Robert Matz and A. Chadwick Thornhill have edited a volume on the doctrine of impassibility. In the book, four authors argue for God’s impassibility or its opposite: God’s passibility. Each of the four authors situates the doctrine of (im)passibility along biblical lines, which has the benefit of clarifying the relationship between doctrine and Scripture. At the same time, the editorial restrictions for this volume prevent it from being a smashing success. [Read more…] about Does God Have Emotions like Us? (Review: Divine Impassibility: Four Views of God’s Emotions and Suffering)
When John connects the Word in John 1 to the words of creation in Genesis 1, John Behr sees the completion of the project of God—the creation of the human being. The perfection of the human being happens not as we might expect but in the Passion of Christ which includes not just the cross but the entire scope of the gospel story.
To reach his conclusion, Behr joins the horizons of history, reception history (later interpretation), and phenomenology (specifically, of Michel Henry). While he may not explicitly state it, Behr throughout synthesizes the various horizons to make a case for the revelation of Jesus, the Word of God, at the cross. And through his life-giving flesh offered at the cross, we become sons of God, living human beings.
Does he succeed in making his case? In many ways, he does since his goal partly means accurately reporting early Christian interpretation of John (Ignatius, Ireneaus, and so on). However, his interpretation of the Gospel of John is less persuasive. By saying this, I do not mean his entire interpretive project misses the mark (John does portray Christ as the paschal lamb who perfects humanity in the passion). Yet I find a number of his interpretations to be historically improbable. [Read more…] about The Perfection of the Human Being (review of John Behr’s John the Theologian & His Pachal Gospel)
Philosopher Ed Feser wrote Aristotle’s Revenge to show that metaphysics complements modern science rather than becoming obsolete due to it. In fact, modern science presupposes, argues Feser, metaphysics.
Did he succeed? Largely. Could he have improved his argument? Probably. Let me first describe scholastic metaphysics before highlighting some of Feser’s major arguments. I will recommend Aristotle’s Revenge with some caveats at the conclusion. [Read more…] about Are There Metaphysical Foundations for Physical and Biological Science? (Review of Ed Feser’s Aristotle’s Revenge)
Augustine scholar Phillip Cary retrieves and reargues that the meaning of Protestant theology is Christ offered for us. He explains, “The Gospel, Protestant theology has taught ever since Luther, is God’s way of giving us nothing less than his own beloved son” (2-3). Overall, he succeeds in communicating his main thesis but I am wary about some of his conclusions. [Read more…] about What Martin Luther Can Teach Us about the Gospel (Review of The Meaning of Protestant Theology)
Does the Son eternally submit to the Father? Jonathan Routley thinks so. Actually, Routley argues that he has a moral obligation to define God in terms of submission and authority. He explains, “Scripture teaches that the Son eternally submits to the Father willingly, voluntarily, and lovingly” and affirms his “moral obligation to speak up for that conviction” (xii).
Yet his moral obligation to understand God rightly means that he wants to persuade those who no longer speak about the doctrine eternal submission to reaffirm their beliefs: “I am hopeful that this volume might challenge some who have formerly supported the doctrine of eternal submission and have more recently taken a position of silence to regain their voice and reaffirm their support” (xii-xii).
Should the silent speak up? Should we all affirm the eternal submission of the Son to the Father? In answer to that question, we need to see if Routley’s thesis accurately interprets Scripture and uses theological reasoning. My conclusion will be that Routley does not successfully prove his case either scripturally or theologically. [Read more…] about Does The Son Eternally Submit to the Father (A Review of Eternal Submission by Jonathan Routley)
Baker Academic has published the first English translation of a nearly forgotten book. For 100 years (since 1921), Herman Bavinck’s 1,100-page manuscript remained at the Bavinck Archives (Vrije Universiteit) until Dirk van Keulen rediscovered it in 2008.
As John Bolt records, “Readers of this volume are, therefore, among the privileged first group to gain access to Bavinck’s systematic reflection on theological ethics since his own students who heard the lectures in the last two decades of the nineteenth century” (ix).
As the historical level, reading Reformed Ethics represents something of a privilege to read. In terms of editing, John Bolt has done an excellent job formatting and providing explanatory footnotes throughout the work. And lastly, when it comes to the argument, Bavinck’s Reformed Ethics ably sketches out a consistent Reformed view of, as the subtitle suggests, created, fallen, and converted humanity. [Read more…] about Review of Reformed Ethics (Vol 1) by Herman Bavinck