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

Sunday, October 22, 2023

A Faith for Generations Y & Z, Part I - Process v Reformed Theology

Concert Film Official Trailer | Sept 2023

A Faith for Generations Y & Z
(and possibly for any X-Gen'ers out there)


Process Theology vs. Reformed Theology
of Geisler, Watkins, and the Gospel Coalition

by R.E. Slater & OpenAI's ChatGPT
October 22, 2023

I stopped in at a Reformed Christian bookstore yesterday to inspect my former habitations and bible education. I found it overly stuffy with out-of-date ideas of God and society rivaled only by its aesthetic advocacy of a Christianity I didn't recognize under its monkish cowls and religious habits.

For fun I asked the friendly clerk steeped in Reform doctrinaire if the store held any process-based literature whereupon his smile grew broader and soul visibly shrunk three times smaller like the Grinch's on Christmas Eve. I knew my contemporary, post-evangelical Christian theology of a processual God and society was deemed highly profane and anathema to the clerk-and-store's Christianized image of the God they worshipped.

I also felt like the modern-day equivalent of an Apostle Paul approaching Mars Hill come to preach an unknown God to the Christian heathen gathered around to hear the new news of the day. Only I wasn't coming to tittilate ears but to convert souls. And I was in dead ernest. As I am on this blogsite which I have turned into a Wikipedia-of-sorts website for contemporary, post-evangelical progressive and processive theology.

Having worked with Zondervan Publishing House's Retail Division many years ago before it went defunct and was absorbed into Harper Row's Publishing arm (where my accounting friend now operates it's Manhattan Children's Literature Division) I did a quick run through of the titles, aisle sections, and kinds of public and pastoral literary aides exhibited on the shelves. I also quickly checked the used books section (very limited), its quiet libraries for personal meditation, and examined the beautiful coffee-bar-and-bagels area having gladly noted the lack of "Christian trinkets" for sale and left (always one of my pet-peeves).

I thanked the clerk for allowing my profane entrance into the store's holy space and drove away with my wife to the viewing of Taylor Swift's (X-GEN) "2023 Era's Tour" filmed at Los Angeles' Sofi Stadium over a six-day concert review under sold-out conditions. 

The movie theater was about a third full (I'm guessing our 4:30 pm tix were a bit early for the later crowds). We found it to be a lengthy 3-hour escapade featuring sparkling lights, costumes, colors, and explosive lyrics for the heart broken teen throb and jaundiced dating lives of too many 20's and 30's year olds. Taylor was witty, expressive in her dancing, and wonderfully supported by her bands, backup artists, and choreographed dancers.

Overall, its wasn't my thing but my wife loved it and it's why I came with her. She has a new girl crush on Taylor Swift via Tracie Kelsey of the Kansas City Chiefs. I suppose we may now call ourselves "Swifties" although I contend I would have a far better religious dialogue with Miley Cyrus than I ever could with Taylor... although I imagine football might be a more recent common ground of interest with Taylor re her man-crush Travis Kelce if I were a Kansas City Chiefs fan. I'm not. Since my man Tom Brady retired I've returned to the Detroit Lions who are currently kicking everyone's butt including Kelce's!

2019: Emile Osment (?), Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato (?) | link here

Today's Christian faith must meet a lot of post-Christian qualifiers... which is also why I needed to give my progressive evangelical faith a kick-in-the-butt-upgrade by infusing my Baptist-Reformed traditions with a process-based form of non-traditional Christianity. Without it my faith would feel as dead as the Reformed bookstore I visited.

By upgrading my Christianity with process-everything I feel it now meets-and-exceeds all the scuttlebutt spoken against it by my traditional Christian friends (including the store clerk whose frozen smile spoke volumes). Too, I may now better communicate to the Swifties and Miley Cyrus' fans out there without giving up anything on God or my Gospel outreach to the world currently swaddled in pain, loss, and cruelty to the Christian and Muslim despots of this world (including those populist American Churches supporting White Nationalism).

If Palestinian Gaza (circa, Oct 2023) teaches us anything it teaches "Love was lost in the socio-politico fascisms of America, Israel, and the Muslim countries. Political extremism, whether left (communism/Maoism) or right (fascism/Nazism) are unwanted and unhealthy to communities of the world. We need healthier forms of social cooperation with one another and process-based religions - whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, of Asian - can provide the kind of God and loving ethics we need today.

To conclude, I'll first put up comparisons between process theology versus reformed theology and then put up a Gospel Coalition (GC) article written by Geisler and Watkins and then compare classical = traditional Christian theism (currently advocated by evangelic theists) to process theism's insistences of God and society.

This will be a long read but in actuality a short and effective way to get up-to-speed with what I'm doing here as I discuss process Christianity, processual panentheism, and Christ-centered love.
Everything discussed below I have written of in far greater detail, and with a lot more nuance, on this site than can be expressed in one "short" article like this one.
So take the time and slough through it as John Bunyan's Pilgrim would later learn in his hard Christian journey through life. To help, I've posted a nice little summary of pancessualism at the end along with a few Swifty photos from last night's X-Gen New Era film.

Lastly, remember, "theism" is simply a fancy name for "theology" or "faith". GC likes to use scary descriptors to ward off heretics and detractors like myself who present a more fully loving Jesus than their own half-Jesus-god stood up on their idolatrous white nationalist altar.

An altar become White Christianity's own idolatrous version to their unknown god upon Mars Hill worshipped by MAGA Republican extremism. A profane faith which I-and-others have declared anathema to any Jewish or Christian bible we read or preach when comparing MAGA versions of God to the heathen BAAL or the Trumpian AntiChrist of their own making over the past several decades. Truly, what the Christian church has sowed has come upon it's own head.

R.E. Slater
October 22, 2023
(which is also my half-birthday today!)

* * * * * * *

ChatGPT and I Discuss Process vs Reformed Theism (= Theology)

1. Hi. please summarize process theism versus classical theism


Process theism and classical theism are two distinct philosophical and theological perspectives on the nature of God. Here's a summary of the key differences between them:

  • Nature of God:Classical Theism: In classical theism, God is typically seen as an unchanging, eternal, and immutable being. God exists outside of time and is considered to be perfect, simple, and transcendent. This view of God is often associated with monotheistic religions like Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.
  • Process Theism: Process theism presents a different view of God. In this perspective, God is not unchanging but rather a dynamic and evolving being. God is in a process of experiencing and growing, along with the universe. Process theism is often associated with the work of philosopher Alfred North Whitehead and is considered a more relational and open view of God.
  • God's Interaction with the World: Classical Theism: In classical theism, God's interaction with the world is typically understood through the concept of divine providence. God's will and plan are believed to govern and control all events in the universe. Human free will is often reconciled with God's providence through complex theological explanations.
  • Process Theism: Process theism emphasizes a God who interacts with the world in a relational and responsive manner. God does not pre-determine all events but works in harmony with the choices and actions of creatures. Process theism allows for a greater degree of human free will and openness in the divine-human relationship.
  • Understanding of Evil and Suffering: Classical Theism: In classical theism, the existence of evil and suffering is often attributed to human free will and the mysterious ways of God's providence. It is seen as a part of God's divine plan, which may be beyond human comprehension.
  • Process Theism: Process theism offers a different perspective on the problem of evil. Evil is viewed as a result of the genuine freedom of creatures and not a part of God's plan. Process theism suggests that God is working to bring about the greatest possible good, despite the presence of evil, and invites cooperation with humans in this process.
  • Relationship with Creation: Classical Theism: In classical theism, the emphasis is on God's transcendence and separation from the created world. Humans are seen as creatures created by God but distinct from God.
  • Process Theism: Process theism emphasizes a more intimate and immanent relationship between God and the world. God is seen as deeply involved in the ongoing processes of creation and change, and there is a sense of interconnectedness between God and the world.

In summary, classical theism portrays a God who is unchanging and all-controlling, while process theism presents a God who is evolving, relational, and open to the world's ongoing development. These two perspectives offer different ways of understanding the nature of God and God's relationship with the world and humanity.

2. please summarize norman l. geisler and william d. watkins form of classical theism


Norman L. Geisler and William D. Watkins are both known for their contributions to classical theism, a philosophical and theological perspective that emphasizes the traditional attributes of God as found in monotheistic religions like Christianity. While there isn't a single, unified "form" of classical theism associated with both Geisler and Watkins, their work can be summarized as follows:

  • Attributes of God: Both Geisler and Watkins adhere to the classical attributes of God, which include qualities like omnipotence (all-powerful), omniscience (all-knowing), omnipresence (present everywhere), and moral perfection. They affirm the traditional view of God's nature as being immutable (unchanging) and eternal.
  • Creator and Sustainer: Geisler and Watkins affirm God as the Creator of the universe and the sustainer of all that exists. They believe that God brought the world into existence and continues to uphold it through divine providence.
  • Transcendence: Classical theism, as understood by Geisler and Watkins, emphasizes God's transcendence, meaning that God exists beyond and independently of the created world. God is not limited or defined by the natural order.
  • Divine Simplicity: They hold to the concept of divine simplicity, which means that God is not composed of parts or attributes. Instead, God's attributes are inseparable from His essence, making God a simple and undivided being.
  • Divine Providence: Geisler and Watkins maintain the idea of divine providence, wherein God is believed to have a plan and purpose for the world. They affirm that God exercises sovereignty over the course of human history.
  • Compatibility with Classical Theistic Religions: Their views are in alignment with the understanding of God in classical monotheistic religions like Christianity, where God is often depicted as an unchanging, perfect being.

It's important to note that while Geisler and Watkins share many aspects of classical theism, there may be nuanced differences in their individual perspectives or writings. Classical theism is a broad category, and different theologians may emphasize certain aspects more than others, depending on their specific theological and philosophical interests.

3. please summarize the gospel coalition's form of classical theology?


The Gospel Coalition is an evangelical Christian organization that promotes a form of classical theology rooted in Reformed theology. Their theological framework can be summarized as follows:

  • Reformed Theology: The Gospel Coalition adheres to Reformed theology, which is a branch of Protestant theology that emerged during the Protestant Reformation. Reformed theology is characterized by the teachings of John Calvin and emphasizes doctrines such as predestination, total depravity, and the sovereignty of God.
  • Sovereignty of God: The Gospel Coalition's theology places a strong emphasis on the sovereignty of God. They believe that God is in control of all things, including human salvation and the events of the world. This perspective often includes a belief in predestination, where God has chosen who will be saved.
  • Biblical Inerrancy: The Gospel Coalition upholds the belief in the inerrancy and authority of the Bible. They view the Bible as the inspired and infallible Word of God, and they seek to interpret and apply its teachings faithfully.
  • Salvation by Grace: The Gospel Coalition teaches that salvation is by God's grace alone, through faith in Jesus Christ. They emphasize the need for repentance and faith in Jesus as the only means of salvation.
  • Christocentric: Their theology is Christocentric, meaning that they focus on the central role of Jesus Christ in God's plan of salvation. They believe in the atonement, the resurrection, and the lordship of Jesus.
  • Complementarianism: The Gospel Coalition promotes a complementarian view of gender roles within the church and family, which means they believe that men and women have complementary, distinct roles in these contexts.
  • Church and Missions: They place a strong emphasis on the importance of the local church and global missions. They encourage church planting and evangelism as central to the mission of the church.
  • Cultural Engagement: The Gospel Coalition is engaged in cultural and social issues from a conservative Christian perspective. They offer theological insights and guidance on topics such as marriage, family, and contemporary moral and ethical issues.

It's important to note that within the broad framework of Reformed theology, there can be some diversity of theological perspectives and interpretations. The Gospel Coalition represents a specific strand of Reformed thought, and individual contributors may have variations in their beliefs and emphases.

4. would geisler, watkins, and the gospel coalition's form of theism qualify as evangelical theologies?


