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The essential tenets of classical theism on the doctrine of God can be stated simply. However, questions have been raised regarding the coherence of these beliefs taken as a whole. Some have seen fit to abandon classical theism. Others, acknowledging tensions in the traditional concept of God, have sought to resolve them by means of making significant concessions. Mindful of these issues, Jay Richards uses the tools of analytic philosophy to explore and critically engage the tenets of classical theism. His own carefully crafted proposal upholds the historic Christain doctrine of God while critiquing some of its more stringent formulations that render God's relations with contingent creation problematic. Astutely interfacing with the thought of Karl Barth and Charles Hartshorne, Richards concludes by addressing the related and currently abated matters of divine simplicity and immutability.
- God is sovereign.
- God is perfect.
- God is immutable.
- God created everything.
- God is triune.
- The Son of God was incarnate in Jesus Christ.
The essential tenets of classical theism regarding the doctrine of God can be stated fairly easily. However, questions have been raised regarding the coherence of these beliefs taken as a whole. Some have seen fit to abandon classical theism. Others have acknowledged tensions in the traditional concept of God and have sought to resolve them by means of making significant concessions. Jay Wesley Richards believes that classical theism with its biblical norm can and ought to be maintained. He shows how a philosophical defense, using the analytical tools of modal logic, can be mounted that preserves traditional Christian beliefs. Richards astutely defends essentialism, arguing that it is both intrinsic to the Christian understanding of God and preserves the contingency of creation and the God-world relation. To further clarify and defend his proposal he engages appreciatively and critically the thought of Karl Barth and Charles Hartshorne as well as addressing the related and currently debated matters of divine simplicity and immutability.
Richards (Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary; Th.M., Calvin Theological Seminary; M.Div., Union Theological Seminary) is a research fellow and director of institutional relations at Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty in Grand Rapids, MI. He has published articles in philosophy of religion (), theology () and science (). His books include (Regnery, 2004), (Discovery Inst. Press, 2002), (IVP, 2003), and (IVP, 2001)..
"Jay W. Richards's The Untamed God is a commendably clear, well-researched introduction to the power of essentialist metaphysics to help us think clearly and correctly about God. It models well the ways philosophy and theology both support and balance each other. Allies and opponents of his views will join their own debates with greater precision and fruitfulness for having worked through his book."
"Using the robust new tools of Christian analytic philosophy, Jay Richards offers a power model of God. It reflects biblical teaching, fits deep intuitions and conserves traditional themes. Yet it carefully updates traditional notions and so provides a compelling alternative to contemporary views of God that stray from biblical moorings. This is just the kind of contribution analytic philosophers ought to make to theology. I greatly appreciate this book."
"Jay Richards's book is an important contribution to the much-needed but almost nonexistent dialogue between theologians and analytic philosophers of religion. Equally well-informed and sure- footed in both disciplines, Richards's discussion is at every point accurate and perceptive. He takes note of an important cluster of problems within the classical concept of God and, after a careful analysis of the solutions offered by Karl Barth and Charles Hartshorne, develops a solution of his own in which he skillfully employs the contributions of the analytic philosophers. It's a book I will want to come back to!
"The renaissance of Christian philosophy which has come about during the last forty years has gone largely unnoticed or been ignored by the contemporary generation of systematic theologians. There are signs that the dividing wall of partition is now at last beginning to break down. Jay Richards seeks to foster the dialogue between theologians and philosophers with respect to understanding such traditional attributes of God as simplicity and immutability. A harbinger of things to come, The Untamed God is a model of theological and philosophical integration, ably illustrating the usefulness, even indispensability, of philosophical analysis to the task of systematic theology."
" The Untamed God is truly a remarkable book. It combines an exceptionally good, readable survey of technical philosophical issues surrounding modal logic and essentialism with a detailed discussion of theological treatments of issues at the heart of debates about divine perfection, immutability, simplicity, self-existence and sovereignty. Along the way, Richards defends a biblically faithful depiction of the nature of God in the classical tradition that avoids the excesses of open theism on the one hand and the problematic aspects of the classical model on the other. Anyone interested in current debates about these matters will have to interact with this book."