Introduction: The Process Relational Story (below)
Part I: God and Evil in Process Relational Perspective
A: Evil in Process Relational Perspective
B: The Divine Commerce with Good and Evil
Part II: Evaluation in Respect of the Problem of Evil
Part III: Some Remaining Difficulties
This does not by itself determine and is not meant by itself to determine the general adequacy of process-relational ways of thinking for Christian faith or theology.
First off, for a person working from such a perspective, everything is a more or less creative taking account of its total past environment, and a giving of itself to be taken into account by the future of that environment. This refers to electronic events as well as to the events which we are in a particular short time-frame. The effectiveness with which past events are taken account of is relative to the kind of event. So also is the degree of creativity in response, which will be sometimes quite negligible. So also is the extent of the effect on the total future environment.
Environments of particular events in a well-evolved universe will have a certain structuring. For example, in the case of an electronic event, these would be: previous or future electronic events in the same series (= the past or future of a specific electron), other events in the atomic or molecular or cellular environment of the electron, the rest of the universe. In the case of a particular mental event, these would be: previous and future mental events in the same series, brain and bodily events, events in the immediate social and natural environment, events in the more remote social and natural environment. However, these divisions are relative rather than absolute, structurings within the total environment out of which an event emerges, which a given event is more or less sensitive to, 'feels' or 'prehends' (a very general technical term, which among other things is neutral between 'apprehend' and 'comprehend'). Also within the total environment which in turn is sensitive to, feels or prehends the particular event in question. In any particular case, remote personal or natural events may be more important than the events in the immediate neighbourhood so to speak, even though mostly mediated by the neighbouring events.
In respect of the designation 'process-relational', 'process' then has two senses: 1) the ongoing temporal process by which the universe is constituted out of the succession of events (sometimes termed 'transition'); and 2) the process internal to an event, the process in which an event consists, of more or less creatively taking account of previous events and giving itself to be taken into account by future events (sometimes termed 'concrescence'). Both processes are fundamentally relational in character. The universe is a process consisting of processes which are intrinsically relational in respect of other processes.
God, meanwhile, is an Event (Whitehead) or series of Events with personal order (Hartshorne) which absolutely everything prehends (= the Divine Creative Love) and which prehends everything (making for the Divine Response Love). In other words, in Biblical language God is the Divine Mystery in which we and everything else live and move and have our being.
The universe is thus composed of events which except for God according to classic Whitehead are of short, sometimes extremely short duration, which arise and take more or less creative account of previous events and which are 'given' to be taken into account by future events. These events are termed 'actual entities' and 'occasions', both perfectly general designations. In process texts they are also termed 'occasions of experience', by way of a, sometimes rather tenuous, analogy with the events which we and many animals are, in so far as we and other animals are part of nature after all, structurally at least no different from other events. However, even though actual entities relating to other actual entities are the real actual events of which the universe is supposedly composed, it is sometimes helpful to consider instead a series of such events. For example, the time taken to come to a decision about something. For example, you reading/me writing this paper. Either way, this is a philosophy in which individuality and relationality are co-relatives rather than in opposition(3). Indeed, individuality is a particular way of working relationships, both personal and natural, in a particular context.
We now look at 'evil' in process perspective and what is seen to be the divine commerce, so to speak, with good and evil, before moving to an evaluation of how well the process perspective might do with the problem of evil in its various dimensions and a consideration of some of the difficulties which might remain.
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We may distinguish also between intrinsic evil and extrinsic evil. Intrinsic evil is being messed up oneself, where 'one' is an actual entity or a series of such. This is to say, messed up in either of the above directions, this being because of the too difficult to handle or totally unsustaining prehended environment or because of one's own decisions. Extrinsic evil or instrumental is messing up the environment for other (i.e. future) actual entities, including my own future, once again in either of two directions, making either boredom or chaos more likely. These could be defined by reference to series of actual entities also, e.g. living persons, provided it is remembered that the distinction between a living person, the body of a living person and the social and natural environment of that person are only relative distinctions, in respect of a given actual entity differing in degree not in kind. From the viewpoint of an actual entity they are different structures within the environment. My past/my body/my neighbour is everything which affects me, and my future/my future body/my neighbour is everything which I may affect.
