Process Philosophy and Christian Thought by Delwin Brown, Ralph James, Gene Reeves (eds.)
Delwin Brown holds degrees from Union Theological Seminary, New York, and Claremont Graduate School. He is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Anderson College, and Lecturer in Philosophy of Religion at the School of Theology. Ralph E. James, Jr. attended Emory and Drew Universities. He is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at North Carolina Wesleyan College. Gene Reeves holds degrees from Boston and Emory Universities. He has taught at Tufts University and is now Professor of Philosophy at Wilberforce University. This book was published in 1971 by The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc. It was prepared for Religion-Online by Harry W. and Grace C. Adams
Chapter 2: The Development of Process Theology by Gene Reeves and Delwin Brown
Gene Reeves holds degrees from Boston and Emory Universities. He has taught at Tufts University and is now Professor of Philosophy at Wilberforce University.
Delwin Brown holds degrees from Union Theological Seminary, New York, and Claremont Graduate School. He is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Anderson College, and Lecturer in Philosophy of Religion at the School of Theology.
The story of the influence of Alfred North Whitehead’s process philosophy on British and American theology is much larger, and more complex, multiform, and intricate than can be told in a few pages. It includes the imprecise appropriation of Whitehead’s vision of reality and the application of his vision and ideas to a wide variety of cultural and theological problems. It involves the development of Whitehead’s major metaphysical ideas into a more complete philosophical theology, and the development and use of those ideas for an understanding of Christian faith. Also involved is the highly technical discipline of interpreting and revising Whitehead’s very sophisticated and rigorous metaphysics, an endeavor which was undertaken in a major way only after 1950 but since then has been carried on by an increasingly large number of both secular philosophers and Christian theologians. And this story must also take account of a variety of negative responses to process philosophy, some carefully critical, some emotionally reactionary.
In this paper we will attempt to present the highlights of this story. We hope that a sense of the sweep and variety and significance of what appears to be a growing theological movement will be evident. Some of the detailed argument involved, some of the richness of development, some of the complexities and problems of process theology are present in the chapters which follow this historical introduction.
It is important to realize that, while process theology has recently received considerable attention in both religious and popular journals, this development, though lacking the organization of a movement, has been under way for more than forty years. It has always had its fervid adherents, its warm sympathizers, and its vehement detractors. And, though it has never occupied the central place of popularity among theologians, process theology is a development which over these four decades has shown continued, and increasing vitality, scope, and creativity.
ONE: Developments to 1950
Alfred North Whitehead, after a highly successful career in mathematics at Cambridge and London, left England in 1924 at the age of sixty-three to settle at Harvard University and begin the most brilliant and productive part of a career which would make him one of the giants of modern philosophy. Response to his philosophy by Christian theologians followed soon upon the publication of his early philosophical works, Science and the Modern World in 1925 and Religion in the Making in 1926. Somewhat contrary to Miss Stebbing’s prediction that Religion in the Making would likely be widely quoted in pulpits and approved by theologians,1 much of the early reaction was severely critical and negative. Father Sheen, for example, vigorously attacked this philosophy which he saw as based exclusively on the new physics and encumbered with an esoteric vocabulary. In it he found a rejection of the "true conception of substance," a false view of evil, and a conception of God which does honor neither to God nor logic.2 And, like Sheen, Wyndam Lewis in England identified Whitehead’s conception of God with that of Samuel Alexander and found it wholly inadequate as a resource for Christian thought.3
Not all of the negative criticism came from the theological right. The well-known advocate of atheistic humanism, Corliss Lamont, was quick to argue that Whitehead’s use of "God" in "nonsupernaturalistic ways" was both deceptive and incomprehensible.4 And Max Otto raged at the audacity of Whitehead’s attempt to do metaphysics at a time when "the millions" are concerned about human suffering and need a restructuring of society.5
Some early theological response to Whitehead was complimentary. Reinhold Niebuhr, for example, wrote an exuberant review of Science and the Modern World in which he saw Whitehead’s philosophy as "exactly the emphasis which modern religion needs to rescue it from defeat on the one hand and from a too costly philosophical victory on the other."6 Indeed, during the decade following publication of Whitehead’s major philosophical works, a variety of theologians, both in the United States and in Great Britain, were responsive to the new views articulated by Whitehead and made considerable use of many general features of his philosophy in constructing their own theologies. Categories such as "process" [or "evolution"] and "organism," categories which were present in a number of dynamic philosophies similar in many respects to Whitehead’s,7 were seen as the philosophical basis for a new Christian theism consistent with modern science. Indeed, until the Barthian storm broke in America in the form of The Word of God and the Word of Man in 1927, this new theism based on evolutionary philosophies was becoming the most influential among British and American theologians and showed considerable promise of sweeping the theological field.
One of the most widely read theological works giving a rather large amount of attention to Whitehead was Nature, Man and God by William Temple.8 Throughout the book, Temple quotes Whitehead extensively in support of a process or organismic conception of the universe. But when it comes to Whitehead’s more distinctive notions, such as panpsychism or ultimate atomism, Temple expresses doubts. And, of Whitehead’s doctrine of God, he is almost entirely critical, finding that it does not give sufficient importance to "Mind" or "Personality."
The most thoroughgoing early use of Whitehead’s philosophy appeared in the context of an attempt to formulate a very supernaturalistic Christology. In The Incarnate Lord,9 British theologian Lionel Thornton made extensive use of Whitehead’s categories for framing a view of the world in which the Incarnation of Christ is the culmination of complex evolutionary process. As "the Eternal Object incarnate," Christ is the "source of all revelation," the "goal towards which the universe as a developing system of events had previously moved," and the "starting point from which all its subsequent history flows." For Thornton, the Incarnate Lord is a new order of being in which lower orders of nature are taken up by the incorporation of humanity in the Eternal Order. Writing prior to Process and Reality, Thornton made relatively little use of Whitehead’s concept of God, but his use of the notions of events and objects in cosmology, his defense of Whitehead’s Platonism, his attempt to summarize Whitehead’s philosophy, and his use of Religion in the Making to defend the melding of philosophy and the "special evidence" of Christianity, all showed him to be an energetic process theologian.
In the United States, Whitehead’s closest theological sympathizers were at nearly the opposite end of the theological spectrum from Thornton. Several "theological naturalists," centered mainly at the University of Chicago, were favorably inclined toward Whitehead during the thirties. The earliest of these American theologians to begin a dialogue with Whitehead’s philosophy was Henry Nelson Wieman. As early as 1927 Wieman had written a sympathetic presentation of Whitehead’s view of God as the principle of concretion.10 When Wieman was brought to the University of Chicago to interpret Whitehead11 there began a long, and in many respects misleading, identification of Whitehead’s philosophy and the empirical and pragmatic style of theology headed by Wieman. Three chapters of Wieman’s 1927 work, The Wrestle of Religion with Truth,12 are devoted to a non-critical interpretation of Whitehead for theological purposes. But very early in the book the pattern which would continue to govern Wieman’s appropriation of Whitehead’s views is evident: Whitehead’s philosophy, particularly his views published prior to Process and Reality, is transformed into American pragmatism. While conceptual knowledge of God is seen as valuable, Wieman was much more concerned with the method and values of seeking personal and social adjustment to "that character of events to which man must adjust himself in order to attain the greatest goods and avoid the greatest ills."13 Wholly out of keeping with Whitehead’s developed views, Wieman insisted that God is not concrete but only "the principle which constitutes the concreteness of things."14 Later, Wieman and Meland would argue that for Whitehead it is creativity rather than God that is the ultimate reality and that in proposing that God has a concrete, consequent nature, Whitehead had indulged in unempirical and therefore unwarranted speculation.15 In much later works Wieman increasingly rejected process metaphysics as idle speculation — "a waste we cannot afford."16
Thus, despite the fact that Wieman and others of similar persuasion found elements of Whitehead’s philosophy congenial, and despite the fact that many others saw Wieman as a Whiteheadian, in retrospect one must conclude that Whitehead’s influence on Wieman was very partial and that the influence of John Dewey, with a resultant emphasis on empirical observation and verification, was much more formative for Wieman’s distinctively empirical and pragmatic theology.
Despite the views, and perhaps hopes, of some that Whitehead’s metaphysics provided an opportunity for theology to rise above empirical naturalism and provide a via media between the rationalism of Thomistic theology and the subjectivism of Protestantism,17 Whitehead’s actual influence on American theology during the thirties was very limited. In 1939 some thirty-five participants in a "How My Mind Has Changed In This Decade" series in The Christian Century gave scant mention of Whitehead. Only James Luther Adams claimed to have been influenced by him, and he did not demonstrate or discuss this influence. In general, the contributors are preoccupied with a humanism which they see as dead, with the economic depression and war, and with Barthianism in theology. A constructive approach to theology through the use of Whiteheadian metaphysics is nowhere evident.
In the forties, while some were praising Whitehead for providing a basis for a theological defense against positivism, for attacking theological dogmatism, and for envisioning a deity more suitable for religious worship than the aloof Absolute of traditional metaphysics and theology,18 others were claiming that you cannot pray to a principle of concretion,19 and that the Whiteheadian conception of divinity, "probably as strange, bizarre and grotesque as can be found in the philosophic literature of modern times," has no connection with the God of historic theism.20
This issue — whether the God of the philosopher Whitehead can be the God of religious devotion and worship — has been a persistent one throughout the history of the relation between process philosophy and Christian theology. Interestingly, the charge that Whitehead’s conception of God is unsuitable for religion was first given prominent attention not by more conservative theologians but by the columnist, political theorist, and sometime theologian, Walter Lippman. In A Preface to Morals, an attempt at humanistic theology, Lippman charged Whitehead with having a conception of God "which is incomprehensible to all who are not highly trained logicians," a conception which "may satisfy a metaphysical need in the thinker," but "does not satisfy the passions of the believer," and for the purposes of religion "is no God at all."21
This issue reached a kind of culmination in the publication in 1942 of a little book entitled The Religious Availability of Whitehead’s God, by Stephen Lee Ely.22 Though it involved a technically careful and reasonably detailed exposition of Whitehead’s view of God, Ely’s fundamental thesis was quite simple. It assumed that a conception of God suitable for religious purposes would align the divine purpose with human good. But, Ely argued, in Whitehead’s view it is God himself who is the ultimate enjoyer of value, and thus we have no evidence that Whitehead’s God is truly good in the sense that he "wishes humanity well." Though all of our experiences may contribute to the divine experience and enjoyment, such objective immortality does not help or comfort the individual worshiper who, presumably, needs assurance that God is on his side. In short, according to Ely, not only is Whitehead’s conception of God inadequate, it is positively inimical to "religious availability."
Response to Ely’s book was swift and substantial as a number of philosophers and theologians rose to Whitehead’s defense. Victor Lowe argued that Ely had not dealt with Whitehead’s conception at all, but rather with one of straw built out of a misconception of important aspects of his philosophy. But Lowe admitted that there is an important sense in which God, for Whitehead, is not all good in Ely’s sense, i.e., good for us, and that there is a sense in which he is not available for our use.23
The most complete response to Ely’s book was made by Bernard M. Loomer.24 Loomer clarifies Whitehead’s view of the primordial nature of God as being with all creation rather than prior to it. Process and Reality, with its notion of the two natures of God, is not as clear as one might like on the relation between the two. Some seized upon the primordial nature either in support of their own views, as in the case of Wieman, or to attack as hopelessly abstract, as in the case of Ely. Loomer shows that according to Whitehead’s centrally important "ontological principle" actuality is prior to possibility, the abstract derivative from the concrete, and consequently that Whitehead’s mature metaphysics requires that God as the primordial and abstract principle of limitation is only an aspect of God as a consequent, concrete reality. Loomer’s article also shed considerable light on the problem of the relation of God and evil. Ely had claimed that God ultimately turns all events into elements of his own satisfaction thereby making evil into good and rendering our acts irrelevant to God. But Loomer shows how this is in important respects the very opposite of Whitehead’s views. For Whitehead, "there is tragedy in God even though it be a tragic peace." That is, God’s inclusive vision and experience does enable him to relate evil events to others in such a way that some positive value results. But this does not mean that past evils are simply obliterated or that they are no longer evil in any sense. Loomer’s article also carefully pointed out that in Whitehead’s view there is not the incompatibility of human and divine values seemingly presupposed by Ely’s argument. God’s standards of value are, in principle, compatible with our own. In fact, according to Whitehead all entities pursue the same abstract value — increase in diversity, contrast, and intensity of experience consonant with harmony. That is, God wills our highest good. But this means that his good may not be identical with what men at any particular time hold to be good. "Whatever God wills for man would be recognized by man as good if man . . . were to realize his greatest potentialities." Thus, what is "really" good for man cannot be evil for God.
Another attack on Ely’s work came from the philosopher-theologian and member of the University of Chicago faculty who was becoming the foremost advocate of process philosophy and theology, Charles Hartshorne.25 From the publication of his first book in 6 until the present, no thinker has matched Hartshorne in the detailed elaboration and adaptation of Whitehead’s philosophy. Though he claims to have been influenced as much by William Ernest Hocking and Charles S. Pierce as by Whitehead, for thirty-five years Hartshorne has sought to develop and explicate a consistent, Whiteheadian understanding of God.
