I. The Point of View I have been asked to provide a Christian critique of Pure Land Buddhism as that is presented in the three essays with which this volume begins. It is important to underline the "a". I cannot speak for Christians generally. No one can. And in my case I …
(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.
“The hard fact, beyond all sentimentality, is that either we share suffering in love or outside of love, and it is not the same in one case as in the other.” [Daniel Day Williams]. It matters if someone loves us. No human experience is more fundament to the Christian faith and tradition than the …
Al Alfred North Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas (New York: Macmillan, 1933) CPA John B. Cobb, Jr., Christ in a Pluralistic Age (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1975) IL Lionel S. Thornton, The Incarnate Lord (London: Longmans, Green, 1928) PC David R. Griffin, A Process Christology (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1973) PR Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality (New York: Macmillan, 1929) …
Throughout this text the following abbreviations are used to refer to the principal works of Alfred North Whitehead. AE The Aims of Education and Other Essays. Macmillan, 1929. Al Adventures of Ideas. Macmillan, 1933. CN The Concept of Nature. Cambridge University Press, 1920. Dial Dialogues of Alfred North Whitehead, as recorded by Lucian Price. Little, Brown, 1954. ESP Essays in …
(ENTIRE BOOK) A survey of process thought for the layperson: The author writes for those not necessarily versed in complex theological language. The process view of society, politics, psychology, science and education. Further reading references are included at the end of each chapter..
(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.”
Metaphysics seems to many a quite "impractical" enterprise. And it is true that some pursue metaphysics simply out of the desire to know. That is surely a laudable motive, and as our culture discourages such interests, it is all the more appropriate that a few of us should continue to encourage it. Nevertheless, …
The intent of this bibliography is to present, as far as possible, a complete listing of significant works on Whiteheadian process theology. It includes all of the works by Whitehead and Hartshorne that have obvious theological importance, works on theological topics that have been significantly influenced by Whiteheadian philosophy, and essays that are critical of …
The panpsychism displayed in Whitehead’s elaborated accounts of temporality, causality, perception, and the subject-object correlation is a frequently noted and discussed aspect of his philosophy of organism. Panpsychist or proto-mentalist interpretations of Bergson’s thought, by way of contrast, are most rare.1 To the best of my knowledge, Milic Capek, in his Bergson and Modern Physics, …
We may not survive these next few years. If we can devise new mechanisms to help us survive this round of terrible crises, we have a chance of moving into a new world of incredible potentialities for all mankind.
The ground to be covered in this volume includes discussions of the biblical, historical and patristic understandings of the love of God and human love as they encounter both ancient and contemporary theology and philosophy.
As a background for the reader, Lowe presents the major emphases in Whitehead’s complex and elaborate concepts.
Process thought makes sense of the kind of world that modern scientific inquiry has disclosed, while at the same time taking seriously the depths of human experience with which the humanities, the religious outlook and the aesthetic enterprise.
An introduction to Whitehead’s perspective and a clue as to the meaning of some of his essential terms.
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.
The choice frequently offered is between being “a Christian” of a very narrowly “orthodox” type or being “a modern man.” But the Christian thinker can be both — by finding a “secular” confirmation for his belief in the God whose suffering love shares in the world’s pain while at the same time God’s triumphant joy is in part derived from the happiness which the world can know.
Whiteheadian thought offers a different way of looking at reality that requires rethinking the way we view God. It begins with a philosophy that endeavors to frame a coherent, logical, necessary system of general ideas that combines a creative and unique expression of the nature and unity of God. It can lead us to an understanding of our personal faith as well as the religious experience of mankind.
Modern man can no longer go along with the idea that to have faith, one has to abandon the historical, secular and earthly — that, in effect, he has to surrender his very humanity. To bring back a sense of belief to the modern world, there is need of a reformulation and broadening of our theological understanding of belief based on an evolutionary view of reality.
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.
The next fifty years may be the most crucial in all of man’s history.
The understanding of God that Whitehead came to is sharply critical of many of our inherited notions, particularly concerning divine omniscience, omnipotence, and immutability. Classically, God’s power is seen in terms of omnipotence, and God is creator as the sole primary efficient cause of the world. In process theism God is primarily persuasive, creating more indirectly by providing the lure for each occasion whereby it can create itself.