As Hartshorne(4)among others notes, in a world in which to be at all is to play a part, much of what counts as evil in either of the above directions is no one's fault, the unwilled and unpredictable consequence of different creativities or lines of creativity, all doing their thing. These are true accidents, chance events in one of Aristotle's classic senses, like the tile falling on the head of a person who happens to be passing by, not even 'acts of God'. These might be made less likely, but so long as the creatures retain any creativity at all (which is, for process people so long as they exist at all), can hardly be eliminated.
The common distinction between 'physical' and 'moral' evil can also be made in process thinking, but in so far as all actualities have some degree of creativity or freedom it is a relative rather than absolute distinction(5). Moral evil occurs in creatures with high degrees of freedom corresponding to beings with consciousness and capacity for rationality in something like the human level, where the actual entity is not just instrumentally evil but consciously intends to be instrumentally evil. Which is to say, he or she consciously intends to be destructive of the intrinsic good of other actualities or of their environment. It is not the consciousness as such which makes makes 'moral evil' so evil, though, as the heightened potential to do damage to others which goes with it. It is just that consciousness, which brings with it a hightened capacity for the achievement of the good and the beautiful, also brings with it a heightened capacity for evil.
Moral evil is evil as a variety of instrumental evil, though in the long run it also involves a privation of a crucial element of intrinsic good that might be there in the actual entity or person involved in it (GPE 307). We have an interest in the good of that to which we contribute, written into the metaphysical character of what we are as receivers, shapers and contributers of feeling or energy and information, and cannot be genuinely or deeply happy ourselves (what Whitehead calls 'Peace')(6)unless we satisfy this interest.
In spite of the Divine lure towards beauty, goodness and the true, it is possible for habits of evil to get ingrained into segments of the process. Once ingrained, they tend to perpetuate themselves and may on occasion even manifest as the demonic. Paradoxically, this latter is something which was only latent in the process until the appearance of human beings.(7)
In God, Power and Evil(8), David Griffin makes a further useful distinction between "genuine evil", "only apparent evil" and "prima facie evil". Genuine evil is anything, all things considered, without which the universe would have been better, in respect of which it would have been better had it not happened at all. Prima facie evils are anything which may be judged evil at first glance, when considered from a partial perspective or within a limited context. Some prima facie evils may be considered on further reflection to be genuine evils, others may turn out to have been only apparent evils since more than compensated for by the goodness to which they have contributed. Only apparent evil for example might be a limited intrinsic evil, which is more than balanced out by its instrumental value for good, for example some instances of pain.
1) the Primordial Nature of God: the Divine Creative Love
God persuades, s/he does not determine. There is a divine primordial, completely independent of the creatures, decision which brings a bias to possibilities, makes certain states of affairs more probable than others, makes certain ways of taking account of the past more likely than other ways. In Whitehead's system this is termed, 'the divine envisagement of eternal objects', as prehended by the creatures. Everything feels something of God, which is why the universe is a cosmos and not completely unknowable, utter chaos. This primordial divine persuasion manifests as the fundamental probabilistic laws of nature. Also, in living persons, it manifests as the call of conscience authentically considered, the lure of the good in this situation.
God as primordial in respect of creation might be compared to a Cosmic Gambler, playing for the perfect balance between harmony and unity on the one hand and variety and complexity and intensity on the other. S/HE could play safe, but only at the cost of variety and intensity. Or S/HE could play for high stakes in respect of variety and intensity but at the probable cost of loss of harmony and unity. But the good thing to do is play for a balance. Even this is not certain, in so far as God is not the only player. But perhaps it could be made highly probable, reliable in the long run and overall though not the how and not the particular details. We may rely, perhaps, on the final coming of the reign of God. The Divine Mystery does not have to cheat or stack the decks in order to win the game(9). But the timing not even the Father knows. The how and particular details still remain to be determined, partly by the Divine primordial Decision, partly by the creatures themselves, partly by God in Her projective nature, particularly in respect of the details partly by the way the cosmic cookie crumbles, an element of chance.
