Material Constitution and the Trinity

Jeffrey E. Brower and Michael C. Rea

in Philosophical and Theological Essays on the Trinity

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780199216215
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191695995 | DOI:
Material Constitution and the Trinity

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This chapter starts with a precise statement of the problem of the Trinity. It then examines the Aristotelian notion of numerical sameness without identity, explains how it solves the problem of material constitution, and defends it against the most obvious and important objections to it. It also distinguishes numerical sameness without identity from two superficially similar relations. The chapter shows how the Aristotelian solution to the problem of material constitution can be developed into a solution to the problem of the Trinity, and highlights some of the more interesting consequences of the solution. Applying the analogy to the case of God, the chapter suggests that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are to be understood as doing something analogous to sharing the same matter.

Keywords: Aristotle; material constitution; numerical sameness; Trinity

Chapter.  10335 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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