(III)God and Time
(IV)Suffering in God?
ATHEISM: no God, only the World, and it's neutral and impersonal and not at all gracious, just a mechanism.
DEISM: God made the world in the beginning,
wound it up and let it go: a past only one-way causal relationship.
THEISM: a here and now one-way causal relationship,
sometimes more than this.
PAN-EN-THEISM: a here and now relationship which is more than just causal
one way: emanational: e.g. usual Neo- Platonic.
both ways: dialogal: e.g. usual Process.
EVERYTHING IS IN GOD AND GOD IS IN EVERYTHING, BUT GOD IS NOT EVERYTHING
AND EVERYTHING IS NOT GOD.
PAN-THEISM: everything = God:
The World/Nature is God
God = the World/Nature/the Cosmos experienced as Gracious and Sacred/Holy.
Sometimes: the World as the illusory manifestation of the Absolute,
only the Absolute is genuinely real.
AGNOSTICISM: two forms (a) (non-dogmatic) I don't know but maybe someone else does; and (b) (dogmatic) I don't know and no one else does either.
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GOD MADE THE WORLD IN THE BEGINNING, WOUND IT UP AND LET IT GO
A PAST ONLY ONE WAY CAUSAL RELATIONSHIP
No present relationship (except occasional interventions, 'miracles')
Creation 'expresses' or 'manifests' the Divine (Existence, Wisdom, Intelligence??)
but only in the way that a watch expresses or manifests a watchmaker.
God is transcendent to but not immanent in the World
OVERALL: The Divine Mystery is Worldless
and the World is God-Less (except occasionally)
DEISM GOES WELL WITH:
matched by GOD AND WORLD
(also 'MAN' AND NATURE,
MALE AND FEMALE??)
GOD IS TRANSCENDENT TO AND IMMANENT IN THE WORLD
A REAL RELATIONSHIP AND PRESENTLY REAL RELATIONSHIP,
BUT ONLY ONE WAY (usually, at least in classical philosophical theism):
not a relationship which changes God. God is not passive and does not suffer
as a result of what goes on.
Creation may well manifest and express the Divine Perfections
As, for example, in Classical Theism in its Thomistic Form, which proposes:
a Real or Literal (not just metaphorical) Analogy of Proportionality
and/or an Analogy of Intrinsic (not just 'extrinsic') Attribution
GOD and CREATURES (including all creatures to some extent)
'Intrinsic Attribution': in which the producer expresses something of him or her self in the production
eg. as between Artist and Her Art (with the Artist Herself as model or EXEMPLAR)
or as between Parent and Child
or between Being Itself Subsisting (God) and beings
the GOOD Itself and goodness in creatures
Divine BEAUTY ITSELF and beauty in creatures
Intelligibility Itself and intelligible things
Life Itself and living things.
Intelligence and Wisdom Itself and intelligence and wisdom among (esp. rational) creatures.
This is all to considerably strengthen the relationship. Creation really does express something deep in God.
If such relationships between GOD and WORLD are pushed strongly
THEISM tends to merge into the next one, namely PAN-EN-THEISM.
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(GOD AS EFFICIENT, but also EXEMPLARY AND FINAL CAUSE of all things: the source functions both as model of the creation and the lure of the creative process.
GOD USES THE LOGOS AS HER MODEL WHEN MAKING THE WORLD and THE DIVINE
SPIRIT CONTINUES TO WORK IN THE WORLD TO BRING IT TO COMPLETION.)
ONE WAY RELATION : EMANATIONAL: e.g. usual Neo- Platonic
John the Scot, Bonaventure (when being careful), Spinoza
BOTH WAYS RELATION: DIALOGAL: e.g. usual Process, Sallie McFague, Moltmann,
According to both possibilities God is truly expressed and manifested in the World. Creation is the Manifestation of the Divine Mystery, and therefore genuinely beautiful, good, valuable and even a little bit sacred: a Shadow, Trace, Footprint, Image or Likeness of the Divine.
Possible Image (but not used by everyone): THE COSMOS AS GOD'S
BODY: compare Plato, Stoics, some Neo-Platonists, Hartshorne, Sallie McFague,
Grace Jantzen - but not Ian Barbour who prefers a process-based social
metaphor. And by no means all pan-en-theists.
EVERYTHING IS IN GOD: founded in God here and now, sustained in God: "in God we live and move and have our being"
AND GOD IS IN EVERYTHING: present in everything, reflected in everything, manifested by and expressed in everything though in different ways in different things:
I.e. Immanence is mutual
BUT GOD IS NOT EVERYTHING AND EVERYTHING IS NOT GOD.
