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

From: Don Winterstein (
Date: Thu Sep 04 2003 - 05:54:03 EDT

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    Howard asked:

    "Can you cite the text in Hebrews?"

    /Demiourgos/ appears in Hebrews 11:10, where it is translated "builder" (NIV).


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Howard J. Van Till
      To: Ted Davis ;
      Sent: Wednesday, September 03, 2003 2:19 PM
      Subject: Re: mathematical concepts=="irrational numbers," process theology, Plato

    >From: "Ted Davis" <>

    > He [Plato]
    > interpreted that thusly: the creative power of the divine craftsman (the
    > "Demiurgos," a word also found in the book of Hebrews) was limited by the
    > "recalcitrance" of the matter he had not created.

      Interesting. Can you cite the text in Hebrews?

    > .... His picture of the Demiurgos is, IMO, a precursor
    > of the modern process God, who can't exert absolute power of nature
    > either--that is, IMO the process God can't determine the nature of nature.
    > Rather the nature of nature is a given, the God must simply do his best with
    > what he's got. This is why I think of process theology as Platonistic,
    > though one can also see it as deeply Aristotelian also (an eternal universe
    > eternally in the process of becoming).

      Yes, process theology does speak of God -- as a consequence of the nature of
      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 universe's
      nature -- consistent, of course, with those more comprehensive metaphysical
      requirements following from the essential nature of {God + A World}.

      How does that compare with the relationship of Plato's Demiurgos with what
      is usually referred to as an independently existing "recalcitrant matter"?
      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.

      Howard van Till

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