Paul L. Gavrilyuk, Suffering of the Impassible God

Paul L. Gavrilyuk, The Suffering of the Impassible God

I was given this book as a Christmas present just before I left for Memphis to see my children and grandchildren. I read it with enthusiasm and read the last chapter and conclusion twice. It is a study of the early fathers’ view of how God could suffer whose divine nature cannot suffer. Gavrilyuk demonstrates that the early fathers, especially St. Cyril, retained the mystery that though God in His divine nature cannot suffer, yet the Son of God through His humanity did suffer. He shows that it was not true that the orthodox fathers fell prey to the secular philosophies of the day that God could not suffer at all, but that they held tightly to the biblical text of the New Testament. Moreover, he explains how those who challenged orthodoxy were the ones who tended to fall prey to the Platonism or other secular views, and they departed from the New Testament, thereby departing from the mystery. For example, docetism denied that Christ really suffered by denying His real humanity. This heresy said that it only appeared that He suffered, but actually He did not. Arianism maintained that the Son suffered by denying His deity. Nestorianism denied that the Son suffered by saying that Christ was two persons, the human one suffered but the divine person did not. I recommend this excellent study, but the book is not cheap.

The Very Rev Dr Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D. W

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