Quotes & Sayings

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

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

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

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

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

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

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

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

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

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Let's Talk About Process Theology vs Universalism

R.E. Slater Shorts

Let's Talk About
Process Theology vs Universalism

by R.E. Slater

My "Shorts" are given as one-offs on any given topic of the day which I may have come across in my daily readings. Hopefully they spark another way of thinking about a subject whether that subject is light-hearted or heavy and disturbing. - re slater

Concerning the process view on universalism I would describe it as quite a bit different though getting to the same conclusion as universalism arrives at re God's reconciliation of the world to God's Self.

But I'd rather approach the story of God's love from a processual gospel standpoint than from a westernized version of systematic theology.
In the process approach, God is love and will lovingly interact with all of creation in every way possible without circumventing creational agency or freewill.
As creation bears the "Imago Dei" of God it bears:
  • all the ability to bless;
  • to recreate thriving communities; and,
  • to enrich generative acts of love across everything around itself.
But when not enacting with our divine/human creational-nature - which is not a sin nature but a processually loving nature then:
  • mankind's consequential actions will not bless,
  • nor create generative thriving,
  • nor provide enrichment to those around it.
In Whiteheadian-based process theology, a loving God's embeddedness of God's divine Being into creation allows for pancessual evolutionary growth of love against the self - or self will - which inhabits nature's soul.
  • This divinely-based soul is molded out of LOVE, not sin.
  • It is described as a processual pan-en-theism (NOT the Eastern idea of pan-theism).
Quite obviously, this approach has removed the classic approach of traditional theism which leans into God's transcendence much harder than it does God's relational immanence to God's creation.

This is inconsistent with process theology which does not deny God's transcendent "Otherness" but must speak to God's incessant, necessary immanence across all westernized doctrines of abondoness, judgment, separation, and errant beliefs of Divine Holiness.

That is, process theology leans hard into the immanence of God without denying God's "Otherness." God is not more God because God is transcendent but verifies God AS God when constantly abiding with us in God's immanence. Which is why process theology must redescribed traditional theism in terms of God-with-us pan-en-theism.
Love than is the coin with two halves... It is why we all have agency and also the reason we yearn to enact beauty.... But it is also the curse which pains our souls when we cannot, or do not, enact love thus enflaming our souls by the sin and evil we do reflected in the broken mirror of Love's passionate side. (FYI. Of note, in process theology God cannot do evil. God is without sin and evil. God is love.) 

Dante's Divine Comedy in B&W Woodcuts

Similarly, the western doctrine of universalism describes hell as a present condition and not a present expectation of the Christian gospel.

Hell is popularly depicted in the Dantian description of the Catholic purgatory in the title, The Divine Comedy, which is an Italian narrative poem by author Dante Alighieri, begun c. 1308 and completed around 1321, shortly before the author's death. In it, the Divine Comedy revels to readers the horrors their souls would go through if they did not obey God's laws nor live righteously thus promoting Christian legalism and prideful holiness by its material. And it is here that Christianity has backfilled it's idea of a Protestant Christian hell.

And because of Calvinism - though other non-Reformed approaches are likewise as guilty (Wesleyanism, Lutheran, Methodism, Catholicism, Eastern and Russian Orthodoxy) - we blame the world condition upon a controlling God determined to enact His will upon all the earth.

Calvinism thus tells us that we receive for our sin and evil divine imprecations as  spoken throughout the biblical narrative of living up to God's contractual / covenantal obligations or else suffer the consequences of our unfaithful sin and evil.
  • Of course, this would be a gross misreading of the biblical covenants as the Abrahamic Covenant beautiful shows salvation as unconditionally laid upon God and not mankind. A God who willing bears the surety of God's Atoning -Forgiving-Redeeming-and Resurrecting Self acts when walking through the sacrificial halves laid out by Abram.
  • Or the Landed-Form of the Old Covenant as promised by God to Israel when coming into the land of Canaan to inhabit its enculturated regions and live out the love of God in their own way with their neighbors.
  • Or the Davidic Covenant God made with the children of Israel assuring the nation a blessed reign and peace when the godly lead their flocks lovingly towards truth and beauty.
  • Or even dramatically, in the New Covenant's displayed on Calvary's Cross when God Incarnate (Jesus) became the Lamb of God in Jesus' ministry, slaughter/death, and resurrection, underlining God's "sacrificial selfless service" to all the world as depicted in Jesus' atoning resurrection and dramatic revelation of God's everlasting love contra the legalism and unloving laws placed by Jewish religion upon God's people (sic, a parallel religious bondage to that of Rome's civil bonage).

Hence, Westernised Christian  "universalism" seeks to theologically delimit and re-circumscribe the borders of the Jewish faith which fell into Greek hands with its prophetic fears of the afterlife. Universalism argues that the Love of God wins (or Jesus wins for those who wish to be more sancrosanct or principled than us Christian commoners).

That in God's Love all will be reconciled in this life or the next.

Which prophetic testament is also true of process-based Christian theology. But unlike process theology, progressive Christian Universalism is trying to heal its systematic doctrines founded upon Platonic philosophies which are neither processual, pancessual, nor centered in theologies of love.

Process Christian theology is progressive but it's basis wells up from upon a non-Westernized, non-Platonic foundation. It's philosophic foundation is grounded in Whitehead's process philosophy which rejects all non-processual philosophies including the church's past two Millennias of dogmatic teachings.

For a process theologian, remaking a pig by putting lipstick on it won't be enough. The entire affair of Western dogma has to be uprooted and replaced upon Whitehead's process philosophy of organism in order to be able to live up to the God of Love whom we are worshipping as opposed to the church's creaky traditional platforms weeping with theological holes throughout its substructures because of their defiences.

In conclusion, universalism and process theology share the same end result but not the same philosophic foundation. One is inadequate and unsupportable. The other is superior and can get the Church to it's intended ideation of worship a God of Love without recoursing to the bible's older ideas of secular and religious hell.

R.E. Slater
September 12, 2023


1 - I forgot to mention that process-based panentheism is inherently combinatory , or re-connective as a processual teleology embedded in God's love. Hence, process theology really doesn't have an eschatology but a teleology which assumes that Jesus in the processual reconnector to a "broken" creation burdened with an agency inclined towards blessing but plagued with unloving responses against it's very ontological structure. You may read more on my website.

2 - For the process few out there I would welcome further written observation beyond my mere attempts to describe the why's and wherefore's of a westernized religious system that is flawed and unable to work in a postmodern, post-Christian cultural context. Moreover, I find process theology to be more adept at morphing with the times ahead of us much as the church is trying to apply outdated Hellenised-Platonic thought to do the same from its the past 2000 years of institutionalised traditionalism.Thx.

3 - My typical (Calvinistic) Reformed soteriological chart in my non-process days focused on the Work & Sufficiency of Christ. Below may be more of a Wesleyan approach emphasizing the importance of a faith verified by it's works lest it simply exists as a useless, or meaningless, faith that "indwells" with "expelling" God's love in action.