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Divine Attributes

Knowing the Covenantal God of Scripture

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This book offers a clear and constructive account of the nature and attributes of God. It addresses the doctrine of God from exegetical, historical, and constructive-theological perspectives, bringing the biblical portrayal of God in relationship to the world into dialogue with prominent philosophical and theological questions. Some questions the book engages include: Does God change? Does God have emotions? Does God know the future? Is God entirely good and loving? How can God be one and three? Chapters correspond to the major metaphysical and moral attributes of God.

Divine Attributes will be of use to professors and students in courses in systematic theology and the doctrine of God.

Introduction: The Covenantal God of Scripture
1. The God of Scripture and the God of the Philosophers
2. The Unchanging God Who Suffers in Love: Aseity, Immutability, and Qualified Passibility
3. The God of the Past, Present, and Future: Omnipresence and Eternity
4. The God Who Knows Everything: Omniscience and Foreknowledge
5. The Almighty Sovereign Who Creates, Sustains, and Covenants: Omnipotence and Providence
6. The Goodness of God and the Problem of Evil: Faithfulness and Omnibenevolence
7. Trinity of Love: A Canonical Exploration of Divine Triunity
8. The God of Covenantal Theism


"Divine attribution is often overlooked in its importance for Christian reflection, but it is critical to reckon with the identity and character of the One Christians worship. Peckham's latest book provides an accessible framework for this topic, all the while demonstrating a resounding attentiveness to the biblical witness as contemporary discussions are judiciously elaborated."

Daniel Castelo, professor of dogmatic and constructive theology, Seattle Pacific University and Seminary

"In this rich and careful depiction of the canonical God, Peckham paints for us the holistic portrait of God beholden to neither strict classical theism nor open theism. By tracing the native Hebraic logic of covenantal theism throughout the Old and New Testaments, many conflicts and paradoxes fade into the coherent structure of the canon's thinking. For theologians, biblical scholars, and students, this prudent volume will reward all who feast upon it. This is compulsory reading for any theologian who seeks to make necessary connections with the biblical texts."

Dru Johnson, associate professor of biblical and theological studies and director of the Center for Hebraic Thought, The King's College, New York City; former cohost of the OnScript podcast

"Following his 'covenantal,' scripturally anchored method of working constructive theology, John Peckham brings to us a highly sophisticated and fine-tuned account of the divine attributes. While properly engaging ancient discussions about the 'God of the Philosophers' and the current systematic and philosophical theological critiques of the 'God of Classical Theism,' Peckham allows Scripture to be the source, norm, and final arbiter. Thereby, this fine study avoids the trap of attempting a description of the living God of the Bible in abstract, half-empty formal terms; instead, a dynamic, inviting, and spiritually nourishing testimony to who God is and what God does emerges out of a careful exegetical-systematic reflection."

Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, professor of systematic theology, Fuller Theological Seminary; docent of ecumenics, University of Helsinki

"This volume on the divine attributes and 'covenantal theism' is a superb work of theology. It is thorough, nuanced, and balanced. As in his other works, Peckham is both winsome and bold: he winsomely engages important age-old and more recent theological conversations and controversies, and he boldly challenges certain theological positions while confidently articulating and defending the considerable merits of covenantal theism."

Paul Copan, Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics, Palm Beach Atlantic University; author of Loving Wisdom: A Guide to Philosophy and Christian Faith

"In this accessible and engaging work, John Peckham outlines and engages with many of the ongoing debates in philosophical theology about God's attributes, exploring the biblical warrant for many of classical theism's claims about what God must be like if he is indeed maximally great. What emerges from Peckham's own biblically rooted approach is an immensely attractive picture of a God who is 'great' in terms of his capacity for, and commitment to, relationships of love. This book covers a tremendous amount of ground in a short space and is very useful as a resource for ongoing discussions of perfect being theology. The book also serves as a penetrating challenge to rethink the question of whether our starting point for a doctrine of God should be philosophical ideas of perfection or biblical themes of covenant. Thoughtful, informative, and highly recommended."

Kevin Kinghorn, professor of philosophy and religion, Asbury Seminary

"This book provides an excellent exposition and defense of moderate classical theism. Peckham displays vast knowledge of a wide range of biblical, philosophical, historical, and contemporary sources. He offers sagacious evaluation of controversial issues, and his covenantal approach is a significant contribution. After reading this book one feels a deep sense of gratitude for gaining a better understanding of the God whom we worship."

Andrew T. Loke, associate professor, Hong Kong Baptist University

"John Peckham's Divine Attributes offers a much-needed voice in contemporary debates over the nature of God. For quite some time, the debates seem to be between those who wish to maintain a strict classical conception of God and those who affirm an open and relational model of God. What Peckham offers is a genuine middle ground between these two views that affirms traditional understandings of divine foreknowledge but also offers a relational and covenantal God with the rich emotional life that Scripture proclaims. Divine Attributes will be a game changer for debates about the nature of God. Strict classical theists and open theists must deal with the powerful biblical case that Peckham presents. If you are looking for a theology text that is faithful to the biblical witness and sensitive to the philosophical challenges that arise from thinking about the nature of God, then Divine Attributes is the book for you."

R. T. Mullins, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies

The Author

  1. John C. Peckham
    © Darren Hislop

    John C. Peckham

    John C. Peckham (PhD, Andrews University) is research professor of theology and Christian philosophy at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. His numerous books include Divine Attributes: Knowing the Covenantal God of Scripture, Theodicy...

    Continue reading about John C. Peckham