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

From: Terry M. Gray <>
Date: Mon Jun 28 2004 - 13:11:35 EDT


I too await George's answer. But I find your definition of natural
theology to be much more narrow than I usually think. I understand
natural theology to be theology untethered from special
revelation--i.e. theological reflection and speculation based on
nature and experience apart from special revelation. (Of course, then
there is no real question in my previous question--it's simply a
matter of definition. But I am thinking here in fairly traditional
systematic theology categories.)

I'll look at the Wieman piece and I look forward to Griffin's book
for an explanation of how process theology fits into something that
can be called Christianity. No attempt to demean or insult with that
comment. It's just that most process theologians that I've interacted
with over the years have not been reluctant to admit that they are
really inventing a new religion and are well outside the bounds of
Christian orthodoxy.


>On 6/28/04 10:26 AM, "Terry M. Gray" <> wrote:
>> George,
>> This question is aimed at you, but, of course, anyone can respond.
>> It strikes me in following this thread that process theology is a
>> version of natural theology. Would you agree with that?
>> And, for the most part, it's the kind of natural theology that is
>> untethered from traditional special revelation (either Biblical or
>> heilsgeschichte). Right?
>I look forward to George's reply, but here are some first thoughts.
>Is process theology a form of natural theology?
>I'm inclined to say, No, for the following reasoning.
>a) If I understand correctly, most natural theologies have been crafted in
>the context of "substance metaphysics" (substantive beings/things are the
>fundamental units of reality) and the assumption that God and World are
>radically distinct "substances" (beings, or kinds of beings).
>b) Next, add to that the idea that God alone is the primary substance
>(Ultimate Being) and the assumption that the world is a secondary substance
>(derived being) that was given its being ex nihilo by God (not only its
>specific nature, but its very existence, with every aspect of its nature
>freely chosen by God).
>c) Then natural theologies can be constructed in this substance metaphysics
>context on the assumption that some attributes of the Ultimate God-substance
>can be inferred from the freely chosen nature of the secondary
>world-substance. George has a number of objections to this approach, as I
>d) Process theology, on the other hand, is built on a metaphysics of
>experiences/processes as the fundamental units of reality and posits no such
>radical distinction between God and World. As members of the world we
>experience God and we build our theologies from our human reflection on that
>authentic human experience. From this we can construct theologies of nature
>as we reflect on the World as one member of God + World as mutually
>dependent entities.
>e) Yes, process theology is untethered from the idea of special revelation
>as traditionally formulated. Revelation is important to process theologians,
>but it is conceptualized differently. For one example, see "The Revelation
>of God in Christ" by Henry Nelson Wieman, available at

Terry M. Gray, Ph.D., Computer Support Scientist
Chemistry Department, Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado  80523
phone: 970-491-7003 fax: 970-491-1801
Received on Mon Jun 28 13:34:11 2004

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