Does God have feelings? (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Sunday, February 25, 2018, 15:18 (288 days ago)

A theologian's comments:

https://www.jashow.org/articles/christian-doctrine/god/is-god-an-android/

"Persons have mind, will, and feelings. Androids have only mind and will, but no feelings. Open theists and others sometimes object to the classical view of God by claiming that if God is impassible then He cannot experience feelings like love and joy. In short, it makes God into an android, or more properly, a theandroid. However, classical theists, including Thomas Aquinas, do not believe that God is without feeling but only that He has no changing passions (feelings). God is a simple and unchanging Being and, as such, He experiences no changing passions. Hence, in his comments on Ephesians 4:30 (”Grieve not the Holy Spirit…”) Aquinas says, this phrase could be called a “metaphorical expression” because “The Holy Spirit is God in whom there can be no emotion or sorrow” (Commentary on Ephesians, 191). For God cannot be “provoked to wrath” (ibid.).

"However, this is not to say that God cannot have unchanging feelings. This is clear from Aquinas’ comments on whether God has love. He rejects the objection that because love is a passion that God cannot have love by affirming that “We must need assert that in God there is love” (Summa Contra Gentiles, I.90). He adds, “There must be love in God according to the act of his will” (SCG, I.90.1). God has no passive capacities (being Pure Actuality) that can be acted upon and activated by an external force. However, God has an “intellective appetite.” Hence, “From this it is manifest that joy or delight is properly in God” (SCG, I.90.3). The same is true of anger. Nothing outside of God can make Him (cause Him to be) angry. That is, He cannot be provoked to anger (by something else), but He has anger at sin – and always has and always will because it is contrary to His holy nature. However, by His very nature as absolutely good, God is (and always was and always will be) angry at sin. In Aquinas’ own words, “Because the sinner, by sinning, cannot do God any actual harm,” nonetheless, God is angry “in so far as he [i.e., the sinner] harms himself or another; which injury redounds to God, inasmuch as the person injured is an object of God’s providence and protection” (ST, I-II.47 ad 1).

"In brief, God has no passive and changing feelings (brought about by an external cause acting on Him). However, God has active, changeless, and eternal feelings of joy toward good and sadness toward evil. Hence, when a sinner repents, he does not move God to change His feelings. Rather, the sinner moves from under God’s unchanging and eternal anger toward sin to being under His eternal and unchanging joy toward good. In short, God is impassible (having no capacity to be made to feel good or bad by any external force), but He is not without feelings, namely, an eternal active ability to experience joy, anger, and other righteous feelings."

Comment: As a non-religious believer in God I find all of this theological thought as totally unproven and unreasonable. We cannot know any of this, but we can study the history of the universe and of life and try to reasonably ascertain how God might think of His creation.

Does God have feelings?

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Sunday, February 25, 2018, 22:59 (287 days ago) @ David Turell

Genesis 6:6. Nothing else needs to be said, from a theistic standpoint.

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What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Does God have feelings?

by dhw, Monday, February 26, 2018, 11:51 (287 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: A theologian's comments:
https://www.jashow.org/articles/christian-doctrine/god/is-god-an-android/

DAVID’s comment: As a non-religious believer in God I find all of this theological thought as totally unproven and unreasonable. We cannot know any of this, but we can study the history of the universe and of life and try to reasonably ascertain how God might think of His creation.

I agree. Not only unproven and unreasonable, but thoroughly confusing: God doesn’t have feelings, he does have feelings, and he only has righteous feelings...If we’re going to be reasonable about it, yes indeed, let's study his creations, as they are the only possible reflection we have of his nature. But that means studying what we consider to be the good as well as the bad. Humanizing? Why not, if we ourselves are reflections? We have no choice anyway – unless we choose not to think about the subject at all.

TONY: Genesis 6:6. Nothing else needs to be said, from a theistic standpoint.

Genesis 6:6 (St James version): And it repented the Lord that he had made man on earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

If we're to take the Bible literally, then in my view a lot more needs to be said. In Genesis God was so furious that he proceeded to drown every man, woman and child, barring one single family. He presumably didn’t know in advance how wicked humans would become. If he knew, why would it grieve him? He should simply have made man differently if it upset him so much that they did what he knew they would do. But if he didn’t know, what kind of God would slaughter children who might have turned out to be even nicer and kinder and more God-loving than Noah?

Does God have feelings?

by David Turell @, Monday, February 26, 2018, 14:16 (287 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: A theologian's comments:
https://www.jashow.org/articles/christian-doctrine/god/is-god-an-android/

DAVID’s comment: As a non-religious believer in God I find all of this theological thought as totally unproven and unreasonable. We cannot know any of this, but we can study the history of the universe and of life and try to reasonably ascertain how God might think of His creation.

dhw: I agree. Not only unproven and unreasonable, but thoroughly confusing: God doesn’t have feelings, he does have feelings, and he only has righteous feelings...If we’re going to be reasonable about it, yes indeed, let's study his creations, as they are the only possible reflection we have of his nature. But that means studying what we consider to be the good as well as the bad. Humanizing? Why not, if we ourselves are reflections? We have no choice anyway – unless we choose not to think about the subject at all.

TONY: Genesis 6:6. Nothing else needs to be said, from a theistic standpoint.

dhw: Genesis 6:6 (St James version): And it repented the Lord that he had made man on earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

If we're to take the Bible literally, then in my view a lot more needs to be said. In Genesis God was so furious that he proceeded to drown every man, woman and child, barring one single family. He presumably didn’t know in advance how wicked humans would become. If he knew, why would it grieve him? He should simply have made man differently if it upset him so much that they did what he knew they would do. But if he didn’t know, what kind of God would slaughter children who might have turned out to be even nicer and kinder and more God-loving than Noah?

The God of the OT was a very vengeful God, which would certainly mean strong feelings and emotions. This is why I don't use Biblical 'stories' as fact. I agree with dhw.

Does God have feelings?

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Friday, March 02, 2018, 23:31 (282 days ago) @ David Turell

I did preface it with "From a theistic stand point.." It was simply meant to illustrate the, from a theistic view, God does indeed have emotions, not as a commentary on their moral nature, or the character flaws or limitations we assume they imply.

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What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.

Does God have feelings?

by David Turell @, Saturday, March 03, 2018, 00:55 (282 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Tony: I did preface it with "From a theistic stand point.." It was simply meant to illustrate the, from a theistic view, God does indeed have emotions, not as a commentary on their moral nature, or the character flaws or limitations we assume they imply.

I am sure God has emotions. I'm not certain we can really know exactly what they are or how deep.

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