Author Topic: The purpose of life?  (Read 667 times)

Offline Quaremerepulisti

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Re: The purpose of life?
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2019, 08:21:00 AM »
Forgive me Quare, but may I ask: is not then God's perfect will ontologically identical to His permissive will?  And if so, how can evil be absent in the former but not in the latter? 

I am not making any claims here, just asking....

Thanks for enlightening me!  :)

I assume you mean God's positive will when you say God's "perfect" will.

The answer is yes, God's positive will is ontologically identical to His permissive will, which are both ontologically identical to His existence.  The distinction between positive and permissive will exists only in our minds but not in God.

And thus, the distinction between positively willing good and permitting evil, which does exist for a human will, doesn't exist in God.  Everything willed is willed with a single act of will.
 
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Offline Quaremerepulisti

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Re: The purpose of life?
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2019, 08:40:30 AM »
God's ability to create is entailed by His existence=essence. God's actually creating something is not entailed.  If God does create/cause/change things HE is not determined or changed, but the thing created/caused is determined: although not as a logical entailment from His essence. God CHOOSES to cause something, He is not determined to do it; His ABILITY to choose is entailed (His freedom) and the POSSIBILITY of there being something other than Himself is entailed.  When we cause/determine some thing we change too, and there is (I think) a logical entailment from cause(s) to effect(s). God's causality is different; you  want to say it is non-deterministic but maybe THAT is being anthropomorphic. I think God does determine things but is not Himself determined.

FREEDOM in God is one thing that makes Him able to create something other than Himself without logical entailment. His freedom is entailed by His existence/essence, but does not determine Him. Freedom and  power are different in God than in us; but I still think God can determine us.  I am not talking about free will here, but in general.

Per Divine simplicity, there is no ontological distinction between's God's existence, His essence, His ability, His freedom, His power, and His choice.  Every time you say something like the above, you're implicitly assuming there is (e.g. a distinction between choice and power in God); and thus anthropomorphasizing.  But there isn't.

Unlike for us; we are accidentally different if we choose something vs. not choosing it.  But if we compare two Gods, one Who creates this world and another Who creates a different world (or none at all), there is absolutely no difference whatsoever between them.

Thus, it is a category error to speak of God "determining" or "determined".  God can't possibly be "determined" - there's nothing to determine.  And thus, there is no difference between a God who supposedly "determines" this vs. one Who "determines" that.

And if you deny this, what explains God's choices - since in this framework, God's choices are distinct from God's existence and are the explanation for what is chosen.  God's existence doesn't explain them, since He could have chosen something else.  You can find only a partial explanation like "God wills this to promote His glory" but there is no explanation as to why He willed this instead of that in order to promote it.  Thus, God (or at least something about Him) is, by His very nature, random, unexplained, and unexplainable.



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The Bible certainly talks as though God can determine us (even forgetting free will); how do you explain that? The Bible speaks anthropomorphically; but I don't know how to avoid it.

This is how I see this now.

Of course not.  It's simply not possible to talk about God's relations with the world in any other way but anthropomorphically.

 

Offline Quaremerepulisti

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Re: The purpose of life?
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2019, 08:47:00 AM »
I'm not sure we can make a distinction between God's "ability" to create something and His "choice" to create something. Because God is simple.

Correct.

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Speaking of which, this has always had me confused. How can God create, freely, when He never had the potential to choose to create?

But you're taking your human concept of "freedom" and univocally grafting it onto God.  So no wonder you arrive at an insoluble problem.  For us, freedom, choice, and existence are distinct.  Not so for God, as you yourself admit above.

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If we start with the existence of the world, and we work our way backwards, I'm not sure how we can arrive at the Christian doctrine of God as Creator. But I easily arrive at the pantheistic doctrine, that the world emanates from God by necessity.

I am not following you.  The Platonic idea of God as "self-diffusing good" was held by many of the early Christian apologists.  That hardly entails pantheism (the world is not identical to God) nor necessary creation (there are many ways for God to self-diffuse His good).

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Maybe my definition of "free choice" is faulty... I don't know.

Again, you're univocally applying that human concept onto God.
 

Offline St. Columba

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Re: The purpose of life?
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2019, 09:22:59 AM »
Forgive me Quare, but may I ask: is not then God's perfect will ontologically identical to His permissive will?  And if so, how can evil be absent in the former but not in the latter? 

I am not making any claims here, just asking....

Thanks for enlightening me!  :)

I assume you mean God's positive will when you say God's "perfect" will.

