carol-christLast week I wrote about Protestant Neo-Orthodoxy’s deification of male power as power over.  This week I want to ask why the relational Goddess or God* of process philosophy has not been more widely embraced, both generally and in feminist theologies.

Could it be that a relational God just isn’t powerful enough? Are some of us still hoping that an omnipotent God can and will intervene in history to set things right?  Do we believe an omnipotent God can save us from death?

Process philosophy provides an attractive alternative to the concept of divine power modeled on male power as domination.  According to leading process philosopher Charles Hartshorne, the power to coerce, power as power over and domination, is not the kind of power God has.

The concept of divine power as omnipotent (having all the power) leads to what Hartshorne called “the zero fallacy.”  If God has all the power and can dominate in all situations, then the power of individuals* other than God is reduced to zero.  In effect, this means that individuals other than God do not really exist, but at most are puppets whose strings are pulled by the divine power.

Moreover, as Hartshorne argued, the power to coerce is not the kind of power Goddess “should” have.  Although many have been forced to submit to them, tyrants and bullies do not empower others.  Should we not understand the “highest power in the universe” as empowering of others?

For process philosophy Goddess is understood to be the most sympathetic or empathetic of all relational beings.  Continue reading “GODDESS WITH US: IS A RELATIONAL GOD POWERFUL ENOUGH? by Carol P. Christ”

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