The Necessity of Divine Happiness

Ellen T. Charry

in The Bible and the Pursuit of Happiness

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199795734
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979691 | DOI:
The Necessity of Divine Happiness

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This chapter considers happiness from a systematic theological perspective. Much of the Western Christian theological tradition has neglected the rich biblical data on happiness, however, choosing a pathology-driven approach which has viewed human happiness as largely impossible in life with the goal of human life being to escape eternal punishment. The chapter offers a positive theology in response, noting the full range of divine emotion (and the simple fact of divine emotion—that is, “passibility”) as found in Scripture. The Bible speaks of God’s happiness, not only God’s displeasure, and theology’s inattention to this fact has led to a severely reduced view of happiness. In point of fact, part of what God is happy about is precisely human flourishing which, in turn, makes God even happier. This means that divine and human happiness are inextricably interrelated, and also means that Christians are deputized into God’s happy project of loving creation into flourishing.

Keywords: happiness; God; God’s happiness; divine emotions; systematic theology; pathology; psychology; creation

Chapter.  8785 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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