Re: The state of suburban theology

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Tue Jun 15 2004 - 10:45:16 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "Steve Petermann" <>
To: "Howard J. Van Till" <>; "Ted Davis"
<>; <>
Sent: Tuesday, June 15, 2004 10:17 AM
Subject: Re: The state of suburban theology

> It is my opinion as well that this kenotic view have been neglected far
> much. However, while both process theology and forms of kenotic divine
> action may offer solutions to the "problem" of coercion, they may both
> be destined to be unsatisfying if they embrace a form of dualistic
> By dualistic here I mean drawing a *strong* ontological distinction
> the material and divine realms. A strong ontological distinction
> necessitates some form of "interactionism" and with it explication of
> like coercion, non-coercion, cooperation, synergism, etc. This also
> necessarily raises the issue of a causal joint for this interaction which
> has been a particular scientific sticking point for this ontology.

        IMO a demand for an explanation of the "causal joint" between God
and the world is misconceived. It tempts one (at least if one is a
physicist!) to start looking for some kind of "interaction term" to describe
the relationship between God and things in the world, much as one tries to
find an interaction term to describe the ways in which two physical systems
like an EM field & charged particles influence one another. I.e., it seems
to treat God as part of the world. OTOH, an ontological distinction between
God and the world (whether or not "strong" I won't debate) will see such an
attempt as a category error.
        It isn't surprising that virtually all views of divine action -
process, Neo-Thomist and the others Barbour describes - depend heavily on
_metaphors_ like worker & tool, persuasion, soul & body, &c. I.e., we use
our understanding of the way things interact in the world to try to get some
grasp of the way God acts in the world, but since God _isn't_ simply part of
the world, such descriptions fall short of a detailed analysis of the
"casual joint." & maybe that's the best we can do.

Received on Tue Jun 15 11:11:12 2004

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Jun 15 2004 - 11:11:13 EDT