Emergence Theism' as a Pantheistic Thread Within the Traditional Theism: Seeking for a God-World Unity

Transdisciplinarity as wisdom?

The notion of transdisciplinarity contains both diversity and unification. It implies the diversity of different scientific disciplines. On the other hand, it postulates the existence of a certain meta-level which makes possible the connection of different outcomes resulting from different disciplines. In knowing the different scientific methodologies we can indeed enter into dialogue with representatives of different fields. But in order to create something really interdisciplinary, i.e. new, we must leave behind some areas of our own academic language and approach, and thus attempt to develop a meta-level. Otherwise there would be no possibility for e.g. molecular-biology, medicine, zoology and theology to find a common approach towards the question: what is life and why is it worth protecting it? Perhaps the quest for a common language or meta-level would be easier for us if we considered it as the quest for wisdom. One of the oldest definitions of wisdom derives from the Stoics, who described it as “the knowledge of things divine and human”.1 Nowadays, we might add to “things divine and human” also “natural things”, which makes us discover wisdom in the entire spectrum of being, i.e. from the microscopic up to the cosmological level. Since wisdom is rather a personal category, a methodological purist might ask whether speaking of it in the context of quarks and galaxies makes sense. But because wisdom is an essential trait of our mind we cannot but discover wisdom in the world. According to the German idealist Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling (1775-1854), the perceptibility of wisdom in our mind results from the existence of wisdom outside the mind, i.e. in the universe. In Schelling’s terms:

"Demands a human being for this knowledge which is wisdom, so must s/he assume that wisdom is within the object of the knowledge. […] There is no wisdom for human beings unless there is wisdom in the objective world. The first premise of philosophy, understood as the pursuit of wisdom, is the existence of wisdom in the object, in the being, in the world.”2

Schelling’s approach results not only from the old epistemological postulate that the cognized object must be cognizable for the person cognizing it, but also from a concept which can be also found in St. Anselm’s ontological argument. Since the human mind cannot think of nothing or desire nothing, the object of its thought or desire must be in some way existent. Therefore our quest for wisdom can be explained in terms of the receptivity of Wisdom existing in an objective way outside our minds. It can be also explained as our subjective desire for something outside ourselves which will satisfy this desire. Since we agree that the personal category of wisdom can be found in the material world, we have to at least assume a kind of personal presence within the latter. This personal presence in the world is known by all religions as the Divine or God.

Origins of the Western conceptions of transcendence

God, however, who was considered in the beginnings of the Western civilization as present within the world, became more and more transcendent and even alien to it. In the Judaist, Christian and Islamic theistic traditions, besides the transcendent view of God the immanent view was also present, but in the course of time the latter was increasingly disregarded whereas the former was stressed. The reason for such a development can be found in the theological and philosophical context of rising theism, by which I mean the time between Philo of Alexandria (20 B.C. – 50 C.E) and Origen († 253). During this period, first the Jews and subsequently the Christians started to use the philosophical argumentation of the pagans not only in order to proselytize them, but also to justify their own belief in a rational manner.

The theological context of the early theist view of God’s transcendence or immanence was formed by the Old Testament and Greek religion. In order to avoid any similarities between the cosmotheistic gods of the Middle East 3 and the Yahweh God, the Old Testament depicts the latter as the transcendent Creator and the separated from the world Holiness.4 A stronger emphasis on God’s immanence would probably have annihilated any difference between Abrahamic i.e. monotheistic and non-Abrahamic i.e. polytheistic kinds of religion, since the Bible shows us that Israel had significant problems in accepting God’s invisibility and noncorporality.5 But not every polytheistic religion held an immanent view of the gods. The genuine Greek polytheism of the Pre-Hellenistic era, unlike the later Hellenistic religion of the Empire, considered the gods mainly as transcendent. The official cult of the Greek religion did not offer ordinary believers an intimate contact with the gods. Only exceptional individuals such as poets, visionaries and prophets, known as the theologoi, sensed the divine presence.6 Believers weren’t even allowed to enter the interior of a temple, where only priests performed the divine cult. It was only in mysterious religions, which started to develop in the 6th century B.C., that the ancients could discover divine immanence and presence within polytheism.

The philosophical context of rising theism exerted an even stronger influence on the conception of God’s transcendence/immanence than the religious context. It was mainly Platonism combined with some Aristotelian conceptions which philosophically focused on God’s transcendence. By dividing reality into cosmos noet≈çs and cosmos aisthet≈çs 7,Plato widened the gap between here and there, God and the world, immanence and transcendence. The cosmos noet≈çs as the immutable and therefore real existing world was the realm of ideas, notions and God’s presence. However transcendent, it could be attained by love 8 and intellectual effort,9 since the divine-human affinity of nature made such access possible.10 On the other hand, the cosmos aisthet≈çs was the mutableworld of sensual things. It did not exist by itself, but only by participation in the noetic world. The aisthetic world served only as a mirror of ideas and divine presence.11 We can say that the natural attitude in the times of rising theism was a transcendental one. People were searching for meaning and divinity more ‘there’ than ‘here’ and the physics of the period dealt more with ontological hierarchies than with physical entities.

Transcendence growing physically: Aristotle’s merit and fault

Aristotle – the second reason for the emphasis of transcendence in the Western theism – albeit known to the first theistic writers was little used by them with regard to the immanence/transcendence issue. Discovered by the West in the 12th century, he gave his account of the First Mover The(le)ology which not only continued the Platonic transcendent approach in metaphysics, but also introduced a new physical and cosmological dimension. Whereas Plato’s God – by thinking up ideas which included the existence of entities – was to some extent present in the world, Aristotle’s God – as the First Unmoved Mover – was external to it. Since, according to Aristotle, motion12 and world are eternal,13 the First Unmoved Mover of the world must be considered as its logical and ontological beginning. The relation of an eternal God to an eternal world was not an intricate issue for the Greeks, but since then Christians adopting Aristotle had affirmed the creatio ex nihilo God as the First Mover who appeared at the beginning of space and time. The further adoption of the Aristotelian view of causality gave origin to the concept of God as the first link in long chain of causes. This approach can be found in almost all medieval proofs of God’s existence resulting from Aristotle. Albert the Great (†1280) was presumably the first medieval Western scholar who applied the Aristotelian ex motu arguments in his proofs of God’s existence.14 Also, three of five “ways to God” of Thomas Aquinas, who employed a large part of Aristotelian cosmology in his own opus,15are more or less connected with the ex motu argument.16 Even the Scotist view of God as primum effectivum, primum finitivum and primum eminens cannot deny its Aristotelian roots.17 Even if Platonic and Neo-Platonic conceptions of God’s effects on the world were present during the Middle Ages, the charm of the Aristotelian approach consisted in its scientific and systematic impact, which promised scholars what they like most: the theory of everything.

