My next post will focus on Origen and his dialectic of opposition.
Hypothetical Syllogism (HS)
If A, then B
If B, then C
If A, then C
This is a valid inference rule. If the premises are true, it will always lead you to the truth. The same can be said for Modus Ponens.
If P, then Q
Clear? Good. Now try this,
1. IF p, then q
2. IF q, then r
3. Then, If p, then r (1,2 HS)
4. p (premise)
5. Therefore r, (3,4 MP)
Clear? Good. Now try this…
1. If God is absolutely simple (P), then his act of will to create is identical with his essence (R).
2. If God’s act of will to create is identical with his essence (R), then his act of will to create is necessary. (Q)
3. If God is absolutely simple (P), then his act of will to create is necessary. (Q) (From 1,2 by Hypothetical Syllogism)
4. God is absolutely simple. (Premise S)
5. Therefore, God’s act of will to create is necessary (R). (From 3,4 by Modus Ponens)
Support for (2) is given by the following argument.
(2)If God’s act of will to create is identical with his essence (R), then his act of will to create is necessary. (Q)
6. If God’s essence is had by him necessarily, then if anything is identical with his essence it is necessary.
7. God’s essence is had by him necessarily. (Premise)
8. Therefore, anything identical with his essence is necessary. (From 6, 7 MP)
Seven (7) I take to be uncontroversial and by that I mean that any Christian should agree with it on its face.
(6) can be supported by Liebniz’s Law:
(x) (y) [(x = y), then (P) (Px, ≡ Py)]
For any x and any y, if x is identical to y, then if x has a property P then y must have that same property P and vice versa.
So if God’s essence has the property of being had by God necesarily, then anything identical with God’s essence is had by God with the same necessity. This would rule out creation ex nihilo, among other free and voluntary acts by God. The world would become necessary and hence eternal. This is one reason why the eternality of the world is a continuing problem. If my argument is valid (it is) and sound (I think it is) then any view of God that includes absolute simplicity is incompatible with core Christian teachings. By incompatible I mean that they both cannot be true.
Now, by my reading, Protestants hold to the same basic doctrine of absolute simplicity as Rome does. It is mentioned to various degrees by most if not all of the Reformed Confessions and expounded in all the major systematic theologians from the period of Reformed Scholasticism forward. Much the same can be said of the Lutherans because it is their common heritage. It seems that Protestants and Rome have a serious theological problem if my argument is correct.