Is the Trinity a True Contradiction?

The Liar Paradox and Beyond

In Titus 1:12 Paul warns of the infamous Cretans, noting that: "It was one of them, their very own prophet, who said, 'Cretans are always liars, vicious brutes, lazy gluttons.'" (NRSV) The reference is generally believed to be to the Cretan Epimenides, but regardless of who said it, how are we supposed to understand it? If a Cretan tells us that Cretans always lie, how should we evaluate that statement? If it is true, then the statement must be false, for if Cretans always lie, then this Cretan must be lying . . . about Cretans always lying. When we begin to think about this statement we are thus immediately pulled in two directions, oscillating as it were between accepting the statement as true and rejecting it as false. The "liar paradox" was nothing new in Paul's time; indeed, it was well known at least two centuries earlier. And it was discussed throughout the Middle Ages by numerous great thinkers including William of Ockham, Thomas Bradwardine and Gregory of Rimini. Their preferred term for such puzzles was "insolubles" although they treated this term as a misnomer, for each presented an interesting, often ingenious proposal to demonstrate the paradox is soluble.

One possibility was never seriously countenanced by the medievals: that the liar's paradox might simply be true. That is, that it might be a true contradiction. The problem of course is that this would violate the law of non-contradiction, the law that tells us that A and not A cannot both be true, and so a statement cannot be both true and false. The earliest formal statement of the law of non-contradiction comes from Aristotle's discussion in Metaphysics (chapter 7). Whatever we think of Aristotle's defense of the law, there is something very deep within us that resonates intuitively with the impossibility of contradictions. But what made the notion of a true contradiction especially odious was not simply the contradiction itself, but also that classical forms of logic were explosive. That is, admit one contradiction as true, and all statements follow from it; all contradictions are true. The result is an unappealing position called trivialism. It is thus not surprising that both philosophers and even theologians at their dialectical extremes, have been unwilling to affirm true contradictions. [1] How things have changed! In 1930 Ludwig Wittgenstein predicted "a time when there will be mathematical investigations of calculi containing contradictions, and people will actually be proud of having emancipated themselves from consistency." [2] In other words, there will be a time when people will accept the existence of true contradictions. Today that prediction has been vindicated as there are a growing number of philosophers willing to entertain the possibility of a true contradiction. In this paper I propose to consider if true contradictions could be put to work within theology, specifically within the mystery of the Trinity. I will begin by filling out the current status of true contradictions in contemporary philosophy. Next, I will consider an interpretation of David Cunningham's trinitarian theology as affirming a true contradiction. Finally, I will evaluate this approach to decide whether theologians ought to lift their age-old embargo on contradictions in theology.

Paraconsistency and Theology

As I said above, admitting contradictions into classical logic led to the problem of explosion, that is, that one true contradiction would lead to every contradiction being true. How can it be that some people are now proud of, as Wittgenstein put it, "having emancipated themselves from consistency"? And does this commit them to trivialism? Of central importance has been the recent development of "paraconsistent logic", novel logical systems that can maintain consistency in the overall system while admitting one or more localized contradictions, thus avoiding explosion. Nicholas Rescher and Robert Brandom describe the challenge of paraconsistency as "whether semantical singularity can be contained or whether it will be pervasive, whether like a virulent cancer it metastasizes so that its presence in one place betokens its inescapable presence throughout." [3] Paraconsistency thus involves the attempt to recognize some contradictions as true, while avoiding trivialism. A number of logicians now share the sentiments of Graham Priest: "Why prevent yourself from exploring what is beyond the consistent, when you lose nothing by this? Why shackle yourself with the necessity of consistency, when you don't have to? (With apologies to Marx and Engels:-) Logicians of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains." [4] Who could have anticipated just a few decades ago that logicians would be referring to the "chains" of consistency!

Though such a deprecation of consistency is a novelty for logicians, it is in a sense well familiar to theologians who have generally preferred biblical fidelity to logical consistency. Among the first rank of these is Paul who proclaimed: "Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" (I Cor. 1:20d NRSV) and "For God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength." (I Cor. 1:25 NRSV) A crucial aspect of Christian theology has always been humility in the face of the divine mystery. As such, one might think the ethos of Christian theology is amenable to the possibility of true contradictions.

