Wednesday, September 21, 2022

So, can God really change his mind?

Classical Christian theism, born in the cauldron of philosophized Christianity in the second and third centuries in the Roman Empire, reached its zenith in Anselm and Aquinas. Aquinas agreed that God, being absolute and ultimate in terms of reality, cannot change in any way and therefore cannot suffer—including feeling emotions such as compassion and sympathy. But classical Christian theism is not limited to early or medieval Christian thought; it still has its defenders in the twenty—first century in spite of being embattled. Very few Christian theologians except out-and-out liberal Protestants (e.g., process theologians) reject classical Christian theism entirely. Rather, following Dorner—a pioneer in attempting to return the Christian doctrine of God to biblical thought, separating it from Greek metaphysics that conflicts with that——many simply want to adjust Christian metaphysics “back to the Bible.” Most, this writer included, gladly affirm broad areas of agreement between the best of Greek philosophical theology and biblical revelation of God. At the same time, however, together with Dorner, Brunner, Cherbonnier, and other Christian critics of classical theism, I believe it important to base Christian metaphysics on the biblical narrative and not allow Greek or any other metaphysical thought to draw it away into extrabiblical speculation.—The Essentials of Christian Thought, 132

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