Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A Thomistic Defense of Dualism

      At the core of the debates between naturalistic and theistic pictures of the world is the question of dualism and universals.  Though those two issues are distinct, in Thomistic thought they come together at their root through the philosophical doctrine of hypemorphism. This doctrine is perhaps the second most important and indispensable Scholastic principle within the Scholastic intellectual Tradition (the first being the general distinction between act and potency). And it is my contention that this doctrine is fully demonstrable and that it simultaneusouly accounts for Dualism and a realist approach to universals. Not only that, it also bears ethical and theological implications. Three main arguments will be presented in support of this doctrine coupled respectively with a refutation of one seemingly persuasive objection to each. 
        First, an explanation of what this doctrine is. Hylemorphism is best defined in reference to its etymology. Hylemorphism is a derivative of two Greek words: “Hyle” and “Morphe”. Hyle refers to matter, or the underlying substratum of created being that is receptive to some actuality or form. Form, or Morphe, refers to the individual actuality o fa thing, designating its quiddity (whatness) as really distinct from some other thing. Taken together, Hyle and Morphe constitute an essence, or an individual thing, that is, a thing essentially composed of an underlying substratum or subject that is receptive to its quiddity (as will later also be referred to as potency) and the actual quiddity itself (which will later be referred to also as act). According to this view, essences are merely composed of these two metaphysical principles of nature and nothing more, though indeed many scholastics such as St. Thomas Aquinas have believed there to be essences merely composed of pure subsistent form alone (angels), though this would be an exception and not the rule (ST Ia Q. 50, art. 2, s.c.), but that will not be further discussed in this paper. Lastly, before progressing on to the actual arguments for this doctrine, a clarification is in order for the modern reader as regards the colloquial understanding of the terms matter and form. Matter and form must not be understood as referring to these colloquial understandings. Matter qua its Aristotelian definition does not refer to the aggregate of corporeal objects in space, as is commonly understood. It merely refers to the underlying potency or substratum that of itself is receptive to some actuality. Similarly, form is not to be understood as merely referring to a thing’s shape, or size, or physical limitations. Indeed, these things are included, and the colloquial sense of the word is not wholly equivocal to the Aristotelian understanding, but form strictly speaking qua its Aristotelian definition refers simply to the actuality of an individuated reality, determining its quiddity and essential limitations, acting as the giver to the receiver that is matter, which considered in itself has no existence, since it is merely in potency to reception of its compliment. Now that this clarification has been made, it is now appropriate to continue on to the arguments in support of this doctrine. 
       The first argument in defense of this doctrine is taken from limitation. Given the principle of participation whereby a thing’s quiddity is its perfection, and its individual existence is an imperfect participation in its quiddity (as a drawn triangle is an imperfect participation in the quiddity of triangularity as such, say)we can derive from this a hylemorphic duality by way of implication. For within the essence of the triangle, there is both its quiddity and its participation. If there were no quiddity, the triangle would not be intelligible to the intellect, and since pure quiddity in itself (form) is merely an intelligible abstraction, there must also be the actual subject in which the quiddityinheres, or in in which the quiddity is received. Thus can we refer to the subject which receives the quiddity (triangularity) in which it participates as matter and the quiddity itself which serves as the determiner of the subject that makes the triangle truly a triangle as form. For, in truth, the subject that imperfectly participates in triangularity is the potency that is receptive to its quiddity as is implied by the very notion of participation, which perfectly matches the definition of matter as stated above, which is the potency to be receptive of a specific actuality or quiddity. Similarly, form as understood in this doctrine is truly appropriate since by form we mean the actuality or quiddity of the subject that imbues within it intelligibility (Feser 162).
One foreseeable objection to this argument could be stated thusly. From what demonstration can it be definitively held that there exists a quiddity to any given thing? To this, one could respond in a variety of ways. One shall be offered here. Given the demonstrable reality of change, we can establish with certainty the reality of abstract quiddity that inheres in the outcomes of change (Feser 160). In order for change to be possible, there needs be an outcome that in some manner exists already in that which brought about the change in question, for it is impossible for that which does not exist to begin existing ex nihilo, for from nothing comes nothing. Thus, the outcome of a given instantiation of change must already exist in some manner in order for that outcome to be brought about, else the outcome would have come from non-being which is impossible. Its manner of existence within the efficient cause of such change can only be abstract, for the outcome cannot actually exist in the cause. It can therefore be definitively held that any outcome of change, whether it be a substance or an accident, must pre-exist virtually in the cause, and this pre-existence is none other than the quiddity of the very outcome itself, which persists inherently in the essence of the outcome itself, whence comes the distinction between form and matter wholly intact as defined above. 
