Date of Award
Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS)
Dr. R. Larry Shelton
Dr. Charles J. Conniry, Jr.
Scholarship reveals that there are at least two primary ways of handling the issue incumbent within Trinitarian theorizing. Most theologians resolve the issue by addressing the inconsistencies, finding various ways to make important distinctions to eliminate apparent contradictions. This is no doubt the most popular route. Among these are social Trinitarians and Latin Trinitarians. A rough distinction can be made here, wherein social Trinitarians start with the Threeness of God and reason from that stance that God is one by an inexorable and eternal loving relationship. Oppositely, Latin Trinitarians start with God as one and reason how God can possibly be three. These approaches will be discussed here because they share the foundational quality of wanting to satisfy human reason while remaining orthodox. Lastly, there is Mysterianism, which is considered a meta-theory insofar as it purports to say something about all other theories, but is also a theory in its own right. Mysterianism comes in two distinct forms, positive and negative. Negative forms of Mysterianism maintain that we simply have insufficient intelligible content to determine whether Trinitarian belief is either consistent or inconsistent. That is to say, the information provided is either too scarce or itself too unfathomable to form a theory that can be toiled with and tried by human reason. Conversely, positive Mysterianism asserts that mystery is not the result of too little content, but rather an abundance of it. The human mind can entertain and even understand many divine truths, but sometimes the conjunction of those truths is seemingly rationally inconsistent. As such, it is not the content itself that is unintelligible, but the combination of such content that becomes increasingly unfathomable. The positive Mysterian says that since we have sufficient plantingian-like warrant for believing certain individual propositions about God’s nature, we have sufficient warrant for rationally holding them conjointly despite their seeming contradiction. The benefits of this study are that it takes seriously the call of Peter to have reasons for the hope that is within you and it also gives modern-day Christians recourse to reject many modern-day conclusions that make God bow to reason and not reason to God.
Conniry, Matthew J., "Trinitarian Theorizing and Mystery as a Way Forward: A Critical Examination of the Forms of Trinitarian Hypothesizing, Why They Fail, and Why Mystery is a Way Forward" (2014). Seminary Masters Theses. 13.