Ephesians 2:18 "For through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father."
We are currently in a series of posts that aim to introduce and expound upon the doctrine of Divine Simplicity (DDS). For those interested in wanting to explore previous installments of this series, please click on the links below:
When we speak of God's essence as "simple", we refer to how God is not composed of parts - that is - God's attributes or properties are not set off to the one side and His being on the other side. Everything that is in God is God. God is eternal, unchanging and cannot be added to nor improved. The Doctrine of Divine Simplicity attempts to give an account of God's oneness of being - a truth that is foundational to the Biblical concept of God, and more specifically, the doctrine of the Trinity.
First, some critics, whom I greatly admire, have charged that the Doctrine of Divine Simplicity (DDS) conflicts with the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity. The critics claim that if there are no distinctions within God's essence in regard to His attributes and very existence, then how can one hold to the Trinity? The Trinity asserts distinctions between the Father, Son and Spirit. This first sort of object deserves an attempted response. We will offer a response to this first objection by considering the compatibility of the DDS and the Trinity in the next post.
The technical discussion that ensues between devotees and opponents of Divine simplicity can get quite technical. We won't dive into the nuances of such discussions in this post. Instead, we will only offer a response to these particular objections to see if they hold. Whenever we look at the doctrine of the Divine Simplicity, we find that the doctrine by itself delivers to us a God that is One God. What is needed is a second doctrine conjoined along with Simplicity that overcomes the objections. Unless this writer is missing something brought out by such objections, it would seem that the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity can come alongside the DDS to adequately handle such concerns.
A Little Bit Of What I Mean When I Say God Is A Compound Unity
For sake of completion for today, I want to answer a question raised to me about a particular phrase I used in my last post. I noted in the last post that when talking to people for the first time about the Trinity, I use the term "compound unity". I plan on expounding further on this designation in the next post. For now, let me comment that when I say "compound", I'm referring to the identity of the Three Person, who together comprise the identification of the God of the Bible, or, answer the question: "who is God?" When I say "unity". I'm referring to the one, undivided and thus simple essence truly born and expressed by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Again, I'll develop this more fully when we look at how the doctrines of Divine simplicity and the Trinity can work together.
Closing thoughts for today
These practical points flow out from carefully considering why it seems that the doctrines of Divine Simplicity and the Trinity do fit together. We as finite people, I think, can know "that" such doctrines fit together, even though we may not full comprehend "how" they fit (which leads to the whole debate over the legitimacy of the doctrine of Divine Simplicity as useful in studying the Biblical revelation of God).
More next time....