Scott Paeth Responds to the Process Theologians

Scott left a lengthy comment defending himself. I am hereby promoting it to a post:

Well, this is what I get for opening my big mouth! Having read through the thread there’s no way I could possibly do justice to all of the insights that Tony’s other readers are offering here. Let me offer a few off the cuff remarks to put some of what I wrote on my blog in a bit more context.

1. First of all, I should clarify that I do appreciate a lot about process theology. I think that its emphasis on the divine immanence can be an important corrective to theology that overly accentuate the divine transcendence, and to that degree, it serves an important theological role that I in no way want to deny. It’s also among the most fresh and creative approaches to theology to emerge from the 20th century and I appreciate it if for no other reason than simply that it’s interesting.

2. My own position could probably be best described as “panentheistic” in the Moltmannian sense of the term, which, at least as I read him, depends on the idea which is rooted in Anselm’s ontological argument that God’s being does not depend on the contingency of the world, but that God chooses to enter into the contingency of creation as an act of divine self-emptying for the sake of creation. What this approach offers is a way of understanding divine immanence that does not rely on a necessary God/world connection as does the God of process theology. God is, as one commentator noted, both within creation and transcendent, and God’s being is not in that sense reliant on creation, but God in love chooses to descend within creation, ultimately even unto death.

[Read more...]

Garden Update

I’ll admit, a couple neighbors gave me odd looks. Not because I tore up a bunch of my lawn and planted a big vegetable garden, but because when they asked where I learned how to do it, I responded, “My blog readers.” Thanks to everyone who gave me advice. I’ve tried to follow it.

Here’s what we did:

If you look closely, you can see the old garden on the left, dwarfed by a 7-year-old.

No, I didn't rent a power sod cutter. That explains the size of my right quadricep.

Built the raised beds with the heaviest lumber that Home Depot carries.

More pics below the fold:

[Read more...]

My Response to Andy Campbell

I’ve responded to Andy Campbell’s review of my book:

Objectivity in the social sciences is a unicorn. It never existed. Just ask Christian Smith, who after years of researching his fellow evangelicals converted to Catholicism. Anyone who does research is affected by that research. And, if they’re paying attention, the object of the research is similarly affected. I pray that evangelicals read Smith’s books and are chastened, and that people in the Vineyard will closely read T.M. Luhrmann’s masterful new book, When God Talks Back.

via Jones’ Response to Campbell : the church and postmodern culture.

The Fatal Flaw of Process Theology

Scott Paeth says it more succinctly that I have:

If God is within the univere or an emergent quality of the univere, then God is contingent as the universe is contingent. Yet, a contingent God is no God at all, for that God is not free of the limitations and constraints of the universe of which he is a part. Rather, God becomes a being among beings. This is the central flaw in process theology, as attractive as it may be on many other fronts. Unless the nature of God is that of a being free from the constraints of the universe, there is no way of conceiving of God salvifically, since God is ultimate bound to contingency with all other beings. Such a God is in fact less than the universe itself, since God is limited by the possibilities of the universe. This might be a good description of Galactus, but doesn’t do justice to the vision of God embraced within most theistic accounts. This is, in an old phrase, a God who is too small. (via Against the Stream: Creatio Ex Nihilo)

This is exactly the issue that I’m wrestling with in my forthcoming book, Why Pray?: Avoiding a God that is impotent on the one hand and contingent on the other hand, for neither is a classical (or biblical) conception of God.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X