The core of process thought: Rather than a “substance theology” based on static, spatial models, process thought “switches gears” to a concern with spatial-temporal models such as change in God, Christ becoming divine and the on-going process of revelation.
TESTIMONY TO GOD’S POWER High up on the slopes of Mount Carmel, the conflict is joined. Two factions are present: the numerous representatives of Baal, and a single proponent of Yahweh by the name of Elijah. The issue to be decided is a simple but far-reaching one: whose god has power—which means, of course, whose …
The process-substantialist view presents our basic substance as relational, as responsible, as seeking justice, as being creative, as seeking novelty and adventure, as not being fixed.
The paradox of agape expressed in Jesus’ words that “He who saves his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake and the gospels will find it” is explored both in the critics of Christian self-sacrifice, including Fromm, Camus and others, and in the more traditional understandings of agape including the monastics, Luther, Kierkegaard and others.
The new and the old morality are both inadequate. Process thought can make important contributions to the old and new because it is both metaphysical and flexible.
God’s immutability and God’s impassibility as apatheia are two sides of one coin. If God is beyond change, then it is not possible for God to be affected by what is other than God, wherefore God can be said to be “apathetic.” True, God could change in some ways and still be beyond affectations. But …
Somehow in God the basic truth of personality is combined with the equally basic truth of sociality — and this has implications for our view of human nature. The triunity of God can serve as a symbol, offering a hint or intimation into the mystery of God as God is active in the world; and our process conceptuality has made it clear that God is the divine activity.
Ogden addresses the problem of the doctrine of God for many thoughtful contemporaries who have opted either for complete secularism or for classical Christian theism, and suggests an alternative approach based on Whitehead’s philosophy.
Though sex is not love and love is not always sexual they are linked, and Christian doctrine affirms that agape fulfills human loves including the sexual when sex transcends itself in self-giving to the beloved. The author explores this thesis in the light of Christian tradition, new understandings of sexuality, and the meaning of faithfulness, and suggests a sexual ethic that expresses justice, especially for women.
Process theology as a provider of a solid philosophical framework for a great diversity of human experience and belief. It therefore is helpful in synthesizing the diversity of interpretations of immortality.
Let us now turn back the pages of time and visit another kind of challenge to the theistic consensus that has accompanied what we have just been observing, as a concomitant undercurrent—namely, that the God of unqualified and opposable omnipotence is, in fact, not the living God of scripture at all but is, for all …
Hartshorne offers a closely reasoned philosophical argument for a doctrine of God based, not on the classical metaphysical categories of traditional theology, but on process philosophy that allows some non-absolute aspects of God.
Dr. Pittenger gives eight affirmations about human nature from a process perspective. Humans: 1. Are dependent upon God; 2. Have potentialities; 3. Are social; 4. Are compound organisms; 5. Are sexual; 6. Are unable to fulfill proper achievement; 7. Know their possibilities; 8. Find total fulfillment only in God.
Cobb addresses elements of incoherence in Whitehead’s doctrine of God including the nature of God in relation to time, space, external objects and creativity.
Assuming that agape requires justice in human affairs, the author explores the implication of biblical love for social justice in its historical foundations, in the terms of justice, group loyalty, humanitarianism, protest, nonviolence and nurturance.
From the 1970s, female scholars began to unveil what should have been obvious all along but had not been: that the champions of traditional theism were males championing a one-sidedly male image of the divine. Genesis 1:27 may have proclaimed that God created humankind in God’s own image, and created us “male and female,” but …
New Testament Christians were not Christians apart from the fellowship, the church. Dr. Pittenger’s "process" approach to the church is more aesthetic than ethical. He defends its sacraments and its rituals.
The notion of relativity that process theology employs is discussed. All reality is inter-related in space and time, and no single real entity has a prior absoluteness that stands outside the process of reality as a whole.
Stokes explores Whitehead’s approach to a philosophy of religion in how religious experience is open to critical reflection that does no violence either to man’s dignity or God’s existence.
The relation of love to the intellect proceeds from three assumption: first, that faith transcends rational categories through God’s self-revelation in Christ; second, that intellectual understanding is necessary for the guidance of human life; and third, that both seek the same object in God’s being and His revealed truth – namely, that it is through agape with its consequent repentance, humility, and understanding of human limits that the intellect can appropriately function.
