THE HOLY SPIRIT IN WHITEHEADIAN PROCESS THEOLOGIANS (TRINITY, PNEUMATOLOGY)

ELEANOR PRATZON RAE, Fordham University

Abstract

It is commonly acknowledged by theologians today that Christianity has yet to develop an adequate theology of the Holy Spirit. One possibility for the development of this theology of the spirit is process theology. The writings of the Whiteheadian process theologians on the Spirit are to be found scattered in limited quantities in a diverse number of sources. However, a reading of the material indicates that there is enough of value to make this the proper time to gather it together and present it in a systematic fashion, to evaluate it critically in the light of the theological tradition, and to explore its implications for future directions in theology.^ Process pneumatology is grounded in the process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead and of Charles Hartshorne. Against this background, the main body of the paper explores the writings of the first and second generation of Whiteheadian process theologians. These writings are presented in terms of the function of the Holy Spirit, the person of the Spirit, the Spirit within the trinitarian context, and the Spirit-Christ relationship. These themes are first examined in the writings of Norman Pittenger, Lewis Ford, John B. Cobb, Jr., and Daniel Day Williams, with Pittenger's book The Holy Spirit serving as the main resource. The same themes are examined in the second generation of Whiteheadians: G. Palmer Pardington III, Bernard Lee, David Ray Griffin, and Marjorie Suchocki, with Pardington's Ph.D. dissertation "Spirit Incarnate: The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit in Relation to Process Philosophy" as their main resource.^ In conclusion, the dissertation judged that Whiteheadian process pneumatology is still in its initial stage. However, process pneumatology deserves further development and this primarily for two reasons. The first is that, while speaking the language of today, it is nevertheless basically grounded in strands of the Christian tradition. And secondly, it offers to the contemporary theologian a rich opportunity for addressing the issues that confront the world today. These issues can be addressed in a creative process doctrine of the Holy Spirit as the one who embodies that which is both creative and radically free. ^

Subject Area

Theology

Recommended Citation

RAE, ELEANOR PRATZON, "THE HOLY SPIRIT IN WHITEHEADIAN PROCESS THEOLOGIANS (TRINITY, PNEUMATOLOGY)" (1984). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8506356.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8506356

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