Full Text for The New View of Reality and The Task of The Church (Text)

The New View of Reality and The Task of The Church Editor's Note: 'l'he follo~ui~zg essay originally presented as a study paper to n faczilty study meeting has heen revised for printing. Attach.ed is an appendix with pertinent qz4otations and the essayist's conznzeTlts. IRLICAL TfIEO1,OGY DESClZIBES the existence and yreserva- B tion of the Church as solely the work of Cod. The Holy Spirit has used the means of grace to separate out a communion of believers who are the spotless and blanlelcss Bride of Christ completely dependent upon Him. The Church is a spiritual Body whose Head is Christ, and all the mc:~lbers stay alive only through the relation of faith, by the grace of Gotl. Process philosophy could not vie~v the Church as a reality that conles into being, grows and progresses toward its goal without concrescence with its "grotlntl," the world. It coulri not see the Church in the world and yet not of the world. The Church \vo~~lcl have to participate in the creative advance of the universe. It ~vould be dependent upon other actual entities and their subjective aims. The Church Itself would be a novel concrescence that shares in shaping the consequent nature of God. No longer \vould it be the solc creation of God. From any viewpoint, the Church ~vould be an evoived product of God, man, and the universe. Synergism in its broadest sense would replace grace. Believers wouId live no longer by faith aIone. The Incans of grace would become a misnomer. Extra ecclesiam .izallla sulus is Scriptural teaching. But this stands in opposition to \!ljhitehead's conception of everlasting unity, where human ancl cosinic history move toward ultimate unity. God and the world process tolvard the fellowship of everlasting unity and completion. That means that through the creative process of the universe, everyone will end up thc same way, in everlasting, never- ending, participation with God. "'This, by the way," Wllitehead is supposed to have said, "reduces the question whether individuality survives the death of the body to an estate of irrelevancy." Those outside the ark of the Church as well as those within would be saved. Whitehead also sees the consccluent nature of God in terms of "the judgement of a tenderness which loses-nothing that can be saved." According to him, then, there would be no condemnation, only redemption. Thus, the Church in the last analysis would not be the instrument that God has willed it to be. It would be superfluous. "The universalistic tendencies of jvhiteheadean philosophy," writes C. J. Curtis, "offer a fertile field for ecumenical endeavors to unite all churches in ii~g spirit of modern ecumenicity. In this philosophy there are many creative suggestions for the theory as well as the practice of ecumenicity. At the same time there are in it the categories of a yet wider and more ~iniversal concern for the drawing together of all living religions into one, worldwidc, religious community. Christian theology today is not yet quite ready for the kind of new and creative approach to other religions which would be required for the creation of a dynamic movenlent of a11 religions toward a new and universal harmony and unity. The old, traditional notion that all non-Christian religions arc 'pagan' religions, and espe- cially Western Christianity is called and clcstined to convert 'the heathen,' is still very much with us today."' One of the duties of the Church is the conln~unication of the Gospel. It .is the mighty power that God gives His Church to change and motivate people-to inoilate. But process philosophy has no neeti for a Gospcl that is the power of God unto salvation. At best it could be one of the occasions which may be used as u datum for a novel concrescence. At worst, Gospel proclamation wculd convey nothing more than information about an exemplary Christ and His redemption of making the best of things. Listen carefully as C. J. Curtis applies 'Ci7hiteheadean philosophy to the person and work ot' Christ, "Sin has us caught in its self-destructive trap, but Christ sho~vs us the way out, because in the person of Jesus .rye see how right decisions can be act~lalized without making the same mistake twce. Christ thus was able to make the best of everything. The reason that thc person of Christ can have exemplary and rcdernptive significance for us is that he was different from us in degree, but not in kind.""