God is the divine creative love epitomized in Jesus, and adding to this God’s reception of the good accomplished by the free decisions of humankind, we have a portrayal of human destiny and the understanding of the true significance of resurrection.
We have entertained responses to traditional Christian theism that proclaim the liberating death of such a deity, or at least the death of the supreme masculinity of that God. These are one way to challenge the hammerlock hold that divine omnipotence has held over its adherents. Another path was also available, taken by some, that …
Themes that have been surfacing in the myriad of challenges to the Augustinian synthesis known as Christian theism overlap and interlock. The mystics’ deity was more fully identified by love than by power. A God not hemmed in by a doctrine of immutability becomes open to the adventure of divine love. A God who is …
Dr. Pittenger concludes with a plea that our new situation requires us to think again, to work through once more, the things that are both human and Christian.
Loomer discusses and evaluates Stephen Ely’s conclusion that Whitehead’s metaphysical analysis is not of the God of religion but is based on Whitehead’s concepts of value, goodness and the individual.
Ford addresses the problem of reconciling God’s goodness and power in the face of unexplained evil, and the resulting effect on both human freedom and the final triumph of goodness.
Impulses for developing a theological understanding that is liberating for victims of a variety of types of oppression burst on the scene almost simultaneously. Three that came to prominence in the 1970s were the struggles against patriarchal oppression of women, racial oppression of Blacks in the United States, and economic and political oppression of the …
We have examined how, one by one, elements of the Augustinian superstructure have crumbled away under the assault of competing ideas. God’s immutability has been disputed by the preferability of a divine nature that is open to, and responsive to, new developments, in continuity with the biblical witness. God’s stoic apathy under the doctrine of …
Ogletree describes Hartshorne’s understanding of God as dipolar, or encompassing both abstract and concrete polls, and examines this in the light of the Christian confession of Jesus Christ.
To begin the task of reconceiving not a God whose power is loving but a God whose love is powerful requires a return to where we began, with another look back at the biblical witness that surely must underlie all theological formulation to some degree or other. If the concern in Part One was to …
Griffin attempts to determine whether Ogden’s use of process philosophy is adequate, and concludes that process philosophy provides more adequate possibilities than those used by Ogden.
ENVISIONING A FRESH ALTERNATIVE: KEY COMPONENTS We are coming to an end of a long and fruitful journey, which is in turn a new beginning. The task that remains is to flesh out an understanding of how the love that is God empowers every becoming occasion to maximize its own exercise of power. I begin …
Hamilton defends his incarnational Christology with reliance on process philosophy as a rational support for the resurrection of Jesus.
Some basic Whiteheadian concepts: becoming, actual occasions, eternal objects, prehensions.
In order to get a clearer perspective on the development of the doctrine of love we must examine the main themes of love in the Old Testament, including the covenant with the Hebrews as God’s act of love, the human love required in faithfulness to the covenant, and the suffering of God as a result of human sin in failing to keep the covenant.
Whitehead’s view of the nature of reality offers a new way of thinking about “things,” and suggest that reality is not composed of things but of self-creative events, individual units, having both physical and mental aspects, and being internally related to each other. This offers an alternative to the mechanistic view of the nature of reality, and substitutes creativity in place of determinism.
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?
Belief, whether atheistic or theistic, is intrinsic to reason. The author examines the nature and character of atheistic humanism and non-Christian religions, and how such forms of religious belief are similar to and different from Christian belief.
Whitehead had little affinity with the Old Testament’s barbaric conception of God. Rather, he was at one with Plato’s conviction “that the divine element in the world is to be conceived as a persuasive agency and not as a coercive agency.” Whitehead thought this concept was “one of the greatest intellectual discoveries in the history of religion.”
If the world is a world in dynamic movement, then God as its chief principle of explanation will himself be in dynamic movement. If ceaseless adaptation to novel possibilities is found in the order of creation, the meaning of creation will itself include a factor which in the highest degree is adaptable.
The historical development of process philosophy in the field of theology, and a survey the main thinkers’ emphases.
A number of features of Whitehead’s doctrine of man that have bearing upon theological anthropology — the nature of humankind.
Despite lending itself to material, scientific and human understanding, process studies has room for the rich resources humanity finds in literature, music and art.
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.
Fundamental transformation of ideas, attitudes, values, commitments, and goals is required. The author suggests several priority areas requiring change: nationalism, racism, consumption, population and war.
