Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.7AQ

[The True God should encompass all three categories of existence: thirdness, secondness and firstness.


All three categories are Real. So is God.

Relations cannot be seen, heard, touched, smelled or tasted. Neither can God. To me, the word “God” touches base with relationality.

The word “true” goes with actuality. It would be a contradiction, a “not true”, if God did not encompass the actuality of relations in addition to the actuality of actuality itself in addition to the actuality of the realm of possibility.

The word “one” goes with possibility. God is possible. God makes all things possible. God makes our relations with Himself possible. Even though these statements seem to contradict, they are included in the realm of possibilities. God encompasses all that was, is, and will be.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.7AP

[Consider a god that appears as a single entity but without personhood. This God is a monad. It belongs to the category of firstness. Monads belong realm of possibility. Even though this god may be labeled with a name, this god should not be designated as a person, because this god is the ground for recognition. The ground belongs to the realm of possibility.

This monadic god is pure mystery. This monadic god may be full of contradictions, because contradictions may coexist in the realm of possibility. There is no need for logical coherence. Classical reasoning cannot apply to this god, since classical reasoning concerns the realm of actuality. Classical reasoning rules out contradictions.

Consequently, the label of “One God” may be attached to the Realm of Possibility, because there is no way to establish that there is more than one god. The sea of possibility is monadic. However, “this One God” cannot be called “True” simply because, somewhere else within the monadic sea of possibility, there lurks “the One False God”.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.7AO

[Consider a god that belongs to the realm of actuality. This god belongs solely to the category of secondness. This god exhibits brute force powers, situating the realm of possibility.

Even though the realm of actuality is dyadic, this god cannot recognize itself, because “what is recognized” would also belong to actuality, and so would also have cause and effect powers. How confusing is that?

Polytheistic religions got around this dilemma by positing hierarchies of gods where lower (more cause and effect) gods were generated by higher (more field effect) gods. Also, these gods were frequently generated as dyads.

The Mazdean double godhead seems to fit the realm of actuality. Ormazd chose good. Ahriman chose evil. One did not cause the other, so the dyad is in contradiction. Conflict will remove that contradiction. One must win.

The deities of ancient Greece and Rome also have the character of actuality. They acted according to their passions. They loved. They hated. The felt pride. They felt shame. Yet, one facet was missing.

Did they ever look in the mirror except in confirmation of “who they were”?

These gods were always busy with their causes and effects. But they did not recognize themselves in the same way that the Father recognizes the Son. These gods could not add up to the One True God.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.7AN

[So let me go over some permutations.

Consider a god who is purely a mediator. This god belongs solely to the category of thirdness. This god mediates an actuality other than itself. Consequently, this single god must be co-eternal with a dyad of actualities, say form and matter. This God cannot be the One True God, because it is not the source of the actualities that it mediates.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.7AM

Summary of text [comment] pages 50 and 51

[According to C.S. Peirce, existence falls into three categories. The categories are thirdness, secondness and firstness. These categories may be expressed as the realms of normal context3, actuality2 and possibility1.

Our witness of God should not be otherwise.

From the point of view of Peirce’s categories:

If a god is not “God the Three”, then this god cannot be “the One True God”.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.7AL

Summary of text [comment] pages 50 and 51

[For Christians, “God Recognizing Himself” is experienced as “three persons in one God”.

Does Christian witness follow categorical logic?


“Recognizing3” is a normal context characteristic of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is Recognition3 personified. “Recognizing3” matches transcendence.

God the Father2 and God the Son2 (are actualities that) emerge from “the possibility of God Recognizing Himself1“.

“God the Father2“ is “the One who Recognizes2“. “God the Son2” is “the One who is Recognized2“. Both are experienced as persons. “Father and Son2” matches immanence, even though, from a Greek perspective, the Father appears similar to Zeus.

For Christians, “the possibility of God recognizing Himself1” is a realm of unknowing. It has no name because it cannot be a person. After all, this is the realm of possibility. In fact, this is All Potential Itself.

“All Possibility1“, in the context of “Recognizing3“, matches the term “mysterious”.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.7AK

Summary of text [comment] pages 50 and 51

[Since the Biblical God expresses the feelings of a person and since we are considering the question of whether sin affects God, perhaps this is a good time to consider the categorical structure of God.

We have already seen that the One True God cannot be described as merely transcendent and immanent.

The One True God is transcendent, immanent and mysterious.

In the next few blogs, I will explore “the categorical nature of ‘God Recognizing Himself'”.

Quotes will be used to group words together. ]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.7AJ

[IF “the alpha” is “the way of life before the first singularity, expressed in the innocence and gullibility of Adam and Eve”,

THEN “the omega” could be “thinkdivine as a way of truth and wisdom after the first singularity”.

Christ is the path from the gullibility of Adam to the confidence of thinkdivine.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.7AI

[Some formulate thinkdivine as dogma.

Some are convinced that dogma must be, like our transcendent God, essential and unvarying. Dogma seems remote, without feelings or emotions.

Does God judge our situation from a distance according to a long list of criteria?

Thinkdivine cannot be reduced to dogmatic formula.

Dogma is a guide.

Thinkdivine is a way.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.7AH

Summary of text [comment] pages 50 and 51

[Thinkdivine is a receptacle of God’s relational power. It is one location where God’s immanence is manifest.

“God Recognizing Himself” is transcendent, immanent, and mysterious.

Sin, in its deepest nature, is a “no” to “God Recognizing Himself”.

The historic witness of God’s jealousy and anger encourages us to thinkdivine.

Feelings (realm of possibility) and emotions (realm of actuality) are natural to us. They both cloud and clarify judgment (realm of normal context).]