Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

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

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - 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

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

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) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

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

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Monday, December 21, 2020

Carl Jung's Archetypes within Whitehead's Process Metaphysic

Introduction by R.E. Slater

I have started to listen to Matt Sagall's apprise of Whitehead's Process Philosophy from a number of different settings such as Panpsychism and Jungian archetypes (this latter topic will be spoken here by his student Becca Tarnas further below. I've provided a transcript as well). Both topics I've shared with a certain amount of validity, or assurance, for the Open and Relational Process Theology (aka Alfred North Whitehead) I've been developing over the last several years.

The area of Process Panpsychism has solved a LOT of (classical) theological conundrums which couldn't be solved without it's application. Regarding Carl Jung's Psychic and Panpsychic Archetypes I suspect these too will work out in the same way as I hope when conjoined with Whiteheadian Process Thought. Thus my interest in today's discussion despite it's occasional absorbtion with astrology.

To re-interate, when reading through Carl Jung's psychoanalytical archetypes I've become interested in its linkage to Whitehead's Process Philosophy. Becca Tarnas's video found further below works along these lines and has thus piqued my interest.

But I really have no interest in astrology (my apologies to those who do). It may work for some individuals but for the kind of Process Theology I've been developing there is no place for astrology or any such element working with predictive forces.

As an Open theist I have no interest in the pseudo-science of astrology except as an interested polymath on all subjects. Otherwise, the future is not given to us to know nor predict. Not even God Himself knows the future, let alone controls the future. This would be completely contrary to open theism and especially to Process Philosophical Thought.

Not to confuse the subject but I should mention two subjects along this line:

1 - Astral panpsychic arts can, and do, integrate with that part of process psychoanalytical psychology / group sociology which may run parallel with each other re our humanity's being, very creation itself, and how we-and-creation operate as a process-based living organism - or collective - of organic feeling. Even creation's future direction, or teleology, will show fundamental connectivity with one another. But for the process theology I am envisioning, I do not intend to go in the direction of the many kinds of astrology I have listed below in a separate article. They might conjoin with my direction, which is ok, but I cannot see going their direction for philosophical theological purposes.

2 - Beyond process there is also no kind of "controlling" aspect to God's process of creation. It is an independent process set onto its own path. One set onto its own accord with its own movement forward. That movement will always be unique, novel, unpredictable, full of chaos and randomness. If we wish to synch ourselves up with it and nudge it forward re goodness, wellbeing, equality, and so forth, we can, and it will respond, to those directional "pushes" or "assurances". (Ex. Your typical backyard gardens: till the ground, plant the seed, and it will bloom. It's a kind of "nudged process" becoming a "material organic form of beingness.")

This is how Creational Process works. It's it's nature. It derives from, or is birthed by, or is regenerated and sustained by, God nature of Love. God, being the first process of all subtending processes which have proceeded from Him but of its own indeterminate and freewill agency. Begun by God but separated from God giving it it's own autonomy and "being-ness". God, Himself, His Self-Identity, His nature is the base and substance of all proceeding processes. These subtended process have exuded from God, which captures the classic idea of God "willing things forward, or controlling things." But for Open and Relational Process Theologian these words of exactitude and controlling no longer work as they once did. Blame it on science or on postmodernism.

Whatever it is, the process future is unknowable and yet can be interacted with as we can by capturing the essence of its process nature of movement and grooming it towards greater fulfillment. Which is probably why Eastern philosophies feel so familiar to me in how I am seeing God in all His divine becoming in solidarity with creation as He eternally "urges" creation forwards towards its base nature of being and becoming.

Now I realize more can be said of these two sublime areas. And perhaps with time and insight I might be able to say more on these things more clearly. But for now I don't mind a kind of murkiness (or mysticism) when contemplating God and all things God. The mirror of self - even self knowledge and contemplation - will always be a murky looking glass to stare into. It's how life's processes are. And that's ok with me.


R.E. Slater
December 21, 2020

Beings, as Creation, are involved and evolving with one another even
as the Lord God Himself is evolving with all things creative. - re slater

* * * * * * * * *
Definition of Astrology - the divination of the supposed influences of the stars and planets on human affairs and terrestrial events by their positions and aspects

* * * * * * * * *

Wikipedia - Astrology
Astrology is a pseudoscience that claims to divine information about human affairs and terrestrial events by studying the movements and relative positions of celestial objects. Astrology has been dated to at least the 2nd millennium BCE, and has its roots in calendrical systems used to predict seasonal shifts and to interpret celestial cycles as signs of divine communications. 
Many cultures have attached importance to astronomical events, and some—such as the Hindus, Chinese, and the Maya—developed elaborate systems for predicting terrestrial events from celestial observations. Western astrology, one of the oldest astrological systems still in use, can trace its roots to 19th–17th century BCE Mesopotamia, from where it spread to Ancient Greece, Rome, the Arab world and eventually Central and Western Europe. Contemporary Western astrology is often associated with systems of horoscopes that purport to explain aspects of a person's personality and predict significant events in their lives based on the positions of celestial objects; the majority of professional astrologers rely on such systems.
Throughout most of its history, astrology was considered a scholarly tradition and was common in academic circles, often in close relation with astronomy, alchemy, meteorology, and medicine. It was present in political circles and is mentioned in various works of literature, from Dante Alighieri and Geoffrey Chaucer to William Shakespeare, Lope de Vega, and Calderón de la Barca. Following the end of the 19th century and the wide-scale adoption of the scientific method, researchers have successfully challenged astrology on both theoretical and experimental grounds, and have shown it to have no scientific validity or explanatory power. Astrology thus lost its academic and theoretical standing, and common belief in it has largely declined.

* * * * * * * * *

Jungian Archetypes

What are the different kinds of Astrology
Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Astrology is basically the method of predicting everyday events by basing on the positions and certain behaviors of the celestial bodies, such as planets and stars. These behaviors of the celestial bodies are also known as constellations. 

Now a day we work with many such types of astrology. They are - Western, Sidereal, Natal, Electional, Horary, Judicial, Medical, Chinese, Indian, Arab and Persian, Celtic, Egyptian.

Consult our expert astrologers online on Astroyogi.com for an in-depth and personalized analysis of Horoscope. Click here to consult now!

Let us go a bit in detail about these types of astrology. 

Western Astrology -  This system is mainly used in Western countries. It is the type of augury that uses all of the twelve zodiac signs. These zodiac signs are the signs that match the position of the sun in the zodiac. These are observed at different times of the year. Birth charts, various types of horoscopes are made from this kind of astrology. 

Sidereal Astrology -  This is the term used to define the year astrology. This system also uses all of the twelve zodiac signs but uses the vernal equinox position. 

Natal Astrology - This system of astrology uses the endemic charts. These are the astrological maps that lead to the position of the stars at a person’s birth. These are used to predict the traits and paths of a person’s life. 

