God Without Parts
December 08, 2011
Divine Simplicity and the Metaphysics of God's Absoluteness
Alumnus and research fellow at the Craig Center for the Study of the Westminster Standards, Dr. James Dolezal (PhD '11), has recently published his doctoral dissertation, God Without Parts.
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Publisher's Description: The doctrine of divine simplicity has long played a crucial role in Western Christianity’s understanding of God. It is claimed that by denying God is composed of parts Christians are able to account for his absolute self-sufficiency and his ultimate sufficiency as the absolute Creator of the world. If God were a composite being then something other than the Godhead itself would be required to explain or account for God. If this were the case then God would not be most absolute and would not be able to adequately know or account for himself without reference to something other than himself. This book develops these arguments by examining the implications of divine simplicity for God existence, attributes, knowledge, and will. Along the way there is extensive interaction with older writers, such as Thomas Aquinas and the Reformed scholastics, as well as more recent philosophers and theologians. An attempt is made to answer some of the currently popular criticisms of divine simplicity and to reassert the vital importance of continuing to confess that God is without parts even in the modern philosophical-theological milieu.
“At a time when the simplicity of God has fallen on hard times, James Dolezal does a fine job of navigating current objections to this central aspect of theology proper. In particular, Dolezal shows the intimate relationship between those who would affirm God's absolute character, and an affirmation of divine simplicity. He brings Aquinas' affirmation of simplicity into the contemporary debate in a way that Thomas himself might have done.”