Emotions of God

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Re: Emotions of God

#16

Post by B. W. » Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:09 pm

Psalms 145:3, "Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable." ESV

Job 36:26, "Behold, God is great, and we know him not; the number of his years is unsearchable." ESV

Romans 11:33, "Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!" ESV

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Re: Emotions of God

#17

Post by For_Narniaaa » Tue Jul 28, 2009 7:35 pm

Jac3510 wrote:For those of you who hold to the idea that God is outside of time, you cannot philosophically hold to the notion that God has emotions, for emotions, by their nature, are reactive.

I see A and then I feel B as a response.

See the temporal transition there? But if God is outside of time, then He doesn't experience time sequentially, and thus, cannot experience emtions reactively. Further, you have philosophical problems with a reactive God in the first place. For God to react means that He is affected (you can't react to something that doesn't affect you, and that, by definition). But if He is affected, then He is in some sense changed. Thus, you have to redefine the doctrine of immutability.

As I said before, some Christian philosophers have tried to do that. They think of immutability in terms of nature (and, more specifically, in terms of His dispositions). But you have the time problem again, because if God can have intrinsic, non-dispositional changes (i.e., have an emotional response), then God must have existed in one state and then go on to exist in another state. That implies time.

It also implies a further problem. If God can exist in one state and then stop existing in that state, it implies that God's existence is not necessary! A necessary existence is that which must exist--it is not capable of not existing. Now, if that's the case, then it doesn't appear that God must exist in any particular state. But if He must not exist in any particular state, it's hart to see how He must exist (from a philosophical perspective of necessary existence) at all, for the simple reason that to exist is, in fact, to exist in a given state of being. It doesn't make much sense to me to say "Well God is necessary in that He must exist in some state," because I think that's playing a bit fast and loose with the term "neccesary existence." Under that definition, it is not true that God necessarily exists in any given state, and since to exist is to exist in a state, then you can't say that He must necessarily exist!

So, for all these reasons, I don't think it's possible to hold to a dynamic view of God without rejecting the doctrines of immutability and aseity (His necessary existence); you certainly can't hold to a dynamic view of God and at the same time hold to His timelessness, as the two views are mutually exclusive. And if you can't hold to a dynamic view of God, you can't hold to a reactive God. And since emotions require reaction, you can't hold to God having emotions (in the sense we do) without embracing a dynamic, mutible God.

Some more food for thought. ;)
Well, here's another theory. God is able to be everywhere at once, at all points of time. Thus, He could be able to feel multiple things at once. For instance, He rejoices at the return of a prodigal son. He is also jealous for us, and hates idol worship. If, at one side of the world, somebody is worshipping an idol, and at the other side of the world (though at the same time in history) is getting saved, wouldn't that mean God had to feel two things at once? Also, God knew all along that one of them would worship an idol, and the other would choose Him. Thus, He knew His feelings all along, like they were predestined...by Himself, if that makes sense.

So maybe God is always feeling the emotions that correspond with His nature, and since we are made in His image, we have a piece of His nature and therefore some of those emotions. I guess what I'm saying is that God feels ALL of his emotions ALL the time, but directs them specifically toward us. Like when He spoke to Moses...did His "speaking" bind Him to time all of a sudden? Because five minutes ago, God wasn't speaking. Now He is. I think the timeless nature of God suggests that He is outside of time, or in all time all at once, but reveals Himself at specific times to us. So, God is always angry at sin and forgiving, but we won't "feel" His forgiveness while we are still willingly living in sin. I guess it fits with what you said earlier, Jac, that what we interpret as emotions of God are really our reaction to His nature. Well, I'm sort of expanding that, saying that He directs bits of His nature toward us according to what we did.

I dunno, maybe it's the same thing...maybe I make no sense... y:-/
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Re: Emotions of God

#18

Post by Jac3510 » Tue Jul 28, 2009 7:59 pm

I think you are closer, Narnia. I wouldn't say that the view your are suggesting violates timelessness. But it still violates the doctrine of simplicity. If God is feeling multiple emotions at once, then that means He has multiple parts. But if He has multiple parts, then there are some parts of God that are more basic than others, which means God can be reduced. But that creates a lot of hard questions. Which parts could you take away and still have God? For example, if you take away my hand, I'm still me. So if you took away one part of God, would He still be God? And if so, doesn't that mean that God doesn't have to exist like He does? Suppose, for example, that two versions of God exist, but one doesn't have one emotion and the other doesn't have another. Otherwise, they are the same. In short, they are the same in every way except this one aspect.

Now, there's nothing inherently contradictory about that, because to say something is not the same thing as something else is to say that it differs by something. If something doesn't differ by something else in some way, then it is actually the same thing. In our case, we have two all powerful Gods who differ in which parts they have. But how can you have two all powerful beings?!? Obviously, you can't!

So it seems to me that God can't have parts, because that would mean that some parts of Him would be necessary and others wouldn't. So, God must not be composed of parts. He must be pure essence--pure existence, existence actualized. But if He is simple, then He cannot experience multiple emotions at the same time. He can only experience one "emotion," which is identical to His nature.

