The Problem With Unity and Diversity

Discussion in 'Defending the Faith' started by T.A.G., Jan 5, 2010.

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  1. T.A.G.

    T.A.G. Puritan Board Freshman

    In the book He is There and He is not Silent, he asserts that there is a problem in philosophy and how one can attribute unity at the same time account for diversity and how only the Triune God can account for it..what does he mean? I was listening to Bahnsen today and he asserted the same thing! What did I miss?
  2. Kevin

    Kevin Puritan Board Doctor

    Read "The One & The Many" By RJ Rushdoony, that is the book that Schaeffer was cribbing from.
  3. T.A.G.

    T.A.G. Puritan Board Freshman

    how big is it?
  4. Kevin

    Kevin Puritan Board Doctor

    big & dense. but you should still read it.
  5. T.A.G.

    T.A.G. Puritan Board Freshman

    lol I am in three winter classes and studying Hebrew for this up coming semester in like two weeks! But I will give it a read some time...if you get a chance though if you can explain the basic problem :) Or if you know of a good some what short article that would be good as well
  6. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Senior

    the basic problem is a metaphysical one. we use the word tree, for instance, to refer to a series of objects in reality that appear to have enough things in common to be roughly the same kind of thing. with no two trees being exactally the same in all respects, the question arises as in what ways are all trees unified (unity) and in which ways are they different (diversity). philosophers have been arguing over this for 2,500 years now, roughly. why God can be said to be the solution to this problem, in my opinion, is that only the christian worldview can account for unity and diversity, i'll try to explain what i mean.

    materialism, as a worldview, cannot account for unity because everything is completly random in the universe. any unity at all is purely accidental and should be short lived. but we experiance plenty of unity all around us everyday. so this worldview cannot explain reality as we experience it. on the opposite end pure idealism, or pantheism, cannot explain diversity because all is one, so diversity is just an illusion. but we experiance diversity everyday so this worldview cannot acount for diversity at all. all other non-christian worldviews, in my opinion, will fall somewhere between these two extremes.

    i don't understand exactly how the Trinity explains this unity and diversity, so i apologize for not being able to answer that part of your question, but i do believe that it answers the question in some way. my initial thought would be that perfect unity and diversity in the Creator makes it possible, in some way, to have unity and diversity, of different and lesser kind, in the creation. all other worldviews try to locate perfect unity and diversity in the creation, thus trying to make creation God. the christian worldview locates perfect unity and diversity in the Creator. sorry about the length of my post and i hope this both helpful and correct.
  7. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    Van Til pointed out (not that he solved the problem itself) that the unity and diversity problem reflects the fact that God is both One and Plural. It's another pointer to the Triunity being the foundation of the Universe rather than another God of Unity without Plurality, like Allah or the current Judaistic "god".

    Maybe others had mentioned this before Van Til?

    Frame deals with this subject, and Van Til's approach, in his book on Van Til:-

    Cornelius Van Til: An Analysis of His Thought: John M. Frame: Books

    Here's Frame on vestigium trinitatis in God's world:-

    Trinitarian Analogies
  8. ValiantforTruth

    ValiantforTruth Puritan Board Freshman

    Unity and Diversity

    The triune God of the Bible is one God and three persons, so there is unity and diversity in the being of God. The finite human consciousness cannot exhaustively comprehend the being of God, i.e., intellectually comprehend the one and the many in the Godhead. The apostate human consciousness, in rebellion against God and having established its own mind as ultimate, does not accept the possibility of anything that its mind cannot exhaustively comprehend, so it rejects the truth of the Trinity. The regenerate consciousness acknowledges that its mind is not ultimate, and also that it cannot exhaustively comprehend the being of God. But it can ethically affirm the truth of the Trinity and understand that there is no tension or problem in the being of God, even though the finite mind cannot comprehend it.

    All created reality, because it is created by the Trinitarian God of the Bible, reflects His being in terms of the One and the Many. Everywhere we turn in creation, we are faced with one and many, or unity and diversity. Some aspects of this feature of reality are: Transcendence/Immanence; Knowability/Incomprehensibility; Objectivity/Subjectivity; Laws (systems)/Facts; Being/Becoming; Necessity/Chance; Rationalism/Empiricism; Ideas (abstract)/Objects (concrete); Determinism/Freedom; Permanence/Change; Theory/Practice; Authority/Independence; Rationality/Irrationality; Order/Chaos.

    This dialectic, or the problem of the One and the Many, is the controlling problem in all unbelieving thought. Just as it is impossible to exhaust the Being of God with our finite human minds, so it is impossible to exhaustively penetrate the dialectic of created reality, since it reflects God�s being. This limitation is not a result of sin, but rather it is a result of finitude. Neither the One nor the Many is more fundamental in the Being of God. Thus, Biblical Christianity is neither a fundamentally monist system, nor a fundamentally dualist system. It is a Trinitarian system. The apostate consciousness, having rejected the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity, is doomed to forever crash against the rocks of one or the other poles of the dialectic, or to try unsuccessfully to force them together by brute intellectual might. The unbeliever's solution to this problem will control every field of investigation that he undertakes: philosophy, politics, economics, science, theology, mathematics, history . . . The history of human thought is the record of unsuccessful attempts of rebellious men and women to reconcile the two poles of the dialectic that they find everywhere they turn in reality, but refusing to submit to the triune God of creation and revelation.

    Hope that helps.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2010
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