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Theology and Philosophy

Reflections on the Doctrine of Divine Impassibility

When: June 9, 2021, 1:00 pm - Wednesday

Where: Ezell 107

Session 1

Session Abstract

The purpose of this section is to provide a forum for exploration, analysis, clarification, and construction in topics relevant to the disciplines of systematic and philosophical theology. This year, one paper will address of the doctrine of divine impassibility (according to which God is not passive with respect to or determined by anything, and therefore is not open to suffering) from a Thomistic point of view in light of eschatology. The second will take up the question of whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God, drawing on the philosophy of language found in John of Damascus and Theodore Abū Qurrah. David Mahfood will respond, after which there will be Q & A.

 

Paper Abstracts

John R. KernBoston College, “Divine Impassibility Begets Created Impassibility: A Thomistic Approach to the Question of God’s Suffering”

Is Christ, according to his divine nature, passible (able to suffer) or impassible? This paper will argue the latter along Thomistic lines, that it is precisely because Christ’s divine nature is impassible that Christ’s resurrected body is raised impassible and will bestow that same impassibility on the blessed in the eschaton as Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 15. The paper will thus look to the eschatological end of the Church in union with the bridegroom Christ in order to perceive what must be the case about God (i.e. that God is impassible) for the Church to receive such gifts.

 

Zachary Casey, Abilene Christian University, “Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God?: A Historical Attempt”

Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God? One way to pursue this question is through the discipline of philosophy of language. For example, the philosophy of language espoused by John of Damascus (c. 675–749) and Theodore Abū Qurrah (c. 750–825) sheds light on the philosophical elements embedded in the question. In this paper, I argue that their philosophy of language, when taken to its logical end, effectively answers the question. If this is correct, it reveals aspects about the historical underpinnings of the question.

Speakers

David Mahfood, Johnson University Florida, Convener

  • John R. Kern, Boston College, “Divine Impassibility Begets Created Impassibility: A Thomistic Approach to the Question of God's Suffering”
  • Zachary Casey, Abilene Christian University, “Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God?: A Historical Attempt”

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