Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Is the Trinitarian Doctrine of God More Plausible Than the Unitarian Doctrine of God?

In his latest Q and A response, Dr. William Lane Craig responds to a reader who asks:

"Aren't the odds of a triune god beyond astronomical? To accept that there is an omnipotent, eternal being is difficult enough, but three separate beings that possess this nature? The term "mind boggling" doesn't even begin to describe the unlikelihood..."

Craig first responds by pointing out that just because something is "mind boggling," doesn't mean that it is improbable.  He points out that, "Quantum mechanics is mind-boggling, but that doesn’t imply that it is improbable as an account of the physical world. We live in a universe that is so mind-boggling as almost to defy comprehension!"

Most interestingly, he continues by arguing that it is more probable that God would not be just one person.  I had never heard this argument before.  He explains as follows:

"God is by definition the greatest conceivable being. As the greatest conceivable being, God must be perfect. Now a perfect being must be a loving being. For love is a moral perfection; it is better for a person to be loving rather than unloving. God therefore must be a perfectly loving being. Now it is of the very nature of love to give oneself away. Love reaches out to another person rather than centering wholly in oneself. So if God is perfectly loving by His very nature, He must be giving Himself in love to another. But who is that other? It cannot be any created person, since creation is a result of God’s free will, not a result of His nature. It belongs to God's very essence to love, but it does not belong to His essence to create. So we can imagine a possible world in which God is perfectly loving and yet no created persons exist. Moreover, contemporary cosmology makes it plausible that created persons have not always existed. But God is eternally loving. So created persons alone are insufficient to account for God's being perfectly loving. It therefore follows that the other to whom God’s love is necessarily directed must be internal to God Himself."

He continues:

"In other words, God is not a single, isolated person, as unitarian forms of theism like Islam hold; rather God is a plurality of persons, as the Christian doctrine of the Trinity affirms. On the unitarian view God is a person who does not give Himself away essentially in love for another; He is focused essentially only on Himself. Hence, He cannot be the most perfect being. But on the Christian view, God is a triad of persons in eternal, self-giving love relationships. Thus, since God is essentially loving, the doctrine of the Trinity is more plausible than any unitarian doctrine of God."

He finishes up by offering a few additional thoughts about the probability of a hypothesis, which can be read here.

So, what do you think of Dr. Craig argument?  Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

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My Favorite Analogy of the Trinity

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