Welcome to the Gum, Geckos, and God Blog Tour! I was delighted to be invited to participate. I not only enjoyed reading the book, but interacting with Jim has been fun, too. Jim Speigel is Philosophy Professor at Taylor University in Indiana. (Also, Jim and his wife just launched a new blog as well, called Wisdom and Folly.) I had a hard time confining my questions, so I asked Jim a series of questions. I'll be posting a new one every couple of hours, and I hope you find these engaging. Here's the second installment. Embarking: I have questions about the pathos of God. When you speak of people who have already died [p. 168], you say, "they don't feel sad at all, only happy." What about God? Particularly this God who is outside of time (which I also have questions about), who experiences creation, the fall, the death of Jesus, the resurrection, and the exaltation simultaneously??? Does he feel sadness at any point in time? And how can he feel sadness or any other type of pathos (from anger to envy - present in the Bible) if he is outside of time?
SPIEGEL: I affirm that God both transcends time AND that he has genuine emotions. While this combination of views is often seen by contemporary theologians as incoherent, I think it is both reasonable and true. My "escape" from the incoherence charge is achieved through affirming that God is omnipathic. That is, I think God experiences the emotions he does eternally. This route enables us to affirm both the immutability and the pathos of God. I do believe, however, that some emotions are primary in the divine life, most likely the passion of joy. For a full discussion and defense of this notion of divine omnipathos, I invite readers to check out chapter 5 of my book The Benefits of Providence (Crossway, 2005)
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