On God’s self-limitation, order and law

‘The limitation in God is due to God Himself. Self-limitation is one of the infinite powers of Godhead. If God were not personal, if He did not contain the mighty concentrative lines of personality, He would be less than God. He would be a waste, ineffectual force, without form and void. He could, indeed, hardly be force even, which must work in lines. He would be a dim essence, and empty substance, a gaseous abstraction without contents, without feature, interest, or life. He would be without order, for order is limitation. But surely order is the Divine presence in the world, not its absence. Law is His law, not another’s law laid on Him. And personality is law and order in their highest terms. Limitation is no more undivine or incompatible with infinity in the one case than in the other. Divine law, indeed, when we express it in moral terms, what is it other than God’s self-control?’ (PT Forsyth, God the Holy Father, 34)

4 thoughts on “On God’s self-limitation, order and law

  1. Interesting to hear “personality” play such a large part in the openness of God. Thanks for these continually intriguing quotes. It helps me understand what the online survey meant when it labeled my theology Barthian/Forsythian!

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  2. Chris. Just looking at your blogger profile. How can someone who likes Lord of the Rings, A Man for All Seasons, The Shawshank Redemption and Diary of a Young Country Priest seriously list Snakes on a Plane? is this just a confession of the contradictions that exist within human personhood or are you responding to a dare?

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  3. Jason, the secret lies in the word “seriously.” There is a time for everything, my friend – even the ridiculous silliness that is “Snakes on a Plane.” I’m sure Freud could explain it more, but I haven’t read him.

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  4. Chris, any thought of introducing Freud into a discussion of Snakes on a Plane is an invitation to go places that I don’t want to go, at least on a public blog. I am prepared to confess though that as silly as the film was, ‘I just had to watch it all!’ My own preference for silliness lies in the Marx Brothers or Tony Hancock direction, and more recently (just to prove to myself that I’m not really an old fart) with The Office. By the way, I’m interested in following your posts on Theosis. Sounds like a worthwhile discussion.

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