Yes, the theological perspectives of Norman L. Geisler, William D. Watkins, and The Gospel Coalition can generally be classified as evangelical theologies. Here's why:

  • Emphasis on Evangelical Essentials: Evangelical theology is characterized by an emphasis on certain core beliefs, including the authority of the Bible, the importance of personal conversion, salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, and an active engagement in sharing the Gospel. All three of these perspectives affirm these evangelical essentials.
  • Reformed and Calvinist Influence: While evangelicalism is a diverse movement, many evangelicals have roots in Reformed and Calvinist theology. Geisler, Watkins, and The Gospel Coalition all align with aspects of Reformed theology, and Reformed theology has historically been influential in evangelical circles.
  • Biblical Inerrancy: Evangelical theology places a strong emphasis on the belief in the inerrancy and authority of the Bible. Geisler, Watkins, and The Gospel Coalition all affirm the inerrancy and inspiration of the Scriptures.
  • Soteriology: Evangelical theology centers on salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. All three perspectives emphasize the need for personal faith and repentance in Christ for salvation.
  • Missions and Evangelism: Evangelicals are known for their commitment to missions and evangelism, and The Gospel Coalition, in particular, emphasizes the importance of global missions and church planting.
  • Cultural Engagement: Evangelicals often engage with contemporary cultural and social issues from a conservative Christian perspective, and all three perspectives contribute to these discussions.

It's worth noting that while these perspectives fall within the broader category of evangelical theology, there can be variations in specific beliefs and emphases within the evangelical tradition. Evangelicalism is a diverse and evolving movement, and individuals and organizations within it may have nuanced differences in their theological positions.

5. how would classical evangelical theism differ from progressive evangelical theism?


Classical evangelical theism and progressive evangelical theism represent two distinct theological approaches within the broader evangelical tradition. Here are some key differences between the two:


  • Classical Evangelical Theism: Classical evangelicals tend to hold to a more conservative view of Scripture, often affirming biblical inerrancy and the idea that the Bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God. They typically emphasize a literal interpretation of the Bible in areas such as creation, the historicity of biblical events, and moral teachings.
  • Progressive Evangelical Theism: Progressive evangelicals may have a more nuanced view of Scripture. While they still regard the Bible as authoritative, they might be more open to historical-critical methods of biblical interpretation and may view certain biblical accounts as [narratively] symbolic or allegorical rather than strictly literal.


  • Classical Evangelical Theism: Classical evangelicals often adhere to traditional theological positions, such as Reformed or Arminian soteriology, a belief in a literal hell, and a strong emphasis on the penal substitutionary atonement of Jesus.
  • Progressive Evangelical Theism: Progressive evangelicals may be more open to theological diversity and reevaluation of traditional doctrines. They might explore alternative views of atonement, such as the Christus Victor theory, and have a more inclusive approach to theological differences.


  • Classical Evangelical Theism: Classical evangelicals tend to hold conservative positions on social and ethical issues, such as opposition to abortion, traditional views on marriage and sexuality, and a conservative stance on issues like gender and sexuality.
  • Progressive Evangelical Theism: Progressive evangelicals often take more progressive stances on social and ethical issues, such as being open to LGBTQ+ inclusion and rights, supporting women's ordination, and engaging in social justice and environmental concerns.


  • Classical Evangelical Theism: Classical evangelicals may adopt a more confrontational approach in cultural engagement, often emphasizing evangelism and apologetics as means of engaging with the secular world.
  • Progressive Evangelical Theism: Progressive evangelicals might adopt a more dialogical and collaborative approach, seeking common ground and dialogue with secular society on various issues.


  • Classical Evangelical Theism: Classical evangelicals may favor more traditional forms of worship and ecclesiology, such as hymn-singing, liturgical practices, and a hierarchical church structure.
  • Progressive Evangelical Theism: Progressive evangelicals might be more open to contemporary worship styles, casual church settings, and non-hierarchical or egalitarian church leadership structures.

It's important to note that both classical and progressive evangelical theism exist on a spectrum, and individuals or organizations may combine elements from both perspectives. Additionally, the theological landscape is dynamic, and what is considered progressive today might become more mainstream in the future. These distinctions provide a general overview of some key differences between these two theological approaches.

6. how would process-based theism help progressive evangelical theism?


Process-based theism can offer some perspectives and insights that may be beneficial to progressive evangelical theism in the following ways:

  • Openness to Change: Process theology emphasizes the dynamic and evolving nature of God, which can resonate with a progressive evangelical perspective that seeks change and adaptability in theological and ethical positions. Process-based theism can provide a theological framework that allows for theological development and growth, acknowledging that our understanding of God and the world can evolve over time.
  • Engagement with Contemporary Issues: Process theology encourages a deep engagement with contemporary cultural, social, and environmental issues. It provides a theological foundation for addressing and responding to these issues in a way that aligns with progressive evangelical concerns about social justice, environmental stewardship, and inclusivity.
  • Human Free Will and Responsibility: Process theology emphasizes the importance of human free will and responsibility. This aligns with a progressive evangelical perspective that often seeks to empower individuals to make choices and take responsibility for their beliefs and actions, including issues related to social justice and ethics.
  • Embracing Diversity: Process-based theism encourages a more inclusive and diverse theological perspective. This can be in line with the progressive evangelical aim to create a more inclusive and diverse church community and promote greater acceptance of varying theological viewpoints.
  • Engaging with Scientific Insights: Process theology is open to engaging with scientific insights and discoveries. This can complement the progressive evangelical desire to reconcile faith with scientific findings, particularly in areas like evolution, cosmology, and environmental sustainability.
  • A Holistic Approach to Salvation: Process-based theism often emphasizes the holistic and ongoing nature of salvation and redemption. This resonates with a progressive evangelical focus on the transformative power of the Gospel and the idea that salvation encompasses not only individual souls but also the renewal and restoration of society and creation.
  • Interfaith Dialogue: Process theology encourages interfaith dialogue and a willingness to learn from other religious traditions. This aligns with the progressive evangelical desire to engage with people of diverse faiths and worldviews in a spirit of mutual respect and understanding.

While process-based theism can provide a valuable theological framework for progressive evangelical theism, it's essential to recognize that not all progressive evangelicals will adopt process theology wholesale. The extent to which these perspectives are integrated will vary among individuals and organizations, and there may still be theological differences and tensions to navigate within the larger evangelical community.

7. how would progressive evangelical theism delimit process-based theism?


Progressive evangelical theism might delimit or place certain boundaries on process-based theism due to differences in theological priorities and convictions. Here are some ways in which progressive evangelical theism could set limits on process-based theism:

  • Biblical Authority: Progressive evangelical theism often places a strong emphasis on the authority of the Bible. While it may be open to interpreting the Bible in ways that align with contemporary values, it may still assert the primacy of scriptural teachings. This can create limits on how far process-based theism can deviate from traditional biblical interpretations.
  • Salvation and Atonement: Progressive evangelicals may maintain certain core theological beliefs about salvation, such as the importance of faith in Jesus Christ and the significance of his atonement for sin. Process-based theism's different views on these matters could be seen as delimiting its compatibility with progressive evangelicalism.
  • Social and Ethical Issues: Progressive evangelicals often hold progressive views on social and ethical issues, such as LGBTQ+ inclusion, gender equality, and social justice. Process-based theism might need to align with these views to be fully embraced by progressive evangelicals, and significant deviations could create boundaries.
  • Evangelistic Emphasis: Progressive evangelical theism maintains an evangelistic focus, seeking to share the message of Christ with others. Process-based theism's more open and pluralistic approach to faith may be seen as limiting its effectiveness in traditional evangelical evangelism.
  • Ecclesiology: Progressive evangelicals may have specific ecclesiological structures and practices, such as ordination of women or diverse forms of church leadership. Process-based theism might need to conform to these practices or face limitations in its acceptance within progressive evangelical circles.
  • Cultural Engagement: While both perspectives engage with contemporary culture, process-based theism's openness to religious pluralism and inclusivity might not fully align with the more confrontational approach of some progressive evangelical circles when it comes to certain cultural or theological debates.
  • Theological Boundaries: Progressive evangelical theism might set certain theological boundaries to ensure that core Christian beliefs are upheld. Process-based theism's openness to diverse theological interpretations could be delimited to maintain key doctrinal essentials.

It's important to note that the boundaries between these theological perspectives can be flexible and fluid. Not all progressive evangelicals will hold the same positions or set the same limits, and there is room for a wide range of theological views within the broader progressive evangelical movement. The extent to which process-based theism is delimited will vary among individuals and organizations within this theological framework.

8. would geisler, watson, or the gospel coalition qualify as progressive evangelical theism?


No, Norman L. Geisler, William D. Watkins, and The Gospel Coalition are not typically associated with progressive evangelical theism. In fact, they are generally considered representative of more traditional or conservative evangelical theology. Here's why:

  • View of Scripture: Geisler, Watkins, and The Gospel Coalition tend to hold to a conservative view of Scripture, often affirming biblical inerrancy and a more literal interpretation of the Bible. This aligns with a more traditional or conservative approach to evangelical theology.
  • Theological Positions: Their theological positions are often more in line with traditional evangelical doctrines, including beliefs such as penal substitutionary atonement, a literal view of hell, and a more conservative approach to issues related to gender, sexuality, and ethics.
  • Ecclesiology and Worship: They typically favor more traditional forms of worship and ecclesiology, such as hymn-singing, liturgical practices, and hierarchical church structures, which are more characteristic of conservative evangelicalism.
  • Social and Ethical Stances: Their social and ethical positions are often more conservative and traditional, including opposition to issues like abortion, a more traditional view of marriage and gender roles, and conservative stances on issues like LGBTQ+ inclusion.
  • Cultural Engagement: While they may engage with contemporary culture, their approach to cultural engagement is often more confrontational and less likely to embrace a progressive stance on certain cultural or theological debates.
  • Progressive evangelical theism, on the other hand, is characterized by a more progressive or liberal theological and social orientation. It tends to be open to reevaluating traditional evangelical doctrines, adopts a more inclusive approach on social and ethical issues, and may be more open to diverse theological perspectives.

While the boundaries between theological categories can be fluid, it's generally accurate to categorize Norman L. Geisler, William D. Watkins, and The Gospel Coalition as representatives of more traditional or conservative evangelical theology rather than progressive evangelical theism.

9. would it be proper to assume that process theism would not be approved by geisler, watson or the gospel coalition's form of classical theism?


It would be a reasonable assumption that process theism is not typically approved or endorsed by proponents of classical theism as represented by individuals like Norman L. Geisler, William D. Watkins, and organizations like The Gospel Coalition. Here are some reasons why:

  • Metaphysical Differences: Process theism and classical theism have significant metaphysical differences. Process theism portrays a dynamic, evolving God who is intimately involved in the world's processes, whereas classical theism emphasizes an unchanging, immutable God who is transcendent and separate from the world. This fundamental difference in the nature of God is likely to be a point of contention.
  • Divine Immutability: Classical theism strongly emphasizes the immutability of God, meaning that God does not change. Process theism, on the other hand, posits a God who undergoes change and development in response to the changing world. This contrast in views on divine nature is a significant theological difference.
  • View of Divine Providence: Classical theism often understands divine providence in terms of meticulous control and foreknowledge, while process theism allows for a more open and responsive view of divine providence. This difference in the understanding of how God interacts with the world is likely to be a point of theological disagreement.
  • Theological Traditions: Geisler, Watkins, and The Gospel Coalition are rooted in traditions that align with classical theism, such as Reformed theology. These traditions have historical and theological commitments that are at odds with process theism.
  • Biblical Interpretation: The classical theist perspective often places a high value on literal or conservative interpretations of the Bible, whereas process theists may interpret the Bible in a more allegorical or symbolic manner, especially in areas where the two perspectives differ. This can lead to theological disagreements.

It's important to note that theological perspectives can vary among individuals, and there may be exceptions to this general pattern. However, process theism and classical theism represent two distinct theological traditions with fundamental differences in their understanding of God, the world, and divine interaction. As a result, it's not typically embraced by proponents of classical theism, including individuals like Geisler and Watson, and organizations like The Gospel Coalition.

10. what broad philosophical eclectisms inhabit evangelical-forms of theism?