\Yhitehead himself had this to say: The essence of Christianity is the appeal to the life of Christ as a revelation of the nature of God and of his agency in the world. The record is fragmentary, inconsistent and uncertain . . . But there can be no doubt as to what elemcnts in the record have evoked a response from all that is best in human nature. The Mothcr, the Child, and the bare manger: the lowly man, homeless and self-forgetful, with his message of peace, love and sympathy: the suffering, the agony, the tender words as life ebbed, thc final despair: and the whole with the authority of supreme victory. 'The Gospel then becomes mcrcly good ncws of how to make the right tlecisions, choosing the good ant1 eliminating the evil. It is not the Good News of the grace of God in Christ, of salvation procurred for us. Sincc to jvhitehead events are never "bare" events but always havc a meaning, proclamation of the Gospel becornes no more than a report to people to trust the facts as they see them. "In this sense ," to use the words of IVolfhart Panncnberg, "the kerygma is not to 1)e thought of as bringing something to the event." Whitehcadean philosophy, therefore, is not able to accommodate divine mystery that is antcccdent to and independent of the world and that needs to bc revealed supernaturally; but all is quitc obvious in history. Applied to forgive~less the message wouItI be inerely it reference to the l~rin~ordial permanence of God, and .unrelatctl to the work of Christ. Forgiveness woult2 he the means by ivhicli the creative advance is reestablished, ;lnd in that sense nlould regenerate. It is not pardon from dcbt that merits thc wrath of God. Creative advance is reestablishecl by which ive shall be moved along in process to ulti- mate unity and \~vholeness. "The story of the person and life of Jesus of Nazarctl) is the story of experienced ideals-'of ideals entertained, of idcals aimed at, of ider-tls achieved, of idcals defacccl,' ".'--but not: of a personal Savior fronl sin. Essentially ivc ivould be nleasr?ring ourselves in respect to what we are not. In this context, Christian lnission in other culturcs could very well mean an appeal to the good and beau- tiful exarnplcs of the Buddha, or of one of the gotis of the Hindu pantheon, or of even a Hindu sndhu, as wciI as of Christ. Christ woulct be no 1,onger the i~niquely powcrful and Iiving Savior who achieved God's ideals in our behalf, so that we coulcl testify to that fact with finality. He ivould not be God's once-for-all special revela- tion and incarnation, God and man, to whom we would witness as being the only Savior of mankind without the involverllent of the world. Turning to Baptism, C. J. Curtis interprets it in the light of process metaphysics to be a "lure" for feeling ancl novel concrescence which draws us into the redemptive process of creativity. The con- cept of baptism as a process of novel concrescence includes both the once-for-all character of baptism and the need for its continuous daily repetition of drotvrling the old Adam. The subjective airn of the concrcscencc effected by baptism serves to r~nite the consequent stages of growth "of the new ~nan," which is the interplay between co~lceptual and physical feelings (faith and works in traditional terminology), "The 'gracious water of life' and the 'washing of regeneration in the Holy Spirit' " to use process theology, "refer to instances of the ultimate creativity (this not God) which make possible the emer- gence of new concrescences such as those engendered by the bap- tismal lure."" NOMI if we remember that a lure cngendcrs the com- plex staees of physical and concept~lill operations involved in the constitutloil of an actual entity, baptism then would no longer be the .gracious water of life. Other subjects would always be in the picture and prehendecl by still other subjects. It would not be God alone who effected the results of baptism out of Elis grace. But according to jvhitcheadean philosophy, concrescent man, with his own subjective aim would effect something right along with God. This is synergism once more, which is characteristic of the entire Whiteheadean system. Concerning the Lord's Supper, C. J. Curtis tries again to explain it according to the manner in which a process theologian would look at it. In the first place, he says that process theology tries to get away from the old inadequate notions of substance and accident in the Lord's Supper. "Once process takes the place of the old, traditional substance accident scheme, it becomes evident that the mcaning of the Eucharist must be present in the whole universe . . . The Eucha- rist must be unclcrstoocl in terms of process and value, because 'it brings into our consciousness that permanent side of the univcrsc which we can care for. It thereby provides a meaning, in terms of value, for our own existence, a meaning that flows from the nature of things.' The traditional elements of the Lord's Supper give visible expression to this source of meaning which is grounded in the struc- ture of