The writers of the New Testament followed the precedent of the Greek translators of the Old Testament some 250 years earlier. “In classical Greek the meaning for agape was broad,” Bernard Brady reminds us. It “was used to suggest a variety of loves, such as affection, fondness, and contentedness. The translators [of the Septuagint] probably …
The process-relational view projects the notion that unique individuals do create themselves and their societies, as profoundly shaped as they are by them, instead of being subsumed by an omnicompetent and all knowing state — God.
Cobb attempts to explain explains how we can intelligently affirm the unique presence of God in Jesus in such a way as to avoid detracting from his humanity and yet understand explain his strange authority.
James describes the emerging confrontation between philosophical cosmology and historical theology and the avenues for resolution offered by process philosophy for metaphysics, anthropology and evolution.
Meland traces the growing influence of Whitehead’s philosophy on the images of thought both in modernism as stimulated by Darwinian evolution, and changes in the post-Darwinian era ushered in by the creative evolution movement in physics.
Whitehead observes that religion and science have always been in conflict, and each has been in a state of continual internal development, but both should seek a large scale perspective based on mutual respect and toleration.
Williams asks “Can we believe in the progress of the reign of God in history or is the ultimate conflict between His Kingdom and the kingdoms of this world unresolved to the end of time?” He suggests the answer does not emerge from liberalism or existentialism but rather through process theology.
Allan argues that if God aims at the salvation of men, and men and societies are inextricably united, then there is no salvation apart from salvation of the social order, or indeed from the salvation of the world.
The author turns to Charles Hartshorne to interpret Whitehead’s concept of God as “the one who is worshiped.” Hartshorne suggests that “worship is the integrating of all one’s thoughts and purposes, all valuations and meanings, all perceptions and conceptions.” And God, the object of this worship, is “. . .the wholeness of the world, correlative to the wholeness of every sound individual dealing with the world.” This fits with the Whiteheadian world-view in which each individual entity is an integration of parts into a whole.
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.
The particular valued possibilities which shape our actions come from many sources, but ultimately they derive from the creative activity of God. God is the ultimate power of the future, rescuing the world from degeneration into chaos by the relentless provision of ever-new creative possibilities for the world to actualize.
The crisis of our times appears at the point where its positive images of the future have faded or been replaced with ambiguous or negative ones. Hope for our society lies in the possibility of the rebirth of visionary thought.
“What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What concord is there between the Academy and the Church?” Tertullian famously queried around the turn of the third century CE (Prescription Against Heretics, 7).1 The question might just as well be turned on its head: What has Jerusalem to do with Athens? The early encounter of …
The centrality of love as agape in the New Testament brought a new understanding of God’s relation to mankind and our relation to God and to each other, characterized by the suffering of God in the Messiah as the disclosure of the way love redeems.
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.
Dr. Pittenger reflects upon man as being in the process of becoming, as more than a thinking being, one who can look to the future, a valuing creature who can have an aim and who is extremely social but has individual identity as well. The author also comments on the nature of Jesus from a process-thought perspective.
One of the reasons for the denial of the reality of God by modern secularizers, by Sartre, Nietzsche, Marx, etc., was the identification of God with the other-worldly. Instead, God should be understood as the Creator-Ground of the universe in process. To attain the Ground is not a destruction of the universe or its abandonment, but its differentiation and fulfillment. God as Ground is not a threat to human growth, but rather the necessary condition for man’s fruition and maturation.
The author contrasts Whitehead’s thought with traditional religions which start with proof of God. Whitehead inverts the process, starting with the experience of religion and grasping the truth that there is more at issue in the world than the world itself.
Whitehead offers his abbreviated argument for a religious dogma based on a rational metaphysics rather than historical investigation.
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.
Process theologians argue for a “public” theology, not limiting truth claims to a confessional stance with its own internal criteria, but open to the public criteria of common human experience and rational inquiry.
Process thought has filled the gap that mechanistic determinism could not fill. A unitary interpretation of existence, human and natural, can make sense of and give sense to all the fields of human inquiry and human enjoyment.
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.
The three major forms of the interpretation of love in the Christian tradition are: the Augustinian with its neo-platonic roots and existential developments; the Franciscan with its radical nonconformity and nonintellectual approach; and the Lutheran with its insistence that love of God can only be known by grace through faith.
