Determinism = Pantheism

handsI remember first running across Charles Hartshorne’s argument that to the extent X determines Y, Y just is X, i.e., theological determinism reduces to pantheism. I also enjoy points of agreement between Hartshorne and David Bentley Hart, shorn of the former’s Process theology! (Had to say it.) Hart writes (Doors of the Sea):

…conclusions as foolish as Calvin’s…that God predestined the fall of man so as to show forth his greatness in both the salvation and the damnation of those he has eternally preordained to their several fates. Were this so, God would be the author of and so entirely beyond both good and evil, or at once both and neither, or indeed merely evil (which power without justice always is). The curious absurdity of all such doctrines is that, out of a pious anxiety to defend God’s transcendence against any scintilla of genuine creaturely freedom, they threaten effectively to collapse that transcendence into absolute identity – with the world, with us, with the devil, etc. For, unless the world is truly set apart from God and possesses a dependent but real liberty of its own analogous to the freedom of God, everything is merely a fragment of the divine volition, and God is simply the totality of all that is and all that happens; there is no creation, but only an oddly pantheistic expression of God’s unadulterated power.

6 comments on “Determinism = Pantheism

  1. Robert Fortuin says:

    Indeed. Inevitably for the god as human-writ-large a construction of the god/world relationship will teeter between determinism and groundless liberty.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Couldn’t have said it better myself, obviously!
    Process Theology is a step in the right direction


    • Tom says:

      Well, it’s just a point of general logic that ‘to the extent X determines Y, X is Y’. It doesn’t incline specifically to Process’s unique claims. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • That is true, Tom.
        I was just taking this opportunity to express that I think process theology seems to deal will with the predetermination/free will issue in a way that seems very persuasive to me (and therefore should be to everyone else!!!)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. malcolmsnotes says:

    You da man Tom. Hope you’re well. (Coincidentally, I was reading some Hartshorne today myself – his Aquinas lecture.) Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. malcolmsnotes says:

    From CH:The entire history of philosophical theology, from Plato to Whitehead, can be focused on the relations among three propositions:

    (1) The world is mutable and contingent;

    (2) The ground of its possibility is a being unconditionally and in all respects necessary and immutable;

    (3) The necessary being, God, has ideally complete knowledge of the world.

    Liked by 2 people

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