Theological Implications of the Concept of Dominion in Isaac Newton’s Thought
Remus Gabriel MANOILĂ
Abstract. In this paper I intend to assess the theological implications of the concept of dominion as elaborated by Isaac Newton in his unpublished papers drafted concomitantly with the General Scholium to the Principia Mathematica. My research will focus especially on Newton’s drafts on Church history from the Yahuda Ms 15. I will highlight the notion of dominion as underlying on the one hand the specific articulation of the unity of the Deity, while on the other framing the unipersonal character of God. Based on his reading of early Christian literature, Newton described the understanding of the unity between the Father and the Son in the primitive Church using monarchical terms: the Father and the Son are called one God due to their common dominion over the same monarchy – this conception constitutes the premise for Newton’s antitrinitarian outlook. The theological consequence of this view emphasizes a unipersonal understanding of God. Moreover, the manner in which Newton’s view of the unity of the Deity is elaborated in his theological writings enables us to avoid any fallacious doctrinal suppositions regarding the heterodox character of his theology.
Keywords: Isaac Newton, theology, antitrinitarianism, dominion of God, unity of the Deity