Process

This page is devoted to Process thought … Process thought as I understand it originates with a philosophy developed by Alfred North Whitehead and others … actually Process thought can be related to many academic disciplines but I am concentrating here on Process Theology. My first encounter with Process Theology was in reading Ilia Delio’s book “The Emergent Christ” whilst in a reading group called Lux Divina which is related to a form of Contemplative Prayer called Centering Prayer. From the book I followed links etc to Process Theology and was led to John Cobb Jr. I then found out this introductory introduction to Process Theology by John Cobb Jr (even the introduction needs an introduction!) who is a major spokesman for Process Theology at Claremont School of Theology USA.
What initially attracted me while listening to Cobb was that Process Theology took seriously the problem of Theodicy … that is the old chestnut … ‘If God is all good then why is there so much evil in the world – Therefore He (she or it) cannot be all powerful’ … ‘If God is all powerful then He cannot be all good – otherwise there would not be so much seemingly meaningless suffering in the world’. The Atheist can conclude if God is all powerful and all good then such a God cannot exist – it can only be a concept because reality doesn’t confirm this if both are true.
Now Process Theology says ‘hang on – what if God is not all powerful? At least as we understand power – a unilateral coercive authority to overide anything that contradicts the will of the powerful’. This would at least solve the problem of Theodicy – God is all loving but neither all powerful nor immutable (unchanging – as in the ‘unmoveable mover’). The interesting thing about John Cobb’s arguement is that He claims it is biblical.
Up to this point my own answer to the Theodicy question was as we are often encouraged to say ‘I don’t know but God in His sovereign wisdom does and one day we shall understand … you know the old tapestry thing … what seems like a mess at this time will one day turn out to be a beautiful tapestry’.
I guess it all comes down to at which point you start saying the ‘I don’t know’ answer which in reality is no answer at all. I have been happy with it for years and still have to be satisfied with it in so many areas of my relationship with God but recently I have been thinking the whole theodicy thing over and if Process thought can give a cogent response then it will save alot of people alot of suffering. Some of the platitudes that people can give I cannot believe … like the death of someone’s child is something ‘sent to try them’. So God takes the life of a child because He wants to see how you cope? In the past I would have thoughtlessly nodded to such a response … but when you think about it … is this the God of love I worship through Jesus?

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