The Lord is One

Reclaiming Divine Simplicity

Edited by Joseph Minich & Onsi A. Kamel
About this book

Is divine simplicity for Protestants?

After an age of original integrity, the doctrine of divine simplicity fell from grace. Once a cornerstone of orthodox Christianity’s doctrine of God, many modern theologians expelled it from the garden for the sin of employing passé Platonic and Aristotelian metaphysics. But was the doctrine of divine simplicity’s fall deserved? Is it unreasonable to hold that God is metaphysically without parts? Is the Lord really one? Rather than dismiss the challenges leveled against divine simplicity, The Lord is One engages them, presenting exegetical, historical, and theological treatments of divine simplicity. This volume argues that the doctrine of divine simplicity is cogent and indispensable while also making space for historically marginalized or idiosyncratic articulations of it. After all, once expelled from paradise, nothing returns exactly as it was.


Paperback | 293 pages | 6×9 | Published December 9, 2019 | ISBN 978-1949716023

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FROM THE BOOK

“From the bush that burned without being consumed, God revealed Himself to Moses: ‘I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’ (Ex. 3:15). God had ‘seen’ the affliction of Israel, ‘heard’ their cries, and known their sorrows (Ex. 3:7). He determined to ‘come down to deliver them’ from the Egyptians (Ex. 3:8). But Moses pressed God: when your people ask who sent me, whom shall I name? God answered, ‘I AM THAT I AM’ (Ex. 3:14). To Moses, God revealed Himself first personally, relating as a Subject to other subjects, and second as the One who simply is who He is, who will be who He will be.”

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Divine simplicity is an ironically thorny knot. It’s exciting to see a collection of shrewd essays taking the intellectualism of the biblical literature and Christianity’s theological development with equal seriousness. The editors have compiled instructive works that don’t merely preach dogma, but rather, coach readers to think about our theological approach. Kudos.

Dru Johnson, Associate Professor of Biblical & Theological Studies, The King’s College

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I

Introduction: The World That Passed Away
Onsi A. Kamel

II

Divine Simplicity, the Ancient Near East, and the Old Testament
James Duguid

III

A Biblical and Theological Case for Divine Simplicity
Steven J. Duby

IV

The Brightness of God’s Own Light: Divine Simplicity in the Theology of Athanasius
Steven Wedgeworth

V

Divine Simplicity, Triune Action, and Appropriation in Augustine and Aquinas
J. David Moser

VI

Classical Theism in the Magisterial Reformers and Reformed Orthodoxy
David Haines

VII

“Everything That is in God is God”: Jonathan Edwards on Divine Simplicity
Joe Rigney

VIII

The Parting of God: Diagnosing the Fate of Divine Simplicity in Twentieth-Century Theology
Derrick Peterson

IX

A Sacred Monster: On the Secret Fears of Some Recent Trinitarianism
Derrick Peterson

X

Divine Simplicity: A Reply to Common Philosophical Objections
Nathan Greeley

XI

Conclusion: Quo Vadis, Classical Theism?
Joseph Minich

Praise for this work

“This book strikes an extraordinary balance, bringing just enough heat and just enough light to provide a warm and illuminating exploration of divine simplicity. Few discussions of the topic in recent years have managed this, but the essays gathered here combine fervent spiritual commitment to classic doctrine with the clarity of historical and conceptual analysis. Several of these chapters have appeared elsewhere in a variety of formats, and it is so good to have them gathered in one place. This is a substantial resource on one of the most important aspects of the doctrine of God.”

– Fred Sanders

Torrey Honors Institute, Biola University

“Over the last few centuries, the concept of divine simplicity has been marginalized, revised, and even rejected–yet it was, and is, foundational to the Christian doctrine of God.  It is, therefore, a cause for rejoicing that a collection such as this is a sign of our own times, when orthodoxy with regard to God’s being is once again coming to the fore. These essays variously address the biblical testimony to divine simplicity, the systematic implications of such, and the history by which the doctrine was lost and is now being rediscovered.  Simplicity is, without doubt, a complicated issue but the editors have broken it down into key aspects, themes, and problems, such that the careful reader will by the end understand why this matter is so important to the well-being of the church.”

– Carl Trueman

Professor of Biblical & Religious Studies, Grove City College

“This is an excellent collection of essays on a theme that’s commonly dismissed and rarely understood: God’s simplicity. Not only do its contributions expound and defend the doctrine, but they challenge assumptions about the doctrine’s biblical bases and how it’s framed by modern critics. I heartily recommend it to everyone interested in learning more about the God who is the One Lord!”

– Tyler R. Wittman

Assistant Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“The doctrine that God is not composed of separable parts or properties is not a speculative abstraction but a soil sample that reveals much about what is going on in the whole field of theology. These essays provide an excellent overview of the biblical warrants, historical formulations, and philosophical issues involved in staking the controversial, yet all-important claim theological claim that ‘the Lord is one, an undivided whole.”

– Kevin J. Vanhoozer

Research Professor of Systematic Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

“Teaching on the essence and attributes of God is the bedrock of the Christian confession. After a long season of its retreat in modern theology, we are once again beginning to see hopeful signs of its renewal. Few divine attributes are of more consequence and controversy than that of God’s simplicity. While it has often been criticized or misunderstood, the doctrine of divine simplicity aims to say something indispensably evangelical: that God alone is God. This collection of essays ably introduces the reader to the richness of this theological theme by examining its basis in exegesis, its development in history, and its promise for an evangelical doctrine of God.”

– Timothy Baylor

Lecturer in Theology and Religion, University of Wales Trinity Saint David

About the Editors

Onsi A. Kamel is Editor-at-Large of Ad Fontes, and is currently a doctoral student in the Religion Department at Princeton. His academic interests lie chiefly in systematic theology, historical theology, and philosophy. His academic writing has been published in The Scottish Journal of Theology, and his popular writing has been published in First ThingsMere Orthodoxy, and elsewhere. He is one of the co-hosts of the Ad Fontes podcast, and lives in Princeton with his wife Elaina, daughter Nora, and son Faheem. Follow him on Twitter at @ONSIKAMEL.

Headshot of Joseph Minich.

Joseph Minich is an Instructor of Philosophy at Mountain View College. He is the author of Enduring Divine Absence (Davenant Press, 2018) and the editor of several books with the Davenant Press. He lives in Garland, Texas, with his wife and four children.


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