The answer is yes, God's positive will is ontologically identical to His permissive will, which are both ontologically identical to His existence.  The distinction between positive and permissive will exists only in our minds but not in God.

And thus, the distinction between positively willing good and permitting evil, which does exist for a human will, doesn't exist in God.  Everything willed is willed with a single act of will.

Forgive my ignorance, but does this not imply then that God, not only loves, but wills the evil that He permits?  If allowing = willing, is not then evil tantamount to a "good"?
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Offline St. Columba

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Re: The purpose of life?
« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2019, 09:28:25 AM »
Thus, God (or at least something about Him) is, by His very nature, random, unexplained, and unexplainable.

Therefore, is not God in some very real sense irrational?  You recently said He was rational Quare.  He cannot be partially random.
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Offline Quaremerepulisti

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Re: The purpose of life?
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2019, 10:46:39 AM »
Forgive my ignorance, but does this not imply then that God, not only loves, but wills the evil that He permits?  If allowing = willing, is not then evil tantamount to a "good"?

No, He loves and wills the greater good for which sake the evil is permitted.
 

Offline Quaremerepulisti

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Re: The purpose of life?
« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2019, 10:52:17 AM »
Thus, God (or at least something about Him) is, by His very nature, random, unexplained, and unexplainable.

Therefore, is not God in some very real sense irrational?  You recently said He was rational Quare.  He cannot be partially random.

Please reread the paragraph that you took this sentence from: it is clear that I was saying this is the unavoidable conclusion IF you deny something (which I don't).  If you are only interested in putting forth "gotcha"-type arguments and not in a serious discussion (which implies actually taking an honest effort to understand what your interlocuteur is saying and honestly replying to his actual arguments rather then quoting out of context) then I am not interesting in discussing this any further with you.

 

Offline St. Columba

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Re: The purpose of life?
« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2019, 04:59:00 PM »
Thus, God (or at least something about Him) is, by His very nature, random, unexplained, and unexplainable.

Therefore, is not God in some very real sense irrational?  You recently said He was rational Quare.  He cannot be partially random.

Please reread the paragraph that you took this sentence from: it is clear that I was saying this is the unavoidable conclusion IF you deny something (which I don't).  If you are only interested in putting forth "gotcha"-type arguments and not in a serious discussion (which implies actually taking an honest effort to understand what your interlocuteur is saying and honestly replying to his actual arguments rather then quoting out of context) then I am not interesting in discussing this any further with you.

My apologies Quare for not reading the paragraph properly.  I am interested in dialoguing in good faith.  I will try to be more careful.

Have a most pleasant evening.
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Offline St. Columba

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Re: The purpose of life?
« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2019, 05:08:07 PM »
.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2019, 09:23:45 PM by St. Columba »
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Offline Non Nobis

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Re: The purpose of life?
« Reply #24 on: January 17, 2019, 03:18:38 AM »
Quaremerepulisti,

Thus, God (or at least something about Him) is, by His very nature, random, unexplained, and unexplainable.

Therefore, is not God in some very real sense irrational?  You recently said He was rational Quare.  He cannot be partially random.

Please reread the paragraph that you took this sentence from: it is clear that I was saying this is the unavoidable conclusion IF you deny something (which I don't).  If you are only interested in putting forth "gotcha"-type arguments and not in a serious discussion (which implies actually taking an honest effort to understand what your interlocuteur is saying and honestly replying to his actual arguments rather then quoting out of context) then I am not interesting in discussing this any further with you.


Don't you think you sometimes come too quickly to the conclusion that people are arguing dishonestly because they don't follow your entire argument as well as you do?   I had a similar problem to St. Columba's (and probably still do). Maybe sometimes you think too quickly for your readers and it is natural they might not understand your whole context.

DO YOU think that God is neither rational nor irrational because talking of these things is speaking anthropomorphically? Just a guess. It's too late at night for me to muddle around with responding to your last post to me.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2019, 03:40:24 AM by Non Nobis »
[Matthew 8:26]  And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm.

[Job  38:1-5]  Then the Lord answered Job out of a whirlwind, and said: [2] Who is this that wrappeth up sentences in unskillful words? [3] Gird up thy loins like a man: I will ask thee, and answer thou me. [4] Where wast thou when I laid up the foundations of the earth? tell me if thou hast understanding. [5] Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
 
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Offline Kreuzritter

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Re: The purpose of life?
« Reply #25 on: January 17, 2019, 06:56:36 AM »
I have a real question:

How does someone who rightly talks about the importance of theosis reconcile its underlying Eastern theology with a Western radical understanding of divine simplicity? These two are mutually exclusive, albeit one is an experienceable reality and the other piece of rationalistic philosophising.
 