In early articles and in Beyond Humanism27 Hartshorne expounded a view of God which provided a middle way between the absolutism of traditional theologies and the atheistic humanism of many of his contemporaries in the thirties. His first theological paper was published in the journal which a few years earlier had presented the "Humanist Manifesto" setting forth the major tenets of a new faith based upon atheism and science. In this article,28 Hartshorne introduced many of the key ideas which he would elaborate in future years. Hope for the future of theology, he argued, lies in seeing that the new metaphysics, most profoundly enunciated by Whitehead, provides a fresh basis for raising the old question of the existence or non-existence of God. The key idea is a new conception of absoluteness or perfection in which "whatever is present in some degree in every creature is maximally present in God" (excluding self-contradiction of course). That is, in contrast with traditional views, God is not to be regarded as the negation of positive qualities in creatures nor are creatures to be regarded as devoid of divine qualities. The difference between the creatures and God is one of degree, but of a qualitatively different degree represented by the difference between the logical quantifiers ‘some’ and ‘all.’ Thus, for example, while creatures have some knowledge, God knows all that can be known. The extreme quantitative difference between human knowledge and divine knowledge makes a qualitative difference, making it possible to conceive of divine omniscience as ‘all that can be known’ without resorting to some absolute difference. But, given the new metaphysics of becoming and creativity, our understanding of ‘all that can be known’ must also be revised. Consistent with the freedom of the creatures and the idea of the universe as genuinely creative process, the future must be regarded as a class without members or as completely nonactual." Thus, future events are in principle unknowable and therefore excluded from the idea of divine omniscience.
Both in this article and more extensively in Beyond Humanism, Hartshorne argued that in contrast with the new supernaturalism emerging in European theology the new "theistic naturalism" recognizes that in a certain sense nature is God. But this is not to be construed in Spinoza’s pantheistic sense that God and nature are to be simply identified; rather, nature is an individual with a quality that is divine. God is not wholly beyond the passing flux of events, but includes them, responds to them, and is himself influenced by them.
The relationship between God and the creatures which Hartshorne seeks to elucidate is in some important respects a function of what he calls "panpsychism."29 Though Whitehead did not use the term panpsychism," it is clear that the actual occasions of his metaphysics are significantly homogeneous and that this homogeneity includes an ability to feel the environment and respond creatively and purposively to it. All occasions are "psychic" in the negative sense that they are not, to use Whitehead’s term, "vacuous." Every actual entity, from God to the most insignificant physical occasion, is a responding, valuing, creative subject.
In order to avoid the discredited panpsychism of Fechner in which macroscopic objects such as rocks and plants and planets are said to have souls, Hartshorne, like Whitehead, defends a cell theory of "compound individuals" wherein macroscopic objects are construed as aggregates of sentient occasions of experience. In this view, while rocks and such are not sentient, the simplest physical entities of which they are composed are. Though their level of sentience is much lower than that of higher animals, this does not preclude their having some degree of feeling, willing, and mentality.
Panpsychism has theological implications which are both methodological and substantial. Methodologically panpsychism is related to Hartshorne’s apparent anthropomorphism. That is, every occasion of reality is to be regarded as a momentary experience or specious present. But only our own specious present is directly experienced with any vividness; and it is from this direct experience that philosophy must, according to process philosophy, seek to generalize its understanding of the non-human world. Thus, while we do not know empirically that lower orders of reality have life and subjectivity, there is no reason to draw some arbitrary line absolutely separating living and non-living, or subjects and pure objects. But the same is true in the opposite direction. Just as process philosophy’s understanding of sub-human levels of existence is dependent on analogy with the human, its understanding of God is based on a similar analogy. The universe, accordingly, is a vast hierarchy of organisms and non-organic societies of organisms from microscopic physical events to God, in which there is a high degree of continuity between levels because at every level existence is constituted by social relationships. This contrasts sharply, Hartshorne believes, with traditional views in which "mere" matter is regarded as too inferior to be social and God too superior to be truly social.
That reality is social at all levels means, Hartshorne believes, that God, who is the supreme exemplification of all positive universal qualities, is supremely social. He alone is directly related to all other creatures, both as an influence on them and as influenced by them. And, since to prehend others is to include them, God includes all others in a manner such that their freedom is preserved and his responsibility for their acts limited. Thus, in part at least, the doctrine of the relativity of God can be seen as a consequence of process philosophy’s panpsychism.
In much of his earliest work on the nature of God, Hartshorne wrote for and to contemporary humanists without giving much attention to Christian faith. But in Beyond Humanism and elsewhere he expresses the idea that the new conception of God is not only philosophically superior to that of classical philosophies and theologies, it is also theologically and religiously more adequate in that it is much more compatible with the Biblical idea of God as love. Thus, when Hartshorne criticized Ely’s book,30 he argued that in some important respects Whitehead’s view of God is a return to the Gospel conception after a long history of its disappearance in the absolutism of medieval theology. His chief claim in this connection is that only if genuine creaturely freedom is maintained, and with it the logically implied limitations of divine power and knowledge, can the notion of God as love be upheld. It is the idea of God as an unchanging absolute for whom no act of men could possibly make any difference that is inconsistent with religious relevance and availability. "Never before," he wrote, "has a really first-rate philosophical system so completely and directly as Whitehead’s supported the idea that there is a supreme love which is also the supreme being."31
Hartshorne’s most important theological work is perhaps Man’s Vision of God published in 1941.32 In it he develops with utmost rigor his new conception of perfection. The strategy here is to set forth a logically complete classification of all possible ideas of God. In this scheme the quantifiers ‘all,’ ‘some,’ and ‘none’ are combined with the ideas of ‘absolute perfection,’ ‘relative perfection,’ and ‘imperfection’ to produce seven different conceptions of deity which are conveniently grouped into three broad types of theism: classical theism, within which God is conceived as absolutely perfect in all respects and in no way surpassable; atheistic views, in which there is no being which is in any respect perfect or unsurpassable; and the "new theism," in which God is in some respects perfect and unsurpassable by others but is surpassable by himself. Thus Hartshorne sees his own version of theism as a much improved synthesis of the old alternatives of theism and atheism. Only an extreme intellectual shortsightedness, he holds, could make one believe that the theistic question has or can be settled by the old, pre-process philosophy alternatives. And most of Man’s Vision of God, The Divine Relativity,33 and the editorial contributions to Philosophers Speak of God34 is a careful and extensive argument for the philosophical superiority and rational elegance of the "dipolar" conception of God in which the abstract, absolute side of God is balanced by a concrete, relative side.
Hartshorne’s dipolar conception of God is compatible with Whitehead’s notions of the primordial and consequent natures of God. But it should be emphasized that, while Hartshorne has been a foremost interpreter and defender of Whitehead, he is an original and creative philosopher-theologian in his own right. It is not always easy to sort out the points at which the two men diverge, but, since much of the subsequent development of process theology depends on Hartshorne’s conceptions, it is important to at least attempt to set out some of the ways in which Hartshorne has modified and developed the views of God found in Whitehead’s works.
In the first place, Whitehead’s conception of God was not fully worked out or the various references to God, even within Process and Reality, well integrated. While the idea of the primordial nature of God as the principle of limitation is developed through several works, discussion of the consequent nature is almost wholly confined to the last chapter of Process and Reality. The relation between the two natures is nowhere discussed, and, in fact, some critics reasoned that for all practical purposes Whitehead might have been speaking of two (or more) different gods. Hartshorne’s treatment of this problem, like Loomer’s, makes it clear that there is only one God, a concrete individual who has abstract or primordial aspects. Thus, what Whitehead called the primordial nature of God is, in Hartshorne’s view, only a very important aspect of a concrete and dynamic reality who is the One God.
Further, it is not entirely clear in Whitehead’s writings whether God is to be conceived as a single, eternal actual entity, or whether, after the manner of other personal beings, he is to be regarded as a personally ordered, temporal series of actual entities. Debate over this issue remains prominent among process theologians to this day and will be discussed more fully in the second part of this paper, but it should be remarked here that Hartshorne has consistently attempted to envision God, in this and in some other respects, after the model of the human person. Much more than Whitehead, he emphasizes that God is conscious, that he has memory, that he is influenced in his own development by what finite creatures do. But, at the same time that Hartshorne attributes such anthropomorphic qualities to God, he insists that in God they are perfections qualitatively different from their incarnations in imperfect ways in human beings. Thus, while we are conscious, we are actually conscious of very little; God, in contrast, is fully conscious of all that happens. As Hartshorne has argued, the difference between himself and Whitehead on this matter is not very great, but the clarity with which he has pursued it constitutes a major development of Whitehead’s views.
In close relation to this, is Hartshorne’s "panentheism." Whereas classical theism had described God as wholly other than the world and classical pantheism had identified God and the world, in Hartshorne’s view God includes the world while transcending it. Again, he finds the human model instructive. God transcends the world in much the same manner as I transcend my own body; I am dependent upon it but not identical with it. Thus, according to panentheism, the universe is a compound individual, a society of occasions in relation to which God is both dominant and all inclusive. In the language of The Divine Relativity, God is supreme yet indebted to all, absolute yet related to all. While absolute and unchanging in some respects, God is the supremely relative ("surrelative"); he is the only individual who is positively related to every other individual.
Considering its extremely critical stance toward classical Christian theology and its neglect of most of the usual concerns of Christian theologians, response to Man’s Vision of God within the American theological community was surprisingly favorable. Edgar S. Brightman, who had himself been working for many years on the development of a nontraditional view of God, rejected Hartshorne’s panentheism but praised other aspects of his view of God.35 Reinhold Niebuhr wrote a brief but very sympathetic review,36 and John Bennett claimed that Hartshorne’s was perhaps the best hypothesis about God available to contemporary theology.37 D. C. Macintosh found the book "exceptionally penetrating, stimulating, and instructive," but by accusing Hartshorne of being too rationalistic he touched on what has been one of the major differences between Hartshorne and most other Whiteheadian theologians.38
Another one-time member of the Federated Theological Faculty of the University of Chicago, who has attempted to relate the insights of process philosophy to Christian faith, is Daniel Day Williams. In ‘Truth in the Theological Perspective"39 he uses the notion of "perspectives" to solve the dilemma of the relationship between the particularity of Christian faith and the universality of philosophy. The notion of perspectives involves the idea that whatever we see or believe, whether as Christians or philosophers, our own particular and limited perspective is involved. All our views are relative to our own, historically conditioned, perspective. But, by recognizing the relativity of our own perspective, we become aware of other perspectives and thereby create the possibility at least of enlarging our own. This view is called "objective relativism" because, while recognizing the relativity of perspectives, it encourages every limited perspective to point beyond itself to something which is not a perspective. Thus Christian theology not only ought to "walk on its own feet and not ride on the back of philosophy," it must call to the attention of philosophy the particular facts about man which its perspective always involves. But, since theological statements if true must be true for all human experience, no theological statement can be simply exempted from philosophical criticism. Philosophy and Christian theology are, therefore, only relatively independent; "in the long run each can be completed only by effecting a final settlement with the other." Such a view, Williams argues, does not mean that some criterion of truth is set above Christian faith, for all perspectives are relative. The test of their truth is their capacity "to become more inclusive, more coherent, more adequate through a continuing discussion, criticism, and reformulation in contact with other interpretations of . . . human experience."
Williams’s first major work is God’s Grace and Man’s Hope.40 In it he seeks a theological stance occupying a middle ground between the unrealistic optimism of traditional liberalism and the equally unrealistic pessimism of the neo-orthodox reaction to liberalism. Both, he claims, have no place for God’s redemptive work in history; liberalism because it sees no need for it, and neo-orthodoxy because it denies a place for it within the human enterprise. Throughout the book, the conception of God articulated by Whitehead and Hartshorne is utilized to make it possible "for the Living God, the God who acts, the caring, saving God of the Bible to be made intelligible."41 Further, though not labeled as such, Williams’s discussion of "the good earth" can be seen, at least in part, as a practical application of Whiteheadian panpsychism. Finally, by developing a doctrine of divine grace which does not destroy the genuine freedom and responsibility of men, Williams places himself squarely on the side of the new metaphysics of becoming.
The problem of the relation between philosophy and theology which has claimed Williams’s attention has also been approached in an essentially similar way by Loomer. Having defended in a previous article42 a "neo-naturalism" which is based on a naturalistic methodology and many of the principles and categories of Whitehead’s metaphysics as well as on the Christian tradition, in "Christian Faith and Process Philosophy"43 Loomer takes up the problem raised by the prevalent rejection of philosophy by neo-orthodox theologies. Like Williams, he argues that the relation between philosophy and Christian theology must be one of "co-dependents" in tension, for only through the generality of rational metaphysics can the idolatry of narrowness be avoided. Process philosophy offers definite advantages for Christian theology over earlier naturalistic and idealistic philosophies because it recognizes the qualitative discontinuities in human existence and refuses to identify God with any natural process. The assumption by theology of some philosophical perspective is simply unavoidable, regardless of what some theologians may deceive themselves into believing; therefore the most fruitful way for Christian theology to proceed is by recognizing its relative dependence and by adopting the philosophy which will be most fruitful in making Christian faith significant, meaningful and available to contemporary men.
