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Modern theologians have focused on the doctrine of divine impassibility, exploring the significance of God's emotional experience and most especially the question of divine suffering. Professor Rob Lister speaks into the issue, outlining the history of the doctrine in the views of influential figures such as Augustine, Aquinas, and Luther, while carefully examining moderni Modern theologians have focused on the doctrine of divine impassibility, exploring the significance of God's emotional experience and most especially the question of divine suffering. Professor Rob Lister speaks into the issue, outlining the history of the doctrine in the views of influential figures such as Augustine, Aquinas, and Luther, while carefully examining modernity's growing rejection of impassibility and the subsequent evangelical response. With an eye toward holistic synthesis, this book proposes a theological model based upon fresh insights into the historical, biblical, and theological dimensions of this important doctrine.


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Modern theologians have focused on the doctrine of divine impassibility, exploring the significance of God's emotional experience and most especially the question of divine suffering. Professor Rob Lister speaks into the issue, outlining the history of the doctrine in the views of influential figures such as Augustine, Aquinas, and Luther, while carefully examining moderni Modern theologians have focused on the doctrine of divine impassibility, exploring the significance of God's emotional experience and most especially the question of divine suffering. Professor Rob Lister speaks into the issue, outlining the history of the doctrine in the views of influential figures such as Augustine, Aquinas, and Luther, while carefully examining modernity's growing rejection of impassibility and the subsequent evangelical response. With an eye toward holistic synthesis, this book proposes a theological model based upon fresh insights into the historical, biblical, and theological dimensions of this important doctrine.

30 review for God Is Impassible and Impassioned: Toward a Theology of Divine Emotion

  1. 4 out of 5

    E.

    Perhaps Lister's greatest contribution to the debate currently raging about God's emotional life is simply in clarifying what "impassibility" actually means. By analyzing what the impassibility position meant historically, Lister reveals that many modern Christians who think of themselves as passibilists actually hold something close to the traditional impassibility position. Aside from open theists, most evangelical "passibilists" believe that God's emotional life cannot be affected by His crea Perhaps Lister's greatest contribution to the debate currently raging about God's emotional life is simply in clarifying what "impassibility" actually means. By analyzing what the impassibility position meant historically, Lister reveals that many modern Christians who think of themselves as passibilists actually hold something close to the traditional impassibility position. Aside from open theists, most evangelical "passibilists" believe that God's emotional life cannot be affected by His creatures without his prior knowledge. That aligns with the impassibility position. The mistake many people have made is to confuse traditional doctrines of impassibility with an extreme impassibility position in which God has no emotions at all. Lister asserts that the traditional impassibility position has been two-pronged--God's impassibility (e.g. emotional stability) complements His compassion toward his creatures and love within the Godhead. Lister also critiques the "Hellenization hypothesis," which is put forward by passibilists who argue that impassibility was the result of the Church Fathers imbibing too much Greek philosophy. However, Lister reveals, Greek philosophy was by no means monolithic, and the Fathers' preservation of the Creator/creature distinction protected them from being too influenced by the ideas of their day. "God Is Impassible and Impassioned" is geared slightly more toward seminarians, but lay readers should be able to understand it with little difficulty.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Todd Miles

    "God is Impassible and Impassioned" is an excellent book. Lister's work is an extraordinary example of what evangelical scholarship should look like: Biblically faithful, Christ honoring, academically credible, fair and charitable to those with whom the author disagrees, heart-warming, worship-evoking, thought-provoking, historically faithful, and challenging. To think that this is largely borne out of Lister's PhD dissertation makes the book all the more remarkable because it is quite readable. "God is Impassible and Impassioned" is an excellent book. Lister's work is an extraordinary example of what evangelical scholarship should look like: Biblically faithful, Christ honoring, academically credible, fair and charitable to those with whom the author disagrees, heart-warming, worship-evoking, thought-provoking, historically faithful, and challenging. To think that this is largely borne out of Lister's PhD dissertation makes the book all the more remarkable because it is quite readable. Lister walks the reader through the history of Christian thought at a quick but informative pace, surveys the significant biblical passages that play on this issue, and then dives into the theological implications defending a workable and credible thesis of how God is both impassible and impassioned. The last chapter by itself is worth the price of the book. This will surely become required reading for my next Theology Proper class.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Bradley