The enormous influence of Aristotle on the conception of God’s transcendence becomes obvious when we examine the connections between his physics, cosmology and theology, along with the history of its impact. Aristotelian physics is about entities which exist separately and are movable.18 Therefore his physics for the most part deals with motion which is described as entelecheia, i.e. the actualization of a potentiality.19 Motion, however, falls into the higher category of change 20 which is the main attribute of the sublunar world. Since “every change is from something to something”21 also motion, being a sort of change, must be caused by something else. Here we come to the Aristotelian sentence: “everything which moves is moved by something else”22 which gained fame and gave direction to physics for many centuries to come. Since the causal chain cannot be reduced ad infinitum, there must be a First Mover who is unmoved. He is the final cause which moves all things in the way the object of desire or thought moves thoughts or desires.23 Since everything in the sublunar and supralunar world is moved by something else, God is the efficient cause of every motion. Aristotle’s cosmology shows us that God’s effect on the world, firstly on the supralunar and secondly on the sublunar world, proceeds in an indirect and distant way. God himself moves directly only the first celestial sphere of the supralunar world. The further 55 spheres of it are moved by other divine substances.24 Hence the human world is moved not by the First Mover himself, but by a subsequent divine substance. Aristotle’s God – being a transcendent, immutable, self-sufficient, immaterial, universal intellect – has no need to care for the eternal species of humans who inhabit an eternal world driven by the eternal motion.25 The adoption of Aristotelism by the medieval Christian scholars not only caused the well-known philosophical and theological problems (immortality of the soul, eternity of the world, theory of double truth), but also made God more distant to the world – even compared with the also transcendent Platonic system. In Aristotelism God resides outside the world not only in the metaphysical but also in the spatial meaning. A ‘place’ is, according to Aristotle, “the boundary of the containing body at which it is in contact with the contained body.”26 Thus something can be said to be ‘in a place’ only if there is anything else which contains the latter. But God moving the first celestial sphere is outside the ‘first heaven’. In regard to heaven however, Aristotle states: “we cannot go on and say that heaven is in anything else.”27 Therefore heaven, the sphere of God’s dwelling, is in nothing, since Aristotle denied the existence of the void.28 However, saying that God dwells in nothing may be a pre-stage of saying that God is nothing, as shown by the further development of philosophy and physics.

Among the theses condemned in the year 1277 was thesis 49 which seemed to have particularly influenced the further development of physics. It reads as follows: “Anyone who says that God could not move the heavens [that is, the sky and therefore the world] with rectilinear motion; and the reason is that a vacuum would remain let him be accursed.”29 As a consequence of such an explicit condemnation, the medieval scholars tried to prove that (1) God can move the heavens; (2) He can do it in rectilinear motion, against Aristotle who sustained that he can do only so in circular motion30; (3) There is at least the possibility of vacuum. In his theory of impetus, Jean Buridan (†1358) conjectured that in absence of corrupting resistances a wheel could be revolved perpetually by the impetus it received when initially put into motion. Further he suggested that at the world’s creation God impressed a fixed amount of impetus into each celestial orb. Since the celestial region was thought devoid of all resistance to motion, the original impetus impressed in each planetary orb should remain constant and produce indefinite circular motion.31 Therefore at the beginning of the world Buridan’s God seems to stand a sort of cosmic driven wheel giving once for all the impetus to the universe. It is not the physical naïveté, however, which strikes us as being odd in this picture, but the temporal and spatial distance attributed to God’s action. The reprobation of thesis 49 encouraged some scholars to think about the possibility of the void beyond the supralunar world, which, in their deference to Aristotle, they called “imaginary”. This supralunar void, being very distant from the world, was regarded by some authors as the appropriate space for God’s presence. Thomas Bradwardine (†1349) argued for instance in his theological treatise De causa Dei contra Pelagium that God’s perfection would be more complete if He existed in many places simultaneously than in a unique place only. Bradwardine demonstrated that God necessarily exists in every part of the world and also everywhere beyond the real world in an imaginary infinite void. Since God is omnipresent in an infinite void beyond the world, it follows that although a void can exist without body, it cannot exist without God’s presence. Theological considerations seem to have impelled Bradwardine to associate these empty places with God.32 This resolution is certainly laudable in the light of Bradwardine’s apologetic attempt, but quite disquieting in the light of the further “God of the gaps” conception. The attempt to situate God in an extracosmic sphere was also present in the commentary on Aristotle’s On the Heavens completed in 1377 by Nicole Oresme (†1382). For Oresme it seemed intuitively unsatisfying to believe that a finite world actually occupied all the space in existence. Extracosmic space is described by him as an infinite and indivisible void being not only the proper space for God’s immensity, but being God Himself. By its identification with God, the extracosmic void was apparently conceived as an existent thing. Oresme even envisioned it as an infinite spatial container in which an absolute motion was at least conceivable if God chose to move our finite spherical cosmos in a straight line.33 Barring some interesting physical insights present in Oresme’s conception, the God described by him seems to withdraw more and more from the world by occupying not even the extramundane sphere but the extracosmic void. Identification of God’s immensity and infinite extension with an infinite void beyond the world raised some puzzling questions which received scant attention during the Middle Ages.

However, they exerted influence on philosophy and physics in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, when experiments and discoveries about atmospheric pressure – especially by Pascal, von Guericke, and Robert Boyle – showed that nature did not abhor a vacuum.34 If a vacuum is possible is God present in it, outside it or perhaps even identical with it? Since God’s presence couldn’t be discovered in the intermundane void there was still hope for the extramundane void. The philosopher Samuel Clarke (†1729), for example, insisted on God’s presence in the infinite void which he deemed void of body only. The physicist Otto von Guericke (†1686), in his New Magdeburg Experiments on Void Space raised the Stoic question of what lies beyond our finite, spherical world and concluded that an infinite, imaginary void filled with God existed there. Aware that many shades of meaning had come to be attached to the term “imaginary”, von Guericke thought it useful to mention some of them. Imaginary space was conceived as nothing; empty of all reality; the negation of all being; a completely fictitious entity; and as God Himself, who is diffused everywhere.35 If however the imaginary space being identical with God was conceived as nothing, wasn’t God Himself close to being conceived as nothing too? We should keep in mind that in the Aristotelian system God, the First Mover, had to move the spheres from outside the world. This is only possible if God is understood as something physical. The mathematician Joseph Raphson († 1715), for example, believed that only if God was truly extended in space could He be omnipresent, since His omnipresence was a necessary prerequisite for the existence of all things. Indicating an acquaintance with medieval arguments, he declares disapprovingly that the Schoolmen had conceived God’s extension as transcendent. But how, he asks, can extended beings come from something that is only transcendently, and not actually, extended? Newton, Samuel Clarke, Henry Moe, and others shared Raphson’s viewpoint. Not only did they associate God with a physically extended infinite void, but, on occasion, spoke as if God were actually extended in physical space, a tendency which Leibniz sought to discourage because it would transform God into a three-dimensional and corporeal being. Spinoza, indeed, took this very step when he made extension an attribute of God, who was conceived as an infinite material being. Whereas in the Middle Ages God’s nondimensionality determined the properties of an imaginary and dimensionless, extramundane, infinite, void space, in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries it was the three-dimensional infinite void of the new physics that, unwittingly perhaps, conferred tridimensionality upon the deity.36

