Rethinking Christianity in Light of Process Thought

The major problem for the Christian Church is that from the beginning it dug itself into an almost immovable intellectual position. It firmly identified itself and its teaching with Judaism, tying itself to the categories and concepts of the Old Testament. As J.N.D. Kelly has pointed out, Christian theology took place in predominantly Judaistic moulds until the middle of the second century, utilising Jewish categories of thought. (1960,17) Christianity also adopted an interpretation of God's creative role which Judaism had derived from Ancient Mesopotamia. This interpretation held that God created all things, bringing them into existence out of nothing. It also held that God governs the whole universe, exercising an all-pervading control and sovereignty. (Kelly 1960,83)

There are two distinct concepts involved here. Initiation of the cosmos out of nothing is one thing, continuing all pervading control of it is another. Initiation of the cosmos does not necessarily entail control of everything that happens thereafter. It is not difficult to see the origin of the concept of such detailed control in the ancient Mesopotamian tyrannies. The effect Mesopotamian myths had on biblical cosmogonies has been detailed by Clifford (1988). This concept of all pervading control introduces problems concerning human free will. It makes the initiation of the cosmos problematic, giving rise to the fundamental question 'why is there anything at all?'. It adds to the difficulty in understanding the Christ event.

As well as adopting the concept of God's all pervading control, Christianity also adopted the perspective on revelation current in Judaism. This involved the human author of Scripture being a mere instrument of the Holy Spirit. (Kelly 1960, 60-4) No account could be taken of the categories and concepts which had influenced the human author. While Irenaeus had recognised that there had been a progressive development of mankind since the time of Moses (Kelly 1960,68), neither this recognition, nor awareness of the new ideas initiated by Hellenism, appear to have been sufficient to make anyone conscious of the possibility of development in the categories of thought.

We are now aware that there is no experience without interpretation. We are also aware of the existence of intellectual paradigms which exercise control over the way we interpret the world. No such understanding existed at the time of the foundation of Christianity. With our present understanding we can possibly understand some aspects of the world of early Christianity, and the early Christian interpretation of those aspects, better than the early Christians could.

We can certainly understand the problems the early Christians caused by their adoption of an ancient intellectual paradigm. In recent times these problems have become considerable. In Baechler's view, the most apparent consequence is the triumph of unbelief. He argues that unbelief could not have triumphed unless people had been driven to seek another basis for the order of the world. This need arose from the apparent failure of the religious basis of the order of the world to maintain its relevance. For Baechler, science appears to provide the new basis of the order of the world. The concept of the scientific order of nature has been gradually endowed with greater precision, scope and depth, enabling science to take the place of faith. He argues that Christianity has always had to contend with two structurally insurmountable ambiguities: the ontological status of Christ and the problem of salvation. (1975,90-1) The apparent rationality of science appeals to the mind of Western man, while the seeming violation of rationality which is found in much of Religion, tends to repel. This repulsion stems directly from the ancient paradigm into which Christianity locked itself.

In 1926, Alfred North Whitehead pointed to the fact that religion had been on the defensive in Europe for over two centuries. These centuries had been marked by significant intellectual progress in every field except Theology. Whenever a scientific discovery caused people to reassess old ideas, it was hailed as a triumph for science, but it often created a problem for theologians because of the association of theology with an outdated imagery. Arthur Koestler quoted Whitehead's views a generation later, and stated that the need for religion to abandon its pre-scientific world view had become even more urgent then. (1959,538-53) This need has now become imperative.

In the same year that Koestler quoted Whitehead's words, Pope John 23rd announced his intention to call an Ecumenical Council. When the Council opened on 11th October 1962, the Pope stated that the whole world expected a leap forward in doctrinal penetration, a new presentation of the substance of ancient doctrine. He also pointed out that world-views change from age to age and that the errors of the past often vanish `like fog before the sun'. (Wiltgen 1967,14-15) The Pope's expectation of a new leap forward has not been met, although the Council noted in the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Introduction, 5, that `the human race has passed from a rather static concept of reality to a more dynamic, evolutionary one'. It also noted that this new concept of reality had given rise to a new series of problems, `a series as important as can be'. The Council then called for `new efforts of analysis and synthesis' to attack these problems.

