Re: [asa] Providence?

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Thu Sep 11 2008 - 14:23:26 EDT

IOW, a panentheist is not a "TE" because the panentheist is not really a
"theist." Fair enough.

On Thu, Sep 11, 2008 at 2:06 PM, D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>wrote:

> I have to disagree with your definitions. A TE cannot be a panentheist,
> although one may subscribe to open theology. A theist holds that God is not
> part of creation, except in the incarnation. Open theology fudges this a
> bit, in making the deity's knowledge and activity restricted to time. They
> argue that no one can experience what does not yet exist, whereas classical
> theism does not restrict God's knowledge. Neither restricts his creative
> power. Next is the deist, who holds that there is a Creator, but he does not
> involve himself in the world until the final judgment. Panentheists and
> pantheists make the deity a part of the world. The difference is that
> pantheists identify deity and world, while panenthists let the deity have
> some independence from it.
> Dave (ASA)
> On Wed, 10 Sep 2008 22:40:39 -0400 "David Opderbeck" <>
> writes:
> James, you're asking a question that is both simple and complex, but that
> IMHO does not really have to be so critical as you make it out to be. I
> think it's misleading to call this a "worldview" question.
> The simple answer is, for TEs whose theology tends towards what I would
> call an orthodox view of God's sovereignty, the course of evolution is under
> God's sovereignty and hence is guided by his providence. Many of us here
> would refer to classical notions of causation such as Aquinas' "primary" and
> "secondary" causation.
> Some TE's have a view of God's sovereignty that tends towards open theism.
> In this view, God gifts the creation with the ability to develop in ways
> that are not necessarily fully known or determined by God.
> Some TE's tend towards or are panentheists. In this view, God does not
> truly transcend the creation, and in some sense develops along with it.
> Most of the TE's you'll meet on this list, I think, tend towards an
> orthodox view of God's sovereignty. Some may be somewhat open to open
> theism. None of the regular ASA-member list participants, so far as I know,
> tend towards panentheism.
> Here is one reason why I think it's misleading to consider this a
> "worldview" question (setting aside that I think the whole "worldview"
> notion has been way overplayed in our contemporary religious discourse). Do
> you think the birth of a baby is a creative act of God governed by God's
> providence? At the same time, would you agree that we are able to describe
> in "natural" terms the process by which a baby is conceived, develops in the
> womb, and is born, from start to finish (or at least, where there are
> mechanisms we don't yet fully understand, such as early cell
> differentiation, a "natural" explanation is in principle possible and
> likely?)? Is there a "worldview" conflict in affirming both that each baby
> is a creative act within the providence of God and that the process of birth
> is explainable in "natural" terms? I don't see a "worldview" conflict here
> at all, because, per Aquinas' notion of "primary" and "secondary" causation,
> Christians have always affirmed that God's providence is operative even in
> the sphere of "nature."
> ____________________________________________________________
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David W. Opderbeck
Associate Professor of Law
Seton Hall University Law School
Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology
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Received on Thu Sep 11 14:23:58 2008

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