Chapter 16: Overtures to a Relational God
We have examined how, one by one, elements of the Augustinian superstructure have crumbled away under the assault of competing ideas. God’s immutability has been disputed by the preferability of a divine nature that is open to, and responsive to, new developments, in continuity with the biblical witness. God’s stoic apathy under the doctrine of divine impassibility has been supplanted by a strong endorsement of a God who suffers, championing the very heresy of patripassianism. God’s overwhelmingly masculine qualities have been brought to heel by the additional understanding of a post-patriarchal affirmation of a fuller and more complete divinity. The diminishment of the vital importance of love as an essential aspect of the being of God has been widely repudiated by a return to the New Testament conviction that God is none other than Love itself, with resulting challenges to the established doctrine of divine omnipotence.
There remains but one further component to be brought to light before the edifice collapses of its own unsupportable weight. And that is the critical importance of relationality for God, not just in an eternal innertrinitarian relationship between Father, Son, and Spirit but also, and essentially, in God’s constitutive relationships with God’s creation.
To that I now turn, by introducing the contributions of scholars who have seen the possibility of a fresh way of understanding reality under the influence of the visionary philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead.
Whitehead entitled his explosively original “essay in cosmology,” Process and Reality.1 The title led to a subsequent emphasis on a way of thinking called “process thought,” or “process theology,” among those who came under his towering influence. That accurately reflects his seminal shift of attention from the ancient and enduring focus on “being” and substance and permanence to the more helpful category of “becoming,” particularly in light of scientific advances in the twentieth century that recognized the essentially fluid character of what we call reality.
But a second mode of revolutionary thinking also found a foundational presence in Whitehead’s “exercise” in “imaginative thought,”2 namely, the emphasis on relations as internal to and constitutive of all that becomes and is, including the very reality of God. Therefore, more recently, his followers in the theological arena typically name this orientation “process-relational” thought. Both of these aspects of his work are important here, but especially the latter.
I begin with attention to the philosophical underpinnings, not only in Whitehead but also in Charles Hartshorne, and then move to those who have built on this work to bring forth their own vital theological appropriations that inform the focus of this book.
PHILOSOPHICAL UNDERPINNINGS: WHITEHEAD AND HARTSHORNE
ALFRED NORTH WHITEHEAD: THE GOD OF CAESAR AND THE GOD OF THE GALILEAN
A. N. Whitehead (1861–1947) retired in 1924 from an academic career in England in the fields of mathematics and education and promptly accepted an invitation to join the faculty in philosophy at Harvard University, where his work took off in a totally unexpected direction. His objective was to accomplish a philosophical foundation for the various sciences to be able to talk with one another. He gave the Lowell Lectures in 1925, which were published that same year under the title Science and the Modern World. Strikingly, he added two chapters before publication,  and these are the only places in the book where the subject of God is addressed. It became clear that, for Whitehead to bring his cosmological vision to completion, he needed to posit a source for the becoming of novelty,3 and he found no better name for that reality than “God.”4
My very brief overview of Whitehead’s interpretation of the cosmic process is drawn from throughout the pages of his Process and Reality. Every single moment of becoming is impacted by its inheritance of all that has gone before, some influences highly significant, the vast majority of them quite negligible. It is in this way that the world of the past weighs heavily on the becoming of the new, typically bringing about a resistance to the actualizing of genuine novelty. Similarly, every occasion of experience, once it has completed itself, becomes in turn an influence on that which follows after it.
In Whitehead’s vision, God is by no means inactive in this becoming. God provides for each new occasion its “initial aim,” the maximal good that this occasion can accomplish as it actualizes itself. But God does not determine what this actual occasion will do with that aim. In its fundamental freedom—true not just for the becoming of each moment of the human consciousness but for all of creation—everything that emerges into a new present is not bound either by its past (fatalism) or by God (determinism). It modifies what is given to it in the combination of past pressure and divine lure. And, in Whitehead’s fully encompassing cosmology, God also receives and is influenced by that occasion’s act of becoming.