Electional Astrology - This type of astrology is a branch that takes the help of the positions of the stars in the sky to predict the advantageous events that are about to take place. It is mostly used to make future predictions and answer future related questions. 

Horary Astrology - Horary Astrology represents the type of astrology which uses the complexity in the positions of the stars to provide suggestions to questions that were asked during the reading were taking place. 

Judicial Astrology - This is the type of astrology that uses the positions of planets, not stars, to predict the outcomes or events of the future.   

Medical Astrology - Medical Astrology is a system that is based on finding out relations with the medical conditions or certain parts of the body with the twelve zodiac signs. This is usually used during the weaknesses or diseases in the body. 

Chinese Astrology - This type of astrology came from the Han Dynasty. It is formed on the knowledge from the Han Dynasty and relates strongly to the three fundamental harmonies, which are: Water, Earth, and Heaven. Consisting of 12 earthly branches and 10 celestial stems, the Chinese Astrology also includes a lunisolar calendar.

Indian Astrology - Indian Astrology is formed from the Hindu concepts and cultures. It is basically a Hindu system of astrology or, as sometimes known as the Vedic Astrology. Siddhanta, Sahita and Hora are the 3 different branches within the Indian Astrology.   

Arab and Persian Astrology -  It takes us back to the medieval Arabs and its concepts. It is basically a mixture of Muslim beliefs and related scientific observations.   

Celtic Astrology - The Celtic Astrology, or also known as the astrology of the druids, takes the help of trees. It says that each and every personality has its own relationship with the properties of a tree and can also be defined through them.  

Egyptian Astrology - The early Egyptians were interested more in fixed stars. So, the Egyptian Astrology mainly uses the position of the Sun, rather than those of the planets and other stars. The twelve zodiac signs all cover two different time zones.   

* * * * * * * * *

Whitehead and Archetypal Cosmology
by Becca Tarnas, Jan 8, 2016

Jung's Archetypal View + Whitehead

This presentation briefly explores the ways in which Alfred North Whitehead's process philosophy can provide one possible metaphysical basis for the practice and perspective of archetypal cosmology

Becca Tarnas is a doctoral student in the Ecology, Spirituality, and Religion program at the California Institute of Integral Studies. She also received her MA from CIIS in the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness program, and her BA from Mount Holyoke College in Environmental Studies and Theater Arts. She is currently writing her doctoral dissertation on the synchronicity between the Red Books of C.G. Jung and J.R.R. Tolkien. She writes regularly on archetypal cosmology and is an editor of Archai: The Journal of Archetypal Cosmology. Becca’s website is BeccaTarnas.com where she posts her current writings, paintings, and lectures.


* * * * * * * * *

Transcript: Whitehead and Archetypal Cosmology

presented by post-doctoral student Becca Tarnas
(a student of Matthew Segall)
Jan 8, 2016

Discussion of Archtypes: Hillman, Jung, & Whitehead


Speaker 1


I'm gonna be talking today on a topic I presented this as a paper at the summer, and I'm going to just kind of give you a brief taste a sample of what that kind of larger presentation was there. And a lot of what I'm going to be talking about the presentation just has the simple title right now of Whitehead and archetypal cosmology. And a lot of what I'm speaking about has really arisen in conversation with Matt, who's the great white head in scholar in my life. And these ideas have really arisen between us so he's very much co author of this presentation. So what I'd like to pause it and open up for further conversation. Is that whiteheads process philosophy can perhaps provide us with a metaphysical basis for archetypal cosmology for archetypal astrology. And for these ideas, I'm going to be drawing just so you have kind of the background of the thinkers I'm bringing into this young on James Hellman Katharine Keller, David Ray Griffin and Owen Barfield, among others, but those are kind of the primary players, and I'm just going to try and touch on the concepts. And I think at times you may be in a wash of white heady and language, and just allow what images arise, to come with with those terms, and with the hope of this sparking further conversation that I can learn from and we can carry on this conversation. So I feel really blessed to be in a community and family that explores the question of the astrological cosmos, and we are able to look at the multi Vaillant ways in which astrology works. And so today I want to explore another question, which is why astrology works. If we can try and do that. And before I go further, I just want to touch on the nature of archetypes and I'm going forward with the premise that you will have some sense at some level of what an archetype is, but to kind of set the tone I want to draw on the great articulator of archetypes Carl Jung. Just this quote where he says, a kind of fluid interpenetration belongs to the very nature of all archetypes. They can only be roughly circumscribed at best, every attempt to focus them more sharply is immediately punished by the intangible core of meaning losing its luminosity. No archetype can be reduced to a simple formula. It is a vessel which we can never empty and never fill. It has a potential existence only. And when it takes shape and matter it is no longer what it was. And I give you this quote to present how archetypes are not fully definable, or describable, without misrepresenting them without doling their divine luminosity. And so as I try and discuss a metaphysical basis for an archetypal cosmology. I am recognizing the impossibility of actually capturing the archetypal presence in the single metaphysical system. That can't be fully explained, so this is just touching on it in a conference in the early 80s put on by David Ray Griffin and Katherine Keller. There was this conference called archetypal process bringing together whiteheads process, philosophy and young and Hellman's archetypal psychology and Griffin drew a parallel between Jung's concept of archetypes and whiteheads eternal objects. So for Whitehead an eternal object is an A quote, any entity, whose conceptual recognition does not involve a necessary reference to any definite actual entities of the temporal world. So, an eternal object, it's potentially relevant to some actual occasion, it's a possibility. That's not yet defined as an actuality, so eternal objects. They're like Plato's forms in that they're real, apart from their particular expression, but they're unlike Plato's forms in that, as Whitehead says they're deficient in actuality, and so because of this deficiency of the eternal objects. They long to enter into actuality, to Ingress is the term that Whitehead uses long to aggress into actual occasions, of experience.