Let us assume then that paraconsistent forms of logic are successful in containing contradictions. What areas within Christian theology might be identified as true contradictions? To begin with, there are questions surrounding the relation of election and divine foreknowledge to human freedom. Of course the incarnation raises a number of paradoxes including the question of how an eternal God could enter time, how an impassible God could suffer, how a morally perfect God could be tempted to sin, and how an immutable God could change. Of course each of these paradoxes has a number of "logical explanations". [5] The question is whether it is worth considering a further possibility, that one or more of these issues is best interpreted not as soluble (even eschatologically), but rather as a true contradiction. While these possibilities are intriguing, they each involve a contradiction obtaining between God's relation to creation. However, a more fundamental question would be whether a contradiction might obtain within the being of God. But what would it mean to affirm that there is a true contradiction within God? What might it mean to affirm that God in his triune being is, in some sense, a contradiction?

David Cunningham, Trinity, and True Contradiction

David Cuningham's recent book These Three are One: The Practice of Trinitarian Theology, [6] is a creative and provocative contribution to the current trinitarian "renaissance". What makes the work of present interest is Cunningham's penchant for making what appear to be contradictory statements about the Trinity. In what follows I will attempt to develop a paraconsistency interpretation of these particular passages. To be sure, we will face a significant hermeneutical obstacle given Cunningham's version of conceptual relativism. Cunningham appears to hold that everything has meaning only with respect to a particular conceptual world. Hence, while he makes statements that sound contradictory, it is not clear whether he is arguing they only appear contradictory from one particular conceptual world, but are not contradictory in another, or whether they are a false contradiction in one world, and a true contradiction in another. In order to gain insight from Cunningham on the possibility of contradictions in theology, I will defend the second interpretation.

Cunningham opens the book with a quotation from Wittgenstein that ends with the familiar maxim: "Practice gives the words their sense." The quote well illustrates the spirit of Cunningham's conceptual relativism. No statement we make is true or false simpliciter but only with respect to the particular conceptual world and practices in which it is uttered. Given that thesis, a crucial refrain in the book is that we must take care not to apply the rules of one conceptual world to another. Cunningham provides the following example with respect to theology and logic: "Theological discourse as a whole should not be drawn into that realm of enterprises that must conform to the true/false dichotomies of Boolean logic." [7] Not surprisingly, the same can be said for Aristotelian logic, for Cunningham points out the folly of "Logicians [who] consider their syllogisms to be valid irrespective of the particularities of the audience they construct (though it usually needs to consist of 'reasonable' persons)." [8] Note that "validity" is a technical term of logic: if an argument is valid, its conclusion follows necessarily from the premises on pain of contradiction and, one would expect, irrespective of whomever entertains it. So Cunningham is not simply denying that a syllogism is somehow "relevant" in all cases; rather, he is denying that it is valid in all cases. At face value, the claim is that the argument form of the syllogism is not necessarily true in itself; rather, it is only true with respect to the context in which it is applied. [9] It is not just logicians who tend to inappropriately extend the reach of conceptual worlds. Cunningham claims more broadly that "we have become excessively fond of thinking in dichotomous terms - assuming that there are always exactly two alternatives, and that the choice of one excludes the other." [10]

This argument has a distinct application to trinitarian theology. Cunningham charges that while the recent emphasis among trinitarian theologians on the relationality of God is important, it is also inadequate; he claims that we also need to stress the threeness of God. [11] It is the way that Cunningham defends this thesis that suggests paraconsistency. Building on his sharp attempts to deny the validity of logic in particular conceptual worlds, he asserts: "I want to defend the thesis that the Christian doctrine of God, in positing the concept of Triunity, asks us to affirm the rather counterintuitive thesis that something can be three and one simultaneously - a claim that would appear to be foolishness to mathematicians and a stumbling-block to rationalists." [12] Cunningham stresses the radical stance of his thesis in contrast to more traditional conceptualizations of the Trinity:

Usually, the threeness and oneness of God are treated as separate conceptual categories, as in the common tag-line "one being, three persons." While I accept the value of such conceptualizations, I also believe that, in God, "these three are one" in a stronger, more paradoxical sense - a sense that defies our standard logical and mathematical descriptions of "one" and "three." [13]

As we will see, the difficulty at this point arises with attempting to understand just how much stronger and more paradoxical Cunningham is willing (or able) to make this assertion.