Koestler noted that the world in which Christianity had been established was a closed world of comfortable dimensions, in which a well ordered drama, with a simple outline, a clear beginning and an end, was taking its pre-ordained course. Religion provided meaningful explanations for everything that had happened. This world-view was unchallenged before 1600 AD. The present scientific world-view, by contrast, appeared to have mankind's destiny determined from below, by sub-human agencies such as glands, genes and atoms. These new explanations appear to have made meaning a meaningless concept. As a result Koestler considered that mankind had entered a spiritual ice-age, in which the established Churches provided no shelter. (1959,548-51)

World-views have changed dramatically in the past four centuries, but the religious picture from the past has remained frozen in place. There has been no leap forward in doctrinal penetration, no new presentation of the substance of ancient doctrine, no new analysis or synthesis. The doctrine delivered by the churches is presented in terms which reflect an antiquated, out-dated and totally unacceptable world-view.

How are we to achieve a leap forward in doctrinal penetration, a new presentation of the substance of ancient doctrine which reflects a contemporary world-view? A start might be made with a thought experiment.

We know that the present world is almost totally a product of its past, a past upon which Christianity has had a significant influence. But if we are to rethink Christianity, we first need to think Christianity away. Let us try to envisage a world which is very much like the present, particularly in the intellectual world, except that Christ has never lived. Let us then suppose that in 1956, when Nasser seized the Suez Canal and England, France and Israel attacked Egypt, the USSR had intervened, had defeated England and France and had occupied Europe and the whole of the Middle East, including Israel. During this occupation an Israeli called Emmanuel begins to teach the sort of things which Christ taught, he is hailed by the people, and is eventually executed by the occupation authority. Within days of his execution there are well documented reports of his having returned to life and he is hailed by many Israelis as the promised Messiah. Subsequently the Israelis revolt against the USSR, and Jerusalem is destroyed. The followers of Emmanuel are persecuted by the authorities, but eventually the internal contradictions of the Soviet system bring about reforms, and their leader, Gorbachev recognises the Emmanualists. (things move more quickly in the modern world than in Roman times)

During the persecutions there have been various theories as to the ontological status of Emmanuel, who had appeared to be a normal, but exceptionally good, human being. He was well versed in the Hebrew Scripture. He referred to himself as the Son of Man, but many of his followers had begun to refer to him as the Son of God. Clearly Emmanuel's ontological status needs clarification. This is surely the most pressing, and the most consequential question for his followers. How would this question be handled? What would be the most likely theories as to the ontological status of Emmanuel? We can stop the thought experiment at this point, and return to the present problem of the relevance of Christianity as it is now presented. I will argue that the ancient paradigm, built upon God's all-pervading control, will need to be abandoned in the light of a new natural theology of process.

Philosophy tends to reflect the current world view and philosophy in turn affects theology. The philosophy of the early Christian centuries was essentially static. The dynamic idea of reality as a progressive process has only recently begun to affect both philosophy and theology.

In understanding the thought of any period it is necessary to understand the reigning paradigm of the time. The single word which probably best sums up the worldview at the time of the foundation of Christianity, is certainty. This is not to be wondered at. In the previous four centuries the world of the intellect had been turned upside down, or perhaps more correctly right side up, by the classical philosophers. The old Egyptian and Persian empires had been routed by Alexander, setting in train a series of wars which had finally resolved into the Pax Romana. The world had been shaken from its old certainties by this turmoil, but had reassembled itself into a new era of certainty. As Brehier notes, by the end of the 4th Century BC the surge of idealism which had initiated philosophy had become crystallised as dogma, and philosophy subsequently became doctrinaire and pragmatic.(1965,24) Brehier characterises the first two centuries AD as essentially stable. No need was felt to revise the settled geocentric concept of a limited cosmos, with the world as a seat of change and corruption, under an incorruptible heaven. (1965,149) The universe had been shorn of mystery, with the myths of the gods replaced by rationalism. Christianity accepted this Hellenistic view of the world, without reacting directly against it. The Greek world was a world of stability, of cyclical order. But Christianity also introduced a view of man as a being who was responsible for the destiny which he forges for himself. This view contained the seeds of change. It provided the idea of progress rather than stability, a seed which was to flower during the Renaissance. (1965,218-225) These seeds of change also gave rise to modern science. The methodology of science was eventually to spell the end of the paradigm of certainty which had reigned at the time of the initiation of Christianity.

