Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Doctrinal Conclusions of Process Theology

So here's the break down of where process stands on the issues.

Process Creation
Everything is related to everything else. Evolution plays a HUGE part here. This is evidence of God's urging through out history of world and specifically in the origin and adaptation of species. finally! a theology that gets that there is no real conflict b/t science and religion! gotta love that!

Process Humanity
We are just like everything else, relational, free, and changing. They have a high sense of body mind connection.. yoga, health, fitness are impt. here.

Doctrine of Sin
refusal to listen to God's urging. This stems from scared to listen as it might shake things up AKA FEAR! or just a straight counter to God's urging. Goes right along with the saying "the death you choose is often worse than the death you avoided". Plus it doesn't help that the universe has a bad past of choosing to go with God's will.

Jesus counteracts all bad-examples. He was the first human to always say yes to everything God urged him to do. So we at our best day only obey God's will like 20% but Jesus did it 100% everytime and every day.

This looks at Jesus as 100% human as well. If Jesus was already divine and didn't have sin in him, then Jesus conquering sin is really a false victory. In the traditional view, there's really nothing to write home about Jesus beating sin since he never had it to begin with... and since we're human it's really an unrealistic goal to strive for. Process ramps up this and says we too can become like Christ who was in harmony with God's will. Therefore the incarnation is affirmed not only in Jesus but also in all of us as well.

Jesus transgresses boundaries for inclusivity's sake as well. He speaks to lepers, romans, tax collectors, and women, all of which are no-no's in ancient Palestine (and not just the Jewish culture, most cultures in the area during the first century).

Another big difference to note here is that Jesus isn't a sacrifice.. God doesn't need appeasement nor substitutionary sacrifice. God loves all and wants harmony and never wanted Jesus to die. This was a scape-goat method by the Romans to silence a dangerous political usurper. So there is no atonement here, it was an unfortunate death.

Final Thoughts
The main aim is that life is an adventure and that we move from the threat of stagnation to the ever-increasing enrichment of life that change brings. Chaos is a danger as the world becomes more complex and more things can go wrong. But the prospect of increased enjoyment is well worth the risk. Humans are intuitive, empathic, relational, and embodied. Feeling produces thought and action. Jesus saves us from stagnation and transformes our lives to ones of greater relationality, freedom, and openess to change.

i am just starting down this path, so let me know if you, dear reader, have any questions. we'll explore them together!


Anonymous said...

I was just wondering...
with process theology, will we be judged in the afterlife for our sins, since Jesus wasn't the atoning sacrifice? Does process theology support a literal heaven and a hell, or does everyone go to heaven, because God is about harmony and love. I guess I shudder at the thought of Hitler in heaven, or for that matter, me, because if my sins haven't been atoned for, then I don't belong in heaven either.

Luke said...

After life in Process varies. For Marjorie Suchocki, we are eternally remembered by God. It will be like this world only we shall see our lives as God has viewed them, mainly as relational. We would feel all the emotions as felt by those whom we come in contact with; perfect empathy as God has. Hitler then too is remembered by God and Hitler has to face all those emotions his actions caused. i wouldn't want that!

So we are in perfect union and harmony with everything else. and is this not what the afterlife is already? your life and actions on earth will be played out in the after life? if you lived a good, compassionate life then you'll have a great afterlife filled with joy and fellowship. if you have lived like Hitler, then you have to feel what his victims have felt; terror, desolation, humiliation, complete de-humanization.

our actions make our afterlives. we are just held for our actions. same thing as the other theologies.

the main difference is there is no literal man on a throne judge'n. God knows what we are feeling and what we are going through with complete empathy. God also knows what all other things are going through as well. we are just held for our actions. is it clouds and angels and such? maybe, maybe not, and process says eehhh prolly not. is it based on what we fruit we yield on earth? you bet.

plus it is my view that anyone who says that they know 100% what the afterlife will look like is lying. in all cases of those who have come back from a near-death experience state that there are loved ones and there's a sense of peace at first, but beyond that we just don't know what the long term afterlife looks like. it all starts good, but then what?

hope this clarifies.

Luke said...

OH! I forgot! the movie "what dreams may come" would be a good allegory for the process afterlife. the main difference would be that we would know our loved ones immediately as we feel exactly what they feel.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your explanation. I completely agree with you that no one knows what it will actually be like. The thing I most hope for is that we can recognize and fellowship with our loved ones. Guess we'll all get the chance to find out.

Haley said...

I am currently doing a research paper on Process Theology and the afterlife. Any ideas of resources that would be helpful?

Haley said...

I am currently doing a research paper on Process Theology and the afterlife. Any ideas of resources that would be helpful?

Luke said...

Hi Haley,

thanks for visiting the site. Check out Marjorie Suchocki's "God, Christ, Church: A Practical Guid to Process Theology" specifically pages 210-215.

you might be able to find something here as well: http://www.processandfaith.org/

happy hunting!