As noted above, central to the defense of Cunningham's position is the role practice plays in establishing the sense of words. The total context for the words we utter is the conceptual world that provides the words with their meaning. In this sense, the challenge to necessity becomes such that there are no propositions that are necessarily true or false simpliciter, that is, without reference to the conceptual world in which they are uttered. More light is shed on this position at the beginning of chapter 4 entitled "Polyphony" which develops the argument in relation to musical metaphor:

The claim that "these three are one" asks us to call into question the common assumption that oneness and difference are mutually exclusive categories. The rigid separation of these categories is, however, a common feature of many of the conceptual worlds in which we operate - conceptual worlds such as arithmetic, formal logic, and analytic philosophy. These interpretive frameworks can make little room for the claim that "three" can in any sense be equated with one. [14]

Cunningham appears to be arguing that while the proposition 1=3 is false in some conceptual worlds such as formal logic and analytic philosophy, it may be true in other worlds. To make the point, Cunningham draws on the language of polyphony. In contrast say, to the "conceptual world" of bricks and mortar, where "We recognize that two wholly different building materials cannot coexist in precisely the same space and time" [15] within the conceptual world of music two (or more) notes can indeed be in "the same place" at the same time. To faithfully apply the analogy, Cunningham would be asserting that within trinitarian theology 1=3 can be true, even if this is rank foolishness in logic or analytic philosophy.

Thus far I have been attempting to build a case for the strong interpretation that, according to Cunningham, there can be true contradictions in some conceptual worlds. What can be said for the more conservative interpretation that contradictions only appear given one's conceptual world? Evidence for the conservative interpretation comes from an example Rodney Clapp draws from Cunningham's earlier book Faithful Persuasion: In Aid of a Rhetoric of Christian Theology. [16] Clapp writes: "Even mathematics, if it is to be material and applicable, cannot escape context. For example, it is not true that in all times and places 7 plus 9 equals 16. Computer programmers can correctly tell us that 7 plus 9 equals 10-in a base 16 system." [17] Now quite obviously in this case it would be false to assert that Cunningham simply affirms 7+9=10 is true in some conceptual worlds and false in others simpliciter. Rather, he is affirming that in the conceptual world of the base 16 system of computer programming it is true, while in the world of arithmetic it is false. The point here, I would suggest, is that while the same sentence is uttered in both cases, it expresses two different propositions depending on the context in which it is spoken, and thus there is no contradiction. The conservative interpretation would also appear to have the metaphor of polyphony on its side: here the point appears to be that two or more principles or realities which may appear contradictory are actually in harmony. From this perspective, Cunningham's "polyphonic reading" of the temptations of Christ is illustrative. Faced with the age-old dilemma of peccability/impeccability, Cunningham effectively demonstrates the harmony of the seemingly contradictory principles that Jesus could not sin, and so could not be tempted as God even though he was tempted as man. After presenting his "polyphonic" reading, Cunningham concludes: "these elements need not be understood as mutually exclusive or contradictory; like the differing notes of a chord, they can be sounded (and heard) simultaneously, without compromising the unity of the whole." [18]

Although the conservative interpretation has much to be said for it, there is a strong case for seeing Cunningham as advocating true contradictions and thus paraconsistency. In favor of this view, we can note that the conservative interpretation loses the force of the argument; if we are to interpret the 1=3 of the Trinity analogously to the 7+9=10 of a base 16 system, we simply are back to the "one substance, three persons" approach to the Trinity that Cunningham wants to move beyond. As we saw however, Cunningham wishes to argue that the conceptual world of trinitarian theology does in fact defy "our standard logical and mathematical descriptions of 'one' and 'three'" and this certainly appears to suggest a logical contradiction. This would also fit well with Cunningham's claim that logic (e.g. the law of non-contradiction) does not apply to the conceptual world of theology as it does to analytic philosophy and other areas. In my opinion, we are faced here with an interpretive dilemma similar to that presented by Kant's "Copernican Revolution". When interpreting Kant, there are two basic possibilities: the one and two world interpretations. The former argument is coherent but largely tautological while the latter is indeed revolutionary, but also of dubious coherence. [19] Here we are faced with a similar difficulty. On the conservative interpretation what Cunningham says is right and true. Clearly context and community are essential to determining meaning or locating reference; moreover we must reject any strongly foundationalist attempt to establish universal substantive criteria of reason by which to judge all disciplines. But the argument as a consequence loses the distinct twist that Cunningham attempts to give it: that is, to grant that the Trinity is one and three in a stronger ("more" paradoxical or contradictory) sense than the tradition allows. This leaves the more radical interpretation as the most viable candidate.

