Re: Vienna cardinal draws lines in Intelligent Design row

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
Date: Mon Nov 21 2005 - 23:28:15 EST

Ted Davis wrote, in small part:

Finally, for Denyse: we both know some folks, Denyse, who think that the
classical doctrine of divine impassibility just won't wash, that a God
who loves must also be a God who suffers and who is genuinely moved by
suffering. Even some YECs I know believe that. It isn't "classical" but
it's biblical and very likely true. Some of the questions about
"omniscience" in the classical sense are similar to those about
impassibility. One might or might not be sympathetic with approaches
that challenge impassibility, such as Moltmann's theology of the cross
(to identify just one example that has been discussed here), but surely
it is hard not to be at least sympathetic with the kinds of questions
that motivate the formulations of such theologies. We agree that Fr
Coyne takes this too far, but IMO there are others who don't take this
far enough.

The main problem with the impassibility of the deity is that the notion
is misunderstood. If a human is impassible, he is not emotional, totally
unmoved by that which excites a clear reaction in most persons. This is
not the philosophical notion. Matter is passive, for it receives action
and may pass it along, but it starts nothing truly new. The human
intellect is active, for it initiates. God is /actus purus/, the ultimate
source. As such he is impassive. This does not mean that he is without
feelings, but that he can't be pushed around, very different notions.

Now, if we don't go for process theology, which ties god to the world
necessarily, we recognize God as the Creator of the space-time universe.
But this means that he is outside of the universe, and therefore outside
of time. In the incarnation, the Second Person of the Trinity entered
time as a human infant, but the Father did not enter time. So for God the
Father to feel things when they occur is to place him in time. So I
contend that he eternally feels on the basis of being aware of all time
from without. It may be described as a sort of eternal empathy. This is
possible because knowing is not causing, though many philosophers and
others equate the two, at least in connection with the deity. The denial
of omniscience also springs from placing God in time.

This is a brief restatement of a discussion with George Murphy, Don
Winterstein and others a while back. George still wants the Father to
feel the crucifixion when it happened, which I hold to be incompatible
with his eternity.
Received on Mon Nov 21 23:32:18 2005

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