The ‘Last Things’ in a Process Perspective

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 London: Epworth Press, 1970, This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.


(ENTIRE BOOK) Christians have always been concerned about last things – death, judgement, heaven, and hell. The author gives the outworn dogmas about these issues a sense of reality and significance for Christians today.


  • Chapter 1: The Traditional Scheme An approach to "the last things," from the standpoint of Process Theology. It is too late to resurrect the old beliefs, but there are important values which they affirmed and expressed.
  • Chapter 2: An Approach to a New Perspective A discussion of the assumptions about last things. What did the last things mean to men and women who accepted the scheme quite literally or with this or that reservation or re-interpretation?
  • Chapter 3: Death We need to forcibly come to terms with our own death. We all are going to die! In the face of this irrevocable fact, we must undertake the responsibility of loving, for that and that only makes possible the authenticity of living.
  • Chapter 4: Judgement We are victims of a sentimentalized notion of love and how it works. What judgement intends to say is utterly integral to genuine love. Love always is judgement, in its authentic meaning.
  • Chapter 5: Heaven and Hell Hell is the absence of God. The alternative is enjoyment of God, in which God accepts and receives into Himself the person who, in ignorance and impotence and by an act of free decisions, has been possessed of the kind of ‘becoming’ which makes his or her acceptable and able to be received by God.
  • Chapter 6: Question and Hope God as desire, or as the great Desire-for-good, is the yearning God, seeking to fulfil others in relationship with them, and by that very token seeking their returning love, which because it is given to God freely is also God's own fulfillment, God's own enrichment.
  • Chapter 7: The Centrality of Love Love is always a relationship; and a relationship involves two who are in it -- God to man, man to God -- in which each of them is not only acting in a causal manner but also being acted upon in an affective manner.
  • Chapter 8: After the ‘Death of God’ The talk in the "Death of God" talk was the death of certain concepts of God, rather than a supposed death of God himself. It made its contribution and that contribution is past. The author discusses a number of opinions that follow the "Death of God" theology.
  • Preface A brief sketch of the significance that may be discovered for those living today, in the traditional scheme of the "last things" – death, judgement, heaven and hell.