-We call God the threeness (Trinity – the abstract term) and not the triple (the concrete term). Every threeness for us – both in experience and thought – is triple, but they are not the same thought.
-We use concrete terms to indicate existence and abstract terms to indicate the indivisibility of essence, but the best name for the God Christians worship is an abstract term used as a as though it named a concrete thing. What we necessarily visualize as a triple we force ourselves to call a threeness, a Trinity.
– Disputed question: Whether God as worshiped is numerically one? Argument: God as worshiped is set apart from a multitude of possible Gods- we worship God, not Zeus or wealth or the great figures of human learning. Sed Contra: God is worshiped as he is, and God is not numerically one, since he is not a part of a larger genus.
-One person of the Trinity is not numerically one, since God is not a part of a larger genus.
–Argument: God, not being physical, is not known by our sensation; not being generic, is not known by our intellect. The intellect universalizes (makes generic) all that it knows. Sed contra: being is not a genus. Sed contra II: not every universal is generic but only those that have only logical existence. The species specialissima does not a merely logical universal.
-A: “addiction is being forced to choose something”.
B: choice is always between possible alternatives, and so cannot be forced.
A: But this is not the experience of addiction – we want to choose something, but find ourselves unable to.
B: But the better description of that is to say that addiction cripples the power to choose. We do not choose one thing by force but simply fail to choose.
– Again, analogous terms are not just alike, there is something in one meaning that forces us to impose another meaning. Augustine describes one way this happens for terms related to “being”:
[God] is, however, without doubt, a substance, or, if it be better so to call it, an essence, which the Greeks call οὐσία . For as wisdom is so called from the being wise, and knowledge from knowing; so from being comes that which we call essence. And who is there that is, more than He who said to His servant Moses,
I am that I am; and,
Thus shall you say unto the children of Israel, He who is has sent me unto you? But other things that are called essences or substances admit of accidents, whereby a change, whether great or small, is produced in them. But there can be no accident of this kind in respect to God; and therefore He who is God is the only unchangeable substance or essence, to whom certainly being itself, whence comes the name of essence, most especially and most truly belongs. For that which is changed does not retain its own being; and that which can be changed, although it be not actually changed, is able not to be that which it had been; and hence that which not only is not changed, but also cannot at all be changed, alone falls most truly, without difficulty or hesitation, under the category of being
De trinitate, Book V c. 2
–Scruples: They are a trick that keeps us from seeing our true faults. We obsess and worry over dramatic faults and wonder if we have fallen into something that we have no real love for or even temptation towards, when in fact what we need to work on – the evils we are much more attached to – go unnoticed.
Those who suffer under scruples are eaten alive by them, but it helps to see them as impediments to moral growth. Whether by subconscious connivance or a trick of the devil, they are smokescreens that keep us from getting to the things that we really need to work on and change. We continually fantasize about dramatic moral improvements when in fact the real real improvements we need to make are at once more obvious and harder for us to see in the face of scruples.