Regardless of the physical and cosmological discoveries made by Copernicus, Gallilei and their successors, the traditional theological view of God’s presence in the world for a long time remained mainly Aristotelic both in Catholicism and in Protestantism. Martin Luther himself, especially in his early period, tried to reject the burden of Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics37and saw the reform of the theological curriculum as predicated on the removal of some of the works of Aristotle.38 However, he also had frequent and positive recourse to the Aristotelian model of fourfold (efficient, formal, material, and final) causality, with reference to God, to human act, and to contingent events in the world.39 J. Calvin’s view of Aristotle is similarly selective. On the one hand, his invectives against the philosopher can nearly equal Luther.40 On the other hand, Calvin understood Aristotle’s model of fourfold causality as normative for the explanation not only of world order but also of such important theological matters as the doctrine of predestination.41 Calvin also assumed the correctness of Aristotle’s vision of world order in which the subordinate movers of the several spheres of the universe mediated downward the initial impetus of the First Mover. A view which is reminiscent of Thomas Aquinas’ commentary on the Metaphysics: “The prophet teaches that all the changes of the world depend on celestial motion […] and teaches that the wheels rest by themselves and are set in motion by a higher force – that is, as the living creatures or cherubim are moved, so the wheels are drawn along by their influence”.42 The influence of Aristotelism on Protestant theology remained strong for many years43, a fact which had some early ‘ecumenical’ consequences. It was the attachment to the Aristotelian cosmology of both confessions which made Catholics and Protestants to denounce Copernicus in the sixteen century.44 This Aristotelism, albeit neither unchanging nor monolithic, exerted influence not only on Catholicism and but also on Protestantism until the early eighteenth century.45
The consequences for Catholicism, however, were stronger and more persistent. The ‘Catholic Aristotelian tradition’ lasted generally speaking from the year 1200 until the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). Certainly there was neither a one nor pure Aristotelism in the Catholic doctrine, but an Aristotelism merged in the Middle Ages with some Platonic or Neo-Platonic elements and in the Renaissance with some conceptions deriving from Stoicism, Skepticism, Epicureanism and the Hermetic tradition. However, in the times preceding the Council of Trent (1545-63) Johannes Capreolus and Cajetan, in their debate with Scotism, developed Thomism as the ‘true’ catholic doctrine. Therefore, the Aristotelian Thomism became the main philosophical doctrine of the Council of Trent and the subsequent Counter-Reformation. It is in this way that modern scholasticism originated. Albeit not devoid of some original ideas and solutions,46 it remained faithful to such Aristotelian heritage as fourfold causality, the idea of the universe of concentric spheres, primary and secondary causality and the categories – to name only the most important. Even polemics among the modern scholastics didn’t deviate from the main Aristotelian principles, which can be shown in the controversy regarding grace. The debate between the Dominican Bañez and the Jesuit Molina on the concursus divinus and the concursus gratiae,i.e. God’s influence on creatures, especially on human free will, remained in fact a polemic between two Thomistic schools. Regardless of the different view on this subject held by the Molinists, who stressed more the independence of the creatures, and the Banezists, who stressed more their dependence, the pattern of argumentation – i.e. the degree of the influence of the First Cause on second causes – stayed Aristotelian. God causing the second causes was still more a God from the ‘outside’ than from the ‘inside’. While due to scientific progress (Copernicus, Galileo, Newton) science by and by abandoned Aristotelian physics and cosmology; while philosophy firstly denied substantial form (Descartes), secondly refused causality (Malebranche, Geulincx) and finally objected to the categories (Kant), Catholic theology, entrenched in Aristotelism, remained the same. Even if in the 19th century some Catholic theologians started the attempt to leave Aristotle for the benefit of Kant (Zimmer, Salat), Schelling (Thanner) or Hegel (Rosmini-Serbati), the official Catholic doctrine expressed in the encyclical “Aeterni Patris” (1879) was the recurrence to the Aristotelian Aquinas. Since until the Second Vatican Council Neo-Scholasticism had a kind of ‘exclusive agreement’47 signed with the Magisterium, Aristotelian Thomism with all its impact on the transcendent view of God remained the Catholic main-stream theology for a long period.

The rise of modern panentheism

Although the very term ‘panentheism’ was coined in the year 1829 by the post-Kantian philosopher and mystic Karl Christian Krause (1781-1832), the ‘panentheistic turn’ in theology began in the early 20th century and found its first prominent representatives – Whitehead, Hartshore, Teilhard de Chardin and Tillich to name only a few – in the 1940s and 1950s.48 Despite the various forms of panentheism49, its main characteristic seems to be the inclusion of God into the world. While up to the time of 20th century panentheism God was considered mainly as transcendent, panentheism sometimes rediscovers and emphasizes His immanence in a way which seems quite radical. According to the panentheistic conception we can speak of an interdependence between God and the world. Thus not only does the world need God to exist but in a way God needs the world, which is the expression of His own existence. Therefore the world is comprehended as God’s body or, to put it in the more ecclesiastical way, as His sacrament. Through this means God as Creator is present in, with and under the creative, natural processes of the world and this conception makes His constant causal intervention, as the First Cause on second causes, unnecessary. Panentheism seems to result not only from some philosophical conceptions, but also from scientific progress, which by researching the processes of nature, could not find any ‘gap’ where a ‘God of gaps’ could be found. Since all cultures and most people have a sense of God’s presence and some of them hold the tradition of divine revelation, God may be said to be at least a sociological and cultural reality. Theology however, besides being enrooted in divine Revelation and its own tradition, is also enrooted in a philosophy which, in order to be relevant to theology, has to be at least in some way connected with science. In the history of Western Christianity there were many periods when the paradigmatic change of a scientific view influenced other changes, firstly in philosophy and secondly in theology (Aristotelism → Scholastic, Renaissance → Reformation, Galileo, Descartes, Newton → Deism, 19th century discoveries/Positivism  → Fideism, Modernism or Atheism). This development does not, however, mean that the theological truth is a relative. Neither should we cut or omit these parts of the theological system which do not match our present world view, which, of course, is as partial as the previous ones. The true theological challenge is to develop a new theological model of God’s presence in the world, since all our ways of talk about God are models, which would both maintain some traditional solutions and discover new approaches; hence panentheism seems to be a valuable and interesting attempt to do so.

Many, if not most, approaches and polemics can be properly understood only by observing their historical and doctrinal context. Similarly, the panentheistical critics of ‘traditional’ or ‘classical’ theism can also be fully comprehended based on the historical context in which 20th century panentheism arose. This context consisted in: German idealism, Darwinism and, with regard to Catholicism, in Neo-Scholasticism. To begin with the latter it seems that, in the light of the doctrinal diversity of different Protestant denominations and the absence of the Orthodox perspective in Western philosophical thought in the beginnings of the 20th century, it was Neo-Scholasticism which formed the only coherent theological system panentheism could oppose. Therefore, the first panentheists speaking about ‘traditional’ or ‘classical’ theism in fact referred to the Neo-Scholastic view. Neo-Scholasticism developed somehow in response to positivism which accepted as real only ‘things’ revisable by experiment. Thus, in order to be in touch with at least some scientific views, Neo-Scholasticism established the present and perceptible ‘thing’, i.e. substance, as the leading model of being.50 But such a substance seems somehow autonomous and self-sufficient. Thus God operating on it does so rather ‘from the outside’, by a long chain of effects, than ‘from the inside’, by His immanence. Maybe this ‘substance-thinking’ was the reason why Neo-Scholasticism differentiated that greatly between the natural and the supernatural.51 It was among others Neo-Scholasticism which, by clinging to its conception of substance, postponed the entrance of relativity theory into Catholic theology. But the laws of modern physics do not refer to the singular ‘substance-thing’ but to the “measurable mathematical-functional relations of being.”52 To put it simply, there are not singular, independent ‘things’ but rather contextually interweaved interdependences.

