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DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-K105-2
Version: v2,  Published online: 2015
Retrieved June 24, 2024, from

Article Summary

The doctrine of the Trinity is central to Christian theology. The part of the doctrine that concerns us here may be stated in these words: although the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are different persons, each is the same God as the other; they are not three Gods, but exactly one God.

These words arguably imply a contradiction. For example, if the Father is not the same person as the Son, then the Father is not identical with the Son; thus, if each is a God, there are at least two Gods, which contradicts the claim that there is exactly one God. Analytic theologians have responded to this line of argument and others related to it. Each response aims to model a consistent doctrine of the Trinity, one that provides the resources to reject such arguments while retaining Trinitarian orthodoxy. We can classify these attempts by distinguishing those according to which there is no numerical sameness without identity from those according to which there is numerical sameness without identity. Attempts in the first group tend to raise worries about consistency with orthodoxy. Attempts in the second group tend to raise worries about intelligibility.

Citing this article:
Howard-Snyder, Dan. Trinity, 2015, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-K105-2. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
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