-discourse

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