the process of reality. At the same time the 't~reacl and wine of the Eucharist ore anlong those primary physical data of experience through which the believer can prehend the 'intensive relevance' of the eternal objects of God's primordial nature."' If we untlerstand this correctly, proccss theology would extend the meaning of the T,ordJs Supper to incl~ide far more than our Lord intended. It \voulti explain in terms of value the nleaning of our cxistencc, which is to prchend the intensive relevance of the external objects of God's prinlordial nature. Furthermore, the Lord's Supper ~voulcl be ~nade to offer less. If the Lord's Supper is a means to grasp pure possibilities or potentials which are the eternal objects, then it is less than a means of grace. Pure potentials and possibilities may be grasped, but where is unattached grace that forgives ~~ritl~out strings attached to the future? And where is thc strength of God unadulterated by cosmic effort to help us live a lifc in conforniitv wit11 the will of God? C~ONCLVSION Curtis, Pittengcr and others believe that the oicf traditional coi~ceptualization of Christian theology is ~voefully in aileq~~ ate to seriously relate to 20th century man, antl that process philosophy provides the best frameworl< available for the rearticulation of it. After reading through the attempts of both Curtis antl Pittenger, it might be said on the positive side that they bring an emphasis of novel inovement and change to theology. But this is nothing new to the carefuI reader of the Bible. With God all things have been possible, ancl for ages He has moved, innovated and acted in His o~vn unique and marvelous way. Speaking of the reconceptrralization of the Christian faith, it is cio~tbtful .ciillether process theology can bring any more certainty, or makc any more sense, or make the "miracle" aspect any more intelligible than traditional expressions. It is without doubt that. such a rcconccptualization is doubly difficult and far out of the reach of the contrnon man. Process theology postulates thc nature of God and his working on thc basis of the analogv of alleged human experience with evolu- tion. Carl Henry has this to say about that, "The God of the Bible does not wait for speculative philosophers to postulate His nature on the basis of analogies from human experience. Thc personal God of revcalctl Christianity speaks and acts for Himself and decIares His purpose in teIligibly . "'; New \Ticzi? Of Ilcnlity 29 ,. 7 Curtis writes in his introduction to '7"h.e ?-'ask of PhiZosoykicaZ i heology: "'The clap is ripe to builtl a new theology, to construct an eculncnicnl theology, to hreali doivn barriers, to see new relationships, to rcintcq~ret, to universali~e, to syntllcsize." He belicvcs that process theology is ahle to do that ancl 11c has ~nadc the attempt. But actually it leads one to rnisc inore questior~s than it purports to answer. As Levi has indicated,: evil is i1npIicnte(2 in the wry naturc of actuality, an<:l all goodness lics in thc irnposi.tion of ~noc'les of order. Its basic weakness, in our opinion, is that it is grccljcateil upon the ilnpossible, unscientific%and unscriptural premisc of evolution. The new reality leads In the opposite direction froin Christian grace and truly unaided innovation by God to a thoroughly synergistic system. Thc God, Christ,-and where docs the Holy Spirit come in? -of proccss theology is not thc Cod of the Bible. God's conception of the task of His Church is garbled and cn~asculatetl if clothed in the: preccpts of 1;Vhitche;;denn process philosophy. 'I'hc liccv view of reality that tvc have bee11 discussing has as its basis process metaphysics which stands in opposition to existentialism and positivism. Lct me first sharc wit11 you one of the most lucid and simple cxplanations of this philosophy that 1 have come across. E. R. Baltazar in it non no graph of his (:oncc.rning Tcjlhartl rlc Chardin illr~stratcs the philosophy of procession in this inanncr:!' Lct us considcr another concrete. csample to illrtstrntc hour process does not proccrd from su1)stancc. A sced corresponds perfectly to the Aristoleo- I'honiistic notion of st~bst;lnce: self-enclosed, well-defined, able to cxist of itself. 'Now, if one literally translates thc substance-accidcnt category with rcspcct to thc sccd, so that yroccss is an activity of thc seed, then- this would lia\lc! to r~lcan that the sccd left alonc is ahle to germinate itself, grow jtsclf, flowcr :1nc1 hcar fruit, all by itself, i.c., without help from the "grountl" (soil, moisttzrc, heat, etc.). Given this example, one can see that the process of the sccd does not proceecl from thc seed. What causes gcrnmination is the union of the sccd with its "ground." It is the ground that germin;\tcs the scctl, that: mnltcs it grow, matures it and lets it Aower and bear fruit. I'rorcss is this continuous vital union of scccl and "ground". 