From: George Murphy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu Sep 04 2003 - 11:03:58 EDT
Steve Petermann wrote:
> George wrote:
> > But traditional theologies have their own problems. I find it strange &
> > somewhat disheartening that on this list people think that they can
> discuss "God" &
> > "creation" in some detail without ever referring to the one who by & for
> whom, according
> > to the NT (Jn.1:3, I Cor.8:6, Col.1:16-17, Heb.1:2), all things have been
> created. To
> > put it bluntly, most of the discussions of creation here - from the
> standpoints of both
> > process thought & more traditional theism - are of very little value
> because of this
> > defect.
> I actually think that its is in the very incarnation schemes that things
> like process theology can be salvaged. In all incarnation schemes(Jesus,
> Krishna, Dionysius) there is an element of kenosis(self emptying) of God to
> be present in this reality. To me this is how talk of a limited God should
> be couched. For me the most meaning metaphor that expresses this is the
> idea of a Living God or a divine life. In the divine life the limitations
> of space-time are accepted while at the same time there is an eternal
> connection/interaction with the transcendent aspect of God. I believe that
> process theology is trying to solve the "problem of evil" by limiting God
> but that only makes God a cowering wimp. That doesn't solve the problem.
> The solution is to accept that life itself entails the potential for evil.
> No potential for evil, no life. That puts the responsibility of evil on God
> but rationalizes it by God's participation in life and that life itself
> entails that potential......................
There's a big difference between kenosis, which is the idea that God limits
God's own self, and the process concept that God is inherently limited. With kenosis,
one says /inter alia/ that the existence of suffering &c in the world is due to God's
decision to create a world which has its own integrity and relative autonomy -
Polkinghorne's "free process defence" - & that God pays the price for this by sharing in
the suffering of the world, preeminently in the Incarnation. In the process view
suffering exists because God couldn't prevent it even if he wanted to.
I should emphasize, as I've done before, that the ideas of process theology
should not be rejected /in too/. The basic concepts of divine temporality & passibility
can be affirmed - & are by many modern trinitarian theologians who are not process
theologians. But process theology does run into serious problems in trying to formulate
adequate expressions of christology, Trinity, & - as we've noted here - creation. & the
same process logic that requires rejection of /creatio ex nihilo/ also requires - I
think - rejection of justification "by grace alone."
George L. Murphy
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