Conclusion: The Transformation of Divine Simplicity

Andrew Radde‐Gallwitz

in Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, and the Transformation of Divine Simplicity

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780199574117
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722110 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies

Conclusion: The Transformation of Divine Simplicity

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The Conclusion recapitulates the book's argument and argues that the achievement of Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nyssa in transforming divine simplicity has ongoing relevance for Christian theology. It addresses both ancient and contemporary objections which posit that divine simplicity is incompatible with God acting in the world. The contemporary objection, as formulated by Christopher Stead, presents God's action as portrayed in scripture as an embarrassment for the philosophical theory of divine simplicity. However, the conclusion argues that both ancient and modern objections to the idea of a simple God acting in the complex world rest upon similar assumptions about ‘God’ and ‘world’ which the Cappadocian brothers help Christian theology to overcome. Basil and especially Gregory show the Christian tradition how to speak of God's action in the world as fully reflective of God's simple nature and its characteristic attributes or propria. The Cappadocian brothers thus are still relevant to how theologians construe the God‐world relation. Finally, the chapter attends to questions that remain unanswered, such as how divine simplicity as conceived by the Cappadocians is fully compatible with divine freedom.

Keywords: transformation; propria; Christopher Stead; God‐world relation; divine freedom; Basil of Caesarea; Gregory of Nyssa

Chapter.  4400 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity ; Christian Theology

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