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Title: The doctrine of creation and process theology with particular reference to the thought of Charles Hartshorne
Author: Kent, J. Bradford
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1978
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Chapter 1: The Doctrine of Creation in Traditional Thouqht. Even though there is a wide variety of interpretations of the doctrine of creation, two concepts have consistently been regarded as basic: creatio ex nihilo, which emphasizes the uniqueness of God's creative act, and creatio per verbum, which is frequently identified with the Logos, the personification of God's creative power. Three affirmations are made by traditional theology concerning creation: (1) God is the source of all existence, and the creation is totally dependent on Him; (2) the creation is distinct from God, and even though corrupted by sin, is fundamentally good; (This is affirmed in spite of the existence of evil) and (3) creation is the free act of God's gracious love. Chapter 2: The Process Concept of Creation. Process though insists on the primacy of becoming rather than being as the fundamental description of reality. Becoming is conceptualized in terms of 'creative synthesis' which yields 'actual entities.' This process involves four factors: (1) the 'subject' which is the entity performing the synthesis; (2) the 'data' which are the raw materials for the synthesis; (3) the 'subjective form' which is the way the subject synthesizes the date; and (4) God who is both the originator and final recipient of each synthesis. Actual entities are parts of societies which form other societies displaying various types of organization. The ultimate society is the cosmos. God is the cosmic orderer because he provides the limitation necessary for the cosmos advance. He is dipolar and perpetually creates his consequent nature through synthesis of the cosmos. His subjective aim is beauty. He creates other entities by providing the initial aims which begin their synthesis. He persuades, but does not force, the attainment of these aims. God is 'Creativity itself,' and this creativity which creates the creativity of others. Chapter 3: The Doctrine of Creation and the Process Concept of Creation. Process theology rejects creation out of nothing preferring creation out of chaos, but embraces creation by the Word as an articulation of creative synthesis. Process thought makes the same affirmations as tradition/theology, but the content of these affirmations is distinctly different. God's being the source of all existence is his provision of initial aims. The creation is distinct from God but is panentheistically included in him. Because he is dipolar, God must create some entities, but what entities he creates is his own free decision. The risk of evil is ever-present but is the other side of, the opportunity for good. God is the "fellow sufferer who understands." Chapter 4: Analogy in Traditional Theoloqy and Process Thouqht. Analogy is a way of speaking about God which avoids either univocity or equivocity. Thomas Aquinas' understanding of analogy focuses on the analogia antis as expressing the basic relationship between man and God. Reformed theology rejects the analogia antis. Karl Barth formulated the concept of analogia fidei. Whitehead's analogical predication can be seen as analogy, duorum ad tertium, but Hartshorne's revision of Whitehead's concept is analogy unius ad alternum. Hartshorne establishes what can be called the 'analogy of creativity' which has the same place in process theology as the analogia antis in Thomism. The analogy of creativity is incompatible with the Ianalogia fides.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available