Therefore two complimentary “natures” are posited for God: the “Primordial Nature,” that aspect of God which is, indeed, totally beyond change, and the “Consequent Nature,” that aspect of God which is perfectly receptive of change because of its openness to whatever the moments of creation have done with God’s maximal proposals. The Primordial Nature is God’s eternal envisagement of pure possibility, not unlike Plato’s “forms.” The Consequent Nature is that aspect of God’s supreme relatedness in which nothing that transpires in all of creation is lost to God’s indefatigable receptivity. So Whitehead could write inthe next-to-the-last paragraph of his magnum opus:
What is done in the world is transformed into a reality in heaven, and the reality in heaven passes back into the world.  By reason of this reciprocal relation, the love in the world passes into the love in heaven, and floods back again into the world. In this sense, God is the great companion—the fellow-sufferer who understands.5
Finally, one additional dimension of this philosophical vision must be clarified. Relations are not incidental to that which becomes, nor are they external aspects. Rather, relations constitute becoming. To become is to relate to all, including God, in just this particular way and not in any other. A freely constituted decision to respond to the past’s weight and the divine lure is no other than the particular emergence of a complex bundle of relatedness.
Whitehead insisted that God cannot be an exception to the ontological categories but must be their supreme exemplification. Therefore he was able to conclude that what is true for all that becomes throughout creation is absolutely true for God as well. Not only is God not secure in God’s own being apart from all that transpires. God is who God is precisely in the manner of God’s relations with what God has set into motion but not circumvented with impositional restrictions. God proposes. The becoming occasion disposes. God receives the result, and is forever after affected by that.
With this as structural background, what did the mature Whitehead have to say specifically about divine power?
When the Western world accepted Christianity, Caesar conquered; and the received text of Western theology was edited by his lawyers . . . The brief Galilean vision of humility flickered throughout the ages, uncertainly . . . The Church gave unto God the attributes which belonged exclusively to Caesar.6
Whitehead saw in traditional theology three dominant ways of thinking about God: as imperial ruler, as moral energy, and as ultimate philosophical principle, but he did not favor any of them.
There is, however, in the Galilean origin of Christianity, yet another suggestion which does not fit very well with any of the three main strands of thought. It does not emphasize the ruling Caesar, or the ruthless moralist, or the unmoved mover.  It dwells upon the tender elements in the world, which slowly and in quietness operate by love.7
Clearly Whitehead’s understanding of the passion of God to offer ever new possibilities of becoming locates love at the center of God’s eternal becoming. Love “involves deep feeling of an aim in the Universe, winning such triumph as is possible to it.”8 So could he say, God “is the poet of the world, with tender patience leading it by his vision of truth, beauty, and goodness.”9
CHARLES HARTSHORNE: THE MAXIMAL POWER OF DIVINE RELATEDNESS
The American philosopher of religion Charles Hartshorne (1897– 2000) was already pursuing patterns of thought along lines similar to Whitehead when he arrived at Harvard for post-doctoral work in 1925 and became Whitehead’s teaching assistant. Hartshorne went on to become the center of a cluster of scholars in Chicago—including Bernard Loomer and Daniel Day Williams—that introduced process thought to a new generation of theologians.