       The second argument in support of this doctrine is taken from the reality of multiplicity. From the senses it is manifest that things are distinct from one another, and that the distinctions perceived through the senses are real distinctions as opposed to purely logical or virtual distinctions. Now in order for two things to be different from one another, they must be common as to their common individuality and thinghoodThis is because difference of itself necessarily implies that preceding the difference between things underlies a common reality that serves as the basis upon which such things are differentiated. For while they are contrary to one another in certain respects, they are the same insofar as they are both contrastable instantiations of thinghood as such. In this respect, they are similar, and therefore the same, for similitude is understood inasmuch as two things are the same, and difference is understood inasmuch as two things have contrariety with respect to one each other. Since this is so, whence comes differentiation? If at the most fundamental level of their being, two different things are the same, what room is there for true differentiation? Would not differentiation be an illusion of the underlying reality of the two things, since their common thinghood which lies at the fundament of their existence would render them one and the same? This absurdity can only be avoided if one breaks into two halves every essence. That is, the subject (matter) and the principle of distinguishable quiddity (form). Matter serves as the underlying principle whereby an essence is individuated and form serves as the principle of distinguishability between one instantiation of individuation and another. Were this not so, then differentiation would be an illusion and real distinctions between actual things would be reduced to absurdity, which is manifestly not the case. 
There is an objection one could raise against this argument, however. That is, if the determinable substratum that is open to the reception of change is given existence through the determiner, that is, the quiddity that imbues intelligibility and actuality in matter, and if the actual existence of the quiddity itself is dependent upon the subject that is receptive to it, since form considered apart from matter is a mere abstraction, then how can either hylemorphic component be said to exist at all if they are mutually dependent upon one another for their respective existence as a composite essence? To this, it must be conceded that indeed form apart from matter does not exist considered in itself, and nor does matter apart from form. Form considered in itself is the merely abstract quiddity of a thing that cannot have actual existence prior to the subject that receives the quiddity, since the quiddity of this or that thing presupposes the existence of the subject in which it inheres. Similarly, designated matter considered in itself, that is, matter that is receptive to a specific form, can have no existence apart from form. For its designation presupposes the existence of that which imbues actuality into the matter (potency) itself. How, then, can either hylemorphic component of a composite essence be said to exist at all, if they mutually depend on one another for their existence? 
       To this, it is necessary to bring up a traditional Thomistic distinction that will doubtless be of help in solving this quandary. That is, the distinction between a thing’s essence and its act of existence. In De Ente et Essentia, Saint Thomas Aquinas draws a sharp distinction between what a thing is and its act of existence, such that considered apart from the thing’s act of existence which is really distinct from the thing itself, the essence of itself has no existence to speak of. Therefore, it is necessary, according to the reasoning of Saint Thomas, that one posit the existence of some reality whose essence and existence is merely one and the same thing, such that is subsistent existence alone (De Ente et Essentia, Caput IV). This Saint Thomas ultimately refers to as the Divine Essence, or He Who Is. The existence of this reality is necessary, for its absence would entail the essential nonexistence of any given essence that is distinct from its act of existence. 
Now, referring to the inter-contingent components of a hylemorphically composite essence, the logic is no different. For the inter-contingency of these two halves entail the essential nonexistence of each half, for without matter there is no form and without form there is no matter. Therefore, in order to justify rationally the existence of any given thing, we must posit some reality whose essence and act of existence are one and the same thing, such that it is subsistent existence alone in order for any given thing to exist at all, and this is what all men call God.This objection, therefore, apart from demolishing the entire edifice of scholastic thought actually inadvertently supplies the scholastic philosopher not only with a sound defense of the coherence of hylemorphic dualism but also with a means of demonstrating the very existence of God, a doctrine which is also if not more indispensable to the edifice of scholastic thought. 
        In conclusion, the doctrine of hylemorphic dualism far from being some long refuted memory of the medievalists is a doctrine that is very much demonstrable and rationally defensible. From the reality of limitation, that is, the quidddity of a thing being limited by the underlying particularity of a thing’s imperfect participation in the quiddity, we can divide an essence into two metaphysical hemispheres: the qiuddity itself and the individual subject that participates in the quiddity, which is indistinguishable from the traditional definitions of form and matter, respectively. From the reality of change, that is, the reduction of potency to act, we can also establish with certainty the hylemorphic constituency of essences given the fact of proportionate causality. Finally, we can establish hylemorphism from the demonstrable reality of multiplicity itself, since the common underlying basis upon which two things are differentiated can only be made sense of by breaking reality into the two metaphysical hemispheres as argued for above. There is indeed grandeur in this metaphysical picture of the world. It makes room for the existence of God as well as the basis for the natural law conception of ethics, Truly it is indispensable to Western Civilization, and given the arguments stated above, it is also indispensable to rationality itself. 