Evangelical forms of theism encompass a diverse range of philosophical perspectives and eclecticism. While there is considerable theological diversity within the evangelical tradition, certain philosophical and theological eclectics can be found. Here are some of the broad philosophical eclectisms that inhabit evangelical forms of theism:

  • Reformed and Arminian Theology: Evangelicalism is a broad movement that includes both Reformed and Arminian theological traditions. Reformed theology emphasizes the sovereignty of God and the doctrine of predestination, while Arminian theology places a stronger emphasis on human free will and choice. Many evangelical denominations and individuals embrace elements from both perspectives, creating an eclectic theological environment.
  • Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology: Evangelicalism contains a mix of dispensational and covenant theology. Dispensationalism emphasizes a division of history into different "dispensations," while covenant theology emphasizes God's covenants with humanity throughout history. Many evangelicals integrate aspects of both perspectives.
  • Biblical Literalism and Allegory: Evangelicals often have varied approaches to interpreting the Bible. Some lean toward a more literal interpretation of the Bible, while others embrace allegorical or symbolic readings for certain passages. This results in an eclectic hermeneutical approach.
  • Social and Ethical Positions: There is a wide range of social and ethical positions within evangelicalism. Some evangelicals hold conservative stances on issues like abortion, marriage, and gender roles, while others adopt more progressive views, particularly regarding social justice, environmental stewardship, and LGBTQ+ inclusion.
  • Worship Styles: Evangelical worship styles can vary from traditional hymn-singing and liturgical practices to contemporary and charismatic expressions. This eclectic approach allows for diverse forms of worship within the tradition.
  • Political and Cultural Engagement: Evangelicals differ in their approaches to political and cultural engagement. Some are politically conservative and emphasize moral values, while others take a more socially engaged or progressive stance, advocating for issues like immigration reform and racial justice.
  • Theological Traditions: Evangelicalism encompasses a wide range of theological traditions, including Baptist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Anglican, and many more. These traditions bring their own theological perspectives and practices, contributing to the overall eclecticism.
  • Interfaith and Ecumenical Engagement: Some evangelicals engage in interfaith dialogue and ecumenical efforts to build bridges with other Christian denominations and religions. This reflects a willingness to learn from and collaborate with a diverse range of theological and philosophical perspectives.
  • Theological Scholarship: Evangelical scholars often engage with a wide array of philosophical and theological thought outside of their tradition. This can lead to an eclectic integration of ideas from various sources into evangelical theology.

In summary, evangelical forms of theism exhibit a rich philosophical and theological eclecticism that is influenced by the movement's diversity, commitment to the authority of Scripture, and the historical development of different theological traditions within evangelicalism. This eclecticism allows for a dynamic and evolving theological landscape within the broader evangelical tradition.

11. focusing on philosophical theology alone, what major philosophies underlie traditional (classical) church protestantism?


Traditional (classical) Protestantism is rooted in various philosophical underpinnings that have shaped its theological perspectives. Some of the major philosophies that underlie traditional Protestantism include:

  • Reformation Theology: Classical Protestantism emerged from the Protestant Reformation, which was significantly influenced by the theological and philosophical ideas of Martin Luther, John Calvin, and other reformers. The Reformation emphasized principles such as sola scriptura (Scripture alone), sola fide (faith alone), and sola gratia (grace alone). These principles were based on a return to the Bible and a rejection of certain philosophical and theological elements of medieval Catholicism.
  • Augustinianism: The writings of Saint Augustine of Hippo, an early Christian theologian, greatly influenced classical Protestantism. His views on original sin, predestination, and the sovereignty of God had a profound impact on the theological and philosophical foundations of Reformed and Lutheran traditions.
  • Nominalism: The late medieval philosophical movement known as nominalism, associated with thinkers like William of Ockham, played a role in shaping the intellectual environment leading up to the Reformation. Nominalism's emphasis on the individuality and particularity of objects, as opposed to universals, had implications for theological ideas such as predestination and individual salvation.
  • Scholasticism: While the Reformers rejected certain aspects of medieval Scholasticism, they were still influenced by this intellectual tradition. Scholasticism, with its systematic and philosophical approach to theology, helped shape the precision and organization of classical Protestant theology.
  • Theology of the Word (Logos): Classical Protestantism places a strong emphasis on the Word of God, both in written form (Scripture) and in the incarnate Word (Jesus Christ). This theological foundation is influenced by the philosophical concept of the Logos, which was prominent in early Christian thought and is rooted in Greek philosophy.
  • Individualism and Personal Faith: Classical Protestantism is marked by an emphasis on individual faith and personal relationship with God. This focus on individual conscience and responsibility can be traced back to the philosophical concept of individualism, which gained prominence during the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods.
  • Human Depravity and Total Depravity: The doctrine of human depravity, a core element of classical Protestant theology, reflects a certain view of human nature. This view aligns with philosophical ideas about the fallen and sinful nature of humanity, influenced by Augustine's concept of original sin.
  • Covenant Theology: Some branches of classical Protestantism, particularly Reformed theology, developed a theological framework known as covenant theology. This system of thought reflects a certain understanding of God's relationship with humanity, and it can be seen as having philosophical and legal roots in covenant concepts from classical antiquity.
  • Empiricism and Reason: While classical Protestantism emphasizes faith, it has often engaged with philosophy, reason, and empirical inquiry. This engagement has resulted in apologetics and theological reflection that incorporate aspects of philosophy, particularly during the Enlightenment period.

It's important to note that different branches of classical Protestantism, such as Lutheranism, Reformed theology, and Anglicanism, may emphasize some of these philosophical foundations more than others. Additionally, theological diversity within classical Protestantism has led to variations in how these philosophies are integrated into their respective traditions.

12. how would you describe the components of western philosophy?


Western philosophy encompasses a vast and diverse range of thought and ideas developed over centuries. While there are various ways to categorize the components of Western philosophy, a common approach is to identify its major branches and themes. Here are the primary components of Western philosophy:

  • Metaphysics: Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that deals with fundamental questions about the nature of reality. It explores concepts such as being, existence, identity, causality, time, space, and the relationship between the mind and the body. Major philosophers in this area include Aristotle, René Descartes, Immanuel Kant, and Alfred North Whitehead.
  • Epistemology: Epistemology is the study of knowledge and how we come to know what we know. It examines issues like perception, reason, belief, truth, and skepticism. Prominent figures in epistemology include Plato, John Locke, David Hume, and Ludwig Wittgenstein.
  • Ethics: Ethics is the branch of philosophy concerned with questions of right and wrong, morality, and the principles that guide human behavior. It explores ethical theories such as utilitarianism, deontology, virtue ethics, and the nature of moral obligations. Influential ethicists include Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
  • Political Philosophy: Political philosophy deals with issues of government, justice, power, and societal organization. It examines the concepts of justice, rights, authority, and the ideal forms of governance. Notable political philosophers include Plato, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and John Rawls.
  • Aesthetics: Aesthetics is the branch of philosophy that explores questions of beauty, art, and the nature of artistic experience. It considers topics like the nature of art, artistic creativity, and the role of aesthetics in culture and society. Key figures in aesthetics include Plato, Immanuel Kant, and Arthur Schopenhauer.
  • Logic: Logic is the study of reasoning and argumentation. It involves the examination of valid and invalid forms of argument, deductive and inductive reasoning, and the structure of valid reasoning. Major contributions to logic come from Aristotle, Gottlob Frege, and Kurt Gödel.
  • Philosophy of Mind: This branch of philosophy deals with the nature of the mind, consciousness, perception, and the relationship between mental phenomena and the physical world. Notable philosophers in this field include René Descartes, John Stuart Mill, and Gilbert Ryle.
  • Philosophy of Language: Philosophy of language explores the nature of language, meaning, and communication. It delves into issues of semantics, pragmatics, and the relationship between language and thought. Prominent figures in this area include Ludwig Wittgenstein and Noam Chomsky.
  • Philosophy of Science: This branch of philosophy focuses on the nature of scientific inquiry, the structure of scientific theories, and the philosophical foundations of the scientific method. Significant contributors include Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn, and Paul Feyerabend.
  • Existentialism and Phenomenology: These are philosophical movements that emphasize the individual's experience, existence, and subjectivity. Existentialist thinkers include Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus, while phenomenology is associated with Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger.
  • Postmodernism: Postmodernism is a philosophical and cultural movement that questions the objectivity of truth and emphasizes the role of language, power, and cultural context in shaping knowledge and reality. Key postmodern thinkers include Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault.
  • Feminist Philosophy: Feminist philosophy explores issues related to gender, power, and the role of women in philosophy. Prominent feminist philosophers include Simone de Beauvoir, Judith Butler, and bell hooks.

These components are not exhaustive, and they often overlap and interconnect. Western philosophy continues to evolve and engage with contemporary issues, making it a dynamic and diverse field of inquiry.

13. and how would you describe the components of western-based church philosophy?


Western-based church philosophy, often referred to as Christian theology or Christian philosophy, encompasses various branches and themes of thought centered on Christian faith and doctrine. These components of Western-based church philosophy include:

  • Systematic Theology: Systematic theology seeks to provide a coherent and comprehensive understanding of the Christian faith. It addresses key doctrines, including the doctrine of God (theology proper), Christology (the study of Christ), pneumatology (the study of the Holy Spirit), soteriology (the study of salvation), ecclesiology (the study of the Church), and eschatology (the study of the end times).
  • Biblical Theology: Biblical theology examines the development of theological themes and concepts throughout the Bible. It focuses on the historical and literary contexts of Scripture, tracing how theological ideas evolve from the Old Testament to the New Testament.
  • Historical Theology: Historical theology explores the development of Christian doctrine and beliefs throughout the history of the Church. It examines the writings and teachings of early church fathers, theologians from different eras (e.g., Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin), and the various ecumenical councils and creeds that have shaped Christian thought.
  • Moral Theology (Ethics): Moral theology deals with Christian ethics, addressing questions of right and wrong behavior from a Christian perspective. It explores principles for ethical decision-making, ethical issues related to topics like bioethics and social justice, and the application of biblical and theological principles to contemporary ethical challenges.
  • Practical Theology: Practical theology focuses on the application of Christian beliefs to the practical aspects of life and ministry. It includes pastoral theology, homiletics (preaching), liturgy and worship, and the application of theology to issues within the Christian community.
  • Apologetics: Apologetics is the branch of theology that provides reasoned arguments and defenses for the Christian faith. It engages with questions of faith and reason, the existence of God, the reliability of the Bible, and responses to objections and challenges to Christianity.
  • Comparative Theology and Interfaith Dialogue: Comparative theology involves the study of other religious traditions and philosophies in comparison to Christianity. It plays a role in interfaith dialogue, aiming to foster understanding and cooperation among different religious traditions.
  • Eschatology: Eschatology is the study of the end times, including beliefs about the second coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, final judgment, and the destiny of the soul. It explores questions of the afterlife and the ultimate fulfillment of God's plan.
  • Missiology: Missiology is the study of Christian missions and evangelism. It deals with the theory and practice of spreading the Christian message, understanding different cultures, and addressing issues related to cross-cultural ministry.
  • Theology of Religions: The theology of religions examines how Christianity relates to other world religions. It explores questions of religious pluralism, religious diversity, and the role of other religions in God's plan.
  • Philosophy of Religion: While not unique to church philosophy, philosophy of religion delves into philosophical questions related to faith, reason, the existence of God, and religious experience. It engages with issues of theodicy (the problem of evil), faith and reason, and the relationship between faith and philosophy.

These components represent the major branches of Western-based church philosophy, but it's important to note that there is a rich diversity of theological perspectives and approaches within Christian theology. The interpretation and emphasis of these components can vary among different Christian denominations and theological traditions.

14. how would you describe western-based process philosophy?