    Wow. This is what all academic works should aspire to be like! Engaging, extensive, and charitable towards those he disagrees with. He dives into a difficult topic most authors wouldn’t go near and makes it exciting for those knew to the subject! Grateful for this work.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Craig Marshall

    This was a thorough and helpful treatment of the doctrine of divine impossibility. It engaged very well with questions I have been wondering about for some time. I appreciated the historical, exegetical, systematic, and biblical-theological analysis. The footnotes provide a wealth of information for further study.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brent McCulley

    Having read the few impassibilists leading the way in the debate, namely, Weinandy (Catholic), Hart (Orthodox) and Gavrilyuk (Orthodox), I was encouraged to see an evangelical contribution to the recent impassibility pushback. Lister is Prof. of theology at Talbot Theological Seminary in California and did his Ph.D at Southern under Bruce Ware. This book actually is a slightly modified form of his dissertation. With that being said, Lister was a good read, but nothing new, as he seemingly relies Having read the few impassibilists leading the way in the debate, namely, Weinandy (Catholic), Hart (Orthodox) and Gavrilyuk (Orthodox), I was encouraged to see an evangelical contribution to the recent impassibility pushback. Lister is Prof. of theology at Talbot Theological Seminary in California and did his Ph.D at Southern under Bruce Ware. This book actually is a slightly modified form of his dissertation. With that being said, Lister was a good read, but nothing new, as he seemingly relies heavily on Weinandy, Gavrilyuk, Hart, and other men that I have already read. His positive contribution to the debate doesn't come until chapter 9, which is at least the longest chapter in the book. Lister holds to the model Weinandy puts forth except he puts God within time allowing for God to experience emotional fluctuations (which he voluntarily enters into) vis-à-vis his creatures, although such emotional fluctuations are still not affections, that is to say God's emotions do not rise by way of him being affected externally, in order for God to experience in time what he had ordained to happen before creation. This distinction of God's eternal decrees (impassible) as the ontological grounding for all that is to come to pass juxtaposed to God's experience of the aforesaid (impassioned) within time, is the essential thesis and positive contribution of his book. He just takes a really long time getting there. If you are well versed on the issues, skip to chapter nine. If not, the whole book might not be bad to actually read first before penetrating the more academically rigorous material. My issue is that I want God atemporal, and I do not want God's actual emotion states and dispositions towards the seven billion people alive right now fluctuating in some wide array of chaotic schizophrenia analogous to some super computer. While I am happy that Lister entered into the debate as an evangelical contributor, I reject his qualified form of impassibility. I think I need to read Paul Helms book next. Who knows where the rabbit trails will lead next! -b

  6. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    This was a very good book. Originally Lister's PhD dissertation at SBTS, Lister seeks to show how God is both impassible (by which he means that He is not swayed surprisingly emotionally) while at the same time impassioned. Just as God is both transcendent and immanent, He is both impassible and impassioned. He surveys historical data - most notably a fresh survey of what the church fathers believed about impassibilism -, the influence of passibilism in contemporary theology, and offers his fres This was a very good book. Originally Lister's PhD dissertation at SBTS, Lister seeks to show how God is both impassible (by which he means that He is not swayed surprisingly emotionally) while at the same time impassioned. Just as God is both transcendent and immanent, He is both impassible and impassioned. He surveys historical data - most notably a fresh survey of what the church fathers believed about impassibilism -, the influence of passibilism in contemporary theology, and offers his fresh take as a development on historical themes. Since this book was a dissertation, it is very technical, but there was much beneficial reflection on all sorts of areas of theology that deal with the God who is ontologically different than man, yet analogically near. As an aside, I think it's fascinating how most evangelicals studying systematic theology - including me! - don't really understand what impassibilism actually posits. Impassiblism doesn't mean that God doesn't have emotions - far from it! Rather, His emotions are in perfect unity and are displayed distinctly in redemptive history. Lister convincingly shows that ultimately, contra contemporary passibilism, the God who is impassible and impassioned serves as a better comforter in the times of trial. I was blessed and enriched by this book and am excited to see what sort of discussion it will continue to foster in the coming years.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Craig Hurst

