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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
Fastfredy0

Impassibility of God

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Impassibility of God ... I found this interesting

 

Vincent Cheung:

The immutability of God implies the IMPASSIBILITY of God. This means that God is without "passions" – emotions or feelings. Less thoughtful believers protest against the doctrine, since they misapply biblical passages that seem to describe a God who experiences emotions such as grief, joy, and wrath (Psalm 78:40; Isaiah 62:5; Revelation 19:15).  Passages that appear to ascribe emotions to God are anthropopathic.

 

   The view that God experiences emotions like men appear to entail a number of contradictions:  A man may become angry against his will in the sense that he does not choose to become angry, and he does not choose to experience whatever causes the anger, but that the "trigger" incites this emotion in him against his preference. This applies to human experiences of joy, fear, grief, and so on.  However, this cannot be true with God even if he were to experience emotions, because such lack of self-control contradicts his omniscience, sovereignty (He controls all events), and immutability (He is not merry one moment and sad another for God is eternal; He has no succession of moments).

Since God is omniscient, he cannot be surprised, and this at least eliminates certain ways of experiencing emotions.

 

     Perhaps the reply is that all facts are simultaneously present to God, so that the insult that angers him is always happening "now." But this would imply that God must be angry about this one insult throughout eternity, and not just when it happens.  If so, then God's emotions would not offer us the kind of interactivity that proponents of divine emotions are after. In any case, suppose something happens that alleviates this anger.  Of course, the only way is forgiveness through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  But since God knows Christ's sacrifice just as well as the man's insult, we are at a loss as to whether he is ever angry or not. The mental experiment results in absurdity, because the truth is that God is not like man, because he is not a man.

 

     Then, if an action of mine can cause anger in God in a similar way that I can cause anger in a man, then this means that I can cause anger in God by my power. To the degree that he lacks self-control, he is helpless against my efforts to cause anger in him.  Likewise, if an action of mine can produce joy in God in a similar way that I can produce joy in a man, then this means that I have the ability to produce joy in God at will.  In this manner, I would exercise a significant measure of control over God. But this contradicts his sovereignty [,independence] and immutability.

The matter becomes much more complex when we take into account that he knows all the thoughts and actions of his creatures in all of history simultaneously. But it is enough to consider all the billions of people who anger him at any point in time, and the thousands or at least hundreds of people who please him at the same time. How is it possible for him to be angry with two billion people in a sense like man's anger and pleased with two hundred people, also in the human sense, at the same time? If the answer is that God's mind is immense, so that he is not subject to human limitations, then our point is also established.

    Therefore, some form of divine impassibility is necessary. If God is angered by our sins, it is only because he wills to be angered by them, and not because his mental state is subject to our will or beyond his control. Even if God has emotions, they are under his control, and they will never compromise his divine attributes. And since they cannot compromise the divine attributes, this also means that even if he has emotions, he does not have them in a way that is similar to man. But then we wonder why we would still call them emotions.  Thus at least in this sense and to this extent, we must affirm that God is without passions.

 

    The dictionary defines "emotion" as "disturbance, excitement; the affective aspect of consciousness; a state of feeling; a psychic and physical reaction (as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling and physiologically involving changes that prepare the body for immediate vigorous action."

 

   Love too is not an emotion in the Bible, but a volition.  His love is uncaused (uninfluenced) as God is independent (Ephesians 1:4). Since God loves His people in Christ, it is not regulated by their fruitfulness, but is the same at all times.  Because He loves them in Christ, the Father loves them as Christ.  The time will come when His prayer will be answered, “that the world may know that thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved Me” (John 17:23). 

 

     Jesus experienced emotions, but what can we infer from this? He also experienced hunger and fatigue (Matthew 21:18; Luke 4:2; John 4:6), but this only proves that the Son of God took upon himself a human nature. Just as Jesus in his divine nature did not experience hunger or fatigue, he in his divine nature did not experience emotions. Only his human nature experienced hunger, fatigue, and emotions.

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Interesting, and thanks for sharing Fredy!

2 hours ago, Fastfredy0 said:

Jesus experienced emotions, but what can we infer from this? He also experienced hunger and fatigue (Matthew 21:18; Luke 4:2; John 4:6), but this only proves that the Son of God took upon himself a human nature. Just as Jesus in his divine nature did not experience hunger or fatigue, he in his divine nature did not experience emotions. Only his human nature experienced hunger, fatigue, and emotions.

 

Which nature "suffered" for us as well as sympathizes? And how is any sympathy experienced? Hebrews 4:15?

 

Doesn't the Hypostatic Union convey "addition" and not "subtraction"? If we pull apart the post incarnation of the Son's humanity and separate it from His divinity are we not subtracting?

 

God is Jesus and Jesus is God, so we now have a human model with which to model. If we separate Jesus' humanity from His divinity are we not facing pre-incarnate issues?

