Classical theism, the dominant tradition in Christian theology, has stressed the metaphysical concept of God, i.e., God's ontological transcendence and independence from the world. In this century, however, this concept of God has increasingly met with criticism. On the basis of the Bible and new philosophical considerations, it is argued that a relational concept of God better answers the fundamental concerns of the Christian faith. In this book the author investigates the questions of whether one can conceive of God apart from the metaphysical attributes and whether reflection on the biblical depiction of God leads necessarily to a relational concept of God. The author explores the questions by examining the relational concepts of God found in two contemporary German theologians, Jürgen Moltmann and Wolfhart Pannenberg, and uses the divine attribute of immutability as a focus for the discussion. He argues that the relational concept of God presupposes another metaphysical conception of God, which raises problems as serious as those in classical theism, and that the Bible itself, because of its nature as a narrative text, is ambiguous in many respects as far as God is concerned. A truly Christian doctrine of God must take both the metaphysical and relational aspects of God into account.
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