Re: impassibility

From: Preston Garrison <>
Date: Thu Dec 01 2005 - 06:18:49 EST

I rather impassibly noted the discussion of impassibility, thinking
as I do that this sort of question is probably really beyond our
capacity to understand in our present state. I happened to be reading
Ignatius of Antioch's letter to the Ephesians, written sometime
during Trajan's reign, 98-117 A.D., and noticed this:

Very flesh, yet spirit too;
    Uncreated and yet born;
God-and-man in One agreed,
Very-life-in-death indeed,
Fruit of God and Mary's seed;
    At once impassible and torn
By pain and suffering here below;
Jesus Christ, whom as our Lord we know.

Some think that this is part of an early hymn. Seems that the
question had come up already at that point, and the paradox embraced.

Preston G.

> > I am not, as I've said several times, a "patripassian" in the
>> traditional sense - i.e., I don't think that the Father was
>> crucified. My views can - with those of Luther & some of the modern
>> theologians I mentioned in my later & longer post - be described as
>> "deipassian." A refusal to accept such a view ends up meaning, among
>> other things, that the cross did not have any effect on the Father.
>> You cannot say, as with the Son, that the person of the Father
>> suffered because of a communication from an assumed passible nature
>> to the divine because the Father assumed no human nature. So the
>> crucifixion literally made no difference to the Father. & this is
>> not helped by considerations about divine foreknowledge. On this
>> view God would have eternally been just the same if humanity had not
>> sinned & Christ had never been crucified.
>Regarding "if humanity had not sinned and Christ were not crucified"
>as a meaningful possibility seems to assume that these were not fully
>predestined to occur, which does not mesh well with a heavy emphasis
>on God's unchanging nature. If you assume that the incarnation,
>crucifixion, resurrection, etc. are expressions of God's fundamental
>nature, and accept His unchanging nature, then the specific event of
>the crucifixion made no difference in the Father because He already
>knew the love and the anguish involved. Cf. Jesus being slain from
>the foundation of the world.
>Dr. David Campbell
>425 Scientific Collections Building
>Department of Biological Sciences
>Biodiversity and Systematics
>University of Alabama, Box 870345
>Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0345 USA
Received on Thu Dec 1 06:22:12 2005

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