Works Cited
Aquinas, Thomas. "De Ente Et Essentia." Thomas Aquinas: De Ente Et Essentia: English. Dominican House of Studies Priory, n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.  

Aquinas, Thomas. Summa Theologiae, Prima Pars 50-119Vol. 2. Trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Province. The Aquinas Institute, 2012. Print.

Feser, Edward. Scholastic Metaphysics: A Contemporary IntrodictionHeusenstammEitiones Scholasticae, 2014. Print.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Death of Death by Death

           Good Friday is not the day we as Christians celebrate death. Death is not what we hold up victoriously in our processions at the Mass. If that were true, we would in essence be celebrating the power of Hell, which would clearly be at odds with what it means to be Christian. If that were true, then we would scoff at the Resurrection, for the Resurrection is the ultimate slap in the face to death. So what are we celebrating on this most Holy Friday? In a sense, we are celebrating a death. But we are not celebrating Death. Rather, we are celebrating the death of a very specific, particular, concrete death. We are celebrating the death of Death by death. Before we unpack this mystery, we must answer, what is Death?

           Death is hard to define. Even with our advanced medical knowledge, the ontology of death has never been pinned down justifiably by our modern dictionaries. Is it the functional cessation of neurological activity? Near Death Experiences at least seem to indicate to an extent a possibility for the contrary. Is it the functional cessation of the heart? That is not universally fatal. The point is that death is ambiguous and shrouded by mystery. We cannot pin down death, even if we can prolong bodily sustenance. Death, rather, pins us down. It is the consumption of Being by non-Being. It is, therefore, the perfect manifestation of evil. For what is evil but the privation of Being? With this in mind, what greater evil could there be than for a being whose Nature is called to be elevated to an exponentially higher level of Being to immediately descend to the pit of privation? No evil could be greater, indeed. Death is the epitome of evil. It is that which separates the beloved from its lover; it is that which separates a created being from Being Itself.

           If this evil could receive its own medicine, by being put to Death itself, would not that be greatest act of charity conceivable? The greatest Love imaginable? Yet this is precisely what we tacitly profess every time we make the sign of the cross. Christ, who is the sheer act of Being Itself, participating in our human nature, took upon Himself the greatest evil conceivable, that greater than which no evil can be conceived, the manifestation of the supreme instance of privation, swallowing it up and, being overwhelmed by that which is contrary to His very Nature, breathed His last, sharing utterly, therefore, in our humanity. Every instance of sin and darkness was on display at the Crucifixion (stupidity, violence, betrayal, mockery, sloth, wrath, etc), and Christ swallowed every instance of it by doing the only thing He knows how to do, by fighting with love, even when confronted with the greatest evil conceivable. That Christ was willing to share so utterly in our humanity, even in its greatest instance of privation, truly proves that human nature has been divinized, that now we can be hopeful towards OUR divinization, towards our participation in God's own way of Being, because God's own way of Being shared utterly in our lowly human nature, displayed most fully at Calvary. But, of course, that is not the end of the story. The crucifixion alone is not how Death died. It was necessary in order to unite humanity with divinity, but the true divinization of the human race also called for human nature to become like God. This could only happen through the Resurrection of the body. The Resurrection is the completion of the crucifixion, destroying the supreme instance of evil with the supreme instance of the Divine Life, made whole through the paschal mystery of Christ.

