According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

Friday, November 25, 2011

Creatio ex Nihilo: Arguments For and Against

1In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

3And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

6And God said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters." 7And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. 8And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

9And God said, "Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear." And it was so. 10God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1.1-10 ESV

Author's Note (Feb 2014)

"Directly below are my earliest thoughts on Process Thought as it was still unknown to me. Many of my initial comments below can be seen to be modified over the years ahead..." - r.e. slater

Discussion Proper

As I am able this week I will include some notes to each short discussion below. Here are my initial thoughts ahead of my reviews (and therefore subject to further review afterwards!):

  • Classic Theism's epistemology draws upon an "open system" view of a God beyond our imaginings. Hence, process theism's arguments for God as part of His creation appear more as a "closed system" view.
  • Accordingly, God is independent and beyond His creation who self limits Himself in some aspect to be inter-related to His creation (a word I prefer over the process term of "inter-dependent"). In this respect then, both classic theism and process theism are "correct" philosophically as well as materially.
  • Overall, I would predispose classicism's "open system" over-and-above process' "closed system" in preference and general rule.
  • This means that within process' "closed system" interpretation of ex nihilo creation there is no creative void as such. Only a particle-based void that is undetected, unknown, perhaps beyond dimensionality, latent with potential and possibility.
  • However, as understood within classic theism's "open system" interpretation, ex nihilo creation can refer to a non-particle based creative void that is part of, or within, the Godhead... even if it were reduced to mean mere thought or expression. Difficult as it may be to comprehend. And even more difficult to allow if using as explanation the materialistic cosmogonous structure of matter-based physics.
  • Consequently, I am allowing for God to be incredible, and unrealistic as framed within particle quantum physics, but very credible, and very realistic, when framed in non-materialistic, non-quantum, epistemological terms.

Lastly, I am interested in knowing if classic theism can be upgraded into process-like terminology using postmodernism's post-structuralism as interpretive guide and instructor. But by doing so will this attempt be a limiting factor in the eras ahead or one that establishes a baseline that can widen and deepen our apprehension of the Divine depending upon the prevailing epistemological system present?

Thought another way, will process theology limit the supremacy of God while closing the gap between man and creation? Rather the reverse of classicism's declaration of the supremacy of God while distancing Him at the same time from man and creation. Whereas process focuses on the problem of man, sin, evil, creation chaos and harm, classicism focuses on the problem of God's holiness, righteousness, the shalom of order and blessedness, omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence. Each area as paradoxical as the other.

Hence, eclectically, I'm hoping for the best of both worlds. And am especially stating henceforth that as pertaining to the study of the Godhead, eclecticism is a most proper tool of usage. And so, let us assume that process theology may have some elements that can be helpful to the study of man and creation in relation to God, as classic theology is helpful to the study of God in relation to man and creation. So that whether when discerning the problem of man, sin, evil, creational chaos and harm (process), or when discerning the problem of the supremacy of God (classicism), we must proceed forward in some kind of syncretistic and eclectic form of discovery until a better, more mitigating system can be better proposed.

R.E. Slater
November 27, 2011

*part of the above dilemma of differing viewpoints is explained as instances of phenomenological "blik" - please refer to this post here for further discusion -

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Part 1

Update: The Ongoing Discussions re

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AAR - Open and Relational Theologies Session
Creatio ex Nihilo: Arguments For and Against

The Open and Relational Theologies session at AAR included a panel and conversation on Creatio ex Nihilo: Arguments For and Against. The panel included: Philip Clayton, Claremont School of Theology, Claremont Lincoln University; Monica A. Coleman, Claremont School of Theology, Claremont Lincoln University; Catherine Keller, Drew University; Michael Lodahl, Point Loma Nazarene University; Richard Rice, Loma Linda University, and Marit Trelstad, Pacific Lutheran University.

Date Recorded: Nov. 20, 2011
Location: Claremont School of Theology
Date Added: November 2011
Philip Clayton [For]
Michael Lodahl [For]
Monica Coleman [Against]
Marit Trelstad [Against]
Catherine Keller [Against]
Richard Rice [For]

Website -

Audio is Garbled

Audio is Clear

AAR-Open & Relational - Clayton
Owner: ProcessCenter
Channel: ProcessCenter

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Feb 2014

 Creatio coninua Ex Electione: A Post-Barthian Revision of
the Doctrine of Creatio Ex Nihilo (.pdf)

by David Congdon

The case against the classical doctrine of creatio ex nihilo continues to mount as arguments arise from all angles - historical, exegetical, and theological. Many of these critiques are aimed at the Hellenistic framework within which the Christian doctrine originally took shape. Others examine the ambiguities latent within the biblical texts themselves. In this paper I will identify three theological problems with the doctrine in conversation with three theologians.

The first problem is the fact that the doctrine of “creation out of nothing” posits no material relationship between creation and redemption. Here I will engage the work of Catherine Keller, who attacks creatio ex nihilo but ends up perpetuating this same bifurcation between origin and telos in her conception of creatio ex profundis.

The second problem is that “creation out of nothing” indicates no essential connection between the divine will to create and the divine being as creator. In this context I briefly take up the work of Jürgen Moltmann and assess his understanding of divine creation as a creatio ex amore.

The third and final problem is the separation between creation and providence, between original creation and continuing creation. Here I briefly treat Schleiermacher’s account of creation in his Glaubenslehre.

I conclude by using a modified version of Barth’s doctrine of election as the lens through which I reconcile these various strands in modern theology. I argue for what I call a creatio continua ex electione (David Congdon) - a continuous creation out of divine election. In the end, I hope to show that this position addresses these three problems while still upholding the necessary insights of the traditional doctrine of “creation out of nothing.”

... continue reading at link above ...

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