    Transcendent yet immanent. Knowable yet unknowable. Merciful yet wrathful. These contrasting descriptions are all true equally and at the same time as they describe the nature and character of God as revealed in Scripture. There are many people who have a hard time wrapping their minds around how God can both transcend the human experience as creator, wholly other and holy God, and yet, this same God accommodates Himself to the human experience in Christ incarnate and walks on the very earth He Transcendent yet immanent. Knowable yet unknowable. Merciful yet wrathful. These contrasting descriptions are all true equally and at the same time as they describe the nature and character of God as revealed in Scripture. There are many people who have a hard time wrapping their minds around how God can both transcend the human experience as creator, wholly other and holy God, and yet, this same God accommodates Himself to the human experience in Christ incarnate and walks on the very earth He created and among the very creatures He created. These are tension points in Scripture for people trying to make sense of them and yet God and His word do not seem to so much as bat an eye. Along these lines of tension is the discussion of God’s impassibility. Though mention of the impassibility of God stretches back to the early church fathers there have been very few books specifically dedicated to the topic. Recently, Crossway has published a new book dedicated to the topic titled God is Impassible and Impassioned: Toward a Theology of Devine Emotion by Rob Lister. Lister earned his PhD. From The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and is associate professor of biblical and theological studies at the Talbot School of Theology. Lister’s goal is to address how it is that Scripture presents God as both unchangeable and yet expresses passions that might imply some kind of change when viewed from the human experience. Some Definitions The essence of the doctrine of passibility is that God suffers in the divine nature. This can be seen to them most clearly in the incarnation of Christ. The line of thought runs as follows: (1) Jesus was God incarnate, (2) Jesus displayed passion and experienced suffering on the cross, (3) therefore, God is susceptible to passion and suffering. (p. 125-26) Contra this, impassibility is the doctrine that God does not experience suffering in the divine nature. Lister defines being impassible and impassioned as follows: Impassibility is the belief that God cannot be manipulated, overwhelmed, or surprised into an emotional interaction that he does not desire to have or allow to happen. (p. 36) Impassioned is the belief that God may be affected by his creatures, but as God, he is so in ways that accord rather than conflict with his will to be so affected by those whom, in love, he has made. (p. 36) Again, contra the passibilist’s view of the incarnation, Lister sees the incarnation as the perfect embodiment of the doctrine of impassibility. The incarnation furnishes us with the supreme example of the dual biblical affirmation of divine self-sufficiency and gracious condescension. Accordingly, we see that the second person of the trinity had to become incarnate in order to overcome natural divine impassibility (i.e. the impassibility of the divine order), and thereby accomplish the redemptively necessary goal of humanly experiencing suffering and death on behalf of sinners. (p. 37) Lister makes a strong, detailed and deep case for God being both impassible and yet impassioned. Given the depth of the book I will only be able to touch on some of the more salient features of Lister’s argument. Salient Features Lister’s work is extremely well reasoned and thought out. It is exegetically based and driven on solid Biblical, theological and hermeneutical ground. In short, Lister’s argument holds the weight of the freight it intends to carry. There are several gems to Lister’s argument that are worth briefly pointing out. First, as with any good discussion on a topic like this Lister revisits the primary sources in regards to the understanding of the history of the church on divine impassibility. In chapters two and three Lister’s addresses the Hellenization Hypothesis which seeks to discredit the Patristic notion of divine impassibility on the basis that it borrowed it completely from Greek thought. Recognizing that this claim commits the genetic fallacy Lister points out that merely borrowing language and concepts of contemporary philosophy is in itself not problematic and in fact necessary. Lister rightly points out that “the critical issue, then, is discerning whether biblical authority has been compromised in the attempt to express biblical truth through borrowed terminology.” (p. 61) Second, as briefly mentioned above, Lister points to the incarnation as the embodiment of the impassibilist’s position. Lister argues that because the divine nature cannot suffer in the way that was necessary to affirm, among other things, the truth of Heb. 4:15, Jesus had to become incarnate in order to accomplish