On that view, we return to my original statement, which is that our emotions are only analogous to God's, and it is our relationship with Him that determines who we perceive Him, and thus, that determines how we are related to Him, and thus, determines what we choose to call God's love, anger, mercy, etc. :)
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And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Emotions of God

#19

Post by Gman » Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:14 pm

Jac3510 wrote:Gman,

Would you agree that your emotional response to your father's passing was by nature a temporal event? At one point, you were not sad, and at the next point, you were sad?
He had this disease 13 years ago, so I knew he was eventually going to die. But even before this, I have always know that our loved ones will always die someday, so that makes me sad.. So it wasn't always temporal. It's a reality of living in this world..
Jac3510 wrote:If, then, you were a non-temoral being (you did not experience moment-to-moment time), you would not be able to "at one point" feel this and then "at the next point" feel that. Emotional response--indeed, ANY kind of response--requires temporality. If God is timeless, then He is not temporal. If He is not temporal, then He can have no emotional response, for it makes no sense to talk about God feeling one way and then later feeling another way.
I see what your saying but I just wouldn't put God in a box like that. I'm not God, so I can't really say what he feels or doesn't feel. My belief is that he does have feelings regardless of the circumstances, or moments in time.. Like B.W. says God is unsearchable. He is way above my thoughts, so I can't really say what he does or does not feel. It's a mystery...
The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false - Galileo

We learn from history that we do not learn from history - Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. -Philippians 4:8

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Re: Emotions of God

#20

Post by Jac3510 » Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:22 pm

Talking about God in a logical fashion isn't putting Him in a box. Saying He can't surprise Himself or make a God more powerful than Himself isn't putting Him in a box. This is just basic reasoning here. In order for God to experience emotions, He must be temporal. Since I don't think God is temporal (and many people here agree), then I have to assert that He can't have emotions.

Regarding your father's death, again, I am very sorry, even if it was a long time ago. But it is still temporal. You weren't born sad and knowing what was going to happen. There was a day you found out, and you responded to that knowledge with an emotion. This, by the way, brings up another problem with emotions, in that they are build on the attainment of knowledge; but if God already knows everything, then there is nothing for Him to respond to. Thus, again, no emotions. :)
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Emotions of God

#21

Post by ageofknowledge » Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:53 pm

Jac3510 wrote:Talking about God in a logical fashion isn't putting Him in a box. Saying He can't surprise Himself or make a God more powerful than Himself isn't putting Him in a box. This is just basic reasoning here. In order for God to experience emotions, He must be temporal. Since I don't think God is temporal (and many people here agree), then I have to assert that He can't have emotions.

Regarding your father's death, again, I am very sorry, even if it was a long time ago. But it is still temporal. You weren't born sad and knowing what was going to happen. There was a day you found out, and you responded to that knowledge with an emotion. This, by the way, brings up another problem with emotions, in that they are build on the attainment of knowledge; but if God already knows everything, then there is nothing for Him to respond to. Thus, again, no emotions. :)
Scripture asserts that God has emotions. God doesn't have to surprise himself to feel. He doesn't have to be surprised to have an opinion about what is happening/going to happen an emotional quotient regarding it. I think it would be great if you used logic correctly rather than making incorrect assertions like God has to be temporal to have emotions.

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Re: Emotions of God

#22

Post by Gman » Tue Jul 28, 2009 9:11 pm

Jac3510 wrote:Talking about God in a logical fashion isn't putting Him in a box. Saying He can't surprise Himself or make a God more powerful than Himself isn't putting Him in a box. This is just basic reasoning here. In order for God to experience emotions, He must be temporal. Since I don't think God is temporal (and many people here agree), then I have to assert that He can't have emotions.

Regarding your father's death, again, I am very sorry, even if it was a long time ago. But it is still temporal. You weren't born sad and knowing what was going to happen. There was a day you found out, and you responded to that knowledge with an emotion. This, by the way, brings up another problem with emotions, in that they are build on the attainment of knowledge; but if God already knows everything, then there is nothing for Him to respond to. Thus, again, no emotions. :)
That's fine by me, but I would still label that as your opinion.. Not mine. I don't think we can apply our logic to what God may or may not feel.. It's guesswork.
The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false - Galileo

We learn from history that we do not learn from history - Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. -Philippians 4:8

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Re: Emotions of God

#23

Post by Proinsias » Tue Jul 28, 2009 9:51 pm

Jac3510 wrote:Talking about God in a logical fashion isn't putting Him in a box. Saying He can't surprise Himself or make a God more powerful than Himself isn't putting Him in a box. This is just basic reasoning here.
I think you are putting God in a box. It may be a logical and reasonable box but it's still a box. Everyone uses different logic and reasoning so everyone has a slightly different idea of god. What seems reasonable and logical to me may not be to you.

I thought humanity was kinda like god pressing the 'surprise' button.

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Re: Emotions of God

#24

Post by B. W. » Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:49 pm

Jac3510 wrote:....This, by the way, brings up another problem with emotions, in that they are build on the attainment of knowledge; but if God already knows everything, then there is nothing for Him to respond to. Thus, again, no emotions. :)
God himself says he has emotions. Also understanding how the OT is Trinitarian erases the posed argument as well but that is another line of reasoning too lengthy to go into now. So for now let's stick with what God says about his own emotions...

Eze 36:5-6, "therefore thus saith the Lord GOD: Surely in the fire of My jealousy have I spoken against the residue of the nations, and against all Edom, that have appointed My land unto themselves for a possession with the joy of all their heart, with disdain of soul, to cast it out for a prey; 6 therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel, and say unto the mountains and to the hills, to the streams and to the valleys: Thus saith the Lord GOD: Behold, I have spoken in My jealousy and in My fury, because ye have borne the shame of the nations..." JPS

Compassion is an emotion and if God is emotionless - salvation by Christ is impossible and we are all still in our sins

Isa 55:7-9
, "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the man of iniquity his thoughts; and let him return unto the LORD, and He will have compassion upon him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. 8 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." JPS

Without emotions Jac, God could not be provoked... Nor can he respond with wrath or fury; therefore, according to the argument posed the book of Revelations should be torn out of the bible...as God cannot pour out an emotion he does not have thus denying he is a God of justice.

Jer 44:3-6
, "...because of their wickedness which they have committed to provoke Me, in that they went to offer, and to serve other gods, whom they knew not, neither they, nor ye, nor your fathers. 4 Howbeit I sent unto you all My servants the prophets, sending them betimes and often, saying: Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate. 5 But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear to turn from their wickedness, to forbear offering unto other gods. 6 Wherefore My fury and Mine anger was poured forth, and was kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; and they are wasted and desolate, as at this day." JPS

Hate is a strong emotion. If God has no emotions then he cannot hate Sin; therefore, why Christ work on the cross?

