If God, Godhead, Trinity, Incarnation, Time and Eternity are significant to and central in Christian theology, this work is central to theology.
So, so sad. So very, very sad. Sad—and … just sad. Also: sad.
Something becomes important to a tradition, and for that reason it becomes a really important problem for philosophy. And lifetimes are spent working on solving a puzzle that exists only because people have the ability to memorize and pass on random bullshit. Medieval European philosophy, detached from material investigation (investigation with criteria for correctness and falsifiability), used the material of mythology as its practice material and from these exercises grew theology. Theology is the attempt to debug mythology and render it consistent. Finally, after 1400, philosophy again turned to a realm of possible error (the sensible-physical world) and in this way the specialized empirical sciences were born.
But the tradition of chewing on mythology and building up enthralling bullshit systems lives on even today, in the guise of Christian apologetics. Which is astonishing because comparative mythology and drives-based psychology have surely shown that myths that survive and gain traction are popular because they reflect, for our enjoyment, our deep (bio-psychological) concerns, but do not derive from laws of conservation, or laws of mathematics, or the Principle of Noncontradiction.
So this guy Leahy has written a philosophical analysis of the Christian Trinity.
The Trinity has the same noble genesis as The Birth of Venus, the Venus of Willendorf, and the caves of Chauvet, Lascaux, and Altamira—i.e., the furniture of our biological and social reality. Generally—food and sex. In early societies, where men were the primary fabricators of art objects—hunting and women.
The original trinity was Mother, Father, Child. That is the original trinity the Christians copied and transcribed first as Mary, Yahveh, Jesus. The trinity, far from being mystical or revelatory of ultimate reality, is just the simplest molecule of human social order. Boy meets girl usually results in boy plus pregnant girl, and this usually results in boy plus girl plus baby.
It was a popular motif, on display in most large cities, and probably served as an encouraging tranquilizer, a happy assertion of isomorphism between microcosm and macrocosm.
Nation! When you copulate and raise a child, you are emulating the divine template Isis-Osiris-Horus! You are doing the deeds of your Sky Parents. Know that your actions are right and good.
The mystery level of the original trinity was zero. But the Christian Trinity is not so familiar. It is not a deified mirror of our daily lives. Instead of Mommy Daddy Baby, we have Daddy Baby Ghost. What happened to Mommy?
In Jewish mythology, women were second class persons on Earth and nonexistent in the Sky. Other cultures, including the Greek, had very powerful female gods. Some even made female gods stronger (or prior) to male gods. Not the Jews. Every Sky being—god, demigod, archangel, angel, naughty angel, demon prince—was male.
As far as Jews go, Jesus was a progressive. He enjoyed prostitutes and supported equal rights. But the culture that resurrected him as a demigod was (in part) Jewish, and in Jewish culture women are significantly inferior. (Consider that the penalty for violating their menstruation superstitions was death.)
Under Jewish sensibility, Mommy Daddy Baby became Daddy Baby Ghost:
- Daddy became Yahveh. Yahveh was the Hebrew Sky God and God of War. Similar to Indra and Zeus, but with a greater interest in punishment and in dehumanizing other races.
- Baby became Jesus. For early (proto-orthodox) Christians, Jesus was conceived as a god-man who became an atoning sacrifice. God-men were already well known from the stories about the Greek demigods. Zeus alone begot at least 10 of these—Amphion, Arcas, Dardanus, Epaphus, Helen of Troy, Hercules, Iasus, Perseus, Pollux, and Tityos.
- Mommy became Air God. The Holy Spirit was a helpful version of Sky God that was distributed throughout the air. Air God was already a world-wide motif, because the life or “soul” of the person had already been identified as breath, and wind was just big breath, and a ripe candidate for being God-related.
Now, the original trinity didn’t need an explanatory metaphysics. The original trinity pops up in reality any time fucking is going on. To make one yourself, find a mate. Man + woman will become man + woman + child. The metaphysics of the original trinity is biology. Phenethylamine leads to fucking; oxytocin leads to seven years of child-rearing and original trinity-dom. I suppose the metaphysics would be codified as
Behold! Man and Woman did come together. And they did Know each other, and became one sweaty coupling. Then did Man withdraw, and his seed did germinate in the Womb of Woman. And Breath did descend from the Sky, and enter therein. Thus the twain became three; yea, the twain became three. Until Man came to Know the neighbor’s daughter, whereupon the three again became two.
That can be a metaphysics if you like: Two become one, then two again, then one of them (W) produces a third, and then the other (M) leaves, leaving two. Two becomes two-prime.
But abstract the triad from its material roots and you get three guys. Three guys actually IS a puzzle. And it needs explaining. From this puzzle springs a million pages of theory and false analysis. And people are still trying to explain it today.
Why not? Investigating objective reality is hard, far along, and unlikely to bring much reward. But making imaginary discoveries in the imaginary realm of theology is easy—you only need logic and imagination—and there are enough gullible people that you are likely to win a large audience and become famous (or POTUS). Never underestimate the fame-making power of large audiences. Would you rather be a Nobel Prize winner, known by 100? Or Justin Bieber, known by 3 billion?