Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Does Edwards Deny Simplicity?

It is a maxim amongst divines that everything that is in God is God which must be understood of real attributes and not of mere modalities. If a man should tell me that the immutability of God is God, or that the omnipresence of God and authority of God is God, I should not be able to think of any rational meaning of what he said. It hardly sounds to me proper to say that God's being without change is God, or that God's being everywhere is God, or that God's having a right of government over creatures is God.

But if it be meant that the real attributes of God, viz., His understanding and love are God, then what we have said may in some measure explain how it is so, for Deity subsists in them distinctly; so they are distinct Divine Persons.

Jonathan Edwards; Unpublished Essay on the Trinity
At first glance, this seems like it could be a departure from Thomas and the Scholastics, I have a real question for our experts on the Fathers or the Reformed Scholastics. Is it a traditional characteristic of divine simplicity that modalities of God are God just as much as His real attributes are God?

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