Can God act in history? : a Whiteheadian perspective
The thesis seeks to set the question "Can God act in history" in a Whiteheadian perspective, but first seeks to clarify the question itself. The first chapter examines the concept of action in general terms, and goes on to explore Whitehead's understanding of it, before applying the 'findings' to talk of God's action. The second chapter similarly addresses the notion of history, asking what procedures the historian follows in giving his account of the past, and whether God could be properly used as a referent within such constraints. Again Whitehead's view on the subject is examined. Chapter Three examines more overtly theological issues necessary for consideration of divine action, such as the concepts of violation, intervention, and 'willing' and 'permitting', before reviewing the work of Farmer, Farrer and Peacocke. The fourth and fifth chapters serve to direct our attention to Whitehead's cosmological system. The briefest biographical outline is followed by a selective exposition of his mature doctrines, and then an attempt to discern any movement or development in his thought through his corpus of writings. The whole of Chapter Five is then given over to an examination of particularly relevant interpretive problems in the system. In order to see what use has been made of Whiteheadian resources in answering our question we next examine a pair of Process Theologians in each of Chapters Six and Seven. Firstly, Ogden and Williams are found to give too passive an impression of God's activity which struggles to accommodate the findings of our earlier chapters. Cobb and Griffin are, however, found to give more satisfactory accounts. In the final chapter we pursue our own position, first by discussing the suitable components of a definition of miracle, then by considering the problem of theodicy in dialogue with Griffin. A brief conclusion follows.