           Now we can understand why Paul says that neither death nor life, nor angels or principalities can separate us from the love of God. Because we killed God. God consumed the supreme instance of evil, yet his existential love non-violently conquers death with the Resurrection, finalizing the purpose for becoming Man, "that Man might become God" (St. Athanasius).

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Why Relativism Is Absurd (Metaphysical Relativism)

          Many people, whether or not philosophically well-versed, understandably may not have a firm, unambiguous grasp of what this term means due mainly to its unpopularity in popular social and philosophical vernacular. Metaphysical relativism refers to the belief that there exists no objective truth or reality independent of one's perception. Most people who understand the language employed in explaining this position soon come to realize the self-referential incoherence of holding such a view, which is why most professional philosophers do not endorse this mentality. But that is not to say it is this unpopular in popular culture. I suspect, however, it is only resurfaces as frequently as it does out of a misunderstanding of the terms used to describe it. So let us get started.

          In order to understand metaphysical relativism a number of principles and terms must be defined and adequately explained. First, what is meant by the adjective "metaphysical"? Metaphysics refers to concepts relating to the fundamental nature of existence, causality. abstract concepts and their inclusion or exclusion in meaningful philosophical discourse. As such, metaphysical relativism has to do with the philosophy of existence and addresses whether or not objectivities exist. What do I mean by objectivities? This term I think is what causes most of the confusion in pop culture. Many people who are not philosophically well versed do not fully understand what one means when they refer to something such as objective truth. I say this because many secular relativists will speak about arrogance, intellectual pomposity or even social/political authoritarianism when they defend their position. In actuality, however, these things are not logically connected to metaphysical objectivism. All it means is that reality exists independent of one's perception, Inf act, the very word perception is the root of the verb "perceive". What does this imply? It implies objects of perception. If there are objects of perception, then the objects themselves must precede the perception of those objects. Yes, perception can be built upon previous perceptions, but perception itself cannot be the "unmoved mover" so to speak, unless one wants to try to argue for a past-eternal personal history. Therefore, objects of perception must take precedence over perception even if it could be argued that perceptions are merely products of perceptual continuity (due to the principle of causality).

           Given these semantic points, the relativist declaration that "reality is perception" is self-defeating given the implications of the word "perceive". Objective reality must exist independent of perception in order for there to be perception., This is not the only sense in which metaphysical relativism is absurd. It also is self-referentially incoherent and tautologically self-defeating. To even say that there is no such thing as objective truth is to implicitly say that no matter what one thinks, there is no such thing as objective truth. But how can this be the case if reality simply IS perception? Metaphysical relativism's logical (to the extent that logic can even wrestle with this junkyard of incoherence) consequence is absolute silence on any matters of fact or even opinion. All conversations within presuppose an objective truth that drives the conversation. All parties are convinced to varying degrees that their view is closer to the truth than perspectives that characterize its opposition. They must believe this to an extent if they have the confidence to contribute their viewpoint to a discussion. To believe anything really presupposes a preceding assumption that there is an external standard of truth that can validate or invalidate beliefs. An assumption of the objectivity of the external world therefore is absolutely and essentially necessary for discussion of any kind to take place. To think otherwise is to embrace chaos.

           Most self-proclaimed relativists who take this extreme form of relativism I suspect will readjust their view in light of these semantic clarifications, They need not jettison relativism in every form, but certainly they must give up the notion that reality does not exist external to perception. It is self-referentially incoherent and tries to resist the very fabric of human communication and even human nature itself. Humans are programmed to think in terms of objectivity. Even animals live with an innate assumption that reality exists outside of themselves when they act on their survival instincts. Relativism in this extreme metaphysical form really is the most incoherent, irrational and even life denying philosophy mankind has ever conceived of.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Christianity as a Humanism