the cross. Christ did not suffer as a man to show us suffering in the divine nature of God but rather God became a man in Christ so that he could suffer. (p. 270) Lister is not saying that the divine nature cannot express emotion but rather, “as one expression of the explicit purpose of the incarnation that Jesus carry out the entirety of his mission – including his obedience, emotion, suffering, and death – as a man in dependence on God……Jesus our elder brother, who as the perfect image of God perfectly displayed for us what godly human passion should look like.” (p. 262) The point on the incarnation is one that Lister makes throughout much of the book. Closely tied together are the third and fourth points. Third, there is the Creator/creature distinction. The point drawn from this distinction is that though God and man experience the same kinds of emotions they do not in the same way by virtue of the ontological difference between the two. The divine nature is perfect, infinite, transcendent and incorporeal. Man on the other hand is not. This leads to the fourth feature of analogical revelation. It is obne thing to affirm the emotional attributions to God in Scripture as real but it another thing to anchor our understanding of them first in ourselves (who are sinners) rather than the other way around. (p. 187) The mistake that passibilists make is to nearly view God’s emotions and ours as univocal. “We must never mistake relationship or emotional engagement with God for relationship with a peer.” (p. 216) This is further evident in being created in the image of God. “We are God’s analogues and not his ontological peers.” (p. 219) The Creator/creature distinction should keep this from happening. Fifth, since Lister takes a decidedly Reformed approach (p. 36) to the impassibility of God he holds to God’s exhaustive divine foreknowledge (EDF). His explanation of this is clearly tied to the definition above of divine impassibility. "EDF precludes the possibility that God might ever be “caught off-guard,” thus experiencing an emotional reaction based on the surprise that comes to him from encountering the unforeseen. Additionally, EDF includes the fact that God foreknows not only all that his creatures will do, but also his own emotional (and volitional) responses to his creatures’ actions, before he himself ever experiences those responses." (p. 237-38) Finally, though not unique to Lister’s approach, it bears pointing out the scope of Lister’s intent in the book. Lister is trying to produce a retroductive model of logical reasoning which “attempts to present a comprehensive theory sufficient to account for all the relevant data.” (p. 174) This approach seeks to hold to a theology that incorporates all the relevant data and thus develop a synthesized conclusion, rather than basing ones entire theology based on one passage of Scripture to the detriment of much else. Conclusion God is Impassible and Impassioned is a solid defense of the traditional doctrine of divine impassibility. Lister succeeds in defending the doctrine while also further expanding on some points that are both necessary and natural. That the title includes describing God as impassioned speaks to the balance Lister carries throughout the book. Lister is intent on holding onto the tension both words create because that is where he sees Scripture taking us. Lister’s presentation and critique of the history of this doctrine is fair and shows he has done the hard work of reading the primary sources. Lister addresses not only the most notable proponents of passibilism but also points out those within the conservative evangelical camp such as John Stott and John Feinberg. Though he disagrees with Open Theists, his treatment of them is fair and there is surprisingly no discussion of Greg Boyd who is probably the most conservative of the group though the most vocal and influential. In regards to the biblical text Lister does not shy away from the hard texts. He ably discusses themes and exegetes texts like God’s jealousy in Deut. 4:23-24 and Deut. 6:13-15, the anger of God in Judges 2:11-15, God’s covenant love in the Psalms and Prophets and the famous repentance/regret/relenting passages like 1 Sam. 15. In the chapter dedicated to exploring the implications of impassibility and the incarnation Lister further deals with various relevant Christological passages such as the passion narrative, 1 Pt. 3:18-4:2 and Heb. 2:9-18 and 4:15. The only thing I would have liked to see more of was on the chapter on the incarnation. Though it ran throughout the book it could have been longer. In short this book has added to the impassibility discussion and has brought life back into a virtually dormant discussion. This is not a book for the light of heart but I recommend it to theologically informed pastors, students and theologians. NOTE: I received this book for free from Crossway in exchange for a review. The words and thoughts expressed are my own and I was under no obligation to provide a favorable review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Spencer Cummins

