Is God Perfect? Does That Matter? [Revisited] (Peter Leithart)

Note: This episode was originally published February 25, 2020. ICYMI, please enjoy this lecture hosted by the Center for Hebraic Thought on February 15, 2020. 

The Christian tradition describes God as “perfect”—but how the Bible describes this perfection might surprise us. When we think of God, we often start by asking, “What is God?” This is the approach of the Westminster Catechism as well as many philosophers. This seemingly common-sense approach, however, is strange at a second glance—after all, we wouldn’t typically ask, “What is your spouse?” or “What is Steve?” In this lecture, Dr. Peter Leithart argues for a different approach: asking, “Who is God?”

To understand God’s nature (including His perfection), we must consider how Scripture reasons. Often, the biblical authors appeal to poetry, imagery, story, and history to define God. Dr. Leithart argues that these literary forms—far from being irrational or anti-philosophical—are rigorously intellectual and potent forms of knowing a God who is personal, transcendent, and yes, perfect.

This episode is a recording of the evening lecture for our February 14-15 workshop with the Rev. Dr. Peter Leithart of the Theopolis Institute.

Show notes:

  • 0:00 Introduction by Dr. Dru Johnson
  • 2:08 “What is God?”
  • 13:59 The intellectual rigor of the Bible
  • 22:04 How the Bible uses poetry and imagery to describe God’s nature
  • 28:13 Anthropomorphic or theomorphic?
  • 33:00 God defined by story and history
  • 41:52 Conclusion
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