Western-based process philosophy, often simply referred to as process philosophy, is a philosophical perspective that emphasizes change, development, and the dynamic nature of reality. It is rooted in the works of philosophers such as Alfred North Whitehead and Charles Hartshorne. Here's a description of Western-based process philosophy:

  • Dynamic and Relational Nature: Process philosophy emphasizes that reality is fundamentally dynamic and relational. It asserts that everything is in a state of constant change and that the world is made up of interconnected events and processes. This stands in contrast to more static or fixed views of reality.
  • Events and Becoming: Process philosophy places a significant emphasis on events and becoming. It suggests that reality is composed of events or moments of experience, and the world is continually in the process of becoming. This view challenges more traditional metaphysical notions of static substances or entities.
  • Holism: Process philosophy often adopts a holistic perspective, emphasizing the interconnectedness of all things. It posits that entities and events cannot be understood in isolation but must be considered within the broader context of their relationships and interactions.
  • Creativity: Creativity is a central concept in process philosophy. It suggests that the universe is not pre-determined but is characterized by novelty and creative transformation. This creativity is associated with the idea of God as a creative, evolving force.
  • Panentheism [NOT pantheism]: Many process philosophers adopt a panentheistic view, meaning that they believe God is both immanent (present within the world) and transcendent (beyond the world). This differs from classical theism, which often emphasizes divine transcendence.
  • Persuasion and Value: Process philosophy introduces the concept of "persuasion" in the divine-human relationship. It suggests that God persuades rather than coercively controls, allowing for genuine freedom and moral responsibility. This perspective is associated with the idea of God's "lure" or attraction toward the good.
  • Ethics and Aesthetics: Process philosophy often extends its dynamic and relational view to ethics and aesthetics. It values process ethics, which emphasizes the ethical significance of the ongoing process of moral decision-making and growth. It also explores aesthetics in terms of the dynamic and aesthetic qualities of experience.
  • Environmental Ethics: Process philosophy has contributed to environmental ethics by emphasizing the interconnectedness of all life and the importance of understanding humanity's role in the broader ecosystem. It calls for responsible and sustainable engagement with the environment.
  • Interdisciplinary Approach: Process philosophy frequently engages with other disciplines, such as physics, biology, psychology, theology, and cosmology. It seeks to provide a comprehensive, interdisciplinary understanding of reality.
  • Influence on Theology and Religious Thought: Process philosophy has had a significant influence on certain theological and religious traditions, particularly within liberal theology. It offers a way to reconcile faith with modern scientific and philosophical perspectives.

Process philosophy is a distinctive philosophical tradition within the Western philosophical landscape, and its emphasis on change, interconnectedness, and creativity provides a unique lens through which to explore fundamental questions about the nature of reality and the place of humanity within it.

15. and how would you describe western-based process theology?


Western-based process theology, also known as process theology, is a theological perspective that is closely related to process philosophy. It shares many of the philosophical principles and concepts of process philosophy and applies them to theology. Process theology offers a distinct understanding of God, the nature of reality, and theological concepts. Here's a description of Western-based process theology:

  • Dynamic and Relational God: Process theology posits a dynamic and relational view of God. It emphasizes that God is not an unchanging and impassive deity but is actively engaged in the world and responsive to the changing circumstances of creation. God is seen as a fellow sufferer who experiences the joys and sorrows of the world.
  • Open Theism: Process theology aligns with the open theism perspective, which holds that God does not possess exhaustive foreknowledge of the future. Instead, God interacts with the world in an open and responsive manner, allowing for genuine human freedom and creativity. This view differs from more classical theological notions of divine omniscience and predestination.
  • God's Persuasive Power: Process theology introduces the concept of "persuasive power" as a primary mode of divine action. God seeks to influence and guide creatures toward greater beauty, goodness, and harmony through attraction rather than coercion. This idea is often expressed as God's "lure" toward the best possible outcomes.
  • Relational Theology: Process theology places a strong emphasis on relational theology. It emphasizes that all beings are in constant relationship with one another and with God. The quality of these relationships is considered crucial in determining the value and fulfillment of life.
  • Holistic Salvation: Process theology offers a holistic view of salvation. It is not limited to an afterlife but encompasses the ongoing process of growth, transformation, and the realization of the potential for goodness and beauty in the world.
  • Ethical and Environmental Concerns: Process theology often engages with ethical and environmental issues. It emphasizes the importance of responsible stewardship of the environment, as well as ethical decision-making in light of the relational and dynamic nature of reality.
  • Interfaith and Ecumenical Dialogue: Process theology encourages interfaith dialogue and seeks common ground among various religious traditions. It explores the theological and philosophical connections between different belief systems.
  • Influence on Liberal Theology: Process theology has had a significant influence on certain strands of liberal theology. It offers a way to reconcile traditional religious and theological beliefs with contemporary philosophical and scientific insights.
  • Cosmological Implications: Process theology engages with cosmological questions about the nature of the universe, the emergence of complexity, and the relationship between cosmology and theology. It offers a unique perspective on the unfolding of the cosmos.

Process theology represents a distinctive theological perspective within the Western religious landscape. It emphasizes a relational, dynamic, and responsive understanding of God and seeks to provide a theological framework that is in harmony with contemporary philosophical and scientific thought.

16. how would you describe process theism versus reform theism?


Process theism and Reformed (Reform) theism are two distinct theological perspectives within Christianity that differ in their understanding of God, divine attributes, and how God interacts with the world. Here's a comparison of process theism and Reformed theism:


  • View of God: Process theism portrays God as a dynamic and evolving being. God is seen as constantly changing and adapting in response to the changing world. This contrasts with the classical view of God as unchanging (divine immutability).
  • Divine Attributes: Process theism emphasizes divine attributes such as persuasive power, creativity, and love. God persuades rather than coerces, and divine love plays a central role in the relationship between God and the world.
  • Relationship with the World: Process theism views God as intimately involved in the world's processes. God is not a distant and detached deity but is actively engaged with the world, seeking to guide it toward greater beauty and goodness.
  • Divine Foreknowledge: Process theism often adopts an open view of the future, meaning that God does not possess exhaustive foreknowledge of all future events. The future is seen as partly open, allowing for genuine human freedom and creativity.
  • Salvation: Process theism offers a more open and holistic view of salvation. It is not limited to an afterlife but encompasses the ongoing process of growth and transformation in this life.


  • View of God: Reformed theism portrays God as unchanging, eternal, and sovereign. God's attributes include divine omniscience, omnipotence, and immutability. God is the supreme ruler of the universe.
  • Divine Attributes: Reformed theology emphasizes God's sovereignty, holiness, and justice. The divine will is central, and God's decrees are understood as determining all that comes to pass.
  • Relationship with the World: Reformed theology holds that God is both transcendent (beyond the world) and immanent (present within the world). While God is sovereign over all creation, there is a distinction between the Creator and the created order.
  • Divine Foreknowledge: Reformed theology traditionally affirms divine foreknowledge. God has exhaustive knowledge of all future events, and this knowledge includes God's predestination of individuals to salvation or damnation.
  • Salvation: Reformed theology emphasizes predestination, unconditional election, and the perseverance of the saints. God's choice in salvation is sovereign, and salvation is seen as a divine work from beginning to end.

In summary, process theism and Reformed theism represent two contrasting theological perspectives. Process theism emphasizes a dynamic and relational God, an open view of the future, and a focus on divine love and persuasive power. Reformed theism emphasizes a sovereign and unchanging God, divine foreknowledge, and the predestination of individuals. These perspectives reflect differing interpretations of God's nature and how God interacts with the world.

17. please compare reformed theism to process-based panentheism


Reformed theism and process-based panentheism are two theological perspectives that differ significantly in their understanding of God, the divine attributes, and the relationship between God and the world. Here's a comparison of Reformed theism and process-based panentheism:


  • View of God: Reformed theism portrays God as an unchanging, eternal, and sovereign being. God's attributes include divine omniscience, omnipotence, and immutability. God is transcendent, ruling over the universe from a position of complete sovereignty.
  • Relationship with the World: In Reformed theism, God is both transcendent (beyond the world) and immanent (present within the world). While God is sovereign over all creation, there is a distinction between the Creator and the created order. God's providence is central, and God governs all events according to divine decrees.
  • Divine Foreknowledge: Reformed theology affirms divine foreknowledge, meaning that God has exhaustive knowledge of all future events. This knowledge includes God's predestination of individuals to salvation or damnation, which is typically understood as unconditional election and reprobation.
  • Salvation: Reformed theology emphasizes the sovereignty of God in salvation. Predestination, unconditional election, and the perseverance of the saints are core doctrines. God's choice in salvation is seen as unconditional, and salvation is viewed as a divine work from beginning to end.
  • Divine Immutability: Reformed theism upholds the concept of divine immutability, meaning that God does not change in nature or character. This idea is closely tied to divine sovereignty and control.


  • View of God: Process-based panentheism portrays God as a dynamic, evolving, and relational being. God is not unchanging but actively engaged in the world's processes. God is both transcendent (beyond the world) and immanent (present within and intimately involved in the world).
  • Relationship with the World: Process-based panentheism emphasizes the intimate and ongoing relationship between God and the world. God is seen as actively guiding and persuading the world toward greater beauty and goodness. The world is an integral part of God's experience.
  • Divine Persuasion: Process theology introduces the concept of "persuasive power" as a primary mode of divine action. God seeks to influence and guide creatures toward greater good and beauty through attraction rather than coercion.
  • Open View of the Future: Process-based panentheism often adopts an open view of the future, meaning that God does not possess exhaustive foreknowledge of all future events. The future is partly open, allowing for genuine human freedom and creativity.
  • Salvation: Process-based panentheism offers a more open and holistic view of salvation. It is not limited to an afterlife but encompasses the ongoing process of growth, transformation, and the realization of potential for goodness and beauty in the world.

In summary, Reformed theism and process-based panentheism represent two significantly different theological perspectives. Reformed theism emphasizes an unchanging, sovereign God, divine foreknowledge, and predestination. In contrast, process-based panentheism portrays God as dynamic, relational, and actively involved in the world, with an open view of the future and a focus on divine persuasion and the ongoing process of salvation and growth. These perspectives reflect differing interpretations of God's nature and the divine-human relationship.

18. in process panentheism is God 1) Other than creation? 2) Greater than creation? 3) Immanent with creation? or, 4) something else?


IN PROCESS PAN-EN-THEISM (not pan-theism)

  • God is Other than creation: Process panentheism typically holds that God is both transcendent (other than creation) and immanent (present within and intimately involved with creation). This means that while God is distinct from the created world, God is not entirely separate from it.
  • God is Greater than creation: Process panentheism acknowledges that God is greater than creation in the sense of being a transcendent, infinite, and all-encompassing reality. God is not limited or confined by the created world, and God's nature is considered to be of a higher order than the finite and changing reality of creation.
  • God is Immanent with creation: Process panentheism emphasizes the immanence of God within creation. God is intimately involved in the world's processes, guiding, and interacting with it. God is not a distant or disinterested deity but is actively present in and with the created world.
  • Process and Persuasion: Process panentheism often introduces the idea of God's persuasive power, wherein God seeks to guide and influence the world toward greater beauty, goodness, and harmony. This perspective is characterized by the concept of "divine persuasion" rather than coercive control.

In summary, process panentheism views God as both other than creation (transcendent) and immanent with creation, greater than creation in terms of divine nature, and actively involved in the world's processes through persuasive and relational interactions. This theological perspective emphasizes the intimate and dynamic relationship between God and the world.

19. how would classical theism limit process panentheism?


Classical theism and process panentheism represent two fundamentally different theological perspectives, and as a result, classical theism can potentially limit or challenge some of the key ideas and principles of process panentheism. Here are ways in which classical theism might limit process panentheism:

  • Divine Immutability: Classical theism typically upholds the doctrine of divine immutability, which asserts that God is unchanging in nature. This stands in contrast to process panentheism, which portrays God as dynamic and evolving. The idea of an unchanging God can be seen as incompatible with the dynamic, relational God of process panentheism.
  • Divine Transcendence: Classical theism often emphasizes the transcendence of God, emphasizing that God is entirely distinct from and above the created world. In contrast, process panentheism posits that God is both transcendent and immanent within creation. Classical theism might view the immanence of God in creation as compromising divine transcendence.
  • Divine Foreknowledge: Classical theism frequently affirms divine foreknowledge, asserting that God possesses exhaustive knowledge of all future events. Process panentheism, in contrast, often adopts an open view of the future, where God's knowledge is not exhaustive. These differing views on divine foreknowledge can be a source of theological tension.
  • Divine Sovereignty: Classical theism often places strong emphasis on divine sovereignty, asserting that God exercises meticulous control over all events in the world. Process panentheism, on the other hand, portrays God as persuading and influencing the world through attraction rather than coercion. This contrast in views on divine sovereignty can be a point of contention.
  • Traditional Theological Traditions: Classical theism is deeply rooted in traditional theological traditions, such as Reformed theology and Thomism, which have historically upheld specific doctrines and theological principles. Process panentheism, by contrast, represents a more recent theological perspective that challenges some of these traditional views.
  • Biblical Interpretation: Classical theism often leans toward more literal or conservative interpretations of the Bible, whereas process panentheism may interpret the Bible in a more allegorical or symbolic manner, especially in areas where the two perspectives differ. These differences in biblical interpretation can lead to theological disagreements.