Pro 6:16
, "There are six things which the LORD hateth, yea, seven which are an abomination unto Him..." JPS

An emotionless God has no need to hate or love; therefore, the cross and God's grace have no meaning or effect. God himself says he has emotions. His emotions do not take anything away from him or make him less than God if he has them. His ways are not ours and he is beyond our full comprehension.

In fact, Jesus says the Father Loves the Son - that is an emotion and if God is emotionless then he cannot love himself nor show love. Love is an emotion Jac. Question: Does the Father Love the Son? If this is so, then the argument posed is false.

The argument posed reduces God to a mere amoral unemotional force fully comprehendible by us (reduced to an either / or principle. Therefore the argument posed is false as it is based on tempting God to submit to man's logic. Whose knee will bow to whom?

Next,

Jac, you posed an argument stating that since God changes not this then is a proof God has no emotions because emotions mean change. This is a false argument. Emotions do not change one's nature or character, they are expressions of one's character and one's nature.

Our human emotions express our humanness, that we are alive and reasoning beings. God's emotions likewise express his character and nature that He is alive and a reasoning being. However with God, He is way beyond our full comprehension. Likewise, how He expresses himself when revealing his love, wrath, compassion etc, can be known to reveal micro facets of his nature and character so we can gain a small glimpse of his deep unfathomableness so that we may learn to know him in our frailty.

For example, God can and does repent, relent, as it is written in the scriptures below and commentaries cited. This does not mean God changes his perfect will, plans, and preordained ways because these include the call for the creature to change proving all his ways are justice…

Jer 15:6, “Thou hast cast Me off, saith the LORD, thou art gone backward; Therefore do I stretch out My hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary with repenting.” JPS

Jer 18:6-10, "'O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay in the potter's hand, so are ye in My hand, O house of Israel. 7 At one instant I may speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up and to break down and to destroy it; 8 but if that nation turn from their evil, because of which I have spoken against it, I repent of the evil that I thought to do unto it. 9 And at one instant I may speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; 10 but if it do evil in My sight, that it hearken not to My voice, then I repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit it..."

Reference notes for more details on this what it means God relents…
Barnes Commentary on Jer 18:8

I will repent of the evil ... I will repent of the good - All God's dealings with mankind are here declared to be conditional. God changeth not, all depends upon man's conduct.
Gill' s Commentary on Jer 18:8 —

I will repent of the evil that one thought to do unto them; as they change their course of life, God will change the dispensations of his providence towards them, and not bring upon them the evil of punishment he threatened them with; in which sense repentance can only be understood of God, he doing that which is similar to what men do when they repent of anything; they stop their proceedings, and change their outward conduct; so God proceeds not to do what he threatened to do, and changes his outward behavior to men; he wills a change, and makes one in his methods of acting, but never changes his will.
JFB Commentary on Jer 18:8

repent — God herein adapts Himself to human conceptions. The change is not in God, but in the circumstances which regulate God's dealings: just as we say the land recedes from us when we sail forth, whereas it is we who recede from the land (Eze_18:21; Eze_33:11). God's unchangeable principle is to do the best that can be done under all circumstances; if then He did not take into account the moral change in His people (their prayers, etc.), He would not be acting according to His own unchanging principle…
Rom 9:14-15, "What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.

God himself says he has compassion and mercy - both are emotions and these reveal what about God's character and nature?
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Emotions do not change one's nature or character, and as for God's emotions they are expressions of his unchanging nature and character - the Lord changeth not
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Re: Emotions of God

#25

Post by Jac3510 » Wed Jul 29, 2009 5:23 pm

ageofknowledge wrote:Scripture asserts that God has emotions. God doesn't have to surprise himself to feel. He doesn't have to be surprised to have an opinion about what is happening/going to happen an emotional quotient regarding it. I think it would be great if you used logic correctly rather than making incorrect assertions like God has to be temporal to have emotions.
Scripture also asserts that God has wings, eyes, hands, and feet. Those are called anthropomorphisms. Second, I didn't say God had to be surprised. I said that emotional reactions are temporal by nature, and thus, they require a temporal God. Further, I said that an omniscient God couldn't react to anything, since He would know from all eternity everything there would be to respond to. It makes no sense to say that five minutes ago God wasn't mad about something, and now He is, as if He just found out about it. The best you can say is what Narnia did: that perhaps God experiences all emotions simultaneously.
Gman wrote:That's fine by me, but I would still label that as your opinion.. Not mine. I don't think we can apply our logic to what God may or may not feel.. It's guesswork
Are you one of those people who thinks God doesn't have to abide by the law of non-contradiction? If so, how do you respond to stupid questions like "Can God remember a time He didn't remember anything?" or "Is God capable of making a God more powerful than Himself?"

No apologist seriously holds to the ideas that God can violate the laws of logic; still less do any apologists use phrases like "our logic." Logic is logic. There is no "ours vs. God's." That's because it is based on being itself, which is from God Himself. For God to violate the laws of logic would be to violate His own existence.
Proinsias wrote:I think you are putting God in a box. It may be a logical and reasonable box but it's still a box. Everyone uses different logic and reasoning so everyone has a slightly different idea of god. What seems reasonable and logical to me may not be to you.