This is also the view of Darwinism or evolutionism which was the second context of the rise of panentheism. Even if the ideas of Charles Darwin concerning evolution and natural selection are the best known views of nineteenth century evolutionism, they appeared in the course of a larger tradition. Whereas some Darwinian biological ideas concerning the change in the essence of species jettisoned the concept of preformationist biology represented in the 18th century, the very term ‘evolution’ developed exactly in the latter context. ‘Evolution’ meant not only the successive unfolding of preformed structures encased in germs but also the teleological and soteriological development of pre-existent essences toward God.53 Thus the notion of ‘evolution’ was a philosophical and theological term before becoming the catchword of biology. The philosophical and theosophical notion of evolution derived from the German mystic Jakob Boehme (1575-1624) whose ideas were adopted by the Swabian Pietist pastor and natural philosopher Friedrich Christoph Oetinger (1702-1782), who in turn exerted some influence on F.W.J. Schelling. Subsequently, the latter, by the medium of Coleridge and Wordsworth, was a source of inspiration for Whitehead.54 Since, according to Boehme, creation is part of the self-manifestation and self-realization of the divine nature, there is no spirit/body dualism but only theogony, which first unfolds Life and finally, at the end of time, brings it back to itself.55 Following the Boehmist tradition, Oetinger conceived God as the ens manifestativum sui which in its self-actualization moves toward an indestructible spiritualized corporality which at the end will include ‘all in all’ (1 Cor 15:28)”.56

The example of Oetinger shows that only a certain philosophical background can move scholars to a different view of nature. During the age of Romanticism, there occurred the paradigm shift from the Cartesian-Newtonian mechanistic view of nature, which somehow resulted in the pre-romantic philosophy of Kant. By discovering the organic and holistic view of nature, Romanticism originated on the philosophic level, especially with regard to epistemology, from Kant. Philosophical Romanticism was represented in Germany by Fichte, Schlegel, Schleiermacher, Schelling and in some way by Hegel. All the mentioned philosophers, in attempting to discover a Pre-Kantian philosophical tradition, omitted nonetheless the approaches of Descartes and Leibniz and rediscovered Spinoza’s conception of God as substance/nature (Deus sive substantia sive natura). It would not be possible to discuss these issues at length in the present paper, but the example of Schelling serves to show how some of his ideas acted on Whitehead and through him influenced 20th century panentheism. In his theory of the three Potencies in God, Schelling adopted and developed Oetinger’s conception of God as the ens manifestativum sui.According to Schelling, God holds the seeds of every possibility and potentiality in Himself, because nothing, even evil or suffering, is external to Him.57 But since all potentialities possessed in their original, premundane state only ideal being and were, by this means, bereft of actual existence, they started a dialectic movement toward actuality. The first Potency, therefore, can be seen as thesis, the second as antithesis and the third as synthesis. The first Potency is “the unlimited possibility” of being. Because it does not discriminate among possible forms of being, it is indeterminate and devoid of objective being. The second Potency, “the pure being”, imparts determinate structure to the limitless possibility of the first Potency, enabling the formation of objective being and thus the concrete world. The third Potency, “the being-with-itself,” fulfils and balances the first two Potencies and furnishes the pattern for an ultimate ontological synthesis of selfhood (first Potency) and objective world (second Potency) and as such the true essence of Spirit.58 Thus in the conception of Schelling, the world is God’s self-actualization. The derivation of the world from God, however, is free and necessary at the same time, hence freedom and necessity are in God one.59 For Schelling and Whitehead, visible nature is an abstraction of its more basic dynamic structure which can be discovered only by intellectual effort. Whereas Whitehead names this basic dynamic structure ‘Creativity’, Schelling speaks in this respect of ‘Absolute Nature’, ‘Natura Naturans’, ‘The Bond’, ‘The Copula’, ‘The Soul (of the World)’, etc.60 It is the whole which acts upon its elements present within. But it is only the human mind, being this part of the universe in which it becomes self-conscious, which has the prerogative to discover the relation between the part and the whole. This idea is well-elaborated in a top-bottom manner by Schelling: “So it becomes manifest that nature is originally identical with that which in ourselves is understood as intelligent and conscious”.61 However, in his Theory of Prehensions (part III of Process and Reality), Whitehead takes the bottom-top path, showing that by the dialectical process of continually synthesizing new complexes of conceptual and physical data, consciousness is produced.62 Since, according to Schelling, God as ‘Natura naturans’ is present within every form of creation, we can speak of the ‘internal causation’ of nature. On his part Whitehead speaks of ‘internal determination’ between creatures and Creativity since there is no Creativity beside creatures.63 Schelling sees that the finite organism cannot be explained by mechanical laws. Therefore, he assumes that the organic must be logically and ontologically prior to the mechanic. This implies that Nature, as the only ground for the finite organisms, must itself be an organic unity. Since each organism is constituted by the activity of internal causation, the latter is the causal pastern of – to use Whitehead’s term – Creativity itself. Thus, according to Schelling and Whitehead, beyond the surface of nature accessible by us via mathematical formulas and physical laws, Nature itself reveals its true organic identity.64

 Philosophical and theological monism

Our quest for transdisciplinarity in some way assumes the oneness of knowledge. Otherwise there would be no point in finding common solutions, if no commonness is existent. During the history of philosophy a metaphysical shift from monism via dualism to pluralism and back to monism could be observed. Ancient philosophy started with the monism of Parmenides, developed to Plato’s dualism and led into Aristotle’s pluralism. Further on, after a temporal coexistence of Stoical monism, Epicurean pluralism and Middle-platonic dualism, the outstanding monistic system of Plotinus followed, which for over a thousand years took effect on subsequent philosophical and theological thought. In the Middle Ages the predominant metaphysical system until the year 1200 was Platonic dualism, alternated with Aristotelian pluralism, which, after long-lasting Aristotelian and anti-Aristotelian battles, was followed by the Neo-Platonic monism represented firstly by the Rhine mystics (Meister Eckhart, Suso, Tauler) and finally by Nicolaus of Cusa. Without listing all the philosophers belonging to the three ontological movements mentioned above, we can observe this pendulousness from monism to dualism to pluralism and back to monism, without defining the shift sequence, also in further philosophical evolvement. The Cartesian dualism was alternated by the monism of Spinoza and the latter by the pluralism of Leibniz. German idealism was certainly a monistic epoch, which, after having culminated in Hegel, was alternated in the second half of the 19th century by Positivistic pluralism which affected the different kinds of philosophy of science for almost one hundred years. Then, especially by means of Teilhard de Chardin and Whitehead, a paradigmatic change took place leading a new epoch of monism, to which we nowadays seem to belong. The entire New Age movement, with its cry for wholeness, was or still is a significant sign of the desire for oneness. It is also a sign of being tired of analytical thinking both in science and religion. Since every intellectual movement, such as New Age, should be considered by theologians – if not as vox populi vox Dei, at least as a signum temporis – we might ask what is lacking in our Christian tradition, making people abolish it for the benefit of various dubious practices and promises?

