Monday, February 13, 2017

God's Impassibility

Dr. Norman Geisler writes the following about the impassibility of God in his Systematic Theology: Volume Two:

God cannot undergo passion or suffering; nothing in the created universe can make God feel pain or inflict misery on Him. 

This does not mean that God has no feelings, but simply that His feelings are not the results of actions imposed on Him by others. His feelings flow from His eternal and unchangeable nature.1

Dr. J. T. Bridges holds that:

our emotions... are a gift from God so that we can have some inferior analogue to the type of intimacy that God, in virtue of His causal knowing of all contingent being every moment of its existing, has with all things. This is how it can be said that God does not have emotions and in so affirming we are not making God's divine relation to things inferior to our own.2

What do you think? Does God have eternal and unchanging emotions as Dr. Geisler states or does God not have emotions due to his intimate causal connection to all contingent being as Dr. Bridges states? Post in the comments below.

Stand firm in Christ,
Chase

Footnotes:
1. Geisler, Norman. Systematic Theology: Volume Two. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2003. 112.
2. Bridges, J. T. Immutability Eternality Impassibility and Infinity. Slide 51.

1 comment:

godrulz said...

Classical views on impassibility are more Platonic/Augustinian than biblical. Scripture presents God as personal which includes will, intellect, emotions. The emotions of God are not mere accommodations, anthropomorphisms, etc., but divine revelation (cf. 'God changing His mind' motif that can be taken at face value). Other areas also need rethinking such as strong vs weak (changes in some ways, but not other ways), immutability, timelessness vs everlasting time, dynamic vs static omniscience, etc. The Imago Dei also reflects will, intellect, emotions in man. Saying God is not strongly impassible is not making God in man's image, but the nature of His reality.