I thought humanity was kinda like god pressing the 'surprise' button.
See my response to Gman. And God hitting the 'surprise' button . . . are you saying that God didn't know what was going to happen?
B.W. wrote:God himself says he has emotions. Also understanding how the OT is Trinitarian erases the posed argument as well but that is another line of reasoning too lengthy to go into now. So for now let's stick with what God says about his own emotions...
See my response to AoK. Are you going to assert that God also has wings? Of course not. They are called anthropomorphisms.
Compassion is an emotion and if God is emotionless - salvation by Christ is impossible and we are all still in our sins
God is anthropomorphically described as compassionate, just as He is described as having wings under which His people can find refuge (Ps 36:7). Does that mean that if we deny His real wings, then there can be no such thing as real refuge? Of course not.
Without emotions Jac, God could not be provoked... Nor can he respond with wrath or fury; therefore, according to the argument posed the book of Revelations should be torn out of the bible...as God cannot pour out an emotion he does not have thus denying he is a God of justice.
God is described anthropomorphically as being provoked, just as He is described as seeking out answers (Gen 18:20-21). Does the fact that God doesn't really seek out answers mean we should tear Genesis out of the Bible? Of course not.
Hate is a strong emotion. If God has no emotions then he cannot hate Sin; therefore, why Christ work on the cross?
God is described anthropomorphically as hating sin, but He is also described as having His eyes roaming about the earth (2 Chron 16:9) looking for people who are committed to Him. Does the fact that His eyes don't really roam mean that people aren't really committed to Him? Of course not.
An emotionless God has no need to hate or love; therefore, the cross and God's grace have no meaning or effect. God himself says he has emotions. His emotions do not take anything away from him or make him less than God if he has them. His ways are not ours and he is beyond our full comprehension.
As should be clear from above, God has something that we describe as emotions, but only analogously. They are anthropomorphic descriptions of what God expects.
In fact, Jesus says the Father Loves the Son - that is an emotion and if God is emotionless then he cannot love himself nor show love. Love is an emotion Jac. Question: Does the Father Love the Son? If this is so, then the argument posed is false.
This is a great error people have today. Love is not an emotion. It is an act of the will that seeks the best for its object.
The argument posed reduces God to a mere amoral unemotional force fully comprehendible by us (reduced to an either / or principle. Therefore the argument posed is false as it is based on tempting God to submit to man's logic. Whose knee will bow to whom?
You are reading things into my words that are not there. God is not a force, because a force is not a person, and God is a person. God is not amoral for the simple reason that God's nature is the grounds for morality. These are things that we all know very well and that I've argued dozens of times. Do you think such an obvious point would be lost on me? I would not think so lowly of you, B.W.

Regarding your "man's logic" comment, I'll ask you the same thing I asked Gman. Do you actually believe that God can contradict the laws of logic? If so, I'll ask you the same stupid questions I asked him. Is God capable of creating a God more powerful than Himself?
Next,

Jac, you posed an argument stating that since God changes not this then is a proof God has no emotions because emotions mean change. This is a false argument. Emotions do not change one's nature or character, they are expressions of one's character and one's nature.
You do not properly understand the doctrines of simplicity and immutability, B.W. I have never argued that emotions change one's nature. That is not what changes when you or I have an emotional response. What changes is the state in which we exist. Immutability, properly understood, teaches that God can experience no change in state. Now, you may deny that and substitute your own version of the doctrine, but note that you are rejecting the classical view, and there are MANY ramifications that come with that, not the least of which being that God no longer becomes a necessarily existing Being.

But we don't even have to go that far to prove the point. That God is emotionless follows necessarily from His timelessness. Emotional response is temporal in nature. God is not temporal, therefore, God experiences no emotional response. Q.E.D.
Our human emotions express our humanness, that we are alive and reasoning beings. God's emotions likewise express his character and nature that He is alive and a reasoning being. However with God, He is way beyond our full comprehension. Likewise, how He expresses himself when revealing his love, wrath, compassion etc, can be known to reveal micro facets of his nature and character so we can gain a small glimpse of his deep unfathomableness so that we may learn to know him in our frailty.

For example, God can and does repent, relent, as it is written in the scriptures below and commentaries cited. This does not mean God changes his perfect will, plans, and preordained ways because these include the call for the creature to change proving all his ways are justice…
Surely you understand that God's repentance is anthropomorphic, that God doesn't really change His mind. It's a human description of God's behavior, but it isn't intended to say anything about God's ontology. The exact same thing is true concerning all the verses that talk about God's emotions.

Further, you are deeply mistaken when you say that emotions express our humanness. That is simply an assertion, and a false one at that. Would you consider a person in a coma a human? They have no emotions and no reason. Would you say that they are not expressing that human nature? I think they express it ever second of their existence. Or what about a person who makes a decision without reference to emotion. Does that mean that they are not expressing their humanness? Still further, do things other than humans not have natures? Trees? Bugs? Physical laws? But none of these have emotions. How, then, do they express their nature?

Your elevation of emotion to the very essence of one's nature has terrifying consequences. What about people with emotional problems due to biological/chemical problems. Does that mean their fundamental nature has problems? Does that mean that we can shut down a person's humanness, or change it in some way, by chemical means? Emotions, after all, are deeply rooted in the chemical makeup of your brain.

I'll just have to ask you to back up this bold assertion on your part. What makes you think that emotions are the expression of nature? All the evidence points to the contrary.
Reference notes for more details on this what it means God relents…
See above. I'll assume you don't really believe that God literally relents. (Num 23:19)

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Now, to all:

It is interesting that no one has bothered responding to my logical argument in any of this. All I've gotten is, "Well, you can't apply logic to God!" If that's the case, then throw the Trinity out the window, because it is a doctrine derived BY LOGIC. Observe:

1. There is one God
2. The Father is God
3. The Son is God
4. The HS is God
5. Therefore, the Father, Son, and Spirit all must be the same God

From there, we further investigate the claim and come to the recognition that God is three Persons subsisting in one Being. But that's all logic. No logic = no Trinity.