In aligning itself with the reigning paradigm of the time of its foundation, and aligning itself even more firmly with the more ancient paradigm of Judaism, Christianity made a wholly understandable mistake, but a mistake nevertheless. The closed world of early Christianity, the world of comfortable dimensions in which a well ordered drama with a simple outline and a clear beginning and an end was taking its pre-ordained course, has now come to an end. Religion no longer provides meaningful explanations for everything that happens. A more critical mind-set finds fault with the religious explanations which satisfied earlier generations. The closed world of a previous time has been replaced by a world of evolution and of process.

Process philosophies which present a linear, progressive understanding of the world are a very recent phenomenon. The philosophers of classical Greece could be excused for failing to apply the concept of a linear process to their philosophy, as they were not aware of this category. There was less excuse for Jewish Christian thinkers. Cahill's central point (1998) is that the Jews had introduced a radical new concept of reality. They had rejected the ancient belief in reality's cyclical nature and they taught that the future is determined by man's present actions. This, Cahill maintains, had made human progress possible. However, there is an inherent contradiction between an all pervading control of the world by God, and the determination of the future by human action. In this context Nicolai Hartmann argues that teleological determination is the highest form of determination. If the world was ordered teleologically by a divine will then, he maintains, the human will would have no determinative superiority over material processes. (1953,129) God's all-pervading control of the world is in need of reconsideration.

The development of a linear, progressive, process theology probably had to wait until a similar philosophy had been developed. The linear progressive perception of the entire cosmos, initiated by the Big Bang, has only forced itself upon the popular consciousness in the latter half of the 20th Century. If the universe is to be understood as a progressive process, as it now appears to be, then even a Divine revelation of this fact would have made no sense to a possible recipient who lacked the categories by which it could be understood and expressed. Any revelation, or any natural theology, can only be communicated and understood in the categories of the culture of the community in which the revelation is received, or that natural theology is devised.

If we compare a present day natural theology to an earlier natural theology, such as that of Aristotle, the present day one should be more reasonable. This is because a present day natural theology is able to be formed within a more developed and more accurate world view, which has more of the facts of nature available for consideration. Interpretations of earlier revelations which are found to be inconsistent, or at odds, with the reasoning which informs a later natural theology, should be open to question. The world view at the time of the earlier interpretation has to be taken into account. World views change. No one in today's world would want to adopt Irenaeus' Second Century argument that there had to be four canonical Gospels because there were four winds, there were four corners of the world, and because the architect of the world was enthroned on Cherubim who each had four faces, which were images of the dispensation of the Son of God. (Adv. Haer. 3,xi,8)

One significant task of theology is to seek to understand revelation, to re-state its content in contemporary terms, so that it will have contemporary relevance. While theology seeks to restate the truth of a revelation, there is always the danger that once again, limitations in the philosophical frame of reference within which the revelation is reconsidered may produce a further distortion. A strong case has been made by Karl-Joseph Kuschel that such a distortion occurred at the Council of Nicea. I will return to Kuschel and Nicea later.

