A Neo-Lockean Theory of the Trinity and Incarnation

  • Joseph Jedwab Kutztown University, USA
Keywords: John Locke, John Foster, Trinity, Incarnation, Christology, person, nature, constitution


I present two problems: the logical problem of the Trinity and the metaphysical problem of Incarnation. I propose a solution to both problems: a Neo-Lockean theory of the Trinity and Incarnation, which applies a Neo-Lockean theory of personal identity to the doctrines of the Trinity and Incarnation.


Alston, William, and Jonathan Bennett. 1988. “Locke on People and Substances.” The Philosophical Review 97:25–46.

Balcarras, David. 2017. “Foster on Sustainment.” www.mit.edu/~balc/foster.pdf.

Bennett, Jonathan. 2001. Learning From Six Philosophers. Vol. 2. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dainton, Barry. 2008. The Phenomenal Self. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Foster, John. 1982. The Case for Idealism. London: Routledge.

Foster, John. 1991. The Immaterial Self: A Defence of the Cartesian Dualist Conception of the Mind. London: Routledge.

Hasker, William. 2013. Metaphysics and the Tri-Personal God. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hasker, William. 2017a. “A Compositional Incarnation.” Religious Studies 53:433–47.

Hasker, William. 2017b. “Incarnation: the Avatar Model.” Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion 8:118–41.

Hawthorne, John. 2008. “Three-Dimensionalism vs. Four-Dimensionalism.” In Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics, edited by Theodore Sider, John Hawthorne, and Dean W. Zimmerman, 263–82. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Locke, John. 1690. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Edited by Peter H. Nidditch. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975.

Noonan, Harold. 2003. Personal Identity. 2nd ed. London: Routledge.

Parfit, Derek. 1984. Reasons and Persons. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Pawl, Timothy. 2016. In Defense of Conciliar Christology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Pawl, Timothy. 2019. In Defense of Extended Conciliar Christology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Nazianzus, Gregory. Letter 101 in On God and Christ: The Five Theological Orations and Two Letters to Cledonius, edited by Frederick Williams and Lionel R. Wickham. Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2002.

Shoemaker, Sydney, and Richard Swinburne. 1984. Personal Identity. Oxford: Blackwell.

Tanner, Norman. 1990. Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils. Vol. 1, Nicaea I to Lateran V. London: Sheed & Ward.

Unger, Peter. 1990. Identity, Consciousness and Value. Oxford: Oxford University Press.