- Process theology
Process theology is a school of thought influenced by the metaphysical process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947) and further developed by Charles Hartshorne (1897–2000). While there are process theologies that are similar, but unrelated to the work of Whitehead (such as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin) the term is generally applied to the Whiteheadian/Hartshornean school. Process theology is unrelated to the Process Church.
The original ideas of process thought are found in the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. Various theological and philosophical aspects have been expanded and developed by Charles Hartshorne (1897–2000), John B. Cobb, Jr., and David Ray Griffin. A characteristic of process theology each of these thinkers shared was a rejection of metaphysics that privilege "being" over "becoming," particularly those of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas. Hartshorne was deeply influenced by French philosopher Jules Lequier and by Swiss philosopher Charles Secrétan who were probably the first ones to claim that in God liberty of becoming is above his substantiality.
Process theology soon influenced a number of Jewish theologians including Rabbis Max Kadushin, Milton Steinberg and Levi A. Olan, Harry Slominsky and, to a lesser degree, Abraham Joshua Heschel. Today some rabbis who advocate some form of process theology include Bradley Shavit Artson, Lawrence A. Englander, William E. Kaufman, Harold Kushner, Anton Laytner, Michael Lerner, Gilbert S. Rosenthal, Lawrence Troster, Donald B. Rossoff, Burton Mindick, and Nahum Ward.
Alan Anderson and Deb Whitehouse have attempted to integrate process theology with the New Thought variant of Christianity.
The work of Richard Stadelmann has been to preserve the uniqueness of Jesus in process theology.
- God is not omnipotent in the sense of being coercive. The divine has a power of persuasion rather than coercion. Process theologians interpret the classical doctrine of omnipotence as involving force, and suggest instead a forbearance in divine power. "Persuasion" in the causal sense means that God does not exert unilateral control.
- Reality is not made up of material substances that endure through time, but serially-ordered events, which are experiential in nature. These events have both a physical and mental aspect. All experience (male, female, atomic, and botanical) is important and contributes to the ongoing and interrelated process of reality.
- The universe is characterized by process and change carried out by the agents of free will. Self-determination characterizes everything in the universe, not just human beings. God cannot totally control any series of events or any individual, but God influences the creaturely exercise of this universal free will by offering possibilities. To say it another way, God has a will in everything, but not everything that occurs is God's will.
- God contains the universe but is not identical with it (panentheism, not pantheism or pandeism). Some also call this "theocosmocentrism" to emphasize that God has always been related to some world or another.
- Because God interacts with the changing universe, God is changeable (that is to say, God is affected by the actions that take place in the universe) over the course of time. However, the abstract elements of God (goodness, wisdom, etc.) remain eternally solid.
- Charles Hartshorne believes that people do not experience subjective (or personal) immortality, but they do have objective immortality because their experiences live on forever in God, who contains all that was. Other process theologians believe that people do have subjective experience after bodily death.
- Dipolar theism, is the idea that God has both a changing aspect (God's existence as a Living God) and an unchanging aspect (God's eternal essence).
Relationship to liberation theology
- There is a relational character to the divine which allows God to experience both the joy and suffering of humanity. God suffers just as those who experience oppression and God seeks to actualize all positive and beautiful potentials. God must, therefore, be in solidarity with the oppressed and must also work for their liberation.
- God is not omnipotent in the classical sense and so God does not provide support for the status quo, but rather seeks the actualization of greater good.
- God exercises relational power and not unilateral control. In this way God cannot instantly end evil and oppression in the world. God works in relational ways to help guide persons to liberation.
Relationship to pluralism
Process theology affirms that God is working in all persons to actualize potentialities. In that sense each religious manifestation is the Divine working in a unique way to bring out the beautiful and the good. Additionally, scripture and religion represent human interpretations of the divine. In this sense pluralism is the expression of the diversity of cultural backgrounds and assumptions that people use to approach the Divine.
Relationship to the doctrine of the incarnation
The Christ of process theology does not represent a hypostasis of divine and human persona. Rather God is incarnate in the lives of all humans when they act according to a call from God. Jesus fully and in every way responded to the call of God and so the person of Jesus is theologically understood to be “the divine Word in human form.” Jesus was not God-man in essence, but fully identified with God at all moments of life.
- Bruce G. Epperly Process Theology: A Guide for the Perplexed (NY: T&T Clark, 2011, ISBN 978-0-567-59669-7) This is "perhaps the best in-depth introduction to process theology available for non-specialists."
- Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki's God Christ Church: A Practical Guide to Process Theology, new rev. ed. (New York: Crossroad, 1989, ISBN 0-8245-0970-6) demonstrates the practical integration of process philosophy with Christianity.
- C. Robert Mesle's Process Theology: A Basic Introduction (St. Louis: Chalice Press, 1993, ISBN 0-8272-2945-3) is an introduction to process theology written for the layperson.
