Thursday, January 24, 2013

Apparently I won for most creative attempt to map the tripartite soul onto the Trinity.

I didn't even know there was a contest.

Anyway, if you want to see what I've been doing as a result of school that does not in any way count as schoolwork, here is said attempt:


I actually can defend the tripartite soul division I made, not a very good defense mind you, but I didn't think class was the place to do it since we were running low on time and getting fairly off topic.

The hoi polloi, the stomach, whatever is the part that actually makes things.  Grows the crops, fashions the swords, builds the houses, crafts the vases, so on, so forth.  (In the case of the stomach itself turns the raw material that is food into energy.)  They're the creators and consumers.  Thus if we're looking for the part of God they correspond to we're looking for the creator, and that's usually credited to the Father.

But if left unsupervised the hoi polloi can run amok, doing things like creating a global flood to wipe out nearly everything, or pulling a Book of Job, or using the mob justice of the ten plagues of Egypt (you hurt someone I care about so I'm going to hurt you because I'm bigger and meaner.  No, don't give in yet, harden your heart because I want to hurt you more.)

It needs to be restrained.

The part to do the restraining and overseeing is the guards.  Being God, external attack is out of the question so the guards' only job is policing the populous, which in this case means reigning in the wrath of the Father.  And in that role we see Jesus, specifically the compassion and forgiveness of Jesus.  Right down to the crucifixion if you buy the idea that it's a substitutionary sacrifice (don't hurt them, if you're going to hurt someone hurt me.)  It also embodies the virtue of courage because Jesus is the only part of God that stepped out to make itself vulnerable, becoming something as weak as a human being.  And as someone who has broken a couple arms in my time, let me assure you, human beings can be quite weak.

Jesus is emphatically not the one running the whole show as evidenced by the line "Why have you forsaken me?" and the fact that a lot of his wisdom is delivered as received from on high, not innate.  In that role we can place the Holy Ghost who is directing things as the philosopher king even after Jesus has returned to seclusion in Heaven and the Father has been restrained from more acts of consuming the world by water/fire/salt/ice/whatever.

Thus, defense, however shoddy, is made.


What you have to understand about the above is that it was a result of someone wondering how the tripartite soul (which is described writ large in Plato's Republic by mapping the human soul onto a city and the parts of the soul onto classes of people within that city) relates to the Christian idea of Trinity.

Once you get that, I think that the rest should be fairly easy to follow.  Not robust or convincing, but easy to follow.

Also it has been pointed out that OT God shows compassion and NT God shows wrath, so we can't just attribute the wrath of God and compassion of God as a change over time as the two do in fact coexist throughout.


  1. And then if one really wants to one can bring in maiden/mother/crone, and/or Brahma/Vishnu/Shiva. Not that it always makes a great deal of sense, but hey, religious philosophy, the point is not necessarily to make sense but to aid in understanding/acceptance.

  2. At the last Irish Discworld Convention, Jacqueline Simpson, folklorist and author with Terry Pratchett of The Folklore of Discworld, gave a talk and Q&A session on the number three in folklore. Three fates; three witches. Modern urban legends always happen to a friend of a friend: there's a chain of three connections. And older legends always happen to a friend of your grandfather: there's a chain of three connections. Three generations are alive at any time.

    There was a lot said, both by Jacqueline and by members of the audience, and I wish someone had been recording it.