In conclusion then, I would suggest that Cunningham's arguments suggest that contradictions can indeed be true in some conceptual worlds - specifically those in which logic and analytic philosophy do not apply. Further, the Trinity is (or is within) one of those worlds so that we can affirm in trinitarian discourse that 1=3 even if this is nonsense in other worlds. In other words, within the doctrine of God we can affirm a true contradiction.

By their Fruit Ye Shall Know Them

Let us grant then that Cunningham's theology advances the position that the Trinity is a true contradiction. What benefit would there be in defending paraconsistency in the doctrine of God? The main boon which comes through in Cunningham's writing is the protection of the autonomy of theology as a unique mode of enquiry, and more fundamentally of the freedom of God to be as he is apart from creation. After all, what greater folly could there be for the theologian than to impose her understanding of what is rational, true or possible onto the living Lord of the universe? These are of course important points, but it is dubious that paraconsistency will be of any help in defending them. Indeed, I would suggest that the notion of a true contradiction offers no advantage to theology, and significant drawbacks. Here I will note four points, two relating to divine mystery, and two relating to the problem of containment. It should be noted that I am not suggesting any of these consequences apply to Cunningham's theology as it is. However, they would become significant problems were he to explicitly affirm true contradictions.

First, we can contrast paraconsistency with more traditional views of divine mystery. The underlying presupposition of the traditional views is well expressed by Diogenes Allen: "should God indeed be the Creator, and have created freely, a [theological] formula which we do comprehend fully is a sure indication that it is inadequate." [20] Since God is not a finite cause, but the infinite primary cause of all that is, we cannot "fit" God into our explanations or categories. He remains forever free to veil or unveil himself to his creatures as the unconditional Subject. As such, Allen's principle is an important guide: if we believe we have fully understood any aspect of the divine mystery, we have misunderstood it. This is paradigmatically expressed in the revelation of God as existing in three persons, an impenetrable mystery to which we may move toward, but which we will never fully understand even as we are taken up into the divine life in eternity.

By contrast, while paraconsistency may claim to respect mystery, in fact it liquidates it. In contrast to the infinite mystery of traditional theology, the paraconsistent theologian believes he knows how God is one and three: simply because God is a contradiction. It is not that God is a mystery of a higher unity; there is no further unity and relationality beyond our understanding which would explain the "logic" of the divine being. All there is to say is that God is a contradiction. The paraconsistent theologian may object at this point that so long as we cannot begin to understand how contradictions can be true, the mystery is maintained. But again, it is difficult to see what further could be added to explain the triunity of God if we have already declared it a true contradiction. Further, if nothing more can be said of a contradiction, then there would be a "structural isomorphism" between the Trinity and other true contradictions like the liar's paradox. The Trinity would suddenly become another example of a larger category called true contradictions. Perhaps the paraconsistent theologian would attempt to explain the liar's paradox, Russell's Paradox and similar conundrums as vestigia trinitatis! But again, on this view the contradiction which exists at the heart of the Trinity is not faintly reflected within creation (as in the traditional examples of vestigia trinitatis) but is fully exemplified in other contradictions. Clearly paraconsistency offers no advantage over the traditional view in apprehending a proper understanding of divine mystery.

Something more needs to be said however, and this brings us to our second point. The central theological mysteries are traditionally viewed as heuristic: while a mystery may not be fully apprehended, as we increase our understanding of it, it simultaneously opens up our understanding to certain other aspects of the depth structure of reality. This has long been recognized with relation to christology. Thomas Torrance argues that "the kind of objectivity manifested in the resurrection of Jesus Christ is one which, on the ground of the once and for all historical self-revelation of God in the incarnation, increasingly accredits itself as ultimately real and meaningful as it continues to disclose an infinite depth of intelligibility." [21] Torrance recognizes that the incarnation and resurrection both possess an unlimited power to offer us further understanding of their reality. Further, those mysteries also provide a means for us to understand relationships within the world. Thus John MacIntyre writes that: "In the two natures and one person of the Chalcedonian Christ is discerned an analogical formula which can be employed in areas of theology that are not immediately recognizable as christological." [22] Hence, MacIntyre believes that the christological mystery can illumine a number of puzzles in theology (for instance, the soul-body relation). One of the hallmarks of recent trinitarian theology is a renewed appreciation both of the infinite depth of the trinitarian mystery and the heuristic power of this mystery to illumine not just theology but all dimensions of reality. Indeed, this observation stands at the heart of Cunningham's book as he argues that theologians should "testify to [the Trinity's] profound significance of the shape of the Christian life." [23] However, if the Trinity is simply a contradiction then it is very difficult to see how the doctrine could have any relevance for the Christian life, or much else.

