A scene from the Leben der heiligen Altväter (1482)

Classical Theism Makes a Comeback

Didaktikos 2017

In recent years, there has been a change in the way theologians talk the doctrine of God. One way to describe the change would be to say that classical theism has made a comeback.

By “classical theism,” I mean a bundle of related doctrines about the Christian God: aseity, immutability, impassibility, and simplicity. Taken together, doctrines like these offer a view of God that is austere and exalted. The God described in these ancient terms is a God who does not need anything outside of himself; does not change; does not suffer; and is not composed of parts. Asked to conceive of such a being, the theological mind feels itself scrambling and stretching. “If you understand it,” said Augustine, “then it is not God.”