Relying on the work of Lewis Ford, the author traces the concept of God that emerges in the middle of Whitehead’s writings and develops from its atheistic/agnostic origins into a more fully developed conceptualization of God.
Several criticisms of process philosophy that can be raised from the standpoint of Christian faith.
Dr. Pittenger addresses education from a process perspective and gives nine implications concerning its importance He concludes that education is to be considered as a matter of imaginative and aesthetic response to the human situation and to whatever is supremely worshipful in the cosmos — that is, to what religion calls “God.”
The author reformulates God’s eternity as the Fullness of Time and examines the implications of God as immanent in history and in human temporality.
Recent theologies of hope tend to develop their categories too exclusively in biblical and theological categories without a consideration with the processes of the real world.
God is constantly changing as he includes more and more reality in his consequent nature. What we do on earth makes a difference in the very reality of God.
An analysis of negative relationships: self-centeredness, depersonalization, cruelty or actual damage to the partner, distortion of responsibility, and denying proper proportion or patterning.
The theories of modern psychology and process thought have much in common, but at the same time some differences. Process thinkers do not accept the prevalent substantialist and deterministic understanding of the self.
The autor disproved the suggestion that process principles seem to suggest no evidence of real christology. His own christological proposal follows the lead of the early church, and finds its basis also in the resurrection of Jesus.
The early fourth century CE saw a tectonic shift in the fortunes of the oppressed but ever growing Christian community: The emperor Constantine handed over the reins of religious leadership in his empire to the church. One might readily surmise that the course of that century would bring forth significant theological developments demonstrating the connection …
A discussion on the destiny of man and “immortality,” considered in the light of the views of both Whitehead and Hartshorne. Finally, the chapter concludes with an analysis of Process Theology and Christian Faith.
The development of the thought about God in Whitehead. His methodology is discussed descriptively rather than critically.
The rationale for process theology evolved from philosophical critiques of Augustine’s attempt to combine the living God of the Bible with the changeless being of neo-platonic metaphysics and reframed the doctrine of God in relation to a contemporary view of nature and the new historical consciousness.
The author examines what Whitehead had to say about God in Process and Reality by dividing the discussion into two parts. First, the primordial or eternal nature of God as the principal of abstraction or originality and the source of the initial aim, and second, the consequent or temporal nature of God in which God, as part of reality, interacts with the rest of reality.
Systematic problems and developing solutions as raised by Whitehead are discussed, but with some points which lead to conclusions definitely not accepted by Whitehead.
Cobb argues for a Christian natural theology that is inclusive enough to encompass both reason and faith, and posits that the philosophy of Whitehead provides the best possibility for such a theology.
Dr. Mellert discusses the relations both of God to the world and the world to God.
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.
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.
The author spells out some of the characteristics of a biopolitical theology, incorporating process theology.
Dr. Pittenger believes that if there is an absolute, “that absolute is nothing other than love itself, with its corollary in the imperative that we should live in, grow in, express, and share love.”
In its encounter with the sciences, process thought has not only appropriated new scientific insights but has attempted a mutual transformation through which the sciences are liberated from the dominance of the mechanistic, deterministic, substantialist view into a holistic relational vision that is more coherent, consistent, adequate to the facts, and congruent with the best in the contemporary scientific enterprise itself.
The “Dark Ages” were anything but dark insofar as ongoing theological inquiry is concerned. While following Augustine’s lead, new threads were woven into the fabric of his tapestry, including both a refined understanding of the character of God’s power and fresh reflections on the nature of God’s love. All of that came to a head …
Ordinary language and scientific language by their very nature abstract from ultimate questions. Religious language, on the other hand, deals with ultimate and eschatological questions. For the eschatological dimension, we cannot use scientific or ordinary models of language. In the present, as linguistic analysts have seen, God-talk is neither verifiable nor falsifiable. But it is false to conclude that therefore God-talk is meaningless in itself.
The resurrection of Jesus is hardly an optional belief, for it is at the very heart of Christology. However, there can be various interpretations and explanations of the resurrection. The author discusses such approaches as hallucinatory, visionary, spiritual, and other objective realities.
Process theology undertakes a search for an alternative to the Augustinian understanding of love and being in which the freedom and creativity of human loves have their place, and in which the love of God is understood in his involvement with a real history. Day lists 5 categories necessary for love.