Speaker 1


So what are eternal objects. They're the ways we describe the world. They're the adjectives. The colors the shapes, the feelings, the smells, tastes, the qualities. Now, archetypes, we come to actually understand through such qualities. But archetypes seem to be larger than those simple adjectives archetypes are unifying fields, they're gravitational attractors that draw together, a complex array of eternal objects into a singular. And yet, always fluid form. So I want to make clear here that from how I'm approaching this archetypes and eternal objects are not to be equated and grant Maxwell has written about this in a previous issue of the archive journal as well. So planetary archetypes. They include both the potential reality of whiteheads eternal objects. And the incarnate experience of actual occasions. So how we're living them in daily life. So, archetypes are not just eternal objects or potentials because they have agency. They have autonomy archetypes are complex persons or personalities, to use James Homans language. Yet, they have a metaphorical unity to their complexity. So Hellman says, always of speaking of archetypes are translations from one metaphor to another. In whiteheads system, the source of all things is creativity, capital see creativity is primary creativity is the realm of pure potential, and thus it is chaos. I'm not going to go into the details of this but Whitehead has in his philosophical system reasoned his way back to the existence of God, but God and Whitehead system is not primary creativity is. So God is actually a creature of creativity, which solves a lot of problems that God has had to carry. So God orders this chaos of pure potentiality chaos of creativity into a hierarchy of eternal objects, I want to be careful with that term hierarchy that there's a relational order, but not a ranking of value. So God orders the chaos of pure potentiality into the hierarchy of eternal objects. And I posit orders. The archetypes. So God takes the chaos and turns it into cosmos. And God is born of that chaos. So God is the first compresses the first and everlasting Crescent coming into being the first achievement of chaos, becoming cosmos. There's an image that I like to draw on to try and express this idea of chaos becoming cosmos, and I'm grateful for Travis's presentation this morning speaking about light feels very related to this, so the image, I want to draw is one of the prism. And if you think of creativity that realm of pure potential and chaos. As the white light, and then you can think of God as the prism, and the white light passes through God God orders that creativity into the refracted colors. The archetypes, but within the band of light that is each of those colors, is there's an infinity of shades that are at play within each one. And so you can think of that like the archetype of Venus, every shade of, let's say, green every shade are all the possibilities of what Venus could Ingress as or all the shades of blue are all the possibilities of how Neptune could enter into incarnate reality. So the moment that a child takes their first breath. That's their. That is the first concrete essence of that being independent of the mother's body. Now, to use like whiteheads language. Technically, a child is actually a society of actual occasions, each of which are compressing, making the experience of the newborn in that moment. Now, that, that first moment that inhalation that first breath, that's when the birth chart is set, that's the time that we take that when we calculate the birth chart. Why, why that moment. Well,


Speaker 1


when conquests happens all past actual occasions, everything that's ever happened. That has to use whiteheads language perished into objective and mortality, they all become one. And are presented by this moment the child. So Whitehead says the many become one, and are increased by one. And that happens every moment, every actual occasion is compressing. So every archetypal expression that has ever existed is in that moment gifted to the child. But Whitehead says that past actual occasions that are most felt by the compressing actual occasion of that moment. So in this case, again, the child, are those that are immediately prior. So, the positions of the planets and the correlated archetypal energies enacted everywhere on Earth. At that moment of that. Inhale of breath is independence. All of that is inherited by the child. And as the child lives and grows into her subjectivity can see as the crest of her compressing wave. She continues to inherit the archetype we ordered actual occasions and this we see in transits. Yet, the birth charts still effective still effective throughout the whole life, why is that why isn't it in Whitehead scheme, it would be just that each next moment is the most important, but there's something specific about that first breath. How is that I want to return to the image of God for a moment. As an eternally compressing actual occasion, you can think of God. If you think of a compressing actual occasion like a wave that crashes, you can think of God as a wave that never crashes that just keeps going, it's never perishing, and as God's wave is in this everlasting conquest since. God is feeling the precession of the cosmic community of finite actual occasions. So perhaps it's the same as with the child in the moment is that first breath that actually the first breath that concrete essence is an everlasting concrete essence that wave also never crashes. And so each proceeding concrete lessons unfolding transits takes place within the Gestalt set by that first concrete essence. And that's how transits to the birth chart can be experienced by the individual. So I'm trying to imagine it like the birth chart also is like a prism, and the refracting archetypal potential becomes the archetypal particulars of this person gods that whiteheads God has to nature's dipolar nature of God. And there's the primordial pole and the consequent pole. Now, the primordial pole orders the realm of eternal objects like we talked about before, so that they can Ingress into the actual occasions, of the cosmic community, the consequent pole is actually what's going on when they Ingress so the consequent full pole fuels the experiences of this world, and adjust the ordering of the eternal objects, according to that so it's this recursive loop that, in a way, God is experiencing the ordering of the eternal archetypes through all of our experiences, and then changes them changes that ordering so new experiences arise. And just as God reorders the eternal objects.


Speaker 1


Perhaps that is also what's happening with eternal objects within the archetypes. So as they progress into living manifestation. We participate in their becoming. We co creatively engage with them. So archetypes also have a consequent nature. They feel what we feel, which forever reshapes the potential for their future and aggression. So basically, the way we live and procreate with the archetypes forever reshapes and continues to reshape, how they will manifest later in our lives. And then in the lives of future generations. So it's almost like the cosmos is inviting us through that. to. to participate or participation is actually enacting an evolution in the archetypes themselves. And so by consciously engaging with them by co creatively manifesting them. We're each able, and also have the responsibility to reshape the potentialities of the future. So I'm going to leave it there for now and see where we go from there with a conversation.


So you've processed it the first time at Claremont


integrate an


Speaker 1


expert like pieces he or she is when you talk about


mainstream was called like


white. He spoke about it. So how was it.


Speaker 1


Well, I'll just say the conference was huge. There were 82 tracks. And we were in one of those tracks. And I was wonderfully cushioned by a PCC filled audience. So, all of my fears going into it thinking that I was going to have things thrown at me and I would be ridiculed didn't happen. And I had a very supportive audience that I could engage with with a lot of familiar faces and a few unfamiliar faces who I was able to dialogue with there, and the longer portion of the talk was drawing, why I was even bringing archetypal cosmology into the discussion. So I was speaking to Whitehead Ian's. Or at least that's what I kind of had in mind, and justifying to them why I was bringing in archetypal cosmology, and it was really Hellman that kind of set the stage for that so there was this conference in 83 at the same university, and he was the one who said that we need a metaphysics for archetypal psychology. He had thrown out Young's metaphysics too as he said save his psychology, but realize metaphysics is always operating whether you're conscious of it or not. And so he wanted to draw on this term cosmology that he could connect with Whitehead and cosmology being a worldview and cosmology being of course related to the astronomical bodies and so Hellman provided kind of my gateway into feeling like it was safe to speak at Claremont about the subject walls. You should be up here helping me answer them.



Thanks Becker's.



