Re: [asa] Providence?

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Thu Sep 11 2008 - 16:53:30 EDT

George -- thanks, I think in my own mind I've been tying panentheism and
process theology together perhaps too tightly.

On Thu, Sep 11, 2008 at 4:46 PM, George Murphy <> wrote:

> From my review of Arthur Peacocke *et al.*, *All There Is*, in the March
> 2008 PSCF:
> Panentheism is, Peacocke says, an "admittedly inelegant term for the belief
> that the Being of God includes and penetrates the whole universe, so that
> every part of it exists in God and (as against pantheism) that God's Being
> is more than, and is not exhausted by, the universe" (p.22). He quotes
> Augustine's image of creation as a finite sponge immersed in and pervaded by
> an infinite ocean to illustrate this. There is divine transcendence, for
> God is "Ultimate Reality and Creator" (p.23), but divine immanence must be
> given special emphasis.
> Note that nothing is said about God being dependent upon the world. In
> fact that is no part of the basic etymology of the word, that all is in
> God. Nor is it contained in the meaning often given the word, that God is
> in all things (vgl. Acts 17:28). The belief that God requires &/or depends
> on the world is a tenet of process theology & many panentheists hold
> to process theology but it's not just because they are panentheists. In
> response to Dave Siemens, it is those who insist that a dependence of God
> upon the world is intrinsic to panentheism who are "fudging definitions."
> & the question of whether or not panentheists are theists is purely a
> matter of terminology and not of great importance. The more important
> question should be whether or not Christians can be panentheists & no one
> has presented any reason - without fudging definitions - why they can't be.
> As Peacocke pointed out, Augustine could be considered one.
> Whether or not a panentheistic theology provides the best way of
> interpreting and presenting the Christian faith can, of course, be debated.
> Personally I have some problems with it and never use that term to describe
> my own theology. I do, however, believe that God is present to all
> things. If someone therefore wants to call me a panentheist I won't get
> upset unless that is used to imply that I'm a process theologian or
> something else I'm not.
> Shalom
> George

David W. Opderbeck
Associate Professor of Law
Seton Hall University Law School
Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology
To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Thu Sep 11 16:54:08 2008

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Thu Sep 11 2008 - 16:54:08 EDT