Though it might not have been anticipated from his earlier writings, one of the most highly favorable reviews of Hartshorne’s Man’s Vision of God was penned by Bernard F. Meland.44 Meland was one of the much-discussed "Chicago school" of "empirical" theologians who in his early writing attempted to bring together many currents of contemporary thought along the lines of Gerald Binney Smith’s "mystical naturalism." In the thirties, however, Meland’s thought came to be very closely associated with that of Henry Nelson Wieman. In an almost steady stream of articles and books he attempted to work out aspects of a theological empiricism which was, in fact, based on Whitehead’s early book, The Concept of Nature, but which rejected the complexities of metaphysics found in Process and Reality. But the man who was frequently viewed as the chief disciple of Wieman began during the second world war to find difficulties in that position and moved considerably closer to the philosophy of Whitehead.45 Much more than Hartshorne, Meland has been concerned with the interpretation of contemporary culture, and more particularly with the interplay of thought and emotion.46 In Whitehead’s thought he increasingly found "the only structure of thought that offers adequate conceptions, both of feeling and knowing, to cope with the problem that confronts us. . . ."47 Whitehead’s metaphysics, he has said, could be as formative for the modern world, and for Christian theology in particular, as the thought of Aristotle, Plotinus and Thomas have been for previous centuries.48
While both Meland and Hartshorne can readily be called Whiteheadian process theologians, the thrust of both approach and concern is quite different. Whereas Hartshorne, the philosopher, has devoted himself largely to developing the logic of a theism based on process metaphysics, Meland has sought to balance this rationalistic approach with a heightened sensitivity to depth of feeling based on the aesthetic side of Whitehead’s philosophy. Thus Meland’s approach is generally not highly systematic but more nearly in the form of explorations into the felt meanings of cultural and religious phenomena. As one sympathetic critic has put it, "Meland’s thought is rich in suggestive power and frustrating in its conceptual-theological elusiveness."49 Meland is convinced that intellectual and emotional sensitivity to culture, to its depth significance, to its transcendent qualities and felt reality can bring one to the realities of faith, to the meaning of realities which cannot be contained within merely rational structures, to realities which have not so much to be defined as to be acknowledged.
TWO: Contemporary Philosophical Discussions
[Portions of Parts two and three of this essay are reprinted from Delwin Brown, "Recent Process Theology," Journal of the American Academy of Religion, XXV, 1 (March 1967), 28-41. Copyright 1967 by the American Academy of Religion. Used by permission of the publisher.]
Since 1950, philosophical discussions of Whitehead’s view of God have been influenced primarily by Charles Hartshorne and William Christian.50 Hartshorne has continued to develop and apply the doctrines of panpsychism and panentheism explained in Part One. Against the Barthians and Thomists in theology and the positivists and analysts in philosophy, Hartshorne has urged that neoclassical theism renders obsolete many of the contentions of traditional theology and antitheology.51 He believes that process thought now allows for a philosophically respectable and religiously adequate view of God.
Hartshorne’s most recent major effort relates the process view of God’s perfection to the question of God’s existence. The resultant reformulation of the ontological argument appears in Tue Logic of Perfection and Anselm’s Discovery.52 Hartshorne argues that the statement "perfection exists," unlike ordinary propositions, cannot be contingent; either it is necessarily true or necessarily false. To be the latter, however, the idea of perfection must be self-contradictory. The classical idea of God’s perfection is indeed problematic. But process philosophy can elaborate a neoclassical idea of perfection free from self-contradiction. Being consistent, it is not false of necessity. Hence the statement "perfection exists" is necessarily true.53
This "necessity" is not merely linguistic, Hartshorne argues in a reply to R. L. Purtill, since "the ontological modalities are what language, if properly designed, has to express or reflect."54 As evidence, Hartshorne reformulates the argument as follows: Whatever we can think of (a) necessarily exists, or (b) contingently exists, or (c) contingently does not exist, or (d) necessarily does not exist. The mere conceivability of a consistent process conception of God renders (d) inapplicable to God. But also, "the ontological conditions for contingency are excluded by the definition of God, as they are for no other individual definition or concept." Therefore, (a) alone is applicable to God. That is, "a most perfect being exists, and must exist necessarily."
Recent expositions of the process view of God are as often indebted to Hartshorne as to Whitehead. A. Boyce Gibson in "The Two Strands of Natural Theology,"55 for example, analyzes the "two compelling conceptions of divinity" in Western philosophy the "self-sufficient" and the "outgoing." Taken alone, he argues, each is inadequate. But, drawing on the Hartshornian abstract-concrete dichotomy and the related eternal-temporal distinction in Whitehead, Gibson shows how process theism consistently combines the two traditions, retaining from each what is essential to a "working religion." Paul G. Kuntz’s interesting study of the motifs of order and chaos in religion follows a similar pattern.56 Kuntz uncovers the power and the weakness of each image. He then claims, following Hartshorne, that "order and disorder are essentially correlative terms." Hence he concludes that the truths of the religions based on each must be (and, Kuntz implies, in process theology can be) "grasped coherently together in a synthesis." Others equally influenced by Hartshorne’s interpretation of Whitehead include Schubert M. Ogden, John B. Cobb, Jr., and Walter E. Stokes, S. J., whom we shall discuss below.
William Christian is the other major influence in current philosophical discussions of Whitehead. In "The Concept of God as a Derivative Notion" Christian seeks to clarify the logical status of the concept of God.57 Christian concludes, among other things, that Whitehead’s view of God is "categoreally contingent, systematically necessary and existentially contingent." The first two conclusions mean that Whitehead’s God is required, not by the metaphysically necessary categories as such, but by the contingent fact of the temporal character of the actual world; thus Whitehead’s approach rejects an ontological argument and employs a cosmological argument. Christian’s third conclusion means that Whitehead’s philosophical theology is in a sense a confessional theology, i.e., a rational "explanation of an interpretation" of human experience. Indeed Christian maintains that this uncommon modesty underlies Whitehead’s entire speculative endeavor: Whitehead "does not claim to have deduced his system from premises which are clear, certain and sufficient. He thinks that no such premises are available for speculative philosophy." Hence, he will never say that "all possible alternatives to his system are absurd."
Christian’s most influential work, An Interpretation of Whitehead’s Metaphysics, is a systematic study of impressive scope and originality.58 Its challenge to the Hartshornian understanding of Whitehead has won varying degrees of support from many, including Lewis S. Ford and Donald W. Sherburne. But more significantly, Christian’s Interpretation marvelously brings before all process thinkers legitimate philosophical questions about Whitehead’s theology. For these reasons it remains the interpretive study of Whitehead.
The contributions of Christian, Hartshorne and several others to the current philosophical development of process theology are probably best viewed in the context of certain important problems of process theism. We shall now explore four of these: the nature of God, the location of God, the problem of evil, and the coherence of process theism.
The first debate has to do with whether God ought to be considered a single actual entity or a personally ordered society of actual entities. In the succession from one entity or occasion of experience to the next in a society of actual entities, there is always a certain loss of content. The moment of my beginning this paragraph, for example, is considerably less real to me than the present moment. Something has been lost — if nothing more than the "first-handedness" of a moment now in the past. If God is a succession of occasions of experience, there seems to be no metaphysical guarantee that he preserves all values. It is at least possible that some values are lost to God.
It should not be surprising then that Whitehead thought of God as a single actual entity immune to the possibility of loss.59 At least William Christian sees this as the proper Whiteheadian view.60 Nevertheless, Christian’s position is challenged by Ivor Leclerc, who argues, in agreement with Hartshorne, that Christian’s conclusion is incompatible with the categoreal scheme elaborated in chapter two of Process and Reality.61 Here, according to Leclerc, Whitehead "makes clear" that the category of "subjective perishing" is "necessarily applicable to every actual entity whatever, including God."
The theologian John B. Cobb, Jr. sides with Leclerc and Hartshorne, partly however for reasons that are religious.62 It is essential both to Whitehead’s system and to the Christian faith, Cobb thinks, to hold that God influences and is influenced by the temporal world. In Whitehead’s writings an actual entity is affected only at the inception and is efficacious only at the completion of its momentary existence. Hence, if God interacts with the world, presumably he too must be a society of successive entities of temporal duration rather than a single actual entity always in concrescence. Cobb claims that although this conclusion fails to require the complete preservation of value in God, philosophically the continuance of value in God does remain a possibility. The religious intuition which affirms that preservation, therefore, need not be set aside.
Lewis S. Ford concedes that Cobb deals successfully with the question of loss in God. Nevertheless Ford maintains that the categoreal scheme requires not perishing, but merely "something determinate in God" in order for God to be objectified by the world.63 Hence God, to influence the world, need not be a society. But further, God cannot be a society. The subjective aim determines "when and how an actual entity will find its completion." Since God’s "aim seeks the physical realization of all potentiality insofar as this is compatible with maximum intensity," it follows that "God’s aim . . . requires an everlasting concrescence physically prehending the unending actualization of these possibilities."64 In "Boethius and Whitehead" Ford argues that the entire multiplicity of temporal land spatial) experiences can be included within the unity of a single, everlasting divine concrescence. For eternity is an everlasting moment that includes time; it is not, as Aquinas supposed, mere atemporality. Thus God’s particular experiences of the world are spatio-temporally localized with respect to their objective data, but they are trans-spatio-temporally unified within the eternity of the one divine concrescence.
The second area of controversy concerns the relation of God to space-time.65 Einstein’s special theory of relativity precludes absolute simultaneity. According to it, any particular meaning of simultaneity can only be specified relative to some particular space-time system. John T. Wilcox argues that this theory poses a problem for any theism which holds that "God’s knowledge grows as the universe grows in time, and the moments in his experience form a temporal sequence."66 For at any particular moment God’s experience of the universe would constitute a particular (divine) meaning of simultaneity, thereby relating God to one particular space-time system. Therefore, "to decide which space-time system God utilizes . . . would grant to that system. . .a unique relationship with deity, a relationship discriminatory against other events and their space-time systems." Moreover, says Wilcox, if God is prehended by temporal events, as Whitehead holds, we should be able to catch some trace of his space-time system.
Prior to Wilcox’s article, William Christian had proposed what Wilcox admitted was a possible solution.67 Whitehead’s God, according to Christian, is a single, eternally-concrescing actual entity. And since space-time is derivative from temporal succession, Christian concludes that God occupies no spatio-temporal region. God does prehend the world, to be sure. But his syntheses of feelings are only partial, not full satisfactions, each including only the data available to particular space-time locations. The occasions occupying these perspectives in turn prehend in God only the harmonization of the data ingredient in their own past worlds. Thus the particular interactions between God and actual occasions are spatio-temporally localized even though God occupies no spatio-temporal region. God would therefore treat each spatiotemporal region identically. Furthermore no prehensions of alternative divinely entertained space-time systems should be expected. Wilcox rejects this interpretation, however, arguing that its assumption of particularized interactions between God and the world is purely ad hoc.68
Charles Hartshorne concedes that the special theory of relativity conflicts with the theistic assertion of a "cosmic observer." Hartshorne’s rebuttal is twofold:69 "The assumption of a divine simultaneity need not mean that some actual perspective in the world is ‘right’ as against others. For the divine perspective might be ‘eclectic,’ agreeing (approximately) as to some items with one standpoint, as to others with another, and the incidence of agreement might be constantly shifting." Hence the cosmic discrimination Wilcox notes is of no importance. Moreover, Hartshorne observes, the relativity theory may after all be "a deep truth about the world" without being "the whole truth." In fact, the claim that it is not the whole truth cannot be empirically refuted, for the inevitably relative perspective of any scientific observer precludes his reception of empirical evidence for a non-relative spatio-temporal perspective.
In A Christian Natural Theology John Cobb seeks to understand God’s relation particularly to space in terms of a doctrine of regional inclusion. Cobb argues that the individuality of an actual entity resides in the unity of its subjective immediacy, not in the peculiarity of its spatio-temporal region. This means that the region of one actual entity may be included in the region of another without compromising the individuality of either.70 Hence it would be consistent with Whitehead’s principles to hold that God is omnispatial, for "his region includes all other contemporary regions" without his being related to these entities as a whole to a mere part.71
Cobb’s doctrine of regional inclusion has been sharply challenged by Donald Sherburne.72 Sherburne appeals first to the systematic evidence against regional inclusion complied by William Christian. Secondly, he argues point by point against Cobb’s interpretation of Whitehead’s statements to which Cobb appeals for implicit support. Finally Sherburne argues: For Whitehead space-time is not a container sitting there waiting to be filled. The region of each actual entity is derivative from the concrescence of the given mass of feelings which is that occasion; each becoming subject specifies and actualizes its own particular region. Hence for every subject there is a different region. Unless God violates the individuality of the entities supposedly included in his region so that he as subject becomes identical with them as subjects (which Cobb rejects), it follows that God’s spatio-temporal region cannot include the regions of other entities.
Lewis Ford criticizes Sherburne’s claim that each subject must have a different region. In "Divine Spatiality" Ford argues that the standpoint of a physical prehension is part of the objective datum of that prehension and not part of its subjective unity. Therefore two prehensions may have the same spatio-temporal standpoint but still differ if the subjects in question differ in the unity of their subjective immediacies.73 But though in this he sides with Cobb, Ford faults Cobb on the very point Wilcox raises.74 For while God, in Cobb’s view, is omnispatial, he is not omnitemporal. Each successive omnispatial moment in the divine life is a brief, particular slice of time. As such it specifies a particular, absolute meaning of simultaneity and this result contradicts the relativity theory. Nor does Ford find Hartshorne’s alternative much better: "Hartshorne’s theory may account for all the appearances, but at the price of simplicity and elegance."
