Unknown to many, increasing numbers of conservative evangelicals are denying basic tenets of classical Christian teaching about God, with departures occurring even among those of the Calvinistic persuasion. James E. Dolezal’s All That Is in God provides an exposition of the historic Christian position while engaging with these contemporary deviations. His convincing critique of the newer position he styles “theistic mutualism” is philosophically robust, systematically nuanced, and biblically based. It demonstrates the need to maintain the traditional viewpoint, particularly on divine simplicity, and spotlights the unfortunate implications for other important Christian doctrines—such as divine eternality and the Trinity—if it were to be abandoned. Arguing carefully and cogently that “all that is in God is God Himself,” the work is sure to stimulate debate on the issue in years to come.
“Because God cannot depend on what is not God in order to be God, theologians traditionally insist that all that is in God is God.” (Page 41)
“Classical Christian theism is deeply devoted to the absoluteness of God with respect to His existence, essence, and activity. Nothing about God’s being is derived or caused to be. There is nothing behind Him or outside Him that could increase, alter, or augment His infinite fullness of being and felicity. For this reason, He cannot subject Himself to changes because every change involves a cause that brings to the subject an actuality of being that the subject lacks in and of itself. Causes, simply put, make things to be. Therefore, if God is wholly uncaused and self-sufficient in the plentitude of His being, then He cannot be moved to some further actuality. This would suggest some imperfection or absence of being and goodness in Him.” (Pages 10–11)
“The principal claim of divine simplicity is that God is not composed of parts. Whatever is composed of parts depends upon its parts in order to be as it is. A part is anything in a subject that is less than the whole and without which the subject would be really different than it is. In short, composite beings need their parts in order to exist as they do.” (Page 40)
“It is marked by a strong commitment to the doctrines of divine aseity, immutability, impassibility, simplicity, eternity, and the substantial unity of the divine persons. The underlying and inviolable conviction is that God does not derive any aspect of His being from outside Himself and is not in any way caused to be.” (Page 1)
Very few volumes of theology have stirred my profound intrigue as James Dolezal’s All That Is in God. The book describes the heart of classical theology in its brilliant defense of the catholic view of the nature and character of God. It also chronicles the contemporary drift among some evangelical and Reformed scholars away from the orthodox understanding of God’s simplicity and immutability. A must read.
—R. C. Sproul, Founder of Ligonier Ministries and author of The Holiness of God
The road to doctrinal decline is not a steep cliff but a gradual descent. Before we realize it, we have altered or abandoned long-cherished beliefs and doctrine. James Dolezal sounds the alarm on the important but forgotten doctrine of divine simplicity. He calls the church back to its traditional understanding and creedal affirmations not because he fears change, but because they are biblical. This book is well worth the time to read, digest, and reinvigorate our understanding of the simplicity of God.
—J. V. Fesko, Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology, Westminster Seminary California
This is a significant book on a topic that could hardly be more important. What we believe about the nature of God matters, and we dare not risk having an underdeveloped or sub-biblical understanding of such a central Christian concern. To put it as plainly as possible: I want every one of our students to read this book and to reflect deeply on its teachings, since what Dolezal seeks to explain is nothing less than the historic doctrine of the Christian church.
—Jonathan L. Master, Professor of Theology and Dean of the School of Divinity, Cairn University
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