A Christian Natural Theology Based on the Thought of Alfred North Whitehead

by John B. Cobb, Jr.

John B. Cobb, Jr., Ph.D. is Professor of Theology Emeritus at the Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, California, and Co-Director of the Center for Process Studies there. His many books currently in print include: Reclaiming the Church (1997); with Herman Daly, For the Common Good; Becoming a Thinking Christian (1993); Sustainability (1992); Can Christ Become Good News Again? (1991); ed. with Christopher Ives, The Emptying God: a Buddhist-Jewish-Christian Conversation (1990); with Charles Birch, The Liberation of Life; and with David Griffin, Process Theology: An Introductory Exposition (1977). He is a retired minister in the United Methodist Church. His email address is cobbj@cgu.edu..

Published by Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1965. Used by permission. This book was prepared for Religion Online by Ted & Winnie Brock.


(ENTIRE BOOK) There is a need for a Christian natural theology. To John Cobb, the philosophy of Albert North Whitehead provides the best basis for one, and Dr. Cobb provides a such a systematic theology in this important book.


  • Preface There is a place for a less rigorous and more personal explanation for the reopening of the work of natural theology and specifically for the appeal of Whitehead.
  • Chapter 1: An Introduction to Whitehead’s Philosophy An introduction to Whitehead’s perspective and a clue as to the meaning of some of his essential terms.
  • Chapter 2: The Human Soul A number of features of Whitehead’s doctrine of man that have bearing upon theological anthropology -- the nature of humankind.
  • Chapter 3: Man as Responsible Being A summary of the major features of the value theory as developed by Whitehead. Also reflections on the specifically ethical situation of man that goes beyond anything to be found in Whitehead.
  • Chapter 4: Whitehead’s Doctrine of God The development of the thought about God in Whitehead. His methodology is discussed descriptively rather than critically.
  • Chapter 5: A Whiteheadian Doctrine of God Systematic problems and developing solutions as raised by Whitehead are discussed, but with some points which lead to conclusions definitely not accepted by Whitehead.
  • Chapter 6: Religion An attempt to understand religion in Whiteheadian terms along with how his own philosophy can account for types of religious experience not reflected upon by Whitehead himself. "Here too," Cobb states, "to the best of my knowledge, I am breaking new ground."
  • Chapter 7: The Theological Task An attempt to explicate that understanding of theology and its problematic nature which underlies this whole book, and Cobb’s own understanding of the nature of philosophy and theology. The reader with strongly methodological interests may wish to turn to this chapter before he reads the first six.