Faith and Philosophy

Volume 34, Issue 2, April 2017

A. J. Cotnoir
Pages 123-151

Mutual Indwelling

Perichoresis, or “mutual indwelling,” is a crucial concept in Trinitarian theology. But the philosophical underpinnings of the concept are puzzling. According to ordinary conceptions of “indwelling” or “being in,” it is incoherent to think that two entities could be in each other. In this paper, I propose a mereological way of understanding “being in,” by analogy with standard examples in contemporary metaphysics. I argue that this proposal does not conflict with the doctrine of divine simplicity, but instead affirms it. I conclude by discussing how mutual indwelling relates to the concepts of unity (modal inseparability) and identity (qualitative indiscernibility).