Follow ons were



speculating about why it works. And my question



for you personally. I mean,



you articulated this paper so it must be important for you in some sense to understand the why ology but maybe you can talk about the relationship between that question and the practices, ecology which can



operate independently of


Speaker 2


having an explanation for how it could be possible. Right, so there's the practice and then there's the theory. And, you know, for me I'm interested in why because it's all



theory and I love theory. I love the theory and practice even,



it's great but how do you



differentiate the two and why is it important to do this work to try to understand why it works


Speaker 1


almost want to answer that question backward, because it's an engaging. Really, this was my way to try and understand Whitehead. And so it was that with the practice of astrology, that I could try to understand what Whitehead was saying, and then realizing, again and again. How much what he was saying, fit what seemed to be happening in the practice and engagement with how transits manifest every, every day and throughout our lives and in world events and so on. So it's almost like the practice drew me into the theory. And that's probably why so many of the ideas here are arose between us, because you're coming with the theory. I feel like I'm not going to answer every


Speaker 2


one of the ideas that you've put forward that got a lot of people excited and talking. After Unicron was the possibility of the polytheistic processes of physics. And so, There's a kind of mutual intelligibility that arises between archetypal cosmology and processive cosmology, but then he also had a way of sort of massaging process metaphysics, through a kind of polytheistic societal sense. So I wonder if you could rehearse that for us now, it was great, rich. Well,


Speaker 1


I mean, with the idea of a god ordering the actual occasions, and I mean kind of the mysterious part is the archetypes being we've kind of attractors for the actual occasions that continue to be expressed with them and those archetypes as attractors are in their own way. God gods and the in a way you could almost see it as many nested prisms God as the prism that refract, the many colors and then each color with as many shades is another refraction. And then maybe each of us is another prism that refracts that once again as we live,



you know I


Speaker 1


I may have one aspect and you might have the same one but we live them out completely differently. And so we're each prisms as well and so there's kind of a polytheism within each of us going all the way back. Okay,


Speaker 2


maybe I don't know why, but it seems that the physics of the process. You can do so you're doing so much in understanding how archetype to to to to articulate that archetype process based on pointing. I don't see the warning what happens, what happens, or what happened to young side of things. Where were processes not merely the kind of endless cycling back and forth between primordial and consequences. But it's actually attacking trying to go somewhere. We're trying to get with, with whiteheads idea of creativity and creativity. For young, of course there is a sense to tell us in a world of scalability. Is there any heavy logical dimension that you're intuiting that you can get out of the encounter between Whitehead archetypal cosmology.



I don't have an answer.


Speaker 1


It feels overwhelming to try and give an answer. But the, the kind of dialogue between the primordial and consequent natures seems not so much cyclical as spiral ik. And what I was attempting to touch on with the idea of us, participating in that evolution is that the reordering of the eternal objects. The reordering than the archetypes of those potentials. It's, it's always new because of what we're doing. And so there is, kind of, there is this movement forward in a certain way with that that it's not just for, for, if that helps.


Speaker 3


Hello everyone. Here we are again for another one of our live conversations and these are live conversations always amused when I see in the chat people say is this live is this live yeah it's live if you're watching live right if you're not watching it live. It's not live. And I don't know maybe just to establish that fact it's always good to respond in real time. There was one question here from someone in Fiji I don't know where the, the question runt question went, I should say had to do with black holes in string theory. If you want to ask that question again, our participant from Fiji, our try to look at it. But the main event today. As you all know, is a conversation with Lenny Susskind who is really one of the great theoretical physicists of our time. So it's an exciting guest to have on the program, as many of you know many has had profound impact in string theory. Black Hole physics quantum mechanics elementary particle physics I mean it's quite a lot. Quite a lot of accomplishments and we'll obviously only be talking about part of those insights, but I think will likely skew heavily on black holes, you know as you reach the end of the year. There's a tendency to think back on the good things the bad things summarize you know they're always best of lists worst of lists, things of that sort. If I was going to focus upon the best of physics, or let's say theoretical physics and 2020 even perhaps even earlier. Black Holes would be near the top, perhaps at the top. You know we've had a great run and is continuing onward and we're going to discuss today. Some of the puzzles that remain but some of the deep puzzles of the past that today just are not as puzzling any longer. It's not that everything has been resolved, or it's rare that deep puzzles just get fully thoroughly resolved, but there are many things that were very unclear, even as early as 15 2025 years ago that now have really been unraveled and Lenny and a bunch of other folks that will no doubt make reference to critical to making that happen so Lenny will join us at about 130 or so. I'll do a little bit of q&a, maybe just a couple of questions if there's something to get us going. And then I'll maybe give a. I don't know, a little background to the conversation that we're gonna have Atlanta so here's a question from Captain Vietnam. How are dark energy and dark matter related Captain Vietnam asks, and I like questions like that because the answer is short. Basically I don't know and nobody does know how these dark things are related, they may be related they may not be related remember dark matter is this idea of matter that is out there we believe in space, and we come to that conclusion because when we take account of the gravity that can be exerted by the matter that's not dark, which means matter that we can see gives off light reflects light matter of that sort. The amount of gravity that such matter can exert just is not enough to account for the motions that we see through astrophysical measurements astrophysical data right i mean the analogy that I like to use I think it's a pretty good one. If you have a bicycle wheel, that's wet as it spins you know that the water droplets fly off as the wheel turns. Similarly, in galaxies are spinning. If they're spinning at a sufficiently fast rate stars should be flung outward. And we see galaxies for which the stars should be flung outwards, but they're not which must mean there's something else out there that's holding those stars inside of those galaxies the belief is that there's additional matter, beyond the matter that we can see with our telescopes and that dark matter is responsible for the gravitational pull that's keeping those stars from flying outwards, like the water droplets good that's dark matter as you'd say, there's a lot of dark matter we think when you do these calculations. There's on the order of four or five times as much dark matter as there is ordinary matter, you know the stuff that we're made of


Speaker 3


dark energy is a different beast, dark energy. The most convincing evidence for it. Are these observations that we've discussed in this series from time to time of the accelerated expansion of space. Space is not only getting larger over time that was a shock right. That was the shock that initially was really confirmed through the observations of Edwin Hubble. But, not only is the universe getting bigger it's getting bigger, at an accelerated clip, so the expansion is speeding up. How can expansion speed up right galaxies they pull on each other with the force of gravity force of gravity we usually think of as pulling things inward. But yet, something's pushing outward. And the remarkable thing is that an Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity. Gravity can actually be repulsive it can push outward. Not if the source of that gravity is a clump like a star, a clump like a galaxy a clump like a planet rather if there's a diffuse energy that is spread uniformly throughout a region of space then under modest assumptions, it will give rise to a repulsive push an outward push that can drive the expansion of space to accelerate. And because this energy does not itself give off light we call it dark energy. So there are the two dark things Dark Matter dark energy and again I gave you the amount of dark matter, dark energies in terms of the energy mass budget of the universe is even more substantial on the order of 70% of the mass energy of the universe is this dark energy. So that are these two components now are they related. Many people have written down theories which suggests that they are none of these have really gained the consensus of the scientific community as yet, but who knows. You know, they both have dark in their name. Is that the end of the connection, or is it deeper, I don't know. All right anyway so that's a good question to get us going here. Mark Kennedy also has How much do you miss mama joys. I don't know what that means but it does ring a bell. Somewhere deep in my childhood or something. I know what you're talking about Mark I think. Or maybe not. Maybe it's something that I don't want to remember, I don't know. But anyway, I can't answer the question cuz I don't remember exactly what it means, quick one more before we head on to a little bit of background. Physics forever asks, What are strings made up we'll talk a little bit about string theory here today no doubt many sides gein founding father pioneer of string theory I'm sure it will come up in our conversation. And look when you think about any proposal for what stuff is made of. And you think back on the history of ideas, any proposal for what stuff is made of seem to ultimately have finer stuff inside of it. Right, molecules made of atoms. atoms. Yeah nucleus, with electron.


