Simplicity of God

The simplicity of God means that the being of God is "simple" and beyond composition. God is not complex in the sense that he is made up of distinct properties or constituents, nor can it be said that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit comprise three parts of God. Also called divine simplicity, it forms a significant corollary of both the unity and trinity of God.

The doctrine of divine simplicity is associated with the classical theism of Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas and their adherents, whereby God is understood as radically unlike creatures in that he is devoid of any complexity or composition, whether physical or metaphysical. Some modern critics, such as Alvin Plantinga, [1] challenge the doctrine as being incoherent. [2]

" Emil Brunner, for example, comes down especially hard on the entire concept, criticizing the general trend of the Protestant Scholastics to ground their entire systematic theological formulations in this idea of simplicitas Dei, and arguing that the notion only arises 'if we make the abstract idea of the Absolute the starting-point for our thought. This is simply the undifferentiated Monas of Neo-Platonism modified by Theism.' Again: 'Here [in speaking of simplicity], we are not dealing with an Attribute of God at all, but with the fact that the idea of the Absolute permits no differentiations.' " [3]


Further reading


  1. Alvin Plantinga, Does God have a Nature?(Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 1980).
  2. See Divine Simplicity, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  3. Jules Grisham, Euthyphro, God's Nature, and the Question of Divine Attributes, Part 1.

See also

External links