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

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Mon Jun 28 2004 - 17:45:27 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "Howard J. Van Till" <>
To: "Steve Petermann" <>; <>
Sent: Monday, June 28, 2004 4:34 PM
Subject: Re: Process problems from Re: Evolution: A few questions

> On 6/28/04 1:09 PM, "Steve Petermann" <> wrote:
> > The question then comes down to human freedom. Process thought supports
> > idea of natural law and with it, efficient causation. Since this is the
> > same view of materialists, it would seem to have the same problem with
> > freedom that they do.
> Not so. As I understand it, process theology is at least as different from
> materialism as it is from supernaturalism (where supernatural action is
> coercive divine action). In process thought, especially Griffin's
> articulation of it, the term "natural" cannot to be equated with
> because "natural" incorporates the effects of contributive (non-coercive)
> divine action.
> This shift in the meaning of "natural" is also at the root of my saying in
> earlier postings that I would distinguish process theology from theologies
> that have traditionally been designated "natural theology." The "nature"
> _observed_ by traditional natural theology (with its substance-based
> metaphysics) is radically distinct from God, whereas the "nature"
> _experienced_ by process theology is permeated with the active (but
> non-coercive) presence of God.

Even though traditional natural theologies in a Christian context envision
the type of ontological separation between God & the world that you
describe, they do not
think of nature somehow giving evidence of an absent or inactive God. The
fact that such a natural theology is often said to be based on "general
revelation" shows that God is supposed to be active in providing its
material. So I think the attempt to remove process theology from the
category of natural theology simply because of the way it conceives of the
God-nature relationship doesn't work.

Received on Mon Jun 28 18:17:23 2004

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