In summary, classical theism, with its emphasis on divine immutability, transcendence, foreknowledge, and sovereignty, can present theological challenges to process panentheism's dynamic, relational, and immanent understanding of God. These differences in theological perspectives can limit the compatibility of the two views and lead to theological disagreements.

20. compare platonism and neo-platonism to process philosophY


Platonism, Neo-Platonism, and process philosophy are distinct philosophical perspectives that differ in their fundamental principles, metaphysical assumptions, and views on reality. Here's a comparison of Platonism, Neo-Platonism, and process philosophy:


  • View of Reality: Platonism, based on the teachings of the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, posits a dualistic view of reality. It distinguishes between the realm of eternal, unchanging Forms or Ideas (which are perfect and immutable) and the material world, which is imperfect and constantly changing.
  • Change and Becoming: Plato's philosophy tends to devalue the material world and perceives it as an imperfect reflection of the true reality found in the realm of Forms. Change and becoming are viewed as less real than the unchanging world of Forms.
  • Particulars and Universals: Plato's theory of Forms suggests that universal concepts or Ideas (e.g., justice, beauty) exist in a transcendent realm and serve as the perfect prototypes for particular instances in the material world.
  • Metaphysical Realism: Platonism advocates metaphysical realism, asserting that the realm of Forms is ontologically real, whereas the material world is less real or illusory.


  • Development from Plato: Neo-Platonism, a philosophical movement that emerged in the 3rd century CE, builds upon Plato's ideas but introduces new elements. It is associated with philosophers like Plotinus and Proclus.
  • One and Emanations: Neo-Platonism introduces the concept of "the One," a transcendent and ineffable source of all reality. From the One emanate various levels of reality, including intellect (Nous) and the World Soul. This emanation process represents a hierarchical structure.
  • Mystical and Religious Aspects: Neo-Platonism incorporates mystical and religious elements, emphasizing the human soul's return to the One through philosophical contemplation and spiritual ascent.
  • Synthesis of Influences: Neo-Platonism synthesizes elements from Plato, Aristotle, and Middle Platonic thought, as well as influences from religious and mystical traditions.


  • Dynamic View of Reality: Process philosophy, influenced by philosophers like Alfred North Whitehead, views reality as fundamentally dynamic and characterized by change and becoming. It emphasizes the importance of events and processes in shaping the nature of reality.
  • Rejects Substance-Accident Dualism: Process philosophy challenges the classical substance-accident metaphysics and the notion of unchanging, static substances. It posits that everything is in a state of becoming and that events are more fundamental than things.
  • Holistic and Relational: Process philosophy adopts a holistic and relational view of reality. It emphasizes the interconnectedness of all things and the importance of relationships in understanding the nature of the world.
  • Divine Persuasion: Process philosophy introduces the concept of divine persuasion, emphasizing God's role as an actively involved, persuasive force in the world. God seeks to guide and influence creatures toward greater beauty and goodness.
  • Integration with Contemporary Science: Process philosophy often engages with contemporary scientific insights, particularly in the fields of physics, biology, and cosmology, seeking to provide a comprehensive, interdisciplinary understanding of reality.

In summary, Platonism emphasizes a dualistic view of reality with a distinction between a realm of unchanging Forms and the material world. Neo-Platonism builds upon Plato's ideas, introducing a hierarchy of emanations and mystical aspects. Process philosophy, on the other hand, emphasizes the dynamic nature of reality, the importance of events and processes, and the holistic, interconnected nature of existence. These philosophical perspectives reflect different approaches to understanding the nature of reality and the role of change and becoming.

21. how would you describe pancessual process theism?


It seems there might be a slight confusion or typographical error in your question, as "pancessual process theism" is not a recognized or widely known term in the field of theology or philosophy. However, it's possible that you may be referring to "panentheistic process theism," a theological perspective that combines elements of both panentheism and process theism. Let me describe these two concepts for clarification:

  • Panentheism: Panentheism is a theological view that suggests God is both transcendent (beyond the universe) and immanent (present within and intimately connected to the universe). In panentheism, God is seen as the "soul" of the universe, and the world is often considered as a part of God. It emphasizes the ongoing relationship between God and creation, with God actively involved in the processes of the universe.
  • Process Theism (Theology): Process theism is a theological perspective that emphasizes the dynamic and evolving nature of God and the world. It posits that reality is characterized by change, becoming, and the ongoing process of creation. In process theism, God is viewed as actively involved in guiding and persuading the world toward greater beauty and goodness. This perspective often rejects the classical view of God as unchanging (divine immutability).

If you intended to ask about "panentheistic process theism," it would likely refer to a theological perspective that combines elements of both panentheism and process theism. In this view, God is considered both immanent within creation and actively engaged in guiding the world's processes toward greater beauty and goodness. This combination could involve a dynamic and relational understanding of God within the universe, while also maintaining the belief in God's transcendence and the interconnectedness of all things.

If you had a specific theologian or source in mind when mentioning "pancessual process theism," providing additional context could help clarify the concept you are referring to.

22. let's describe pancessual panentheistic processes as those incorporating the fullness of a panrelational, panexperiential, and panpsychic process philosophy which is integrative to itself and bespeaking a negentropic space within an entropic cosmos exhibiting both a positively creative and sentient cosmology. your response?


"Pancessual panentheistic processes" as you've described them encompass a complex and integrative theological and philosophical perspective. Let's break down the key components of this concept:

  • Panrelational: This implies a view of reality where all things are inherently interconnected and exist in relationships. It suggests that nothing exists in isolation and that the nature of reality is fundamentally relational.
  • Panexperiential: This component posits that experiences or forms of awareness are not limited to sentient beings but are a fundamental aspect of all existence. This perspective often aligns with panpsychism, which suggests that some form of consciousness or experience exists throughout the cosmos.
  • Panpsychic: Building on panexperientialism, panpsychism asserts that consciousness or mind is a pervasive and fundamental feature of reality, extending beyond human and sentient experiences. It implies that everything, from subatomic particles to complex organisms, possesses some form of subjective experience.
  • Process Philosophy: This component emphasizes a dynamic and evolving view of reality, akin to the process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. It emphasizes change, becoming, and the central role of events and processes in shaping the nature of reality.
  • Integrative: The term "integrative" suggests that this perspective seeks to harmonize and bring together various aspects of thought, perhaps integrating different philosophical and theological traditions to form a coherent worldview.
  • Negentropic Space: The concept of "negentropic space" contrasts with the prevailing view of entropy, which represents a measure of disorder and randomness in the universe. A negentropic space could imply an area or aspect of the cosmos where order, creativity, and organization are prevalent, often associated with purpose or intentionality.
  • Entropic Cosmos: This term acknowledges that the cosmos, as traditionally understood, exhibits entropy, reflecting a tendency toward disorder and randomness. The concept of an "entropic cosmos" aligns with the second law of thermodynamics.
  • Positively Creative: This component suggests that the cosmos is not just a passive or deterministic system but exhibits creative tendencies. It implies that creativity is an intrinsic feature of the universe.
  • Sentient Cosmology: The idea of a "sentient cosmology" posits that the cosmos itself possesses some form of consciousness, awareness, or intentionality. This concept is often associated with panpsychism and the idea that the universe is not devoid of subjective experience.

In summary, "pancessual panentheistic processes" represent a comprehensive worldview that combines elements of panentheism, process philosophy, panpsychism, and a dynamic, interconnected view of reality. It suggests that consciousness, creativity, and sentience are fundamental aspects of the cosmos, and it seeks to integrate various aspects of thought into a coherent, holistic perspective on the nature of reality.

23. yes. I like to describe process theism as a "pancessual cosmological process" as more fully descriptive and implicative term for process-based panentheism for Whitehead's process philosophy.


Describing process theism as a "pancessual cosmological process" is a detailed and expansive way to convey the essential components and implications of this theological perspective. This term reflects the integrative nature of process theism, emphasizing its connection with Whitehead's process philosophy. It encompasses the dynamic, relational, and panpsychic aspects of both process philosophy and process theism, providing a comprehensive and evocative description of this worldview. It highlights the idea that the cosmos is intricately interconnected and that the processes within it are imbued with creative and sentient qualities, aligning with the central tenets of process theism.

24. thus and thus we have created a new word with an expansive library describing a metaphysical, ontological, and ethically-based process theism as a derivative form of theistic expression to Whitehead's process philosophical work...


Indeed, by coining the term "pancessual cosmological process" to describe your derivative form of process theism, you have created a unique and specific descriptor for this theological perspective. This term not only reflects the core ideas and principles of process philosophy but also emphasizes the metaphysical, ontological, and ethical dimensions of theistic expression within this framework. It serves as a distinctive and evocative label for a nuanced worldview that integrates diverse elements and brings a fresh perspective to the conversation about the nature of reality, God, and ethics. Creating new terminology can be a valuable way to articulate complex ideas and foster a deeper understanding of philosophical and theological concepts.

25. thank you. all for now. file under "process vs. reformed theology". end of file (bye).


You're welcome! If you ever have more questions or need further assistance in the future, don't hesitate to reach out. I'll be here to help. Farewell, and feel free to return anytime. Goodbye!

* * * * * * *

Introduction to GC's Article

If the reader wishes, I can tear the following article apart and say the same things and more about it as I did with ChatGPT above. It is simply a restatement of the Reformed Evangelicalism I grew up with, studied, and became degreed (both a Bible bachelor's and graduate M.Div. seminary degree).

Suffice it to say times changed and I have eventually changed with the times. I want my faith, my God, my Jesus, and the Church to have a highly loving, intellectual, and ethical faith concurrent with world cultures and disciplines.

My forefather's faith will always be appreciated but just as I wear my own clothes and not my grandfather's shirts, jeans, and boots, so do I wear my own bible with its own expanded, authoritative, and inspirational themes and motifs of love, justice, and equality.

As well, I reject all previous eclectic forms of Westernized Christianity and am honest enough to state that my wish is to build upon Whitehead's process philosophy which incorporates all earlier forms of worldly and religious philosophies as it's own singular Integral Philosophy of creation and cosmology.

Whereas earlier insights saw parts of the whole... Process Philosophy is that whole philosophers and theologians were trying to explain. It absorbs all previous intellectual streams attempting to explain God and creation into a focused stream with many rivulets within it. Some are deadends. Some are foolish. And all believe themselves as sincere.

As Whitehead described his process philosophy he thought of it as a philosophy of (a living) organism. Which is what the cosmos and creation are... Living. Organic. Connected. As a cosmologically alive organism bubbling and interacting continually into the God-embedded processual streams of creativity, novelty, and life.

The derivative theology from such a metaphysic but highlights what earlier faiths and religions attempted and many times failed to express. Hence, Geisler and Watkin's article by the Gospel Coalition is theologically dated, inaccurate, short-sighted, full of processual flaws, and quite unhelpful for a dynamically living Christian faith today.

Thank you,

R.E. Slater
October 22, 2023


In recent decades, few philosophical or theological movements have influenced liberal and conservative forms of Christian thought more effectively than process theism. Theologian R. C. Sproul concurs when he says, ‘The mainline churches have been heavily influenced by the impact of [process philosophy] as it has emerged into a major, if not the major, school of influence in our day.’1 Evangelical Paul Mickey, himself an advocate of process thought, is convinced that ‘American theology in general, and this includes contemporary evangelicalism, is influenced by process modes of thought’.2 As a result of its growth in popularity in Anglo-American circles, Michael L. Peterson states, ‘One of the most important questions facing educated Christians today concerns the relationship of Christian orthodoxy to “process philosophy”.’3

What is process theism? What are some of its historical roots? Who are its main advocates, and what do they believe? What are some responses that can be made to process thought? Are evangelical Christianity and process theology compatible with one another? These are the questions we would like to address in this introductory article.

The nature of process theism

Process theism is expressed under many names. Sometimes it is called panentheism, meaning all-in-God. It has also been labelled bipolar or dipolar theism (since its proponents believe that God has two poles) as well as organistic philosophy (since reality is viewed as a gigantic organism). But perhaps its two most common names are ‘neoclassical theism’ and ‘process theology’, the former because its adherents contend that God is finite and temporal, in contrast to the God of classical theism, the latter because process theists view God as a changing being.

