A question concerning John Piper and affections in God

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py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
If the attributes are identical with the simple divine essence, then they have to be identical with one another; otherwise, we will end up asserting that the attributes are parts that compose God, rather than being identical with God's essence and with each other.

You make a couple of important points here, Daniel. I appreciate the language Duby used to explain this when he speaks of the attributes of God as referentially identical, but denotatively diverse. That's the neatest encapsulation I've encountered so far. Indeed, the language of "attribute" should be taken seriously, because the element of human perception seems baked into the crust in a way that would not be true of other terms that could be used like "quality" or "property." Ectypal theology attributes these attributes to God because what is one in the archetype is considered under various aspects according to the limitations of human understanding, which cannot comprehend God, but partially apprehends "the outskirts of his ways" (Job 26:14).
 

Goodcheer68

Puritan Board Sophomore
I’m not sure that’s even a sentence. But please lisp to me. What is it you’d have me understand?

I was responding to your question “is: “love = omniscience” intelligible to you?” And I responded with a statement, “it is...” Pretty clear, no lisping. But just in case, I’ll say it again slightly different. It is intelligible when one understands that in God (in his essence) there are not distinctions between attributes. The distinctions appear in Gods revelation to creation.
 
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RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
analogical thinking of God, in His essence, is something like men. He is unequivocally wholly other.

He has rationality. We have rationality, albeit not in the same way. Ergo, analogical. Have you read Augustine's De Trinitate on this point?
 

User20004000

Puritan Board Sophomore
I was responding to your question “is: “love = omniscience” intelligible to you?” And I responded with a statement, “it is...” Pretty clear, no lisping. But just in case, I’ll say it again slightly different. It is intelligible when one understands that in God (in his essence) there are not distinctions between attributes. The distinctions appear in Gods revelation to creation.

Thanks. Let’s now apply your ideal to Scripture. I’ll ask two direct questions. Please answer.

1. Define “love” and “omniscience” in the single proposition: Love equals omniscience.

2. I’ll substitute “omniscience” for God’s attribute of “love” in 1 John 4:8. Please exegete: “Whoever does not love does not know God; for God is omniscient.” (Feel free to use commentaries and Google.)
 
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Goodcheer68

Puritan Board Sophomore
2. I’ll substitute “omniscience” for God’s attribute of “love” in 1 John 4:8. Please exegete: “Whoever does not love does not know God; for God is omniscient.” (Feel free to use commentaries and Google.)
You just showed how we have distinctions in the use of these attributes (Which we all agree) but did not show how that relates to God in Himself. People have already explained how we understand this, it’s using the idea of ectypal/archetypal or analogical language. Again the distinction lies in how God reveals himself not in himself as He is.
 

User20004000

Puritan Board Sophomore
You just showed how we have distinctions in the use of these attributes (Which we all agree) but did not show how that relates to God in Himself. People have already explained how we understand this, it’s using the idea of ectypal/archetypal or analogical language. Again the distinction lies in how God reveals himself not in himself as He is.

Brother,

Humor me. I believe you’re talking around two rather direct questions. Please, if you don’t mind, answer my two direct questions. Then, if you still like, we can consider how analogical language can be of any use. Until then, you have love and omniscience serving as synonyms. Not good.
 

Goodcheer68

Puritan Board Sophomore
Humor me. I believe you’re talking around two rather direct questions. Please, if you don’t mind, answer my two direct questions. Then, if you still like, we can consider how analogical language can be of any use. Until then, you have love and omniscience serving as synonyms. Not good.

I’ve made it quite clear that it has to do with God’s revelation to us. We see distinctions because that is how it is revealed to us but in God the attributes are one.
 

User20004000

Puritan Board Sophomore
I’ve made it quite clear that it has to do with God’s revelation to us. We see distinctions because that is how it is revealed to us but in God the attributes are one.

Very sad on multiple levels. Since you won’t answer two very basic questions, then tell me this. Is your knowledge of “love equals omniscience” univocal or analogical?
 

User20004000

Puritan Board Sophomore
”Accordingly, God's love is holy love, and God's holiness is infinitely lovely. That is why the Westminster Confession uses language such as "to the praise of his glorious justice"; owing to the identity of the divine attributes with one another, God's justice is glorious and his glory is perfectly just. I really do not see why the identity of the divine attributes with each other is a problem? After all, is not the love of God infinite, eternal, and immutable? Is God not immutably holy, and holy in his immutability?”

Daniel, that quote of yours reflects the simplicity I put forth in my first post (#38).

I wrote: “I think the theological distinction is that God’s wrath is holy wrath. The two attributes permeate each other. They cannot be separated, so being indivisible they’re one and identical. God’s holy wrath is also just and good....”

That’s the simplicity of the scholastics you later argued jettisoned the Divines. In that sense, the sense I put forth, attribute x serves as a descriptor of attribute y etc. However, that view of simplicity, which to me is agreeable (and also implicitly found in Letham as he elaborates upon attributes being identical) is denied by the strict identity that would equate x with y. The simplicity you state above doesn’t reduce to skepticism by an appeal to analogical knowledge that would try to salvage the equivalency of omniscience and love. You argue against that view in other posts, even in that same post.
 
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Goodcheer68

Puritan Board Sophomore
Very sad on multiple levels. Since you won’t answer two very basic questions, then tell me this. Is your knowledge of “love equals omniscience” univocal or analogical?
What is sad is that I have answered your question but you refuse to hear.
 

User20004000

Puritan Board Sophomore
What is sad is that I have answered your question but you refuse to hear.

