Re: impassibility

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Fri Dec 02 2005 - 19:17:20 EST

----- Original Message -----
From: "Preston Garrison" <>
To: "Dr. David Campbell" <>; "ASA list" <>
Sent: Thursday, December 01, 2005 6:18 AM
Subject: Re: impassibility

>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.

Yes, & Ignatius also spoke (in his letter to the Roman Christians) of "the
passion of my God."

There certainly is a paradoxical aspect of this. That comes out clearly in
an essay of Gregory Thaumaturgus (mid 3d century), "To Theopompos on the
Passibility and Impassibility of God." I don't have the text before me but
Gregory makes statements (with obvious reference to Christ) such as "God
through his suffering overcomes passion." He argues that God doesn't suffer
in the fullest sense if what he suffers is for a useful end - i.e., human
salvation - & is dismissive of the idea of a God who remains blissfully in
his impassibility while others suffer.

Received on Fri Dec 2 19:18:50 2005

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