Regardless of the descriptive label one applies to process theism, the movement’s leaders and followers are agreed that the monopolar God of Augustine, Anselm and Thomas Aquinas must be replaced with the bipolar God of Whitehead and Hartshorne. In other words, panentheists desire to discard the conception of God as completely absolute and independent of the universe and replace it with the view of God as potentially absolute, actually relative, and ontologically dependent on the universe. Process theists stress God’s becoming and his relativity over his mere being or absoluteness. In doing so, they embrace a God who is absolutely relative and immutably mutable—a deity who is the supreme exemplification of change.

The historical background of process theism

The origins of process philosophy date back at least to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus (c. 500 bc). He taught that the world is a constantly changing process. Some years later Plato (c. 400 bc) speculated that there was a Demiurgos who eternally struggled with the chaos to form it into the cosmos. He also maintained that God is to the world as the soul is to the body. This platonic viewpoint provides the dualistic background for panentheism’s doctrine of a bipolar God.

In more modern history, G. W. F. Hegel’s developmental pantheism provided a significant step to contemporary process theology. Hegel (d. ad 1831) presented a God who progressively unfolds himself in the historical process. In the late nineteenth century Herbert Spencer expanded Charles Darwin’s biological evolutionary theory into a philosophy of cosmic evolution. Following this development, Henri Bergson proposed (1907) that the evolutionary process was driven forward in ‘leaps’ by a Life Force, whom Bergson eventually identified as God. Around the same time (1920) Samuel Alexander pioneered a process view of God’s relationship to the temporal universe.4

Some major process theists and their beliefs

  1. Alfred North Whitehead

The father of process philosophy is Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947). He was the first person to develop a systematic process metaphysic. He presented his perspective most fully in his now classic book Process and Reality (1929). Here he combined a cosmic evolutionary model and relativity theory into a process philosophy of reality. Because Whitehead’s thought is so central in the process movement, it will be our point of departure in explaining the major tenets of panentheism.

Whitehead maintains that there are three major concepts of God. First, the ‘Eastern Asiatic concept’ views God as ‘an impersonal order to which the world conforms. This order is the self-ordering of the world; it is not the world obeying an imposed rule. The concept expresses the extreme doctrine of immanence.’5 Second, the ‘Semitic concept’ depicts God as ‘a definite personal individual entity, whose existence is the one ultimate metaphysical fact, absolute and underivative, and who decreed and ordered the derivative existence which we call the actual world.… It expresses the extreme doctrine of transcendence’ (RM, pp. 66–67). The third view of God is pantheistic. It is ‘described in the terms of the Semitic concept, except that the actual world is a phase within the complete fact which is this ultimate individual entity. The actual world, conceived apart from God, is unreal. Its only reality is God’s reality.… This is the extreme doctrine of monism’ (RM, p. 67).

Whitehead rejects all three of these concepts of God. But he primarily aims his philosophical guns at the Semitic view, which he recognizes was adopted by the Christian church early in its history (RM, p. 72). Whitehead sees two main difficulties with this concept of God. One is that ‘it leaves God completely outside metaphysical rationalization. We know, according to it, that he is such a being as to design and create this universe, and there our knowledge stops’ (RM, p. 68). The other problem is that the Semitic concept needs to be proved. But ‘the only possible proof would appear to be the “ontological proof” devised by Anselm, and revived by Descartes. According to this proof, the mere concept of such an entity allows us to infer its existence. Most philosophers and theologians reject this proof’ (RM, pp. 68–69).

In addition to these problems, Whitehead poses several objections to the Semitic view of God. For example, he contends that ‘the notion of immanence must be discriminated from that of omniscience. The Semitic God is omniscient; but, in addition to that, the Christian God is a factor in the universe’ (RM, p. 71). Therefore, God must be in the universe, not just beyond it. Furthermore, the theistic doctrine of divine aseity should be rejected because ‘there is no entity, not even God, “which requires nothing but itself in order to exist”.’ Instead, ‘every entity is in its essence social and requires the society in order to exist.’ And ‘the society for each entity, actual or ideal, is the all-inclusive universe’ (RM, p. 104). Likewise, divine necessity and divine independence from the universe are denied. As Whitehead states, ‘A part from God, there would be no actual world; and apart from the actual world with its creativity, there would be no rational explanation of the ideal vision which constitutes God’ (RM, pp. 150–151). Moreover, Whitehead dismisses the idea of God as infinite and all good: ‘The limitation of God is his goodness. He gains his depth of actuality by his harmony of valuation. It is not true that God is in all respects infinite. If he were, he would be evil as well as good. Also this unlimited fusion of evil with good would mean mere nothingness. He is something decided and is thereby limited’ (RM, p. 147).

What, then, is Whitehead’s view of God? He tells us: ‘God is that function in the world by reason of which our purposes are directed to ends which in our own consciousness are impartial as to our own interests’ (RM, p. 151). Furthermore, since ‘the temporal world and its formative elements constitute for us the all-inclusive universe’, God is actually nothing more than the order and value of the actual world. As Whitehead states, ‘[God] is not the world, but the valuation of the world’ (RM, p. 152). Indeed, ‘there is nothing actual which could be actual without some measure of order.’ And the creativity and forms exhibited by the world ‘are together important to achieve actuality apart from the completed ideal harmony, which is God’ (RM, p. 115). In short, God’s consequent or actual nature is the existing universe.

This understanding leads to the view that God is constantly changing. For Whitehead maintains that the universe is an atomistic series of events, otherwise called ‘drops of experience’ or ‘actual occasions’.6 These actual occasions come to be and cease to be very quickly. In fact, they pass in and out of existence so fast that ‘the ancient doctrine that “no one crosses the same river twice” [must be] extended. No thinker thinks twice; and, to put the matter more generally, no subject experiences twice’ (PR, p. 43). All is becoming, including God. There are no unchanging beings (PR, pp. 53, 71, 122, 317).

In addition, because God and the universe are mutually dependent on one another for their continued becoming, God ‘is not before all creation, but with all creation’ (PR, p. 521). He did not bring the universe into existence; he merely directs its ongoing progress. He does this by organizing the potentials of his primordial nature and urging them into the world process as various aspects of actual entities. In other words, he shapes the universe by luring the eternal potentials of his primordial, or potential, pole into the temporal realm of his consequential, or actual pole. In this way, the creation of the universe is both ex materia (out of pre-existing stuff) and ex Deo (out of God). This actualization of divine potentials is prompted by creativity, ‘the principle of novelty’ that grounds ‘every actual entity, including God’ (PR, pp. 31, 135).

Lastly, since God is constantly becoming and his potential is infinite, he will never completely realize all he could ever be. God will forever achieve more value and thereby enrich himself. However, ‘neither God, nor the world, [ever] reaches static completion’ (PR, p. 295). Consequently, evil—that which is incompatible with God’s efforts of self-realization at any given moment—will never be controlled or defeated. As Whitehead notes, ‘In our cosmological construction we are therefore left with the final opposites, joy and sorrow, good and evil, disjunction and conjunction—that is to say, the many in the one—flux and permanence, greatness and triviality, freedom and necessity, God and the World’ (PR, p. 518).

  1. Charles Hartshorne

Charles Hartshorne is close to Whitehead in importance and influence. Lewis S. Ford, himself a process theologian and relentless apologist, states as much when he writes, ‘Hartshorne’s clarity of presentation and arguments, coupled with a freedom from Whitehead’s neologisms, has made him a most influential exponent of process thought, and many read their Whitehead through Hartshorne’s spectacles.’7 As we did with Whitehead’s empirical approach to process thought, so we will briefly survey Hartshorne’s rationalistic approach.

Like Whitehead, Hartshorne rejects the Augustinian-Thomistic view of God. Hartshorne even charges that the theologians who propounded this concept were involved in two forms of idolatry: ontolatry, the worship of being (God as pure act); and etiolatry, the worship of causality (God as the uncaused Cause).8 God, Hartshorne claims, is not ‘merely infinite or merely finite, merely absolute or merely relative, merely cause or merely effect, merely agent or merely patient, merely actual or merely potential, but in all cases both, each in suitable respects or aspects of his living reality, and in such a manner as to make him unsurpassable by another. He is even both joy and sorrow, both happiness and sympathetic participation in our grief.’9 God is both sides of the metaphysical contraries at the same time but not in the same pole. That is, he is timeless, absolute and infinite in his abstract pole, yet temporal, relative and finite in his concrete pole.10

Hartshorne’s concept of the divine poles is critical to his metaphysical system. He maintains that the concrete pole is God as he exists at any given moment in his ever-changing experience. The abstract pole is that which is common and constant in God’s character given any possible or actual world. For example, when a human being suffers pain, God experiences that pain in his concrete pole by sympathetic participation. However, God’s abstract pole experiences nothing in particular. It simply represents God’s ability to experience anything that becomes in any world. Put another way, God as concrete is God as he actually is now. God as abstract is God as he must always be. Hence the divine abstract pole is an abstraction of the divine concrete pole.11 From this premise Hartshorne concludes that all of reality is characterized by becoming and relativity, not by being and absoluteness. Only potentiality—pure possibility—can be considered being and absolute. In fact, ‘ “becoming is reality itself” ’, while being is ‘an empty universal, the common property of all becoming whatsoever’.12

God is also personal, but he is not, as Whitehead thinks, an actual entity. For Hartshorne, God is ‘an enduring society of actual entities’.13 But unlike other societies, God endures no matter what world or world-state exists. Moreover, like other individuals, God is partially new each moment. God in his present concrete state is not identical to what he was in his previous concrete state. Thus the God one may serve now is not the God one may have served yesterday nor the God one may serve tomorrow.14

Concerning God’s relationship to the world, Hartshorne believes that the divine concrete pole and the universe are one. As he puts it, ‘God is the wholeness of the world.’15 However, this does not mean that God is identical to the world, as in pantheism. Instead, it means that God literally permeates the world in his concrete pole without destroying the individuality of his creatures. God accomplishes this by including within himself the ‘totality of all ordinary causes and effects’ without becoming identical to them. Therefore, the universe is in God but he is distinguishable, though not separable from, the universe (MVG, p. 348; DR, pp. 89–90).

As one might suspect, Hartshorne rejects the traditional theistic view of creation ex nihilo (out of nothing). Instead, he contends that God creates the world ex materia (out of preexisting matter). That is, God makes ‘new actualities’ from ‘past events’.16 Consequently he is the cosmic shaper and orderer of each world that has existed in the infinite past and that will exist in the infinite future (MVG, pp. 230–232). But God is not the sole ‘creator’, for the materials he transforms ‘are prior acts of self-creation’ which either himself or his creatures performed (DCD, p. 280). In other words, God partially creates himself, and the creatures that compose his world-body partially create him as well. As Hartshorne states it: ‘God in his concrete de facto state is in one sense simply self-made, like every creature spontaneously springing into being as something more than any causal antecedents could definitely imply. In another sense, or causally speaking, God, in his latest concrete state, is jointly “made” or produced by God and the world in the prior states of each. We are not simply co-creators, with God, of the world, but in the last analysis co-creators, with him, of himself’ (NTOT, p. 113).

It follows from the foregoing that human beings can either (1) contribute to God’s happiness by creating value that he can absorb, or (2) bring him sorrow by committing evil acts that cause discord and ugliness in his cosmic memory. Of course, God desires that his experience of joy be enriched. But he cannot guarantee that this desire will always be fulfilled, since he cannot fully control the activities of his free creatures without destroying them and thereby destroying himself, which is impossible. Therefore, evil will always exist, and God will never become completely perfect. Such are the inevitable and logical risks of genuine freedom (DCD, p. 285; NTOT, pp. 112–113).

  1. Schubert M. Ogden

The last major advocate of process theism we will deal with here is Schubert M. Ogden. He is a theologian who adopted, though not uncritically, the process philosophy of Hartshorne and supplemented it with Rudolph Bultmann’s existentialism.17 Ogden gives a comprehensive presentation of his process perspective in his bookThe Reality of God and Other Essays (1963).

