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BOOK REVIEWS 145 much to bring to light the existential contingencies, ideologies, webs of meaning , and networks of belief affecting thought, it has made enormous contributions . The sophisticated foundationalist theologies of Lonergan, Kasper, and Rabner have been at pains to incorporate successfully the historicohermeneutical elements that saturate the noetic moment while still maintaining the realistic epistemology and the metaphysical/transcendental subject apparently essential for sustaining the fundamental affirmations of Catholic thought. The perduring question affecting theological issues is this: Is it theological legerdemain to continue to defend nature, realism, and stability of meaning amidst the thick welter of elements influencing thought and being? Thiel's work will help to clarify the issues surrounding this question. Seton Hall University South Orange, N.J. THOMAS G. GUARINO The Christian God. By RICHARD SWINBURNE. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1994. Pp. 253. $55.00 (cloth); $22.00 (paper). In this the third volume of his magisterial series on the philosophy of Christian doctrine, Swinburne deals with belief in the Trinity and the Incarnation. His aim is to give a coherent account of the meanings of these doctrines, and the kinds of reasons one might have, given a prior belief that there is a God, for supposing that they are true. While he maintains that reason alone can show that God is triune, he does not believe that the same is true of the Incarnation, which is after all a matter of what God has freely chosen to do; but he does think that one can show that there were good reasons for God to become incarnate and thus that God was quite likely to do so. To judge in addition that this actually happened, further arguments are needed, and are supplied by Swinburne, from revelation and history. The first part of the book is concerned with general issues of metaphysics, with the nature of substance, necessity, time, and causality. With the aid of these concepts, Swinburne, expounds the nature of the Western God, and shows how this understanding of God develops quite naturally into belief in the particular doctrines constitutive of Christianity. God's essential properties , as Swinburne sees it, all follow from God's having "pure, limitless power." Now this essence belongs to God in virtue of what God is; it is not a "relational" property, dependent on the divine relations with other things that are or may be-to use Swinburne's terminology, it is metaphysical rather than ontological. It follows that God is the greatest conceivable being, and the doctrine of divine simplicity, properly understood, also follows quite logicallythough it seems to Swinburne that the late patristic and early medieval authors expounded this in a way so misleading as to give the doctrine a bad 146 BOOK REVIEWS name, by claiming God was somehow identical with the divine properties. How could any entity, he asks, even God, be identical with its properties? And how could properties such as omnipotence and omniscience be identical with one another? But, in spite of these errors, the authors concerned were trying to bring out something true and important-the fact that "there is no more to God than essential properties" (163). Now, by "monadic" properties Swinburne means those that belong to something quite apart from its relations with anything else; he distinguishes "monadic" from "relational" properties. While monadic properties characterize something as the kind of thing that it is, it is relational properties that constitute it as the particular individual of that kind it is. If there are different divine individuals, they must be individuated by virtue of their relations with one another. The first divine individual will actively cause another, and in cooperation with that other will cause a third. Is there an overriding reason for the first divine individual thus to cause others? (The withers of Western Christian theologians, though not I think of Eastern, will be wrung by this talk of "causality" within the Trinity; but the difficulty, such as it is, is merely terminological.) According to Swinburne, the love of God is such a reason; love involves giving and receiving, and cooperating with another to benefit a third party. "Love must share and love must co-operate in sharing" (178). Given...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2473-3725
Print ISSN
0040-6325
Pages
pp. 145-147
Launched on MUSE
2017-04-05
Open Access
No
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