or thought was first devised by English mathematician Alfred North Whitehead
taught in England until his retirement, at which point Harvard
offered him an office and a generous salary to simply think. So Whitehead
decided he would think about God
. He did not like either the Deist
view of a hands off God
, or those who claimed God
controlled every facet of life. So, after thinking for almost ten years Whitehead
came up with a system – a compromise - that allows for an active God
and also free will. He offered his system – process theology
– to the world in his book Process and Reality
In Whitehead’s view, God is benevolent and wants the best for all of His people. As such God needs to be active in everyone’s life in a substantial way. However, the problem with the idea of an active God is that it tends to erode man’s free will. So Whitehead put restrictions on both man and God.
First, God knows the past and present for everyone, but cannot see the future. If God could see the future and directed man, than man would cease to have free will. Second, God helps us make decisions every day constantly, (in fact if you believe in Whitehead’s argument, God is suggesting the words I am typing now) but cannot chose for us.
A good visual example most of you would be familiar with use of the Devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other in movies or TV, where a person is debating with his conscience. However it should be noted, that Whitehead did not believe in the Devil or really Hell for that matter. For Whitehead it wasn’t a battle between Heaven and Hell for you, it was a battle between God and you, in the form of your original sin.
So, you live your life, in Whitehead’s model where do you go? Whitehead didn’t like the idea of Hell because he thought a benevolent God would never let one of His people suffer even if they deserved it. Instead he felt that if you did not make the grade, God would take your spirit/soul and simply test you again. If you did make the grade, than you were with God spiritually, though not necessarily in a place called Heaven