    God is Impassible and Impassioned: Toward a Theology of Divine Emotion by Rob Lister The thesis by many modern theologians that God cannot truly love his people if he cannot suffer in his divine nature is taken to be an inarguable assumption by many today. The attack on those who wish to see God as impassible coincides with a wrong-headed assumption that to be unchanging is to be void of any real emotions. Yet, this is exactly the point that Rob Lister in his new book entitled God is Impassible a God is Impassible and Impassioned: Toward a Theology of Divine Emotion by Rob Lister The thesis by many modern theologians that God cannot truly love his people if he cannot suffer in his divine nature is taken to be an inarguable assumption by many today. The attack on those who wish to see God as impassible coincides with a wrong-headed assumption that to be unchanging is to be void of any real emotions. Yet, this is exactly the point that Rob Lister in his new book entitled God is Impassible and Impassioned seeks to counter head on. To begin, Lister understands ‘that God is impassible in the sense that he cannot be manipulated, overwhelmed, or surprised into an emotional interaction that he does not desire to have or allow to happen.’ Furthermore, ‘God is impassioned (i.e. perfectly vibrant in his affections) , and he may be affected by his creatures, but as God, he is so in ways that accord rather than conflict with his will to be so affected by those whom, in love, he has made’ (36). In essence, God cannot be caught off guard like the jack in the box toy for children, nor does he garner feeling and emotions that are contrary to his character. Working through the common Hellenization Hypothesis, Lister goes onto state that the main references to Philo, Stoicism and Plotinus do not clearly yield a pathway to belief in a God who is unchangeable and passionless. Lister writes, “In none of these philosophical systems, however, is there an espousal of a personal, creator deity marked by absolute emotional detachment from his creation” (61). Furthermore, borrowing Greek concepts and thought forms doesn’t necessarily mean that all early theologians left biblical authority behind. After surveying the thought of Irenaeus, Origen, Augustine, Justin Martyr and others, Lister mentions that although there is development in thought early on, the early church fathers were clear to uphold both a God who is not caught offguard by his creation but one who enters into relationship with them through emotions. Some of the key points Lister makes is that “ the representatives of the qualified impassibility model are committed to the importance of the Creator/creature distinction.” Lister writes further down, “they affirmed a meaningful category of divine emotion, though qualified analogously “ (102). Why does this matter? For one, the Creator/creature distinction is important because it lends credence to the powerful work of God in creation over his creation and secondly, it marks a balance between God’s transcendence and his immanence. Furthermore, by seeing divine emotion through analogy, the Fathers sought to discard the notion that human emotional categories translate to divine categories of emotion in a one to one correspondence. Rather, we understand divine emotions through the biblical texts and then seek to draw analogies to humans from that starting point. In his discussion of Jurgen Moltmann’s work on The Crucified God, Lister makes a point that we should not miss by writing, “..it is every bit as problematic to abstract, isolate, and therefore misinterpret an event from the economy of redemption – even if that event is the cross – by reading it as the totality of the divine reality, as Moltmann has done. This kind of reading fails to acknowledge that Scripture presents us with a package including both the narration of key redemptive historical events and the interpretation of those events” (245). Moltmann wants to assert the main point of the cross to be God identifying with the suffering of his people through his own suffering, therefore, bringing a sense of solidarity to his people. As you can see, there is no hint of the death of Jesus for the purpose of saving sinners, redeeming the lost, taking the sin upon his shoulders and giving us his righteousness. Where I think Lister could have gone further in his discussion is to bring up the redemptive historical events and their interpretation in connection with seeing the grand story of Scripture. Moltmann fails to see the hope of Israel, the longing of a people for a coming King, and the way in which the Creator God intervenes in the life of his creation. Lister’s reminder of the distinction between Creator/creature and transcendence/immanence gives way to a more biblical and holistic understanding of the coming of Jesus, while not falling into a collapse of the event being the totality of meaning . Consequently, what happens in Moltmann’s thought is that God’s suffering on the cross in his being is an ontological necessity that must take place for his love to be real for others. Lister in the rest of the book lays the groundwork for a theology of an unchanging impassioned God. The end of the book is a foray into understanding the passions of God in the sense of his emotions. Lister does a good job at balancing the perfection of God with the emotions of God. Using Edwards, Piper and others at his disposal, Lister paints a picture of God that is both biblically faithful and theologically sound. I hope this book finds its way into the hands of many readers. Thanks to Crossway for the review copy of this book in exchange for review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Charles Williams