Ford’s own answer to the question of God’s location in general and the relativity problem in particular rests upon his Boethian interpretation of Whitehead, discussed above. God experiences the world from every spatio-temporal standpoint, yet these experiences are unified in him eternally. This distinction can be maintained in Whiteheadian thought, Ford argues, because the spatio-temporal standpoints of subjects belong to the objective data of their prehensions, not to the subjects as such; moreover, prehensions are many in terms of their data, but one in terms of their subject. In Ford’s view the concept of regional inclusion is extended to embrace time as well as space. God is the single, ever-concrescing actual entity whose "spatio-temporal region is the entire, everlasting extensive continuum."75
The third issue is the problem of evil. Doubts about the religious adequacy of Whitehead’s treatment of evil were raised very early by critics of process thought. The challenge, however, has nowhere been worded more sharply than in a recent essay by E. H. Madden and P. H. Hare.76 They argue that process theology is "shipwrecked upon the rock of the problem of evil" because the process God is limited, unable to guarantee the triumph of good, and in pursuit of morally objectionable values.
In separate essays, Charles Hartshorne77 and Lewis Ford78 point out the serious misunderstandings of Whitehead at work in this critique, and Ford and others explain the Whiteheadian solution to the problem of evil as follows:79 God does not wholly determine the course of the temporal process. There is some degree of freedom for self-creation at all levels.80 But the temporal process is neither a matter of absolute freedom nor of chance. As a part of its data for synthesis, each emergent occasion prehends God’s ordered evaluation of its possibilities for becoming. Thus God seeks to "lure" the world toward more desirable forms of order.81 The power of the divine ideal, however, is not different in kind from the influence of other past actual entities. There always remains freedom — at one level to deviate from dominant patterns of energetic activity, at a higher level to refuse proffered moral ideals. Hence evil is due, not to God, but to finite occasions’ rejections of the divine aim.
God is pervasively involved in the emergence of good in this world — first, as he provides ideals for temporal becomings; second, as he in his consequent preservation of temporal values is objectified back into the world.82 But Whitehead does not claim that God guarantees the temporal "triumph of good." Even if cognitively meaningful,83 this notion, according to Ford, presupposes a morally and religiously objectionable understanding of God’s power as being coercive. But God’s power is persuasive: it "maximizes creaturely freedom, respecting the integrity of each creature . . . God creates by persuading the world to create itself."84 Moreover, only persuasive power is consistent with a religious faith that calls its adherents into real battle for the temporal achievement of good. Finally, being able to posit the maximizing and preserving of temporally accrued values in the everlasting divine experience, process theology allows hope for the eternal significance of those values won in our human freedom. God, in this view, is not omnipotent; but his power is unsurpassed, maximal, and sufficient to secure eternally whatever is of worth.
In discussing the fourth issue we shall consider three different attacks upon the coherence of process theology. In the first, "Temporality and Finitism in Hartshorne’s Theism," Merold Westphal grants, with process thought, that there must be contingency in God.85 For if God knows the contingent world, his awareness of that actuality which might not have been, itself might not have been, i.e., his awareness is contingent. But Hartshorne wishes to move from divine contingency to divine temporality. That some divine knowledge might not have been, Hartshorne insists, introduces possibilities into the divine life, some of which come to be actualized and others not. So there is successiveness or temporality in God.
Westphal rejects this move, claiming that God’s contingent knowledge is a property, not a state. Like other divine properties, such as goodness, this one may be possessed eternally, unless the identity of "eternal" and "necessary" is demonstrated. But in Hartshorne it is not. Therefore, unless we, with the positivists, equate the humanly inconceivable with the meaningless, there is no reason why God cannot be said to know as actual and determinate what is, to us, potential.
Hartshorne replies, first by observing that the brevity of life and human fallibility make it impossible to fix any "observational meaning" upon "eternal."86 If so, the only epistemic meaning eternity can have for us — thus for us its definition — is "necessary existence." Also Hartshorne asks what Westphal can mean when he says "what God wills (in terms of our discussion, God’s decision to know this contingent world rather than another) he wills eternally." Does this not mean that God first entertained two possible worlds, one of which he then actualized? In short, even the idea of eternal willing must attribute some form of real successiveness to the life of God.
Westphal also challenges the conclusion that God’s contingency involves some measure of divine finitude or dependence upon the world. Hartshorne holds that God’s concrete acts of knowing (though not God’s abstract essence of perfectly knowing whatever comes to be) depend upon their contingent objects; had they not existed his knowledge of them would not have existed.
In reply, Westphal agrees that "the world is so and so" entails "God knows the world as so and so" (and vice versa). But this, he says, only establishes the logical, asymmetrical dependence of propositions, not the ontological or causal interdependence of individuals. In fact, logical interdependence is wholly compatible with the classical position that God’s knowledge constitutes or creates its objects and thus is causally independent of them.
Hartshorne’s response is that what follows from logical interdependence is neither the ontological dependence of knower on known (Hartshorne) nor of known on knower (Westphal). "X (ontologically) depends on Y if and only if, without Y, X cannot be; and X is (ontologically) independent of Y if and only if it could be, although Y were not. Logical interdependence . . . (however) excludes this latter possibility a priori." Therefore, logical interdependence entails ontological interdependence — God as knower and the world as known depend, in some respects, on each other.87
In his essay Westphal argues only that God’s temporality and dependence do not follow necessarily from God’s contingency; he doubts the justification for holding the process view, not its possibility or adequacy. In view of this Hartshorne seeks support in two other arguments. One is that the religious notion of "serving God" is empty unless this means contributing something to God’s concrete states. The other is that values are mutually incompatible. Since all possible values cannot be realized simultaneously, the most exalted status would be that which combines the actual possession of realized values with the capacity fully to possess remaining values as they become actual. Thus though wholly unsurpassable by others, God, to be perfect, must be capable of surpassing himself in successive states.
The second and most recent challenge to process theology is Robert Neville’s claim that Whitehead’s metaphysical theology leaves unanswered the more fundamental questions of ontology, resulting in an inadequacy that is both philosophical and religious. The basic ontological problem is why there is anything at all and, since what does exist is a plurality, how the things that do exist are unified into a world.88 Neville understands Whitehead’s principle of "creativity" (together with "one" and "many," conjointly called the "Category of the Ultimate" by Whitehead) to be an attempted answer to the ontological question. But creativity is not a concrete thing; it is a principle — either a descriptive generalization, or a normative principle derivative from the primordial decision of God. If it is the former, Neville says, it is a mere description and not an explanation of the fact that there are creative actual entities and that they constitute a world. If creativity is the latter, a normative principle, it still leaves unexplained that primordial creative act by which it is itself constituted. In sum, we are not told why there is any creative actuality at all. Thus the question of being remains unanswered.
Process theology’s attempted solution to the problem of the one and the many depends, according to Neville, on the doctrine that "God unifies the plurality of particulars by including them in his knowledge, by prehending them together."89 But God does not know and hence cannot unify actual occasions as they are in the subjective immediacy of their own concrescent becoming. Thus, while God does give oneness to the world of actual entities as they are for others, the world of things as they are coming to exist in themselves remains without ontological unity. Whitehead’s system explains neither why there is a world (the problem of being) nor why there is a world (the problem of the one and the many).
The ontological failing of process philosophy results in serious religious inadequacy in two ways. First, the process God "is in no way the ground or source of the being of finite things."90 Second, God can know only things as they are objectified, not as they are in concrescence.91 In this way, God’s superiority and his presence, both essential to a religiously viable theology, are seriously undercut. Neville concludes that even if an adequate ontological account could be integrated with Whitehead’s metaphysical system, the question of the religious adequacy of the Whiteheadian God would remain.
One may expect varied Whiteheadian responses to Neville, at least two of which are already implicit in present discussions. For one thing, that Whitehead’s God is in no sense the ground of finite being, as Neville holds, is by no means undisputed. John Cobb, for example, has suggested that God "is the reason that each new occasion becomes" even if what it becomes is explained by that occasion, its past and God together."92 Cobb’s contention is that the initial aim of an occasion is the "originating element" of its becoming. Since God is the source of each initial aim, it follows that God is uniquely the ground or source of the origination of each becoming occasion. Gene Reeves, however, has contested Cobb’s conclusion.93 Reeves argues in detail that Cobb’s theory of the originative function of the initial aim cannot be sustained. Even if correct, however, God would not therefore be "the reason that" there is an occasion, nor would God’s creative role be more "decisive" than that of eternal objects, the past, or the becoming occasion itself. With respect to Neville’s kind of claim, nevertheless, Reeves holds with Cobb that the Whiteheadian God is uniquely creative in the sense that his influence alone is universally effective and infinitely more powerful than that of other actual entities.94
One may also expect to hear Whiteheadians challenge the philosophical legitimacy and the religious significance of Neville’s own ontology. Indeed, Whiteheadians generally have regarded the question, why is there something rather than nothing? to be logically impossible.95 If, however, Neville’s demand for an ontological analysis can be sustained, Whiteheadians may then be forced to deal with the problems of being and the one and the many (perhaps by wedding Neville’s Platonic-Augustinian ontology to process metaphysics, a possibility Neville himself entertains].96 Even so, two of Neville’s most crucial claims remain debatable: (1) that indeterminate Being-Itself — without definiteness and beyond description — is supremely deserving of religious devotion,97 and (2) that the process God — personal, the pervasive source of moral ideals, and the supreme agent in the achievement of these aims — is not.
A third attack upon the coherence of process theology comes from within the circle of leading process thinkers. In "Whitehead Without God"98 Donald Sherburne contends (a) that the concept "God" is incompatible with the basic principles of the system, and (b) that the roles God plays in the system may be filled in other ways; thus God should be eliminated and coherence restored. Sherburne begins by explaining the "problem of the past" encountered in Whitehead’s philosophy. He argues that the different solutions proposed by Christian, Hartshorne, and Cobb, each of whom appeals to the concept of God, in varying ways leave God’s relation to his past an exception to the system’s metaphysical requirements. He then claims that Whitehead’s doctrine of creativity solves the problem without recourse to God. Finally, Sherburne suggests how other aspects of process attributed to God can be consistently explained by the temporal process itself.
Two types of responses to Sherburne are likely. First, on several issues there is the involved problem of the proper interpretation of the categoreal scheme. But, secondly, even if the systematic necessity of God, e.g., in dealing with the past, can be eliminated, Sherburne has yet to demonstrate incoherence; for if creativity is indeed the solution to the problem of the past, it also consistently explains God’s relation to his past. It follows that God’s existence would remain possible, even if not required. In this case, Whitehead’s philosophy may have the virtue of picturing the theistic issue exactly as it seems to be — with the question of God’s existence an open one to be decided on grounds other than those of systematic necessity.99
THREE: Contemporary Theological Discussions
Among the theologians discussed in Part One are some who, though earlier greatly indebted to H. N. Wieman, have now moved to positions more closely dependent upon Whiteheadian categories. Those of this group who remain most prominent are Bernard E. Meland and Daniel Day Williams.
In his recent writings Meland has continued to utilize the aesthetic side of Whitehead’s thought in an analysis of faith and culture. In The Realities of Faith and The Secularization of Modern Cultures100 he attempts to comprehend the revolutionary character of the contemporary world and to discern the relevance of Christian faith to it, Meland frankly recognizes the widespread secularization of modern life in both Western and Eastern cultures. At the same time, he finds important elements within these cultures which tend to call men toward what is most elemental and real. But still needed, he argues, is a fuller acceptance of the vision of reality made possible by modern science and process philosophies. This vision of reality combined with openness toward revolutionary culture in general enables new vistas of understanding in which the realities conveyed in the heritage of Christian faith may once again be felt with power.
Crucially important to Meland’s enterprise is a recognition of myth as the felt expression of the depths of human culture, In his view, religious faith, and more particularly Christian faith, finds embodiment and expression not only in religious institutions and individual religious experience, but in the midst of secular cultures as well, The Judeo-Christian mythos underlies and is formative of the cultural sensibilities of Western men. This means "there are resources within the culture that lend a sense of reality to the gospel of grace and judgment to which the Church bears witness, but which the church as church, and Christians as Christians, may be but vaguely attuned. . . . What we read about in Scripture, celebrate in sacrament, and proclaim through the Word, is a truth of immediate experience, a truth that transpires within every epochal occasion to visit upon every nexus of relationships, its offering of grace and judgment."101
D. D. Williams reflects the Hartshornian interpretation of Whitehead more than does Meland. In "Deity, Monarchy and Metaphysics" Williams explains Whitehead’s moral and metaphysical objections to the coercive God of classical theology.102 In its place Whitehead proposes an idea of God consistent with the biblical insight that "the highest goods are realized only through persuasion." And yet, asks Williams, must God act only in universally present persuasion? Can he not also speak? That Whitehead’s philosophy can admit God’s special activity is shown by Williams in a later essay, "How Does God Act?"103 Williams writes: "The consequent nature acts by being concretely apprehended in feeling in such a way that God’s specific response to the world becomes a constituitive function in the world. Here there is specific divine causality . . . (But) verification here can hardly take the form of precise descriptions . Verification must take the form of observable results in cosmic history, in human history, and in personal experience."
In The Spirit and the Forms of Love Williams analyzes the meaning of love and indicates what this implies about the nature of God.104 The classical conviction that the immutable is the superior is shown to devalue human love and to conflict with the biblical conception of God’s love. In chapter six Williams examines the metaphysical structures revealed in the human experience of love. Loving requires "individuality in relation," mutual freedom and risk, action and suffering, a form of causality responsive to emerging values and possibilities, and "impartial judgment in loving concern for others." Williams then argues that, biblically and philosophically, these categories must also apply to God, even if in special ways. The result is a process doctrine of God’s two-fold nature. "The invulnerability of God is the integrity of his being, his creative vision and function which is his sovereign majesty. This is not acted upon, it is not moved or altered. But God in his creativity works in and through creatures who do suffer and who become occasions of his suffering."