            It is (in)famously said of Christian anthropology by the atheist existentialists that "the 'yes' to God is the 'no' to Man." The point of course is that the Christian imperative that Man must subject himself (intellect, will, senses, and appetites) ultimately to the divine such that he becomes an instrument of God's essential love is the most definitive denial of human nature, which generates a perpetual, repressive strife between this obedience and self-affirmation. On the surface, at least to the moderately religious, secular Christian, this reveals the (so perceived) repugnant essence that is Christianity and is why this type of "believer" will go to the most hypocritical, incoherent, extremes to find the most liberal, all-inclusive, permissive, watered down, psychologically reductionist branch of the faith possible. This type of believer buys into the existentialist's gross caricature of the faith, is horrified, and simply abandons authentic Orthodoxy in place of something that can only be rightly called Christian Atheism with non-theological spiritual jargon sprinkled on top, leaving behind a philosophically incoherent monstrosity of classic nonsense. But is this an accurate description of the God↔Man dynamic? I would vehemently argue the absolute contrary which has been the Orthodox position since the inception of Christianity, affirmed by the patristic Fathers of the faith all the way up to the present day.

            While it is certainly true that Christian living calls for a radical reformation of one's lifestyle and will require the sacrifice of many sacred cows, Christianity in no way amounts to a denial of human nature. In fact, authentic Christianity calls for an elevation of the human person to that which is most authentically human and therefore most affirming of one's human nature as such. How come? Well, in order to establish this it is necessary to venture into some natural theology and metaphysics. The classical and medieval philosophical Tradition typically understood God not as “ens sumum” (highest being) but “ipsum esse subsistens” (the sheer act of “to be” itself). To be God, therefore, is to be, “to be”. To be me is to be human; to be a tree is to be a tree; to be Fluffy is to be a cat. But to be God is simply to “be”. Therefore, God is not the highest being among us lesser beings. He is not the supreme instance of the genus of “being”. God, rather, is the sheer act of Being, or existence, alone in which we individual beings participate in this existentially basic essence, which in its unconditionality is God. We can see now, at least from a metaphysical perspective, to speak of a competitive relationship between God and man would be to make an egregious category error. It’s to misunderstand who God is and who we are. We are not in competition with the Almighty; we are in a relationship with the Almighty.

            As such, we are most ourselves and God is most Himself when we are put in our rightful places. Just as a mother plays her role best when she acts as mother, and a child plays his or her role best when he or she acts as the child. Every relationship works best when both parties fit their roles properly according to their natures. To act in contradiction to this order would generate disorder and in the long run misery. So with God. We find our fulfillment not when we try to become God, or when we grovel like slaves, but when we fulfill our natures in accordance with God’s Divine Idea of the Human essence. Since God is subsistent Being Itself, the Divine Ideas (forms) in their ideal state are perfected according to their natures. Thus when we orient ourselves to Jesus who is the God-Man, we will find our fulfillment, for we will be perfected in accordance with our natures because we have becomes aligned to the true manifestation of Aristotle’s Magnanimous Man, or better, the God-Man, which is God Himself made flesh, the ideal essence of what it means to be authentically Human. We are called to divinization and we ought not settle for second best. We shouldn’t, therefore, fall into this delusion that the “yes” to God is the “no” to Man, for it is precisely to opposite. When we say no to God, we deny ourselves because our essence of what it means to be Human is an Idea spoken from the lips of God Himself. And so if there is anyone we ought to say yes to, it ought to be to God, for it is from God that we have our being, and it is therefore to God that we will find our telos, our last end.

            Christianity, therefore, apart from being a life-denying puritanism is the ultimate humanism. It calls for human beings to elevate themselves through cooperation with the Divine grace in order that they might be perfectly aligned with what it truly means to be authentically human, matched up with the Divine Idea of the essence of Humanity, thought first by God and brought to completion through our cooperative love. In closing, “the glory of God is a human being fully alive” (St. Ireneaus).

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Argument for the Existence of God from Time

The Argument from Time 

·         Premise 1: We can speak meaningfully of events past, present, and future. 

·         Premise 2: Meaningful propositions can be either true or false.

·         Premise 3: True propositions are true insofar as they reflect reality. False propositions are false insofar as they fail to reflect reality.

·         Premise 4: Though from the Classical Theist perspective, this statement would be grammatically problematic, for the atheist:
- Reality exists.

