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.
Though a young and upcoming evangelical scholar, Rob Lister has made a very significant contribution to one of the most difficult theological doctrines, the impassibility of God. By combining historical theology, interaction with contemporary nonevangelical theories, a retroductive theological method, circumspect metaphysical reflection on divine revelation, biblical theology, and systematic theology (especially theology proper and christology), Lister offers a convincing case that God is both impassible and impassioned. This book sets the standard on this topic and is a model of evangelical scholarship at its finest!
—Gregg R. Allison, Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Although the concept of divine passibilism, appropriate in some ways for a deeply sentimentalized culture, is all the rage in modern theology, for most of the history of the church, God was viewed as being impassible. Why was this so, and how did the Bible shape this perspective of God? And can we construct a model in this regard that does justice to what the Scriptures and church history say about God, and that also engages with modern sensibilities? This study by Rob Lister is extremely helpful in answering these questions: it is preeminently scriptural, takes the Rezeptionsgeschichte of this doctrine very seriously, and satisfactorily answers current concerns.
—Michael A.G. Haykin, Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Rob Lister boldly goes where few evangelicals have gone before in this very helpful study of how best to make sense of what Scripture says about God’s emotions. Lister does away with caricatures of the Patristic tradition as having sold out to Greek philosophy, surveys contemporary evangelical positions on divine impassibility, and provides a constructive hermeneutical method and theological model for doing justice both to the impassibilist tradition and to biblical language about divine emotions. As G. K. Chesterton observes, ‘an inch is everything when you’re balancing,’ and to Lister’s credit he completes his routine without falling off the balance beam that is systematic theology.
—Kevin J. Vanhoozer, research professor of systematic theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.
Rob Lister is associate professor of biblical and theological studies at the Talbot School of Theology. His primary research interests include theology proper, christology, and sanctification—all of which are fused together at the hub of his book on divine impassibility. He and his wife, LuWinn, have four children.