Williams’s book, as one reviewer has said, is the first major process systematic theology.105 It deals successively with the doctrines of love, God, man, and Christology, and considers special problems in Christian ethics. The concluding chapter is on theological method.
Younger process theologians have been as significantly influenced by Hartshorne as by Whitehead. The two outstanding members of this third generation, in fact, were both Hartshorne’s students: Schubert M. Ogden and John B. Cobb, Jr.
The two major sources of Ogden’s thought come together in his essay, "Bultmann’s Demythologizing and Hartshorne’s Dipolar Theism."106 Ogden accepts Bultmann’s position that theology must speak of man’s existential self-understanding. But that is not all; theology, he insists, also must speak of God. While Bultmann in some sense agrees with this, Ogden says, his employment of Heidegger’s philosophical system makes the second kind of language virtually impossible. Yet the key to speaking of God without thereby reducing God to a mere object may be found in Bultmann’s own work. Following Heidegger, he has always known that while "existential analysis does ‘objectify’ man’s being, . . . it objectifies him precisely as subject and thus makes clear that his actual concrete existence transcends objectification." Likewise, Ogden maintains, theology can speak of God "without in the least calling into question that God as fully actual can be known only to faith alone." Or rather, it can thus speak of God if it can discover a conceptual perspective in which such speaking is possible. Hartshorne’s dipolar theism provides precisely this possibility.
Thus does Ogden argue that speaking about God is theologically necessary and, within the framework of a process metaphysics, philosophically possible. Further, he is convinced that process philosophy provides the best vehicle for the expression of Christian beliefs. In traditional philosophical theology, talk about God is either symbolic or self-contradictory; hence today’s widespread repudiation of religious belief.107 But in process theology, Christian statements about God are literally affirmed. For example, in "What Sense Does It Make to Say, ‘God Acts in History’?," Ogden shows how the Whiteheadian can speak literally of God’s general activity as Creator and Redeemer and of his special action in unique historical events."108 In "Beyond Supernaturalism," Ogden indicates how God’s personality can be maintained with strict philosophical rigor.109 And in an essay prepared for the Bultmann Festschrift, Ogden deals similarly with the biblical affirmation of the "temporality of God."110 But Ogden’s most attractive apologia for process theism is probably "Toward a New Theism."111 In it he observes that the basic claim of secular man is the refusal "to consent to that traditional interpretation of the world as a shadow-screen of unreality, masking or concealing the eternal which is the only true reality."112 The basic claim of Christianity is that God genuinely affects and is affected by this temporal world. Ogden then argues that, ironically, modern secularism cannot consistently maintain the secular claim, and classical theism cannot consistently express the Christian affirmation. But process theology, he contends, can coherently and completely express the essential claims of each.
Two other articles by Ogden suggest the relevance of process theology to the analysis of religious language. In "Myth and Truth" he maintains that the truth of mythical utterances can be shown only by restating them in nonmythical terms.113 Yet adequately to demythologize Christian myths will require not just any nonmythological language but one, such as process philosophy provides, which can do justice to the biblical view of God. In "Theology and Objectivity" Ogden holds that theological language, though different from that of science, is objectifying because it is both cognitive and subject to rational assessment and justification.114 Of course, this view assumes the possibility of metaphysics, a possibility now generally denied. But what is usually overlooked, says Ogden, is that the recent development of process philosophy radically alters the situation in current philosophical thinking. Moreover, this development is a tremendous boon to theology, for Hartshorne and Whitehead have revised metaphysical thinking at precisely the points where heretofore it was found seriously at odds with Christian faith.115 Indeed Ogden claims in his review of Hartshorne’s Logic of Perfection that process philosophy is "a generalization of basic principles whose decisive historical representation is undoubtedly the Hebrew-Christian Scripture."116 Nevertheless he believes that Hartshorne’s arguments for God’s existence are fully relevant to those outside these traditions because these arguments appeal to faith assumptions which are neutral, that is, aspects of general secular experience.
Ogden has himself formulated a ‘neutral" argument for theism in the title essay of The Reality of God.117 Here he defines God as "the objective ground in reality itself of our ineradicable confidence in the final worth of our existence." In the crucial portion of his argument Ogden seeks to demonstrate that a consistent denial of life’s ultimate significance is wholly impossible, and therefore that a denial of the objective ground of this significance is equally untenable.118 Thus Ogden concludes that "for the secular man of today . . . faith in God cannot but be real because it is in the last analysis unavoidable."
The idea that any philosophy can be based upon neutral grounds marks the point where John B. Cobb, Jr. differs from both Ogden and Hartshorne. More than they, Cobb is profoundly influenced by the problem of historical relativism and its contemporary derivation, the death-of-God theology. In Whitehead’s philosophical achievement Cobb sees a way to take relativism seriously and to transform it.
Cobb’s treatment of relativism is perhaps best epitomized in his essay, "From Crisis Theology to the Post-Modern World."119 Here he pictures man as having either to accept the modern world and "live the death of God" it implies, or to refuse modernity and isolate his faith to preserve it. For theology the former is impossible, but given the reality of relativism so is the latter. Perhaps the first step toward recovery is to recognize that our sense of what relativism implies, namely the death of God, is also historically conditioned. If other options than this one should be opened to us, arbitrarily to reject them would be to absolutize the very relative sense of God’s absence. And other alternatives are evolving, fully as modern as the one that so dominates us now. We can and indeed we must share in their development, even without certainty of where they will lead us. Obviously, to take this course is doubly insecure, for it involves wresting ourselves from the authority of both past forms of Christianity and present forms of modernity.
Whitehead’s philosophy is one of these developing, new alternatives. What is appealing in it is its full acknowledgment of its own relativity. All reality is experience from a finite perspective; hence, all reality is relative. Indeed, it is quite impossible to demonstrate the truth of any one apprehension of reality. But there is a reality, one "to which our opinions correspond more or less well." Relativism itself is therefore relative. Even more important for current theology, the very ontology that is modern in its openness to historical relativism requires also, on purely philosophical grounds, the existence of a God who is very much alive and who is fully as personal as the God of Christian faith.
In "Christianity and Myth" Cobb again considers the possibility of Christian theism for the modern mind.120 The profane spirit of contemporary man finds it impossible to talk about some "reality radically different from all other reality . . .," i.e., to speak mythically. But Whitehead’s metaphysics is in this sense also profane. In it there are no degrees of being: "all reality is on the same level, however diverse its forms may be." Nevertheless, even though it is expressive of this profane consciousness, process philosophy is able to speak of God — a God indeed who has surprisingly much "in common with the God of the New Testament."
Cobb believes that Whitehead’s philosophy is modern in its acceptance of relativism and post-modern in its avoidance of nihilism.121 In addition he is convinced of its internal coherence and its faithfulness to experience. These are high recommendations for any philosophy, but what have they to do with theology? In Living Options in Protestant Theology,122 Cobb attempts to show that every Christian theology makes assumptions about the nature of reality which are not given in faith itself.123 Must systematic theology therefore begin by justifying those assumptions through a philosophical consideration of neutral or generally accessible facts, as traditional natural theologies have claimed to do? The reality of historical relativism raises doubt that any strictly neutral starting point is possible. What is therefore necessary, according to Cobb, is a Christian natural theology: a coherent statement about the nature of reality that recognizes its interpretation of the facts to be decisively conditioned by the Christian tradition, yet remains content to rest its case upon purely philosophical criteria of truth.124 Cobb offers such a statement in his important book, A Christian Natural Theology.
A Christian Natural Theology explains and defends Whitehead’s thought philosophically, and it contributes to current scholarly debates on the interpretation of Whitehead, as we have already seen.125 Its main purpose though is to illustrate how Christian thinking is uniquely possible within the framework of process philosophy. Thus in chapters two and three Cobb develops a Whiteheadian anthropology expressive, he says, of the Christian view of man. In the interests of both philosophical rigor and his own Christian perceptions, Cobb expands and corrects the Whiteheadian doctrine of God in chapter five. In chapter six Cobb discusses the various modes of Christian religious experience conceivable in process thought. He concludes his effort with an analytical yet remarkably personal chapter on the theological method underlying the book.126
What William Christian’s Interpretation has been to the philosophical debate on Whitehead’s theology, John Cobb’s Natural Theology is becoming to Christian assessments of Whitehead. It is a creative achievement in its own right, and on many issues it has already established a consensus. But it also is proving to be a powerful impetus to further discussion and to additional development in Christian process theology.
The work of Williams, Ogden, and Cobb on the doctrine of God has been supplemented by that of other theologians. In four recent essays, for example, Walter E. Stokes, S.J., has maintained that Thomism would be enriched greatly by taking seriously Whitehead’s insistence upon God’s freedom and his real relatedness to the world.127 Stokes, contrary to most Whiteheadians, is convinced that classical theism contains within itself the resources for affirming these doctrines. Lie claims that reemphasizing Augustine’s notion of freedom would produce a Thomistic conception of God more consistent with St. Thomas’s own Christian intent and parallel to the view of Whitehead. Equally important is the work of an Anglican priest and mathematician, Peter Hamilton. His book The Living God and the Modern World is an engaging treatment of several Christian themes from the vantage point of process philosophy. It deals with Christology and the doctrine of God, as well as prayer, the resurrection, heaven, etc. and it provides a general introduction to Whitehead’s thought.128 The Task of Philosophical Theology by C. J. Curtis, a Lutheran theologian, is a process exposition of numerous "theological notions" important to the "conservative, traditional" Christian viewpoint.129 Two very fine semi-popular introductions to process philosophy as a context for Christian theology are The Creative Advance by E. H. Peters130 and Process Thought and Christian Faith by Norman Pittenger.131 The latter, reflecting the concerns of a theologian, provides a concise introduction to the process view of God together with briefer comments on man, Christ, and "eternal life." Peters’s book, more philosophically oriented, is a lucid, accurate and balanced account, and is enhanced by Hartshorne’s concluding comments. Finally, in Science, Secularization and God Kenneth Cauthen seeks to show how a version of process theology (drawn from Brightman, Tillich and Teilhard, as well as Whitehead) can positively relate the creative and redemptive God of Christianity to "currents springing from science and secularization."132
Two other books relate the process concept of God to evolutionary theory. Nature and God by L. Charles Birch, a biologist, is an attractive work for the sophisticated layman.133 Richard H. Overman’s Evolution and the Christian Doctrine of Creation is more extensive. It is a perceptive and original study which, in a key section, defends in Whiteheadian terms the neo-Lamarckian notion that "all new patterns of efficient causation in animal bodies can be traced to some reaction influenced by final causation."134 The book’s general aim is to show how a Whiteheadian perspective can unite the conclusions of science and the biblical concept of God as creator and sustainer.
Although the doctrine of God was their initial concern, process theologians have begun also to deal with other Christian beliefs. We shall examine two of these: Christology and the concept of man.
Using as his criterion the biblical doctrine of the Incarnation, Thomas Ogletree recently issued a positive evaluation of process thought. "Bipolar theism," he judged, is "relevant to the attempt to think about God Christologically" because it "seems to express the understanding of God that is implied in the distinctive logic of the Christian confession of Christ."135 Actually, process theology has been deemed adequate to express a variety of Christological formulations. Lionel Thornton’s early statement was highly supernaturalistic.136 Charles Hartshorne briefly suggested a more naturalistic Christology: "Jesus appears to be the supreme symbol furnished to us by history of the notion of a God genuinely and literally ‘sympathetic’ (incomparably more literally than any man ever is), receiving into his own experience the sufferings as well as the joys of the world."137
Yet another process Christology was developed by Norman Pittenger in The Word Incarnate. Pittenger shows how, using process categories, one may affirm Jesus’ divinity without thereby contradicting his full humanity. He writes, Jesus "is that One in whom God actualized in a living human personality the potential God-man relationship which is the divinely intended truth about every man. . . . Thus the Incarnation of God in Christ is the focal point of the divine action vis-a-vis humanity. . . ." Pittenger’s additional opinion, allowed but not required by process philosophy, is that "the difference between our Lord and all other instances of divine operation in manhood is of immeasurable degree, not of absolute kind."138
Pittenger’s understanding of the relation of God’s action in Jesus to other divine actions is basically shared by Schubert Ogden. According to Ogden, God’s general activity as Creator and redeemer is literally the ground and destiny of every historical event.139 But some particular events are properly viewed as special acts of God. They decisively represent God’s general activity through symbolic words and deeds. Since these special events must be received and understood as being revelatory, there is of course a subjective element in revelation. But there is an objective element too, for "an event is a decisive revelation of God only insofar as it truly represents God’s being and action as existential gift and demand."
