Being and Becoming: A Theological Journey with Tillich, Suchocki, and Myself
(This is a paper I wrote in my first semester in seminary. These thoughts are what I held to at the moment of writing them; therefore, I may or may not hold to them any longer.)
The questions “who is God?,” “who are we?,” and “what are we to do?” are possibly the three most important questions that guide us.
Whether we are conscious or preconscious to these questions, the way we answer them compels us to wake up everyday and do what we do.
In this paper I will discuss how Marjorie Suchocki answers these questions and their implications according to Divinity and Diversity: A Christian Affirmation of Religious Pluralism and how Paul Tillich answers these questions and their implications according to Dynamics of Faith. I will then compare, contrast, and evaluate the two to inform my own formulations of how I respond to these three essential questions.
God as Creative Lure - Suchocki
Suchocki strays away from traditional theism.
As a process theologian she understands God in a panentheistic way.
Therefore, because of the paramount emphasis upon creativity in process thought, Suchocki understands God as “the creative lure of the whole process of existence.”
In traditional theism, God is understood as a separate and independent being from existence.
However, process theism understands God to be deeply ingrained in the fabric of existence itself; that it is the ground that lures existence along in time.
God as creative lure has preeminent implications for the diversity we experience in the world, which is the focus in Divinity and Diversity.
Suchocki focuses on the Creation narrative of call and response as the act of creation to expound on the implications of God as creative lure.
The theme of successive responding is embedded in the Genesis 1 creation narrative.
Suchocki suggests successive response introduces novelty into existence, where God calls something into existence, that thing responds, God responds to that response, thus calling that thing into a new and continual becoming, and so on and so forth.
God’s call is contingent, then, on creaturely response. By this logic, Suchocki concludes God works this call and response with existence at the tiniest level – the smallest of particles.
If at larger levels there is diversity, then diversity must exists at the subatomic levels.
All of creation, even at subatomic levels, therefore, beams with diversity.
For practical implications to God as creative lure creating diversity, we must embrace the diversity we experience by respecting the otherness of that which is different.
We must respect and embrace the particular religious expressions of those who may be different from us religiously...