Does God Experience Feelings?

 

Persons have mind, will, and feelings. A variety of people believe that if God cannot experience suffering, then He cannot experience feelings like love and joy. However a majority of Christians believe God is not without feeling but only that He has no changing passions (feelings). God is a simple and unchanging Being and, as such, He experiences no changing passions.

 

Famous theologian Thomas Aquinas believed that God has love in Him, even though love is a “passion.” Love is not something that has to be caused, but is something that is in God. God has no passive capacities that can be acted upon and activated by an external force.  The same is true of anger. Nothing outside of God can make Him (cause Him to be) angry. That is, He cannot be provoked to anger (by something else), but He has anger at sin – and always has and always will because it is contrary to His holy nature. However, by His very nature as absolutely good, God is (and always was and always will be) angry at sin.

 

In brief, God has no passive and changing feelings (brought about by an external cause acting on Him). However, God has active, changeless, and eternal feelings of joy toward good and sadness toward evil. Hence, when a sinner repents, he does not move God to change His feelings. Rather, the sinner moves from under God’s unchanging and eternal anger toward sin to being under His eternal and unchanging joy toward good. In short, God is impassible (having no capacity to be made to feel good or bad by any external force), but He is not without feelings, namely, an eternal active ability to experience joy, anger, and other righteous feelings.

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Bio

Dr. Norman Geisler, PhD, is a prolific author, veteran professor, speaker, lecturer, traveler, philosopher, apologist, evangelist, and theologian. To those who ask, “Who is Norm Geisler?” some have suggested, “If you can imagine a cross between Thomas Aquinas and Billy Graham, you’re not too far off.”

Norm has authored or co-authored over 100 books and hundreds of articles. He has taught theology, philosophy, and classical Christian apologetics on the undergraduate and graduate level for over 50 years. He has served as a professor at some of the finest seminaries in the United States, including Trinity Evangelical Seminary and Dallas Theological Seminary. He now lends his talents to Norman Geisler International Ministries, Veritas International University, Southern Evangelical Seminary, and the International Society of Christian Apologetics.

Education:
-William Tyndale College, 1950-55 (diploma)
-University of Detroit, 1956-57
-Wheaton College, 1958 (B.A. in philosophy)
-Wheaton Graduate School, 1960 (M.A. in theology)
-William Tyndale College, 1964 (Th.B.)
-Wayne State University Graduate School, 1964 (work in philosophy)
-University of Detroit Graduate School, 1965-66 (work on M.A. in philosophy)
-Northwestern University, Evanston, 1968 (work in philosophy)
-Loyola University, Chicago, 1967-70 (Ph.D. in philosophy)

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