'l'hat this union cannot be within the seed is obvious for it is the seed that is within the process and is the process, since this union is successively the seedling, the plant, the fruit. We have reached here the first stage in our conversion of thc notion of substance. Thus thc ccnter of substance is process. In thc example of the seed, it is not the seed that stays put, and the ground comes toward it; it is the sced that tends toward the ground, The ground is thc ccnter and the seed roots itself in it. The second stage in this conversion is the destruction of the notion of su'hstance as ]laving its own act of "to be." Again, let us consider an ~sa~nplc from thc world of nature. If we look at a plant, abstracting from its rootedness in the ground, the plant seems to have its own act of "to be." But a little consitleration is sufficient to show that it is the union of the plant with the ground rvhicll is the very existence of thc plant. Uproot the plant and it is dead. Clearly there is no proper act of "to be" separate from thc ground. All the things that we see and call substance, i.e., as having autonomous existence arc really the result of union . . . no object or snhstance in this universe can be understood a art from the evolu- tionery unity of the universe in which it is situate z and from which it takes its meaning and existence . . . To be is always to-be with. Being is always being-with-another . . . What is true of the analysis of individual l~cings is true of the universe as a single evoIutionarv unity. Thc univcrse is a process: it is born . . . The final result of the kind of analysis would 11e a nc-tv ontology. The notion of l~eing would be converted from being as substanc:: to bcing as process . . . Jlcing is being only when it is born to its world; and out- side it, there is no being, only death. This truth is tllc prin~itive datum of ontology. Being is union-with-a-world, not substance . . . Process is also necessarily the basis of epistemology, of truth. It is only jn process that being unfolds, reveals itself to itself and to others. To say that the essence of the seed is seedness is pure tautology. Tnerc is no revelation of being here, but conccaledness. Substance then has no mean- ing in itself apart from its groul~d or world, for meaning is based on true existence and this is attained only in the union of substancc with its world. 'To define is to relate, not to cut off and isolate . . . The law that individualization is to 1)c in union may again bc illustrated 11y thc example of a plant. The morc it is rooted in the ground, the greatcr its growth, its diffcrcntiation, its fullness; and if we move to a higher levcl, we observe that the "I" hccomes truly a personality when it is united with its "Thou," and thc greater that union, the greater the personalization . . . Existence, selfhood or indi~liduality, and meaning are all thcreforc to be found in the context of union or process. The third and last stage in the conversion of szrbstnncc is the elimination of thc view that substancc (or nature) attains its end bv its own powers alone. The end of being is fullness by a process of growth; but growth always presupposes a "ground," and hence it is through union that the end of being is attained . . . Since substance tends to its "other" in order to bc and be true, the dynamism of being is not a having but a giving . . . Being in its essence is a gift. Being must first be a zve before it can become an I. The secd must die to itself ancl give itself to the ground before there is new life. This pattern and dynamism is repeated throughout the whole hierarchy of being up to the Infinite Being . . - Since bcing tends towards thc other in order to be, being is not in itself but in the other. Its presentness is not being; its future is the place of being and truth . . . in an evolving universe, to stay put is to die. Per- manency is falsehood; process is truth. The reason is that the domain of being and truth is the future, and the only way to attain the future is to he in time. To be outside time, then is untruth; while to bc in time is truth. Instead of assimilating time into substance and so destroying its reality, we should bring substance into time, make it process, and thus restore to time its reality. With this new view, there is now n metaphysical basis for involvement in time.' Thus wc coillci continue to go into further detail to describe the deep and far-reaching changes that result from this new view of reality. Alfred North Whitehead is widely accrcditecl to be the "seminal mind 'and formative influence in later definitive