Hartshorne had grown up in a family milieu that led him early to the perception that God is love.10 As he wrote in his Preface to Man’s Vision of God (1941), “a magnificent intellectual content—far surpassing that of such systems as Thomism, Spinozism, German idealism, positivism (old or new)—is implicit in the religious faith most briefly expressed in the three words, God is love.”11 He pointed out what has subsequently begun to become obvious but which was still a fresh insight back then:
We say, God is holy, not that he is holiness. Only “love” is an abstraction which implies the final concrete truth. God ‘”is” love, he is not merely loving, as he is merely righteous or wise . . . It is not an accident that love was the abstraction least often appealed to in technical theology, though frequently suggested in the high points of Scripture and other genuinely religious writing.12
Reinforcing in advance the claim I have put forth at the end of Part Two, Hartshorne went on to point out: “Just as the Stoics said the ideal was to have good will toward all but not in such fashion as to depend in any  degree for happiness upon their fortunes or misfortunes, so Christian theologians, who scarcely accepted this idea in their ethics, nevertheless adhered to it in characterizing God.”13
Regarding the relationship between love and power, Hartshorne began by stating that “the real trouble is not in attributing too much power to God, but in an oversimple or too mechanical conception of the nature of power in general.”14
The dilemma appears final: either value is social [relational], and then its perfection cannot be wholly within the power of any one being, even God; or it is not social at all, and then the saying “God is love,” is in error.15
God’s power can be understood as “perfect” in that it is “unsurpassable”: “No conceivable being could do more with us than God can.”16 But it remains a power unique in its capacity to absorb all creaturely responses to that gift of power. He expressed this throughout his book on The Divine Relativity (1948). One passage sums up that understanding:
The notion of a cosmic power that determines all decisions fails to make sense . . . Instead of saying that God’s power is limited, suggesting that it is less than some conceivable power, we should rather say: his power is absolutely maximal, the greatest possible, but even the greatest possible power is still one power among others, is not the only power.17
Nearly half a century on, in his wittily entitled Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes (1984), Hartshorne reviewed two meanings of “all-powerful”: the traditional, of course—the (benevolent) tyrant ideal of absolute, all determining, irresistible power18—and what he previously had identified as the greatest possible power in a universe of multiple centers of power: “The only livable doctrine of divine power is that it influences all that happens but determines nothing in its concrete particularity.”19 And this he characterized crisply: “God’s power simply is the appeal of unsurpassable love.”20
Hartshorne’s primary concern was to explode the classic notion of divine perfection as something self-contained within an unchanging, unaffected deity, and to posit instead a much larger God who is perfect  precisely in including the encompassing scope of God’s relatedness to all that becomes. In that regard, he developed a position he called “dipolar” theism, parallel to Whitehead’s distinguishing of the Primordial and Consequent Natures in God. For Hartshorne, to conceive of God only as perfectly self-contained would be to conceive of half a God—the half championed by traditional theism. A truly unsurpassable deity is one who is simultaneously transcendent to all else that is—the “absolute” pole—but also maximally responsive to all that is not-God—the “relative” pole. This dipolarity in God is what enabled Hartshorne to see love at the heart of the divine being and becoming—an unchanging love that reliably underlies the very essence of God, an ever-interacting love that is capable of receiving into God that which creation does in response to it.21 So he named one of the chapters in The Divine Relativity, “God as Absolute, Yet Related to All.”22
A PROCESS THEOLOGY OF LOVE: DANIEL DAY WILLIAMS
Daniel Day Williams (1910–73) joined Hartshorne on the faculty at Chicago Theological Seminary in 1939 but he was no stranger to that milieu, having done pre-doctoral work there in the early thirties. He became, for a time, part of a notable group of scholars who advanced the perspectives of process philosophy into the theological arena. Distracted by other projects, and always gracious to the demands of others on his time, he did not complete what came to be recognized as the first systematic theology shaped by process thought until 1967. He named it The Spirit and the Forms of Love.
Accepting the biblical understanding of love as central to any human concept of the divine is at the heart of Williams’ enterprise, directly challenging the Augustinian formulation as a corruption of this.23 Love is “spirit taking form in history.”24 Since God’s being “is love itself,” God is always “the Holy Spirit, the spirit of unqualified love.”25 Love is “the very being of God in an eternally outgoing, creative life.”26
Furthermore, to love is to facilitate the freedom of the one loved “with all its consequences, even for God.”27 Love necessarily involves suffering, which may well occur when one allows the consequence of  being acted upon by the other, wherefore Williams wrote of the “suffering love of God”:
The disclosure of who God is has come through…his self-identification with the suffering of the world for the sake of love: God does not surrender his deity, his everlastingness, the perfection of his power and love. God remains God . . . God is revealed in Jesus’ suffering because in him suffering is the authentic expression and communication of love.28
Freedom to love in response to God’s loving of us calls for “a revision of the traditional view of the exercise of the divine sovereignty.”29 God risks the refusal of love.
