Show Less
Restricted access

The Concept of Divine Love in the Context of the God-World Relationship


John C. Peckham

The Concept of Divine Love in the Context of the God-World Relationship addresses the significant and far-reaching theological conflict over the nature of God’s love, which is deeply rooted in broader conflicts regarding divine ontology and the nature of the God-world relationship. After engaging the traditional historical theology of love and recent exemplars of competing and influential conceptions of divine love, John C. Peckham seeks an alternative to the impasse by an extensive inductive investigation of the entire biblical canon in accordance with a final-form canonical approach to systematic theology, offering an alternative model of divine love that draws on the richness of the biblical text as canon and holds considerable implications for the God-world relationship.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

1 Introduction


| 1 →



What is the nature of divine love? The concept of divine love is crucial to diverse paradigms, worldviews, and theological systems. Many theologians consider divine love to be a central component of God’s nature, if not the very essence of God. However, there are significant conflicts in contemporary theology regarding the nature of divine love, the very definition of which is prone to considerable semantic and conceptual ambiguity.1 While conceptions of divine love vary widely, the primary features of the debate may be illuminated by examination of the differences between two prominent and recent models, the transcendent-voluntarist model, wherein divine love is unilaterally willed and unmotivated benevolence, and the immanent-experientialist model, wherein divine love is essentially relational, emotional, and primarily passive.2

The transcendent-voluntarist model is, in many ways, an offspring of the classical doctrine of God, which described God as utterly transcendent and incapable of pathos, and emphasizes the distinction between God and the world, specifically, divine sovereignty and transcendence. Proponents of this model reject emotionless impassibility, yet find difficulty in reconciling God’s love with the sovereignty and immutability of God’s will.3 On this view, God’s love originates in God’s sovereign will and is thus not merited or elicited by humans, ← 1 | 2 → but is totally gratuitous, nearly identical with grace.4 Accordingly, God’s love is unmotivated by external factors, and human love toward God brings him no value.5 The immanent-experientialist model, on the other hand, stresses that divine love...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.