statements of process-metaphysics," 1 0 although Hcnri Bergson (French) and SamucI Alexander (English) influenced him with their process and quasi-naturalistic philosophies. Because Whitehead is so considered, it worrld bc instructive for us to look at the task of the Church in the light of this fountainhead rather than the many resultant streams. What has bcen stated by Baltazar, above, will servc partially as our .ivindow through which we shall in the first place peer at the rather formidable philosophical nomenclature of Whitehead." Actual entities, also called actual occasions, are the final realities of which the rrniverse consists. God is an actual entity, and so are creatures and created things. How an actual entity becomes constitutes what that actual entity is. Its bcing is constituted by its becoming. Thc "seed" is an actual entity, as is the "ground." Thc final facts are, all alike actual enti~es; and thrsc arc drops of experience, complex and interdependent. Concrc~src~cc IS the bccoming of an actucil cntjty through the growing togcthcr of a n:~mbc.r of originally separatc parts of expt!riencc into a ncw unlty. In other worcls, it is thy namc for thc union, thc PTOCCSS of becom- ing. The analysis of the conlponcnts a1)stracts from thc concrcscencu. Thc only appeiif is to intuition. \Vc then have a process of organization guidccl by thc sz~bicctil-e tii?~ of the concrescence xvhjch aims at a novel togethcrncss of cxpcrience. The final stilge of a concresccncc, j.e., that to\vard which the entirc process moves, is called the scltisfaction. gut ncither the sul~jective aim nor the satisfaction can I)c ;~l)stractcd from the concrescence. 'The rnomcnt that thc concresccncc has achieved its satisfaction and becomc an actual entity, it perishes (it loses its subjective ain~), and thus bccomcs an objective datum for a novel concresccnce. Crcrctivity is the universal of universals characterizing ultimate matter of fact. It js that ~lltilnatc principle by which thc many, which are the t~niverse conjunctively, 1,ecome the onc actual occasion, which is the univcrsc cc~njunctively. It lies in the nature of things that the many cnfer into conlpIcs ~rnjty. At the same timc, creativity is thc principle of novelty which introduces novelty into thc content of the many. The creative clrEvunce is the application of this ultimatc principle of creativity to each novel situation which it originates. Etcr77~1 objects are the pure possibilities or potentials, the abstract aspects or patterns of all that might come to pass in thc creatctl order. God in His primordial aspect is abstractly ~lnderstoocl as thc eternal reality whose awareness concepta~ally includes all thc possibilities of eternal objects. God has ;I consequent aspect, or nature, in which He is the recipient of a11 that has occurred in the order of creation. God's physicaI and ever- Iasting nature, His consequent nature, is the result of thc factuality of the occasions in the process entering into and helping to mould the divine experience in its capacity for infinite atijustmcnt and relationship. Fcclings are thc agencies which draw things perceived "out there" into thc constitution of the percciving subject. This means that a feeling is thc appropriation of some elements in the universe to be components in tl~e real internal constit~ltion of its subject. The elements arc felt under an a [~stxaction. I,zrrcs are connected with fcelings and arc comparable to gc>rms which engender the complex stages of physical and conceptual operations in- voliletl in the constitution of on actual entity. They evoke from each occ;~siun in thc ongoing process the movenient towards satisfaction of its subjectivc aim. A ~~cxc~s is an individual fact of togctherncss among actual entities. A prehension is an act by mcans of which an actual entity grasps another actual or non-actual entity ant1 makes it an objcct of its experience Basically therc arc two species of prehensions: a) positive prehensions which arc. termed 'feelings,' and b) ncgativc yrchcnsions which are said to 'eliminate from feeling.' The subject prchends; the datum is that which is prchended; and the szibjectivc for~n is how; that subject prehcnds that datum. Suyerject refers to the subject as it emerges from its process of con- cresccncc and thus becomes a potential ciaturn for a future concrescence. "Thc philosophy of Whitehead," so says Albert Levi in his book, Philos- ophy und thc Modern World, "like that of Plato, is haunted by principles of division expressed as 'ideal opposites': joy and sorrow, good and evil, permanence and flux, the one and the many, order and disorder, God and the world, etc. Ideals group themselves about these oppositions, and the world is the victim of the paradoxes