In rejecting western philosophy’s concept of the self as substance based on Aristotle, Whitehead offers as an alternative to substance what he calls "an actual entity" which is changing, self-determined and creative. The problem is not the need to explain continuity as explained by determinism, but the need to explain originality which in turn leads to the concept of God as the source of ". . .the initial aim from which self-causation starts" and evolves into people who are self-creating entities, actively participating in their own creation, capable of creating novelty and assuming responsibility.
Whitehead’s metaphysical system led to Hartshorne’s exploring the theological implications surrounding the problem of evil and the necessity to reinterpret the omnipotence of God as understood in Thomism. Whitehead suggests that the fundamental category for understanding the universe is aesthetic valuation toward order and that the richness of creativity will sometimes produce aberrations as well as serendipitous outcomes. Destructiveness is to be found in the very nature of the creative process. God is only morally good if we are to understand that his goodness does not entail being without destructiveness.
Whitehead approaches the question of man’s desire for immortality, not by following the traditional path of the soul as having substance, but that every act, every event, every realization of value has everlasting significance and contributes everlastingly to the nature of things. We are part of the universe and part of God, the universe is a part of God, and God is a factor both in our personal existences and in the universe. Our immortality lies in the everlastingness and significance of each existence as a part of the whole.
The author believes that Whitehead’s thought provides us with an unusual opportunity to examine our religious beliefs by giving us a new view of reality, and concludes that Whitehead offers not only productive insights into the understanding of the nature of God and man, but also strong arguments for both objective and subjective immortality.
To Whitehead, God is in the world, or nowhere, creating continually in us and around us.
I. I would not be here if I did not believe the answer is emphatically Yes. If I may make some bold, sweeping generalizations, I will claim the following. The religions and philosophies of India and China are full of profound insights badly needed in the contemporary world in both East and West. However, they …
Among philosophers of this century Alfred North Whitehead has been a seminal thinker for an increasingly influential concept in the theological world.
The author offers his philosophy of religion based on the thought of Alfred North Whitehead as it illuminates thinking about the nature of the world, of God and of man.
Speculative Postmodernism Although Whitehead never used the term “postmodern,” the way he spoke of the modern has a definite postmodern tone. Especially in his book, Science and the Modern World, the modern is objectified and its salient characteristics are described. Whitehead is appreciative of the accomplishments of the modern world, but he clearly recognizes its …
The encounter with Alfred North Whitehead in my student days was a revelatory event. It proved determinative of my theological career. I learned through him, gradually, a way of perceiving and thinking that was markedly different from what I found elsewhere. Once I entered into it, I could not leave it, even if I wanted …