Re: Process problems from Re: Evolution: A few questions

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Thu Jun 24 2004 - 20:19:46 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "bivalve" <>
To: <>
Sent: Thursday, June 24, 2004 7:46 PM
Subject: Process problems from Re: Evolution: A few questions

> >>Process theology seems rather vulnerable on this ground; a god that does
not require anything of us nor do anything we might not like seems too
convenient to be realistic. >>
> I don't think advocates of process theology are deliberately setting out
to make an irrelevant god, but I can't think of an observational difference
between a deity that obeys the precepts set by process theology and one that
doesn't exist. I know that the postulates are different, but what evidence
can one use to decide? Elijah's method is inappropriate for a process view,
but what could one do instead?
> How can a deity require anything of us us without being coercive? It
might like it if we behaved nicely, but why should we care?
> If I attribute every event that I don't like to the inability of deity to
do something about it, then that does not leave much possibility for said
deity to operate contrary to my preferences.

In process theology God & the world are mutually dependent. While God can't
exist without the world (as in more traditional theology), the world can't
exist without God either. That's why John Cobb's intro to PT - which is
still a good intro though a bit dated (1969) - is titled _God and the

In PT God calls & urges ("lures" is the world sometimes used) the world at
each instant toward its best possible future. & as part of that, God is
calling & urging each one of us to our role in what is best for the world.
Such calling & urging can be painful - as anyone who's had a demanding
parent or prof or coach knows - even if we can't be literally _forced_ to do
something. Cobb has a page long (53) quote from Kazantzakis' _Report to
Greco_ that expresses this very well.

Why should we care? Because what we're called to is what is best for the
world, including ourselves. & part of God's activity at each instant is
trying to show us that.

& of course God can operate contrary to your preferences. Just because God
is not omnipotent doesn't mean that he can't do anything. In fact, God is
continually trying to thwart & minimize evil, but he can't simply do it by

There are serious problems with PT but it's not as superficial as your
remarks might suggest.

Received on Thu Jun 24 20:32:47 2004

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