Although Christendom, being a religion, is far more than a coherent ontological system, in theism, being the ‘philosophical arm’ of Christianity, we can find all the three ontological conceptions mentioned above. Because of the predominance of Aristotelism in Western theology, pluralism might appear as the only allowable theistic ontology. This is a Neo-scholastic argument I disagree with. The possible alternative to pluralism, however, cannot be dualism – always inclined to assume two equal but antagonistic powers. This led not only Augustine, but also other thinkers, to a quasi-Manichean conception of world/God, body/soul, natural/supernatural. The third ontological conception – monism – albeit always present in theism, was more influential on the Orthodox doctrine. In the Western perspective, monistic tendencies could mainly be found in mystical writings inspired by Pseudo-Denys. Speaking about theistic monism including both philosophy and theology, we have to take a closer look at this subcategory, which I would like to call ‘theological monism’. Contrary to the philosophical monism developed by philosophers who, albeit inspired by theism, were in some way free to construct their own system, ‘theological monism’ was generated by theologians as a sideline of their major theological and sometimes pastoral activity. Their main concern was, to quote the famous Dominican sentence, contemplata aliis tradere – ‘to pass the fruits of contemplation on to others’, not to build own metaphysical constructs. Hence the quest for monism within the theological tradition is always an artificial and highly analytic endeavor, to be compared with extracting tissues from a living organism.

The doctrine of God’s immanence, i.e. God’s dwelling within the creature,65 is  both connected with the conception of God and with the ontological conception of reality. God is immanent only if He is omnipresent.  He is omnipresent only if He is one and unique. God being an entity, at least from the logical point of view, has to be, like all other entities one, i.e. identical with Himself. But God qua God, i.e. being ‘the highest good’ (Augustine), ‘something than which nothing greater can be imagined’ (Anselm), ‘the most perfect being’ (Thomas) has furthermore to be unique, otherwise He wouldn’t be God in the latter meaning. Defining God as a superlative we cannot assume two or more entities endowed with God’s attributes, since one of them, in order to be God in the proper meaning of the word (‘the highest’, ‘the greatest’ or ‘the most perfect’), had to be in some aspect ‘more God’ than the others. Further we cannot assume the existence of many, albeit identical, ‘God entities’, since there must be at least one difference between two entities in order to think them apart. Therefore the total lack of difference means identity. Speaking of God qua God only makes sense if we strictly confirm His oneness and its consequences, such as simplicity and uncomplexity. If God were compound,He would be neither perfect nor self-identical. In this case He would be God only by being consisted of parts in which one of them, in order ‘to be God’, had to be more perfect than the others. Being compound He could fall apart what would also deny His perfection, since God cannot be contingent. Hence God can be present in and within every part of the reality only as being one (monas). Furthermore only if He is one, reality cannot be considered separate from Him.

The rising theism, in order to depict the issue of God’s immanence, adopted the philosophical solutions present in Middle-Platonism, Neo-Platonism and Stoicism.  A large part of Middle-Platonic physics and consequently metaphysics consisted in elaborating the relation between the monas - being the positive principle of the oneness (hen) - and the dyas - being the negative principle of thedifferentness (hetetodotes) - outlined by Plato.66 In the course of their investigations, Middle-Platonists were more and more inclined to leave the original Platonic dualism for the benefit of monism. While Antiochus from Ascalon († 68 BC) and Plutarch († 127) assumed two principles – monas and dyas – already Eudor from Alexandria († 24) presupposed ‘the highest unity’ of God ‘up there’ (hyperan≈ç theos) followed by the subsequent monas and dyas. This view was adopted by Philo Alexandrinus who equated God with monas to whom he subordinated the Logos, followed by dynamis poietikƒì and dynamis basilikƒì, followed by psyche, i.e. the world soul.67 Preceded by this ontological conception, Plotinus could generate his own concept of the emanating hen. According to Plotinus every multiplicity results from unity, because unity is at the beginning of every multiplicity. But also contrariwise every multiplicity ends in unity. So unity being at the beginning and at the end has to be in some way present during the whole process. Unity, albeit veiled by multiplicity, is the true nature of things. But the Plotinian system, besides being monistic, is also a system of immanence, since God is present on every stage of emanation, even if His presence decreases in its course.

Apart from Middle-Platonism and Neo-Platonism, the Stoic conception of immanent Logos, identical with World Soul and World Reason, also exerted influence on the first theistic conceptions of immanence. These Stoic views, connected with some Middle-Platonic conceptions, evolved into the doctrine of Nous,i.e. God’s intellect, which, being in some approaches identical with the World Soul, was considered as the realm where God created the world by thinking ideas. This emanationist-creationist scheme proved to be very fruitful to Trinitarian theology especially in the first seven centuries, i.e. in a time when the Ecumenical Councils attempted to clarify the inner-Trinitarian relations. In the most simplified and condensed way, this scheme, applied to theology, applies as follows with regard to the immanence issue: (1) God reflects about Himself. (2) The fruit of this cognitive process is the Logos, identical with God and His thoughts, which are the ideas. (3) Logos contains the ideas in Himself, which are the seeds of every entity to be created. (4) The process of creation initiates when Logos, by departing from God, starts to emanate ideas. (5) Since all aisthetic/corporal entities exist only through the participation in ideas within the Logos and the latter dwells in God, hence every aisthetic/corporal entity which exists remains in God. We can imagine this scheme by means of concentric circles:

From God’s point of view:                                           From our point of view:

By this means creation is in God and God is within the creation. God doesn’t cause the process of creation in being in some way ‘outside’ it, as it was considered according to the Aristotelian pattern. The process of creation, depicted in the emanationist-creationist scheme, is a process of God’s self-revelation since, as shown in the book of Genesis, ‘saying’ means for Him ‘creating’. Before adducing some examples for this very Platonic view of the God-world relation, we may ask whether the world is still so much within God after it has been emanated from Him as it was before the act of creation. The short answer is: yes, since God’s ‘dimension’ considered from our point of view ‘grew’ with the creation, but considered from God’s point of view, certainly remained the same. In regard to the physical world, Einstein’s theory of relativity shows that the perspectives of movement and rest, time and eternity can differ enormously dependent on the observers’ perspective. Hence in theology we can at least assume that the perspectives of God and the creatures may differ. Our present cosmological pattern ‘from Big Bang to Big Crunch’ might help us to understand that parts of an enlarging system are still enclosed within the system. Photons generated milliseconds after the emergence of the universe, which at its beginning was very small, were within the universe just they are within it as today – after the enlargement of the universe in the course of the last billions of years. Using this example, I do not maintain that the Trinitarian processes within God, causing the theological process of creation, are identical with the physical processes involved in the emergence of the universe. I only wish to show that this cosmological pattern exemplifies in a demonstrative way how parts of an enlarging system remain within the system.