Offline Kreuzritter

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Re: The purpose of life?
« Reply #26 on: January 17, 2019, 08:17:01 AM »
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God's existence, His essence, His will, His power, and His love are ontologically absolutely identical ...

... For us, freedom, choice, and existence are distinct.  Not so for God, as you yourself admit above.

By which not much of anything would have been said, upon further analysis. The actual concept or, where applicable, referent of "existence", "love", "power", "will", "freedom" and "choice" in the English language are all distinct, and, duly noting such sensible instances as talking of something like love as a power, by making an equation of any two you have to look past the meaning of one or even both.

No, asking questions like Daniel's is not univocation, it's meaning by the words what they actually mean, meanings that are either predicable of God or not, and the comments above read to me like "w = x = y = z" where I have no idea of what those letters are supposed to indicate.

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Which means that, if something is not logically entailed by His existence it cannot be logically entailed by His will, His power, or anything else, and that to say something happens "because God's will" is identical to saying "because God exists" - e.g. God's causation (unlike creaturely causation) is intrinsically non-determinative, since God's causation is identical to His existence, and His existence does not entail the existence of any created thing.

One seeks to take the polar opposite road to the "pagan god hurling thunderbolts", and one ends up being left with the intellectual construct of a lifeless "God" who is not in any conventional sense of the word a personal subject at all but more like some amorphous singularity of divine energy. But this thing of transplanted Greek philosophy, worked over by the Scholastic's imbecilic belief in the reality of linguistic constructs above that of phenomenal actuality so extreme that it puts the Eleatics to shame, is unequivocally not the El of Genesis who decides to create through speech, the Yahweh of the Hebrews who stands before Abraham, or Jesus of the Gospels. Of that we have total certainty, and the only way to stick with the philosophy is to dismiss the scriptures as primitive misunderstandings or deficient graspings at the divinity presented in metaphorical language.

The Scholastics, and Western theology in general, again with pre-eminent stupidity, appear to have miserabley failed to identify the spiritual subject, and this only continued with the Cartesian revolution, in which everything not "body" is merged into "mind", down  to today in which we speak of "consciousness" without distinction among the one who is aware, the awareness, and the immediate object of that awareness or "content of consciousness". They cannot even attempt to solve the problem of transcendence and immanence while being unable to distinguish between the I and its active and passive interactions with the rest of reality, particularly conflating actor with act and sufferer with suffering, at the most general level. The debilitating effect this kind of blindness has had upon its musings over nature of God is evident. We see that above.

You can add to the factors involved in this peculiarly Western problem articulated by Quare, so alien to the living theology of the East's Palamism, Augstine's fundamental misunderstanding of the Cappadocian Fathers and Chalcedonian theology in his explication of the Trinity, most notable in how in him we go from speaking of the actual Greek dogma of "one ousia in three hypostases" to "three persons in one essence", propositions which are absolutely distinct and in no manner implied one by the other, even if we take essence and person as properly expressing what was meant by ousia and hypostasis (while it is in one sense true that the three hypostasis are essential to God, that's not the issue and it is certainly not an explication of the doctrine of the Trinity). But, really, the switcheroo, this turning of things upon their heads  by the Latins, does involve a misunderstanding of ousia, one we can see play out later in the Palamite controversy if not even in the filioque, which is no surprise, since the concept of ousia is intimately connected with that of the subject mentioned in the previous paragraph, and is not a mere nature, much less some kind of spiritual stuff.

Any ousia is of necessity simple, but to extend this to the hypostases in general, when we have three and one of them joining, in time, a human nature into itself, or even further to the divine energies, has no scriptural or logical basis, and it only ends in insurmountable coonflicts with logic, morality and scriptural narratives of the deity whose faux-solution is to chalk them up to mystery.






« Last Edit: January 17, 2019, 08:20:40 AM by Kreuzritter »
 
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Offline St. Columba

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Re: The purpose of life?
« Reply #27 on: January 17, 2019, 12:34:42 PM »
I have a real question:

How does someone who rightly talks about the importance of theosis reconcile its underlying Eastern theology with a Western radical understanding of divine simplicity? These two are mutually exclusive, albeit one is an experienceable reality and the other piece of rationalistic philosophising.

