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Spirit & Eco-Community

Process Theology

Process theology (also known as Neoclassical theology) is a school of thought influenced by the metaphysical process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead (1861 - 1947).

 The concepts of process theology include:

* God is not omnipotent in the classical sense of a coercive being. The divine has a power of persuasion rather than force.
* Reality is not made up of material substances that endure through time, but serially-ordered events, which are experiential in nature.
* The Universe is characterized by process and change carried out by the agents of free will. Self-determination characterizes everything in the universe, not just human beings. God cannot force anything to happen, but rather only influence the exercise of this universal free will by offering possibilities.
* God contains the universe but is not identical with it (Panentheism)
* Because God contains a changing universe, God is changeable (that is to say, God is affected by the actions that take place in the universe) over the course of time.
* However, the abstract elements of God (goodness, wisdom, etc.) remain eternally solid.
* People do not experience a subjective (or personal) immortality, but they do have an objective immortality in that their experiences live on forever in God, who contains all that was.

The original ideas of process theology were developed by Charles Hartshorne (1897-2000), and were later expounded upon by John B. Cobb and David Ray Griffin. While process theology first was adopted by some liberal Protestant Christians, it soon influenced a number of Jewish theologians, including British philosopher Samuel Alexander (1859-1938), and Rabbis Max Kaddushin, Milton Steinberg and Levi A. Olan, Harry Slominsky and to a lesser degree, Abraham Joshua Heschel. Today some rabbis who advocate process theology or a related theology include Rabbis William E. Kaufman, Harold Kushner, Anton Laytner, Nahum Ward, Donald B. Rossoff and Gilbert S. Rosenthal.

More recently, Alan Anderson and Deb Whitehouse have attempted to integrate process theology with the New Thought variant of Christianity.