To refresh, I've offered two logical arguments to prove that God has no emotions in the strict sense of the word:

The Argument from Timelessness

1. For something to have emotions, it must be temporal
2. God is not temporal
3. Therefore, God cannot have emotions.

The Argument from Simplicity

1. Emotions require complexity of nature (love is not the same as hate in the same emotional being);
2. Simple beings are not complex in nature
3. Therefore, simple beings cannot have emotions
4. God is a simple being
5. Therefore, God cannot have emotions

The Argument from Immutability

1. Emotions require a change in one's state of existence
2. An immutable being cannot change it's state of existence
3. Therefore, an immutable being cannot have emotions
4. God is an immutable being
5. Therefore, God cannot have emotions

Now, any one of these three prove the point conclusively. Yet all three are true on their own. This is the classical view of God that goes back well over a thousand years. It doesn't originate with me. Shy, then, of saying we can't use argument as it relates to God, I've not seen any responses to any of these that would lead me, or anyone else for that matter, to abandon them.
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And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Emotions of God

#26

Post by Byblos » Wed Jul 29, 2009 7:13 pm

A question Jac:

Is love an emotion?
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Re: Emotions of God

#27

Post by Gman » Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:47 pm

Jac3510 wrote:Are you one of those people who thinks God doesn't have to abide by the law of non-contradiction? If so, how do you respond to stupid questions like "Can God remember a time He didn't remember anything?" or "Is God capable of making a God more powerful than Himself?"

No apologist seriously holds to the ideas that God can violate the laws of logic; still less do any apologists use phrases like "our logic." Logic is logic. There is no "ours vs. God's." That's because it is based on being itself, which is from God Himself. For God to violate the laws of logic would be to violate His own existence.
I disagree.. This has nothing to do with logic. Knowing everything doesn't exclude one from feeling emotion. As an example I knew that my father was going to die, and "when" he died, I felt even more remorse.. Of course God see's and knows all but to assert that God has no emotions is an awkward extra-biblical assumption. Just as God has “no choice” not to do something if He has decreed to do that thing, He also can decree Himself to have emotions if he wants. After all He is God...

Consequently, Genesis 6:6 and other verses clearly speak only of God's internal state and they cannot be interpreted as solely external or volitional.. To do that would be an augmentation of scripture..

Genesis 6:6

The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.
The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false - Galileo

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Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. -Philippians 4:8

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Re: Emotions of God

#28

Post by Jac3510 » Thu Jul 30, 2009 6:09 am

Gman wrote:I disagree.. This has nothing to do with logic. Knowing everything doesn't exclude one from feeling emotion. As an example I knew that my father was going to die, and "when" he died, I felt even more remorse.. Of course God see's and knows all but to assert that God has no emotions is an awkward extra-biblical assumption. Just as God has “no choice” not to do something if He has decreed to do that thing, He also can decree Himself to have emotions if he wants. After all He is God...

Consequently, Genesis 6:6 and other verses clearly speak only of God's internal state and they cannot be interpreted as solely external or volitional.. To do that would be an augmentation of scripture..

Genesis 6:6

The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.
How can you disagree that this is a logical point and then completely and totally ignore my logical argument (all three of them)? Your own statements prove my case. You knew your father was going to die, and when he did, you felt even more remorse. Thus, you went from one state to another based on your response to temporal reality. At one point in time, your father was alive. Your cognitional knowledge that at another point in the future caused you emotional distress. When that point in the future came, you then experienced an increase in emotional distress. Do you see all the temporal words there? Do you see that emotional response is, in essence, a temporal response?

Unless, then, you show me that God is temporally responsive, you cannot argue that God also has emotions. You can, of course, reject God's timelessness and assert His temporality. You can go on to reject His immutability (in the classical sense of the word) and His simplicity, all for the sake of keeping this anthropomorphisms literal. Just know that in doing so, you are rejecting classical theism.

Now, that may not be a big deal to you. You may believe classical theism is in error, but it only proves my point that this is a logical argument, for classical theism was developed out of a rigorous study of metaphysics and being. Classical theism is a logical conclusion, so your rejection of that position would be a rejection of the logic. I can't get around it, so I accept classical theism.

As for Gen 6:6, again, it's an anthropomorphism, like all the other verses talking about God's wings and hands and eyes, etc.

As far as God decreeing Himself to have emotions, He cannot do so for the same reason He cannot declare Himself no longer omniscient or omnipotent. As I've demonstrated several times no, emotions require complexity of being, but God is simple in being; ergo, God cannot declare Himself to have emotions without fundamentally changing His being, which would mean He is, after all, mutable!

Remember the first post I made in this thread. I'm not saying God is devoid of anything similar to emotions. It is very fair to describe God as being angry or sad or happy or whatever. But those words are based on our emotions, and our emotions are analogous to God in that way. On what basis do you assert that they are anything more, but then at the same time, deny that words like "wings" "eyes" and "hands" are literal?
Byblos wrote:A question Jac:

Is love an emotion?
As I said before:
I wrote:This is a great error people have today. Love is not an emotion. It is an act of the will that seeks the best for its object.
John 3:16 is a good example of this. There are two possible translations:

For God loved the world so much . . .

For this is the way God loved the world . . .

I take the second for technical reasons I won't go into here. Love is an action, not a feeling. It is something we are to do. For the record, this makes much more sense of Jesus' commands to love our enemies. Is He commanding us to have an emotion or to do something? Obviously, the latter. He is commanding us to treat them in a certain manner--to strive for their best, to give generously to them, to treat them with the utmost respect and to put their needs before our own. This also has powerful devotional value. When you read 3:16 in the first sense, you may get the nice idea that you are "deeply loved" by God, but far more powerful is the notion that God served you in a particular manner (which is described in the rest of the verse). You, then, are required to love others in the same way--you are to serve them in the same way. But how did God serve us? He gave His TOTALLY UNIQUE SON. He gave up the most precious thing He had for us, the world, His enemies. He placed our needs above His own interests (to speak anthropomorphically!) and did for us what we could not do, nor deserved, for ourselves. What, then, does that say about the nature of love? What does it say about our nature of love for one another?

