Editor’s note: In his doctoral dissertation, Pastor Pat Bailey of Telluride’s Christ Presbyterian Church is claiming the need for a re-visioning of the Christian church’s theology and its understanding of mission, the need for a more natural, integrative theology and for an earth-focused, contextual approach to mission. To that end, he is reviewing the theology of three contemporary theologians whose thought is very integrative of Nature and Spirit from three very different approaches. This blog is part of a weekly series.

Pastor Pat Bailey in front his church

Pastor Pat Bailey

I am currently reviewing the thought of David Ray Griffin, professor of theology at Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University. Griffin was the co-founder, along with John B. Cobb, Jr., and co-director of the Center for Process Studies at Claremont. In his “Reenchantment without Supernaturalism,” Griffin presents a full-scale philosophy of religion based on the process thought of Alfred North Whitehead and Charles Hartshorne.

Griffin’s methodology involves reasoning from a philosophical system called “process philosophy” to develop a concept of religion that can engage late modern thought while proposing a metaphysic of divine reality. So, he begins by discussing the relationship between religion, science, and naturalism and identifying some of the foundational concepts of process philosophy. Griffin is then ready to propose his concept of the divine as a naturalistic, dipolar theism and develop his natural theology based on that concept.

In contrast to Bergmann, whom we reviewed in earlier blogs, Griffin does not use such traditional categories as trinity and incarnation to define the Christian tradition. He intends to lay out a more modern metaphysical construct to speak about God and about God’s relationship to Nature. Griffin’s presentation of a process philosophy of religion affirms a deeply integrative concept of God and God’s influence in the natural world and that envisages the Spirit as the consequent nature of God.

Over the next few weeks, we will be exploring some of Griffin’s key ideas and discuss his attempts to perceive of God in ways that reduce the dualistic separation of heaven and earth found in other approaches.

2 Responses

  1. Becky says:

    I found this article to be very interesting, especially since I just finished reading Geoffrey Oelsner’s latest book on the subject, “A Country Where All Colors Are Sacred and Alive.” His book points out that a person can influence the natural world through “attunement, meditation, prayer, intention, loving presence, mindful ritual, celebration, song, dance, and other expressions of joyful creativity.