What the analogy of causality excludes from the doctrine of God is his exercise of sheer power to create without becoming involved with the creature, and without being subject to the suffering which follows upon the creature’s freedom. Causality without involvement is incompatible with love . . . a will which allows no effective power to any other cannot be a loving will.30
Williams conjoined divine power and love in a way that does not violate the notion of what love is while assuring that power truly is an aspect of God’s being as love. The power of God:
is not that of absolute omnipotence to do anything. It is the power to do everything that the loving ground of all being can do to express and to communicate and fulfill the society of loving beings. God’s power expresses his love, it does not violate it. Therefore it is the kind of power which holds the world together in one society, setting limits to the freedom of the creatures without destroying that freedom.31
He then utilized terminology that for decades informed the basic stance of process theology on the nature of true power, though, as we shall see, that is open to challenge: God “persuades the world by an act of suffering with the kind of power which leaves its object free to respond in humility and love.”32 Persuasion is affirmed as a positive alternative to coercion or compulsion, surrendering the illusion of control and intending not to violate the freedom of the one being persuaded.
In a posthumously published volume, The Demonic and the Divine, written in 1973 but only made available in 1990, Williams contrasted the notion of divine power with “the demonic”:
The demonic feeds on the divine power of being and distorts it . . . [It] always moves toward final self-destruction. It cannot destroy the creative good, though it can destroy particular structures of good . . . The divine power outlasts every power that in any way blocks it.33
The notion of “outlasting” echoes the modest reassurance in John 1:5, that “the light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it.” It is not a claim that darkness was conquered by the light of the Word become flesh. It is that this light of God is indefatigable; it cannot be extinguished. It “outlasts” all assaults on its illuminating power.
Therefore Williams explicitly repudiated the validity of the inherited tradition of classic Christian theism.
If genuine freedom involves risk and loss, then traditional theology leaves us unfree. If genuine creativity involves the uncertainty of not knowing the outcome beforehand, not having it guaranteed, then traditional theology takes away from God the creator’s greatest dignity and glory, which is not absolute power to make everything come out right, but absolute love that involves God in the risks of an unfinished and suffering world.34
Love entails risk. God embraces the vulnerability of risk, in being true to the divine nature as Love. The only assurance is that God’s love, ultimately, cannot be cancelled out by forces that oppose it. History is the arena of the conflict between love and not-love, with all the pain that this has entailed.
UNILATERAL AND RELATIONAL POWER: BERNARD LOOMER
Bernard Loomer (1912–85) became dean of the University of Chicago Divinity School in 1945, only three years after finishing his doctoral dissertation. He did not publish extensively, but his essay on “Two  Conceptions of Power” in the journal Process Studies (1976) became a pivot around which considerable reflection turned.
Loomer distinguished between “unilateral” (or “linear”) power, which is understood to move only in one direction, with a capacity to influence another without in turn being influenced, and “relational” power, about which much more will be said shortly. Neither “type” actually exists in its purity,35 but power when it is conceived as unilateral is a “truncated” view, “demonic in its destructiveness.”36 And in a “competition of power, our relative strength or size can be ascertained by the degree to which the freedom of the other is curtailed. The reduction of freedom is an attenuation of power.”37
When love is contrasted with power, we need to be aware that “it is the linear [unilateral] conception of power that is regarded as the antithesis of love.”38 In fact, “the god of unilateral power . . . is a demonic god.”39
Loomer is mistakenly credited with having surfaced a distinction between “persuasive” and “coercive” power, but this does not represent the thrust of his argument.
The issue between love and linear power is not finally the issue between persuasion and coercion . . . In some interpretations of love, especially Christian love, it would appear that love is as unilateral and nonrelational in its way as linear power is in its way. The interpretation of divine love, as being a concern for the other with no concern for itself, may be the ultimate instance . . . this kind of love, like this kind of power, needs an alternative conception.40
In pursuit of this, Loomer moved on to his analysis of relational power, “the ability both to produce and to undergo an effect. It is the capacity both to influence others and to be influenced by others. Relational power involves both a giving and a receiving.”41 To explain what he has in mind, Loomer introduced the category of “size,” which involves “the enlargement of the freedom of all the members to both give and receive.” In other words, the greater the extent of freedom is experienced in the recipient of relational power, the larger the size. The more the freedom of the other is curtailed, size shrinks.