Questions like this, although interesting, would necessitate something akin to a doctoral thesis to adequately answer.  These questions are so broad, that on an internet forum no less, all that is really likely to happen is that the person answering the question will move it into a space they want to speak about.

I much prefer Daniel's posting style: ask specific, bite-sized, questions, with the result, hopefully, of getting some specific answers, in order to learn.  This way, posters are getting the most educational bang for buck of time invested hanging around here.   Some of us are extremely busy. Broad questions are simply laced with so many nested assumptions, presuppositions, and personal biases, as to be relatively useless for drawing any firm conclusions.

That aside, I do enjoy reading your posts Kreuzritter!  ;)

« Last Edit: January 17, 2019, 12:37:46 PM by St. Columba »
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Offline John Lamb

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Re: The purpose of life?
« Reply #28 on: January 18, 2019, 04:56:10 PM »
I have a real question:

How does someone who rightly talks about the importance of theosis reconcile its underlying Eastern theology with a Western radical understanding of divine simplicity?

Theosis does not reproduce absolutely the divinely simple & irreproducible Essence in man, but reproduces it analogously by energetically conforming man to its Likeness (through love). Palamas is wrong when he says that the energies of (really from, ex- not ab-) God are uncreated: they are in fact created energies created grace forms us into a new creature. To say that we physically participate in the uncreated Energy (which is really One not many, and identical to the uncreated Essence) is akin to a pantheistic assimilation of man's being into the divine Being (which is really pagan apotheosis not Christian theosis).

"If then any be in Christ a new creature, the old things are passed away, behold all things are made new." (2 Cor. 5:17)
Christ makes us new (supernatural, divinised) creatures He does not absolutely speaking assimilate us into His uncreated Being; rather His uncreated Holy Spirit dwells within us and sheds in our hearts the created grace which deifies us analogously speaking.

 
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These two are mutually exclusive, albeit one is an experienceable reality and the other piece of rationalistic philosophising.

That's just anti-scholastic grumbling. Really in terms of experience theosis and the experience of divine simplicity are the same, seeing as the more we approach the divine Essence through theosis the more we realise its divine simplicity. And in terms of philosophy the more simple we are the greater likeness we have to the divine Essence, which is the practice of the mystic whose life & prayer becomes ever more simple as he advances through the spiritual degrees towards supernatural perfection.


This is Aquinas refuting Palamas:

Quote from: Aquinas
Article 2. Whether charity is something created in the soul?

Objection 1. It would seem that charity is not something created in the soul. For Augustine says (De Trin. viii, 7): "He that loveth his neighbor, consequently, loveth love itself." Now God is love. Therefore it follows that he loves God in the first place. Again he says (De Trin. xv, 17): "It was said: God is Charity, even as it was said: God is a Spirit." Therefore charity is not something created in the soul, but is God Himself.

[...]

On the contrary, Augustine says (De Doctr. Christ. iii, 10): "By charity I mean the movement of the soul towards the enjoyment of God for His own sake." But a movement of the soul is something created in the soul. Therefore charity is something created in the soul.

I answer that, The Master [i.e. Peter Lombard] looks thoroughly into this question in 17 of the First Book [Lombard's Sentences], and concludes that charity is not something created in the soul, but is the Holy Ghost Himself dwelling in the mind. Nor does he mean to say that this movement of love whereby we love God is the Holy Ghost Himself, but that this movement is from the Holy Ghost without any intermediary habit, whereas other virtuous acts are from the Holy Ghost by means of the habits of other virtues, for instance the habit of faith or hope or of some other virtue: and this he said on account of the excellence of charity.

But if we consider the matter aright, this would be, on the contrary, detrimental to charity. For when the Holy Ghost moves the human mind the movement of charity does not proceed from this motion in such a way that the human mind be merely moved, without being the principle of this movement, as when a body is moved by some extrinsic motive power. For this is contrary to the nature of a voluntary act, whose principle needs to be in itself, as stated above (I-II:6:1): so that it would follow that to love is not a voluntary act, which involves a contradiction, since love, of its very nature, implies an act of the will.

Likewise, neither can it be said that the Holy Ghost moves the will in such a way to the act of loving, as though the will were an instrument, for an instrument, though it be a principle of action, nevertheless has not the power to act or not to act, for then again the act would cease to be voluntary and meritorious, whereas it has been stated above (I-II:114:4) that the love of charity is the root of merit: and, given that the will is moved by the Holy Ghost to the act of love, it is necessary that the will also should be the efficient cause of that act.