God like any gambler has to take responsibility for the consequences of the gamble, both for what the particular gamble made probable and even for what was gambled against but was still genuinely possible. But some decision has to be made if there is to be creation at all: tragedy can be completely ruled out only by opting for something utterly boring.
2) the Consequent Nature of God
By this is meant God's prehension of the Universe, God's reception of the Universe into God's own being. We may distinguish two stages:
(a) the immediate so called 'physical' prehension of the actual entities exactly as they are, immediately after they happen.
There is no 'negative prehension' in God. Everything is known and felt, down to the last detail. God is indeed "the everlasting companion, the fellow-sufferer who understands" (PR last chapter). God suffers the pains and also enjoys the joys (the 'joy in heaven' that the gospel speaks about), exactly as they are, though not as God's pains and joys, in their immediacy and full detail but not in subjective immediacy(10). God in His/Her Consequent Nature at least in starting point is the perfectly receptive Horizon of Absolute Nothingness(11), allowing things to stand, to come into unconcealedness, exactly as they are, with no subjective point of view, beyond I and Thou as usually understood.
In respect of Christian symbols, this element is expressed and rendered visible in the Christian doctrine of the Crucifixion of the Incarnate Word and the identification of Christ with all the suffering and oppressed. He has borne our iniquities, he has suffered all our ills.
(b) the transformation of what is received into the life of God.
In spite of suffering the evils down to the last detail, God is not bashed or put down by the experience. There is a phase of what is termed 'conceptual supplementation', seeing the evils in the light of further possibilities, ways towards the future not envisaged among the creatures by themselves, still hope. God also responds, rather than reacts, always unlike the rest of us, and always well, but to do so as with us the matter has first to be dealt with well in God's own mind/life. If even God were put down by it, that would be the end of it, there really would be no hope. God is then the rock on which evils break, the fertile soil from which good may yet grow, in spite of all.
In the Christian mystery, the relevant symbol is the doctrine of the Resurrection and Ascension of the Christ, the Crucified Christ taken up into the life of God.
3)the Projective Nature of God
By this is meant, the flow back into the Universe that Whitehead talks of in the closing paragraphs of Process and Reality (PR Corrected Edition pp. 350-351). That is to say, the Divine Response, God's Responsive Love, having dealt with the world with its included evil in His/Her own mind, made it Her own. It is however only conceptually distinct from the primordial nature as far as the creatures are concerned. Both together constitute the Divine Persuasion, partly independent of the creatures (God's primordial nature), partly a follow on from the appropriation of the living of the creatures into the life of God. God for us is Creative-Responsive Love.
In the Christian mystery, this is the descent of the Holy Spirit following on from the Passion, Resurrection and Ascension?? This is then understood as the same Spirit that hovered over creation in the beginning.
In regard to 2) and 3) above, one may compare a human being trying to deal with an insult or an act of love: (a) It is first necessary to accurately appreciate the facts, to feel the situation and the feelings in the situation as they actually are, so that we are responding to the actual situation and not to a projection of our own in respect of the people and the situation. (b) It is then necessary to deal with it firstly in my own life and self-constitution. Am I strong enough in character to bear the insult like a good human being, to respond to evil with good rather than with further evil? Am I a person of sufficient imagination and creativity to respond to it well? Alternatively, do I have enough self-esteem not to reject the love offered but to respond with love of my own, and do I have the creativity and imagination to do this in a sensitive and truly creative manner which is appreciative both for the other as they actually are and our total future environment and for my future self? Once again, it depends also on my own decision: what kind of person am I going to constitute myself as at this moment, a lover or a hater, a child of God or something rather different? (c) Having dealt with it in my own inner life in deciding who I am in respect of it, I can then depend on my response, as personal creative response rather than mere reaction --I can now let my action flow.
