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The Person God Is

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 November 2010

Extract

Since my childhood I have given up several conceptions of God. Each time there was quite a wrench, for, in my own limited way, I had been walking with my ‘living’ God. In my philosophical and theological studies, I have been impressed by the fact that one deep-souled thinker found the living God of another ‘dead’. And then I realised that a God is ‘living’ or ‘dead’ insofar as ‘He’ answers questions that are vital to the given believer.

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Copyright © The Royal Institute of Philosophy and the contributors 1968

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References

page 190 note 1 Biblical Religion and the Search for the Ultimate Reality (Chicago, 1952), p. 38Google Scholar.

page 193 note 1 Indeed, while much ofthis paper reflects the influence of F. R. Tennant, it is the influence of Edgar S. Brightman, Alfred N. Whitehead, H. Bergson, and Charles Hartshorne that has led me to conceive of change in God in ways similar to Hartshorne's view (as expressed in his essay, p. 158, and elsewhere). At present my main hesitancy stems from the way in which the person is related to God in Whitehead, Bergson, and Hartshorne, for as I now see it the independence of the person is not adequately protected. For example, while the case for personal immortality must be argued, of course, I cannot accept the suggestion that there is wishful thinking and a false sense of values in the desire for personal immortality. On the contrary, if to be a person is to be a person-in-and-for-oneself I fail to see why, in a universe that presumably conserves and increases value, it is an increase in value to preserve a memory, even in God (in Hartshorne's sense), while personhood ceases to be. Yet, I expect that the nature of creation (see below) and of personal continuity is the bone ofcontention.

page 195 note 1 See pp. 211, 221.

page 203 note 1 Professor H. D. Lewis's treatment of Buber (see pp. 168–84) is an excellent presentation of the issue involved. At the same time Professor Lewis suggests a notion of ‘the elusive self’ and of interpersonal relations that reinforces the view of personhood suggested here.

page 206 note 1 In another place I have defended this view of human freedom and argued that, contrary to the view theists usually have taken, its very nature does provide us with finite instances of creation that involves bringing into being what-is-not before the act of free creation. And I have also argued that a temporalist view of God is involved when we see the consequences of a fellowship of creative love. See ‘Free Will, the Creativity of God, and Order’ in Current Philosophical Issues (Essays in Honor of C.J. Ducasse), Dommeyer, F. (Illinois, 1966)Google Scholar.

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