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

From: Steve Petermann <>
Date: Mon Jun 28 2004 - 13:31:21 EDT

> Steve -
> The kind of cost-benefit analysis you suggest is helpful but one still
> needs to avoid prejudicial language. I don't think "marketeer or
> is the image most proocess theologians would want to use. Perhaps it's a
> good rule to let proponents of a particular view choose their own
> Barbour uses "leader-community" to suggest the relationship between God &
> the world. (But of course one needs some care: In German that would be
> "Fuehrer-Gemeinde" & Hitler isn't the image Barbour has in mind!)

Metaphors can be powerful communicators but they also have the problem that
they can be used to "spin" a meaning a certain direction. The question then
becomes how true that spin or sense is to the more systematically treatment.
While "leader-community" sounds great, is it theologically accurate to
process thought? Clearly good leaders are very persuasive, but they are
also often assertive for the good of the community. This doesn't have to be
dictatorial, but it is more than persuasion or lure alone. I think it is
important that "spin" be as true to the more detailed meaning as possible.

> A similar thing can be said about the term "coercive" as a description
> of the Neo-Thomist theology of divine action. The connotation of "coerce"
> is forcing someone to do something it normally wouldn't do, or (for
> against his or her will. But while this view of divine action does hold
> that God _can_ act in ways that are beyond the capacities of creatures
> (miracles), in the vast majority of cases God acts cooperatively with
> creatures in accord with their natures. So "coercive" really isn't
> accurate.

Point taken. I think the context of the term "coercion" that I have been
referring to is relative to "natural law". The question here is concerning
a reasonable mechanism of interaction between God and the World. I
understand from your prior post <IMO a demand for an explanation of the
"causal joint" between God and the world is misconceived.> that it is not an
issue to be addressed, but I guess we'll have to disagree on that.

Steve Petermann
Received on Mon Jun 28 14:18:33 2004

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