Becoming and Belonging

by Norman Pittenger

Dr. Pittenger, philosopher and theologian, was a senior member of King’s College, Cambridge for many years, then Professor of Christian Apologetics at the General Theological Seminary in New York City, before retiring in 1966.

Published by Morehouse Publishing, Wilton, Connecticut, 1989. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.


(ENTIRE BOOK) The meaning of human existence in the context of Process Theology. God creates each of us as a living process, not a static being, interacting constantly with God’s universe. Our highest human possibility is to move toward “the image of God.”


  • Preface

    To exist as human is to exist as an instance of “becoming” or developing (for better or worse) and also to belong with others of our kind in a great enterprise to which each one of us makes her or his contribution, for good or for ill.

  • Chapter 1: Christian Faith

    Becoming and belonging points to the “processive” or developmental nature of all reality; and process thought points to the communal or social quality in that reality.

  • Chapter 2: The Loving God and the Fact of Evil

    We can do little if anything against natural disaster; but we can do something to alleviate pain in the animal and human world, if only by refusing to inflict suffering beyond absolute necessity.

  • Chapter 3: The Human Person

    To be human is not only to ‘become” but also to “belong.” In the world as we now know it to be, all the constituent events are held in some sort of continuity of aim or intention, whether this is consciously or unconsciously entertained. God, too, is affected and influenced by what happens in the world and in human life.

  • Chapter 4: Personal Human Relationships

    An analysis of negative relationships: self-centeredness, depersonalization, cruelty or actual damage to the partner, distortion of responsibility, and denying proper proportion or patterning.

  • Chapter 5: Familial Relationships

    Belonging, in terms of the family, proper appreciation of the self, a wish for mutuality, the augmentation of the personal quality of the other, and the joy of belonging.

  • Chapter 6: Social Relationships

    Two possible kinds of social harmony — a closed society and an open society. Only an open society is healthy — dynamic, not static. This will require a spirit of adventure and an element of risk.

  • Chapter 7: God as Recipient

    In process thought, God is the chief receptive agency in creation. Whatever is done, and wherever or by what or whom it is done, makes a difference to God, meaning that God is not only that One who effects things; but also is the One who is affected by things. He remains always God, yet the accomplishments of the created order are received by him into his own life, and to them he responds by making use of them for the furthering of his divine intention.