Beyond Classical or Personal Theism

Notes on the Frame/Dolezal discussion:

Frame rightly reacted to Dolezal’s Thomism, but more so the fact that Thomas’s view of God is like a solar disc whose rays never actually reach creation.  Sure, Thomas can say things like God’s knowledge creates realities.  And that’s good, but it never seems to really “fit” with the whole system.

Let’s ask ourselves some questions about Thomism and Hellenism:

  1. Is “I am Essence” the same thing as the God of the Burning Bush?
  2. Shouldn’t Thomas’s complete ignorance of Hebrew and passing ignorance of Greek discredit some of his ideas about God?  I mean, he bases exegesis of Scriptural texts off of Latin word studies!

That doesn’t mean Personal Theism is correct. I have problems with saying God is *in* time (not sure if Frame even says that).   But for us who read Hebrew and the Semitisms in NT Greek, we aren’t obligated to agree with Reformed Thomists.


About J. B. Aitken

Interests include patristics, the role of the soul in the human person, analytic theology, Reformed Scholasticism, Medievalism, Substance Metaphysics
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6 Responses to Beyond Classical or Personal Theism

  1. cal says:

    The core issue here, I think, is this: does classical theism equal the Augustinian-Thomist triadology? We’re forced into false choices between being intellectual children of Plotinus or thinking God is a creature.


  2. Mark Olivero says:

    A huge problem for the Frame response to Dolezal is that Frame sees God have “two existences.” Its kinda like a polytheism notion impeted into monotheism. It won’t float.


    • J. B. Aitken says:

      That’s fair. My problem with Dolezal is that he has a tendency to see anyone who disagrees with him as rejecting the church’s doctrine of simplicity. Thomas Aquinas =/= the church


      • Mark Olivero says:

        Or that anyone who disagrees with the doctrine of divine simplicity rejects the church’s long held affirmation of it. Dolezal does refers to many others besides Thomas, right? How about John Owen? I know from previous writings that Dolezal values the work of Owen on Simplicity (as well as other key doctrines in the classic tradition).


      • J. B. Aitken says:

        Sure. The early Owen was heavily Thomist. But by Dolezal’s stretch, Basil the Great in Letter 234 rejects simplicity (though I am sure Dolezal doesn’t say that).

        J. Wesley Richards identified at least six ways simplicity is glossed in both church history and in analytic philosophy. Not just Thomism.


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