Patripassianism, theopaschitism and the suffering of God. Some historical and systematic considerations1: Marcel Sarot

Religious Studies 26 (3):363-375 (1990)
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In contemporary theology the doctrine of divine impassibility is a hot issue. The doubts about this doctrine in the present century have their earliest roots in British theology, where we can trace the passibilist tendency back to the last ten years of the nineteenth century. It received a powerful impetus from the First World War, and by the time the Second World War broke out it was almost generally accepted in British theology that God suffered. Since then this tendency has spread to the rest of Europe, notably to France and Germany, to the United States and to Asia. Although it cannot be denied that most of the theologians who explicitly state their views on divine impassibility, hold that this doctrine is to a greater or lesser degree false, the debate over this issue is far from closed. Recently Richard Creel published a thorough study in defence of divine impassibility, which, I expect, will prove quite influential. Apart from him some other theologians defend the doctrine as well. Moreover, the fact that many authors consider it necessary at present to write books and articles in defence of divine passibility also indicates that the truth of the passibilist position is not yet taken for granted by everyone.



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