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

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Process vs Classic Church Theism: Cobb v Geisler, Part 2

Process vs Classic Church Theism:
Cobb v Geisler
Part 2

by R.E. Slater

Process Theology Debate:
Norman Geisler vs. John Cobb
Posted: Aug 21, 2021

De Veritate Apologetics and Philosophy

In this debate, Norman Geisler defends the position of 
classical theism against the process theology of John Cobb.

Comment: "As a former evangelic I totally understand the need for evangelicalism to claim victory in this debate. But now, as a process guy, I see all too plainly the obtuseness of Geisler's claimed victories and how he argued from his own self-referential and self-reinforcing theistic system putting words into Dr. Cobb's speech as well as process thought itself that aren't there. Pleases note: Part 2 is not on the youtube video nor could I locate it anywhere except here as linked below." - R.E. Slater

Overview: Geisler defends Evangelicalism
"Process Theism versus Classical Theism" - Click here to hear Part 1 and Part 2 of a fascinating debate from the 1980s between Norman Geisler and John Cobb on Process Thought (a.k.a. Process Theism, Process Theology, Process Cosmology, Process Philosophy) and the strange, panentheistic God-world model of process philosopher A.N. Whitehead. John Warwick Montgomery was present at the debate and told Norm that he had just totally destroyed Process Thought.

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Earlier Posts

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The Story of the Bible 2

"Every good theology needs a great philosophy to rest upon
even as a great philosophic-theology must rest on love."

- R.E. Slater

When it comes to evangelical theology one must realize almost immediately that its theology lies in the eclectic collection of many, many philosophies upon which it has been built. Mostly Greek Platonism, and later, Hellenised Neo-Platonism. Afterwards it goes through various permutations of Aristotelian Scholasticism, Reformational Enlightenment, pre-industrial Modernism, 19th Century Neo-Modernism, and now some kind of pre-structural postmodernism. All the while claiming evangelic theology has remained "true" to the Bible.

Which I find convenient as the evangelical bible curiously has remained amazingly "true" to their preferred collection of church creeds, dogmas, tenants, and doctrines. Each one formed as a faith-outcome under the philosophical theories of their century and belief system.

More so, evangelics know they are the right God and right belief because their preachers and theologians each tell them of the "correctness" of their faith as only a dogmatist can say such things. And for those bible teachers and theologs who would dare question evangelical church tradition? Well, excommunication from evangelical churches, schools, journals, publishers, and social media is the usual result. All-in-all its a nice, neat, tidy little system of religious control by evangelics of their contents and message.

But the Bible Tells Me So

Well yes it does, doesn't it? Especially if read in such a way which parrots back to us our belief systems. If you want a warrior God of wrath and hell, it's there. So too, a gospel based upon the Jewish legal propitiation tradition. Inerrancy? Inspiration? Divine revelation? Just read the bible and you'll find it. Reason to hate gays, condemn feminism, mock false teachers who preach God's love. There's plenty of sin verses to warn of "other gospels." My favorite are the knowing the will of God so certainly that any question we have can be found in the real Hebrew and Greek manuscripts that have been copied and recopied. In them we can instantly know the ancient customs of the day and how the religious people back then went wrong and God had to judge them with suffering, death, exile from their homes, and whatnot.

Yes, I'm being cynical as I look around at the church of my day and wonder how we are any different from the religious people back in the bible with only their rabbi's and the Holy Spirit to guide them. So if the bible tells me so and God's love is not being visibly seen, shared, or felt, then I suppose all of us better re-examine how our beliefs got to a place where all people are condemned, going to hell, and disbelieved because our preachers, books, journals, and schools have told us only our own interpretations of the bible are the correct versions of the "true" bible we know and love.

Philosophies now and then

I know of no philosophy which would say it is the correct, God-given philosophy to read the bible in. But they are there across its pages to the scholarly eye versed in ancient, pre-modern, post-scholastic forms of thinking, being, and doing. And when interpreting the bible's collection of ancient legends and narratives it would be best if those passages were better considered from their point of view rather than our own glossy point of view.

So let's take a further step back and ask what kind of philosophies permeated the collection of ancient Semitic (Near-Eastern) narratives within the sanctified, inspired pages of the inerrant evangelic Bible. Pick any ancient Kingdom - from the Akkadians to the Sumerians, from the Amoritic to the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Perian Kingdoms. And don't forget to include the many Egyptian dynasties either to complete this short list of cultural beliefs, legends, superstitions, folklore, and mystifying astrological observations where each empire, each civilization, held a kind of philosophy unique to their religious belief systems. And if you read the Bible knowledgably - that is, being familiar with ancient language, customs, and beliefs, you can see each of these era-specific philosophies readily standing out.

What's the point? Over nearly 4000 years of ancient Old Testament history, plus another 2000 years of New Testament history (if we include the historic creedal eras of the church) you can imagine the kaleidoscope of philosophic variants washing up upon the shores of religious beliefs and civilization to be imbibed, composed, synthesized, re-composed, and re-synthesized, into a labyrinth of religious  beliefs again, and again, and again.