That’s simply not true. I asked two direct questions in post #64:

1. Define “love” and “omniscience” in the single proposition: Love equals omniscience.

2. I’ll substitute “omniscience” for God’s attribute of “love” in 1 John 4:8. Please exegete: “Whoever does not love does not know God; for God is omniscient.” (Feel free to use commentaries and Google.)

Your subsequent posts were 65, 67 and 70, provided below.

1. Nowhere did you try to define love and omniscience in the proposition, Love equals omniscience.

2. Nor did you make an attempt to exegete 1 John 4:8 with the substitution of omniscience for love, which you suggest are identical attributes.

Your responses to those two direct question do not answer the questions:

65. “You just showed how we have distinctions in the use of these attributes (Which we all agree) but did not show how that relates to God in Himself. People have already explained how we understand this, it’s using the idea of ectypal/archetypal or analogical language. Again the distinction lies in how God reveals himself not in himself as He is.”

67. “I’ve made it quite clear that it has to do with God’s revelation to us. We see distinctions because that is how it is revealed to us but in God the attributes are one.”

70. “What is sad is that I have answered your question but you refuse to hear.”
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
"Let brotherly love continue." By all means continue your dialogues with one another, but assume the best of each other and please let that show in your patient responses.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
"Let brotherly love continue." By all means continue your dialogues with one another, but assume the best of each other and please let that show in your patient responses.

I did assume the best. I honestly had no idea what he meant, given that every single Christian thinker has predicated rationality of God. If you say there is a divine mind, then you have to say there is rationality with God. This is basic theism.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
This is from Richard Muller's Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms. It is Reformed Orthodoxy. It is on p. 157 in my volume, otherwise under the entry for "intellectus Dei."

"The intellect of God. Just as God is described as having a will, so is he argued by the scholastics to have intellect or understanding, the other faculty of spiritual or rational being. Like all other divine attributes, the intellectus Dei is identical with the divine essence."

 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
Is this really a question?

Yes, it was to lead the discussion that God uses logic to "come" to a conclusion. God does not use rationality or logical thought to come conclusions. I am sure we agree with this. :) In other words like the word emotion God does not posses rationality in that the very word itself is only good to describe what creatures posses in the ectypal sense.
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
This is from Richard Muller's Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms. It is Reformed Orthodoxy. It is on p. 157 in my volume, otherwise under the entry for "intellectus Dei."

"The intellect of God. Just as God is described as having a will, so is he argued by the scholastics to have intellect or understanding, the other faculty of spiritual or rational being. Like all other divine attributes, the intellectus Dei is identical with the divine essence."


PS. Thank you for the link I will listen to it when I have time. :)
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Yes, it was to lead the discussion that God uses logic to "come" to a conclusion. God does not use rationality or logical thought to come conclusions. I am sure we agree with this. :) In other words like the word emotion God does not posses rationality in that the very word itself is only good to describe what creatures posses in the ectypal sense.

God doesn't reason discursively. No Reformed scholastic ever held to that point. Your question seemed to imply that God was some blob of essence of which nothing can be predicated. Outside of a few extreme Islamic theologians, every theist in history said God was rational. So your question just caught me off guard.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
I see the problem. You equated rationality with the mode of discursive reasoning. That was never the orthodox position. There are ways of being rational that don't require discursive reasoning.
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
I see the problem. You equated rationality with the mode of discursive reasoning. That was never the orthodox position. There are ways of being rational that don't require discursive reasoning.

I will pass for now and simply say there is no rational way of being a rational being without discursive reasoning.

PS. I will say it appears God is rational by His actions.
 

User20004000

Puritan Board Sophomore
I will pass for now and simply say there is no rational way of being a rational being without discursive reasoning.

PS. I will say it appears God is rational by His actions.

That doesn’t even follow with respect to humans. We don’t reason our way to a priori tools of reason. (Nor do we reason ourselves to experience the rose is red.) Take the law of non-contradiction, law of identity or law of excluded middle. If we had to discursively reason to know such laws of logic, then we’d have to conduct such reasoning without them! Surely that entails a contradiction.

As for God and rationality, where do you suppose the laws of logic are grounded? Obviously, being propositions, in God. They are necessary truths. Those laws are indeed rational, yet God doesn’t reason to know them (nor do humans).
 

usernamecrtamil

Puritan Board Freshman
If it hasn't already been recommended, this is a wonderful primer on the Doctrine of Divine Impassibility by our Baptist brother Dr. Samuel Renihan. The classical understanding of the Doctrine of God is waxing thin and it shows in it's conceptual development by many modern, esteemed Pastor/Theologians.

 
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earl40

Puritan Board Professor
That doesn’t even follow with respect to humans. We don’t reason our way to a priori tools of reason. (Nor do we reason ourselves to experience the rose is red.) Take the law of non-contradiction, law of identity or law of excluded middle. If we had to discursively reason to know such laws of logic, then we’d have to conduct such reasoning without them! Surely that entails a contradiction.

Allow me to use some time to do some discursive reasoning to see if I make a rational decision on what you wrote. :)
 

TheInquirer

Puritan Board Sophomore
Van Mastricht has a section on God's affections under the topic of God's will. Here is how he defines God's affections:

"Affections, then, in God are nothing other than the acts of the divine will insofar as they sustain such relations to the creatures, as the analogous affections in men sustain and set in motion. So then, according to the common saying of Gregory of Nazianzus, since these affections are attributed to God in a human way, they must be understood in a way worthy of God, according to the effective operation rather than the affection." (Theoretical-Practical Theology, Vol. 2, 304.)

Also, several of the last Reformed systematics I have read (Turretin, Van Matricht, etc.) have clearly stated God does not reason discursively. I think this highlights a fundamental problem in theology - assigning human operation of faculties, affections to God. He isn't like us hence Jacob's correct emphasis on analogy in the language used in Scripture.
 
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