The third and fourth points relate to the problem of containment. To begin with, there is the problem of criteria. We finite human knowers are awash in a sea of mystery, and nowhere more so than in theology. Given this fact, what are the conditions that would warrant one in identifying a particular theological doctrine as truly contradictory as opposed to simply transcending our understanding? Without clear and unequivocal criteria, it is likely that the choice of true contradictions would be arbitrary, and raise the question of where to stop in identifying such contradictions. Without sufficient criteria, theology could soon become a truly trivial enterprise.

The containment problem is implicit in the problem of criteria, but it becomes more explicit in the final problem. It is one thing to admit the liar paradox as a true contradiction, but it is another thing entirely to claim that God in his eternal existence is a true contradiction. Perhaps a contradiction can be contained within a logical system but what about a person who is a contradiction? Here I would argue that allowing a contradiction in the divine nature would appear to endanger all our thought and speech about God. Consider first an analogous case. In the mid 1940s a debate arose between Gordon Clark and some of the faculty at Westminster Theological Seminary, in particular Cornelius Van Til. At the center of the debate was Clark's belief that certain propositions of human knowledge are known univocally by God, in particular such truths as 7+5=12 and the law of non-contradiction. As a result, Van Til accused Clark of "rationalism". [24] The counter-charge of irrationalism was not long in coming, and was laid out by Herman Hoeksema, a period commentator on the debate:

if the complainants [Van Til et. al] take the stand that Scripture reveals things that are, not above and far beyond, but contrary to, in conflict with the human mind, it is my conviction that the complainants should be indicted of heterodoxy, and of undermining all sound theology.

Either the logic of revelation is our logic, or there is no revelation. [25]

Hoeksema continues: "And so, it still seems to me that the issue . . . is not the incomprehensibility of God, but the question whether revelation itself is intelligible to us. To deny the latter is to destroy the very foundations of theology." [26]

Hoeksema's immediate concern is to ensure that "the logic of revelation is our logic" so that "revelation itself is intelligible". This raises two questions. First, why think that Van Til's view undermines the logic of revelation being God's logic? And second, granting that it does, why think this will undermine theology? Central to Van Til's position is that all the propositions that we affirm as true do not apply to God; it would appear he is saying that they are not affirmed by God as true. (It may be that neither are they false for God. Perhaps they just fail to have a truth-value when considered by God, though don't ask me how.) In short, no truth is such that God must, "of necessity" affirm it. Hoeksema then focuses on the implications this has for logic. His point seems to be that logic is fundamental to making any affirmations whatsoever. If then we deny that logic applies to God, we undermine our ability to know anything about God. Take for example, Paul's promise "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." (Rom. 10:9) Now it appears that as Van Til would have it, the law of non-contradiction does not apply to God. If so, then in light of God's promise in Romans 10:9, two contradictory states of affairs could obtain such that we could be saved and not saved, or God though morally perfect could in this case be lying. So if we accept that no truth, including the law of non-contradiction, can apply univocally to God and creatures, then any theological assertion we care to make - God is three persons, Jesus is God - could be simultaneously true and false. If this is Van Til's position Hoeksema is indeed correct that it would "destroy the very foundations of theology." Under the rubric of divine sovereignty and transcendence, we would undermine our ability to say anything whatsoever about God. Along similar lines, to identify a contradiction with God would undermine theology, and by extension creation, apparently leaving us in a morass of trivialism.

Conclusion

It appears then that there are no good reasons to consider the possibility of true contradictions within the being of God and many good reasons not to. Such a view fails to account for divine mystery, and it fails to address the problem of containment. As such, it would appear to place the theologian in danger of trivialism.