At which point the Bible scholar comes along to decipher these beliefs to pick and choose among them the most accurate portrayal of God and religion. This scholar would be a man or woman knowledgeable in ancient linguistics, morpho-orthography, social anthropology, ancient Semitic and Greek culture, Hellenistic culture, and over-and-above all this, hopefully knowledgeable with all major Western, Continental, Near-Eastern, and Oriental philosophies over the past 2000 years.

All this so that we can state as "true" believers that we have a "true" bible which tells us of the "true" God we believe in. So let me ask again... "How do we know we have come to have all these theistic assurances? For one, biblical theologs, like Norman Geisler, have come along in their day to tell us what we should believe. But I also suspect evangelic beliefs like yesteryear's creedal doctrines all hinged on the kind of religious tradition we were raised in - or are actively involved - to claim such religious hubris.

The Art of Biblical Hermeneutics

Historically, as cultures have grown they tend to be built upon each earlier generation's labors and energies. It would not be uncommon to walk around London, England, to dig down 80 feet, perhaps more, and discover, layer by layer, the earlier histories of the men and women living their lives out in Old London stretching across the eras of its past back to its earliest days upon the Thames.

This illustration would not be unlike a theologian's efforts - be they ancient or modern. Each bible scholar of the past has waded across the muck of outrider gnostic philosophies intermixed with their own philosophical cultural traditions. And in their mirey treks have attempted to ask the question who is God? How would God communicate Himself to mankind? What would God say to us now? What would it mean to us today? And why would God's revelation be important?

We might ask the further question of whether a biblical speaker speaks for God or man; and if his or her revelations fairly represents the God we think we know off the biblical page? Whether in our defensive Christian apologies we are really sharing the God of the bible or the God of our belief systems? When I listen to dear Norman Geisler I find myself asking this question again and again as he strives to be the best servant of the Lord in the history of servant leaders of the bible and the church.

For myself, I've tried to make it really, really simple since I don't pretend to be a smart man. Perhaps  a diligent student of the Lord's trying to put things together in my own way, but I need something unremarkable about God and His church to help me know if what I believe about God is worthy of my time, attention, life, family, and energies.

The Art of Christian Living

After 6000 years of communicating to man - which the bible tells is what God has been doing through human voices, convictions, events both natural and man-made, His prophets, priests, apostles, and especially Jesus, His Son, Word, and very God of very God. Jesus, who upended all previous and future religious voices with a simple dictum....

Can you guess what that dictum was? What Jesus summed up as man's duty to God? Jesus said He could sum up God's revelation in one word which would hold us responsible before His Father and one another. That word? Yes, the word love.

Imagine, all the time and effort so many have put into their faith and belief systems coming down to understanding, receiving, giving, being, and becoming the incoming and outgoing process event of love. More a verb than it is a noun, except as a noun it defines the verb which is to be acted upon. God is love. Not was. Is. Love. The Apostle John wrote and rewrote this simple little word across the pages of his first epistle, I John. In Jesus he heard the word love and so reminded the Jesus follower to learn to love because it's the hardest thing to do, be and share.

Certainly, there's got to be more to the Christian religion, or any religion!, than this simple word love, isn't there!? I mean Yahweh took pains to tell us of Himself as the God above all other polytheistic gods! That He is the Sovereign Creator over every creative force! That He is the Heavenly Guide to all furtive soul travellers seeking the meaning of life! But to camp down on the word love when power, glory, divinity, majesty, rulership is so much more to God than love!???

Yes, perhaps Jesus got it wrong. That Jesus really didn't understand Himself as the Creator God of the universe. As the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. But I don't think so. When I read bible I read of a Suffering Servant (Isaiah 52.13-53.12). Of a God who was "Cut as Abram' Covenant of Protection and Guide (Genesis 15.12-19), the Altar upon which lambs are slain before the foundation of the world (Exodus 12.21-28), whereupon sin and evil has been laid upon His uplifted Cross (John 19.23), that all rulers and kingdoms come before the God of sacrifice, love, and service, to be judged for their deeds (Revelation 19-21).

How can God's love rectify a host of philosophies, religious traditions and beliefs, and human effort? Because, my friends, it does. It will. It can. Love God. Love neighbor. This was my very simple determinant if a church or a society or a belief is worthy of being trusted, followed, and exampled. Of course, I wish to speak the most correct thoughts about the God I love. Which is also why I am being quite disagreeable with my past fundamental and evangelical heritage gone off the rails in so many unloving, ungodly directions.

So I think we can do better. But to start let's learn to love. The knowledge part is irrelevant without the loving part. That we, as Jesus followers, know and share the God of love who defines His holiness, His Being, His Essence as LOVE first, last, and foremost. Our Lord is the Alpha and Omega of love worthy to be heard, imagined, and testified to by word and deed.

Lastly, Love is a lifelong lesson in itself. I can't imagine anything harder to do then to love one another in all our differences. Let's start today as Jesus had asked His followers many years ago. Let's leave everything else aside until our spouses, kids, family, friends, workmates, neighbors, schools, churches, and communities know we our the children of God because we love as God loves and wish to love all we meet in loving support, encouragement, respect, thought, service, act, and deed. Help us, O' Lord ,to love. Amen.

R.E. Slater
November 12-13, 2021

click to enlarge

The Meaning of Life According to Different Philosophies