>The Passibility of God

>The Passibility of God

This quote on the passibility of God was taken from Matthew Henry’s commentary on Amos 9:1:

God is passible. He can be affected by the actions of his creatures. His possession of genuine character ensures his genuine feeling. The moral perfection of that character ensures his feeling appropriately. “There must be so much or such kind of passibility in him that he will feel toward everything as it is, and will be diversely affected by diverse things according to their quality” (Bushnell). Therefore “he is angry with the wicked every day.” Sin is to him as smoke to the eyes and vinegar to the teeth. It pains him inevitably, and leads to that infinitely pure recoil of his nature from evil, and antagonism to it, in which his wrath consists.

Few Christians believe that God is affected by the actions of his creatures, but he is. When people understand the view of a passible God, their appreciation for God and their understanding of God’s action in the world will grow.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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2 Responses to >The Passibility of God

  1. Blake Walter says:

    >Just to be contrarian: Don't most Christians engage in petitionary prayer? We seek God's guidance, mercy, healing, wisdom, etc.  The implication would be that we expect God to respond — I think most (many?) Christians have a well-developed if not over-developed sense of God's passibility. There are many times when I think God is seemingly silent, not because He is impassive, but because He is not manipulated by our whims. (Which is not to say that He does not grieve over the pain we suffer even due to our own folly.) I have not so much encountered Christians who have despaired of God ever responding as I have encountered Christians who have not liked God's response. Or maybe I have strayed from the good text of Amos and have allowed myself to wander off-topic. 


  2. >Blake,In practice, all Christians believe in the passibility of God. However, when asked whether God changes his mind or whether God is open to possibilities, most Christians will say "no." This fact demonstrates that many Christians cannot reconcile their theology with the ways they practice their faith.I hope you are feeling better.Claude Mariottini


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