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Searching for an Adequate God: A Dialogue between Process and Free Will Theists [Paperback]

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Item Number 143313  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   284
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.36" Width: 6.16" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   0.91 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 2000
Publisher   Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN  0802847390  
EAN  9780802847393  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
In this book advocates of both process and free-will theism come together for the first time to describe their respective theological perspectives and enter into constructive dialogue with each other. Featuring two of today's best philosophers-David R. Griffin representing process theology and William Hasker representing free-will theism- as well as theologians interested in both views, this volume provides a fully orbed discussion of these two vital theological positions.

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More About John B. Cobb

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! John Cobb Jr. is Ingraham Professor of Theology, emeritus, at Claremont School of Theology. He is the author of more than twenty books, including The Process Perspective and Lay Theology, from Chalice Press.

John B. Cobb currently resides in the state of California.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General   [8607  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A very informative and helpful read  Sep 9, 2005
I got this book, because I wanted to gain a greater understanding of Process Theism. I was familiar with free will theism, but certain aspects of it were troubling to me. While I find myself disagreeing with some of what process theologians have to say, it has been extremely helpful for me in clarifying my own viewpoint. I enjoyed the debate format that gave others a chance to respond and point out weak points and strong points in each of the articles.
Pinnock the Quasi-Processist  Aug 21, 2004
This book proves Mr. Pinnock, rather than dialoguing with Conservative, Evangelical Providence-Theists, is himself an extreme libertarian ultra-arminian attempting a synthesis & amalgamation with Processism in reaction to his perceived brand of hyper-calvinism (which few embrace and none of the authors who devastate free-willism like Millard Erickson).

This is Quasi-Processism plain and simple.

A Right-Sized God  Jul 16, 2004
Size matters. Many Christians know of J.B. Phillips classic book, Your God is Too Small. But few consider the possibility that their God is too BIG. When believers zealously attach all the "omnis" they can imagine to God, perhaps who emerges is not the God of scripture at all. What seems required is a God neither too small nor too big.

Constructing an adequate vision of God is the principal goal for essayists in Searching for an Adequate God. Of course, as contributor William Hasker remarks, "it is our conceptions of God that must be evaluated as adequate or inadequate, not God himself." Most essayists contend that a concept of God adequate to scripture, tradition, reason, and experience (the Wesleyan quadrilateral) is required or, as Hasker puts it, a conception of God "adequate for the faith and life of the Christian church." Whether explicitly or implicitly stated, both sides consider their own theistic conceptions to be more adequate given these criteria.

Given classical free-will theism's ties to evangelicalism and process theism's ties to liberal Christianity, it may seem unlikely to outsiders that the visions entertained by these camps overlap to any degree. However, even insiders may be surprised to find the large extent to which these visions can be harmonized. In many ways, Searching for an Adequate God serves as a bridge-builder. It reveals to the evangelical community that the process vision is more palatable than many had previously thought. The book also reveals to process theists, who typically run in liberal theological circles, that free-will/openness versions of evangelical theology are more palatable than they had assumed.

Tenets pertaining to divine love sit atop the list of convictions shared by these process and classical free-will/openness theists. Both sides affirm that God is love; God lovingly interacts with the world; God is genuinely affected by give-and-take love with the world; and God's primary, if not exclusive, modus operandi is persuasive love. Free-will/openness theist Richard Rice comments, "Process thought is often described as a metaphysics of love, an attempt to develop a full-fledged metaphysical system from the fundamental insight that God is love. The open view of God [a.k.a. free-will theism] shares this emphasis upon the priority of love."

Consistent with this emphasis upon divine love and love's implications are the emphases by both traditions upon relationality, freedom (e.g., both reject compatiblism and determinism), and the social nature of the God-world relationship. Additionally, both reject the argument that God can have certain knowledge of the entire future. Given these emphases, it is understandable that both theological perspectives sharply criticize notions -- which theists derived from classical metaphysics -- portraying God as aloof, impervious, or all-determining.

Both process and classical free-will theists affirm that God is providentially active in both human and nonhuman life. Both process and classical free-will theists hold that God is personal, purposive, and pantemporal.

It may surprise some to find that the issue of biblical authority does not arise as a major obstacle in this free-will/openness and process dialogue. In this volume, the process theists never chide free-will/openness theists for the latter's insistence upon the primary authority of the Bible. Free-will/openness theists only occasionally scold process theists for failing to appreciate the biblical witness. In fact, both sides appeal to an interpretation of scripture they believe supports their own theological vision.

