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Studia Neoaristotelica

Volume 10, Issue 1, 2013

A Journal of Analytic Scholasticism

Richard Swinburne
Pages 13-27
DOI: 10.5840/studneoar20131012

A Posteriori Arguments for the Trinity

There is a good a priori argument for the doctrine of the Trinity, from the need for any divine being to have another divine being to love suffi ciently to provide for him a third divine being whom to love and by whom to be loved. But most people who have believed the doctrine of the Trinity have believed it on the basis of the teaching of Jesus as interpreted by the church. The only reason for believing this teaching would be if Jesus led the kind of life which a priori we would expect an incarnate God to live in order to identify with our suffering, make atonement for our sins, and to reveal truth to us; culminated by a miracle which God alone could do and which would also authenticate the teaching. Given good a posteriori evidence for the existence of God, there is enough historical evidence to make it probable that Jesus did live that sort of life, and so to believe the doctrine of the Trinity.

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