GOD AND THE WORLD: AN EASTERN ORTHODOX RESPONSE TO PROCESS THEOLOGY

THOMAS JOHN HOPKO, Fordham University

Abstract

The dissertation is a response to the teachings about God and the world of the process thinkers C. Hartshorne, J. B. Cobb, Jr., S. Ogden, N. Pittenger and D. D. Williams from the perspective of the theological tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church, which is that of the Greek fathers and such contemporary theologians as V. Lossky, G. Florovsky, J. Meyendorff, B. Krivosheine and A. Schmemann.^ The author begins with an extended analysis of the nature and method of theology in the Eastern Orthodox tradition in comparison with process thought. He attempts to show that the orthodox Eastern tradition is not based on a particular philosophy, but develops its own concepts, categories and teachings on the basis of the lived experience of God in the Church. He then responds to the process doctrine of the "dipolar" character of God by analyzing the "dipolar" theology of the Eastern tradition which views God as supra-essentially hidden and yet truly manifested through His limitless divine actions and energies. He proceeds with an exposition of the Eastern Orthodox dogma of the Trinity: the three persons of Father, Son and Spirit who are eternally actualized in one divine being and life. The issues of divine personality, society and actuality raised by process thought are discussed in this chapter. Finally the author elaborates the relationship between God and the world through an analysis of the Orthodox teachings about creation, incarnation and deification in response to such key issues raised by process theology as those concerning divine perfection, providence, passibility, sympathy, suffering and love.^ The author concludes that Eastern Orthodox theology provides a vision of God as the dipolar, tri-personal Divinity who is in real relationship with the world; the God who is unchanging in his supraessential being, action and will, and who is yet eternally responsive to his creatures for whom he orders the world by his pre-eternal counsel; the God who, in the person of the incarnated Son and Word, becomes the real man Jesus who suffers, dies and rises in order to secure the world's "creative advance into novelty" through an unending process of divinization.^

Subject Area

Theology

Recommended Citation

THOMAS JOHN HOPKO, "GOD AND THE WORLD: AN EASTERN ORTHODOX RESPONSE TO PROCESS THEOLOGY" (January 1, 1982). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI8219248.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8219248

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