While the special and revelatory character of God’s act in Jesus is clearly objective in Ogden’s view, the uniqueness of this event as compared to other special events is subjective and a matter of degree.140 The position of Peter Hamilton is somewhat similar in this regard, although Hamilton does introduce additional process categories into this Christological analysis. He explains the "christness" of Jesus in terms of the "unreserved" prehensive interrelationship of Jesus and God, and Jesus’ adherence to God’s initial aim for him: "as Jesus intensified his obedience to the call from God, so . . . God was supremely, yet objectively, immanent in Jesus."141 Despite these additional features, for "strong religious reasons" Hamilton declines to "affirm a difference in kind between Jesus and other men."142
The objective uniqueness of Jesus becomes clearly affirmed in an essay by David Griffin. Fundamental to Griffin’s analysis is Whitehead’s concept of the ideal aim — in the case of Jesus a peculiar ideal aim which (a) purposes the optimal expression of God’s being, and (b) is optimally actualized in Jesus.143 It is John Cobb, however, who most elaborately works out the concept of Jesus’ uniqueness. Cobb discusses the person, the presence, and the work of Christ. Analyzing the person of Christ, Cobb builds upon the Whiteheadian doctrine that one entity may be prehensively present in another without displacing its individuality.144 In this respect God is present in all actual occasions. But God’s presence in Jesus was unique in four ways. First, the content of God’s initial aim for Jesus was radically unique. Second, Jesus’ adherence to that aim was peculiarly complete. Third, the divine aim for Jesus intended that the source of that aim i.e., God as a concrete entity, be prehended in addition to its content. Finally, "and most uniquely," this prehension of God as God was not experienced as one prehension among others to be synthesized along with them; instead it "constituted in Jesus the center from which everything else in his psychic life was integrated."
Cobb marshals an elaborate argument to demonstrate the possibility of the presence of Christ in the lives of believers.145 He begins by contending for "the causal efficacy of past events for the present." Then he claims that, despite our Newtonian bias to the contrary, no a priori reason precludes the direct — and even consciously entertained — causal presence of the distant past in the present.146 Nor is there any greater philosophical difficulty in conceiving of the direct prehension of the experiences of other persons in the remote past. Our experiences of suddenly remembering events long forgotten, as well as alleged instances of mental telepathy between persons who are contemporaries, render such relationships a little less incredible. Hence, however, strange, it is entirely possible that "Jesus is immediately and effectively present" in the lives of some Christians.
Cobb’s analysis of the work of Christ is original, indeed astonishing.147 It includes a psycho-ontological comparison of the evolved structures of human existence — primitive, civilized and axial, and a differentiation of the basic forms of axial existence — Indian, Greek, Hebrew, and Christian. The structure of existence actualized in Jesus is defined as "spiritual existence that expresses itself in love."148 In spiritual existence the "I" accepts responsibility for what it does, but also for what it is, knowing that it "need not remain itself but can, instead, always transcend itself."9 Christian existence, in this view, surpasses other forms of existence, transforming the spiritual values they achieve into a still higher synthesis. A part of Christ’s finality, therefore, is the unique and unsurpassable structure of existence he accomplished.
A different approach to Christology appears in Don S. Browning’s Psychotherapy and Atonement.150 Browning seeks to justify and to practice the procedure of illuminating Christian doctrines of the atonement with findings from psychotherapy. The crucial role of acceptance in psychotherapy raises the question of the real or ontological acceptability of the client. Therapeutic acceptance, Browning contends, has its ground in the divine acceptance universally present to man at a prereflective level of experience and specially manifest in Jesus Christ. Dorothy Emmet’s Whiteheadian epistemology is employed for explicating the mode in which this divine acceptance is universally intuited, and Hartshorne’s doctrine of God is used to elaborate the ontological grounding of that acceptance. Thus all healing, whether atonement or psychotherapy, is fundamentally related, and Browning can use insights provided by each to evaluate and illuminate theories about the other.
What emerges in Browning’s book is a process analysis of man and sin, as well as a Christology. The image of God in man is the universal, prerational givenness of God’s "unconditioned empathic acceptance" in human experience. Sin, thus, is turning away from this inward reality to outward and conditional bases for one’s worth. The incarnation is necessary since no sinner can "witness unambiguously to the justitia originalis of another sinner." Jesus is the Christ because his own self-concept conformed completely to the primordial, divine acceptance, and his atoning work is his unambiguous mediation of that acceptance already present to us, but ignored or rejected, in the depth of our life.
John Cobb, too, has discussed aspects of the nature of man, such as freedom, responsibility, and sin, from a Whiteheadian point of view.151 Like existentialism, he writes, process thought makes subjective categories central to the analysis of man, and it understands subjectivity to be "in a very important sense causa sui," that is, self-determinative. Unlike existentialism, however, freedom is placed in the context of personal development and social relationships and is seen as being confronted by an objective oughtness derived from God. Sin consequently is "the self-determination of the actual occasion in such a way as to inhibit the actualization of God’s aim for that individual."152
George Allan has argued that God provides aims to human societies as well as to individuals.153 The elements of purposive activity which characterize men singly, according to Allan, also characterize institutions. Societies thus have ends and norms influenced by, but not reducible to, those of their members, and vice versa. The relationship of individuals to societies is one of interdependence. From a Whiteheadian viewpoint, the reality of collective purposes implies that God has aims for nations and institutions as well as for individuals, as the Hebrews insisted. Furthermore, the interdependence of parts and wholes suggests that conformity to the divine will at one level affects that at the other. The salvation of the individual therefore depends in part upon the salvation of society.
The question of man’s ultimate destiny is another aspect of the doctrine of man. The minimal claim of process thought is that "by reason of the relativity of all things" each actual entity is preserved everlastingly in the divine experience.154 "God is immortal," Hartshorne writes, "and whatever becomes an element in the life of God is therefore imperishable . . . I think the idea of omniscience implies that we have such an abiding presence in the mind of God."155 Peter Hamilton holds the same view, and from it he draws three implications:156 First, while human occasions possess greater significance due to their capacity for a conscious relationship with God, in some measure all entities contribute everlastingly to the divine life. Second, each moment of our lives makes its positive or negative contribution to God immediately upon its occurrence, as well as through the cumulative reality we call the "I." Third, since God’s consequent nature "passes back into the temporal world and qualifies this world,"157 our lives, being elements in God, also "reach back to influence the world" even apart from our direct social immortality.
Hamilton personally is dubious about subjective immortality, i.e., the continuation of the present stream of consciousness beyond death. But he does not deny it as a logical possibility.158 John Cobb has sought to defend at least the credibility of subjective immortality against criticisms from anthropology and cosmology.159 The anthropological objection is that the soul or mind cannot exist apart from the body. Process thought concedes that no entity can exist independently of all societal relationships. But this fact, Cobb notes, would not prevent the psyche from existing apart from the bodily society over which at present it presides. Moreover, the psyche "is the truly personal, the true subject." The continuation of the psyche, therefore, would be the continuation of the person even though in a radically different environment. The cosmological objection stems from the difficulty of conceiving a "place" for the soul’s continual existence. Cobb’s response is that this problem stems primarily from an outmoded Newtonianism which assumes that all space-time is similar to our own. For process philosophy however space-time is derivative from the relatedness of actual occasions. Diverse forms of relatedness would produce different spatio-temporal dimensions. Hence there may be forms of relatedness other than the four-dimensional system we know. We can but vaguely conceive of them, and from our perspective we are perhaps incapable of describing their relationship to our own space-time continuum. But at least they are possible.
The development of process theology from Whitehead’s cautious speculation on religion and theology to the current scene is impressive. Indeed the growing quantity of process literature is quite astounding.
Between 1960 and mid-1965, for example, about thirty-five articles and books appeared in English on the topic of process theology. Over four times that number appeared in the following five years. It is hardly less evident that the diversity and sophistication of this movement in theology has increased too. Studies continue to appear examining process theism vis-a-vis biology and physics, art and culture, analytic philosophy and existentialism. Christian proponents continue to deepen their treatments of the entire spectrum of doctrine, and the variation in their views, for example on Christology, reveals both the inherent openness of Whiteheadian categories to manifold Christian sensibilities and the diversity of the theological movement which utilizes these modes of thought. Indeed, except for neo-Thomism, process theology is the oldest, strongest and most sophisticated movement in contemporary theology.
While such considerations bear somewhat on the question of worth, the crucial issue is whether process theology is adequate — adequate to the requirement of logical coherence, and to the demands of modern religious perceptions, Christian and otherwise. On the question of coherence, some old problems remain and some new ones appear. What is important here is that process thinkers by and large see the difficulties, often functioning as their own best critics. The other question — whether process theology is able adequately to illumine religious perceptions that are at once faithfully modern and authentically Christian — is more difficult to answer. The meaning of modernity is unsettled and the criteria of theological adequacy vary. But judgment, however tentative, is surely possible. To facilitate such a judgment is in part the aim of this book.
1. Susan Stebbing, review of Religion in the Making, Journal of Philosophical Studies, 11(1927), 238.
2. F.J. Sheen, "Professor Whitehead and the Making of Religion," The New Scholasticism, 1, 2 (April 1927), 147-162.
3. Time and Western Man, (London: Ghatto and Windus, 1927).
4. "Equivocation on Religious Issues," The Journal of Religion, XIV, 4 (April 1934), 412-427.
5. "A.N. Whitehead and Science," The New Humanist, VII, 5 (Autumn 1934), 1-7.
6. The Christian Century, XLIII, 14 (April 8, 1926), 448-449.
7. Especially important were Henry Bergson, Creative Evolution (1907); Samuel Alexander, Space, Time and Deity (1920); C. Lloyd Morgan, Emergent Evolution (1923), Life, Mind and Spirit (1926]; Jan C. Smuts, Holism and Evolution (1926).
8. London: Macmillan, 1934.
9. London: Longmans, Green, 1928.
10. "Professor Whitehead’s Concept of God," The Hibbert Journal, XXV, 4 (1927), 623-630.
11. See Bernard E. Meland, "Evolution and the Imagery of Religious Thought: From Darwin to Whitehead," in this volume and originally published in The Journal of Religion, XL, 4 (October 1960), 229-245.
12. New York, 1927. In his first book, Religious Experience and Scientific Method (1926), Wieman had already begun to make use of Whitehead’s philosophy as expressed in The Concept of Nature.
13. The Wrestle of Religion with Truth, 15.
14. lbid.. 185.
15. H. N. Wieman and B. E. Meland, American Philosophies of Religion (New York: Willett, Clark, 1936), 229-241.
16. "A Waste We Cannot Afford," Unitarian Universalist Register-Leader, CXLIII, 9 (November 1962) 11-13.
17. Edwin E. Aubrey, Present Theological Tendencies, (New York: Harper and Brothers), 1936), 187; C. C. Morrison, "Thomism and the Re-birth of Protestant Theology," Christendom, II, 1 (Winter 1937), 110-125; Randolph Cramp Miller, "Theology In Transition," The Journal of Religion XX, 2 (April 1940), 160-168; Eugene W. Lyman, The Meaning and Truth of Religion (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1933), 269-283.
18. J. S. Bixler, "Whitehead’s Philosophy of Religion" and Charles Hartshorne, "Whitehead’s Idea of God," in The Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, Paul A. Schilpp, ed. (New York: Tudor Company, 1941).
19. George A. Buttrick, Prayer (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury, 1942), 59.
20. John A. O’Brien, "‘God’ in Whitehead’s Philosophy: A Strange New ‘Deity’," The American Ecclesiastical Review, CX (June 1944), 444-450.
21. New York: Macmillan, 1929, pp. 25-27.
22. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1942.
23. The Review of Religion, VII, 4 (May 1943), 409-415.
24. "Ely on Whitehead’s God," The Journal of Religion, XXIV, 3 (July 1944), 162-179. Reprinted in this volume.
25. For a brief but accurate summary of Hartshorne’s philosophy, see Andrew I. Reck, "The Philosophy of Charles Hartshorne," Studies in Whitehead’s Philosophy, Tulane Studies in Philosophy, Vol. X (New Orleans: Tulane University, 1961). For a more recent and much more complete treatment, see Ralph E. James, The Concrete God (Indianapolis: Hobbs-Merrill, 1967).
26. The Philosophy and Psychology of Sensation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1934).
27. Chicago: Willett, Clark, 1937. See also "Ethics and the New Theology," The International Journal of Ethics, XLV, 1 (October 1934), 90-101; and "The New Pantheism," The Christian Register, CXV, 6 (February 20, 1936), 119-120 and 9 (February 27, 1936), 141-143.
28. "Redefining God." The New Humanist, VII, 4 (July-August, 1934), 6-15.
29. "Hartshorne’s "Panpsychism" in A History of Philosophical Systems, V. Ferrn (ed.) (New York: Philosophical Library, 1950) traces the history of panpsychism and presents Hartshorne’s view of it. See also Chapter 11, "Mind and Matter," of Beyond Humanism.
30. "Is Whitehead’s God the God of Religion?" Ethics, LIII, 3 (April 1943), 219- 227; and "Whitehead’s Idea of God," The Journal of Religion, V. 1 (Summer 1943), 55.
31. "Is Whitehead’s God the God of Religion?" 219.
32. Man’s Vision of God and the Logic of Theism, (Chicago: Willett, Clark. 1941). An abridged version of Chapter 1 is reprinted in this volume.
33. The Divine Relativity: A Social Conception of God (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1948).
34. Charles Hartshorne and William L. Reese, Philosophers Speak of God (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953).
35. The Journal of Religion, XXII, 1 (January 1942), 96-99.
36. Christianity and Society, VII, 2 (1942), 43-44.
37. "Three Levels at Persuasiveness," Christendom, VII, 1 (Winter 1942). 102-104.
38. The Review of Religion, VI, 4 (May 1942), 443-448.
39. The Journal of Religion, XXVIII, 4 (October 1948), 242-234.
40. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1949; revised edition, 1965. Chapter 5 is reprinted in this volume.
41. Page 42.
42. "Neo-Naturalism and Neo-Orthodoxy," The Journal of Religion, XXVIII, 2 (April 1948), 79-91.
43. The Journal of Religion, XXIX, 3 (July 1949), 181-203. Reprinted in this volume.
44. "God, the Unlimited Companion," The Christian Century, LIX, 42 (October 21, 1942), 1289-1290.
