Rawlings School of Divinity
Doctor of Philosophy
Andreas J. Köstenberger
imago Dei, divine impassibility, divine passibility, emotions, the Fall, regeneration
Psychology | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion
Nelson, Robert Monte, "The Impact of the Fall on Behavior, Intellect, and Emotion" (2023). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 4839.
The purpose of this research is to explore theological doctrines surrounding the Fall and to examine the impact of the Fall on human behavior, intellect, and emotion. This research maintains that the Fall of Adam led to the corruption of the volition, intellect, and emotions of Adam and Eve, who were created in the image of a perfect and holy God, without sin, and argues that humanity’s fallen condition impacts human emotions; however, they are distinct from divine emotions and are not an aspect of the imago Dei. Therefore, this dissertation will explore the meaning of the imago Dei, the Fall narrative, views of (im)passibility, and psychological theories of emotion. While some of these doctrines are not causally related, they speak to this research's thesis and provide useful insights into how the Fall affected human emotions and intellect. Furthermore, this research will analyze applicable biblical texts relating to these issues. Central to this study is how regeneration leads to the restoration of what was damaged in the Fall and how living by the Spirit empowers the believer to live the life as God intends. In examining the assertions of this research, this dissertation will provide expositions of Genesis 3, Romans 7:14-25, 1 Corinthians 3:1-3, 1 Corinthians 15:35-49, 2 Corinthians 5, Galatians 5:13-25, Ephesians 4:15-24, and Colossians 3:1-7. The argument presented is that the imago Dei involves the identity imparted by God and asserts that the other views of the imago Dei contain only the effects of the identity, not the image. Additionally, God is impassible, and thus his emotional responses do not require a stimulus as human emotions require. Therefore, this work seeks to explain the tensions between views of (im)passibility while exploring psychological theories of human emotion to understand how the Fall effected human emotions.