Ogden’s review of Cobb is appreciative as well as critical of his attempt to construct a hybrid of philosophy and Christian conviction that is both philosophically and theologically sound.
In rejecting western philosophy’s concept of the self as substance based on Aristotle, Whitehead offers as an alternative to substance what he calls "an actual entity" which is changing, self-determined and creative. The problem is not the need to explain continuity as explained by determinism, but the need to explain originality which in turn leads to the concept of God as the source of ". . .the initial aim from which self-causation starts" and evolves into people who are self-creating entities, actively participating in their own creation, capable of creating novelty and assuming responsibility.
The specific contribution that can be made by the church to achieve a good future.
Man is not merely a Cartesian thinking substance. So against Sartre, man is not merely a self-constituting free (indeterminate) consciousness, the ultimate and sufficient source of creativity. Man also derives his meaning from his pre-historical past, an important source for any adequate and valid anthropology, but which the existentialists do not consider.
There is a mysterious side to human sexuality and the author makes some suggestions about this from the side of Christian faith and Christian morality in terms of process thought.
Process thought is being compatible with the presumptions of Christian faith and is friendly with Christian ideas regarding body and soul.
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.
Titanic: adj., “pertaining to . . . enormous size, strength, power.”1 That the God of Christian theism we have been encountering could be characterized as “titanic” would seem obvious. That this is also the name bestowed on a doomed ocean liner is a provocative coincidence. For me to suggest that much of what followed right …
We need to consider how the resurrection was prepared for by the suffering and death of Jesus. It not only made the original event possible, but it continues to make our own incorporation within this body possible by the reconciling work of God effected in Christ.
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.”
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.
The purpose of education is not to fill empty minds with knowledge but to teach life, motivation, a drive for beauty, harmony, intensity, contrast, and the richness of experience — to seek a process-relational vision.
Following a dialectic with Augustine, Aquinas, the Reformers, Barth and others about man as created in the image of God, the author offers process theology’s response.
Ford cannot accept the traditional Latin interpretation of the time-honored formula, “one substance in three persons.” He insists on a stricter reading more in accordance with the Greek fathers, “one actuality having three distinct aspects.”
Meland agrees with Ogden’s attempt to construct a post-liberal theology based on Bultmann’s concept of demythologizing, but cautions on substituting philosophical analogies and metaphors for Christian myth.
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.
Jesus is unique because in his humanity he presents a more perfect model of ideal humanity than has ever existed, or will ever exist. He is divine because of the realization of that divinity within him.
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.
Whitehead’s metaphysical system led to Hartshorne’s exploring the theological implications surrounding the problem of evil and the necessity to reinterpret the omnipotence of God as understood in Thomism. Whitehead suggests that the fundamental category for understanding the universe is aesthetic valuation toward order and that the richness of creativity will sometimes produce aberrations as well as serendipitous outcomes. Destructiveness is to be found in the very nature of the creative process. God is only morally good if we are to understand that his goodness does not entail being without destructiveness.
Since countless masses of humankind have enjoyed some kind of contact with reality greater than humankind or nature, and since process generalizations about how things go in the world have developed, new ways of thinking about God are needed.
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.
The debate has long been waged as to which Greek philosophical system most extensively underlies the development of Christian thought in the West: the Platonism and neo-Platonism appropriated by Augustine or the Aristotelianism reshaped by Thomas Aquinas. With regard to an understanding of the power and love of God, I contend that neither was victorious. …
A viable interpretation of the meaning of the Incarnation requires a focus on love as the center of the gospel, and involves a reinterpretation of traditional doctrines of Christology, election, prevenient grace, Jesus’ suffering and resurrection, and the image of God.
Whitehead approaches the question of man’s desire for immortality, not by following the traditional path of the soul as having substance, but that every act, every event, every realization of value has everlasting significance and contributes everlastingly to the nature of things. We are part of the universe and part of God, the universe is a part of God, and God is a factor both in our personal existences and in the universe. Our immortality lies in the everlastingness and significance of each existence as a part of the whole.
The 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.
Christianity is a faith, not simply an ordered system of ideas, or a behavior that imitates the earthly life and teach of a historical figure, but a commitment of men and women to the supremely worshipful reality called God.