 

That is, some may point out that God in the OT did not really experience emotion (Anthropomorphism), but in the NT we witness the Son experiencing real emotion. Wouldn't rejecting emotion cheapen the "suffering" God endured for us? Or, was it not God that suffered for us? Back to original question.

 

God bless,

William

 

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We are created in God's image.  I think the Bible shows God's emotions numerous times in the OT and the NT.

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Gee, difficult questions.  You got me thinking (something I try to avoid as I am not particularly good at it) Impassibility is a difficult concept and the author I quoted alludes to this.  I probably will hit some heresy but I will take a chance and put my feeble thoughts out there.  (You will make my brain hurt 😉 )

1 hour ago, William said:

Which nature "suffered" for us as well as sympathizes? And how is any sympathy experienced? Hebrews 4:15?

  I would say the human nature was able to suffer and the divine nature cannot suffer or at least not as we do.  For example, the divine nature cannot die (which is a form of suffering) and obviously the human nature can die.  Similarly, I would submit that the 'human nature' of Christ is the nature than can have sympathy and that can learn(Matthew 24:36; John 11:35 Jesus wept); whereas the divine nature would not be sympathetic as pointed out by the article I posted or at least not sympathetic in the way humans experience it.  I don't think the divine nature could suffer or have sympathy because God is sovereign and His decree (plan) goes entirely to the way He desires so it's not like he is surprised by event (not to mention that the divine nature has no succession of moments; a concept I struggle with.  So all things are as if they are currently happening to Him.  Can God suffer and be joyful and love at the same time?  I suppose he does; but the amount would not change.  Is this suffering and love or wrath as we experience it?  Surely not.).  Also, the divine nature of Christ, being independent, cannot be affected by his creation (satirical aside: unless you are an Arminian and God has to change all His initial plan according to whether you decide to believe or not *mischievous smirk*)

 

Aside:  (God is incomprehensible, yet knowable so I may be portraying my incomprehensibility more than my knowability)  *weak smile*

1 hour ago, William said:

Doesn't the Hypostatic Union convey "addition" and not "subtraction"?

Hmmm, (brain continues to throb 😉)

 God does not change and is not made of parts so the 'divine nature' cannot be added to or subtracted from. 

So,I suppose, the Hypostatic Union is neither an "addition" or "subtraction" to the divine nature.

 

1 hour ago, William said:

God is Jesus and Jesus is God, so we now have a human model with which to model. If we separate Jesus' humanity from His divinity are we not facing pre-incarnate issues? 

I can't answer your pre-incarnate question as I don't know what specific issues you refer to.  (Aside: having two natures and being one person is not a easy concept for me ... i.e. This Jesus is a complicate being)

Jesus has two natures which suggests the natures can be distinct.  Thus the 'all knowing' divine nature and yet Jesus can say that only the Father knows the time of Christ's 2nd advent. (Matthew 24:36 “But of that [exact] day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son [in His humanity], but the Father alone. AMP)

Sorry, I probably didn't answer your query.

 

1 hour ago, William said:

That is, some may point out that God in the OT did not really experience emotion (Anthropomorphism), but in the NT we witness the Son experiencing real emotion. Wouldn't rejecting emotion cheapen the "suffering" God endured for us? Or, was it not God that suffered for us? Back to original question.

His ways are not our ways so.  I hesitate to use the pejorative "cheapen".  Man cannot inflict pain on the divine nature or change it's plan or teach it.  The divine nature cannot be added to or subtracted from; it is not made of parts.  Just as the divine nature is omnipresent, the human nature of Christ is not for if it could it would not be a 'human' nature. The human nature can feel pain and cry for Lazarus, the divine nature of God does not (in my opinion) have emotions in the same way that we do; thus, I would go along with the article.

 

All this being said, my finite mind is still grovelling to better understand Him and His attributes.  I am sure He is laughing at me right now in an anthropomorphic way.  Maybe the human nature of Christ just learned about my petty grovelling and is giggling as I type assuming the divine nature thinks my meanderings are worth mentioning to the human nature)

 

Maybe your point is that Jesus is God (agreed).  

But some of the features of Jesus contradict the definition of God.  (God is spirit, Jesus is not; God is all knowing, Jesus is not; God doesn't get tired, Jesus does)  Seems there will always be some complexity that is beyond me if I try to go deeply into the metaphysics of it all.

 

My apologies if I have committed a heresy (or two).  😉  ... and for my meanderings ... you got me thinking, thx.

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I really enjoyed reading your thoughts and musings Fredy. I too found this topic educational.

 

On 8/23/2018 at 2:12 PM, Fastfredy0 said:

The divine nature cannot be added to or subtracted from; it is not made of parts.

 

Since the Chalcedonian creed or formula AD 451 it has been suggested that the Son did not subtract His divinity in the incarnation but rather added to His deity real humanity.