·         Premise 5: The proposition "X happened in the past" can be meaningful insofar as it can:
a) Reflect reality, or
b) Fail to reflect reality
- If (a), the past event X must in some sense, therefore, exist
because reality exists (P4)

·         Premise 6: In order for Proposition "X happened in the past" to reflect reality, there must be some sense in which that which the proposition reflects exists, that it might reflect existent reality (P4).

·         Premise 7: Nothing temporal (that is, subject to or contingent upon a mode of temporality) can account for the veracity of proposition "X happened in the past" because temporally contingent realities by their nature are "governed" (existentially) by that which requires accountability, that is, the existent past, present, and future. 

·         Premise 8: Only a reality whose nature is eternal can account for the existence of past (and future) such that propositions relating to which can be meaningful. 

·         Premise 9: Eternality, therefore, cannot be affected by temporality but must sustain the three dynamics of temporality in existence.

Conclusion: Therefore, there must exist eternal reality amongst temporal realities that sustain temporal existence, yet is unaffected by temporal reality, and this is what we call God.

Monday, April 14, 2014

"Who Created God?"

          Anyone of the slightest interest in the God debate has most likely heard of or used the counterargument of "Who created God?" in response to any formal or informal version of the Cosmological Argument for God's existence. To some people, this is actually a compelling counteraction to the most popular argument for the existence of God. The problem, however, is that it is actually not in fact a response to the Cosmological Argument at all, but a response to a contradictory caricature of the argument. It fails to grasp the most basic, essential logic behind the argument itself. The argument has been distorted and twisted into the most transparently incoherent drivel that takes less than 10 seconds to refute, most of those seconds being pure confusion over the incoherency (how convenient). But much to the disappointment of the atheists who raise this silly objection, most theists would not be so stupid as to submit such a monstrosity of illogic. The only one guilty of illogic is the one who somehow managed to assemble such incoherency from such elementarily comprehensible syllogistic logic.

           Before I explain why putting God's origin into question in response to the Cosmological Argument is a red herring, I should probably briefly present the most popular version of the argument itself. From natural observation, a fundamental reality of our world can be derived. Existing things and events in the here and now owe their existence to a preceding, external cause that brought the here and now phenomenon into existence. Hence the premise: "Everything that begins to exist has a cause." Objects in themselves do not have the built-in capability to produce change but rather rely on an external phenomena to bring about that change which owes its causal capabilities to another external cause, ad infinitum. Or is it? This is the essential point of the Cosmological Argument. It argues that there cannot in principle be an infinite regress of causes because caused objects are necessary to explain their existence. If the sequence goes on to infinity, there would be no explanation of what exists in the here and now at all. Therefore, the argument concludes, it is necessary to posit an uncaused cause who exists by necessity of its own nature. It is a necessary being because without it the world would have no explanation of its here and now coming to be.

           So why, then, is the atheist unjustified in calling God's existence into question by requiring an explanation of HIS existence? Because he is presupposing the rejection of the logic behind the very argument he is trying to refute. To say that the argument contradicts its own logic is to egregiously misunderstand what the argument is trying to say. It is not saying that God is somehow magically exempt from the principle of sufficient reason but that he is necessary to make sense of causal experience itself. Causality is incoherent without a presupposed reference to a first, uncaused cause because an infinite regress of causes would imply by the very nature of the principle of sufficient reason that the world would have no explanation of its existence and would render the here and now simply impossible. The argument's sole concern is to mitigate the problem of this infinite regress by postulating a self-sufficient explanation which exists through the power of its own essence such that his essence and existence are indistinguishable.

           Therefore, to ask who created God is to presuppose the insolubility of the problem the argument is trying to solve. A proper response would be to justify, logically, the possibility of this infinite regress, not to just impose upon the argument without support the problem it is trying to solve.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Necessity of God's Love

        Given that a purely actual reality (a reality who exists through the power of its own essence, whose very nature is "to be") that we call "God" can be deduced by natural, metaphysical observation, a profound, mysterious implication bluntly presents itself in the form of a question. Why, if God is pure act, does He in fact continuously create and sustain all existent things? Why is there Creation at all from the divine perspective? Even if our understanding of God's divine action is reduced simply to the sustaining of the motion of all things and not of their existence, as Aristotle believed, the question of God's motive remains essentially unchanged. Why does He sustain the motion of all things at all? Aristotle would have us believe that since God is the highest metaphysical "reality", He can only think about Himself as the highest reality. Now there is, of course, truth to this theological doctrine, as will be explained, but as will be argued the reconciliation of this divine "selfishness" and the divinely originated continued sustaining of the continued existence/motion of all things finds its solution only in Trinitarian Christian theology which understands God as an essentially communal, omni-benevolent Creator/Sustainer.

