Divine Impassibility edited by Robert J. Matz and A. Chadwick Thornhill

I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

5253Divine Impassibility: Four Views of God’s Emotions and Suffering was edited by Robert J. Matz (assistant director of online studies and institutional effectiveness and assistant professor of Christian studies at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) and A. Chadwick Thornhill (chair of theological studies for Liberty University School of Divinity, and an assistant professor of apologetics and biblical studies for the School of Divinity).

Do you ever wonder how God feels emotions, and what all the passion language in the Old Testament means? If so, this is the perfect book for you! This short book (200 pages) briefly explores four different views.

The first chapter is on Strong Impassibility by James E. Dolezal (assistant professor in the School of Divinity at Cairn University). This view is that God does not experience any emotional changes, and all passion language is anthropopathic (ascribing human feelings to something that is not human). The footnotes say this view is stated in The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion (1563), Westminster Confession (1647), and Second London Baptist Confession (1677/89). This is the view I’m most familiar with.

The second chapter is on Qualified Impassibility by Daniel Castelo (professor of dogmatic and constructive theology at Seattle Pacific University). This chapter says how God cannot be overwhelmed by emotion against His will, but can voluntarily experience emotions.

In the third chapter on Qualified Passibility, John C. Peckham (professor of theology and Christian philosophy at Andrews University) argues that God freely chooses to be affected by this world.

In the fourth and final chapter, Thomas Jay Oord (professor of theology and philosophy at Northwest Nazarene University) argues for Strong Passibility. This is the idea that humans can make God experience the unexpected and emotional changes.

After each contributor gives his view, the other contributors give commentary/feed back, followed by the contributor’s final words on the feedback he received. It sort of reminded me of a debate transcript. It was really interesting (and a bit more academic than I thought it would be).

You better hurry up and buy a copy! Amazon only has seven copies left!

When you read this, let me know if it changed your view. If not, what view do you hold?

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