What’s the Process Way of Understanding God?

A process doctrine of Jesus’ significance cannot say that it is first through Christian faith that God works savingly in man, aiding him to find wholeness in life. For God as Holy Spirit is always influencing man toward that end which will bring him the greatest fulfillment consonant with the good of the rest of creation. Neither could a process view say that God’s attitude is different toward Christians and non-Christians. God loves all men equally, feeling their joys and sorrows alike, and willing each man his maximal fulfillment.

The process conceptualization of the Christian vision of reality implies an extension to the scope of the Christian’s concern beyond what is generally suggested by the term “social gospel.” Although man is objectively of much greater value than the other creatures, there is nevertheless no absolute distinction between him and the lower forms of life. Accordingly, the “social gospel” emphasis of Christianity must become an “ecological gospel” emphasis, since the “society” for which God is concerned includes the totality of beings, especially the totality of living beings.

God has led men from very primitive, tribalistic, self-serving notions of deity to the idea that their God is the creator of all men, who loves all his children equally. This has entailed the recognition that special knowledge of God does not increase God’s love for man, but increases man’s responsibility before God. The knowledge that God has achieved all this, in spite of the unviolated freedom and the natural egoism of the creatures, is an adequate ground for hope.

A Process Theology
A Process Christology
David Ray Griffin

Originally published in 1973, A Process Christology was the first full-scale Christology based upon process thought. Griffin contends throughout the book that Alfred North Whitehead’s process philosophy provides a basis for clarifying how Jesus of Nazareth is God’s decisive self-revelation. Process philosophy is shown to provide a way to speak of God’s self-revelation in a manner that is consistent with both modern thought and Christian faith.

A Process Christology brings together three dimensions of recent theology:

  • the new quest for the historical Jesus
  • the new-orthodox emphasis on God’s self-revealing activity in history
  • the theology based primarily on the process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead and Charles Hartshorne

David Ray Griffin 75
David Ray Griffin
born 1939

Professor Emeritus of Philosophy of Religion and Theology at the Claremont School of Theology.

Along with John B. Cobb, Jr., he founded the Center for Process Studies in 1973, a research center of Claremont School of Theology which seeks to promote the common good by means of the relational approach found in process thought.

David Ray Griffin’s books include:


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