A Note on Life after Death and Relevance for Process Theodicies
There are a wide variety of positions taken by Whitehead influenced process thinkers on the matter of life after death. Whitehead was strongly into 'objective immortality', the life of a person continuing to function after biological death within the social and cosmic process and especially via its 'objectification' within God. Roughly, the effect that the life continues to make to the people and world left behind, and especially the contribution of that human life to the Consequent Nature of God. This is more than just memory as we might think of it, but still not subjective immortality in the sense of the continuance beyond death of the same conscious series. Whitehead himself was officially neutral in respect of the latter(12). Hartshorne is also very strong on objective immortality but strongly against subjective immortality in the sense above defined. He thinks it rather selfish as well as unlikely and thinks we can and ought to be satisfied with contributing to God.(13)
Marjorie Suchocki and Lewis Ford opt for subjective immortality as well, but in the sense of the preservation of the life in God in its full 'subjective immediacy', not only objectively. This requires some rather subtle but for insiders also rather sophisticated moves within process metaphysics.(14)This then becomes a crucial element within her theodicy and eschatology. Jan Van der Veken on the other hand argues for the notion of 'personal immortality', immortality of the person in God. Just as the 10 year old lives on in the 65 year old, so even more strongly does the 65 year old live on in God.(15)
Finally, David Griffin has for a while and continues to make strong argument in favour of subjective immortality in the readily intelligible sense of the continuance of the same series of mental events beyond biological death. This is in addition to the normal process apparatus of objective immortality.(16)More recently, Griffin has come to regard this latter possibility as a definite plus within his own process theodicy(17)even if not strictly necessary for an adequate process theodicy.
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For the classic dilemma, see. Hume's Dialogues concerning Natural Religion, Part X, citing Epicurus, along the following lines: 1.If there is a God as classically conceived then God is all powerful and God is all good. 2. There is evil. 3. If God were all powerful, he could prevent it. 4. If he were all good, he would want to prevent it. So God would need to be either not all powerful or not all good or neither. Consequently there is no God as classically conceived.
Process thinking rejects what it takes to be the classic attribute of 'omnipotence'. It either rejects it outright(18)(Hartshorne) or keeps the word but re-interprets it so that it no longer means that God is in total control and could prevent whatever God wanted to (Griffin)(19). God is the only Cosmic Player, the only Omnitemporal and Omnispatial Player. But God is not the only player in the Cosmos, does not and, as long as there is a creation at all, metaphysically cannot hold all the cards or make all the decisions in the universe. According to this contention, God as classically conceived does not exist; but the Process God may well exist.
Process thinking, as classical theism, denies the proposition that an all good God would necessarily want to prevent all evil, even if God could. God permits evil for the sake of a greater good. In the process vision, God could make one kind of evil highly improbable (at best) but only at the expense of increasing the probabilities of evil in the other direction. God could eliminate as real possibilities all animal pain and suffering, but only at the cost of making highly probable a very boring universe, i.e. a universe bereft of animals.
The classic Free Will Defence is extended to cover much physical evil as well, in so far as everything plays at least a small part in conditioning the cosmic process. So from Free Will Defence we move to Free Process Defence. However, most of this evil is no one's fault, just the fault of the working together of different creativities.
In general, the deployment in the Process story is against the backdrop of a concept of God which raises relatively few problems making a Free Will defence stick. For classic process people there are no problems with foreknowledge: God knows wherever there is to be known of the future, that is whatever is already determined about it whether by God or by the creatures. But the detail of the future is partly dependent on the creatures and not even God knows how that creaturely freedom will be exactly realized. Nor is creatio ex nihilo a problem, God responsible for all the being of everything, with the need to regard evil as in every case a 'privation' of being rather than something positive. Nor does God have somehow to get to know the sins of the creatures and consequences of such in the cosmic process without being passive in respect of what God knows. The process God is genuinely sensitive to the creation and really related to it.
The deployment is against the backdrop of a more congenial metaphysical system generally, in which Creativity is the 'Category of the Ultimate', even if God is the prime embodiment of creativity and its major cosmically available shaper for everything else.(20)The universality of creativity as noted already allows for a supplement to the Free Will Defence: there is an element of chance or accident written into the cosmic process, which could possibly be reduced but is not capable of being entirely eliminated so long as there is a creation at all.