I.e. Transcendence is also mutual
Also, unlike Pantheism, Pan-en-theism is capable of 'DIFFERENTIATION': God manifests Godself in everything, but to a varying degree and in varying ways in different varieties of things. (Cf. Moltman, God in Creation, p. 103).
Christian panentheism is almost always 'DIFFERENTIATED PANENTHEISM', sometimes Emanationalist, sometimes Dialogal, nowadays increasingly Trinitarian (among Christians at least).
A serious problem is posed for Panentheism by the Problem of Evil: is God really in everything? Because of this, some people opt for what is called Eschatological Pan-en-theism, that on the Last Day God will be all-in-all, even if that is not the case at the moment.
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God = Nature as Founding, is the Beginning, Middle, End and Circle of
Nature as Founded, inseparable from what is founded. God is manifested
in everything, though in no way exhausted by the manifestation.
See esp. The Journey of the Soul to God.
In this picture, the Logos is the Exemplar or Model of Creation: just as the Word is the expression of the Father, Creation is the external expression, on the level of finite creatures, of what is wrapped up in one in the Word or Logos inside the Trinity. The world of creatures is like a book in which the triune Creator is read on every page, in which is reflected and made present and read the Triune Creator.
All sensible creatures are Umbra Dei, reflecting attributes common to
all three Persons; Vestigia Dei, reflecting attributes appropriated to
the different Persons in the Trinity; rational creatures are, in addition,
Imago Dei, rational creatures taken up in grace are Similitudo Dei.
DEUS SIVE NATURA = the one and only substance.
Everything else = modifications of God in one or other of his/her/its attributes.
"Everything that is, is in God, and without God nothing can be or be conceived."
Even so: a distinction needs to be made between
NATURA NATURANS (NATURE AS PRODUCING, GOD)
NATURA NATURATA (THE WHOLE PRODUCTION, US AND OTHER THINGS, modifications of God.)
except that the latter can't exist or even be thought of except as modifications of the former, and all our power = the power of God at work in us.
= the closest thing to Pantheism in modern European thinking, but still
not quite Pantheism.
God goes out of itself, expresses itself in the other, in order to come
back to him/herself: a process of alienation and transcendence of alienation,
as in the incarnation, death and resurrection of the Christ.
God is immanent in the World, involved in the self-constitution of every actual entity (= God as Primordial: the 'primordial nature' of God);
The World is immanent in God, taken up into and making a contribution to God (= God as Consequent: the 'consequent nature' of God)
The Divine Mystery as PERSUASIVE-RESPONSIVE LOVE.
But God is not everything and everything is not God: God = an
Eternal Event in His/Her own right (Whitehead) or a personal series of
such Divine Events (Hartshorne); and every event in the cosmos has an integrity
of its own, though 'containing' God and 'contained in' God, taken up into
God so to speak, immediately after it happens, 'objectively immortal'.
A PROBLEM with both Hegel and classic Process:
It seems that God needs the universe in order to be God: God appears to be parasitic on the Cosmos for his/her/its own life or happiness or fulfillment. Compare Hegel's phrase, "the Good Friday of History".
Something will need to be done about this, if Process Panentheism or any other kind of both ways' relationship theism is to survive.
And yet: a both-ways relationship theism seems to be demanded by
1) the nature of GENUINE LOVE and COMPASSION: hardly conceivable except as affecting the lover,
taken together with
2) the affirmation of CREATURELY AUTONOMY and CREATURELY CREATIVITY, which means that God doesn't decide everything down to the last detail, and is therefore open to being affected by the decisions of the creatures and responding to such..
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HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?
MODEL: a couple deciding to have children.
QUALIFIER:: they don't have to have children, they would be perfectly happy either way,
but in choosing to have children they are choosing to have their happiness in a different way, to have their lives cluttered up by the lives of their children, to share in the joys and sorrows of the children, to be affected, sometimes deeply, by what happens in the lives of the children.
But then, if GOD IS STILL TO BE PERSONAL, and yet Creating is a gracious act, then there has to be an Intra-Divine life, i.e. something like the Christian Trinity!
I.e. Gracious Creation
a Relational Theory of Personhood
God yet being affected by the World
seems to make sense only in the light of something like the Christian Doctrine of THE TRINITY! God already has an intra-divine life, doesn't absolutely need us, is not parasitic on us for Her own fulfillment, loves us out of pure grace, a divine overflowing.
The Divine Creative Mystery:: A Communion of Persons-In-Relationship
We are the overflow and the flowing backwhich is ontologically unnecessary
but, all things considered, probabilistically inevitable
('Goodness Diffuses Itself' - Plato, Aristotle: 'the gods are not jealous').