    Not a helpful book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tucker

    Solid construction. Biblically faithful and theologically satisfying. I'll definitely be returning to this in the future. Solid construction. Biblically faithful and theologically satisfying. I'll definitely be returning to this in the future.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Grant Fawcett

    I approached this book with interest in examining some of the tensions that have arisen in my mind over the years respecting particular passages of scripture. As with any philosophical writing, the author quickly identified tensions I hadn’t yet confronted as he answered those I had. Lister does an excellent job of outlining the issue and partitioning the various facets and perspectives. He builds a helpful theology and defends it well (it is his dissertation after all). Even if you find yoursel I approached this book with interest in examining some of the tensions that have arisen in my mind over the years respecting particular passages of scripture. As with any philosophical writing, the author quickly identified tensions I hadn’t yet confronted as he answered those I had. Lister does an excellent job of outlining the issue and partitioning the various facets and perspectives. He builds a helpful theology and defends it well (it is his dissertation after all). Even if you find yourself in disagreement with his conclusions, you will be well challenged and confronted with helpful Scripture, theology and philosophy.

  12. 4 out of 5

    James

    Disclosure: I went to seminary with the author and know him, though distantly. This book is an excellent introduction, and proposed model, to the subject of divine emotion. I had never actually thought much about this particular aspect of God. But Lister makes the subject very approachable and understandable to the non-expert (though the book is bursting with footnotes). He does a good job of showing all of the related issues that are implicated in one's understanding of divine emotion; thus show Disclosure: I went to seminary with the author and know him, though distantly. This book is an excellent introduction, and proposed model, to the subject of divine emotion. I had never actually thought much about this particular aspect of God. But Lister makes the subject very approachable and understandable to the non-expert (though the book is bursting with footnotes). He does a good job of showing all of the related issues that are implicated in one's understanding of divine emotion; thus showing why it's important for Christians in particular to have a good understanding of the emotional facet of God's nature. Lister takes the first several chapters showing the importance of divine impassibility and then showing that the doctrine has a long track record among Christians, going back to the foundational years of the Church Fathers, and then exploring more recent defenders. He also does a good job of explaining the divine passibilist position, especially recent defenders, and what seems to motivate them. I think his analysis in this section is quite accurate. I also greatly appreciated Lister's early criticism of the Hellenization thesis that goes back to von Harnack, or one might even say to Tertullian ("What hath Jerusalem to do with Athens?"). The chapters that I found most intriguing though were the later ones where Lister develops his theological model of God being "impassible and impassioned" thus defending a form of the traditional impassibilist doctrine. I especially appreciated his detailed remarks in Chapter 7 on the importance of understanding divine predication analogically, though in very specific ways. I found the overall thesis and model of the book very compelling. Though Lister's volume is mainly about divine emotion, I believe his approach provides a good example for doing theology in general. I would describe his methodology has having a strong biblical basis that is historically, and philosophically, informed. As a philosopher and a biblicist, I especially was grateful with Lister's biblical approach to defending aspects of classical theism. I think his theological methodology is one to be emulated by philosophical and analytic theologians who wish to remain faithful to the biblical revelation. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in divine emotion or theological interests in general. Though the book is probably a bit more technical than a popular theology text, I think most anyone could read it profitably and appreciatively.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mark Loughridge

    Top notch book, heavy going in places, but I particularly found the last chapter a real joy to read. Lister deals with the question of Does God Suffer, and brings a great amount of clarity from scripture and church history as to what is meant when theologians have said that God is without passions. Several authors I have come across recently have disputed the idea of the impassibility of God--all evangelical writers, saying in as many words that it is time to get rid of this Greek philosophical i Top notch book, heavy going in places, but I particularly found the last chapter a real joy to read. Lister deals with the question of Does God Suffer, and brings a great amount of clarity from scripture and church history as to what is meant when theologians have said that God is without passions. Several authors I have come across recently have disputed the idea of the impassibility of God--all evangelical writers, saying in as many words that it is time to get rid of this Greek philosophical idea. In a thorough survey of the ancient writers Lister shows that they were not heedlessly imbibing Greek philosophy as often accused. And far from 'impassible' meaning that God is a cold emotionless entity, he displays that what is meant is that God is not a victim of external circumstances, or internal conflicts, in the same way we are. He is never caught off guard, or surprised by any activity, much less having any uncontrolled emotion wrung from him. But this is not to say that God is emotionless--far from it. Lister anchors the emotional responsiveness (as we perceive it) in the very nature of God as Trinity, and in his covenants with his creation. The world and its people are formed out of the overflowing love and delight of God within the trinity, which is the very heart of his impassionedness. The last chapter looks at the incarnation and crucifixion of Jesus and Lister demonstrates richly in the interconnectedness of a variety of theological concepts, that God had to become man in order to suffer in our place. But in suffering in our place, the very essence of God is not suffering, or defined by this suffering, nor is the Trinity rent asunder as some are fond of saying.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nate Weis