[In a] competition of power, our relative strength or size can be ascertained by the degree to which the freedom of the other is curtailed. The reduction of freedom is an attenuation of power,42
Under the relational conception of power what is truly for the good of any one or all of the relational partners is not a preconceived good. The true good is not a function of controlling or dominating influence. The true good is an emergent from deeply mutual relationships.43
This analysis provides a significant foundation for comprehending the superiority of an understanding of power that is other than controlling, dominating, “almighty.” In Loomer’s view, pure “unilateral” power does not even exist. There is always some counter-influence, however miniscule. But to be able to see that maximal power is the power to offer greater, not less, freedom to the other—in short, to empower—is the hallmark of power that involves a mutuality of relatedness.
Loomer’s explorations challenge the widespread conviction that power is a “zero-sum” game, characterized by the coupling, “the more, the less”: The more power I have, the less you have. The pie is of finite size and must be divided up. This was, indeed, the very issue that led Nietzsche to proclaim the death of a God who limits God’s creatures in precisely this way. Loomer’s reflections on “size” clearly point in the opposite direction. Relational power—power that, in my preferred term, is empowering—results in a coupling of “the more, the more.” The more my actions empower you, the greater the amount of power now present in the room. The more God acts effectively upon me, the freer I become. This will be unpacked more thoroughly in the final chapter.
GOD AS CREATIVE-RESPONSIVE LOVE: JOHN B. COBB, JR.
John Cobb (b. 1925) grew up in pre-war Japan as the son of Methodist missionaries. He did his doctorate at the University of Chicago where he discovered the philosophy of Whitehead through his own teachers, Charles Hartshorne and Daniel Day Williams. Thus has the tradition been transmitted, now spilling out globally from Claremont where Cobb primarily taught before retirement.
Cobb published God and the World in 1969, pointing out to his students what readers and critics alike tended to miss: that the word “and” in the title was specifically italicized. It is the interrelationship between the two that he finds crucial.
Quoting Nikos Kazantzakis’ imaginative rendering of the “Cry” in Report to Greco, Cobb identifies God centrally as the One Who Calls us forward,44 “the One Who Calls us beyond ourselves to the more that is possible,”45 allowing for a “sense of movement into the open future” whereby “God as understood in this way is not a repressive force but a liberating one.”46 The problem of evil, therefore, loses much of its force.
The world is not seen any longer as embodying an omnipotent sovereign’s will but rather as responding ever anew to a possibility offered. That the response is imperfect does not imply the imperfection of what is offered. There is no world that does not reflect the influence of God’s past agency, but there is also no world that is the product of that agency alone.47
Cobb’s conviction is “that the proper conception of divine power holds the key to the Christian solution of the problem of evil.”48 As long as power is conceived in the conventional sense of “the ability to determine what is to be and how it is to be . . . there can be no satisfactory explanation of the evil in the world that does not reject the power of God,”49 not simply the omni-power of God but any power of God at all. So, “we need a basic reconception of what is meant by power.” Cobb finds this to be present in the work of Hartshorne. If God is “omnipotent in the sense of being the only power there is . . . where there is not competing power, omnipotence means little . . . The power that counts is the power to influence the exercise of power by others.”50
Cobb calls this “persuasion”; God “exercises the optimum persuasive power in relation to whatever is.”51 In his discussion of how both God and world operate upon a becoming occasion, God always is working with the “given,” that is, the actuality of past decisions for good or for ill and all qualities inbetween. So what God can offer is always conditioned by past actual decisions made in response to God’s past offers of an optimal becoming.
Cobb and his colleague (and former student) David Griffin co-wrote Process Theology: An Introductory Exposition in 1976, where the identification of God as “creative-responsive love” appears.52 To say with the New Testament that God is love requires, in their estimation, the further clarification that God is love both creatively, in the way in which God offers an opening to new emergence in the unfolding moment, and responsively: “God enjoys our enjoyments, and suffers with our sufferings. This is the kind of responsiveness which is truly divine and belongs to the very nature of perfection.”53 A dynamic and interrelational God receives into Godself whatever response we have made to the divine lure (Whitehead’s initial aim), thus being enlarged by it.
Cobb later summed up his assessment of the attributing of love to the being and becoming of God in an unpublished essay in 2006, on “The Contribution of Process Thought to Reflection on Love.”
