Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 2.1AY

Summary of text [comment] page 67

[So let me consider how “an image of God” would fit into a nested form.

There are clearly three slots in God Recognizing Himself:

(3) God (the Holy Spirit) belongs to triadic relations.

(2) “What God Recognizes” (the Son) and “God Recognizing” (the Father), both belong to actuality.

(1) Omnipotence (the capacity to Recognize and Be Recognized) belongs to the realm of possibility.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 2.1AV

[Finally, the triadic relation itself is divine. The relation itself appears as a person that is similar to the persons in actuality, yet somehow brings both persons (in actuality) into relation to the grounding monadic potential.

This mediator, “Recognize3“, proceeds from “the (omniscient) One Who Recognizes2” and “the (omnipresent) One Who Is Recognized2” while at the same time creating the context where both emerge from “the Omnipotence of Recognition1“.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 2.1AU

[Actuality belongs to the category of secondness. Secondness always contains at least two elements. One can think of secondness as “pairs of cause and effect”, where “one element is distinct and (somehow) determines the other”.

For “God Recognizing Himself”, the two elements in actuality must be “the One Who Recognizes” and “the One Who Is Recognized”.

In addition, “the One Who Recognizes” cannot be identical to “the One Who Is Recognized”. Why? That would be a monad.   Identity belongs to firstness. Actuality requires two elements that we (humans) perceive as distinct, separable, yet contiguous.

“The nature of the divine” dictates that “both these actualities must be divine”.

Otherwise, God would not be omniscient (literally, all knowing, corresponding to The One Who Recognizes) as well as omnipresent (literally, all there, corresponding to The One Who Is Recognized).

Both actualities in this dyad are capable of generating their own normal contexts.

They are experienced as Persons belonging to “the actuality of God Recognizing Himself”.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 2.1AT

[The idea that “God is ‘God the One'” points to the monadic category of firstness, the realm of possibility.   This realm contains the “Capacity of God to Recognize Himself”. After all, if God were to recognize anything, then it would be Himself.

If God could not recognize Himself, then God would not be omnipotent (literally, total potential). The One God must be omnipotent according to the logic of the Greeks.

Yet, the triadic recognition itself holds the actual in relation. The actual is subject to the laws of noncontradiction.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 2.1AS

Summary of text [comment] page 67

[Possibility cannot bring itself into actuality. Potential (firstness) requires a triadic relation (thirdness) in bring it into relation with actuality (secondness).

IF “humans in the image of God” mirrors “the One God of Three Persons”,

THEN sin comes from something else that has entered into the mirror.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 2.1AR

Summary of text [comment] page 67

[Does sin affect God?

Why does the notion that “sin is its own punishment” appear correct but insufficient?

So I turn to the question, not directly asked by Schoonenberg, but clearly implicit: Does sin distort the sinner as “an image of God”?

The first implication of this question comes from the last blog. What is this symbol ‘God’? Is the One God “the God of One” or “the God of Three”?

“God the One” is Pure Potential. Pure Potential defines the category of firstness. The realm of possibility is monadic. Despite its apparent complexity, it contains only one element. Even though various features of this element may be distinguished, they cannot be separated.

A good example is the possibility underlying any spoken word. The potentials for meaning, guarantee, and message may be distinguished, but they cannot be separated. They also may contradict one another, but they cannot be separated.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 2.1AP

[Sin comes in many discourses.

“The object that brings us all into relation” shares the features of all triadic relations. It is like a covenant. It is like a promise. It is like an oath. It is like a gift. It is like a vision of eternity in the ever present now.

God freely gives each person his own existence and expects only one item in return: The person recognizes the covenant, the promise, the oath, and the gift of ‘his’ moment, here and now, in the Presence of the Father and the Son.

In mortal sin, the sinner loses this sense of recognition. ‘He’ breaks the covenant. ‘He’ loses the promise of sanctifying grace of God. ‘His’ oath is mere wind. ‘He’ no longer is in the moment.

This leads to an odd conclusion:

The sinner is not in the present.]