It is because this idea has been lost that people like AoK (to use a recent example) are suffering the way the are. Do you realize, Byblos, that people are DYING, both spiritually and physically, because we've embraced this completely absurd and downright aberrant Western notion that love is an emotion? We don't feel like we should or shouldn't do things for people. When you say to God, "I love my neighbor," His response is not, "How much," but "How have you done so?" The Church's problem today is that it doesn't love, and it doesn't love because it doesn't understand what love is. And because of that, it doesn't understand what Paul meant when he said that Christ loves the Church, and therefore we should love one another.

We all know the Bible teaches that love is what binds the Church together (around, of course, the doctrinal truths of the Gospel). But is that love just an emotion? No. It is complete, unadulterated, unashamed, self-sacrificing, uncompromising service to one another. To love someone is to become their slave.

So, no, I don't believe love is so silly and trite a thing as a mere emotion.

And as a good Catholic, may I encourage you to read your doctor on this matter? See De Veritate XXV-XXVI, Summa contra Gentiles I 89-91, Summa Theologiae Ia 75-82, IaIIae 22-48. I'd be more than pleased with a little help here ;)

edit:

Byblos (and others), you may also want to look at this: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11534a.htm

It is a shame the Protestants have done so little in the area of philosophy!
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Emotions of God

#29

Post by B. W. » Thu Jul 30, 2009 8:36 am

Jac3510 wrote: The Argument from Timelessness

1. For something to have emotions, it must be temporal
2. God is not temporal
3. Therefore, God cannot have emotions.
Counterpoint:

1. For a living being to have emotions, it must be alive
2. God is alive
3. Therefore, God has emotions

1. For something to have emotions, it must be temporal
2. God is not a something, he is a living eternal being
3. Therefore, God has emotions
Jac3510 wrote:The Argument from Simplicity

1. Emotions require complexity of nature
2. Simple beings are not complex in nature
3. Therefore, simple beings cannot have emotions
4. God is a simple being
5. Therefore, God cannot have emotions
Counterpoint:

1. Emotions require complexity of nature (God is unfathomable and thus not simple, God's wisdom is greater than man's — Job 5:9 Isaiah 55:9) - God is a complex being
2. God is complex in his nature — (God ways are way beyond ours, Job 12:13, Rom 11:33)
3. Therefore, complex beings have emotions
4. God is not a simple being (Isa 40:28, "Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable" ESV)
5. Therefore, God has emotions (Albeit way beyond our full comprehension)
Jac3510 wrote:The Argument from Immutability

1. Emotions require a change in one's state of existence
2. An immutable being cannot change it's state of existence
3. Therefore, an immutable being cannot have emotions
4. God is an immutable being
5. Therefore, God cannot have emotions
Counterpoint

1. Emotions do not require a change in one's state of existence — nature
(Does human anger change one from not being a human being into another life form — a lion?Answer is No. Likewise, God's emotions do not change his complex nature and he remains God in all he does and whatever he does)

2. An immutable (Unchanging all powerful) Complex Being (God) can change his state of existence
(Php 2:8, "And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross") and remain who he is — God. 1 John 4:2, “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God…” ESV (See JFB Commentary quote at end of this discourse for details concerning this verse)

3. Therefore, an immutable unchanging all powerful being has emotions that effect what he does and how he acts. (John 11:35, "Jesus wept" ESV — Note also Isaiah 53). Does God act, does things? Answer is - Yes!

4. God is an immutable (Unchanging all powerful) eternal being as to His Complex Nature (His nature does not change - he remains God in all He does).

5. Therefore, God has his own emotions that cause him to act and do…

Jac, for the arguments you pose to be true you must:

1-Reduce God to simplicity (Bible refutes this and proves he is a complex being)
2-Deny that Jesus (God) came in the flesh and shared in our humanity because an unchanging God cannot do this as that would make God a being who Changes!
3-Deny God has intelligence, wisdom, etc, therefore deny the Complexity of who and what God is
4-Deny God as a living being

The Bible refutes all these assertions…Therefore God has emotions — his own emotions

Therefore if God's ways are not ours, his understanding unsearchable, nothing too difficult for Him to do, then he can have his own range of emotions that are way beyond our full comprehension that do affect what God does...

His own emotions prove He is living God, Holy, and Righteous in all his ways. A God who is angry with the wicked everyday, God who reasons with man to return to him, A Jealous God, A God who is slow to anger, A God who shared in humanities humanity, A God who forgives etc and etc..."

How God exercises his-own emotions does not and would not change God's nature — he remains God in all his ways. Emotions have no bearing on God being who and what he is by displaying any.

The argument you pose basically asserts that if God shows emotions, he therefore changes. That is impossible. God remains God in all his ways that for us remain unsearchable…

Jac Question: say your wife gets angry at you — does she morph into another living animal species (say turns into a Lion) or does she remain a human being?

Emotions are the expressions of a living complex being. Where in the Bible does it say God is a simple un-complex being? Emotions do not change ones nature.

