Process Theology and the Problem of Evil
fellow-sufferer who understands, who does not coerce
but merely seeks to persuade other beings in the direction of love, seems
profoundly attractive in the light of the Holocaust. The massacre of Jews by a
country at the heart of European Christendom stands as a devastating critique
of images of God acting in power to bring his kingdom in through his chosen
Church.Process schemes subvert the notion of the
omnipotence of God, and therefore escape some of these tensions.
The extent to which process theodicy is a
satisfactory resource for addressing human-inflicted evil is crisply addressed
by Surin who doubts
whether it is enough to tell the victim of torture that there is a passive
fellow-suffering God who understands. Where
process schemes are at their strongest is in offering a single account of
human-inflicted evil and so-called natural evil (such as earthquakes) -
in both cases evil arises from conflicts between the desire of different
entities for self-actualisation. God lovingly suffers with all entities, and
retains their experiences in Gods eternal memory, but the process God does not
fix these conflicts for the benefit of one entity rather than another.
Instead God tries to lure all elements towards to the optimal blend of harmony
and intensity.See process models of divine action.
Process theology has influenced many
thinkers in the science-and-religion debate to a greater or lesser extent. Some
have allied themselves explicitly with the process camp, in particular Ian
Barbour - also others such as Charles Birch, John Cobb, and Jay McDaniel.Polkinghorne and Peacocke have taken some of the rhetoric of a God who
guarantees order and co-operates in the universes exploration of
possibilities, although neither theologian embraces the process scheme as a
whole. See Peacocke and Polkinghorne compared.
link | Feedback | Contributed by: Dr.
Source: God, Humanity and the
Cosmos (T&T Clark, 1999)