          Let us first reflect on the theological implications of continued creation/sustenance. If God is indeed Actus Purus (pure actuality), then He must be ultimately metaphysically simple due to the fact that there can be no potency in pure act, by definition. To be complex in the metaphysical sense of the word implies an inter-connected and inter-dependent network of actuated potencies (potentials) within the nature of that complex entity. But the Sustainer of conditioned reality must be ultimately unconditioned and, thus, have no unactuated potency (a potential to be something that has not yet been actualized) that can only be actuated under the necessary condition of its actuality coming to be in act by something already in act. Therefore, God, who is Actus Purus, must be metaphysically simple, devoid of any and all unactuated potencies. Since God's existence is deduced from the natural, metaphysical observation of contingent things, God's relationship to these things must reveal an essential component of His character, but to consistently maintain the doctrine of divine simplicity argued above, this component must be in analogically ascertained, synonymous harmony with the other components of the Divine Essence. Therefore, whatever is the nature of the relationship between God and Creation must reveal the nature of the supremely simple essence of God.

           What, then, is the nature of this relationship? If God is pure act, then He is necessarily devoid of all potency. Therefore, God's activity cannot in principle be to the actualization of a potency He wants to be actualized for his own telos (end). Such a state of affairs would blatantly contradict the essence of Actus Purus. God's Activity, therefore, must be to the actualization of something "apart" from His self, for that something's own sake, by necessity of the nature of Actus Purus (pure act). This lies at the very heart of love. Love, in its purest sense, can conceptually be reduced to the willing of the good of the other for the sake of the other. Since the world exists, and God's existence is rationally unavoidable from observation of the world, this synthesis is, by logical extension, also rationally unavoidable, that "God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him." ( 1 John 4:16).

              Now that the difficulty of reconciling God's essence as pure actuality and the existence of the world has been resolved, it is now necessary to treat the other difficulty in reconciling the veracity of Aristotle's theological doctrine with the love of God demonstrated above. As mentioned, this reconciliation can only be made in terms of Christian theology. Christian theology holds that God is essentially a unified relationship, a community of love existing as the essence of God. God the Father is the lover, Christ the Son is the beloved, and the Holy Spirit is the shared love between the two persons, generating a third person, all unified in one, ultimately simple essence whom we call "God". Though difficult it is to philosophically explain the possibility of this relationship in relation to the unity of God, it is not difficult to turn to this as the solution to the problem mentioned above. God, as love (that love must be part of the analogically ascertained unified divine essence has been shown above), loves Himself through Trinitarian dynamics as the purest, simplest love conceivable. Love, however, since it inherently points beyond itself towards the good of the other, by nature radiates beyond its source to something other than itself. Hence is why creation/sustenance is a necessary activity of God's essentially  loving will. God, as pure love itself (implied by the doctrine of divine simplicity), exists essentially as a Trinitarian relationship since love is inherently relational as a concept by itself, yet necessarily radiates beyond Himself as a self-sustaining fountain of this love, sustaining His own essence as love through love yet gratuitously radiating that love beyond the source which is Himself as the extended yet necessary activity of that love. Since He is Love itself, sustained by His own essence of love through love, He must still radiate His love beyond the source which is Himself in order to ultimately fulfill the essence of love, which is to will the good of the other for the sake of the other. 

           This is how the reconciliation of Aristotelian divine "selfishness" and the gratuitous sustaining of the world on part of the divine is made through Christian Trinitarian theology. It does not fully make sense of the Trinity since the Trinity is an intrinsic mystery, but it does demonstrate its necessity and explanatory power once the existence of God as pure act has been rationally demonstrated.