The leg of the quadrilateral stool on which these theisms seem to differ most is Christian tradition. For instance, essayist David Griffin considers the tradition's doctrine of creatio ex nihilo indirectly damaging to the claim that God is love. A God able unilaterally to create the world is culpable for failing unilaterally to prevent genuine evil. He proposes, instead, a doctrine of creation grounded upon divine persuasion, theistic evolution, and a God-initiated Big Bang cosmology. Free-will/openness theists, however, accept creatio ex nihilo. For free-will/openness theists, the traditional creation doctrine supports a strong eschatology and explains God's miracle-generating activity.

At the heart of their theological differences are the theories of divine power, although each can agree on a formal definition of divine power (e.g., God's power is supreme, and deity possesses all the power it is possible for any being to have). On one hand, free-will/openness theists contend that God possessed, at least at one time, absolutely all power. Furthermore, these theists contend that God can unilaterally determine some events or situations -- should God choose to do so. Free-will/openness essayist Hasker believes that a God who can both unilaterally determine (coerce) and act cooperatively (persuade) is greater, and therefore more adequate, than the God who only acts persuasively. Process theist Griffin, on the other hand, avers that God never possesses a monopoly on power, which means that God never entirely determines an outcome. Griffin contends that the problem of evil, among other problems, remains insoluble for theists who believe God that is able to determine unilaterally.

Many of the essayists share fascinating autobiographical material. Nancy Howell, Wheeler, and Rice disclose how, in their own journeys, they embraced or rejected various aspects of process and evangelical traditions. For Wheeler, to cite one, the evangelical faith of his youth and the process theism he discovered in graduate school are not mutually exclusive. To varying degrees, these scholars live inside, outside, and/or between theological traditions. To use Howell's image, these authors maneuver among theological boundaries.

Conceiving of a "right-sized" God truly matters. The risks and fears that Pinnock describes indicate just how politically-charged the task of formulating theology can be. This book provides a valuable resource for adventurers undertaking this all-important quest.

Thomas Jay Oord

untraditional bipolar neo-process contra-biblical inadequacy  Mar 21, 2003
Mr. Pinnock does genuine Evangelicals a favor with this book and his more recent Most Moved Mover (the most Mormon of his writings to date, where he espouses an embodied deity not necessarily pure spirit-being, rejects a biblical hell, waxes processismically poetic about God 'actualizing his temporal pole', claiming Jesus misprophesied and a Bible full of errors).

With this book, Pinnock proves that he and his followers like Gregory Boyd and John Sanders are neither evangelical nor pure Processers, but a dysfunctional hybrid of both/neither: in a class all their own, but not in the Biblical category in the areas where they depart from Historic Christianity.

His writings in this book should be taken at face value: facing away from an Inerrant Bible and faced with a stinging rebuke from the True God,

"I am angry with you because you have not spoken of Me what is right." (Job 42)

The main problem with this book and all Pinnock, Boyd & Co pontificate and fabricate is: they have drunk deeply of Process Theory (see Boyd's TRINITY & PROCESS for definitive proof), assuming much of Charles Hartshorne's philosophic framework is correct. But this bi-polar beverage has blurred their vision when it comes to reading Scripture and formulating theology. Instead, they have contrived a 'Neo-logy' which is less Biblical and more mormonistic, processismic, liberalistic, evolutionistic with every new book.

Credit is given (thus the one lone star!) for being a master of Eisegesis (reading faulty presuppositions into the Bible that are distortive figments of fertile, vain imagination). But without mastery of Exegesis (author-intended drawing out of the supernatural textual meaning via Holy Spirit's inerrant revelation without presuppositional legerdemain), Pinnock gives the reader untraditional bi-polar neo-process contra-biblical false teaching, aberrancy, heterodoxy, heretical inadequacy.

Open Theism is definitely NOT traditional Process Theism  Feb 6, 2003
This book is crucial for sorting out whether Open Theists are really evangelical Process Theists. This book's spirited, yet surprisingly irenic, dialogue demonstrates that while the two perspectives share a few commonalities, they are undoubtedly very different from one another. The 'Crucial Difference', as Open Theist William Hasker puts it, is that Process Theism dismisses Divine Intervention in human affairs, while Open Theism wholeheartedly affirms this treasured evangelical truth. While I do not adhere to either system, I cannot in good conscience label Open Theists as closet Process Theists, heretics or non-inerrantists for that matter. This book proved to me that the writings of Open Theists need and deserve to be taken at face value. There has been far too much eisegesis of their claims and not enough exegesis of them, particularly from the Baptist General Conference, the Evangelical Theological Society and the overall Reformed hegemony. While I believe Open Theism is wrong on many counts, I certainly wouldn't call it heresy. I highly recommend that those who wish to engage in fair, even-handed investigation on Open Theism's relationship and deviation from Process Theism read this book. It has proven to be the most profitable book on Open Theism I've read to date. I'm certain it will put many allegations levied against Open Theists to rest. So lay your presuppositions concerning Open Theism aside and allow its proponents to be heard on their own terms. You'll be glad you did.

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