God's emotions

So I just started on a new project, reading through the whole Bible! (I’d appreciate prayers throughout my journey, I know it’ll be a bit overwhelming at times!) I’m only now on Gen 6, where the Corruption of Mankind is discussed. In Gen 6:6 it says “And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth and He was grieved in His heart.” In the notes in my study Bible for this verse, it is noted that God is not affected by sorrow or other feelings which are common to humanity and that God cannot change. (It notes I Sam. 15:29; Mal. 3:6, Js. 1:17 as notations for this claim…) But Jesus wept, conveying sorrow, God is described as an angry God and a jealous God, and aren’t all of those emotions?

I guess what I’m trying to ask is whether or not God experiences emotions that we do, or is it just put into terms that we could understand?

Of course God has emotions. Jesus is God made Man. Human and divine. How could Jesus feel all of the things as Man except for sin is he had no emotions?

Our Lord Jesus who became incarnate has emotions. Other than that, God has no emotions, he has attributes.
You got it right wen you said the writers of the bible put it into terms that we could understand.

Yes, God’s Emotions may have been somewhat different to ours but not by much. His first emotion most probably was LOVE. He came as Jesus to experience what we go through all except sin. He wanted to come closer to us by doing this. So he would know first hand what we go through. God Bless!!!

We are created “in the image of God”, does that mean we all grow into old men with long white beards?

Anything we feel, God is able to feel. He knows our thoughts, He knows every motive and every action. In great mercy and great love as well as may have been also frustration, He incarnated (sent His “Son”) as one of us. If He was unable to have EMOTIONS, how could He have done this successfully? It’s like putting on an ant suit and trying to join a community of ants! You can call them “attributes” but that’s merely semantics and it holds Him at arm’s length which is not where He wants to be. Jesus embraced His humanity and we don’t know how early in life He realized His true self, perhaps immediately, but He certainly knew how to be Human. And He understood, and experienced, Human emotion. So, as part of the Holy Trinity, we can now attribute to the Godhead the absolute fact that He has emotions, He knows suffering, He can have great sorrow and great joy. This just makes sense.

I was wondering how you made out with your bible reading? Just finished my 3rd time through. Have you seen the Church in your readings?

Technically speaking, “no” God does not have emotions. Emotions are a result of changeableness. God is one eternal divine act, which in His very nature is the self-emptying love between the Three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity.

I therefore view the language of scripture attributing “emotions” to God as figurative, for the benefit of human beings, rather than testament to the actual reality of God.

We must always respect the transcendence of God.

Yes, the Son of God assumed a human nature, however the divine and human natures in Him do not “mix”. He is WHOLLY GOD and WHOLLY MAN. It is Christ in His Human Nature and human soul who experienced emotions. Not in His Divine Nature!

God does not experience sorrow or pain according to the Fathers and scholastics. He cannot “suffer”, that is part of what the doctrine of impassibility entails:

***Saint Thomas Aquinas: Summa Contra Gentiles I.LXXXIX.12 ***

“…Sorrow or pain, for its subject is the already present evil, just as the object of joy is the good present and possessed. Sorrow and pain, therefore, of their very nature cannot be found in God…God cannot repent (change His mind) or be angry or sorrowful…”

St. Pope Gregory the Great also tells us:

Pope St. Gregory the Great (c. 540 - 604)

God is called jealous, angered, repentant, merciful, and foreknowing. These simply mean that, because He guards the chastity of every soul, He can, in human fashion, be called jealous, although He is not subject to any mental torment. Because He moves against faults, He is said to be angered, although He is moved by no disturbance of equanimity. And because He that is immutable changes what He willed, He is said to repent, although what changes is a thing and not His counsel.

(Moral Teachings From Job, 20, 32, 63; in JUR-3, 317)

The witness of some two other Fathers on this issue:

St. Clement of Alexandria (c. 150 - c. 215)

Here again arise the cavillers, who say that joy and pain are passions of the soul: for they define joy as a rational elevation and exultation, as rejoicing on account of what is good; and pity as pain for one who suffers undeservedly; and that such affections are moods and passions of the soul. But we, as would appear, do not cease in such matters to understand the Scriptures carnally; and starting from our own affections, interpret the will of the impassible Deity similarly to our perturbations; and as we are capable of hearing; so, supposing the same to be the case with the Omnipotent, err impiously. For the Divine Being cannot be declared as it exists: but as we who are fettered in the flesh were able to listen, so the prophets spake to us; the Lord savingly accommodating Himself to the weakness of men.