2) Given the variety of factors which determine the actual course of the Cosmic Process, the Process story might also survive a Consistency with the Amount of Evil in the Universe version of the Problem of Evil.
Given the variety of factors at play, there could be a Process God doing everything that can be expected of a good Process God, and still be the lots of evil that actually obtains. Compare Hume's character Philo's concession to Cleanthes regarding a finite deity endowed with benevolence regulated by wisdom but limited by necessity (Dialogues Part XI).
As David Griffin notes in his more recent writing on the subject, having an after life in the sense of a continuing journey of the person beyond biological death certainly helps. It makes consistency easier to conceive, even if not strictly necessary in purely logical terms(21). God is given more time, so to speak, to make things turn out right, and in so doing to vindicate the divine goodness. As Griffin acknowledges later on it also tends to mitigate the elitist character of merely 'objective' immortality.(22)
3) With regard to the Inference Problem of Evil, whether given the actual state of the universe and limiting ourselves to generally available experiences we could infer the existence of a Process like God (also in Dialogues Part XI)?
That is to say, whether we could infer from the present state of the universe as commonly experienced that the giving of Being is gracious, on the side of the good and the beautiful and the true and making for ethical response. Here I agree with Van der Veken(23)over against the Whitehead of Process and Reality, Hartshorne, John Cobb and other mainline process thinkers: we can't get this on philosophical grounds alone. To get this, the believer has to appeal to his or her own particular experiences, had against the backdrop of the particular experiences of particular people within the religious traditon of experience and interpretation (in dialectical relationship) to which he or she belongs. The best we can hope for from philosophy is the establishment of consistency.(24)
This is not to say that a belief in God is irrational for the people inside the tradition of experience and interpretation. A belief can be reasonable for people who have had certain kinds of experience, while not reasonable for people who have not had those experiences and have to rely only on testimony or hear-say. Even, a belief on the basis of experience and even testimony can be reasonable for people who have the luck to have acquired a certain mind set or horizon, while not capable of being reasonable for those who do not have the appropriate mind-set or horizon for appreciating those experiences even if they had them.
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Secondly, making suffering probable and making joy probable are not ethically comparable: no amount of joy elsewhere can justify the suffering of the innocent, not even the suffering of one innocent child. Better no creation at all than such suffering, or such suffering that we find. But then in mainline process thinking, the existence of the world is as necessary as the existence of God, there is no choice about creation. There has to be a world, though not necessarily this one. Should God then be restricted to 'creating' only dull and boring worlds?? Or even if in a modified process vision, in which the creation is a genuinely gracious act and God does not have to create the world: is God then limited to a choice between a dull and boring world and no world at all?
Finally there are certain difficulties with the proposal that even God suffers. Having God suffer with our sufferings as well as enjoying our enjoyments is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it "removes the basis for that sense of moral outrage which would be directed toward an impassive spectator deity who took great risks with the creation.", in so far as the risks which God asks the creation to take are also risks for God. (GPE 309) On the other hand, it appears to mean that even God is not exempt from being touched by the power of evil and even worse that all the evil in the universe, the holocaust, Hiroshima, Vietnam, is somehow eternalized in the consequent nature of God.
The lesson with this last mentioned problem might be that perhaps Process thinkers ought to be more careful in respect of what they mean when they say God suffers, to specify exactly in what sense. The Process system implies no more than: God feels the suffering of those who suffer, but not as her own suffering, in its immediacy and intensity and full detail, but not in its subjective immediacy.(25)It is felt truly, but it is not felt as God's. It is objectively, not subjectively immortal in God. Emphatizing with your toothache is still not yet a pain in my tooth, and you would never want it to be. It would actually detract from any value my sympathy might have. Nor, in another case, would I want you to actually feel like you have lost your mother, no matter how much you may cry with me at the loss of mine. I want a shoulder to lean on, not someone in a worse state than myself.
