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Gregersen's Vision of a Theonomous Universe

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Abstract:

In his article, “The Idea of Creation and the Theory of Autopoietic Processes,” Niels H. Gregersen has proposed an important thesis: God supports and sustains autopoietic processes in nature. This contribution underscores what Paul Tillich called theonomy, a conception of the divine presence or action as one which under-girds, makes possible, and brings to perfection the creature's autonomy and creativity. The concept of theonomy is represented not only in contemporary Christian theology, but also in the work of Alfred North Whitehead and the Japanese Buddhist thinker, Tanabe Hajime. Gregersen shows that this concept extends not only to existential realities, but also to science and the processes of nature. There are connections, as well as differences, to be noted between Gregersen and Whitehead. This train of thought would be further enhanced if it included a discussion of the concept of God as the power to be—a connection that certainly is implied in Gregersen's argument.

Keywords: Alfred North Whitehead; Providence; Tanabe Hajime; power to be; theonomy

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/0591-2385.1961999196

Affiliations: Divinity School, University of Chicago,

Publication date: 1999-03-01

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