Trinitarian Personality

Christ the Center explores the incomprehensible and doxological subject of Trinitarian personality. Dr. Tipton previously discussed the subject on Christ the Center episode #49.

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Christ the Center focuses on Reformed Christian theology. In each episode a group of informed panelists discusses important issues in order to encourage critical thinking and a better understanding of Reformed doctrine with a view toward godly living. Browse more episodes from this program or subscribe to the podcast feed.

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9 years ago

Steve Ruble:

I answered one or your questions back on the “Formulating a Christian Epistemology” thread.

I look forward to continuing our conversation.

Jim Cassidy

9 years ago

This is, of course, not original to Van Til. Augustine said it long ago as he speaks of “the person of the Trinity itself.” “On the Trinity,” p. 114.


9 years ago

Augustine’s construction as a whole has problems. The problem is, Augustine begins with the essense and then the persons become mere relations in the essence. This is the primary problem with Augustine’s view. Appealing to Augustine will not save the Van Tillians from their heresy. Farrell says,

“So strong an influence is the definition of simplicity for Saint Augustine that he says, “to God it is not one thing to be, another to be a person, but it is absolutely the same thing . . . It is the same thing to Him to be as to be a person.”44 “God” for Saint Augustine, thus, “did not mean directly” the means to attempt to distinguish the persons from each other. Having assumed an absolute simplicity, the persons can no longer be absolute hypostases, but are merely relative terms to each other, thus occurring on an even lower plane than the attributes proper. “The terms (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) are used reciprocally and in relation to each other.”51 There is a subtle but, nevertheless, real play of the dialectic of oppositions here. One no longer begins with the three persons and then moves to consider their relations, but begins with their relative quality, the relation between the persons, itself. In other words, there is an artificial opposition of one person to the other two. It is at this point that the flexibility of Augustine’s Neoplatonic commitment begins to surface in a more acute form.


9 years ago

I am in no way denying the simplicity as Farrell does but i think it is explained the best in Clark’s construction. Though Clark individuates the Son in his book with an economic property it is easily solved by saying that the Son thinks to himself, “I eternally generate from the Father”.

God Must Exist

9 years ago


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