Re: mathematical concepts=="irrational numbers," process theology,Plato

From: Ted Davis (
Date: Wed Sep 03 2003 - 19:20:02 EDT

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    Responding to Howard, much snipped:

    Interesting. Can you cite the text in Hebrews?

    Ted: Hebrews 11:10 (For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose
    builder and maker ** is God.) I've starred the word.

    Yes, process theology does speak of God -- as a consequence of the nature
    God, World, and the God/World relationship -- working within metaphysical
    limits. Not limits imposed by any other Being, but limits that are a
    essential to the being/nature of {God + A World}. As I recall, however,
    Griffin also speaks of the beginning of this epoch of {A World} (a t=0
    event) as one in which God chooses the particular details of this
    nature -- consistent, of course, with those more comprehensive
    requirements following from the essential nature of {God + A World}.

    Ted: We probably see this differently. I say, if the limitations on God
    are derived somehow (and this "somehow" of course involves what we mere
    humans think that it must involve, indeed we are the creators of these
    limits) from the ultimate reality that is God/World, as vs the traditional
    God alone, then I say that the limitations on God (as distinguished from the
    world, which process theology implicitly does through its use of both words)
    are in fact imposed by something other than God. And this IMO violates the
    essence of monotheism as proclaimed in Genesis.

    How does that compare with the relationship of Plato's Demiurgos with what
    is usually referred to as an independently existing "recalcitrant
    I don't see the World of process theology as anything that could be
    described as either "independent" or "recalcitrant." Looks to me as though
    some elements crucial to Plato are absent from process theology.
    Furthermore, the intimate and fruitful relationship between God and World
    present in process theology is absent from Plato.

    Ted: I mainly agree with this, I wouldn't reduce process theology to simple
    Platonism (as I indicated earlier, lots of Aristotelianism is also here),
    any more than I would reduce Christian Platonism of the Renaissance to
    simple Platonism. But this leaves a crucial similarity: in Plato, the
    recalcitrant matter that limits God is coeval with God--ie, uncreated,
    without origination in God. Despite process language about God eternally
    creating the world, I do see this as similar to Plato. In process, of
    course, it's God's lacking omnipotence that means that God can't determine
    the nature of nature; for Plato, it's also God lacking omnipotence: the
    Demiurgos is unable to mold matter to his will, he hasn't got that power.
    The "recalcitrance" of matter cannot be overcome. Process may not have
    recalcitrant matter, but it does have something in the nature of matter that
    can't be altered, so that matter acts as a given in the act of creation. In
    other words, matter itself is not "created."
    The bottom line does seem highly similar in both cases.


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