Process theologyProcess theology
is a school of thought influenced by the metaphysical process philosophy
of Alfred North Whitehead
The concepts of process theology include:
- God is not omnipotent.
- The universe is characterized by process and change carried out by the agents of free will. Free will characterizes everything in the universe, not just human beings. God can not force anything to happen, but rather only influence the exercise of this universal free will by offering possibilities.
- God contains the universe but is not identical with it (panentheism)
- Because God contains a changing universe, God is changeable (that is to say, God is affected by the actions that take place in the universe) over the course of time.
- People do not experience a subjective (or personal) immortality, but they do have an objective immortality in that their experiences live on forever in God, who contains all that was.
The original ideas of process theology were developed by Charles Hartshorne (1898
), and were later expounded upon by John B. Cobb and David Ray Griffin. While process theology first was adopted by some liberal Protestant Christians
, it soon influenced a number of Jewish
theologians, including British
philosopher Samuel Alexander (1859
), and Rabbis
Max Kaddushin, Milton Steinberg and Levi A. Olan, Harry Slominsky and to a lesser degree, Abraham Joshua Heschel
. Today some rabbis who advocate process theology or a related theology include Rabbis William E. Kaufman, Harold Kushner, Anton Laytner, Nahum Ward, Donald B. Rossoff and Gilbert S. Rosenthal.
More recently, Alan Anderson and Deb Whitehouse have attempted to integrate process theology with the New Thought variant of Christianity.
- Kushner's When Bad Things Happen to Good People and Jewish Theology and Process Thought, eds. Sandra B. Lubarsky and David Ray Griffin.
- Excellent introductions to classical theism, limited theism and process theology can be found in A Question of Faith: An Atheist and a Rabbi Debate the Existence of God and The Case for God, both written by Rabbi William E. Kaufman.
- On the Christian side, excellent introduction may be found in John B. Cobb, Doubting Thomas and Charles Hartshorne, Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes. Albany: State University of NewYork Press, 1983. In French, the best introduction may be André Gounelle, Le Dynamisme Créateur de Dieu Van Dieren Editeur (reprint in 2000).