    Really clarifying. I don’t think any other doctrine is as misunderstood today as impassibility, and Lister does an excellent job demonstrating from scripture that God can be both impassible yet experience genuine emotion.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nathan White

    Does God experience emotions, passions, grief, anger, joy, etc., as we humans do? Does God share in our suffering? These are important questions and this is an important work on the debate of divine impassibility. I thoroughly enjoyed the book; it is very well written, insightful, and clear. But the reason I only give three stars is because I'm just not quite convinced of his thesis. It is clearly articulated and repeated (again and again), but I don't think he adequately proved it. Also, I'm no Does God experience emotions, passions, grief, anger, joy, etc., as we humans do? Does God share in our suffering? These are important questions and this is an important work on the debate of divine impassibility. I thoroughly enjoyed the book; it is very well written, insightful, and clear. But the reason I only give three stars is because I'm just not quite convinced of his thesis. It is clearly articulated and repeated (again and again), but I don't think he adequately proved it. Also, I'm not convinced he accurately represents Reformed tradition either. Admittedly, I need to read more on the subject. But regardless, this is a very important doctrine that has many ramification in theology, worship, preaching, and counseling. Reading this book definitely showed me how important this issue is and the many ramifications it can have in our view of God. Though I give it three stars for proving his thesis, I highly recommend the book!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Garry Geer

    This is a great overview of the doctrine of Impassibility. While this is not meant to be an in-depth study, it does its best to examine the doctrine's history, challenges, and application. Lister's goal is to clarify Impassibility by showing how God is indeed impassible, and yet feels passion. It is a careful slow read. As most books of this type, it sometimes tries to parse truths that cannot be known. I found it of great benefit though as it provided some solid discussion on a belief I've alwa This is a great overview of the doctrine of Impassibility. While this is not meant to be an in-depth study, it does its best to examine the doctrine's history, challenges, and application. Lister's goal is to clarify Impassibility by showing how God is indeed impassible, and yet feels passion. It is a careful slow read. As most books of this type, it sometimes tries to parse truths that cannot be known. I found it of great benefit though as it provided some solid discussion on a belief I've always struggled with. It also includes a great bibliography for further study. In my mind, it accomplished what Ware was trying to do with his book on Christ's human nature.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Justin Howe

    Much of broader evangelicalism has attempted to define God's nature by the cross, going so far as to say that the point of Christ's suffering was to console humanity in knowing that He feels our pain. This is known as passibilism, or the view that God's emotions can be thrust upon him as events occur. In contrast, Lister rehearses the historic orthodox view that God is impassable and yet also deliberately passionate. The emotional experience of God must be defined biblically and divinely, withou Much of broader evangelicalism has attempted to define God's nature by the cross, going so far as to say that the point of Christ's suffering was to console humanity in knowing that He feels our pain. This is known as passibilism, or the view that God's emotions can be thrust upon him as events occur. In contrast, Lister rehearses the historic orthodox view that God is impassable and yet also deliberately passionate. The emotional experience of God must be defined biblically and divinely, without reading our finite, fallen emotional experience into His.

  18. 4 out of 5

    David Thommen

    This is a tremendous work of scholarship, while at the same time very readable. Lister tackles a difficult topic in an engaging and thorough manner. In addition, this is not simply a scholarly treatise, but a work that biblically sets forth an understanding of the living God who is impassible and impassioned.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Andy Smith

    A good, short investigation of divine impassibility. Very repetitive and is actually more valuable for its critique and presentation of modern passibilist claims (i.e. Moltmann) than for its positive arguments.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Joel Fitzpatrick

    Really enjoyed this book. I wished Lister would have spent more time on the incarnation and impassability.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Brian Seagraves

  22. 4 out of 5

    K.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Leon Fowler

  24. 5 out of 5

    Triones

  25. 4 out of 5

    Timothy

  26. 5 out of 5

    Gary Scott

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Baker

  28. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dwayne

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mathew Reames

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