It is in any case only the initial phase in the divine prehension, only the start of the Divine reception. Part of this 'suffering' while by definition constituting intrinsic evil is only apparent evil, in so far as it is used by God to bring about greater good. It is 'prima facie' evil(26)but genuine good. This is saved in the Divine life and with any luck also in the world. Only the genuine evil constitutes a problem. In the second phase, the "revolts of destructive evil, purely self-regarding, are dismissed into their triviality of merely individual facts; and yet the good they did achieve in individual joy, in individual sorrow, in the introduction of needed contrast, is yet saved by its relation to the completed whole". (PR old edition, 408, corrected edition, p. 346) Which is to say, God saves whatever can be saved, "loses nothing that can be saved" (PR 408/346), but the rest God throws away, an element of divine 'judgement'. God does not make genuine evil as such his/her own, nor does the flowing back provide the evil with a further indirect conduit into the world. The evil still touches the world directly, but even this effect is mitigated by the flowing back from God, God striving to work whatever can be worked. And the genuine evil is not allowed to touch the nature of God. The evil remains an objective fact, something which even God has to put up with, but is not allowed to impinge either on God's essential character or on the Divine response to the world except so as to do what can be done to make up for its continuing direct influence. Even so, it would have been better for everyone, God included, if the genuine evil had not occurred.
But perhaps even this would not be enough to satisfy the objection?? However, to admit any more would be to lose the positive religious value that it does have. God does feel our sufferings, in some way more intensely than we feel them, even if not as God's sufferings, and this is more useful and in its effects more sustaining than any human sympathy.
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Hartshorne, Charles. The Divine Relativity. A Social Conception of God. Yale University Press, New Haven, 1948.
Hartshorne, Charles. Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes. State University of New York Press, Albany, N.Y., 1984.
Griffin, David Ray. God, Power and Evil: A Process Theodicy. Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1976.
Griffin, David Ray. Evil Revisited: Responses and Reconsiderations. State University of New York Press, Albany, N.Y., 1991.
Suchocki, Marjorie Hewitt. The End of Evil. Process Eschatology in Historical Context. State University of New York Press, Albany, 1988.
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2. Following Bernard Loomer, among others - also John Cobb, sometimes. Bernard Loomer, "Process Theology: Origins, Strengths, Weaknesses", Process Studies Winter 1987, p. 245. John B. Cobb, "Christology in 'Process-Relational' Perspective", God and Change, edited Jan Van der Veken (Center for Metaphysics and Philosophy of God, Leuven, 1987), pp. 79-94. Return to Text
3. A point well made by Valerie C. Saiving, in "Androgynous Life: A Feminist Appropriation of Process Thought", Feminism and Process Thought, edited Shiela Greeve Davaney (The Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston/Queenston, 1981), pp. 18-26. Cf. p. 26, "Not only are individuality and relatedness compatible aspects of every actuality, these two principles require each other. And since they require each other, neither is more 'real', important or valuable than the other. On the contrary, individuality and relatedness support and enhance one another." Return to text
4. For example, Charles Hartshorne, The Divine Relativity (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1948), pp. 136-137. Return to text
5. For the following, cf. Griffin, God, Power and Evil, pp. 292-293. Return to text
6. Alfred North Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas (Macmillan, N.Y., 1933), Chapter XX. Return to text
7. David Ray Griffin, Evil Revisited, pp. 31-32. Return to text
8. David Ray Griffin, God, Power and Evil, pp. 21-22/ Return to text
9. Compare John Hick's discussion of hell in Evil and the God of Love (Fontana, Collins, London, 1966), pp. 377-381. Return to text
10. This is not entirely agreed upon, the significant exception being Marjorie Suchocki. See Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki, The End of Evil (SUNY, 1988), Ch.V on "Subjective Immortality", pp. 81-96. Return to text
