Delving into different perspectives on Christianity, this week I have been pondering Process Theology. Lynn and I may have mentioned Process Theology in past blogs but I thought it worth revisiting in order to address another set of assumed beliefs: the "omnies."
It is often assumed all Christians believe God is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent as well as immutable. To break it down into less intimidating language, it is assumed all Christians believe God is everywhere, all knowing, all powerful and unchanging.
I stumbled upon an audio recording of John B. Cobb Jr. pointing to the logical fallacies of such notions and ways in which the bible does not assume these things to be true of God. Cobb does this in the context of introducing Process Theology, (check it out under Process Theology: An Introductory Introduction here). He points out common approaches to prayer and worship do not support the idea of immutability since even if we merely think God is pleased by our praise this is in some sense a change. He goes on to say scriptures do not support the idea of immutability. Rather scriptures indicate God is unchanging in relation to the promises God has made and God's character.
Cobb also addresses the idea of God's transcendence as God being "out there". Processs Theology rather ascribes to panentheism which says everything is in God (and in Process Theology God is in everything) but does not equal God and thus God is transcendent but also immanent and, I suppose, omnipresent.
On omniscience, Process Theologians believe God is omniscient in that God knows the past and present but not the future. The future is open and hasn't happened yet and thus cannot be known.
The idea of omnipotence, on the other hand, Cobb believes is harmful. The idea God has all the power would mean God willed and caused all the horrors of history. Even if God limits God's power for the sake of free will, this implies God could intervene but chooses not to. If God will not intervene even in things such as the holocaust then we have an absentee God and more why questions. Process Theology says God acts "within us and through us," that there are multiple causes for every event and God is one of those causes.
Cobb summarizes Process Theology by saying we are all members one of another, God is working through all of us, and all that happens becomes a part of the experience of God. I guess I think of it like this: Process Theology is about our interconnectedness and how God works within humanity and all of creation to bring about the Kingdom of God.
This theology intrigues me. I may return to it again in the future. Do you believe in the "omnies" (God's omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence and immutability)? Why or why not?
by Sheri Ellwood