I would suggest that a more satisfactory approach to maintaining divine sovereignty and theological autonomy would be to affirm that contradictions are false because they violate the nature of the divine being. At least since the time of Augustine the resources have been available to reconcile the necessity of certain logical truths with divine sovereignty. On this approach, the full set of propositions that comprise all necessary truths such as the law of non-contradiction are interpreted as the thoughts of God. In this way a dependence relation is established such that these truths are true because God thinks them; however, counterfactuals do not present a problem (e.g. it is not possible that God think the law of non-contradiction is false) as these laws are an expression of the necessity of the divine nature. As Alvin Plantinga notes, "God is a necessary being who has essentially the property of thinking just the thoughts he does think; these thoughts, then are conceived or thought by God in every possible world and hence exist necessarily." [27] Further, considering that some of those thoughts, such as the law of non-contradiction, are thought to be true in every possible world, it follows that they are necessarily true, they could not be false. In recent years there has been much significant work undertaken among philosophers of religion in assessing how the type of asymmetrical dependence relation required might be construed. [28] While that debate continues, the core assumption of such a thesis is well captured by Arthur Holmes who observes that "Absolute propositional truth . . . depends on the absolute personal truth (or fidelity) of God, who can be trusted in all he does and says." [29] It would follow not only that there could be no true contradiction within the being of God, but also that we should be deeply skeptical of any claim to true contradictions, not least those made by Cretans.

Endnotes

[1] It is sometimes argued that Nicholas of Cusa held that God possessed contradictory properties but this is debatable. Certainly Averroës' doctrine of double truths did not entail the existence of true contradictions. On the contrary, it contrasted two distinct realms of discourse, the philosophical and theological, while arguing that they provided different but non-conflicting answers to the same question.

[2] Cited in Graham Priest, "Motivations for Paraconsistency: The Slippery Slope from Classical Logic to Dialetheism," in Frontiers of Paraconsistent Logic, Diderik Batens, Chris Mortensen, Graham Priest and Jean-Paul Van Bendegen, eds. Studies in Logic and Computation, Dev. M. Grabbay, series ed. (Baldock: Research Studies Press, 2000).

[3] The Logic of Inconsistency: A Study in Non-Standard Possible-World Semantics and Ontology, APQ Library of Philosophy, Nicholas Rescher, ed., (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1980), 21.

[4] Priest, "Motivations for Paraconsistency: The Slippery Slope from Classical Logic to Dialetheism," 231-2.

[5] In recent years it has been popular to deny the divine eternity, impassibility and immutability.

[6] These Three are One: The Practice of Trinitarian Theology, (Oxford: Blackwell, 1998).

[7] These Three are One, 36.

[8] These Three are One, 115. The context of this quote is a contrast between the formal nature of logic, and the complex interplay between speaker and audience in the use of rhetoric.

[9] We can thus conclude that for Cunningham "All A are B," "All B are C," Therefore "All A are C" is in some cases false.

[10] These Three are One, 36.

[11] One particularly interesting aspect of this thesis is Cunningham's engaging defense of the vestigia trinitatis. See 90-107.

[12] These Three are One, 7, emphasis in original.

[13] These Three are One, 8, emphasis added.

[14] These Three are One, 127.

[15] These Three are One, 128.

[16] (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1991) : 152,4.

[17] Rodney Clapp, "How Firm a Foundation, Can Evangelicals Be Nonfoundationalists?" in The Nature of Confession, Timothy R. Phillips and Dennis L. Okholm, eds. (Downer's Grove: Intervarsity Press, 1996) : 84.

[18] These Three are One, 149-50, emphasis added.

[19] See Alvin Plantinga, Warranted Christian Belief, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000) : 10-14.

[20] Diogenes Allen, Philosophy for Understanding Theology, (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1985) : 13.

[21] Space, Time and Resurrection, (Edinburgh: Handsel Press, 1976) : 175.

[22] John MacIntyre, The Shape of Christology, 2nd ed. (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1998) : 4.

[23] These Three are One, ix.

[24] Although I think Clark is correct in this aspect of the debate, there are aspects of his theology where he may legitimately be accused of being overly rationalistic.

[25] Herman Hoeksema, The Clark-Van Til Controversy, Compiled by John W. Robbins, (Hobbs: The Trinity Foundation, 1995): 8.

[26] Hoeksema, The Clark-Van Til Controversy, 12.

[27] "How to Be an Anti-Realist," in Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association, 56 (1982) : 70.

[28] See for instance Michael Loux, "Toward an Aristotelian Theory of Abstract Objects," in Midwest Studies in Philosophy XI¸ Studies in Essentialism¸ Peter A. French, Theodore E. Uehling, Jr., and Howard K. Wettstein, eds. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986) : 495-512; Thomas V. Morris and Christopher Menzel, "Aboslute Creation," in Thomas V. Morris, Anselmian Explorations: Essays in Philosophical Theology, (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame, 1987) : ; Richard Davis The Metaphysics of Theism and Modality, (New York: Peter Lang, 2001).

[29] Arthur F. Holmes, All Truth is God's Truth, (Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 1977) : 37.

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