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Process Theology: A Basic Introduction Paperback – January 1, 1993
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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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Outstanding introduction to process theology. I have taught from this work for several years and students have found it to be clear and compelling.Published 16 days ago by Sheryl L. Buckley
Almost totally useless for any discussion of the actual philosophizing and metaphysics underlying process theology. Read morePublished 10 months ago by MPF605
Excellent book about process theology. Have reccomended it often.Published 13 months ago by Martha Weiss
This introduction to process theology by C. Robert Mesle is the one I would recommend to friends who have no deep interest in theology or philosophy and just want to understand the... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Micah Wimmer
Our church is focussing on this theological outlook. Perhaps after discussion with our leaders, I will be more impressed, but the basic message is that God's love is what it's all... Read morePublished on October 19, 2013 by Almeda Reads
As a Theology student studying Whitehead and Jung I bought several books on Process Philosophy and Theology and this is one of the clearest discussions of these topics!Published on September 22, 2013 by Dale Lash
Process Theology can be a very challenging and difficult subject for the average layperson to tackle. Read morePublished on August 15, 2013 by Richard A. Hatch