- Jewish introductions to classical theism, limited theism and process theology can be found in A Question of Faith: An Atheist and a Rabbi Debate the Existence of God (Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1994, ISBN 1-56821-089-2) and The Case for God (St. Louis: Chalice Press, 1991, ISBN 0-8272-0458-2), both written by Rabbi William E. Kaufman. Jewish variations of process theology are also presented in Harold Kushner's When Bad Things Happen to Good People (New York: Anchor Books, 2004, ISBN 1-4000-3472-8) and Sandra B. Lubarsky and David Ray Griffin, eds., Jewish Theology and Process Thought (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995, ISBN 0-7914-2810-9).
- Christian introductions may be found in Schubert M. Ogden's The Reality of God and Other Essays (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1992, ISBN 0-87074-318-X); John B. Cobb, Doubting Thomas: Christology in Story Form (New York: Crossroad, 1990, ISBN 0-8245-1033-X); and Charles Hartshorne, Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1984, ISBN 0-87395-771-7). In French, the best introduction may be André Gounelle, Le Dynamisme Créateur de Dieu: Essai sur la Théologie du Process, édition revue, modifiée et augmentee (Paris: Van Dieren, 2000, ISBN 2911087267).
- For essays exploring the relation of process thought to Wesleyan theology, see Bryan P. Stone and Thomas Jay Oord, Thy Nature and Thy Name is Love: Wesleyan and Process Theologies in Dialogue (Nashville: Kingswood, 2001, ISBN 0-687-05220-3).
- The most important work by Paul S. Fiddes is The Creative Suffering of God (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992); see also his short overview "Process Theology," in A. E. McGrath, ed., The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Modern Christian Thought (Oxford: Blackwell, 1993), 472–76.
- Norman Pittenger's thought is exemplified in his God in Process (London: SCM Press, 1967, LCC BT83.6 .P5), Process-Thought and Christian Faith (New York: Macmillan Company, 1968, LCC BR100 .P615 1968), and Becoming and Belonging (Wilton, CT: Morehouse Publications, 1989, ISBN 0819214809).
- Constance Wise's Hidden Circles in the Web: Feminist Wicca, Occult Knowledge, and Process Thought (Lanham, Md.: AltaMira Press, 2008, ISBN 978-0-7591-1006-9) applies process theology to one variety of contemporary Paganism.
- Conceptions of God
- Existence of God
- Names of God
- New Thought Movement
- Open theism
- Postmodern Christianity
- Process Philosophy
- ^ Charles Hartshorne, Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes (Albany: State University of New York, 1984), 20-26.
- ^ John Cobb and David Griffin, Process Theology: An Introductory Exposition (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1976), 14-16, chapter 1.
- ^ Hartshorne, 32-36.
- ^ C. Robert Mesle, Process Theology: A Basic Introduction (St. Louis, MO: Chalice Press, 1993), 65-68, 75-80.
- ^ Mesle, 101.
- ^ Mesle, 106.
- Reference works
- Donald Viney, "Process Theism," Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- John B. Cobb, Jr., "Process Theology," Religion-Online
- An encyclopedic-type article
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PROCESS THEOLOGY — a type of EVOLUTIONARY THEOLOGY developed by Charles Hartshorne on the basis of the PHILOSOPHY of A.N. WHITEHEAD. It emphasizes that the world and BEING including GOD are in constant process and change and accepts a PANENTHEIST view of the… … Concise dictionary of Religion
Process Theology — A modern school of theology which maintains that even God is in a process of development through his interaction with the evolving world … Who’s Who in Christianity
process theology — see theology, process … Christian Philosophy
process theology — This term refers to a twentieth century school of thought that builds on the process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead (1861 1947) and views reality not as a set of definite objects, but as a continuum of events: all reality, including God … Glossary of theological terms
process theology — a form of theology that emphasizes the close relation of human beings, nature, and God. [1970 75] * * * … Universalium
process theology — noun : neonaturalism * * * a form of theology that emphasizes the close relation of human beings, nature, and God. [1970 75] … Useful english dictionary
process theology — Теология процесса … Вестминстерский словарь теологических терминов
Process philosophy — (or Ontology of Becoming) identifies metaphysical reality with change and dynamism. Since the time of Plato and Aristotle, philosophers have posited true reality as timeless , based on permanent substances, whilst processes are denied or… … Wikipedia
Process theory — is a commonly used form of scientific research study in which events or occurrences are said to be the result of certain input states leading to a certain outcome (output) state, following a set process.Process theory holds that if an outcome is… … Wikipedia
Theology — Theological studies redirects here. For the academic journal, see Theological Studies. Albert the Great (1193/1206–1280), patron saint of Roman Catholic theologians … Wikipedia