Light Unapproachable: Divine Incomprehensibility and the Task of Theology, By Ronni Kurtz

Light Unapproachable

Divine Incomprehensibility and the Task of Theology

by Ronni Kurtz

Light Unapproachable
  • Length: 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: November 12, 2024
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: A0710
  • ISBN: 9781514007105

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How can finite creatures know an infinite God? How does limited knowledge impact what we can say of God?

Retrieving and constructing important insight from Scripture and key patristic, medieval, early modern, and modern theologians, Ronni Kurtz presents a rich analysis of the doctrine of divine incomprehensibility. Our theological language, says Kurtz, cannot capture the full mystery of God. However, our inability to see God in his totality should not lead us to despair. Through God's gracious accommodation, we can learn to speak of God faithfully, truthfully, and prayerfully.

Kurtz's dialogue with varying traditions to unpack divine accommodation reminds us that theologians in all ages have wrestled with what we can and cannot say of God.

"This is a lovely book—rooted in and expressive of love for God, love for Jesus Christ, love for Scripture, and love for all who thirst to know the God who reveals himself in Christ and through the biblical Word. Kurtz has managed to unite faith, scholarship, profundity, and readability on a crucial topic. We need more books like this one!"

Matthew Levering, James N. Jr. and Mary D. Perry Chair of Theology at Mundelein Seminary

"With its negative prefix, divine incomprehensibility appears to say that knowledge of God is impossible, thereby leading some people to become agnostic. Like appearances, however, prefixes too can be deceiving. By retrieving the classical formulation of the doctrine of divine incomprehensibility together with the all-important Creator-creature distinction, Ronni Kurtz ably demonstrates why divine incomprehensibility need not lead to agnosticism. Unlike God, Light Unapproachable is far from being incomprehensible. It is a clearly written, cogently argued, and readily comprehensible account of how theology can apprehend what the accommodating God has chosen to reveal about himself."

Kevin Vanhoozer, research professor of systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"If man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever, as one catechism puts it, it would seem that knowledge of God should be possible. Yet, all the historic Christian traditions affirm the incomprehensibility of God. How is this possible? Ronni Kurtz has provided for us a masterful demonstration of how incomprehensibility must be accepted as a divine perfection and therefore as something extolling God's glory. This volume shows the implications of this attribute for the practice of theology itself, showing that the knowledge of God does not imply conceptual mastery."

Adonis Vidu, Andrew Mutch Distinguished Professor of Theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary


Part 1: Introduction, Antiquity, and the Biblical Data

1. Introducing the Doctrine of Divine Incomprehensibility
2. Divine Incomprehensibility in the Biblical Data
3. Divine Incomprehensibility in Theological Antiquity, Part One: The Anomoean Controversy and the Early Church
4. Divine Incomprehensibility in Theological Antiquity, Part Two: From Pseudo-Dionysius to Modernity

Part 2: Divine Incomprehensibility and the Task of Theology

5. Implications from Ontology: The Creator-Creature Distinction
6. Implications of Language and Knowledge: Accommodation, Analogy, and the Archetype
7. Implications of Posture: The Necessity of Theological Humility

Appendix: Working Theses on Incomprehensibility and Theological Method: Principles for Knowing and Naming the Incomprehensible God


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Ronni Kurtz

Ronni Kurtz (PhD, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) is an assistant professor of theology at Cedarville University. He is also the author of No Shadow of Turning: Divine Immutability and the Economy of Redemption and Fruitful Theology.