When theologians speak of God as simple, they intend a different meaning from the more everyday use of the term, and it can escape those who have not studied the doctrine of God in-depth. When we confess that God is simple, we are making a metaphysical statement—that is, a statement about the nature of God’s being. We deny that he is a composite being. He is not made up of this and that. There is nothing prior to or lesser than God out of which God is constructed.
Thanks for returning to this journey through theology proper. Today we consider the doctrine of God’s simplicity. To the uninitiated, it may seem odd or even demeaning to describe God as simple. After all, we typically use the term to indicate something that is easy to understand or do, or alternatively people who are not too quick on the uptake, e.g., “They’re simple folk.” In general, our use of the word simple indicates a lack of majesty, importance, difficulty, or intelligence. Perhaps this is why when I once asked my family, “Did you know God is simple?” they were either confused or openly objected.
Fear - End - Article - God - Simplicity
Have no fear! I hope by the end of this article you will be able to understand and appreciate God’s simplicity, which is an historically important doctrine of the Church. Divine simplicity is the common confession of most Catholics and Protestants, medievals and moderns. While there have certainly been variations in how people understand the term and theologians who have rejected it, the principle of divine simplicity is embedded in the Reformation era confessions, and as such, it is important for us to explore.
What Do We Mean by Simplicity?
Theologians - God - Meaning - Use - Term
When theologians speak of God as simple, they intend a different meaning from the more everyday use of the term, and...
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