The Being of the One God

Robert W. Jenson

in Systematic Theology

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780195145984
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199848980 | DOI:
The Being of the One God

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This chapter discusses the concept of being and its application to God and gives a reinterpretation to accommodate the gospel, and by so doing states what it is God to be. In Aristotle's doctrine of being, the being of beings other than divinity is, as Thomas put it, “composite,” of “form and matter”: it belongs to their forms to require a prior something in which to be instantiated, which is then the “matter” of an entity thus actualized. More “noble” forms need no such composition and therefore, are instantiated of themselves; just so, they are divine and fully possess being. Thomas upsets this doctrine: he teaches that a form's lack of need for matter cannot in itself guarantee that it is instantiated, and so does not qualify as divine.

Keywords: being; God; Aristotle; Thomas; divine

Chapter.  9596 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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