The Untamed God: A Philosophical Exploration of Divine Perfection, Simplicity and Immutability

Front Cover
InterVarsity Press, Sep 20, 2009 - Religion
  • God is sovereign.
  • God is perfect.
  • God is immutable.
  • God created everything.
  • God is triune.
  • The Son of God was incarnate in Jesus Christ.
The essential tenets of classical theism regarding the doctrine of God can be stated fairly easily. However, questions have been raised regarding the coherence of these beliefs taken as a whole. Some have seen fit to abandon classical theism. Others have acknowledged tensions in the traditional concept of God and have sought to resolve them by means of making significant concessions. Jay Wesley Richards believes that classical theism with its biblical norm can and ought to be maintained. He shows how a philosophical defense, using the analytical tools of modal logic, can be mounted that preserves traditional Christian beliefs. Richards astutely defends essentialism, arguing that it is both intrinsic to the Christian understanding of God and preserves the contingency of creation and the God-world relation. To further clarify and defend his proposal he engages appreciatively and critically the thought of Karl Barth and Charles Hartshorne as well as addressing the related and currently debated matters of divine simplicity and immutability.
 

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Contents

CHRISTIAN THEISM Some Preliminary Issues
23
FROM MODAL SPEECH TO ESSENTIALISM
48
THEOLOGICAL ESSENTIALISM
82
KARL BARTHS ACTUALISTIC DOCTRINE OF GOD
106
DEALING WITH BARTHS DOCTRINE OF GOD
129
CHARLES HARTSHORNES SURRELATIVIST DOCTRINE OF GOD
152
DEALING WITH HARTSHORNES DOCTRINE OF GOD
172
THE DIFFICULT DOCTRINE OF DIVINE IMMUTABILITY
195
THE DIFFICULT DOCTRINE OF DIVINE SIMPLICITY
213
CONCLUSION
241
BIBLIOGRAPHY
251
Author Index
262
Subject Index
265
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About the author (2009)

Richards (Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary; Th.M., Calvin Theological Seminary; M.Div., Union Theological Seminary) is a research fellow and director of institutional relations at Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty in Grand Rapids, MI. He has published articles in philosophy of religion (Religious Studies), theology (Christian Scholars' Review) and science (Perspectives on Science and the Christian Faith). His books include The Privileged Planet (Regnery, 2004), Are We Spiritual Machines (Discovery Inst. Press, 2002), The Untamed God (IVP, 2003), and Unapologetic Apologetics (IVP, 2001)..

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