Follow Up: An Open & Relational Theology of Jesus (Christology), Part 2

Author's Biography

*Tripp Fuller is a podcaster, theologian, minister and competitive home brewer. Currently he is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Theology & Science at the University of Edinburgh. He received his PhD in Philosophy, Religion, and Theology at Claremont Graduate University. For over 12 years Tripp has been doing the Homebrewed Christianity podcast (think on demand internet radio) where he interviews different scholars about their work so you can get nerdy in traffic, on the treadmill or doing the dishes. Last year it had over 3 million downloads. It also inspired a book series with Fortress Press called the Homebrewed Christianity Guides to… topics like God, Jesus, Spirit, Church History etc. Tripp is a very committed and (some of his friends think overly ) engaged Lakers fan, takes Star Wars and Lord of the Rings very seriously, enjoys coaching his oldest son Elgin’s flag football and basketball team, and prides himself in giving rousing editions of Sandra Boynton tunes during bedtime reading. Tripp, partner since 18 Alecia, & three kids (11, 5, & 2) are all headed to Scotland for three years where they hope to develop a sweet accent and avoid eating haggis.  In the classroom, online, or in the pulpit, his passion is helping the church develop a zesty theology with traction in our world today.

*Thomas Jay Oord is a theologian, philosopher, and scholar of multi-disciplinary studies. Oord directs the Center for Open and Relational Theology and doctoral students at Northwind Theological Seminary. He is an award-winning author and has published more than twenty-five books. A gifted speaker, Oord lectures at universities, churches, conferences, and institutions. He is known for contributions to research on love, science and religion, open and relational theology, the problem of suffering, and the implications of freedom for transformational relationships.

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Doctoral Seminar with Team Oord
 Sep 23, 2020


October 23, 2020

Episode 39: Our guest for this episode is Dr Tripp Fuller and (in one of our more meaty theological episodes) we dive further into all things 'Jesus'. Is Jesus just a nice guy, or did God jump down from heaven into human form... or is it possible that something else is going on here? We talk about all of this in relation to Tripp's latest book, Divine Self Investment, in which he proposes an open and relational constructive Christology.

If you're the kind of person who likes the idea of diving into an academic theological book that packs a punch, and that proposes bold, innovative and compelling ways of understanding the Jesus story, then you can check out his new book here.

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An Open & Relational Theology of Jesus
by Thomas J. Oord

An Open Future for God and Man. A God who is actively giving and receiving. This is a discussion of Open and Relational CONSTRUCTIVE Christology. Tripp's book covers the following:

Claim - Who God is and How God Acts: Metaphysically; Themes of God's love for man and creation; it is a giving and receiving love; a great emphasis on the role creation plays as co-creators and co-partners with God; Incarnation happens not just once but at all times everywhere per ORT; It is a robust statement of incarnation. God's power v God's love - avoids supernaturalism, creaturely freedom, real contingency all based upon Jesus; Jesus' temptations were real, He could have sinned and said no to God. Jesus is both human and divine, divine and human. In the Jewish view Jesus was monolithic. ORT draws out the Greek philosophical assumptions of historic Christology by getting rid of many of them. 

How does Jesus mediate God? How did His actions have an affect on our thinking of God both then and now, today, on our lives in the present.
1 - Naturalistic Jesus approach: To read Jesus from a phenomenological approach to a metaphysical approach.
2 - Chasm Jesus mediates God crossing all those gaps which keep us from God. There is no ontological gap (re the chasm view) between God and us.
3 - The stories of Jesus in the bible shows us that the bible is also a mediating form of Jesus to us but ORT wants to go way beyond this; past the pages of the bible into real time.
4 - the Butterfly Affect Jesus which happened a long time ago which has built up over time is the Jesus legacies of today from causal chain of affects
5 - The resurrected Jesus continues to have subjective experiences in the after life and can this Jesus have affects upon us today like He did with Paul on the Road to Damascus? Can this Jesus become omnipresent after death? If not, the heavenly Jesus must go one event at a time. (I will chose to disagree with this one).
6 - Jesus=God - Jesus mediates God: Jesus = God formulation? Why or Why Not? How does Jesus mediate God if they are one and the same?
7 - God mediates Jesus: If God is also part of this butterfly affect causal chain then how does God meadiating Jesus affect us today?

An Open & Relational Theology of Jesus
by Thomas J. Oord

Thomas Jay Oord’s Response to Tripp Fuller’s
Divine Investment: An Open and Relational Constructive Christology 

A1. Open and Relational Theology:
  • God is affected by creaturely action (passible), and
  • God experiences ongoing time analogous to how creatures experience it (open future). God cannot foreknow nor foreordain all future events.
A2. Open and relational theology comes in diverse forms. Open and relational Christologies are diverse as well. But the following are common ideas:
  1. Love is God’s motivation and method.
  2. Most creatures have freedom to cooperate or reject God’s calls. Creatures can act as created co-creators with God.
  3. Theologians can make constructive claims about who God is and how God acts in the world without assuming these claims are fully true or capture God fully.
  4. God is always incarnate, although sometimes creation reveals God in special ways.
  5. God is always near and active but rarely if ever in a controlling way (Super/naturalism)
  6. O&RT denies that God foreordained and foreknew all the details of Jesus’ life.
  7. O&RT often begins with the human Jesus and explores how he might be divine.
  8. O&RT rejects classic theories of atonement that portray God as unloving.
  9. O&RT often criticizes classical Christological formulations as being unhelpful when they 1) rely upon a substance metaphysics and 2) don’t take history seriously
  10. Jesus reveals something true about God in his life, teachings, death, and resurrection.

For full summary, see first article below or go to link here: thomasjayoord.com “Tripp Fuller’s Open and Relational Christology”

B. Does Jesus Influence Today?

“Jesus Christ mediates the existential encounter with God.” – Tripp Fuller

Okay. But how?
  1. Naturalistic Jesus – Avoids any metaphysical moves
  2. Chasm Jesus – Jesus bridges gap between sinful creation and holy God
  3. Bible Mediates Jesus Who Mediates God – Stories
  4. Butterfly Effect Jesus – Jesus life long ago has ripple causal affects today
  5. Heavenly Jesus – Jesus lives now as a localized individual in “heaven”
  6. Jesus = God – Jesus mediates God, because Jesus simply is God
  7. God Mediates Jesus – God mediates Jesus (past or present) to us
For a full explanation of the typology, see second article below or go to link here: thomasjayoord.com “Does Jesus Influence Today?”

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Tripp Fuller’s Open and Relational Christology
by Thomas Jay Oord
October 27th, 2020

Tripp Fuller’s book Divine Self-Investment: an Open and Relational Constructive Christology makes an important contribution to understanding Jesus of Nazareth.