11. Compare John Cobb, pp. 67-71 in chapter on "God and Buddhism" in David Tracy and John Cobb, Talking About God (Seabury Press, N.Y., 1983). Compare also Shizuteru Ueda's term, 'The Place of Absolute Nothingness", in "Experience and Language in the Thinking of Kitaro Nishida" (1990 AAR Annual Meeting), Ch. III, pp. 53ff. Return to text
12. See Process and Reality, pp. 344-350 (Corrected Edition), on 'objective immortality'. Also, the summary of Whitehead's position in "A Whiteheadian Reflection on Subjective Immortality", Process Studies, Vol. 7, No. 1, Spring 1977, pp. 1-4, referred to below. Return to text
13. See Omnipotence and other Theological Mistakes, pp. 32-32, pp. 97-99. Return to text
14. See Lewis S. Ford and Marjorie Suchocki, "A Whiteheadian Reflection on Subjective Immortality", in Process Studies, Vol. 7, No. 1, Spring 1977, pp. 1-13. And Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki, "Subjective Immortality", Ch. V of The End of Evil, by Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki (State University of New York Press, Albany, 1988), pp. 81-96. Return to text
15. Jan Van der Veken, "Talking Meaningfully about Im-mortality", in God and Change: Process Thought and the Christian Doctrine of God, edited by Jan Van der Veken (Center for Metaphysics and Philosophy of God, Leuven, 1987), pp. 1-13. Return to text
16. David Ray Griffin "The Possibility of Subjective Immortality in Whitehead's Philosophy", in The Modern Schoolman, LIII, Nov. 1975, pp. 39-57. Also "Postmodern Animism and Life after Death", Ch. 6 of God and Religion in the Postmodern World, by David Ray Griffin (State University of New York Press, Albany, 1989), pp. 83-108. Return to text
17. David Ray Griffin, Evil Revisited, Ch. 1, Section G "Meaning and Hope", pp. 34-40. Return to text
18. Charles Hartshorne, Omnipotence and Other Theological Mistakes (SUNY Press, Albany, N.Y., 1984). Return to text
19. David Ray Griffin, God, Power and Evil (Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1976), Ch. 17. Also Evil Revisited (SUNY Press, Albany, N.Y., 1991), Ch. 3. Griffin distinguishes 'C Omnipotence', the greatest conceivable amount of power which a being could have over a created, i.e. actual world; and 'I Omnipotence', being able to unilaterally effect any state of affairs which is logically possible. God has the coherent and creationist C omnipotence but not the incoherent and idealistic I omnipotence. Return to text
20. There are numbers of people who do not at all like this separation of God and Creativity. See especially Robert C. Neville, Creativity and God (The Seabury Press, N.Y., 1980). Return to text
21. See Griffin, Evil Revisited, pp. 34-40. Return to text
22. ibid., p. 173. Return to text
23. Jan Van der Veken, "Whitehead's God is not Whiteheadian Enough", in Whitehead and the Idea of Process, edited Harald Holz and Ernest Wolf-Gazo (Verlag Karl Alber, Freiburg/Munchen, 1981), pp. 300-311. Return to text
24. David Griffin endeavours to make a case for rather more than this. Cf. esp. Evil Revisited, Ch. 2. Even so, he manages to give in the course of this same work a very good description of exactly what I mean. See pp. 171-172, the section on "Process Theodicy Considered on its Own Terms", where he envisages a community of believers who had been moulded by process theology's idea of the Holy Reality as persuasive-compassionate love. Return to text
25. As noted already, there is not total agreement on this, the significant exception being Marjorie Suchocki. Return to text
26. According to both Hartshorne, Griffin and
R. Maurice Barineau, "Whitehead and Genuine Evil", Process Studies Vol.
19, No. 3, Fall 1990, pp. 181-188, some prima facie evils are rendered
by the future universe under divine persuasion into only apparent evils,
but not all. While all is known and felt by God not all is saved. Some
evil of both kinds just ends up in the trash-bin of history, functions
as point of departure which since having happened must be taken into account
in further process, but not as opportunity, just as fact. It would have
been better had it not happened, all things considered. In so far as God
has an interest in the cosmic process, even God would have been better
off had it not happened. (Cf. GPE 309.) So there can be genuine evil in
a Whiteheadian universe. It is not an "all partial evil, universal good"
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