Now no act is perfectly produced by an active power, unless it be connatural to that power of reason of some form which is the principle of that action. Wherefore God, Who moves all things to their due ends, bestowed on each thing the form whereby it is inclined to the end appointed to it by Him; and in this way He "ordereth all things sweetly" (Wisdom 8:1). But it is evident that the act of charity surpasses the nature of the power of the will, so that, therefore, unless some form be superadded to the natural power, inclining it to the act of love, this same act would be less perfect than the natural acts and the acts of the other powers; nor would it be easy and pleasurable to perform. And this is evidently untrue, since no virtue has such a strong inclination to its act as charity has, nor does any virtue perform its act with so great pleasure. Therefore it is most necessary that, for us to perform the act of charity, there should be in us some habitual form superadded to the natural power, inclining that power to the act of charity, and causing it to act with ease and pleasure.

Reply to Objection 1. The Divine Essence Itself is charity, even as It is wisdom and goodness. Wherefore just as we are said to be good with the goodness which is God, and wise with the wisdom which is God (since the goodness whereby we are formally good is a participation of Divine goodness, and the wisdom whereby we are formally wise, is a share of Divine wisdom), so too, the charity whereby formally we love our neighbor is a participation of Divine charity. For this manner of speaking is common among the Platonists, with whose doctrines Augustine was imbued; and the lack of adverting to this has been to some an occasion of error.


[...]

I think Aquinas' teaching is profound here, because he's saying that while superficially speaking it sounds more noble to say that the supernatural love in our hearts is identical to God, really it is more noble that God Who is Love dwells and creates supernatural charity in us (created grace) so that we have this love which is properly and individually our own: making us new creatures born of God. Still Aquinas admits with Augustine the Platonic understanding that the love created in us by God is a formal participation of the Divine Love; what Aquinas refutes is the notion that the analogous divine love acting in us is materially (not just formally) identical to the absolute Divine Love. Of course the notion that uncreated & supremely immaterial Being should in any way participate materially in created being is metaphysically absurd, but that's the problem with Palamas' metaphysics with its notion of uncreated Energies becoming submerged in material creatures. Materially speaking supernatural charity is a created grace / energy, although formally it is a participation in or pattern of uncreated Love.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2019, 05:23:32 PM by John Lamb »
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Offline John Lamb

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Re: The purpose of life?
« Reply #29 on: January 18, 2019, 05:53:27 PM »
You can add to the factors involved in this peculiarly Western problem articulated by Quare, so alien to the living theology of the East's Palamism, Augstine's fundamental misunderstanding of the Cappadocian Fathers and Chalcedonian theology in his explication of the Trinity, most notable in how in him we go from speaking of the actual Greek dogma of "one ousia in three hypostases" to "three persons in one essence", propositions which are absolutely distinct and in no manner implied one by the other, even if we take essence and person as properly expressing what was meant by ousia and hypostasis (while it is in one sense true that the three hypostasis are essential to God, that's not the issue and it is certainly not an explication of the doctrine of the Trinity). But, really, the switcheroo, this turning of things upon their heads  by the Latins, does involve a misunderstanding of ousia, one we can see play out later in the Palamite controversy if not even in the filioque, which is no surprise, since the concept of ousia is intimately connected with that of the subject mentioned in the previous paragraph, and is not a mere nature, much less some kind of spiritual stuff.

Any ousia is of necessity simple, but to extend this to the hypostases in general, when we have three and one of them joining, in time, a human nature into itself, or even further to the divine energies, has no scriptural or logical basis, and it only ends in insurmountable coonflicts with logic, morality and scriptural narratives of the deity whose faux-solution is to chalk them up to mystery.

The Catholic Encyclopedia article on the The Blessed Trinity goes over the differences in the Greek & Latin approaches in some detail. In short they are complementary.

The Trinity of Persons does not conflict with the Divine Simplicity of Essence, and this can be resolved by the doctrine of Perichoresis: the three Persons or Hypostases infinitely compenetrate One & Other so that wherever the Father is, the Son & Holy Spirit are also; and wherever the Son is, the Father & Holy Spirit are also; and wherever the Holy Spirit is, the Father & Son are there also; and wherever the One Divine Essence is, the Three Persons are there also infinitely compenetrating each other so the One Divine Essence is equally in the Three Persons, and the Three Persons are equally in the One Divine Essence.
As many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name. (John 1:12)
 
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