In this essay, I summarize Fuller’s book. I show how he affirms Jesus as a special expression of divine self-investment. As one who joins Fuller in embracing an open and relational theological vision, I am especially grateful for this work. It helps us better understand the person and work of Jesus in our time.

In a follow-up essay, I’ll engage Fuller’s work to wrestle with a question I have been asking for decades: in what sense should we say Jesus exerts causal influence today? But this essay is an overview of Fuller’s primary points.

Issues for Contemporary Christology

At the outset, Fuller aims to “investigate the possibility of a robust constructive open and relational Christology.” To do this, he 1) lays “out a broadly open and relational vision,” 2) “situates the constructive function of contemporary historical Jesus research,” and 3) “proposes three pairings of contemporary Christologies that share a thematic center with distinct trajectories.” An adequate open and relational Christology, says Fuller, “needs to include the historical Jesus, the existential register of faith, and the metaphysical referent to God.”

Christians typically account for who God is by telling the story of Jesus. Each age must make sense of Jesus and how to articulate the ongoing encounter with God that Jesus mediates. This means, says Fuller, contemporary theologians ought to offer constructive proposals that include “the historical person of Jesus, the contestability of God, and the irreducibly confessional nature of identifying Jesus as the Christ.”

The liberal Christian theological trajectory offers important resources for Christological work. But liberal theology often offers a muted and reductive account of Christ. The problem, in part, is liberal theology’s wariness of metaphysics. Fuller offers an open and relational metaphysics as a remedy.

Fuller’s project is not merely academic. He believes this work matters for the life of the church. “The inability to articulate just how God was present in Christ and how that reality shapes the character of life together,” says Fuller, “destroys the very integrity of the church.” This articulating should not be aimed at proving Jesus with evidence that demands a verdict. But neither is it limited merely to the subjective confession of the believer. Fuller unites the confessional and metaphysical through the historical person of Jesus.

21st-Century Obstacles

The 21st-century theologian faces obstacles when doing Christology. Many people today regard God as unnecessary to account for the existence of the cosmos or to ground morality. Consequently, many people no longer assume God exists. Theology has been “dispersed from the center of town,” says Fuller, “to the private study of some but not all people.”

A 21st-century theologian must speak adequately about the historical Jesus. Fuller’s project builds from the contemporary awareness that history is an ongoing venture and the future is open, not settled. The contemporary theologian must account for the historical Jesus without allowing the often-naturalistic account of that quest to determine Christological formulations fully. To put it another way, metaphysical speculation must play a role in efforts to understand Jesus.

A contemporary theologian should acknowledge the subjective element in Christological formulation. Fuller calls this subjective element “the existential register,” because it also includes whether the person studying Jesus will claim him as the Christ. No one can obtain objective certainty on Christological matters.

The 21st-century theologian also faces metaphysical questions about God’s relation to the world. “How one understands the reality of God, the possibility of divine action, and the nature of divine revelation,” says Fuller, “will dramatically affect one’s Christology.”

The contemporary theologian functions as what Fuller calls a “believing-skeptic.” Theological questions today “are not settled upfront with triumphalist zeal or deflationary prolegomena.” But the Christological confession today cannot be about the historical Jesus alone. It cannot even be about how God is present in Jesus. Contemporary theologians must also consider whether God exists and how we best understand God.

To address these issues, Fuller engages prominent themes and theologians of contemporary Christology. He explores how we might best conceive of the historical Jesus in light of contemporary scholarship. From this, Fuller launches into comparing various Christologies. To address Spirit Christologies, he looks at contemporary Catholic theologians Roger Haight and Joseph Bracken. To address Logos Christologies, Fuller turns to Kathryn Tanner’s post-liberal work and John Cobb’s process theology. A final comparative chapter explores the Reformed Liberal theologian Douglas Ottati and Korean American Methodist theologian Andrew Sung Park.

Open and Relational Theology

As the subtitle of the book suggests, Fuller aims to offer an “open and relational constructive Christology.” To help the reader, he summarizes primary themes in open and relational theology at the outset.

The “relational” word primarily identifies the idea God affects creation and creation affects God. This means, Fuller says, “The history of our cosmos is the product of an ongoing process in which both God and the world are full participants.” This vision stands in stark contrast to traditional theologies that portray God as unrelated, unaffected, and determining outcomes singlehandedly.

Open and relational theology stands in contrast to theologies that portray God as distant. Christologies that consider God distant, says Fuller, often interpret concepts like incarnation “against the backdrop of radical divine transcendence from the world.” While open and relational theologians affirm the otherness of God, they don’t think of this otherness as divine distancing only crossed once in Jesus’ incarnation. God didn’t invade creation from the outside, nor is Jesus a one-off divine entrance and exit in history. From an open and relational perspective, God is always present and plays an essential role in each moment of creation’s becoming.

Open and relational theologies reject forms of naturalism that deny the presence and operative power of God in the world. But they also object to forms of supernaturalism in which God is primarily understood as acting upon the world from the outside. Forms of panentheism that speak of God and creatures co-creating in each moment fit the open and relational vision.

Open and relational theologies not only say creation affects God, they also say God’s experience changes in the ongoing process of existence. Fuller heads off the usual criticism of this view by arguing that God’s experience changes moment by moment, but God’s nature remains constant. In terms of love, this means God’s feelings and expressions of love vary. But the fact that God loves remains steadfast, because God’s nature is immutable.

An open and relational analysis of existence points to creation’s moment by moment becoming. This view plays a key role in Fuller’s own Christological formulation. The basic idea is that each moment in a creature’s life involves inheritance from the past, the gift of possibility for the future, and the responsibility of freedom in the present. A creature’s life also requires God’s ongoing self-investment. “For an open and relational theologian,” says Fuller, “there is nothing more natural than the Creator co-creating the world in each moment with the world.”

Fuller addresses the “open” portion of open and relational theology by emphasizing God’s ongoing experience of time. Because of time’s incessant flow and genuine creaturely freedom, God cannot foreknow with certainty all that will someday occur. But the God who cannot exhaustively foreknow isn’t blind. God knows everything knowable, which includes the completed past, the becoming present, and possibilities for the future. “God is very much aware of what is both possible and probable on the immediate horizon,” says Fuller. “Like a flashlight pointing the way forward in the dark, awareness of the future is much clearer for what is near.”

The Historical Jesus

Given the quest for the historical Jesus and sense of ongoing history, many today begin Christological reflection “from below.” This common phrase means the one engaging in Christological construction starts with Jesus as human. Fuller laments that those who begin from below often assume claims about God’s action must be bracketed.

Open and relational theology resists this bracketing. Using Peter’s confession, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” Fuller argues contemporary Christology should start not from below nor from above but from within. By “within” he means the existential confession of Jesus as the Christ. But this confession is only the beginning, not the conclusion. And it may be deconstructed and reconstructed in an ongoing engagement with Christ, as fresh ways of understanding the Christian mission emerge.