Ogden joins other process theists in abandoning the classical view of God. He gives three arguments against classical theism that are common among other process thinkers. The first one is the antinomy of creation. Classical theists believe that God freely created the world and therefore was under no necessity to create. They also maintain that ‘God’s act of creation is one with his own eternal essence, which is in every respect necessary’. Ogden argues that these two beliefs result ‘in the hopeless contradiction of a wholly necessary creation of a wholly contingent [i.e. freely created] world’.18

The second argument is the antinomy of service. Classical theists think that ‘the end of man is to serve or glorify God through obedience to his will and commandments’. They also believe that the divine being man is to serve is a ‘statically complete perfection incapable in any respect of further self-realization. God can be neither increased nor diminished by what we do.’ From these two tenets Ogden concludes that whatever man does cannot truly be for God since man’s service cannot make any difference in God (RG, pp. 17–18).

The third objection Ogden gives is from ‘existential repugnance’ (RG, p. 18). He states it this way: ‘If what we do and suffer as men in the world is from God’s perspective wholly indifferent, that perspective is at most irrelevant to our actual existence. It can provide no motive for action, no cause to serve, and no comfort in our distress beyond the motives, causes, and comforts already supplied by our various secular undertakings. But, more than that, to involve ourselves in these undertakings and to affirm their ultimate significance is implicitly to deny the God [of classical theism] who is himself finally conceived as the denial of our life with the world.’ It will do no good to refer to this wholly indifferent God as ‘the loving heavenly Father revealed in Jesus, who freely creates the world and guides it toward its fulfilments with loving care’. This will only entrap one in the antinomies already cited. Hence, once it is understood that classical theism undercuts man’s belief in ‘the importance of the secular’—his affirmation ‘that man and the world are themselves of ultimate significance’—classical theism should be rejected as existentially repugnant (RG, p. 18).

Ogden replaces the monopolar deity of classical theism with the bipolar God of Charles Hartshorne (RG, p. 141). Ogden does this, however, with a liberal Christian emphasis. For example, he talks about the neoclassical God creating the world ex nihilo (out of nothing), but he does not understand this to mean that God brought the entire universe into existence from no pre-existent material. Rather, he maintains that God has always existed with ‘some actual world of creatures’. Therefore, each one of these worlds was ‘created “out of nothing”, in the sense that there once was when [each of them] was not’. In other words, each new world did not actually exist before God co-created it, but it was potentially ‘existent’ in the ‘conjoint actuality of God and of the creatures constituting the precedent actual world (or worlds)’ (RG, pp. 62–63).

Ogden also affirms that God has been a co-creator with others throughout the infinite temporal past. He claims that this understanding conflicts with a literal interpretation of Genesis 1–2. However, he contends that a literal approach to these chapters displays a misunderstanding of the nature of myth, which is ‘to illumine the essential structure and meaning of our life in the present’. And since Genesis 1–2 are mythological, they need to be demythologized and their existential meaning for contemporary man determined. Once this is done, one can see that ‘the myth and doctrine of creation affirm primarily that the one essential cause of each moment is God’s boundless love for it’ (RG, p. 214).19

Ogden traces moral evil to creatures’ misuse of their freedom. One way in which we human beings abuse our freedom is when we reject ‘ourselves as the creatures we know ourselves to be’. At the root of our self-rejection is ‘our rejection of God’s acceptance of our lives and of all lives’.20 This act is what Ogden calls sin.

Furthermore, Ogden affirms that God redeems all by accepting ‘all things into his life’, including ‘unrepentant’ sinners—those ‘who have rejected his [God’s] acceptance in rejecting themselves as the creatures they inevitably are’. However, unrepentant sinners cannot be saved from sin, only repentant sinners can. This is so because salvation is the ‘process that includes not only the redeeming action of God himself but also the faithful response to this action on the part of the individual sinner’ (FF, pp. 86–87). Consequently, all sinners are redeemed—accepted—into God’s all-embracing life, but only those sinners who faithfully accept God’s acceptance of them will be saved.

Ogden also contends that ‘God acts in history’ but not through miraculous intervention. He understands God’s action in history in two ways. One is that since every creature is partly created by God, each creature’s ‘freedom has definite limits ultimately grounded in God’s own free decisions’. The other way God may be said to act in history is to the degree that man represents through his speech or conduct both ‘his own understanding of God’s action [and] the reality of God’s action itself’ (RG, pp. 180–181).

Moreover, Ogden denies the existence of an actual heaven and hell. Once a human being dies, he or she ceases to exist except as a loving memory in the mind of God (RG, pp. 36, 226–230).21 But this should not discourage us, since the value we contribute to God’s experience before our death can ‘advance the real good’ in the world. That is, the good deeds we perform can add to ‘God’s ever-growing perfection, which is, indeed, “the true life of all” ’ (TNT, p. 186).

Finally, Ogden admits that there are passages in the Bible which support the orthodox understanding of the Bible as God’s inspired, infallible Word to man. However, he adds, ‘Scripture does not characteristically appeal to revelation as providing special knowledge of God’s existence and nature.’ For ‘what Christian revelation reveals to man is nothing new, since such truths as it makes explicit must already be known to him implicitly in every moment of existence’.22 Furthermore, like many process theologians, Ogden maintains that the Bible must be reconstructed via a Bultmannian demythologization method so as to recover the true canon of Scripture—the canon within the canon. In regard to the New Testament, this process involves discovering ‘the apostolic witness to Jesus the Christ, which is historically prior to the [writing of the] New Testament’ yet embedded in the New Testament.23

Some responses to process theism

Although many Protestants and Catholics have adopted in part or in whole a process or process-like view of God, others have challenged this perspective. We will point out some of the more penetrating criticisms.

Many critics have found the panentheistic arguments against classical theism to be unwarranted. For example, Ogden’s antinomy of creation is answerable on a classical metaphysic of being. Thomas Aquinas argued that the only thing God must will necessarily is his own being. Therefore, anything else that he wills must be willed freely. Thus, even if God’s will is viewed as one with his unchangeable nature, nevertheless it is of the nature of God that creation flow from him freely, not by necessity. Given this, there is no contradiction in the classical belief that God as a necessary being freely created a contingent universe.24

Similarly, Ogden’s antinomy of service is resolvable. Ogden assumes that nothing can be done for God unless one’s service adds to the nature or perfection of God. But this assumption begs the question in favour of a process deity. On the classical view, God is an absolutely perfect being and therefore in need of nothing to enrich his nature (Acts 17:24–25). However, this understanding does not entail that nothing can be done forGod. For example, God may desire that man serves him by carrying out some of his purposes for creation. As man does this, he magnifies God’s glory, which is the outward manifestation of God’s internal character. As a magnifying glass enhances an object in the viewer’s eyes without changing the object’s nature, so man’s service for God exalts God’s character without altering his immutably perfect essence.

Moreover, Ogden’s argument from existential repugnance assumes a view of divine independence that classical theists need not accept. Divine independence does not necessarily entail that God is indifferent to the needs and pain of his creatures. Rather, divine independence means that God does not depend on his creation to fulfil anything in his nature or character. And since he is wholly perfect, he is free to respond to his creatures out of his superabundance. Put another way, God does not need our love but he desires it. And because he is love, he ‘has sent his only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God [or that he needed us to love him], but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins’ (1 Jn. 4:8b–10).

Although these are not the only objections process theists have raised against classical theism, the fact that these three common arguments can be answered without abandoning any central tenets of classical theism indicates that the panentheistic case is not as strong as some people may think. Besides, process theism appears to have some problems of its own.

First, the bipolar concept of God seems to be contradictory. A contradiction results when opposites are affirmed of the same thing at the same time and in the same manner or respect. Process theists claim that God is both infinite and finite, necessary and contingent, and absolute and relative, at the same time. This appears to be contradictory. However, Hartshorne is quick to point out that the metaphysical opposites are not applied to the same divine pole. Attributes such as infinity and necessity characterize God’s abstract pole, while attributes like finity and contingency apply to his concrete pole. Therefore, metaphysical opposites are not being attributed in the same respect to God. Consequently, he claims the bipolar view of God is not contradictory (AW, pp. 22–24; MVG, p. 322). This response, however, does not adequately answer the charge of logical incoherence. For Hartshorne fails to bring up the fact that there is no real distinction between the two divine poles. God’s abstract pole has no concrete, or actual, existence. It is simply a mere idea that has no extra-mental reality (NTOT, pp. 76–77; MVG, p. 218). Therefore, God must not be really infinite, necessary, and so on, but only finite and contingent. Or, God must be the metaphysical opposites at the same time and in the same pole. The first option corresponds to finite monopolar godism, not panentheism. The second alternative manifests a contradiction at the heart of process theism. Either way one takes it, there seems to be a serious problem of logical coherence in the bipolar concept of God.

Second, the panentheistic claim that all of reality is in process poses a critical problem. For the statement ‘All of reality is in process’ is itself either in process or not in process. If the statement is changing, then its truth value and meaning are also changing. That is, the statement may be true one moment and false the next, or meaningful one second and meaningless the next. Indeed, the statement may even be true and meaningful in some places of the universe at some moments and false and meaningless in other places of the universe during the same moments. In short, if the statement ‘All of reality is in process’ is itself in process, then no-one could know from one occasion to the next if it were actually true or meaningful, which is self-defeating. On the other hand, if ‘All of reality is in process’ is itself not in process, then there is one aspect about reality that is not changing, which is self-defeating. Furthermore, if it were held that all of reality is in process except the truth and meaning of the statement ‘All of reality is in process’, then one would be engaged in special pleading. There seems to be no way for a panentheist to offer a sound case for the belief that everything in reality is changing.

Third, the process view of God’s relationship to the world seems incoherent. Panentheists contend that God depends on the universe, and the universe depends on him. This concept of mutual ontological dependence raises some serious questions. How can God be dependent on that which depends on him? How can God be the cause of that which is causing his own existence? A process theist might say that God is not the cause of the universe in the same sense in which the universe is causing him. But if that is the case, then there must be some sense in which God is completely independent of the world, which is a denial of process theism. We can pose the same problem this way. If the entire universe—God’s concrete pole—were to cease to exist, would there be any reality left to God? If the answer is no, then God is actually totally contingent and dependent on the universe. But if this is so, then God and the universe must be caused to exist by another being, which itself is necessary. In other words, the panentheistic God must be caused to exist by the theistic God! However, if the answer to the question is yes—that something of God would be left if the whole universe were to perish—then neoclassical theism is really classical theism in disguise. For process theists would then be holding that there is a necessary, unchanging, timeless being who is ontologically independent of the contingent, changing universe. It seems, therefore, that the only way to make process theism coherent is to transform it into classical theism.