Emotions do not change one's nature, and as for God's emotions they are expressions of his unchanging nature and character - the Lord changeth not
-
-
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JFB Commentary on 1 Jn 4:2

Jesus Christ is come in the flesh — a twofold truth confessed, that Jesus is the Christ, and that He is come (the Greek perfect tense implies not a mere past historical fact, as the aorist would, but also the present continuance of the fact and its blessed effects) in the flesh (“clothed with flesh”: not with a mere seeming humanity, as the Docetae afterwards taught: He therefore was, previously, something far above flesh). His flesh implies His death for us, for only by assuming flesh could He die (for as God He could not), Heb_2:9, Heb_2:10, Heb_2:14, Heb_2:16; and His death implies His LOVE for us (Joh_15:13). To deny the reality of His flesh is to deny His love, and so cast away the root which produces all true love on the believer's part (1Jo_4:9-11, 1Jo_4:19).
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Not my Circus....not my monkeys

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Re: Emotions of God

#30

Post by Jac3510 » Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:46 am

B.W/ wrote:Counterpoint:

1. For a living being to have emotions, it must be alive
2. God is alive
3. Therefore, God has emotions
This is a non-sequitur. Your form doesn't work. You stated:

1. A requires B
2. B
3. Therefore A

But that is not logically valid. Observe:

1. A football player must be wear a helmet
2. I wear a helmet
3. Therefore, I must be a football player

This is obviously false, just like your first argument. Bad form.
1. For something to have emotions, it must be temporal
2. God is not a something, he is a living eternal being
3. Therefore, God has emotions
This is both bad form and unsound. Concerning the form

1. A requires B
2. C
3. Therefore A

Note than in a logical argument, the major and minor premises have to have a common term. Your (1) and (2) in this have no such term. This seemed to be what you were getting at:

1. For something to have emotions, it must be temporal
2. God is temporal
3. Therefore, God has emotions

But even this is still formally false. It falls into the same error your first did (A requires B; B; therefore A). So this argument is invalid.

Further, it is unsound, meaning that even if the form was logical (which it is not), then you still would have a bad argument because one or more of the premises is not true. In your case, (2) is false. God is a something, because anything that has being (which God does) is, by definition, a thing, for a thing is defined as something with being. Still further, if you insist on your statement that God is not a thing, then your argument becomes false for still a THIRD reason, namely, that (1)--your major premise that you use to establish emotions--only applies to THINGS. If God is not a thing, then your (1) does not apply to Him.
Counterpoint:

1. Emotions require complexity of nature (God is unfathomable and thus not simple, God's wisdom is greater than man's — Job 5:9 Isaiah 55:9) - God is a complex being
2. God is complex in his nature — (God ways are way beyond ours, Job 12:13, Rom 11:33)
3. Therefore, complex beings have emotions
4. God is not a simple being (Isa 40:28, "Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable" ESV)
5. Therefore, God has emotions (Albeit way beyond our full comprehension)
This is just confused on almost any conceivable level. It is unsound and multiply invalid.

First, each premise can only consist of one point. Your (1) consists of two, namely, that emotions require complex nature and that God is complex. They need to be separated. Second, it does not follow that because God is unfathomable that emotions require complexity (that is true and established on other arguments), does does that follow from God's superior wisdom. If you intended those statements to defend the second assertion, you still have no defense, for God's complexity follows neither from His incomprehensibility nor from His superior wisdom.

Your second premise is unsound, for it does not follow from God's superior ways that He is complex.

(3) does not formally follow from 1 and 2, even if we grant the truthfulness of both premises. You commit again the same formal fallacy as in your other two arguments (A requires B; B; therefore A).

(4) is redundant. It has already been stated in both (1) and (2). It is also unsound, because it does not follow from His eternality, Creatorship, Tirelessness, or Incomprehensibility that He is therefore not simple.

(5) is redundant, simply repeating (3), and again, does not formally follow from 1-4. I can't even fix that one to show you what you would need to say!

Let me, though, give you an example of a formally valid argument so you have something to pattern after if you would like to try again:

1. Complex beings have emotions
2. God is a complex being
3. Therefore, God has emotions.

Now, this is FORMALLY valid, though still logically unsound, because (1) is false. It does not follow that complex beings have emotions (trees are complex, but have no emotions). But that is an example of the proper form. Here is one that might work for you . . .

1. The Bible says that God has emotions
2. The Bible is true
3. Therefore, it is true that God has emotions

Again, formally valid, but unfortunately for you, (1) is easily challenged on the basis of anthropomorphisms. But it's not my job to make your argument for you. I'll let you construct your own. Anyway, as we were saying . . .
Counterpoint

1. Emotions do not require a change in one's state of existence — nature
(Does human anger change one from not being a human being into another life form — a lion? — Answer is No. Likewise, God's emotions do not change his complex nature and he remains God in all he does and whatever he does)

2. An immutable (Unchanging all powerful) Complex Being (God) can change his state of existence
(Php 2:8, "And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross") and remain who he is — God. 1 John 4:2, “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God…” ESV (See JFB Commentary quote at end of this discourse for details concerning this verse)

3. Therefore, an immutable unchanging all powerful being has emotions that effect what he does and how he acts. (John 11:35, "Jesus wept" ESV — Note also Isaiah 53). Does God act, does things? Answer is - Yes!

4. God is an immutable (Unchanging all powerful) eternal being as to His Complex Nature (His nature does not change - he remains God in all He does).

5. Therefore, God has his own emotions that cause him to act and do…
Again, this is formally invalid. Even if I were to grant the truthfulness to all of your premises, which I don't, then it STILL does not follow. Observe:

Counterpoint

1. Emotions do not require a change in one's state of existence — nature
2. An immutable (Unchanging all powerful) Complex Being (God) can change his state of existence
3. Therefore, an immutable unchanging all powerful being has emotions that effect what he does and how he acts.
4. God is an immutable (Unchanging all powerful) eternal being as to His Complex Nature (His nature does not change - he remains God in all He does).
5. Therefore, God has his own emotions that cause him to act and do…

How would you even think that (3) follows from 1 and 2? Emotions don't require a change in state of existence; God can change His state of existence; therefore God has emotions. Again, your form is:

Any A does not require B
C does not have B
Therefore, C has A

That's clearly absurd. I may as well say

Intelligence does not require one million dollars
I do not have one million dollars
Therefore, I am intelligent.

The person who tries to make this argument is clearly not intelligent!