This existential confession of Jesus as the Christ does not arise ex nihilo. “The open and relational theologian,” says Fuller, “needs to take account of the genuine influence that creaturely cooperation and participation played in the history of Israel.” The expectation of a Messiah emerges in actual history, as does the revelation of a covenantal God. In fact, this God, says Fuller, chooses “to invest Godself in the world with this people.”

Unlike Christologies that assume an overly transcendent God, open and relational theology says God neither foreordains nor foreknows from the foundation of the world the specificities of Jesus’ life. And God enters covenantal relationship – self-investment – long before Jesus emerges in history. An open and relational Christology embraces the dynamic openness and contingencies displayed in Jesus.

While Jesus is not God’s only expression of self-investment, he enjoyed a special relationship – “oneness” – with his Abba. This special relationship involved Jesus’ responses to God’s self-investment. And the community that emerged in response to Jesus was not a community divinely predetermined. They too responded to God’s self-investment as witnessed in Jesus.

Spirit Christology

According to Fuller, Spirit Christologies affirm the fullness of Jesus’ humanity and the fullness of God’s presence in Jesus. “It was through the faithfulness of Jesus to Abba,” says Fuller, “that a unique and particular bond between God and humanity was established.” Because of Jesus’ fidelity to the Spirit, a qualitatively new relationship with God emerges.

A significant number of theologians turn to Kenosis Christologies to account for God as revealed in Jesus. Fuller rejects Kenosis Christologies that say a preexistent one rescinds divinity to become incarnate in Jesus. Fuller argues, instead, that Jesus understood himself to be known and loved by the one he called Abba. In light of this understanding, Jesus trusted God’s call to be a faithful servant in and through his humanity.

Fuller extends Kenosis beyond Jesus. An open and relational Christology can connect the kenotic pattern of Jesus’ subjectivity to that of God’s within Israel’s covenantal context.” In fact, “the faithfulness of the Spirit-filled Jesus himself would not have been possible,” says Fuller, “without the living tradition of the people.”

The open and relational emphasis upon the past, the gift of possibility, and the responsibility of freedom fit Spirit Christology well. What the Spirit does in the present is influenced by the past. But the Spirit and creaturely responses also influenced that past. In terms of Jesus, says Fuller, this means, “without the faithfulness of Abraham and Sarah, the Exodus from Egypt, the voice of the Prophets, and so on Jesus could not have been the Christ.”

God’s work in the world, in the history of Israel, and in Jesus “revealed both a new possibility for the world,” says Fuller. This new possibility “makes the singular relationship of Jesus to God definitive for both God and a new potential possibility for the world’s continued future.” In Jesus, says Fuller, “the intention and desire of God for the world has been revealed.” Jesus’ response to the Spirit introduces a new reality.

Logos Christology

Most Logos Christologies lead to tensions if not contradictions. They usually begin with a pre-existent Christ who is both the eternal Son and Word of God. This starting point moves the typical Logos Christology to say the wholly spiritual Christ was united with physical creation in a “hypostatic union” that resulted in Jesus as the Christ.

Fuller rejects the hypostatic union approach. He does so in part because of the spirit-matter dualism it assumes. Fuller suggests a non-interventionist account of incarnation. In this account, the self-investing God is always already present to creation but especially revealed in Jesus. God’s creative initiative is necessary, but this initiative is not fully determinative. It requires creaturely response.

To spell out what his open and relational Christology entails, Fuller draws from the work of John Cobb. Cobb describes God as the ground of freedom, the ongoing Creator, the call for creation, and the giver of possibilities. God does this by providing an initial aim moment by moment to Jesus and all creation. “The initial aim of God in each moment,” says Fuller, is “a potential embodiment of God in the world…”

In Jesus, God’s initial aim co-constitutes the very self-hood of Jesus. “In Christ,” says Fuller, “the distance between the source of the initial aim and the response to it is dissolved.” In this, we find a fusion of God’s will and Jesus’ will. The result is a profound revelation of God in Jesus.

Fuller’s Christological vision extends beyond Jesus’ own response to God, as important as that response is. “An open and relational Logos Christology,” says Fuller, “connects the universal history of the cosmos with both the person of Jesus and the disciple’s salvation history.” To put it another way, “The Word which became flesh in the person of Jesus was the same Word that was present through the Spirit over all Creation.” This “includes calling the people of God throughout Israel’s history into its fullest expression in each moment of becoming.”

By emphasizing both Jesus’ response to the Spirit and the work of Christ in all creation, Fuller unites the central themes in Spirit and Logos Christologies. This union grounds a contemporary Christology to affirm Jesus’ special relation to God, God’s relation to the entire cosmos, and our own personal relations to the divine. “When one has encountered God in and through Jesus Christ, the history of God’s ongoing investment in the world can be reinterpreted,” says Fuller. This history of God’s investment includes evolutionary emergence, a special relationship with Israel, and our own lives today.

The Cross and Hope

The God who relates to and suffers with the world is profoundly revealed in the cross of Jesus. This Nazarene identifies with the downtrodden, forsaken, and hurting. God not only brings salvation in the cross, but a suffering God also needs saving. This salvation is “not an external solution to the never-ending pattern of victim and violator,” says Fuller, “for God is also the victim.”

If Fuller concluded his book by saying God needs salvation, one might wonder if his Christological vision offers eschatological hope. Fortunately, Fuller’s vision is hopeful. This hope is grounded first in God’s covenantal faithfulness toward all creation.  God is committed to suffering with us… all!

Secondly, Jesus’ resurrection provides grounds for a future with promise. But even this divine work occurs alongside a redeemed community that cooperates. After all, eschatological theories that require divine intervention through solitary power, says Fuller, “run contrary to the nature of love and the integrity of relationships.” Our hope is not established by a God who could overrule creation.

“The promise of the God of love is that God will be ever faithful,” says Fuller, and this God offers “greater beauty, healing, and goodness to each moment of the Creation’s becoming.” In short, the Divine self-investment we see most powerfully in Jesus’ resurrection is the first fruits for the hope of all creation.


I am impressed by Tripp Fuller’s work on Christology. He articulates an open and relational vision of Jesus that makes so much sense!

While this essay has summarized Fuller’s book, a subsequent essay will engage Fuller’s view that Jesus “mediates” God to us. The follow-up essay is less a criticism and more an inquiry. But I strongly recommend those who engage Christology from an academic perspective to get and read Tripp Fuller’s book!

By the way, an online panel exploring Tripp’s book will be held later in November. Here’s a link with details.

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Does Jesus Influence Today?
by Thomas Jay Oord
November 12th, 2020

In his ground-breaking book, Divine Self-Investment: An Open and Relational Constructive Christology, Tripp Fuller offers exciting proposals for making sense of Jesus in the 21st Century.