 

Chalcedonian creed:

Following, then, the holy Fathers, we all unanimously teach that our Lord Jesus Christ is to us One and the same Son, the Self-same Perfect in Godhead, the Self-same Perfect in Manhood; truly God and truly Man; the Self-same of a rational soul and body; co-essential with the Father according to the Godhead, the Self-same co-essential with us according to the Manhood; like us in all things, sin apart; before the ages begotten of the Father as to the Godhead, but in the last days, the Self-same, for us and for our salvation (born) of Mary the Virgin Theotokos as to the Manhood; One and the Same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten; acknowledged in Two Natures unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the difference of the Natures being in no way removed because of the Union, but rather the properties of each Nature being preserved, and (both) concurring into One Person and One Hypostasis; not as though He were parted or divided into Two Persons, but One and the Self-same Son and Only-begotten God, Word, Lord, Jesus Christ; even as from the beginning the prophets have taught concerning Him, and as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself hath taught us, and as the Symbol of the Fathers hath handed down to us.

 

On 8/23/2018 at 2:12 PM, Fastfredy0 said:

Maybe your point is that Jesus is God (agreed).  

But some of the features of Jesus contradict the definition of God.  (God is spirit, Jesus is not; God is all knowing, Jesus is not; God doesn't get tired, Jesus does)  Seems there will always be some complexity that is beyond me if I try to go deeply into the metaphysics of it all.

Point was that Jesus is fully God and fully man. God the Son did come down to earth in the fullness of time and was born of a woman, born under the law. Jesus Christ did experience the sin and misery we all do with the exception that he had no sinful nature and he committed no sin. In the incarnation the Son added to himself what he was not. He did not subtract anything.

 

On 8/23/2018 at 2:12 PM, Fastfredy0 said:

But some of the features of Jesus contradict the definition of God.  (God is spirit, Jesus is not; God is all knowing, Jesus is not; God doesn't get tired, Jesus does) 

 

Look up the term extra-Calvinisticum, or here:

“extra calvinisticum: The Calvinistic extra; a term used by the Lutherans to refer to the Reformed insistence on the utter transcendence of the human nature of Christ by the Second Person of the Trinity in and during the incarnation. The Reformed argued that the Word is fully united to but never totally contained within the human nature and, therefore, even in the incarnation is to be conceived of as beyond or outside of (extra) the human nature.

 

In response to the Calvinistic extra, the Lutherans taught the maxim, Logos non extra carnem. It is clear that the so-called extra calvinisticum is not the invention of the Calvinists but is a christological concept, safeguarding both the transcendence of Christ’s divinity and the integrity of Christ’s humanity, known to and used by the fathers of the first five centuries, including Athanasius and Augustine.

 

It is also clear (1) that Reformed emphasis on the concept arose out of the tendency of Reformed christology to teach acommunicatio idiomatum in concreto over against the perceived Lutheran emphasis upon acommunicatio idiomatum in abstracto and (2) that the polarization of Lutheran and Reformed Christologies owed much to the debate over the mode of Christ’s presence in the Lord’s Supper, in which the Lutherans emphasized the real but illocal presence of Christ’s body and blood by reason of the communicated omnipresence of the Logos and the Reformed emphasized the transcendence of the divine and the heavenly location of Christ’s body. Against the Lutherans, the Reformed interpreted the extra calvinisticum in terms of the maxim Finitum non capax infiniti, the finite is incapable of the infinite. In other words, the finite humanity of Christ is incapable of receiving or grasping infinite attributes such as omnipresence, omnipotence, or omniscience.”

—Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms: Drawn Principally from Protestant Scholastic Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1985), 111.

 

I understand that a lot of people are troubled by associating emotions to God as it treads dangerously close to open theism. However, given that there are two natures of the Son, I think the Second Person of our Triune God is both impassible (Divine nature) and passible (Human nature). Though, His divine nature is not boxed in by His human nature with the exclusion of sin. Because the Son has become incarnated He is able to sympathize, even empathize with us in our suffering and weakness. Jesus felt real sorrow and pain, so much pain that in Gethsemane He sweated blood, and He needed strengthening which was provided by an angel. That is, God experienced our weaknesses, and even suffered His abandonment towards sinners upon the Crucifix. To suggest that Jesus Christ, our Lord and God was only impassible could be construed as an insult to everything He experienced but yet overcame for us. Let's not fall into the error of defending God which ironically is the result of emotionalism, but rather use the Scriptures on His behalf.

 

God bless,

William

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7 hours ago, William said:

I really enjoyed reading your thoughts and musings Fredy. I too found this topic educational.

Grrr.... dropped my mouse and lost a 1/2 hour of my musings when my unsaved additions vanished as the web page changed.  I don't have the patience to repeat the process.   Thanks for your musings  They're appreciated.  This back and forth has me thinking.  🙂   Perhaps my main contention is my issue of using the words "subtract" and "add" when describing an immutable God.  Perhaps, if the term manifest was used I would be more comfortable.  Example:  God chose to manifest his glory by physically displaying in the dimension of time a person with two natures that is fully God.  🙂 

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