I would like to name the emanationist-creationist conception of God and world depicted above ‘the emergentist conception’, firstly in order to adopt into these advisements the notion of emergence seen, according to Bernard J. F. Lonergan, as a process in which “otherwise coincidental manifolds of lower conjugate acts invite the higher integration effected by higher conjugate forms,”68 secondly to avoid the bias against emanationism which has been associated with the ontological decrease in the course of the egress from the highest principle. The use of the term ‘emergentist’ also aims to show that as in emergentism, lower levels are understood only from a higher level, and as such the entities forming world can be properly understood from a higher level which includes them, i.e. God.

Testimonies of the ‘emergentist theism’ 

As examples of ‘emergentist theism’, we may adduce some parts of the theological conceptions elaborated by: Justin the Martyr, Clemens Alexandrinus, Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory of Nazianz, Basil the Great, Pseudo-Denis, Maximus Confessor, Eriugena and Gregory Palamas, which shall be presented here in short. Justin the Martyr (†165) was the first Christian thinker who adopted the Stoic and Middle-Platonic conception of Logos. According to Justin, the transcendent God created the world through Logos, begotten by God, without diminishing neither God’s divinity nor His substance.69 This Logos - the Divine Mind – was always immanent within the creature and accessible to human minds which could therefore recognize the truth before the appearance of Christ. This short sketch of Justin’s doctrine shows that is was the idea of Logos that bridged the divide between transcendence and immanence within the Christian doctrine.70 Because of Incarnation, God cannot be considered as solely transcendent. Incarnation, i.e. the hypostatic bond with the creation, being planned, according to the Christian faith, already at the very first moment of creation and prepared by its further process, can be considered as God’s inner desire for immanence. By realizing the whole extent of the doctrine of Incarnation, we should admit that Christian theism is predominantly an immanent one. Even if the first theologians adopted Platonic paradigms in order of elucidate important Trinitarian, christological and pneumatological issues, their Platonism was diminished, if not annihilated, by the doctrine of Incarnation which was not compatible with the conception of an entirely transcendent God. The theological battles taking place mainly in the East during the first seven Ecumenical Councils (325-787) resulted not only from the attempt to clarify doctrinal issues but also from the approach to describe God’s, i.e. the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit’s, relation to the world. In the pre-Nicean theology Clement of Alexandria († 215) interprets Logos not only as the main idea dwelling in the divine Nous,71but also as the creating and conserving principle of the aisthetic world immanent within.72 Although Origen († 253) describes God as the transcendent monas of “uncompound intellectual nature” 73 which by being incorporeal is spatially unlimited74 and, therefore, can be omnipresent, he also assumes, similarly to the contemporary panentheists, a certain interdependency between God and the world. Origen puts it as follows: “[…] so even God cannot be called omnipotent unless there exist those over whom He may exercise His power; and therefore, that God may be shown to be almighty, it is necessary that all things should exist”.75 But it is first and foremost the Logos who is depicted by Origen as God’s immanence. Logos, being the hypostatical Wisdom of God, is the creative power in the universe.76 Since Logos contained all “the species and beginnings of all creatures”77 in himself, he is “the truth and life of all things which exist”.78Besides this ontological immanence of the Logos, Origen – assuming the identity between the Logos, i.e. the Son of God before the Incarnation and Christ, i.e. the Son of God after the Incarnation – maintains a kind of ‘moral immanence’ of the Logos-Christ within his believers. Starting from the Pauline sentence: “I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Gal 2:20), Origen assumes that Logos-Christ dwells in saints and angels, depending on their degree of sanctity.79 Since, according to Origen, the world is a process of “amendment and correction”80 God will became ‘all in all’ (1 Cor 15:28) at the end of time after the process of moral cleansing has been fulfilled.81

The Origenian pattern of the exit of creation from God through Logos and the return of creation to God through the Logos-Christ remained the leading soteriological scheme in Eastern and Orthodox Theology. In the times after Origen theology had to clarify some important questions concerning the ontological status of the Logos (equal or subordinated) and the Holy Spirit (personal or impersonal, God or godlike). The decision in favor of equality, i.e. the consubstantiality of the Son and the unconfined divinity of the Holy Spirit was, in my opinion, a further pronouncement of God’s immanence. If the Logos had been declared as a kind of subordinated God and Christ as nonidentical with the Logos, if, furthermore, the Holy Spirit had been conceived as a lower, impersonal divine power, God the Father would have been much more transcendent and less involved in the creature. The Trinitarian conception of God shows that God being the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is present within every level and in the course of every process of creation. Since the process of creation is attributed to the Father, the process of redemption to the Son and the process of sanctification to the Holy Spirit, God’s immanence cannot be considered as only ‘physical’, but also as moral and spiritual. It was particularly the theology of the Cappadocian Fathers, i.e. Gregory of Nyssa († 394), Gregory of Nazians († 390) and Basil the Great († 379), which clarified the inner-Trinitarian relations and produced arguments for the divinity of the Holy Spirit. According to their doctrine, God, although being monas82, is in His essence triune and therefore the processes of the revelation of the Son and the Holy Spirit are not additional to God’s unity but result from Himself. Since the world is created by the Logos deriving from the Father and fulfilled with the Holy Spirit, God as Trinity is immanent within the entire creation.83 In the theology of Pseudo-Denys (6th century AD), absorbed later in the West by Eriugena († 877), the Origenic pattern of exitus and reditus became more ontological and cosmological. According to Pseudo-Denys, God, being love which ‘diffuses itself’ (amor est quod diffusum sui), reveals Himself by creating out of Himself other entities in which, notwithstanding their own existence and freedom, He is still present.84 The creatures, being God’s theophanies, emerge from Him in a certain hierarchy: first intelligences, i.e. angels, then humans, afterwards animals, further plants and finally minerals. Since every cause in creation strives for good and beauty which can be only fulfilled in God, therefore from a certain point the creatures start to return to God, beginning with the return of humans.85 Following Pseudo-Denys, Eriugena understands the process of the beginning and the consummation of the world as the exit and return of God from Himself to Himself.86 In the course of this process, God attains, in a certain way, a better knowledge of Himself.87 The stages of God’s self-revelation are as follows: natura creans increata (uncreated creating nature), i.e. God, natura creata creans (created creating nature), i.e. ideas, natura creata nec creans (created uncreating nature), i.e. the world and nec creata nec creans (uncreated uncreating nature), i.e. God who rests after having accomplished the whole process. Maximus Confessor († 662) enriched the emergentist Pseudo-Dionysian scheme with his own conception of logoi,which, dwelling in God, in Logos and in all entities are, if one may say so, the widespread and scattered immanence of God, who being within the logoi is also present outside them.88 This short florilegium of emergentist traces, to be elaborated at length in another paper, ends with an outline of Gregory Palamas’ († 1359) theory of divine illuminations. In a controversy concerning the issue whether people in a very advanced stadium of spiritual life came in contact with God’s essence (ousia) or his energies (energeiai), Gregory opted for the latter.89 By arguing that the divine essence is only achievable to God Himself, Palamas nonetheless sustains that God governs the world by his energies,90 which are His immanent presence in the world.91 Without any difference between ousia and energeiai in God, we had to assume that God is present in the world by His essence and by this way everything, without any differentiation, would be God.92 And then, in our contemporary terms, we could not speak of panentheism, but of pantheism.