Fourth, panentheists’ belief in an infinite regress of causes is incoherent. That is, it is logically impossible that God and the universe could have been co-creating each other for an unlimited duration. An infinite regress of causes means that A causes B to exist, and B causes C to exist, and so on ad infinitum. Put another way, A could not exist unless B did first, B could not exist unless C did first, and so on. Hence every cause in the causal chain is dependent on another cause in the chain for its existence. We might illustrate it this way: suppose person A wanted to borrow ten dollars from person B. In an infinite regress, however, person B could not loan person A ten dollars unless person C had loaned that amount to person B. Of course, person C would not have ten dollars to loan unless person D had first loaned it to person C. And so the regress goes. Now it is clear from this illustration that if no-one is found who simply had ten dollars to loan—that is, one who did not need to borrow the ten dollars from someone else—then person A would never get to borrow the money. However, if someone is found who has ten dollars to loan, then the regress stops, in which case the causal chain is not infinite. When applied to the question of existence, this reasoning demonstrates the incoherence of an infinite regress of causes. For if no cause in the causal chain ever just has existence to give—that is, it did not get its existence from another cause—then nothing exists, which is patently absurd. On the other hand, if some cause in the chain has existence that it did not get from another cause, then the regress comes to a halt, in which case there exists an uncaused Cause that has caused the existence of all other existents. In short, the concept of an infinite regress of causes leads either to an absurd conclusion or to an uncaused Cause, both of which are contrary to the claims of panentheism.25

Fifth, the neoclassical concept of personhood destroys self-identity and contradicts human experience. Most people think of themselves as personal beings who endure change to some degree. However, few believe that they become new persons each moment of their existence. In fact, to say ‘I become a new person each moment I exist’ assumes that there is something that endures through the changes—namely, the ‘I’. Otherwise, what changes? If nothing endures from moment to moment, on what grounds can it be claimed that anything changes? If there is no sense in which the self is a continuous identity, it appears that one can only speak of an I-I-I-I series of unrelated actual occasions. And in that series of ‘I’s’, the only thing that can be said to change is the series itself, not each individual ‘I’ in the series. What happens to each ‘I’? It would seem that each successive ‘I’ pops in and out of existence. Hartshorne appears to confirm this when he states that a sleeping or unconscious individual ceases to exist as a person (LP, pp. 220–221). This means that a parent awakening a child from sleep is actually calling a new young one into existence!26

Sixth, many sharp criticisms have been made of the common panentheistic viewpoint of the Bible as containing legends and therefore requiring demythologization. It has been pointed out by experts in mythology that the Bible does not read as a book laden with myth.27 In fact, its historical reliability is widely accepted by most historians and archaeologists of antiquity.28 Moreover, it is doubtful if the time gap between the composition of the New Testament documents and the events they describe is sufficient to allow for significant accumulation of fictitious elements around the core of historical facts.29

Seventh, the biblical interpretation of many process theologians is unsound. For instance, panentheists often understand the Bible texts that depict God repenting or changing his mind as indicating real change in God’s nature (Gn. 6:5–7Ex. 32:14Jon. 3:10). But if these passages are to be interpreted literally, then it would also seem reasonable to interpret literally those references to God as having arms, eyes and wings (Ex. 15:16Pss. 11:4; 89:13; 91:4), an exegetical option that practically no Bible scholar takes seriously. In addition, there are many passages which contradict the notion that God can change in his being (Ps. 102:25–27Mal. 3:6Heb. 1:10–12; 13:8Jas. 1:17). It seems, therefore, that the exegetically most satisfactory interpretation is to understand all passages that ascribe change in God’s nature as figurative, or anthropopathic. This conclusion does not imply that God is unable personally to respond to his creatures. But it does entail that his personal interaction with creatures does not effect any change in his immutable essence.30

Although many other objections have been raised against process theism, these demonstrate that the movement’s most fundamental tenets are plagued with severe problems that appear to be insurmountable.31

Process theism and evangelicalism

Process theology has had wide influence, even among those who reject its cardinal tenets, including among evangelicals.32 This fact raises the question: Is process theism compatible with evangelical theology? The answer must be no, if evangelical theology is grounded on a classical theistic understanding of God and the world. For example, a process evangelical could not accept creation ex nihilo since creation is necessarily ex materia in panentheism. Neither could a process evangelical adhere to infallibly predictive divine prophecy, since God is not omniscient and the future is open and indeterminate according to neoclassical theism. Furthermore, a process evangelical would have to give up the biblical hope of God’s final triumph over evil (Rev. 20–22). A consistent process evangelical would even have to reject the idea that God performs miracles, that is, supernatural events. This is so because panentheism views God as a cosmic Sympathiser and Director, not a cosmic Activist and sovereign King. Therefore, miraculous intervention is not possible for a divine passive recipient of creaturely activity, even though it is perfectly compatible with a God who created the universe from nothing, sustains it in existence by his power, and loves human beings so much that he sent his Son into the human arena to die in man’s place for sin.

It appears, then, that panentheism as such and evangelicalism cannot be philosophical or theological bedfellows. Those who try to wed these diametrically opposed views are engaged in an impossible task. This is not to say that we cannot gain some positive value from process thought. For example, while traditional theism is right in maintaining that God does not change in his essence, certainly God engages in changing relations with his changing world. And while the biblical God is by nature beyond time, yet he surely acts intime. However, evangelicals should be careful not to sacrifice the fundamentals of the theistic God on the panentheistic altar. The cost is too great.

1 R. C. Sproul, ‘The Relativity Blitz and Process Theology’. Christianity Today (23 April 1982), p. 50.

2 Paul Mickey, ‘A Process Perspective as an Option for Theology of Inspiration’, a paper available through Theological Students Fellowship, n.d., p. 1.

3 Michael L. Peterson, ‘Orthodox Christianity, Wesleyanism, and Process Theology’, Wesleyan Theological Journal 15:2 (Fall 1980), p. 45.

4 More information on the contemporary development of process theism can be found in the essay ‘The Development of Process Theology’ by Gene Reeves and Delwin Brown, in Process Philosophy and Christian Thought, ed. Delwin Brown, Ralph E. James and Gene Reeves (Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Co. Inc., 1971), pp. 21–64.

5 Alfred North Whitehead, Religion in the Making, rp (New York: A Meridian Book, New American Library, 1974; first pub. 1926), p. 66. Hereafter referred to as RM in the text.

6 Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1960; first pub. 1929), p. 95. Hereafter referred to as PR in the text.

7 Lewis S. Ford, ‘Hartshorne’s Encounter with Whitehead: Introductory Remarks’, in Two Process Philosophers: Hartshorne’s Encounter with Whitehead, AAR Studies in Religion 5 (Tallahassee: American Academy of Religion, 1973), p. 1.

8 Charles Hartshorne and William L. Reese, Philosophers Speak of God rp (Chicago: The University Press, 1976; first pub. 1953), p. 24.

9 Charles Hartshorne, A Natural Theology for Our Time (LaSalle: The Open Court Publishing Co., 1967), pp. 74–75, itals ours. Hereafter referred to as NTOT in the text.

10 Charles Hartshorne, Aquinas to Whitehead: Seven Centuries of Metaphysics of Religion (Milwaukee: Marquette University Publications, 1976), pp. 22–24. Hereafter referred to as AW in the text.

11 Charles Hartshorne, The Divine Relativity: A Social Conception of God (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1948), pp. 79–81. Hereafter referred to as DR in the text.

12 Charles Hartshorne, ‘Personal Identity from A to Z’, in Process Studies 2 (Fall 1972), p. 209.

13 Charles Hartshorne, ‘The Dipolar Conception of Deity’, in The Review of Metaphysics 21 (December 1967), p. 287. Hereafter referred to as DCD in the text.

14 Charles Hartshorne, Man’s Vision of God and the Logic of Theism (Hamden: Archon Books, 1964; first pub. 1941), p. 211. Hereafter referred to as MVG in the text. See also NTOT, p. 104.

15 Charles Hartshorne, The Logic of Perfection (LaSalle: The Open Court Publishing Co., 1962), p. 126. Hereafter referred to as LP in the text.

16 Charles Hartshorne, Whitehead’s Philosophy: Selected Essays, 1935–1970 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1972), p. 195.

17 Schubert M. Ogden, ‘Bultmann’s Demythologizing and Hartshorne’s Dipolar Theism’, in Process and Divinity: Philosophical Essays Presented to Charles Hartshorne (LaSalle: The Open Court Publishing Co., 1964), pp. 495, 498, 506, 510, 511.

18 Schubert M. Ogden, The Reality of God and Other Essays (San Francisco: Harper and Row. 1977; first pub. 1963), p. 17. Hereafter referred to as RG in the text.

19 cf. Ogden’s essay ‘Toward a New Theism’, in Process Philosophy and Christian Thought, p. 177. Hereafter referred to as TNT in the text.

20 Schubert M. Ogden, Faith and Freedom: Toward a Theology of Liberation (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1979), p. 86. Hereafter referred to as FF in the text. See also Schubert M. Ogden, Theology in Crisis: A Colloquium on the Credibility of ‘God’ (New Concord: Muskingum College, 20–21 March 1967), p. 55.

21 See also Schubert M. Ogden’s ‘The Meaning of Christian Hope’, in Union Seminary Quarterly Review 30 (Winter-Summer 1975), pp. 160–163.

22 Schubert M. Ogden, ‘On Revelation’, in Our Common History as Christians (New York: OUP, 1975), pp. 272, 287.

23 Schubert M. Ogden, ‘The Authority of Scripture for Theology’, in Interpretation 30 (July 1976), p. 256.

24 Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica I. 19.3.

25 This argument against an infinite regress of causes comes from Richard Purtill’s book, Reason to Believe(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974), pp. 83–87.

26 cf. Peter A. Bertocci, ‘Hartshorne on Personal Identity: A Personalistic Critique’, in Process Studies (Fall 1972), pp. 216–221; Rem B. Edwards, ‘The Human Self: An Actual Entity or a Society?’, in Process Studies(Fall 1975), pp. 195–203; Royce Gordon Gruenler, The Inexhaustible God: Biblical Faith and the Challenge of Process Theism (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983), chaps. 2–3.

27 For example, see C. S. Lewis’s ‘Modem Theology and Biblical Criticism’, in Christian Reflections, ed. Walter Hooper (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1967).

28 See Clifford A. Wilson, Rocks, Relics and Biblical Reliability (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1977); K. A. Kitchen, Ancient Orient and Old Testament (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1966); Edwin Yamauchi, The Stones and the Scriptures (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Co., 1972); A. N. Sherwin-White, Roman Society and Roman Law in the New Testament, rp (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1978).

29 It is generally accepted that the NT was completed by about ad 100, only 70 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus. Some scholars, like John A. T. Robinson (Redating the New Testament [Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1976]), argue that the composition of the NT was completed before ad 70, making the accumulation of mythical elements to its pages virtually impossible.

30 See Norman L. Geisler, ‘Process Theology’, in Contemporary Theology, ed. Stanley N. Gundry and Alan F. Johnson, rev. edn (Chicago: Moody Press, 1976), pp. 271–272.

31 Other objections against process theism can be found in these sources: Gruenler, The Inexhaustible God; Bruce A. Demarest, ‘Process Theology and the Pauline Doctrine of the Incarnation’, in Pauline Studies, ed. Donald A. Hagner and Murray J. Harris (Exeter: Paternoster Press, 1980), pp. 122–142; Norman L. Geisler, ‘Process Theology’, in Tensions in Contemporary Theology, rev. edn, pp. 237–284; Norman L. Geisler, ‘Process Theology and Inerrancy’, in Challenges to Inerrancy, ed. Gordon Lewis and Bruce Demarest (Chicago: Moody Press, 1984), pp. 247–284; Norman L. Geisler and William D. Watkins, Perspectives: Understanding and Evaluating Today’s World Views (San Bernardino: Here’s Life Publishers, Inc., 1984), chap. 5.

32 Some evangelical or conservative theologians who are sympathetic to certain aspects of process thought include Mark Lau Braunson, ‘Evangelism and Social Ethics: Some Practical Implications’, Perkins Journal 35 (Winter/Spring 1982), p. 18; Paul Mickey, ‘A Process Perspective as an Option for Theology of Inspiration’ (see above, n.2); Merold Westphal, ‘Temporality and Finitism in Hartshorne’s Theism’, in The Review of Metaphysics 19 (March 1966), pp. 550–564; Clark Pinnock, ‘The Need for a Scriptural, and Therefore a Neoclassical Theism’, in Perspectives on Evangelical Theology, ed. Kenneth S. Kantzer and Stanley N. Gundry (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979); Brian L. Hebblethwaite, ‘Some Reflections on Predestination, Providence and Divine Foreknowledge’, in Religious Studies 15 (December 1979), pp. 433–448; Hendrikus Berkhof, ‘The (Un)Changeability of God’, in Grace Upon Grace, ed. James I. Cook (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975), pp. 21–29; Donald G. Bloesch, Essentials of Evangelical Theology, 2 vols (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1978), 1:27–30, 45; Reginald S. Luhman, ‘The Concept of God: Some Philosophical Considerations’, in Evangelical Quarterly 54 (April–June 1982), pp. 88–104; Nicholas Wolterstorff, ‘Letter to a Young Theologian’, in Reformed Journal 26 (September 1976), pp. 16–17, and ‘God Everlasting’, in God and the Good, ed. Clifton Orlebeke and Lewis Smedes, pp. 181–203; Stephen T. Davis, Logic and the Nature of God (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983); Ronald H. Nash, The Concept of God (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1983); James Daane, ‘Can a Man Bless God?’ in God and the Good, pp. 165–173; Jim Garrison, The Darkness of God: Theology after Hiroshima (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982).

Norman L Geisler and William D Watkins

Norman Geisler is professor at Dallas Theological Seminary and well-known author of books and articles on philosophical theology; William Watkins is Director of Insight for Living, a religious broadcasting ministry, and also a part-time faculty member of the Talbot School of Theology in the USA.