We are the result, not of the poverty of God but of the Divine Infinite Fecundity
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Following Hartshorne (of all people, we need to distinguish between
ETHICAL ATTRIBUTES: The Divine Mystery is immutably Love and Mercy
though how this is displayed will depend on the goings on of the creatures.
COGNITIVE ATTRIBUTES: What God knows will depend on what there is, which depends to some extent on intrinsically unpredictable CREATIVITY WITHIN THE WORLD PROCESS i.e. the Divine Mystery is passive to some extent in respect of what God knows, though not necessarily in the manner in which God knows it.
AESTHETIC ATTRIBUTES: What the Divine Mystery enjoys (and 'suffers' - see below) will depend to some extent on what there is to enjoy and suffer, will thus depend to some extent on the Creative Process itself.. This is not to say that we can take away the Divine Happiness - though we may well change the tone of the Divine Happiness.
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This is a very difficult issue: it seems that making God affected by the evolving process brings becoming, change, and therefore also time into God.
Immediately is raised the question: why do we want to exempt God
from involvement in Time? Because time is the realm of perishing, of
corruption, of death. In God there is no perishing, but this might mean
a new way of experiencing time, a Divine way, rather than an abstraction
from Time altogether.
This would mean a distinction between:
Creaturely Time: involving perishing, the
past and present have to give way to the future, inevitably there is loss.
Divine Time: involving Becoming but not Perishing, a remembrance in which nothing is lost
Genuine Eternity: outside of Time altogether, no passage.
Even so, Boethius' classic definition of God's 'eternity' as the
total, simultaneous and perfect possession of unending life remains
Among the Process people: according to Whitehead (but not Hartshorne), the Divine Mystery is not strictly speaking 'in time' in so far as there is no succession of events in God. The Divine Mystery is a non-temporal or ETERNAL EVENT or Actual Entity. C.f. LaCugna, "the Event of Persons in Communion" which would be a process-relational base for the process-relational cosmos: makes more sense of process than classic process itself.
For us there is a coming into existence and perishing of more or less momentary events, of varying extension in relation to other events: in God there is no perishing.
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Here I think we need to be careful:
SUFFERING CAN MEAN: bashed, put down, lessened, it can get us to the roots and destroy us.
If this were the case with God, there would be no hope - if even the
Divine Mystery is destroyed by suffering.
IMAGE: A person who has themselves together responding to an insult.
PROCESS-RELATIONAL CONCEPTUAL MODEL: God, like everything else, is a three-phase event or process (or personally ordered series of such events):
RECEPTION: the creative process felt and known in all its detail, God knows the thoughts and problems and feels the feelings of all the creatures, for joy and sorrow, exactly as they are.
If all reception is 'horizon-tal', horizon dependent, than the Divine Mystery = 'The Horizon of Absolute Nothingness" allowing everything to stand, exactly as it is.
IN THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY = the PASSION AND DEATH OF THE CHRIST, taking
the sins of the world on himself, ours were the sins he bore, ours the
suffering he enduring.
TRANSFORMATION, creative synthesis: how this is taken up into and dealt with in the Divine Life, the Divine Self-Constitution, is another matter, as is the case with strong human beings. God does not react, is not hurt in the core of the Divine Character, the Divine Mystery creatively responds rather than reacts. The love of enemies.
IN THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY = THE RESURRECTION AND ASCENSION OF THE CRUCIFIED
CHRIST, the crucified Christ taken up into the life of God.
TRANSMISSION, projection, response: the Divine Mystery creatively responding to the suffering of the creatures in a way consonent with and determined by the Divine Character.
IN THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY = THE DESCENT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, the Spirit at work to bring the whole creation to the fulness of divine liberation and salvation.
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Cathy LaCugna and John Hick versus classic Process.
THE JOHN HICK SOLUTION: why John Hick thinks that Hell will not be eternal, even though we are never constrained to love God. While it is technically possible, it is inconceivable that infinitely resourceful love working in (what is for us) infinite time will be everlastlingly frustrated. Not that this is any consolation in the individual case: we can hold out as long as we want, we can't rely on it.
John Hick gives the example of a master chess player, playing ordinary chess players. No one game is predictable in its details, no one's freedom is interfered with, but the result can still be relied upon.
ANOTHER IMAGE: God is good enough a player not to have to stack
the deck in order to win the game.
That there will be an Eschaton, a final completed Reign of God, God All In All IS SURE;
Exactly when and how and by what precise root STILL REMAINS TO BE DETERMINED, to some extent by us.
NOT EVEN "THE FATHER" KNOWS...at least, not the precise detail.
The bottom line: you don't have to control everything
in order to ensure a victory.
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