Drawing the conclusion from the panentheistic view of God’s immanence to the issue of transdisciplinarity we may say that panentheism might be the proper fundament of the meta-level necessary to form the transdisciplinarian approach. If we assume that all our efforts are in some way guided and sustained by God, we won’t have the impression that they are in vain.


1 Cf. Chrysippus, Fragmenta logica in  Stoicorum veterum fragmenta (ed.) J. von Arnim, Vol. 2 (Leipzig: Teubner, [1903] 1968), nr. 35,2; 36,2; 1017,10.

2 F. W. J. Schelling, Philosophie der Offenbarung in Schelling-Werke (=SW) Vol.III, (ed.) K. F. A. Schelling (Stuttgart: Cotta 1858), p. 742.

3 Cf. Jan Assmann, Moses der Ägypter: Entzifferung einer Gedächtnisspur (München: Hanser, 1998), pp. 20, 28, 71-81.

4 Cf. Is 33:5; Ps 89; Ps 93:4-5.

5 Cf. Ex 32:1-8.

6 Abraham P. Bos, „Immanenz und Transzendenz“, in Realenzyklopädie für Antike und Christentum 17 (1996) p. 1042.

7 Plato, Phaedo 79 a.

8 Id., Symposion 211 c.

9 Id., Phaidros 247 c-d.

10 Id., Phaedo 79 d-e.

11 Id., Res publica 516 a-c.

12 Aristotle, Physica 250 b –267 b.

13 Id., De mundo 281 a – 283 b; Meteorologica 352 b, 353 a.

14 Albert the Great, De causis et proc. universitatis, Lib. 1,1,7.

15 Id., Sententia Metaphysicae, lib. 12, lectio 5 and 6; In De caelo, lib. 1, lec. 3 -4; In Physic., lib. 4, lec. 7 n-15. 

16 Esp. arguments ex parte motus, ex ratione causae efficientis, ex gubernatione mundi see: Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae Ia q. 2 a. 3.

17 Duns Scotus, De primo principio, 3, 9-14.

18 Aristotle, Metaph. 1025 b 28.

19 Id., Physica 201 a 10-11; Metaph. 1065 b 33.

20 Id., Phys. 224 a 26-38.

21 Id., Phys. 225 a 1.

22 Id., Phys. 251 a 11-16.

23 Id., Metaph. 1072 a 26; 1072 b 1- 30.

24 Id., Metaph. 1073 a 22- 1074 b 14.

25 Id., Metaph. 1074a 36; 1072b 25-28.

26 Id., Phys., 212 a 20-21.

27 Id., Phys. 212 b 21.

28 Id., Phys. 213 a 13- 217 b 34.

29 Edward Grant, Physical Science in the Middle Ages (Cambridge 1977), p. 29.

30 Aristotle, Metaph. 1072 a 34-36.

31 E. Grant, Physical Science, p. 52.

32 Ibd., p. 77.

33 Ibd., p. 78.

34 Ibd., p. 81.

35 Ibd., p. 80.

36 Ibd., p. 81.

37 Richard A. Muller, “Scholasticism, reformation, orthodoxy, and the persistence of Christian Aristotelianism,” in Trinity journal 19/1 (1998), pp. 81-96, here p. 87.

38 Ibd., p. 88.

39 Ibd., p. 90.

40 Ibd., p. 92, cf. Calvin, Commentary on the Psalms, 107. 43 (CO 32, col. 145); Institution (1559) 1.15.7; 1.5.5.

41 Muller, “Scholasticism”, pp. 92-93; cf. Calvin, Commentary on Ephesians, 1.4-8 (CO 51, col. 148-50); Sermons on Ephesians (CO 51, col. 259, 277) and Calvin’s reference to Eph 1:3 in Institutes (1559) 3.22.10.

42 Calvin, In Ezech. Praelectiones, in CO 40, col. 47 (CTS Ezechiel 1.87); cf. T. Aquinas, Commentary on the Metaphysics of Aristotle (2 vols; Chicago: Henry Regnery, 19) [Metaphysics, 1218-22] quotation after Muller, “Scholasticism”, p. 93.

43 Richard A. Muller, “Reformation, orthodoxy, »Christian Aristotelianism«, and the eclecticism of early modern philosophy”, in Nederlands archief voor kerkgeschiedenis 81/3(2001), pp. 306-325, esp. pp. 309, 313-314;

44 E. Grant, Physical Science, p. 85.

45 Id., “Were there Significant Differences between Medieval and Early Modern Scholastic Natural Philosophy? The Case for Cosmology”, in Noûs 18/1 (1984), pp. 5-14, here pp. 5, 13; cf. P. Petersen, Geschichte der aristotelischen Philosophie im protestantischen Deutschland (1921; reprint, Stuttgart: F. Fromman, 1964); Hans Emil Weber, Der Einfluß der protestantischen Schulphilosopphie aud die orthodox-lutherische Dogmatik (Leipzig: Deichert, 1908); id., Die philosophische Scholastik des deutschen Protestantismus in Zeitalter der Orthodoxie (Leipzig: Quelle und Meyer, 1907).

46 Different views on medieval causality are elaborated by Schmutz Jacob, “La doctrine médiévale des causes et la théologie de la nature pure: (XIII-XVII siècles)”, in Revue thomiste 101/1-2(2001), pp. 217-264. An example of interactions between modern scholasticism, Augustinism and Spinozism cf.Schmutz Jacob, Dieu est l'idée: la métaphysique d'Antonio Pérez (1599-1649) entre néo-augustinisme et crypto-spinozisme”, in Revue thomiste 103/3( 2003), pp. 495-526.

47 Johannes Singer, „Neuscholastik - eine Erinnerung“, in Theologisch-praktische Quartalschrift  152/1(2004) pp. 75-85, here p.75.

48 More information on the historical outline and numerous representatives of panentheism can be found in: Michael W. Brierly, “Naming a Quiet Revolution: The Panentheistic Turn in Modern Theology” in In whom we live and move and have our being. Panentheistic Reflexions of God’s Presence in a Scientific World (eds.) Philip Clayton and Arthur Peacocke (Grand Rapids, Mich. 2004), pp. 2-5.

49 Cf. M. W. Brierly, “Naming”, pp. 5-6; Niels Gregersen, “Three Varieties of Panentheism” in In whom we live, pp. 20-35.

50 J. Singer, „Neuscholastik“, p. 76. Some theologians, f.e. Marie-Dominique Chenu, criticizing Neo-Scholasticism, considered the latter as a perversion of ‘Wolffianism’ i.e. the spirit of eighteenth century rationalism. Therefore they accused the Neo-Scholasticism of “deductivist rationalism which put the ‘scientificy’ against the living experience of God’s presence in the world” see Fergus Kerr, “A different world: neoscholasticism and its discontents”, in International journal of systematic theology. 8/2 (2006) pp. 128-148, here p. 145, 147.

