Archive for March, 2009

Aquinas Conflating Person and Essence in God

March 31, 2009

“Since a relation, insasmuch as it is something real in God, is the divine essence itself, and the essence is the same as a person, as we have already made clear, it must be that the relation is the same as a person.”

(ST Ia.40.I, response)


Reasons Reformed/Evangelicals Shouldn't Accept the Essence-Energies Distinction (1-3)

March 24, 2009

In a recent post here, David Nilsen of the A-Team argued that Evangelicals should accept the essence-energies distinction. The reasons he offers are related to the doctrine of God, and the need to maintain a biblical understanding of who God is and avoid philosophical extremes. My intention is not to criticize his arguments per se, because they seem alright.[i] What I am interested in asking is whether or not Reformed Protestants—including Reformed Evangelicals—can consistently hold to essence-energies without giving up some of the most important Reformed distinctives.[ii] Can someone believe in the essence-energies distinction, maintain the distinctives of Reformed theology, and not adopt the distinctives of Orthodox theology?

In the first part of this multi-part series, I will give three (of several) reasons to think that the essence-energies distinction is incompatible with some of the most important distinctives of Reformed theology: the doctrine of effectual calling and regeneration, the denial of the communication of divine attributes to Christ’s human nature, and the retributive nature of the punishments of hell. (more…)

Aquinas on the one and the many

March 10, 2009

“Those things that have opposing concepts are themselves opposed.  But the very concept of one consists in undividedness, while the concpet of multiplicity includes division.  Therefore one is opposed to many.”

–Summa Theologica, Question 11, Article 2. (Reply)

A Note to Readers

March 9, 2009

Over the next few months blog activity on The Well of Questions will be lower than usual.  Several of the contributors will be busy finishing up with their undergraduate work.  Please bear with us as we try to get our degrees, and trust that we will have new and interesting material for our readers soon.

Feel free to continue to comment on posts, and contact us with questions; but keep in mind that we may not answer until late May or early June (depending on the questions–if they are easily answered, expect something soon).


Natural Consequences (6): God's Vengeance

March 4, 2009

The following is a response to David Nilsen about the exegesis of Romans 12:19. David was trying to argue that Romans 12:19 is a clear case of Pauline teaching that God retributively punishes sin. You can see the first portion of the exchange here. Below is my non-retributive exegesis of the passage, written as a response to one of David’s comments. (more…)

Persons, Particularity, and Agency

March 3, 2009

The following is an attempt to give an account of what it means to say that a person is an agent using the Orthodox understanding of personhood and freedom, answering the objection that the Orthodox understanding of person requires nominalistic predication. (more…)