I'm looking for a concise bullet point breakdown :)

And some things specific to Christian Process eschatology. I have lots of books and articles with lots of information but am looking for a small summary of its main ideas and the principles that characterise and distinguish it from other eschatology.

Thank you :)


1 Answer 1


Process Eschatology is based on a foundation in the metaphysical system of Alfred North Whitehead (among others), a methodology that integrates both speculation and empirical verification. It seeks to use Process Theology to explain biblical eschatology.

But in an article titled, Process Eschatology and the Power of God (Part I), Sandalstraps declares:

"Eschatological language has next to no place in a Process system. The future is, after all, undetermined, ultimately indeterminate, the product of both random events and the vast chorus of free agents acting out of their freedom. To speak of some ultimate end that represents God's final vision for creation - which is what eschatology often does - is, in Process thought, nonsense." http://sandalstraps.blogspot.com/2008/10/process-eschatology-and-power-of-god.html

However, theological debates are going on as to how process thought can be best applied to the field of eschatology. Meanwhile here is an excerpt from the works of Austin Roberts on process eschatology still under construction:

"... Christian process theologians affirm life after death and the redemption of creation in a naturalistic, not supernatural way. Process philosophy views nature as made up of actual occasions of experience.

As Whitehead writes

The actual temporal world can be analysed into a multiplicity of occasions of actualization. These are the primary actual units of which the temporal world is composed…each is a microcosm representing in itself the entire all-inclusive universe.”

Process theologians thus affirm a kind of relational atomism in which momentary actual occasions are constituted by their relations as experiencing subjects and then perish to become an object for new becoming occasions. Everything that exists is ultimately made up of actual occasions, while the things we normally experience with our senses that endure through time (e.g., a dog, chair, mountain, etc.) are groupings of occasions – what Whitehead called “societies.” As such, material bodies and living souls are in fact different kinds of interrelated societies of actual occasions. Souls are not a special kind of substance, as much traditional theology affirmed, but an especially complex part of nature.

With this in mind, we can understand what process theologians say about the immortality of the soul. As it turns out, there is nothing metaphysically implausible about an individual soul continuing to live on after the death of the body – although whether it will live forever is another question. While Whitehead is more neutral on life after death, arguing that it should be decided on “more special evidence”, Cobb and Griffin are more open to it as Christians who affirm the resurrection appearances of Jesus (as for an empty tomb, Cobb is open to it but does not think it is very plausible). Christians can thus affirm the real hope of life after death. Note that process cannot be simply dismissed as Gnostic - it is nondual rather dualistic and thus does not place matter as an evil substance in opposition to the soul as a higher, spiritual substance...

Suchocki also takes the resurrection of Jesus seriously:

“If we take the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus to be a revelation of God for us, then the resurrection is a vital part of this revelation.”

As such, many process theologians affirm the eschatological significance of the resurrection of Jesus, even though they do not agree with traditional theologians that it was a supernatural event that necessarily produced an empty tomb. But there is more to process eschatology than life after death.

For process theologians, the primary problem of existence to be overcome is not death but meaninglessness due to the perpetual perishing of occasions. Without some ground of permanence, our accomplishments would finally seem to be insignificant. It is ultimately God who is this ground of meaning, since process theologians see God as not only creative as the source of novelty but responsive to the world, eternally preserving every occasion that has ever existed in her own nature. As Mesle explains:

“God shares the experience of becoming of the entire universe, and synthesizes it into God’s own, infinitely vast and complex experience.”

This means that occasions are given objective (not subjective) immortality in the divine life, forever preserved in their immediacy and woven into an ideal and growing harmony. As Whitehead wrote, this is the kingdom of heaven, which

“... is not the isolation of good from evil. It is the overcoming of evil by good.”

As such, the ultimate eschatological 'fact' is the redemption of all things in God. Suchocki is one of the few process theologians to argue that this is subjective not just objective immortality. Beyond the hope for subjective life after death of the soul and the objective redemption of creation (soul and body) in God, there is also an emphasis on historical eschatology in process thought that coheres with Borg’s view of Jesus. In cosmic history, there is no end to the process of creation or need for a final new creation, as in traditional eschatologies. The future is radically open, and God continuously creates by luring the world toward greater richness of experience and complexity.

As Borg argued, this means that Christian eschatological hope in history takes the form of participation: we are co-creators with God for the future kingdom or “commonwealth." As we respond more positively to God’s lure, we participate in God’s ongoing work for justice and shalom in creation. Cobb and Griffin conclude

“There is no divine action apart from creaturely action, but equally the divine action is the principle of hope in the creaturely action…Trusting God is not assurance that whatever we do will work out well. It is instead confidence that God’s call is wise and good.

  • Edited for format, and to use the markdown tools available for ease of presentation. Jan 29, 2017 at 18:31

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