I believe that in its broadest and most general meaning love is central to all reality and order, and that it is grounded in the very nature of reality. I also believe that God is the supreme instance of the love that is to be found everywhere. Of course, just as human love is far transcendent of the attraction of quanta to one another; so God’s love is far transcendent of anything we can actually experience as love. But that does not entail that the word “love” is not literally applied to God. As Charles Hartshorne used to say, it is only to God that it can be applied literally. That is, all our emotions and motives are so mixed that to call any of them “love” is not truly accurate. Yet we are not lacking in an idea of what love in its purity would be. It is that ideal love that we Christians attribute to God. It is to that purer and all inclusive love that we aspire.54
In the same paper, commenting on the final pages of Process and Reality, Cobb wrote “some of us think, following Whitehead here, that John’s assertion that ‘God is love’ is a profound metaphysical truth.”55 As do I.
A GOD WHO IS OMNI-AMOROUS: CATHERINE KELLER
Catherine Keller (b. 1953) represents here the current generation’s leadership among process-relational theologians. She studied with Cobb  at Claremont and now teaches at Drew University. A wide range of publications in feminist thought preceded her God and Power in 2005 and On the Mystery in 2008. Of these two works I wish to concentrate attention on the first of these, God and Power.
Keller scathingly rejects Calvin’s defense of an omnipotent God who controls all, untouched by all that we experience on Earth as injustice: “the logic-defying logic of omnipotence twinned with good/ness ultimately sanctions every injustice as the will of God.”55
A theology of omnipotence electrifies the halo of American domination. Where then does the idolatry lie—in the fact that the United States plays God or, as I would put it, in the fact that it imitates a false God? Does the idolatry lie in our emulation of a divine superpower or in our confusion of God with omnipotence in the first place?56
Over against an impotent God, “another alternative discerns at the heart of the universe a wisdom of open ends, a strange attractor amid indeterminacy and its complex determinations.”57 Calvin got it half right. God is there in every event—but participating rather than controlling.
Why reduce the mystery to an all-too-human, all-too-masculine, and all-too-imperial idol of power? Why turn a humbling mystery into a mystification of injustice? . . . [We can see] on the one hand a manic will to power called omnipotence and on the other a depressive sentimentality called love. For the classical fusion of goodness with omnipotence creates in fact not unity but a profoundly conflicted entity . . . To heal the internally contradictory religious combination of love and power, power itself first needs recoding.58
This is the project underway here. The “recoding” of power so that an understanding of it becomes consistent with, not opposed to, essential love is precisely the unfinished but well pursued task at hand. Reaching back to the original biblical understanding of creation involving the increasing emergence of order out of chaos, Keller writes:
Let the hierarchical universe of unilateral and omnipotent sovereignty fade into a more wildly democratic cosmos of  unpredictable and uncontrollable—but never unordered— interrelations. God is called upon not as a unilateral superpower but as a relational force, not an omnipotent creator from nothing, imposing order upon chaos, but the lure to a self-organizing complexity, creating out of the chaos.59
Three years later, Keller defined power as “the energy of influence.”60 It is reciprocal and interactive, as we have been encountering. It is a “power made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9), a power that “does not overpower but empowers.”61 Keller invites the displacing of our love of power with what she has represented as the power of love, combining eros and agape: the divine Eros attracts, calls, invites; the divine Agape responds, receives, feels our feelings compassionately.62
It is in light of the foregoing that Keller dares finally to state what should have been obvious for two millennia but was never explicitly articulated: that the “omni” that most fully identifies what is “all” in God is none other than omnilove, or what she calls a God who is omni-amorous.63
TRANSITION: FROM CHALLENGE TO RECONSTRUCTION
The thesis directing the content of these pages can be stated succinctly. The biblical witness brought forth a way of thinking about the nature of God as a living and interacting God who is predominantly and even essentially love. The prevailing structure of theological interpretation in the West lost that vision, replacing it with static categories of divine completedness necessitating a view of absolute omnipotence. The edifice thus erected and defended for twenty centuries gradually has been seen to crumble to ruins under the multi-directional assault against a theism unable to sustain its own dead weight. Therefore the question arises: How are we to move forward to a fresh synthesis of God as Powerful Love that builds on the criticisms of Augustinian theism that we have observed? In a phrase, it is by identifying what is meant when one proclaims God as Empowering Love. The task of explicating what that can mean is now what lies ahead.