I previously offered an overview of Fuller’s key ideas. That essay and this are part of my response to Fuller’s book at the upcoming Christ Among the Disciplines online conference. For this essay, I ask two related questions:

Does Jesus influence us today? If so, how should we understand his influence?

Jesus Mediates God?

To explore answers, I might turn to explore the verbs in Fuller’s book that speak of Jesus’ causal influence. In Divine Self-Investment, we read that Jesus “reveals God,” “initiates faith,” “functions as a representative of God,” “proclaims the kin-dom,” “symbolizes God,” “becomes the Christ,” “reveals a higher order of subjectivity,” “embodies the fruit of a tradition,” “models salvation,” and “reveals the nature of God.” Most of these verbs are Fuller’s own but some come from his interlocutors.

The verb I choose to highlight is “mediate.” Fuller says “Jesus Christ mediated the presence and salvation of God,” and “Jesus Christ mediates the existential encounter with God.” To explore what it might mean for Jesus to influence today, we might ask what it means to say, “Jesus mediates God.”

Naturalistic Jesus

One way to handle “mediate” and the other verbs is to say they apply only to Jesus’ actions roughly 2,000 years ago. This way might say Jesus acted long ago but it does not influence us today. Let’s call this the “Naturalistic Jesus” view of how Jesus mediates God.

This view doesn’t address many of our metaphysical questions about God, except perhaps how God acted 2,000 years ago. It does not address how Jesus’ mediating might occur today.

I get the impression from Fuller that he wants to affirm something about how Jesus’ mediates God in the present. He talks, for instance, about Jesus “mediating an existential encounter with God.”

Perhaps I’m wrong, but Fuller seems to believe Jesus is causally influential in our time.


In my Evangelical youth, the word “mediate” was used to by my religious teachers to portray Jesus as the “go-between.” Jesus mediates a God “up there” who cannot associate with rotten sinners down here. We need Jesus to bridge this gap. Let’s call this second way the “Chasm” view.

Fuller’s open and relational vision dismisses the idea Jesus is the bridge across a chasm separating a distant and holy God from isolated and sinful creation. He believes we and all creation always already experience God directly. Our alleged sin doesn’t keep God at arm’s length. If only I had heard Fuller’s message in Sunday school!

In short, Fuller’s view that Jesus mediates God doesn’t fit the Chasm view of mediation.

Bible Stories Mediate Jesus

I’ll call the third possibility for understanding Jesus as mediator the “Bible Stories” view. It says stories of Jesus in the Bible may (or may not) inspire us today to think about, understand, or encounter God. These biblical texts aren’t themselves causal agents. They are literary resources of information and inspiration.

Scripture mediates Jesus so we can witness Jesus as mediating God. Without the Bible, says this view, Jesus’ mediating revelation would be lost.

Fuller’s Christological work can incorporate the Bible Stories view of Jesus as mediator. But I think he wants to say more. Scripture is important. But I suspect Fuller believes Jesus mediates God, even if the Scriptures had not been written.

The Bible Stories view falls short of a robust view of Jesus mediating God.

Butterfly Effect

A fourth way to understand Jesus’ mediating builds from the open and relational ontology Fuller embraces. It says Jesus’ action thousands of years ago launched a community who remembered and lived out Jesus’ vision. This community continues today, thanks to messages and practices passed along by generations of Jesus followers through formal means (e.g., apostolic succession) or informal ones (e.g., house churches).

Let’s call this the “Butterfly Effect” view of Jesus as mediator in honor of the chaos theory notion that actions far away and in the past can through a causal chain affect the present right here.

Fuller’s ontology can incorporate the Butterfly Effect view. In fact, a relational vision says ideas and practices in the past can be consciously carried to the present. It also says such causal influence can be carried forward through unconscious, pre-linguistic, and nonsensory causation.

An open and relational ontology supports a host of claims theologians often make about the transmission of ideas, rituals, and ways of being launched by Jesus. They claim God plays a key role in this mediation, but it is neither all divine action nor all creaturely causation.

But can Fuller say more? Does it make sense to say Jesus acts today mediating God through direct causal influence on you and me?

Heavenly Jesus

A fifth way builds from Jesus’ resurrection and continued subjective experience beyond the tomb. I’ll call this view the “Heavenly Jesus” perspective. It says life after death is possible for humans and perhaps all creatures. Those who continue living beyond bodily death have causal capacities that can influence the living.

If this view of the afterlife is true, the risen Jesus could influence us now and mediate God. Fuller doesn’t address this Heavenly Jesus possibility, but a Whiteheadian metaphysic allows for it.

In my view, the Heavenly Jesus theory has a problem. This problem emerges when we consider the scope of Jesus’ post-mortem influence. I and most theologians don’t think a life after death experience would involve creatures becoming omnipresent. Wherever we “go” or “are” in the afterlife, we remain localized, not ubiquitous.

If the risen Jesus directly mediates God now, he could only affect a few of us. Jesus might be our brother alongside others in great cloud of witnesses or the ghost-like “stranger on a bus trying to make his way home.” But the risen Jesus is not an omnipresent Spirit influencing all creation, all at once.

The influence of the localized Heavenly Jesus would, to use the Whiteheadian language, be negatively prehended by the majority of us.

Jesus = God?

Upon hearing these five possibilities for how Jesus mediates God, the reader might wonder why I have not addressed the possibility Jesus directly mediates God in the present because Jesus is God. Let’s call this sixth option the “Jesus = God” view. It says an omnipresent God influences all creation in the present, and therefore Jesus — being divine — influences all in the present.

Although it is popular in some circles, there are many reasons to reject the Jesus = God view. It’s not a view Fuller adopts. Jesus did not exhibit the attributes most theologians think essential to God: omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, necessary existence, and so on.

Besides, if we say Jesus = God, then saying, “Jesus mediates God” also means, “God mediates God’ and “Jesus mediates Jesus.” What Fuller seems to mean by “Jesus mediates God” slips into circularity.

Confusion abounds!

God Mediates Jesus?

Let me mention a final possibility. This view says God prehends all creaturely activity, including Jesus’ past and (if a Heavenly being) current actions. Upon prehending these actions, God offers Jesus’ causal influence to us now. God presents Jesus to us in each moment in various ways, using various means.

Fuller’s open and relational metaphysics readily accepts this view. It’s part of his open and relational vision. But I don’t list it as a seventh model, because it sounds more like God mediates Jesus than Jesus mediates God.

Fuller seems to have something else in mind when he says “Jesus mediates God” or “Jesus Christ mediates the existential encounter with God.”

Other Ways?

Among the six options for understanding what it means for Jesus to mediate God, I find option four most helpful. But I don’t rule out options three and five.

Perhaps there are other ways of understanding what it means for Jesus to mediate God. I’d love to hear which option or options Fuller finds most helpful and if he can imagine others.

If you have other options to propose, let me know!