45. "The Religious Availability of a Philosopher’s God," Christendom, VIII, 4 (Autumn 1943), 495-502. "The Genius of Protestantism," The Journal of Religion, XXVII, 4 (October 1947), 273-292. Seeds of Redemption (New York: Macmillan, 1947). The Reawakening of Christian Faith (New York: Macmillan, 1949).
46. See especially Higher Education and the Human Spirit (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953) and Faith and Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 1953).
47. "The Genius of Protestantism," 290.
48. Ibid. and The Reawakening of Christian Faith, 91.
49. Gerhard Spiegler, "Ground-Task-End of Theology in the Thought of Bernard E. Meland," Criterion, III, 3 (Summer 1964), 34.
50. In addition to the works of Hartshorne and Christian, the following are major studies of Whitehead’s general philosophy published since 1950 which include extensive discussions of Whitehead’s idea of God: A. H. Johnson, Whitehead’s Theory of Reality (Boston: Beacon, 1952; New York: Dover, 1962). A. H. Johnson, Whitehead’s Philosophy of Civilization (Boston: Beacon, 1958; New York: Dover, 1962). Ivor Leclerc, Whitehead’s Metaphysics: An Introductory Exposition (New York: Macmillan, 1958). Wolfe Mays, The Philosophy of Whitehead (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1959; New York: Collier Books, 1962). Dorothy Emmett, Whitehead’s Philosophy of Organism (London: Macmillan, 1932; New York: St. Martin’s, 1966). Victor Lowe, Understanding Whitehead (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1962); Edward Pots, Whitehead’s Metaphysics: A Critical Examination of Process and Reality (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1967). Martin Jordan, New Shapes of Reality: Aspects of A. N. Whitehead’s Philosophy (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1968). Alix Parmentier, La Philosophie de Whitehead et le Probleme de Dieu (Paris: Beauchesne, 1968).
Several relevant essays appear in the following symposia: Paul A. Schilpp, ed., The Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead (New York: Tudor, 1951). Ivor Leclerc, ed., The Relevance of Whitehead (New York: Macmillan, 1961). Studies in Whitehead’s Philosophy, Tulane Studies in Philosophy, Vol. X (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1961). George L. Kline, ed., Alfred North Whitehead: Essays on His Philosophy (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hal], 1963). William L. Reese and Eugene Freeman, eds., Process and Divinity (LaSalle, Ill.: Open Court, 1964). The Christian Scholar, L, 3 (Fall 1967), The Southern Journal of Philosophy, 7, 4 (Winter 1969-1970).
See also Donald W. Sherburne, ed., A Key to Whitehead’s Process and Reality (New York: Macmillan, 1966), an invaluable systematic presentation of the most important sections at Whitehead’s magnum opus.
51. For statements since 1950, see passim, Reality As Social Process (Glencoe:
The Free Press, and Boston: Beacon Press, 1953); Philosophers Speak of God, edited with William L. Reese (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953); The Logic of Perfection (LaSalle: Open Court, 1962); Anselm’s Discovery (LaSalle: Open Court, 19651; A Natural Theology for Our Time (LaSalle: Open Court, 1967).
52. See The Logic of Perfection, chap. two, and Anselm’s Discovery, part one; cf. also A Natural Theology, chaps. 2-4.
53. The literature relative to Hartshorne’s argument is sizable. See the critical reviews by John Cobb in Religion in Life, XXXII, 2 (Spring 1963), 294-304; Julian Hartt in The Review of Metaphysics, XVI, 4 (Jane 1963), 747-769; John Hick in Theology Today, XX, 2 (July 1963), 295-298; and H. W. Johnstone in The Journal of Philosophy, XL, 16 (August 1, 1963), 467-472. Cf. also articles by I. N. Findlay and F. B. Fitch in Reese and Freeman, Process and Divinity, 515-527 and 529-532, respectively; J. Hick in Hick and A. C. McGill, eds. The Many-faced Argument (New York: Macmillan 1967), 341-356; J. 0. Nelson in The Review of Metaphysics, XVII, 2 (December 1963), 235-242; David Platt in The Journal of Bible and Religion, XXXIV, 3 (July 1966), 244-252 J. E. Smith in The Chicago Theological Seminary Register, LIII, 5 (May 1963), 41-43; and R. J. Wood in The Journal of Religion, XLVI, 4 (October 1966), 477-490; and David A. Pailin, "Some Comments on Hartshorne’s Presentation of the Ontological Argument," Religious Studies, 4, 1 (October 1968), 103-122. Also important are Hartshorne’s responses to Hartt in The Review of Metaphysics, XVII, 2 [December 1963), 289-295; to Hick in Theology Today, XX, 2 (July 1963), 278-283; and to Nelson in The Review of Metaphysics, XVII, 4 (June 1964), 608f. (See also next footnote).
54. See R. L. Purtill’s critique, "Hartshorne’s Model Proof," The Journal of Philosophy, LXII, 4 (July 14, 1966), 397-409; and Hartshorne’s reply, "Necessity," The Review of Metaphysics, XXI, 2 (December 1967), 290-296, plus the rejoinder (297- 307) and surrejoinder (308f.).
55. In Process and Divinity, 471-492.
56. "Religion of Order or Religion of Chaos?", Religion in Life, XXXV, 3 (Summer 1966), 433-449.
57. In Process and Divinity, 181-203.
58. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1959, 1967.
59. Process and Reality, An Essay in Cosmology 47, 54, 137, 531.
60. An Interpretation of Whitehead’s Metaphysics, 393; cf. also pp. 13, 298, 409f., 411. A. H. Johnson, while conceding its difficulties, had held the same view (see Whitehead’s Theory of Reality, 69.).
61. The Journal of Philosophy, LVII, 4 (February 18, 1960), 138-143. For Hartshorne’s statement see "Whitehead’s Novel Intuition" in George L. Kline, ed. Alfred North Whitehead: Essays on His Philosophy (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1963), 23. This view is also favored by D. Emmett, Whitehead’s Philosophy of Organism, p. xxxiii.
62. A Christian Natural Theology (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1965), 188- 192.
63. "Boethius and Whitehead on Time and Eternity," International Philosophical Quarterly, VIII, 1 (March 1968), 65 (cf. pp. 63-67). For a more extensive argument that objectification does not require perishing see Ford’s essay, "Whitehead’s Conception of Divine Spatiality," Southern Journal of Philosophy, VI, I (Spring 1968), 8, 9.
64. "Boethius and Whitehead," 65f.
65. We wish to acknowledge here our special debt to Lewis S. Ford for his contribution to our discussion of this issue, though responsibility for the final formulation must remain our own.
66. "A Question from Physics far Certain Theists," The Journal of Religion, XLI, 4 (October 1961), 293-300.
67. An Interpretation of Whitehead’s Metaphysics, 286-289, 294-300, 393-396. Cf. Wilcox, 299.
68. Wilcox, 299. More recently Lewis Ford challenged Christian at a different point, arguing that if God physically prehends the world, God must occupy spatio-temporal regions because "every physical prehension necessarily includes some extensive standpoint." See Ford, "Divine Spatiality," 7.
69. See Sidney and Beatrice Rome, eds. Philosophical Interrogations (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1964), 324f; and Hartshorne, A Natural Theology for Our Time, 93-95.
70. 0p. cit., 86.
72. "Whitehead Without God," The Christian Scholar, L, 3 (FaIl 1967), 257-264; reprinted in this volume, pp. 311-320.
73. Op. cit., 4-6.
74. Ford, "Is Process Theism Compatible with Relativity Theory?" The Journal of Religion, 48, 2 (April 1968), 124-135 (esp. 127ff.).
75. "Divine Spatiality," loc. cit.
76. "Evil and Unlimited Power," The Review of Metaphysics, XX, 2 (December 1966), 278-289; reprinted in P. H. Hare and E. H. Madden. Evil and the Concept of God (Springfield: Chas. C. Thomas, 1967), chap 6.
77. ‘The Dipolar Conception of Deity," The Review of Metaphysics, XXI, 2 (December 1967), esp. 282-289.
78. "Divine Persuasion and the Triumph of Good," The Christian Scholar, L. 3 (Fall 1967), 235-260; reprinted in this volume.
79. "Ford, "Divine Persuasion," loc. cit.; Peter Hamilton, The Living God and the Modern World (London: Hodder arid Stoughton, 1967), 97-108; and John Cobb, A Christian Natural Theology, 218-220.
80. "Hence the observation of Colin Wilson: "Whitehead has created his own kind of existentialism." Wilson adds, ". . . and it is fuller and more adequate than that of any continental thinker." See Religion and the Rebel (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1957), 317.
81. That which God pursues, Whitehead calls "beauty" which includes "goodness and "truth." The unique, trans-aesthetic meaning Whitehead attaches to "beauty" has caused much misunderstanding of his value theory. Excellent explanations are provided by Ford, "Divine Persuasion," 240-248, and Cobb, A Christian Natural Theology, 98-113.
82. This is Whitehead’s doctrine of "the kingdom of heaven." See Ford, ibid., 250, and Cobb’s discussion of "peace," ibid., 131-134 and 220-223.
83. See Hartshorne’s "The Dipolar Conception at Deity," 285.
84. "Divine Persuasion," 237.
85. The Review of Metaphysics, XIX, 3 (March 1966), 550-564.
86. "The Dipolar Conception of Deity," 273-281.
87. Hartshorne views the interrelationship as follows: Our present moment of existence is dependent upon God’s abstract character of inevitably knowing whatever exists, but not vice versa. God’s concrete knowing of our present existence is dependent upon our present existence, but not vice versa. See ibid., 277f.
88. "Whitehead on the One and the Many," The Southern Journal of Philosophy, 7, 4 (Winter 1969-1970), 387-393; God the Creator (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1968), esp. chaps. 3, 5 and 7.
89. "Neoclassical Theology and Christianity: A Critical Study of Ogden’s Reality of God," International Philosophical Quarterly. IX, 4 (December 1969), 605-624.
90. God the Creator, op. cit., 78.
91. "Neoclassical Theology and Christianity," op. cit., 618.
92. A Christian Natural Theology, op. cit., 203-214; see this volume, pp. 235-343.
93. "God and Creativity," The Southern Journal of Philosophy, 7, 4, (Winter 1969-1970), 377-385.
94. Renewed discussions regarding the explanatory function of the principle of creativity have implications for understanding God’s creative role. Charles Hartshorne and William Christian take a minimal view of the explanatory power of creativity in Whitehead’s metaphysics. Hartshorne (in "Whitehead on Process," Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, XVIII, 2 [June 1958], 517) regards creativity as a concept" referring to "agency as such." Christian takes creativity to be the flame for a general fact, namely that the universe is made up of novel concrescences" (in Interpretation, op. cit., 403) and proposes to translate statements about creativity into statements about individual actual entities ("Some Uses of Reason" in I. Leclerc, ed., The Relevance of Whitehead, op. cit., and "The Concept of God as a Derivative Notion," op. cit.). With this view of creativity, the possibility of ascribing to God a uniquely creative role, as for example Cobb does, would seem to be increased.
A contrasting view, which maximizes the explanatory role of creativity and by implication diminishes the role of God, is that of Walter E. Stokes, S. J. and William Garland. Garland rejects Christian’s view and argues that creativity is a unique kind of explanation, the "ultimate explanation" of the world’s unity and ongoingness ("The Ultimacy of Creativity," The Southern Journal of Philosophy, 7, 4 [Winter 1969-1970], 361-376). Stokes moves exceedingly close to Neville’s description of Being-Itself when he characterizes creativity as "indeterminate [having] no character of its own," yet possessing a fundamental(reality not reducible to the characteristics of the actual entities ("Recent Interpretations of Whitehead’s Creativity," The Modern Schoolman, XXXIX, 2 [May 1962], 32sf. and 329).
95. See, e.g., Reeves, "God and Creativity," op. cit., 383f. and Garland, "The Ultimacy of Creativity," op. cit., 367f.
96. "Whitehead on the One and the Many," op. cit., 393. For an enlightening discussion of the problem of the one and the many as it is treated in Greek and medieval philosophy and in Whitehead, see Ivor Leclerc, "Whitehead and the Problem of God," The Southern Journal of Philosophy, 7, 4 (Winter 1969-1970), 447-455.
97. Precisely this point is raised by Lewis Ford in his recent review of Neville’s God the Creator in Journal of the American Academy of Religion, XXXVIII, 2 (June 1970), 217-219.
98. Op. cit., 251-272; enlarged and reprinted in this volume.
99. One description of these "other grounds" was recently provided by David Hall in "The Autonomy of Religion in Whitehead’s Philosophy," Philosophy Today, XIII, 4 (Winter 1969), 271-283. While not denying the systematic possibility of a "naturalized" Whiteheadian metaphysics, Hall argues that Whitehead grounds rational religion in distinctive aspects of experience which cannot be reduced to ethical modalities, as Sherburne suggests, without greatly impoverishing "the sources of thought, action and feeling to which civilized men refer for self-understanding."
100. The Realities of Faith (New York: Oxford University Press, 1962); The Secularization of Modern Cultures (New York: Oxford University Press, 1966). Much of Meland’s recent thought is briefly summarized in "Analogy and Myth in Postliberal Theology," The Perkins School of Theology Journal, XV, 2 (Winter 1962), 19-27, reprinted in this volume. See also "The Structure of Christian Faith," Religion in Life, XXXVII, 4 (Winter 1968), 551-562.