The primary category of classical philosophy was substance. Substance was the ultimate substratum, in which accidents inhered. It was a static and two-dimensional philosophy because it left time out of the equation. Baltazar argues that there has to be an adequate philosophy of process developed before theology can convert to the historical perspective. (1965, 134-7) Modern sciences, such as geology, biology and cosmology, take time into account. They take development over time into account. These sciences reflect a dynamic perspective, a process perspective. Taking time into account can give us a three dimensional, or process, perspective rather than a two dimensional, static perspective. (Baltazar 1965,137) This three dimensional, process perspective, can give rise to a philosophy of Process and to a natural theology of Process.

The static, two dimensional world of classical philosophy has been replaced by the perception that the world is in process. This dynamic viewpoint is to be found in recent Cosmology, and in the work of Einstein and of Darwin. It is seldom to be found in theology, except in the work of Teilhard de Chardin and his followers, and in followers of Whitehead. Teilhard de Chardin postulated a process of inevitable development to the Omega point. In this process God acts as a final cause on matter, causing it to cross the emergent thresholds of life and mind. I disagree with Teilhard's attribution of all the action to God. Obviously God has to initiate any process of the cosmos, but there appears to be little logic in the initiation of a process which extends over billions of years simply to reach a foregone conclusion.

Teilhard appears not to have managed to shake off the addition of the total control of creation to God's initial creative role, the position which Christianity inherited from Judaism. This is despite the fact that evolution had indicated the existence of a process which provided freedom to change, rather than a process involving a tyrannical inevitability.

Our understanding of the world we live in has changed radically during the Twentieth Century. Cosmology only became a science in this Century, and the Big Bang only became scientifically supportable in the 1960's. Cosmology has shown that the Big Bang was accompanied by significant `fine tuning', which makes it appear as if the cosmos could have been designed for life, and even for intelligent life.

Another significant development, which is yet to have a positive effect on theology, is the pattern of thinking of contemporary Western man. David Jenkins calls this the thinking of post-Copernican man. For post-Copernican man, as new knowledge is gained, it changes our understanding. (1965,66) Post-Copernican man has a dynamic approach to knowledge. He is not bothered by the fact that yesterday's theory, whether in physics, biology, cosmology or any other discipline, has just been overthrown and replaced by a better developed theory. Had Christianity been initiated within the present reigning paradigm, the post-Copernican paradigm, there would not have been the same development of dogma and categorisation of heresies, both products of the certainty of the prevailing world view, which characterised early Christianity. Discussion concerning essential matters, such as the ontological status of Christ and the meaning of salvation, could have been carried on in the same lively fashion which characterises present day cosmology.

As it is, Theology has been thrown onto the defensive by the approach to knowledge of post-Copernican man. In Jenkins view, we must now work our way towards a post-Copernican natural theology. (1965,69-71) This is a challenge which I have accepted. (see Kelly,1999) I begin here with a major problem of classical natural theology.

In their natural theology, as Patrick Madigan (1988) has noted, the classical Greek philosophers were able to argue their way up from the existence of contingent things, to the necessity of a self-existent, perfect being, or God. They had far greater difficulty in arguing their way back down again. A self-existent, perfect being was necessary for the existence of contingent things, but such a being should be able to create a perfect world. Why then did this imperfect world exist? The world, as an unnecessary and imperfect entity, contingent upon a perfect God, should not exist. What was needed to resolve this antinomy was some account which provided a motive, or a sufficient reason, for God to make an imperfect world.

Christian philosophers maintained that the motive for God to create the world was love of man. But Aristotle had already provided an argument which counted against this proposed solution. Aristotle had analysed friendship, which is an essential aspect of love. He had found that love and friendship has to be reciprocal, and could be based on either goodness, pleasure or utility.