which they present. Beauty demands order, but cannot exist without the disordcr which discords introduce. . . The gootl of actualization requires thc cvil of limitations."l2 "The task of the creative advance is the reconciliation of these oppositions. . . . The opposed elements of thc universe stand in the relation of mutual implication. But more important: cxistentially, they require one another. Thus the universe is the active expression of its own variety of. oppositions. The analogy with Hegcl is, therefore, not completely apt, (although Hegcl very definitely influenced Whitehead.) The dialectical opposition of thesis and antithesis which always in Hegel receives its logical resolution in such a way as to override and therefore nullify the discrepancy, in Whitehead is com- pletely different. In Hegel, opposition disappears in mid-air by an act of dialectical magic. Whitehead is too cxistentially oriented for such theatrical illusion. His opposites arc elements in the naturc of things. They are in- corrigibly there."'" "Whitehead's philosophy is indeed a 'vision of the whole,' with these principal aspects: 1) a theory of time in which time enters into the essence of materiality, 2) a theory of relatedness in which the world enters into the constiti~tion of each actuality, and 3) a theory of inheritance whereby endur- ance is explained as conformal inheritance of pattern."14 Levi continucs to say that the ultimate wisdom of Whitehead's philosophy lies in his vision of the whole. "It is not primarily in seeing that God is the ~rinciplc of con- cretion, or that evil is implicated in the very nature of actuality, or even that a11 goodness lies in the imposition of modes of order. Its ultimate wisdom lies in the perception that the solemnity and thc grandeur of the world arises out of the slow process of unification in which the diversities of existence are utilized, although they are never lost."'" Whitehead's philosophy may be categorized as icIealistic naturalism or naturalistic idealism. C. J. Curtis summarizes Whitehead's religious position with this statc- ment: "In thc mature statement of Whitehead's religious views, science and religion, Christianity and humanism, idealism and naturalism have been woven into thc fabric of his mystical religious vision to form a new and creative whole." ii "Reality," according to Whitehead, "is one universal process (one-layered) systematically governed according to certain laws by cosmic mind, or God."" Bcfore wc attempt to analyze the task of the church in the light of White- head's new vicw of reality, it is essential to summarize briefly his cosmology and his conceptions of history and Christ. Whitehead bases his theological notion of the world on the recognition that "in every respcct God and thc World move convcrsely to each other in respcct to their process. God is primordially one, namely, He is the primordial unity of relevance of the many potential forms: in the process He acquires a consequent multiplicity, which the primordial character absorbs into its own unity. The world is primordially many, namely, the many actual occasions with their physical finitude; in the process it acquires a consequent unity, which is a novel occasion and is absorbed into the multiplicity of the pr?- mordial character. Thus God is to be conceived as one and as many in the converse sense in which the World is to be conceivetl as many as one."'8 . . . Each temporal occasion embodies God, and is embodied in God. In God's nature, permanence is primordial and flux is derivative from the World; in the World's nature, flux is primordial and permanence is derivative from God. Also the World's naturc is a primordial datum for God; and God's nature is a primordial datum for thc World. Creation achieves the reconciliation of pernlanence and flux when it has reached its final terms which is cverlasting- ness-the Apotheosis of the World."l"This means that the world will even- tually reach divine status). The world needs God, and God needs the world. "Thc world movcs towards its everlasting unity, which is the objective aim of its process, as it evolves in a relationship of 'creative interchange,' with thc IOVC of God for thc world. The proccss of the evolution of the world therefore, means that at thc same time God's nature is ever enlarging itself in this final phase of thc passage of the world into everlasting unity." God is still God, but has becomc. enriched. "In the course of passage into everlasting unity, 'what is done in the world is transformed into a rcality in heaven, and the reality in heaven passes luck into the world. By reason of this reciprocal relation, thc love in the x.vorld passes into thc love in heaven, and floods baclt into the worltl.' "The central noti if of cosnlology is the celebration and cxami- nation of this reciprocal relationship l~etween God and the \v~rl(l."