This book deals with something that you may have never even heard of, the doctrine of divine impassibility. Impassibility is not a word often used in sermons. Even when people are studying systematic theology, impassibility tends to receive a small amount of attention. So what is it? And why is this important?
Divine impassibility is defined as follows: God does not experience emotional changes either from within or effected by his relationship to creation. This is a scriptural truth, and a very important part of our system of theology. In chapter two of our Confession, "Of God and the Holy Trinity," we read the following in paragraph 1:
The Lord our God is but one only living and true God; whose subsistence is in and of himself, infinite in being and perfection; whose essence cannot be comprehended by any but himself; a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions.
But is this doctrine important? Yes. This is the doctrine of God. If there is a part of theology about which we should be especially careful and sensitive, it should be the doctrine of God.
God is "without . . . passions"? If you are thinking, "I'm not really sure what that phrase means," then you are not alone. It has become increasingly clear that many in our day are lacking study and knowledge in this area. Given these factors, we can conclude that we need teaching on this subject.
It would be a mistake to jump straight into asserting the doctrine of divine impassibility and defending it. It is one piece in a system of doctrine. It stands upon and connects to many other facets of the doctrine of God. So what we need to do in our study is to build up to it. By doing so, we will appreciate not only the doctrine itself, but also just why it cannot be tampered with. So, to start from the ground up, we need to go where the doctrines grow, the Holy Scriptures.
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