Re: analogies, and models of God (was tinkering God

From: John Stahl <jwstahl@geneva.edu>
Date: Fri Aug 26 2005 - 10:07:07 EDT

Regarding the triple point concept as analogy for the trinity, there was a communication in PSCF, March 1987, page 39 by Michael Bozack which developed this analogy in great detail and also dealt with the limitations of analogy. I have been using this in Physical Chemistry class for years.

I have done a lot of thinking about the use of metaphor and illustrations in scripture and in our explainations of theological ideas. This is a crucial part of how human language works compared to machine language. Since I John says "God is Light," we do not hesitate to use this metaphor in tallking about God. However, when it comes to inventing our own metaphors and analogies, a great deal of care and humility is needed. In the case of the trinity, (and the incarnation and the meaning of the sacraments, and maybe some other concepts), scripture refers to them as mystery. Analogies can help us gain some understanding, but we must never press them too far.

*----------------------------------------------------
>>> Don Nield <d.nield@auckland.ac.nz> 08/25/05 9:01 PM >>>
Dave , Jim and other folk:
I think that I understand the triple point of water. It is just the case
that for a container containing H2O at a certain special temperature and
pressure, some of the stuff may be solid, some may be liquid, and some
may be gas, and some may be in transition from one state to another. In
a sense, the 3 states co-exist in the one container.

Whether this is a good analogy for theological purposes is another
matter. In fact, I would be very cautious.

Dr. John W. Stahl
Professor and Chair
Department of Chemistry
Geneva College
Beaver Falls, PA 15010
(724) 847-6705
jwstahl@geneva.edu
Received on Fri Aug 26 10:08:58 2005

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