5 thoughts on “A Note on ‘Biblical’ Simplicity

  1. Ouch! $122 for hardcover and $91 for Kindle? Didn’t James Dolazel basically accomplish the same task with his dissertation-turned-book “God without Parts: Divine Simplicity and the Metaphysics of God’s Absoluteness” and for a lot less money? Still, I’d love to read this monograph too. 😉

    Yeah, contemporary Evangelicals have a struggle with doctrines that can’t be easily (lazily?) proof-texted. And I’m sure there are other psychological factors that contribute to the various ways we yearn to demystify the Mysterious God and make him more human, more like us, rather than letting the Incarnation bridge that anxious gap between God and Man.

    It’s great that you brought up the Westminster Confession’s concept of the “good and necessary consequence” of Scripture. I was thinking of that as well alongside its confession of divine simplicity (God “without parts” in 2.1). Simplicity just seems to be one of those good and necessary consequences. It’s hardly a stretch to find it lurking immediately behind all of what God has revealed about himself. It has seemed intuitively obvious to me for a long time. And I was really blessed in learning about it explicitly this past summer when the whole Eternal Functional Subordination kerfuffle became an occasion that brought it to the foreground in my reading and gave it a name I’d previously not known.

    Thanks for writing about this, Derek.


    • Aaron, hardback is extremely expensive. Don’t lose hope, though. That series usually releases a paperback version within a year or two for about a third of the price. And I will say that this book is different enough from Dolezal’s. He devotes far more time to actually engaging scripture on those attributes and working them towards simplicity. He also does a lot of interesting work and retrieving distinctions from the Protestant Scholastics alongside of Thomas to answer objections. Dolezal’s book is good, but he spends far more time on some of the philosophic issues around the nature of properties and so forth. They also give different answers to the question of freedom. So what I’m saying is that they are complementary works. There is overlap, but they are different enough that they are both useful to read.

  2. Derek – this is another reason I so enjoy reading you! This idea is way above my pay-scale 😉 and yet your reflections & guidance helped me to start to piece together what is meant by God being simple. I agree that although it is not specifically spelled out in scripture, it can be seen as a doctrine that is supported by Biblical understanding! It is fun to walk down these paths of trying to discern God as fully as we possibly can. As we walk further and further away from our ability to comprehend the fullness of God, I am always reminded of 2 passages to bring me rest during that struggle.Is 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, declares The Lord, and your ways are not My ways! As separated as the heavens are from the earth, that is how far away from each other My thoughts are from yours”.Job 26:14 (after listing so many things/attributes about God in vs1-13) Indeed, all of this (what we do know about God) is just the mere edges of His ways and how small is the whisper of His fullness that we can hear. The full power of His thunder is beyond what we can understand” Thank you for helping me (and I am sure so many others) to be able to dig through these paths of discernment that I would not even be able to begin to walk on without a guide! Love you, Karen 🙂

    From: Reformedish To: karent52460@yahoo.com Sent: Monday, February 27, 2017 6:24 AM Subject: [New post] A Note on ‘Biblical’ Simplicity #yiv0032622367 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv0032622367 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv0032622367 a.yiv0032622367primaryactionlink:link, #yiv0032622367 a.yiv0032622367primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv0032622367 a.yiv0032622367primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv0032622367 a.yiv0032622367primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv0032622367 WordPress.com | Derek Rishmawy posted: “Some form of the doctrine of divine simplicity has long been an assumed mainstay in Christian theology. At its base, it affirms that God is not composite, or composed of metaphysical parts. In some of its most robust forms, it entails a lot more, such as ” | |

  3. Pingback: Application of old pagan concept of trinity | Stepping Toes

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