~O As for history, "history is process, i.c., thcs process of becoming anti perishing is t.he real, jntcrnal constitution of history. The reference to be- corning and perishing points immediately to thc fact that the nature of history is hound up with the concrescence of individual actual entities. Thc process of historical concrescence is characterized by two, jointly relevant, hasic catcgorics. First, there is nothing in historical process which drifts into history from nowhere, and then becomes part of the concrescent actuality of some historical entity. Tn othcr words, 'every condition to which the process of becoming conforms in any particular instance, has its reason either in the character of some actual entity in the actual world of that concrescence, or in the character of thc suhjcct which is in proccss of concrcscence.' Second, in the context of historical process, 'the concrescence of cacl; individual entity is internally determined anci is externally free.' The joint fulfillment of these two categories charactcrizcs every historical event, including the historical revelation of God in Josus Christ. . . Tbc self-creative unity of the universc complctcs the concrescence of every historical fact. . . The wholc movement of history is in thc direction of an increase of creative emphasis. . . Thc slow movement of human and cosmic history toward an ultimate unity with maxi- mum intensity of creative emphasis is an evolutionary process, but 'not an indefinite progress.' "'1 With regard to Christ we must remember that reality, whether human or divine, is process, change, and evolution. "Christ went thru the process of human existence. He was without sin in his life, but not because he was thc incarnation of a sinless srrbstance, and therefore could not sin even if he had wanted to," so says C. J. Curtis. "Thc temptations of Christ show that he was capable of sinning, that he was attracted by sin. But they also show that his life was a proccss of decision making directed against sin. Hc was sinless in this process of decision not to sin. The actuality of Christ's life was the process in which divine potentialities (such as sinlessncss) wcre actualized. Jesus evolvcd into a religious genius and a son of God. He was not born as a complete and perfect man. Thc scandal of traditional theology," says Curtis, "is that it refuses to accept the reality of process in the humanity of Christ and gets involvcd in speculations about thc Virgin Birth which led us to conceive of reality in terms of static act~alities."~' Now Ict's gct down to the task of the Church in the light of this new reality. The task of all believers in Christ is thc communication of the Gospel, putting it to work in their lives, and thc actministration of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, all according to God's will as revealed in His Holy Scriptures. Curtis, Charles J. Thc Task of Philosophical Theology, New York: Philo- sophical Library, 1967. Henry, Carl F. H., "The Heality and Identity of God," Christianity Today, March 14, 1969. Levi, Albert W ., Philosophy And The Modern World, Bloomington, Indiana : University Press, 1 9 66. Plzilosophy nnri Religion: Some Contemporary Perspectives. Edited by Jerry H. Gill. Minneapolis: Burgess Publishing Company, 1968. Pittenger, William Norman. Process-thought and Christian Faith, First Amer- ican Edition. New York: Macmillan, 1968. FOOTNOTES 1. C. J. Curtis, The Task of Philosophical Theology, p. 24. 2. Tbid.p.45. 3. Ibid. p. 45. 4. lhid. pp. 35-36. 5. Ibid, pp. 100-101. 6. C. F. Henry, "Thc Reality and Identity of Gotl," C:hristicni~x 'forlay, March 28, 1969, p. 15. 7. See appendix. 8. "Nowhere in all its vast cxtent is there an): trace of' purpose or evcn of prospective significance. It is impclled from behind by blind physical forces, ;I gigilntic and chaotic jazz dance of particles anct r;!diations, in which thc oacr~lj tendency we have so far been able to ~lei~ct is that sumnlarizecf in thc Second I,aw of Thermodynamics--the tendency run down." lulian Huslcy, Evolzttion in Action, 1,ondon: Penguin, 1953, p. 14. 9. J. H. Gill, Philosophy and Rcligio~~, pp. 3 13-323. 10. C. f;. H. Henry. "The Reality and Identity of God," Christianity 'I'ottny. March 1969. 1'. 4. 11. Thcsc clefinitions arc composite, from both Lcri and Curtis, iv11o quote from Whitchcad's I-'rocc.s.s Alzd Reality, pp. 27-38, et alia. 12. ILici. p. 530. lbid. Albcrt Lev;. I'hilosophy and Tlze Modrrn World. p. 505. IbiJ. p. 531. C. J. Curtis, op. czt., p. 13 fbid. p. 12. A Whitchcad. Process and Reality. p. 529. Ibid. Curtis, op. c~t., pp. 157-158. Ibid., pp. 83, 87, 89. ?bid. p. 43.