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Process Theology: A Basic Introduction Paperback – January 1, 1993

4.2 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

C. Robert Mesle is professor of philosophy and religion at Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 148 pages
  • Publisher: Chalice Press; 40234th edition (January 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0827229453
  • ISBN-13: 978-0827229457
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #535,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is probably the best introduction to process theology out there. The primer is very basic (and affordable!) but covers all the bases in a brief but eloquent way. Unlike some more advanced intro texts, this book has excellent clarity on its points and those who aren't fond of advanced philosophy will be able to follow along.
While there are other good introductory texts (like Cobb and Griffin's "Process Theology: An Introductory Exposition"), those are more advanced in language and explanation and may lose first-time readers on process thought. Unlike those, this primer is much more simple without being dumbed-down.
If you're new to process theology and want a very basic explanation, this is the place to start. At the very least, this book will allow you to decide whether there's something in the theology worth investigating further (and buying more advanced texts) or whether you find it too radical to continue studying.
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Format: Paperback
The title of the book should have been Process Theology according to Mesle, since in his own words "it describes the form of process theism that makes the most sense to me." Not being a theologian I cannot judge if this is an accurate description of process theology or not, although it does appear that there do exist conflicting views, one of which is appended at the end of the book.

Technically, the book is a pleasure to read. It uses words and syntax that will not scare away even a high-schooler and breaks the subject matter into little sections and short chapters so that the reader can easily assimilate it. (A very minor annoyance is that occasionally the same idea is repeated a couple of sentences apart, as at the top of p. 63. An editor should have caught these.) As one turns the pages in the first two parts of the book the author's God is slowly defined and described:

* God has always existed and will always exist, and the world has also existed in some form (49).

* God is perfectly loving (15).

* God experiences everything that every human, animal, plant, matter, even electrons experience(2, 50).

* God by himself cannot do anything, but tries to persuade us (and everything else in the world) to do good; he cannot force us to do his bidding (20).

* God knows everything that can be known at a particular time, but he does not know the future since all creation has free will. Thus God's knowledge changes with time (50).

* The universe is the becoming of events that are self-creating, something which requires freedom, so nothing is preordained.

* God's guidance of evolution is limited to prompting radiation particles to move in the direction that might result in more favorable mutations.
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Format: Paperback
One of the hallmarks of process theology, and the process philosophy that underpins it, is that it views all of actual reality as being in process, either becoming or decaying (which is, in fact, becoming something else), but that there is no static 'thing', that actual entities are in fact always in flux -- this is in keeping with modern science, philosophy, and culture, but also makes a sort of timeless sense. There are, to be sure, unchanging principles, but to be actual, to be real, is to be in process.

The two primary philosophical leaders of process theology are Alfred North Whitehead (protege of Bertrand Russell) and Charles Hartshorne; Mesle and Cobb discuss their work, along with the work of other theologians and philosophers, as they develop the topics theologically.

As things are in process, they are also in relationship with each other. There is an interdepence of all things, and things are relative to each other in creation -- here it is worth noting that Whitehead did extensive work with Einstein's theory of relativity. Creativity is of primary importance, and the issue of novelty and unique character is very important for process. God is involved in all things, at every stage, but not in a controlling manner, but rather as a persuasive element, pulling all of creation toward God's ends, but permitting continued freedom of action within the current framework of time and history.

It is probably beyond saying that process does not subscribe to any particular set of denominational doctrines or dogmas -- process ideas can inform and shape, and in turn be influenced by, the direct experiences and religious sentiments of people.
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Format: Paperback
For those who want to read what process theology is, but do not want to have a dictionary handy to look up every five words, this book is the one. It provides a basic understanding of process theology and how it relates to various issues without theological/philosophical jargon.
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I loved this book! It is an excellent layperson's introduction to an intellectually honest approach to faith. Process theology doesn't pit science against religion, or try to proclaim the supremacy of one particular path to salvation. Even so, it is largely consistent with Christian teaching, as long as one doesn't subscribe to the literal truth of the Bible.
I won't attempt to summarize the author's arguments here, as I am bound to do them an injustice. I will just say that if you are looking for a theology that is optimistic, inclusive, internally consistent, and consistent with what we know to be true about the natural world, then this book is for you. It won't answer all your questions, but it will probably give you more satisfying answers to most of them than you've found anywhere else.
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