panentheism

Proper 21A

September 25, 2011
See Also: 
Reading 1: 
Exodus 17:1-7
Reading 2: 
Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16
Reading 3: 
Philippians 2:1-13
Reading 4: 
Matthew 21:23-32
By Paul S. Nancarrow

Exodus 17:1-7

There is a pun in the opening clause of the opening verse of this passage, which has no basis in the original Hebrew, but which seems irresistibly inviting in English: “From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed.” “Sin” here is of course a place name, related to Sinai, the area through which the people must travel to reach the mountain of theophany and covenant. It is mere accident that it sounds in English like the state of being alienated from God; yet the accident seems significant enough to comment on.

Eastern Orthodox & Process

Question: 
In reading Bishop Kallistos Ware's, The Orthodox Way, he describes Orthodox theology as having two elements. There is the essence of God which refers to God's transcendence and utter "Otherness," i.e., the complete Mystery of God. Then there are the energies of God, which refers to God's immanence and how God manifests Godself to creation. This seemed to have some strong connections with panentheism and, in some respects, process theology. Are there stronger similarities between Orthodox theology and process theology than from classical theism and process theology?
Publication Month: 
March 2006
Author - First Name: 
John B.
Author - Last Name: 
Cobb, Jr.

Dr. Cobb's Response

I agree with the questioner’s sense that there are affinities between process theology and Eastern Orthodoxy. To speak of this in short compass, I will throw all scholarly scruples aside and make some sweeping generalizations about three great families of theologies: the heirs of the Reformation, the Roman Catholics, and the Eastern Orthodox. I will then locate process theology in relation to these.

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