Fourth Sunday of Easter

April 21, 2013
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Acts 9:36-43
Reading 2: 
Psalm 23
Reading 3: 
Revelation 7:9-17
Reading 4: 
John 10:22-30
By Russell Pregeant

The gospel lesson illustrates a distinctive aspect of Johannine theology, which Bultmann has called a “dualism of decision.” [1] On the one hand, dualistic language pervades John’s gospel. There are sharp contrasts between light and darkness, flesh and spirit, and above and below. Indeed, one could get the impression from some passages that these contrasts reflect an actual cosmic dualism than would negate human freedom, since whether a person is “from above” or “from below” seems to determine whether or not one has faith in Jesus.

Christian Life as the Life of Freedom

Author - First Name: 
John B.
Author - Last Name: 
Cobb, Jr.

Gal 3:3, 5:1, 13

"For freedom Christ has set us free, stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery" (Gal 5:1).

Freedom is the heart of liberal Christianity. But Christian freedom is not license. "For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another" (Gal 5:13). For liberal Christianity this text is as important as the first.

Free Will

I was wondering what process theology has to say about free will. It seems that the temptation to become purely deterministic is possible within process theology. I understand that that temptation is resisted, but I wonder if there are any resources I could read on how free will is explained in this context.
Publication Month: 
May 2006
Author - First Name: 
John B.
Author - Last Name: 
Cobb, Jr.

Dr. Cobb's Response

Process theology affirms self-determination but not “free will.” That may seem like a quibble, but it is an important quibble. The idea of the “will” is part of a way of thinking that process theology rejects. It is sometimes called “faculty psychology.” It depicts the human psyche as divided into quasi-substantial parts, for example, passion, reason, and will. Freud’s analysis of the psyche in terms of id, ego, and superego is another example.

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