The aesthetic side of Whitehead’s thought is developed by others too. See, e.g., Ralph Norman, "Steam, Barbarism and Dialectic: Notations on Proof and Sensibility," The Christian Scholar, L, 3 (Fall 1967), 184-196; Stanley R. Hopper, "Whitehead: Redevivus? or Absconditus?" in W. A. Beardslee, ed. America and the Future of Theology (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1967), 112-126; and Colin Wilson, Religion and the Rebel, 303-318. In a nice comparison of process thought and the death-of-God movement, Richard E. Weingart calls for a similar development of process theology; see "Process or Deicide?" Encounter, XXIX, 2 (Spring 1968), 149-157.
101. "How Is Culture a Source for Theology?" Criterion, III, 3 (Summer 1964), 10.
102. In Leclerc, ed. The Relevance of Whitehead, 353-372.
103. In Reese and Freeman, eds. Process and Divinity, 161-180.
104. New York: Harper and Row, 1968.
105. John B. Cobb, Jr., "A Process Systematic Theology," The Journal of Religion, 50, 2 (April 1970), 199-206.
106. In Reese and Freeman, eds., 493-513.
107. See Ogden, The Reality of God and Other Essays (New York: Harper and Row, 1966), 16-20. This analysis of the roots of current disbelief is challenged by Langdon Gilkey, "A Theology in Process," Interpretation, XXI, 4 (October 1967), 448-450, and by Shirley C. Guthrie, Jr., "Theology and Metaphysics," in Wm. A. Beardslee, ed., America and the Future of Theology, 1281.
108. Journal of Religion, XLIII, 1 (January 1963), 1-19; reprinted in The Reality of God, 164-187.
109. Religion in Life, XXXIII, I (Winter 1963-1964), 7-18.
110. "The Temporality of God," in Eric Dinkier, ed. Zeit und Geschichte (Tubingen:) J. C. B. Mohr, 1964), 381-398: reprinted in The Reality of God, 144-163.
111. Published in this volume from Theology In Crisis: A Colloquium on the Credibility of ‘God’, 3-18, printed by Muskingum College. An earlier version appeared as "Love Unbounded: The Doctrine of God" in The Perkins School of Theology Journal, XIX, 3 (Spring 1966), 5-17.
112. Quoted from William Hamilton, "The Death of God Theology," The Christian Scholar, XLVIII, 1 (Spring 1965), 45.
113. McCormick Quarterly. XVIII, Special Supplement (January 1965), 57-75; reprinted in The Reality of God, 144-163.
114. The Journal of Religion, XLV 3 (July 1965), 175-195; reprinted in The Reality of God, 71-98.
The need to relate process theology to current linguistic philosophy is nicely posed by Malcolm Diamond in "Contemporary Analysis: The Metaphysical Target and the Theological Victim," The Journal of Religion, 47, 3 (July 1967), 210-232; reprinted in this volume.
Ogden has offered a critique of one linguistic philosopher, Antony Flew, in "God and Philosophy," The Journal of Religion, 48, 2 (April 1968), 161-181 (note Ogden’s response to Diamond in footnote 19). Three other essays relating process thought to the problem of religious language are: John B. Cobb, Jr., "Speaking About God," Religion In Life, XXXVI, I (Spring 1967), 28-39; Donald A. Crosby, "Language and Religious Language in Whitehead’s Philosophy"; and Herbert R. Reinelt, "Whitehead and Theistic Language," in The Christian Scholar, L, 3 (Fall 1967), 210-221 and 222-234, respectively The most extensive study in this area, however, is Language and Natural Theology by Bowman L. Clarke (The Hague: Mouton, 1966). Clarke defends and clarifies the rules for descriptive discourse about God in bath natural and revealed theology. Then he develops an informal and a formal "explicatum" for the neo-classical view of God, utilizing in the latter the linguistic framework of Nelson Goodman.
115. Ogden refers to Hartshorne’s discussion of "the two strands in historical theology" in the latter’s Man’s Vision of God, 85-141.
116. "Theology and Philosophy: A New Phase of the Discussion," Journal of Religion,, XLIV, I (January 1964), 1-16.
117. The Reality of God, chap. one, esp. 21-43. A brief version of the argument is presented in "How Does God Function in Human Life?" Christianity and Crisis, XXVII, 8 (May 15, 1967), 105-108, and, slightly expanded, in Theology in Crisis, op. cit., pp. 33-39. For a critique and proposed revision of Ogden’s view, see Delwin Brown, "God’s Reality and Life’s Meaning," Encounter, XXVIII, 3 (Summer 1967), 256-262.
For critical discussions of Ogden’s argument and the entire book, see Langdon B. Gilkey, "A Theology in Process," Interpretation, XXI, 4 (October 1967), 447-459; Ray L. Hart, "Schubert Ogden on the Reality of God," Religion In Life, XXXVI, 4 (Winter 1967), 506-515; Antony Flew, "Reflections on ‘The Reality of God’," The Journal of Religion, 48, 2 (April 1968), 150-161: and Robert C. Neville, "Neoclassical Metaphysics and Christianity: A Critical Study of Ogden’s Reality of God," International Philosophical Quarterly, IX, 4 (December 1969), 605-624.
118. Cf. also "The Strange Witness of Unbelief" in The Reality of God, 120-143.
119. The Centennial Review, VIII, 2 (Spring 1964), 174-188. See also Cobb’s A Christian Natural Theology, 270-277.
For another process analysis of the problem of relativism, see Clark M. Williamson, "God and the Relativities of History," Encounter, XXVIII, 3 (Summer 1967), 199-218.
120. The Journal of Bible and Religion, XXXIII, 4 (October 1965), 314-320.
121. Cobb indicates how Whitehead’s philosophy avoids nihilism in an essay "Nihilism, Existentialism, and Whitehead," Religion In Life, XXX, 4 (Autumn 1961), 521-533.
122. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1962.
123. See chap. one of ibid. and Cobb’s "Personal Conclusions."
124. Schubert Ogden’s critique of the idea of "a Christian natural theology" appeared in Christian Advocate, IX, 18 (September 23, 1965), lit., and is reprinted in this volume. See also the extensive critical reviews by Langdon Gilkey in Theology Today, XXII, 4 (January 1966), esp. 530-535 (Cobb’s reply is in Theology Today; XXIII, 1 [April 1966], 140-142) and by Fritz Guy in Andrews University Seminary Studies, IV, 4 (1966), 107-134.
125. For a less technical statement of Cobb’s theological views, see God and the World (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1969).
126. Cf. also the preface, and the first two sections of "Christian Natural Theology and Christian Existence," The Christian Century, XXXII, 9 (March 3, 1965), 265-267.
Because this survey does not include a separate section on theological method, other discussions of this topic must be noted here. A view of the relation of theology and metaphysics similar to Cobb’s is offered in William A. Christian, "The New Metaphysics and Theology," in Wm. A. Beardslee, ed. America and The Future of Theology, 94-111; reprinted in The Christian Scholar, L, 3 (Fall 1967), 304-315. Both volumes contain replies to Christian’s essay. The topic is also discussed in essays by J. Harry Cotton ("The Meaning of ‘God’ in Whitehead’s Philosophy") and Clark M. Williamson ("A Response to Professor Cotton") in Encounter, 29, 2 (Spring 1968), 125-140 and 141-148, respectively. An analysis of a different aspect of the problem of theological method may be found in Don S. Browning, "Psychological and Ontological Perspectives on Faith and Reason," The Journal of Religion, XLV, 4 (October 1965), 296-308, reprinted in this volume. D. D. Williams’s most recent discussion is "Love and the Intellect," chap. 13 of The Spirit and the Forms of Love, op. cit. (For additional material on theological method, see footnotes 100 and 114.)
127. Stokes’s essay "God for Today and Tomorrow" is published in this volume. Earlier related works include "Freedom As Perfection: Whitehead, Thomas and Augustine" Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, XXXVI (1962), 134-142; "Whitehead’s Challenge to Theistic Realism," The New Scholasticism, XXXVIII, 1 (January 1964), 1-21; and "Is God Really Related to This World?" Proceedings XXXIX, (1965), 145-151. Whereas Stokes relates process thought to Augustinian Trinitarian theology, another Catholic theologian, Ewert Cousins, turns to the Greek model of the dynamic Trinity as, e.g., in St. Bonaventure (see "Truth in St. Bonaventure" Proceedings . . . XLVIII , 204-210). Both Stokes and Cousins hold that the tradition of a dynamic deity is much stronger in classical theology than is generally supposed.
128. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1967. Cf. Hamilton’s "The Theological Importance of A. N. Whitehead," Theology, LXVIII, 538 (April 1965), 187-195. A Whiteheadian interpretation of prayer may also be found in Robert M. Cooper, "God as Poet and Man as Praying," The Personalist, XLIX, 4 (Autumn 1968), 474-488.
129. New York: Philosophical Library, 1967.
130. St. Louis: Bethany, 1966.
131. New York: Macmillan, 1968. Though very brief, Pittenger’s more recent book, Alfred North Whitehead (Richmond, Va.: John Knox Press, 1969) is a wonderfully sensitive introduction to Whitehead’s influence in current theology.
132. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1969. Mention should also be made here of the particularly informative comparison of Teilhard and Whitehead by Ian G. Barbour, "Teilhard’s Process Metaphysics," The Journal of Religion, 49, 2 (April 1969), 136-159.
133. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1965.
134. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1967, 210.
135. "A Christological Assessment of Dipolar Theism," The Journal of Religion, 47, 2 (April 1967), 87-99; reprinted in this volume.
136. The Incarnate Lord. Cf. Pittenger’s criticisms of Thornton in The Word Incarnate, op. cit., 107.
137. Reality As Social Process, 24. See also pp. 145-154, and Hartshorne’s "A Philosopher’s Assessment of Christianity" in Walter Leibrecht, ed. Religion and Culture (New York: Harper & Bros., 1959), 175. Ralph E. James, Jr. develops a Christology along Hartshornian lines in The Concrete God, 127-148. See too James’s Christology in "A Theology of Acceptance," The Journal of Religion, 49, 4(October 1969), 376-387; and in "Process Cosmology and Theological Particularity," published in this volume. Also Ronald L. Williams, responding to Ogletree, proposes a rather novel christological methodology utilizing Hartshorne’s philosophical method and his dipolar theism. Williams’s Christology is similar to Hartshorne’s, though considerably more elaborate.
138. Op cit., 28Sf. In Christology Reconsidered (London, SCM Press, 1970) Pittenger restates and defends his christological position in response to criticisms of his earlier statements.
139. What Sense Does It Make to Say, ‘God Acts in History’?" and "What Does It Mean to Affirm, ‘Jesus Christ is Lord’?" in The Reality of God, 164-205.
140. See David Griffin’s essay, "Schubert Ogden’s Christology and the Passion Process Philosophy," The Christian Scholar, L, 3 (Fall 1967), 290-303; reprinted in this volume. Eugene H. Peters’s criticisms of Ogden’s Christology are found in The Creative Advance, 111-117.
141. "Some Proposals For a Modern Christology," in Norman Pittenger, ed. Christ for Us Today (London: SCM Press, 19681, 164. See esp. 161-165 of this essay, also published in the present volume (see pp. 367-372) Cf. The Living God and the Modern World, chaps. 6 and 7.
142. "Some Proposals For a Modern Christology," 166f.
143. "Schubert Ogden’s Christology," loc. cit.
144. "A Whiteheadian Christology," published in this volume. Also see Cobb’s essays, "The Finality of Christ in a Whiteheadian Perspective," in Dow Kirkpatrick, ed. The Finality of Christ (New York: Abingdon Press, 1966), 138-147; "Ontology, History and Christian Faith," Religion in Life, XXXIV, 2 (Spring 1965), 270-287; and "Some Thoughts on the Meaning of Christ’s Death," Religion In Life, XXVIII, 2 (Spring 1959), 212-222.
145. "The Finality of Christ," 147-154.
146. For a critique of direct physical prehensions of distantly past occasions see Donald Sherburne, "Whitehead Without God," 265-267; in the present volume, 320-322.
147. The Structure of Christian Existence (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1967). There is a brief analysis in "The Finality of Christ," 122-138.
148. The Structure of Christian Existence, 125.
149. Ibid., 124.
150. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1966.
151 Cobb discusses the soul, immortality, freedom, and ethical obligation in A Christian Natural Theology, chaps. two and three. Immortality and man as a responsible sinner are topics developed in "Whitehead’s Philosophy and a Christian Doctrine of Man," The Journal of Bible and Religion, XXXII, 3 (July 1964), 209-220.
152. "Whitehead’s Philosophy and a Christian Doctrine of Man," 210-215.
153. "The Aims of Societies and the Aims of God," Journal of the American Academy of Religion, XXXV, 2 (June 1967), 149-158; reprinted in this volume.
154. Process and Reality, An Essay in Cosmology 523ff.
155. "The Significance of Man in the Life of God," in Theology In Crisis, 41. Ct. "Time, Death, and Everlasting Life," in The Logic of Perfection, 245-262.
156. The Living God, 108-141.
157. Process and Reality, An Essay in Cosmology, 532.
158. The Living God, 128, 137-141. Here he follows the judgment of Whitehead, (Religion in the Making 110f.) and Hartshorne ("Time, Death, and Everlasting Life," 253f. and Philosophers Speak of God, op. cit., 284f.)
159. A Christian Natural Theology, 63-70, and "Whitehead’s Philosophy and a Christian Doctrine of Man," 215-220.