God without passions

Sometimes we shy away from theological terms that we do not understand. We find them “uncomfortable” or even “unimportant” in our daily Christian life. We need to rethink such fallacies. I think that when we take the time to study such terms, we’ll find greater encouragement to walk with God. I also believe that a better understanding of who God is and why He functions or operates the way He does will fill us with a greater sense of joy in our daily walk of faith.

Case in point: The impassibility of God.

To use such a term concerning God is to say that He is impassible or “without passions.” In other words, God is not moved by something that would provoke a change in Him. We are the opposite. You and I are “passible” creatures, susceptible to a constant shifting, up and down, regarding our emotions and choices. All types of outward forces motivate, unmotivated, or cause us to choose one thing over another. God is NOT like us!

“God is never moved by something that would provoke a change in Him. The creature (us) does not exert a force on the creator that changes Him and causes Him to move toward a perceived good or away from a perceived bad” (Dr. Samuel D. Renihan).

This should be fantastic news! It means that God’s love and mercy, for example, are constant, not fluid, in His dealings with us. To say it another way: “God is love” (1 John 4:8); he is not moved to love. “Because God’s love is not a passion, he can no more cease to love than He can cease to be (exist).”

This is why “God relates to His creation and loves His people with an everlasting love precisely because God loves us from His own ‘infinite fullness’ and not based on perceived goodness in us.”

His mercy is similar. God is not moved to compassion by something He perceives in us. “Unlike God, our mercy towards others depends on “feeling our heartstrings being pulled toward someone.” You and I can find great encouragement in this truth, knowing that we can always confidently call out to God, knowing that He is not merciful BUT mercy itself! Praise God; His mercy is not a passion like ours.

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