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Robin Parry is the husband of but one wife (Carol) and the father of the two most beautiful girls in the universe (Hannah and Jessica). He also has a lovely cat called Monty (who has only three legs). Living in the city of Worcester, UK, he works as an Editor for Wipf and Stock — a US-based theological publisher. Robin was a Sixth Form College teacher for 11 years and has worked in publishing since 2001 (2001–2010 for Paternoster and 2010– for W&S).

Friday, 17 February 2012

Excellent book on divine simplicity


Here are the details of a new book on the doctrine of divine simplicity. It is excellent (I have read it twice and will almost certainly read it a third time).

All it lacks is a discussion of the Trinity and the author is currently writing on that issue.

Divine Simplicity and the Metaphysics of God's Absoluteness

By James E. Dolezal

978-1-61097-658-9

Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2011


The doctrine of divine simplicity has long played a crucial role in Western Christianity's understanding of God. It claimed that by denying that God is composed of parts Christians are able to account for his absolute self-sufficiency and his ultimate sufficiency as the absolute Creator of the world. If God were a composite being then something other than the Godhead itself would be required to explain or account for God. If this were the case then God would not be most absolute and would not be able to adequately know or account for himself without reference to something other than himself. This book develops these arguments by examining the implications of divine simplicity for God's existence, attributes, knowledge, and will. Along the way there is extensive interaction with older writers, such as Thomas Aquinas and the Reformed scholastics, as well as more recent philosophers and theologians. An attempt is made to answer some of the currently popular criticisms of divine simplicity and to reassert the vital importance of continuing to confess that God is without parts, even in the modern philosophical-theological milieu.

"Dr. James Dolezal's treatment of divine simplicity, which provides a defense of this doctrine in perhaps its strongest form, is a first-rate piece of work . . . [It] is the best full-length philosophical treatment of divine simplicity that I know."
-Paul Helm
Teaching Fellow
Regent College, Vancouver


"James E. Dolezal has authored a philosophically rigorous and theologically thorough defense of divine simplicity, and he has done so for positive reasons. For Dolezal, the whole rationale for defending the simplicity of God is to assure that we actually come to know, though not fully comprehend, God as he truly is—the God of reason and revelation, the God of the Christian philosophical and theological tradition. Dolezal has made a very admirable and extremely significant contribution to the discussion of God's simplicity."
-Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, Cap.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

3 comments:

James Goetz said...

This book sounds like fun. I don't know when I'll get to it, but I'm up for the challenge of a thoughtful argument defending that God is identical to his essence. : -)

Dianelos Georgoudis said...

God, being the metaphysically ultimate, is simple. But God is not only the metaphysically ultimate, and is not just simple. Thus God is Trinitarian.

God, being the greatest conceivable being, is a person. But God is not only a person. Thus God is also love. And God is truth. And God is beauty.

God is timeless, but in our experience of Him/Her and in His/Her experience of us, is in time. How boring would it be for God if God were just timeless.

One should not try to push the concept of God into small boxes. Categories receive their meaning by being grounded on God, thus to try in turn to assign God into categories is kind of absurd. John Hick is I think quite right when he says that God is transcategorical.

Robin Parry said...

Dianelos

You are absolutely right in what you say about God being Trinity and being love and experienced by us in time.

I am not so happy about Hick though. Hick's ultimate reality — The REAL — is not trinitarian. The Trinity is a Christian myth in the phenomenal realm but the reality in the noumenal realm is radically ineffible.

That leaves little room for any truth claims about God.