Process Theology

Authored by: John B. Cobb, Jr.

The Routledge Companion to Modern Christian Thought

Print publication date:  March  2013
Online publication date:  October  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415782173
eBook ISBN: 9780203387856
Adobe ISBN: 9781136677922

10.4324/9780203387856.ch50

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Abstract

Process theology is informed by the view that reality, fundamentally, is processive rather than substantive. The roots of both of these forms of metaphysics can be found in ordinary experience and language. However, the Indo-European languages have given the advantage to substance thinking. On one side, everyone talks about things that are naturally thought of as substantial. We speak of desks and stars and trees. When we reflect about them, we note that they come into being and cease to exist, but that between these events, they endure through long periods of time with clear identity and, in many cases, with relatively superficial changes. I suppose, for example, that I use the same desk day after day. Its surface may be painted a different color. A leg may break. But these changes do not prevent me from affirming that it is one and the same desk that has changed in these ways. This leads to the idea that the desk is an unchanging substance with changing attributes.

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