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Process theology

Process theology. A Christian theological system emphasizing the fluid rather than static nature of the universe, and finding God within the process of becoming, rather than as the transcendent source of being. Process theology owes much to the metaphysical thought of A. N. Whitehead (1861–1947) which culminated in Process and Reality (1929). Everything is ‘in God’, but God is more than the sum of the parts (panentheism; see PANTHEISM)—just as I am my body, and yet I am more than the sum of the parts of my body. God is not apart from the universe, but is the comprehension of the whole process. This entire cosmic process is God, and God works like an artist attempting to win order and beauty out of opportunity. God is thus ‘the great companion—the fellow-sufferer who understands’. This metaphysic was developed in a theological direction by Charles Hart-shorne (e.g. Man's Vision of God and the Logic of Theism, 1941), and in a Christological (and applied) direction by John Cobb (e.g. Christ in a Pluralistic Age, 1975; Process Theology as Political Theology, 1982; The Liberation of Life, 1981). Christ is interpreted as the one who embodied the most perfectly obedient response to the ‘lure’ of God. The possible connections with Buddhist thought have not been overlooked: see e.g. J. B. Cobb, Beyond Dialogue: Towards a Mutual Transformation of Christianity and Buddhism (1982).

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