Origen (c. 185 - c. 254)

“…When we read either in the Old Testament or in the New of the anger of God, we do not take such expressions literally, but seek in them a spiritual meaning, that we may think of God as He deserves to be thought of. And on these points, when expounding the verse in the second Psalm, ‘Then shall He speak to them in His anger, and trouble them in His fury,’ we showed, to the best of our poor ability, how such an expression ought to be understood…But as, in what follows, Celsus, not understanding that the language of Scripture regarding God is adapted to an anthropopathic point of view, ridicules those passages which speak of words of anger addressed to the ungodly, and of threatenings directed against sinners, we have to say that, as we ourselves, when talking with very young children, do not aim at exerting our own power of eloquence, but, adapting ourselves to the weakness of our charge, both say and do those things which may appear to us useful for the correction and improvement of the children as children, so the word of God appears to have dealt with the history, making the capacity of the hearers, and the benefit which they were to receive, the standard of the appropriateness of its announcements (regarding Him). And, generally, with regard to such a style of speaking about God, we find in the book of Deuteronomy the following: “The Lord thy God bare with your manners, as a man would bear with the manners of his son.” It is, as it were, assuming the manners of a man in order to secure the advantage of men that the Scripture makes use of such expressions; for it would not have been suitable to the condition of the multitude, that what God had to say to them should be spoken by Him in a manner more befitting the majesty of His own person. And yet he who is anxious to attain a true understanding of holy Scripture, will discover the spiritual truths which are spoken by it to those who are called “spiritual,” by comparing the meaning of what is addressed to those of weaker mind with what is announced to such as are of acuter understanding, both meanings being frequently found in the same passage by him who is capable of comprehending it.…”

There is thus a very clear patristic consensus here. They regarded any of the passages imputing emotion to God (anger, sadness, grief) as being analogous and metaphorical, for the benefit of mankind rather than a description of God’s very nature because they believed in impassibility.

In God love is not in the form of an “emotion”. It is in the form of a perfect self-giving between the Three Persons.

As St. Thomas stated:

“…To love is to will the good of another…”

St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II,26 4,

This is how it is in God. Pope John Paul II stated in his apostolic letter Mulieris Dignitatem that “Man – whether man or woman – is the only being among the creatures of the visible world that God the Creator has willed for its own sake; that creature is thus a person. Being a person means striving towards self-realization, which can only be achieved through a sincere gift of self. The model for this interpretation of the person is God himself as Trinity, as a communion of Persons.”

St. John of the Cross summed up the Love of God when he stated:

“…All for you and nothing for me…”

***- Saint John of the Cross (16th century) ***

Again:

St. Augustine (354-430)

For the holy angels feel no anger while they punish those whom the eternal law of God consigns to punishment, no fellow-feeling with misery while they relieve the miserable, no fear while they aid those who are in danger; and yet ordinary language ascribes to them also these mental emotions, because, though they have none of our weakness, their acts resemble the actions to which these emotions move us; and thus even God Himself is said in Scripture to be angry, and yet without any perturbation. For this word is used of the effect of His vengeance, not of the disturbing mental affection.

There are innumerable passages like these from the patristics. Needless to say God does not have emotions, that is incontrovertible IMHO.

I feel sad for anyone who thinks God does not have emotions. In the Book of Moses there is a telling account. Enoch sees the days of Noah and the wickedness of the people. As he does so he beholds the Lord in tears:

And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept; and Enoch bore record of it, saying: How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the maintains? And Enoch said unto the Lord; How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou are holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?

The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency; and unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they have their own blood; …wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer? And That which I have chosen hath pled before my face. Wherefore, he suffereth for their sins, inasmuch as they will repent in the day that my Chosen shall return unto me, and until that day they shall be in torment; wherefore, for this shall the heavens weep, yea, and all the workmanship of mine hands. (Moses 7:28-29, 32-33, 39-40)

Now believe the above scripture or not but don’t ignore the reasoning: God created man, gave him his agency, asked man to choose Him their Father, and sent Christ to suffer for their sins. And yet they turn against Him, hate their own blood, and will suffer rather than love Him. Should not God weep in this case? Or is he simply emotionless? All the “logic” in the world does not convince me that he does not feel for us.

Vouthon,

Thank you for all your posts! I do understand them and remember that I was taught that in a simple way when in high school Catechism Class. I am a senior citizen now, but remember that it made perfect sense then.

I have to totally disagree with you. How can you say God has no emotions when God is both human and Divine.

Do humans have emotions?? Was God indeed 2 natures. Is a nature not a source of action of which one acts?

How can you say Jesus did not have emotions? Did he not cry when his friend died? Was he not angry when they made his Fathers house into a market place.

To deny Jesus having emotions in my opinion you would have to deny him both human and Divine.

I highly disagree with you. And I do not believe this is the teaching of the RCC.

While I disagree with pretty much everything of your teachings. I agree with you here. God does indeed feel sad when we sin and turn against him. And indeed rejoices in heaven when we turn from sin, confess and are reunited with him.

Yes, Jesus certainly had emotions as to his human nature but not as to his divine nature.

I never once denied that Jesus through his human nature had emotions. He was FULLY HUMAN. However Divinity cannot have emotions and so therefore In His Divine Nature, just as with the Father and the Holy Spirit, there are no emotions.

The Church Fathers explained this quite clearly:

St. John of Damascus (c. 645 - c. 749)

The Word of God then itself endured all in the flesh, while His divine nature which alone was passionless remained void of passion. For since the one Christ, Who is a compound of divinity and humanity, and exists in divinity and humanity, truly suffered, that part which is capable of passion suffered as it was natural it should, but that part which was void of passion did not share in the suffering. For the soul, indeed, since it is capable of passion shares in the pain and suffering of a bodily cut, though it is not cut itself but only the body: but the divine part which is void of passion does not share in the suffering of the body.