The prevailing understanding of the subordination of Love under the dominant role of divine Power that we have been encountering in the history of western Christian thought not only failed to resolve what the philosopher Leibniz termed the “theodicy” problem but, in fact, explicitly gave rise to it. It is precisely in the context of …
Browning discusses the relation of faith and reason by bringing together resources from psychology and ontology.
The Church is a process whereby individuals come to believe in Jesus and add the weight of their belief to the furtherance of the process that is the Church. The Church is not a stable, immutable institution that has existed since the time of Jesus.
Three factors which impel man to look for life beyond the grave: (1) the preservation of values achieved, (2) the redemption from evil and suffering, (3) and the non-acceptance of the extinction of the self.
In reviewing different metaphors and images of the atonement in the New Testament and the works of Brunner, Aulen, Luther and others, the author posits that the best approach is through an understanding of God’s reconciling love as seen in Christ and as experienced in disclosure, suffering, communication and community.
J. K. MOZLEY’S SURPRISING DISCOVERY The earliest direct attack on the Augustinian synthesis of Christian theism is to be found in those bold individuals who dared to question the doctrine of divine immutability. That underlies pretty much everything else that followed. In the early 1920s, leaders in the Church of England asked one of their …
The author believes that Whitehead’s thought provides us with an unusual opportunity to examine our religious beliefs by giving us a new view of reality, and concludes that Whitehead offers not only productive insights into the understanding of the nature of God and man, but also strong arguments for both objective and subjective immortality.
In the process perspective, each sacramental action is both created by the community and creative of the community. Concrete experiences of the past contribute positively to the present and are immanently incorporated in what the present is becoming.
Diamond’s philosophical theology following the rejection of Barthian dogmatics and logical positivism.
What is revealed is not compulsion but persuasion, love not force, is at the heart of the creative process of the universe. This is what gives Jesus his central place and role, his continuing impact on successive generations of men and women.
Sherburne proposes naturalizing Whitehead’s metaphysics by exorcising the concept “God” and all supernaturalism, and by attacking inconsistencies in the ontological arguments of Hartshorne and Cobb.
(ENTIRE BOOK) A planetary society is emerging which makes requirements for human fulfillment that cannot be met unless there are profound changes in the ideas, values, and power coalitions that now determine our priorities and shape our future. The author details these necessary changes.
The author summarizes his conclusions about the problem of God and unbelief, derived from process philosophy and Teilhard de Chardin.
It is the substantialist view of reality and its devastating consequences from which we need to be liberated. Process theology provides this liberation. and is profoundly and personally applicable to the understanding of the self, society, politics, psychology, the natural sciences, and education.
Theologians are paying attention to strange recommendations about theology from financier John Templeton — and not just because Templeton has the resources of a large foundation behind his ideas. Templeton is interested in “spiritual information,” or as Christians might express it, information about God and God’s actions in the world. His controversial idea is to …
In 1932 The Christian Century published for 25 weeks a series of articles on empirical theology, with disclaimers by a cheerful atheist, Max Otto. The discussions on “Is There a God?” were by Douglas Clyde Macintosh and Henry Nelson Wieman. Otto made positive statements about the nonexistence of God, and the two theists criticized each …
A summary of each chapter, with additional comments. There is a concreteness in the biblical witness to God’s interaction with Israel and with the church. Process theism recognizes both the necessary and the contingent aspects of God.
(ENTIRE BOOK) The path that through the centuries led Christian theology away from the dynamic and interactive God of the biblical writings to the immutable deity of classical theologians also involved a de-emphasis upon divine love in favor of divine power. David Polk traces this path with great care in remarkably accessible language, showing how at numerous points the ideas of creative thinkers, pointing to a better way, were largely ignored. With equal care and lucidity, Polk traces the eventual turn, still in progress, toward a new understanding that recovers what was lost and provides the groundwork for a creative resolution to age-old theological conundrums appropriate to our contemporary situation. Concluding with a resolution of the love-power question through a concept of empowering love, the book makes an important contribution to contemporary theological reflection. I can heartily recommend it not only as a textbook for college and seminary students but also as material for advanced-level adult study groups in local churches. It is not an easy task to speak to such a wide spectrum of persons, and we should be grateful to Polk for having done so.
~Russell Pregeant, Professor of Religion and Philosophy and Chaplain, Emeritus, Curry College
(ENTIRE BOOK) Process theology applied to the problem of God and unbelief. Modern man can no longer go along with the idea that to have faith, one has to abandon the historical, secular and earthly — that, in effect, he has to surrender his very humanity.
