Classical Theism

Classical Theism’s Unnecessary Paradoxes

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The traditional view of God that is embraced by most—what is called “classical theology”—works from the assumption that God’s essential divine nature is atemporal, immutable, and impassible. The Church Fathers fought to articulate and defend…

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Challenging the Assumptions of Classical Theism

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What came to be known as the classical view of God’s nature has shaped the common, traditional way that most people think about God. It is based in the logic borrowed, mostly unconsciously, from a…

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Crucified Transcendence

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If our thinking about God is to be faithful to the New Testament, then all of our thinking about God must, from beginning to end, be centered on Christ. I’m persuaded that even our thinking…

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Redefining Transcendence

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God is transcendent, which basically means that God is “other” than creation. The problem is that classical thinking about God’s “otherness” has been limited to what reason can discern about God. As a result, all…

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God’s Moral Immutability

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Classical theologians from the fourth and fifth centuries on were very concerned with protecting their understanding of the metaphysical attributes of God—like timelessness, immutability, impassibility—by assessing biblical portraits that conflicted with these attributes to be…

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How Classical Theology Gets It Wrong

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Classical theology has conceived of God as altogether necessary, simple, timeless, unchanging and unknowable. This view of God requires us to conclude that biblical images of God do not reflect the way God truly is…

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Thankful for the Passion of God

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The classical view of God has held that God is impassible, meaning he is above pathos (passion or emotions). The main reason the church came to this view was that, following the Hellenistic philosophical tradition, they associated…

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What Does a Perfect God Look Like?

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The “classical view of God” refers to the view of God that has dominated Christian theology since the earliest Church fathers. According to this theology, God is completely “immutable.” This means that God’s being and…

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Rethinking Transcendence

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Going back to pre-Socratic philosophers and running through the major strands of the church’s theological tradition, the conception of how God (or, in ancient Greece, “the One”) was arrived at primarily by negating the contingent…

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How NOT To Be Christ-Centered: A Review of God With Us – Part IV

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In the first three parts of this review of Scott Oliphint’s God with Us we’ve outline his attempt to reframe all God’s accommodations in Scripture in light of the Chalecedonian Creed. He, in essence, uses…

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How NOT to be Christ-Centered: A Review of God With Us – Part III

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In the previous two posts on Oliphint’s God With Us, we’ve seen that Oliphint is trying to reframe divine accommodations in a Christ-centered way, but that what he means by this is not that he…

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How NOT to be Christ-Centered: A Review of God With Us – Part II

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In Part I of my review of Scott Oliphint’s God With Us we saw that Oliphint is attempting to reframe divine accommodation in a Christ-centerd way. Yet, while he affirms that “Christ is the quintessential…

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How NOT To Be Christ-Centered: A Review of God With Us – Part I

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Theologians throughout Church history have used the concept of divine accommodation to account for everything in Scripture that seemed “unworthy” of God. Whatever didn’t line up with what we know about God was seen as…

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Reflections on the Influence, and Damage, of Plato’s Timaeus 28a

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The Timaeus is Plato’s account of the creation of the world. Ancient philosophers were divided as to whether Plato meant the work to be taken literally or mythically, as are modern scholars. The work was…

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What is the “classical view of God” and what about it do you find objectionable?

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The “classical view of God” refers to the view of God that has dominated Christian theology since the earliest Church fathers. According to this theology, God is completely “immutable.” This means that God’s being and…

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What do you think of the classical view that God is impassible?

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The classical view has historically held that God is impassible, meaning he is above pathos (passion or emotions). The main reason the church came to this view was that, following the Hellenistic philosophical tradition, they…

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Do you believe God is pure actuality?

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The basis of the classical view of God as pure actuality (actus purus) is the Aristotelian notion that potentiality is always potential for change and that something changes only because is lacks something else. So,…

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What do you think of Thomas Aquinas’ view of God?

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Question: You have written (in Trinity and Process) that the relational God of the Bible is the antithesis of the immutable God of Thomas Aquinas. Could you explain this? Answer: Aquinas and much of the…

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What is your perspective on the classical view that God is above time?

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In a major strand of hellenistic (Greek) philosophy, change was seen as being an imperfection. This idea was adopted by many early Church fathers and eventually became almost an assumed dogma of the Church. It…

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