(An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, 26; in NPNF 2, Vol. 9)

St. Hippolytus (d. c. 236)

For the divine is just the same after the incarnation that it was before the incarnation; in its essence infinite, illimitable impassible, incomparable, unchangeable, inconvertable, self-potent, and, in short, subsisting in essence alone the infinitely worthy good.

(Against Beron and Helix, Fragment 1; in ANF, Vol. 5)

The Divine Nature was not in itself changed by the incarnation. The natures did not MIX, they were simply united in the one Person: Jesus.

See this answer from CAF apologist Michelle Arnold:

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=569789

Properly speaking, God does not have “emotions.” Emotions are changeable and God does not change. Those passages of Scripture that attribute human emotions to God are attempting to help us better understand the mystery of God through anthropomorphism. However, once God the Son incarnated as the man Christ Jesus and assumed to himself a human nature, **God the Son was capable *as man ***of having and feeling emotion.

As you can see from my ample references (patristic sources and apologetics) I do not lie. :shrug:

Another answer from CAF apologist Peggy Frye:

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=10095&highlight=god+angry

**Q: I once heard part of a talk that Scott Hahn was giving on the radio. He referred to God not having feelings. I was unable to listen to the entire thing. Could someone please go in depth on this subject.
Thanks! **

A: I refer you to St. Thomas Aquinas…

“That there are no Passions in God”
nd.edu/Departments/Maritain/etext/gc1_89.htm

Additional reading:

Nature and Attributes of God
(Catholic Encyclopedia)

“Yet sometimes men are led by a natural tendency to think and speak of God as if He were a magnified creature – more especially a magnified man – and this is known as anthropomorphism. Thus God is said to see or hear, as if He had physical organs, or to be angry or sorry, as if subject to human passions: and this perfectly legitimate and more or less unavoidable use of metaphor is often quite unfairly alleged to prove that the strictly Infinite is unthinkable and unknowable, and that it is really a finite anthropomorphic God that men worship. But whatever truth there may be in this charge as applied to Polytheistic religions, or even to the Theistic beliefs of rude and uncultured minds, it is untrue and unjust when directed against philosophical Theism. The same reasons that justify and recommend the use of metaphorical language in other connections justify and recommended it here, but no Theist of average intelligence ever thinks of understanding literally the metaphors he applies, or hears applied by others, to God, any more than he means to speak literally when he calls a brave man a lion, or a cunning one a fox.”

Trinity is the short answer. God the Father proceeds from No one, Gods essence can never be reached by human standards nor by angels. Only the Son knows the Father and has seen Him (John 1:18). The Son reveals the Father, thus the Word which you are reading is what proceeds from the Father. It is God the Holy Spirit that proceeds from the Father and the Son (Word) who declares what the Father and the Son gives him or sends him to declare to you what is Truth see John 16:13-15. God is Spirit, God is love the answer that helps our understanding is Gods name is IAM THAT IAM. God is everything and anything my humanity and soul need him to be for me in order that I might have life eternal. The biblical emotions attributed to God is revealed from the sent Word of God who is God and who is with God, not the essence of God. God has full knowledge, wisdom of emotions but God himself is never an emotion. What proceeds from God is His Son who reveals His Father and your Father in word and understanding (revelation) that we can comprehend in human terms, see 1 Cor.2:12-13

I tried looking up that passage at Bible Gateway and this is the message I received:

No results found.

No valid results were found for your search. . . .

Your quote is coming from Mormon scripture which is not recognized as the Word of God by any other religion.

Thank you for all the insights you have posted in this and other posts. It is hard for many to be aware that the writer’s of Sacred Scripture wrote from the emotional vantage point of the readers.

God is Infinite Love!

Of course God has emotions. However, I do not believe that the so-called book of Moses in the Mormon “Pearl of Great Price” is genuine scripture. I believe it was written in the 1800s, long after any Enoch breathed on this earth. The Pearl of Great Price is unreliable because of the tremendous textual changes made after it had supposedly been directly translated from Egyptian by the power of God. I am referring especially to the addition of entire paragraphs. The Book of Moses says God created everything spiritually prior to the physical creation. This seems unlikely as well as not being in harmony with Genesis. The Mormon Book of Moses does teach that God is omniscient, almighty, eternal, and that no other God exists, but that seems to be at odds with current Mormon teachings about the nature of God. One rather odd passage has to do with God’s creation of light. “And I, God, said: Let there be light. And I, God, saw the light and that light was good. And I, God, divided the light from the darkness.” Light is already other than darkness. How can we conceive of light being part of darkness, in order to become “divided” from it? Although the Mormon Church claims that the Book of Moses is a translation, no one has been able to present the original document for comparison, so its accuracy cannot be verified. One would be better off to read the Bible for a Christian perspective.

As I said, believe what you want about the Book of Moses. I was presenting the reasoning.

Your statement about God dividing the light from the darkness seems odd since this is also in Genesis, “And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness” (Gen 1:4).

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