Whitehead's vision and the possibilities for the Christological adventure
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The Intention of this thesis is to develop a Process christology which is valid and coherent with respect to the principles of Whitehead's Process philosophy and adequate with respect to Christian faith. As indicated by the title, the study moves from Whitehead's vision to the christological adventure. Although this necessitates that the criteria are essentially philosophical, it is stressed that the discussion finds its inspiration in faith. For that reason the second chapter describes the Process christologies of Norman Pittenger. John Cobb, Schubert Ogden and David Griffin. That discussion isolates the major questions and issues which arise. Chapter three is an examination of the philosophical principles of Whitehead's vision. A central thesis of the work is that the theory of "initial aims" is inadequate to account for the idea of a Divine purpose relevant to human beings. I illustrate why this is so and, after presenting a Process theory of the "self", describe how the notion of purpose mediated in history is Intelligible. Chapter four is a synthesis between the issues raised in the second chapter and the philosophical themes of chapter three. This chapter presents the christology which is valid with respect to Whitehead's vision. The following chapter observes that the Church is an essential aspect of Process christology, and then evaluates Christ and the Church with respect to some of' the themes of Biblical and traditional christology. The intention is to justify its status as an appropriate expression of faith, although it is accepted that the essential subjectivity of faith renders an objective evaluation impossible. The final chapter offers some concluding remarks, noting particularly how Process christology is a theology of liberation : freedom and responsibility.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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