51 K. Singer, „Neuscholastik“, p. 79.

52 Andreas Benk, „Neuscholastik und moderne Physik: ein vergessenes Kapitel im Verhältnis von Theologie und Naturwissenschaften“, in Wissenschaft und Weisheit 64/1 (2001) pp. 129-153, here p. 141; cf. Hans D. Mutschler, „Physik und Neothomismus: Das ontologische Grundproblem der modernen Physik“ in Theologie und Philosophie 68/1(1993) pp. 25-51, esp. pp. 28-33.

53 Arthur McCalla, “Evolutionism and early nineteenth-century histories of religions”, in Religion 28/1 (1998) pp.29-40, here p.29, 30.

54 A. McCalla, “Evolutionism”, pp. 30, 33-36; Antoon Braeckman, “Whitehead and German Idealism: a poetic heritage” in Process studies 14/4 (1985) pp. 265-286, esp. p. 274-282.

55 Andrew Weeks, Boehme: An Intellectual Biography of the Seventeenth-Century Philosopher and Mystic (Albany: Suny Press 1991), pp. 105, 110.

56 A. McCalla, “Evolutionism”, pp. 30-31; cf. Ernst Benz, Evolution and Christian Hope: Man’s Concept of the Future from the Early Fathers to Teilhard de Chardin (New York: Doubleday 1966), pp. 168-9; F. Erst Stoeffler, German Pietism During the Eighteenth Century (Leiden: Brill 1973), p. 113.

57 Schelling, Philosophische Untersuchungen über das Wesen der menschlichen Freiheit (=SW III), pp. 448-450, 469-472.

58 A. McCalla, “Evolutionism”, pp. 33-4, cf. Edward Allen Beach, The Potencies of God(s): Schelling’s Philosophy of Mythology (Albany: Suny Press 1994), pp. 108, 117-27.

59 Schelling, Philosophische Untersuchungen (SW III), p. 481.

60 A. Braeckman, “Whitehead”, p. 277-8.

61 Schelling, SW II, System des transzendentalen Idealismus, p. 341.

62 A. Braeckman, “Whitehead”, p. 280; cf. Whitehead, Process and Reality 18/27; 167/254.

63 Ibd., p. 281; cf. Whitehead, Process and Reality 25/38, 27/41, 46 ff./ 74 ff.

64 Schelling, Von der Weltseele  (SW I), pp., 417 f.; Erster Entwurf eines Systems der Naturphilosophie (SW II), p. 193; Abhandlungen (SW I), pp. 310 f.; cf. Whitehead, The Concept of Nature, chap. VII.

65 Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche (Herder: Freiburg-Basel-Rom-Wien 1996), Vol. 5, col. 429-430; Handwörterbuch für Theologie und Religionsgeschichte (Mohr Siebeck: Tübingen 19623), Vol. 3, col. 989.

66 Plato, Timaios 48b-49b; Letter VII 344d; Testimonies: Aristoteles, Metaph. 987 b 18-21; Theofrast, Metaphysica III, 13; Sextus Empiricus, Adv. Math. XX 258, 262.

67 Cf. Wolfang L. Gombocz, Die Philosophie der ausgehenden Antike und des frühen Mittelalters in: Geschichte der Philosophie, (ed.) Wolfgang Röd  (Beck: München 1997), Vol. IV, pp. 19-23.

68 Bernard J. F. Lonergan, Insight: A Study of Human Understanding, Collected Works, Vol. 3. (Toronto: Univ. of Toronto [1957] 1992), p. 477; cf.  Frank E. Budenholzer, “Emergence, probability, and reductionism”, in Zygon 39/2 (2004), pp. 339-356.

69 Justin the Martyr, Dialog with Trypho, 61 in Dialogus cum Tryphone (ed.) E.J. Goodspeed ([Die ältesten Apologeten] Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1915).

70 Cf. C. Andresen, Justinus und der mittlere Platonismus, in Zeitschrift für Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 44 (1952/53), p. 194.

71 Clemens Alexandrinus, Stromata IV 155,2; Str V 73, 3; Str V 16,3; esp. Str IV 156, 2 in Clemens Alexandrinus (eds.) O. Stählin, L. Früchtel and U. Treu ([=Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller 52(15), 17. Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 2:1960; 3:1970]). 

72 Id., Protrepticus V, 2 in Clément d'Alexandrie. Le protreptique, (ed.) C. Mondésert (2nd edn. [Sources chrétiennes 2. Paris: Cerf, 1949]);  Str VII 5,4; cf. Plato, Tim. 33b -36d.

73 Origen, De principiis I, 1.6.

74 An Aristotelian way of thinking, see footnote 26.

75 Origen, De principiis I 2,10 in Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV, (eds.) Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, online edition http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-04/.

76 Ibd., I, 2.2.

77 Ibd., I, 2.3.

78 Ibd., I, 2.4.

79 Ibd., IV, 29.

80 Ibd., III, 6.6.

81 Ibd. III, 6.3.

82 Gregory of Nazians, De theologia (orat. 28), 10 in Gregor von Nazianz. Die fünf theologischen Reden (ed.) J. Barbel (Düsseldorf: Patmos-Verlag, 1963); Carmina dogmatica, Patrologia Graeca (=PG) 37, col. 508, col. 804; De theologia, 31; Carmina dogmatica, col. 42; Basil of Caesarea, Adversus Eunomium, PG 29, col. 760; Gregory of Nyssa, De opificio hominis, PG 44, col. 184.

83 Gregory of Nyssa, In Canticum canticorum, Hom. 6 in Gregorii Nysseni opera (ed.) H. Langerbeck (vol. 6. Leiden: Brill, 1960), pp. 349; 396; Apologia in hexaemeron, PG 44, col. 85; De opificio hominis, PG 44, col. 156.

84 Pseudo-Denys, De coeli hier. III, IV 2; V 1; XIII in Corpus Dionysiacum ii: Pseudo-Dionysius Areopagita. De coelesti hierarchia, de ecclesiastica hierarchia, de mystica theologia, epistulae (eds.) G. Heil and A.M. Ritter ([Patristische Texte und Studien 36. Berlin: De Gruyter, 1991]).

85 Id., De eccl. Hier. II, 1; De div. Nom. I 5; IV 16-17;

86 Joannes Scotus Eriugena, Patrologia Latina 122, col. 683A-684 A.

87 Ibd., col. 689B.

88 Maximus Confessor, Quaestiones ad Thalassium 15, 10-15; 15, 41-43; 2, 7-30 in Maximi confessoris quaestiones ad Thalassium (eds.) C. Laga, C. Steel ([Corpus Christianorum. Series Graeca 7 & 22] Turnhout: Brepols, 1:1980; 2:1990); Mystagogia, Proem. 101-109 in S. Massimo Confessore. La mistagogia ed altri scritti (ed.) R. Cantarella (Florence: Testi Cristiani, 1931).

89 Gregory Palamas, Capita physica, theologica, moralia et practica 75,1-10; 113,1-114,15 in Saint Gregory Palamas, The One Hundred and Fifty Chapters (ed.) R.E. Sinkewicz ([Studies and Texts 83] Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 1988].

90 Ibd., 71, 1-15; 86, 1-10.

91 Ibd., 74, 1-10; 78, 1-20; 84, 10; 104, 4-5.

93 Ibd., 99-105.

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