- Originally published in 1929; Corrected Edition edited by David Ray Griffin and Donald W. Sherburne (New York: The Free Press, 1978).
- Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality, 5.
- Whitehead challenged the conventional ontological question, “Why is there anything rather than nothing at all?” with what he considered much more penetrating: “Why is there ever anything new?”
- Whitehead, Science and the Modern World, 2nd ed. (New York: Macmillan, 1926), viii. Lewis Ford writes that Whitehead “studied theology exhaustively for eight years in the 1890s, then sold off his entire theology library out of dismay over the failure of theologians to resolve the problem of God’s omnipotence and the presence of evil in the world.” Ford, The Lure of God: A Biblical Background for Process Theism (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1978), 2.
- Whitehead, Process and Reality, 351, emphases mine.
- Ibid., 342.
- Ibid., 343.
- Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas (New York: Macmillan, 1933); 288 (page reference from the Mentor edition of 1955).
- Whitehead, Process and Reality, 346.
- See David Griffin’s summary regarding the influence of Hartshorne’s parents on his worldview, in “Charles Hartshorne,” A New Handbook of Christian Theologians, ed. Donald W. Musser and Joseph L. Price (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1996), 200.
- Charles Hartshorne, Man’s Vision of God (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1941), ix.
- Ibid., 111f. Late in his very long life, Hartshorne came to an awakening of his inappropriate use of gender-specific terminology and expressed the wish that he could rewrite everything he had put into print in order to eliminate that unintended bias.
- Ibid., 116.
- Ibid., xv.
- Ibid., 14.
- Ibid., 294.
- Hartshorne, The Divine Relativity: A Social Conception of God (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1948), 138.
- Hartshorne, Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1984), 11.
- Ibid., 25, emphases mine.
- Ibid., 14.
- See David Griffin’s summary of this aspect of Hartshorne’s position in A New Handbook, 209–12.
- Hartshorne, The Divine Relativity, chapter two.
- Daniel Day Williams, The Spirit and the Forms of Love (New York: Harper & Row, 1968), chapters III and V.
- Ibid., 3.
- Ibid., 4.
- Ibid., 36.
- Ibid., 162.
- Ibid., 167.
- Ibid., 127.
- Ibid., 128.
- Ibid., 137.
- Ibid., 138, emphasis mine.
- Williams, The Demonic and the Divine (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990), 36.
- Ibid., 34.
- Bernard Loomer, “Two Conceptions of Power,” Process Studies 6:1 (1976), 8.
- Ibid., 6. David Griffin has incisively investigated the genuine reality of “demonic power” in chapter eight of his Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11: A Call to Reflection and Action (Louisville: WJK Press, 2006).
- Loomer, op. cit.,11.
- Ibid., 15.
- Ibid., 32.
- Ibid., 15f.
- Ibid., 17.
- Ibid., 11.
- Ibid., 19.
- John B. Cobb, Jr., God and the World (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1969), 61, 45.
- Ibid., 64.
- Ibid., 63f.
- Ibid., 64.
- Ibid., 87.
- Ibid., 88.
- Ibid., 89, emphasis mine.
- Ibid., 91f.
- John B. Cobb, Jr., and David Ray Griffin, Process Theology: An Introductory Exposition (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1976), the title of chapter three. The initial draft of this chapter was written by Griffin, according to the Preface, but both signed off on all the chapters.
- Ibid., 48.
- Cobb, “The Contribution of Process Thought to Reflection on Love,” unpublished essay, 2006, 10. Available at the Center for Process Studies.
- Ibid., 1.
- Catherine Keller, God and Power: Counter-Apocalyptic Journeys (Minneaspolis: Fortress Press, 2005), 17.
- Ibid., 29.
- Ibid., 30, first two emphases original, final emphasis mine.
- Ibid., 31.
- Ibid., 81.
- Ibid., 85, emphasis mine.
- Ibid., 99.