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

From: Terry M. Gray <>
Date: Tue Jun 29 2004 - 13:54:40 EDT


"Creator/creature distinction" not "Creator/creator distinction"

(Of course, all our auto-correcting brains read it correctly anyway!)


>I would want to strongly emphasize an ontological Creator/creator
>distinction. As intimate as is God's relationship to the world might
>be, he is NOT the world. We're not pantheists--the creation is not
>God--there's hardly anything clearer in scripture than this. He made
>it--he's the potter, it (and we) are the pots. While I do appreciate
>process theology's attempt to distinguish their view (panentheism)
>from pantheism, I'm not convinced that it really succeeds.
>I'm sure that Howard is amused that some accuse him of deism and now
>I'm accusing him of pantheism. He must be close to getting it right.
>>Terry wrote:
>>> And these regularities are moment-by-moment maintained in addition to
>>> being originated...the creation--even in the regular--is NEVER
>>> without God's participation as ground of being, sustainer, provider,
>>> persuader, concurrer, governor, telic force, designer, etc.--look at
>>> all that process language and even some ID!
>>I agree. However, I think within this view there can be different
>>ontological perspectives that also have major effects on theodicy, piety,
>>and hermeneutics. The issue is the term "God's participation". Is this an
>>external or internal interaction? The tacit de facto metaphysic in the west
>>is that there are entities(i.e. matter, energy, particles, strings, quantum
>>loops, or whatever) that have a "self nature". The first materialists,
>>probably the Carvankan school in India circa 600 BC, claimed that all there
>>was, was matter and it had "svabhava" or self-nature. About a century later
>>the Greek atomists claimed the same thing. While this claim cannot be
>>supported by science, it has become the undefended de facto ontology for the
>>cosmos in the west. What this does is set an ontological divide between God
>>and the world. If there are things with self-nature then whatever God does
>>would seem to be an intervention in these natures or an overriding of their
>>normal processes. This leads to supernaturalism and the "god of the gaps"
>>issue that has plagued Christianity in the modern age.
>>However, I do not think that either religion in general or Christianity in
>>particular *must* adopt this ontology. There are monistic/mystical threads
>>in these traditions that support a different ontology where the world does
>>not have a persistent self-nature but where the "nature" of the world is
>>created as you say "moment-by-moment" in the Divine Life. In this case
>>there is no coercion, no intervention, no god-of-the-gaps issue. The
>>regularities we see are not for those "entities" themselves but are part of
>>the life process of the divine life so there can *be* life and abundant life
>>as well. Irregularities or anomalies are not bound by some "self-nature"
>>dependent mathematical formula(although regularities they may typically
>>correspond to them) as in physics but are also grounded in the purposes of
>>life. Various philosophers and theologians have alluded to versions of an
>>ontology like this starting probably with the ancient Greek philosopher
>>Anaxagoras who although he affirmed the immutability of matter claimed it
>>was driven by Nous, or mind. I think Paul's Christ mysticism also fits well
>>with this as well as possibly John's Logos theology. Later various versions
>>of an ontology like this have arisen in philosophies like Hegel's and
>>theologies like Tillich's as well as much in the mystical tradition.
>>> The fact that the spectre of theodicy comes up in this discussion
>>> comes almost immediately out of this intimate involvement of God with
>>> every detail of the created order.
>>True. However, I think this can be resolved if reality as we find it is not
>>considered a dialog of separated ontologies( God/World) but as the Divine
>>Life itself. Here I agree with Leibnitz's initial claim that God created
>>"the best of all possible worlds". If there is evil in the world, it's
>>potential must somehow be necessary for there to be a world and life, and is
>>somehow dealt with in the Divine Life.
>>Steve Petermann
>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

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 Tue Jun 29 14:11:41 2004

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Jun 29 2004 - 14:11:43 EDT