I begin at Dachau. At Buchenwald. Bergen-Belsen. Auschwitz. Anne Frank, who did not make it home. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, executed days before the liberation. Elie Wiesel’s father. So many millions more. The classical Christian synthesis of the power of God and the love of God—forged in those formative years of contact with Greek philosophy, hammered out …
The application of process philosophy accomplishes three things which the author considers necessary to make theology relevant today: (1) it reconciles theology with the scientific world, (2) it reconciles immanence and transcendence, and (3) it makes theological talk relevant.
This book is dedicated to the drawing out of the implications in the understanding of the self, society, politics, psychology, the natural sciences, and education in terms of process thought.
Where shall we turn for a vision that can give us the victory without which we perish?
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.
The purpose of this book is to interpret love from the perspective of process theology, that claims God is involved in the world’s becoming and his love takes new forms throughout history.
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.
The author introduces the reader to Whitehead’s thought by way of an intellectual biography tracing the development of his theism. The book addresses the general reader, explaining the Whiteheadian categories as they are needed.
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.
The editors give a brief summary of their purpose and scope in presenting Whiteheadian process philosophy and its relation to Christian theology.
A planetary society is emerging which sets requirements for human fulfillment for the species as a whole that cannot be met unless there are profound changes in the ideas, values, and power coalitions that now determine our priorities and shape our politics.
Writing for the non-specific reader, the author avoids theologically difficult procedures. He acknowledges those who have helped him in formulating his ideas of process thought.
Dr. Pittenger reviews some of the theologians that have led him to a growing appreciation of process-thought or process-philosophy.
The author offers his philosophy of religion based on the thought of Alfred North Whitehead as it illuminates thinking about the nature of the world, of God and of man.
This preface details the lectures and writings of Norma Pittenger which make up the background of this book.
Few libraries had any books on Whiteheadian thought in 1947 when he died. Today libraries of all sorts have shelves laden with books trying to explain, interpret and apply his thinking, but these authors are inclined to talk to each other. The author attempts to make process thought understandable to the rest of us.
(ENTIRE BOOK) Nineteen imminent scholars discuss the broad application of Whiteheadian process philosophy to Christian theology.
l. The Origins of Process Theology Most theology in the United States has been imported from Europe, sometimes from Great Britain, but more often from the continent. However, from time to time indigenous movements have developed. Jonathan Edwards in the eighteenth century established the New England theology, closely related to the Great …
“The metaphors,” says Robert Frost, “come from the life you’ve lived.” Images abound as one lives in close contact with small children, and as I entered into those relationships I began to reflect seriously on the significance of the biblical images of God as parent. My awed elation at the birth of my first child, …
(ENTIRE BOOK) In series of four lectures the author clarifies the Process thought perspective. He interprets the person and work of Jesus in process-terms, and provides insights into existentialism and depth psychology.
Part I looks at the cultural and historical crises facing our human development. Part II. Analyzes the futurist movement of hope in both the secular and religious areas.
“If I saw farther than others, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants.” In this retrospective, Charles Hartshorne reflects on how Newton’s famous saying has played out in his own life’s work.
Jouvenel: The future is power for we can act only upon it. Gabor: The future cannot be predicted, but it can be invented.
(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.
The Contributors George Allan holds degrees from Union Theological Seminary, New York, and Yale University. He is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Dickinson College. 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 …
(ENTIRE BOOK) Dr. Pittenger emphasizes process thought as a way of looking at ourselves, our world, and God. He stresses areas of education, the arts, humanities, science, morality and religious issues. Attention is also focused on the way in which Christian faith may be illuminated and its basic affirmations made intelligible.
(ENTIRE BOOK) The author examines several aspects of process theism: christology, resurrection, the cross, trinitarianism, and immortality.
(ENTIRE BOOK) A systematic study of the doctrine of love in the form of a dialectic. The author, a process theologian, makes a significant contribution to classical Christian understanding.
(ENTIRE BOOK) Dr. Meller writes about Whiteheadian thought, without the jargon and technical intricacies, so that the lay person might have better understanding of the thinking of the founder of process philosophy.
(ENTIRE BOOK) A helpful and understandable presentation of Whitehead’s thought, for people interested in learning how careful, reflective thinking can provide a basis for religious beliefs.