Perfect, Pure, and Infinite: Divine Infinitude and Pure Actuality

Perfect, Pure, and Infinite:
Divine Infinitude and Pure Actuality

This paper will positively defend divine infinitude as a general perfection by arguing that God, as pure actuality, infinitely possesses all that he can possess, without limit. It seeks to refute any notion of passive potential in God, whether in thought or deed as well as all mechanical or quantitative notions of divine infinitude. In doing so, this paper seeks to offer a robust biblical and theological rebuttal to one of the most common contemporary objections to classical theism: that the God of classical theism is inert, lifeless, and cold.
While on the surface this objection may seem pastoral and biblical, it instead reveals certain modern metaphysical assumptions that, left unchecked, strip God of his perfect, infinite, goodness. Theistic personalism faces the pressure to deny God as infinitely pure act because of modern historicism’s assertion that the creator God inhabits his creation on the same plane as his creatures. As Augustine pointed out, far from God being inert, lifeless, and cold, the Triune God of the Bible is more inward to us than our innermost being and higher than our highest. But for God to be this immanent, he must be infinitely and essentially transcendent or, as history has shown, pantheism is the inevitably result. Thus, this paper seeks to retrieve the classical understanding of divine infinitude as it relates pure actuality to refute the revised, finite, and passively potent, doctrine of God that has become embedded in the modern liberal project.

Lance English
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

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