What Is Meant By The Term 'process Theology'? Who Are Some Of The Theologians Who Have Taught It, And What Are Their Main Views?

1510 words - 6 pages

In our present sense of the term, our spatio-physical epoch will pass into the background of the past, which conditions all things dimly and without evident effect on the decision of prominent relations (Whitehead 1938: 155).Process Theology is a term that encapsulates a movement largely associated with the Christian faith which advocates the idea that reality is influenced by the past and is subject to flux and change. This includes human beings, their interpretations and ideas about life, God, and the future. It also argues that God is more than the sum of God's parts. God is a culmination of all worldly experience, potentialities and actualities, and also a driving force behind the world becoming. Process Theology does not consider the Bible to be a final authority for Christians or direct revelation. Some figureheads of Process Theology are John Cobb, Norman Pittenger, Leslie Murray, and the men to which many Process Theologians refer to as integral founding figures of the movement; Alfred Whitehead and Charles Hartshorne.Some basic tenets and ideas put forth by said figures are; that the higher the degree of complexity present in a unity, the more capable that unity is of expressing creative freedom; that all things are interrelated; that Man and God are a part of nature and not distinct from it; that God is intelligent and ever surpassing God's self; and that God is love and love really does make the world go 'round.Now these simplest things [the concepts of natural law and science] are those widespread habits of nature that dominate the whole stretch of the universe within our remotest, vaguest observation (Whitehead 1938: 145).Cobb states that Process Theology is the only theology which is compatible with the truly modern human mind (1959: 193). This is an attempt to reconcile the split between scientific thought [i.e. that which can be tested and proven], religious doctrine and belief beyond the realm of sensory perception. Just as science has shown that things do exist beyond what a human can sense without apparatus (atoms etcetera.), Process Theology argues that knowledge itself is a process and that Religion and Science can work hand in hand at building deeper and richer knowledge and experience for Human kind.Large organisms are societies of small organisms (Cobb 1980: 443).Matter is energy, and energy is pure activity (Whitehead 1938: 137). Aspects of activity are defined through their relations with each other (Cobb 1980: 442) . Energy exists in varying degrees of complexity (Murray 1998). Progress under evolution takes the direction of increased complexity of organization (Sherrington 1955:140). In modern natural science, the human being is the most complex of all unities in existence. Process Theologians believe in general, that there is a further step in the chain of complexity. That further step is the whole. The universe in its entirety is a unity and the unity as a whole can be thought of as God.The one individual is that...

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