Impassible and impassioned: Reevaluating the doctrines of divine impassibility and divine relationality
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This dissertation proposes that, when properly understood, it is correct to say that God is impassible and impassioned. This proposal self-consciously develops the dual affirmation of the mainstream impassibility tradition that God is both impassible, in the sense of never having emotion wrung from him involuntarily, and supremely passionate in the love of his own glory. Following a survey and rejection of a number of hyper-passibilistic views of divine passibility in modern theology, this proposal turns, in chapter four, to develop the biblical and theological bases of this two-pronged model. The basic argument of this formative statement proceeds along the following lines. Biblically speaking, the Creator/creature distinction and the resultant transcendence/immanence balance respecting God in Scripture, requires that we interpret scriptural God-language analogically. This prevents us from errantly interpreting the biblical descriptions either of divine stability or of divine passion anthropocentrically, while also allowing the literal point being made by Scripture's passionate portrayals of God. Theologically speaking, this model is further expounded by applying this crucial insight from the Creator/creature distinction across a number theological categories that, when similarly balanced, lend additional weight to the dual requirement of divine impassibility and impassionedness. This dissertation then provides a brief concluding reflection on the impact of this exposition of impassibility in theology proper, on Christ's incarnate experience of human emotion, suffering, and death, before turning to suggest several beneficial areas for further study and development of this proposal.