(4), again, is redundant, already stated in your (2), and thus, again, (5) does not follow and even goes so far as to include new assertions not discussed in the argument! You can't bring up new assertions in your conclusion, B.W.

But beyond the illogical form, look at the soundness of the premises. (1) is false because nature is not identical with one's state of existence. I may exist in what state today and another state tomorrow, but that does not mean my nature has changed in either state. Second, it is simply false that emotions do not require a change in state, for to be angry is not to be happy, and to be happy is not to be sad. If I am sad and then become happy, my state has changed. I was once in this state; now I am in that state. Thus emotions (or more specifically, a change in emotions) does require a change in state. Further, your question in parenthesis demonstrates a misunderstanding of nature and state. A state of existence is not the same as form of existence. Indeed, you have heard of people who are not in a good mental state. That doesn't mean they aren't human, does it?

(2) is wrong on several levels as well. First, the concept of immutability does not necessarily require all powerful. Second, it does not follow from the incarnation that God changed in any way. This has been recognized as long ago as the Church Fathers. There are several ways to explain this, but the simplest is to note, in the words of James Boyce, that "It was not the divine nature, which became incarnate, but simply one of the persons subsisting in it." (Abstracts of Systematic Theology, chapter VII)

We can discuss the relationship between immutability, simplicity, and the incarnation if you like in more detail.

(3) Jesus' weeping provides no basis for your claim that God experiences emotions, for Jesus, the man, wept. Likewise, Isaiah 53 refers to post-incarnation events. Yet we are talking about God in His own existence.

(4) is simply a non-classical definition of "immutability." As I said before, you have the right to reject classical theism if you so choose, but you cannot then claim that God is immutable, etc. as did the Church Fathers.

So much for your counterpoints. All of them are formally invalid, whatever else we may say about the truthfulness of the premises.
Jac, for the arguments you pose to be true you must:

1-Reduce God to simplicity (Bible refutes this and proves he is a complex being)
2-Deny that Jesus (God) came in the flesh and shared in our humanity because an unchanging God cannot do this as that would make God a being who Changes!
3-Deny God has intelligence, wisdom, etc, therefore deny the Complexity of who and what God is
4-Deny God as a living being

The Bible refutes all these assertions…Therefore God has emotions — his own emotions
1. the Bible nowhere refutes God's simplicity. Tell me, B.W., how would you define the doctrine?
2. I have already demonstrated that the incarnation is not denied by immutability, and not just by me, but 1800 years of Church History does as well. Tell me, B.W., have you read the works of the Church Fathers on this?
3. It does not follow from immutability, simplicity, or timelessness that God has no wisdom and intelligence. Further, it is not true that one must be complex to possess those features. How would you define "complex nature"?
4. And it is, of course, absurd to believe that any of the three arguments put forward denies God's life. If you believe it does, please provide me a formally valid logical argument. In fact, I'll do your job for you:

1. God is a simple/immutable/timeless being
2. A simple/immutable/timeless being is not alive
3. Therefore God is not alive

Would you care to defend (2), because that is what your fourth conclusion asserts.
Therefore if God's ways are not ours, his understanding unsearchable, nothing too difficult for Him to do, then he can have his own range of emotions that are way beyond our full comprehension that do affect what God does...
The word "therefore" implies a logically necessary conclusion, but nothing you've said so far requires that God has emotions. Further, it seems to me that His incomprehensibility--a fact you keep bringing up--would require Him not to have emotions, for if God can be angry or happy in the same sense as I can, it seems I can perfectly well comprehend His anger or happiness! But, if God does not have emotions, but if my emotions are rather only analogous to God's being, then it follows that I could not comprehend them, as you insist.
His own emotions prove He is living God, Holy, and Righteous in all his ways. A God who is angry with the wicked everyday, God who reasons with man to return to him, A Jealous God, A God who is slow to anger, A God who shared in humanities humanity, A God who forgives etc and etc..."
It is true that one must be alive to have emotions; it is not true that one must have emotions to be alive, or do you believe that bacteria, trees, and worms have emotions?
How God exercises his-own emotions does not and would not change God's nature — he remains God in all his ways. Emotions have no bearing on God being who and what he is by displaying any.

The argument you pose basically asserts that if God shows emotions, he therefore changes. That is impossible. God remains God in all his ways that for us remain unsearchable…
Of course it's impossible. That's why we know that God doesn't express emotions. Emotions are temporally tensed. God is not temporally tensed. Therefore, God cannot express emotions.
Jac Question: say your wife gets angry at you — does she morph into another living animal species (say turns into a Lion) or does she remain a human being?
I've already answered this. You fail to understand the distinction between state and form of existence. My wife definitely gets mad at me, and she is still a human; but humanness is her nature, whereas her mental state toward me is a state of her existence. Mental states, B.W., are not the same as natures.
Emotions are the expressions of a living complex being. Where in the Bible does it say God is a simple un-complex being? Emotions do not change ones nature.
False. Trees are complex, living beings. They express no emotions.
Emotions do not change one's nature, and as for God's emotions they are expressions of his unchanging nature and character - the Lord changeth not
No, the change one's state of existence, which an immutable being cannot do.

edit:

May I suggest, for those who want to better understand the doctrines of immutability, timelessness, aseity, perfection, simplicity, and impassibility, that you read the following paper:

http://www2.franciscan.edu/plee/doesgodhaveemotions.htm

This is an excellent, and readable, defense of the position I'm arguing for here. I said it once to Byblos and I'll say it again, oh that Protestants were as well schooled in their theology as Catholics. And to that, I'd imagine he would respond that being well schooled in theology points one towards Catholicism! ;)

In any case, his argument is solid. I'm in no way trying to brush off discussion. I want to continue the discussion here and am more than happy to make all the points the paper does as they come up in conversation. I'm simply offering it for your own reading pleasure.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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