Re: modernism and God

Murphy (
Fri, 28 Feb 1997 13:02:35 -0500 wrote:

> I appreciate very much George Murphy's response
> to my post about "obscurantism" and his definition
> of panentheism, which I find helpful (and clearer
> than some other statements I have seen). George
> states that Psalm 139 is hard to understand without
> "some responsible concept of panentheism." Given
> his definition, and his statement that there are
> resemblances to the traditional notion of God's
> omnipresence, I can accept that, for my own view
> is that Psalm 139 cries out for the doctrine of
> divine immanence, or omnipresence (I know they
> may not be identical, but they also have quite a
> bit of similarity). In other words, classical
> theology has all the tools it needs to understand
> Psalm 139; that passage (for me, at least) raises
> no special questions that the traditional notions
> of immanence/omnipresence don't already answer.
> My next question for George: What does panentheism
> (defined as he has defined it) add that wasn't already
> there in classical theology? Process versions of
> the notion, if I understand them correctly, add quite
> a few things that I don't accept. But non-process
> versions are what I inquire about here.

I find that I have to say "I am not a ..." a good deal. I guess
that is a result of arguing that while some theological movements may be
quite wrong, they also may be calling attention to things that
traditional theology hasn't thought about enough, & that they may even
have some useful ideas to contribute.
So - "I am not a process theologian." But one of the basic
ideas of process thought, that God is not immune from temporality, _all_
(N.B.) change & suffering, is valid. The more orthodox (but in some
ways new) work which has been going on in trinitarian theology in this
generation can handle those issues better than process theology, but the
latter has called attention to legitimate concerns.
& "I am not a panentheist", at least in the process sense. &
while IMO "all things are in God", even panentheism in the classical
Acts 17 sense isn't one of my primary themes. (The distinctive idea I'm
more likely to stress is the Lutheran one of the omnipresence of the
_humanity_ of Christ, which most non-Lutherans, & some Lutherans, think
is pretty strange.)
But with all that, I simply wanted to warn against blanket
rejections of panentheism, just as I would warn against such rejections
of all feminist theology, liberation theology, &c.