Friendship based on pleasure or utility is transient, and Aristotle argues that the only real and lasting love, or friendship, can be between those who are good, and who resemble one another in their goodness. (Ethics 1156b) This resemblance in goodness is the crux of the matter. Because there is no resemblance in goodness between God and man, Aristotle denies the possibility of friendship or love between the self-existent God and man. (Ethics 1159b)

We have at our disposal many facts which Aristotle did not have. These facts include Big Bang cosmology, the evidence of biological evolution and the phenomenon of Emergence, or Emergent evolution. Emergence is the name given to the phenomenon of the initiation of new levels of being which can not be fully explained in terms of the previous level or stage of being. The most readily apparent instance is the emergence of life from inert matter. Every genuine emergent introduces something completely new and totally unpredictable into the world. It is unpredictable because a new complex of laws of nature accompanies each new emergent stage. This new set of laws identifies the new emergent. Life, for example, is not explicable in terms of the physical and chemical laws of matter. (Hartmann 1953,Ch.8)

While we know much more than Aristotle did, we still have to face Aristotle's problem, the clash between a perfect God and an imperfect world. This antinomy could not be resolved from the static, Aristotelian perspective. But the antinomy can be dissolved from a process perspective. From a process perspective, our imperfect world could simply be one stage in a cosmic process, a process which could lead to the production of a more perfect entity, one which was similar to God both in goodness and in being self-existent. This is the only type of entity which it would be appropriate for God to love. However there is a major problem in the production of such an entity.

Logically, God could not simply create this entity, as the act of creation itself would remove the possibility of there being any similarity between God and the created entity. There could be very little similarity between God, as a self-existent entity, and a mere creature which, by definition, is not self-existent. There could only be a sufficient similarity between God and another self-existent entity. How could such an entity come about? It would appear that the only way another self-existent entity could come about would be for that entity to be self-created. The potential production of a self-created entity, which resembles God in goodness, could provide an appropriate motive for God to act. The question then is, how could such a process occur?

Clearly, God would have to initiate such a process. Equally clearly, any intervention by God in the process would have to be kept to the barest minimum, otherwise the objective of self-creation would be frustrated. One possible way to minimise intervention would be for God to initiate a process involving a series of emergent stages, each of which has some freedom to develop or to evolve. Ideally there would be greater freedom to develop or evolve at each new emergent stage. At least one stage of such a process would need to be totally free in its particular sphere of self-creation. It would have to be totally free in relation to the operation of the law of that particular stage. If the final product of the process was to be good, as well as self-created, the totally free stage might have to be the stage which related to goodness. The freedom involved would have to be the freedom to become good, or to become evil. We now have to ask whether the cosmos can be understood as exhibiting some of the stages of such a process?

A process comprises a series of stages leading to a product. The history of the cosmos since the Big Bang presents us with a series of emergent stages which has the form of such a process. Each one of these emergent stages is built upon the previous stage, incorporates the previous stages, and is more complex than its predecessor. Each one of these emergent stages also exercises a greater degree of freedom than the preceding stage. This series of ever more complex stages of being, comprises the phenomenon of Emergence, or Emergent Evolution.

The first emergent of which we are now aware, is the initiation of physical matter in the Big Bang. Subsequent emergents include the initiation of pre-programmed or instinctive forms of life, the initiation of conscious life, and following that, the initiation of a form of life, human life, which exercises a moral or spiritual consciousness. We could identify these four significant emergent stages in the process of the Cosmos as the physical, the instinctive, the conscious and the spiritual. Human life is spiritual in that it involves the perception by man of the moral ought-to-be, something which has no material existence. This perception can not be realised, or made real, until its object is translated, by a person, from an ought-to-be to an ought-to-do.

Each successive emergent stage in the process of the cosmos exhibits a greater degree of freedom than the previous stage. The laws of nature applicable to the initial physical stage are deterministic but permit of contingency. The living, instinctive stage, has more freedom to evolve than had the physical stage. Conscious life then has even greater freedom to evolve. Moral or spiritual life enjoys total freedom in relation to the law of this stage, the moral law. This total freedom is particularly significant.

In contrast to the determinism of the physical stage, the deontological moral law of the present human moral-cultural or spiritual stage, allows total freedom. The moral law commands but it does not compel. We know what we ought to do but we are not compelled to do it. This freedom from the moral law provides the reason for the importance of the human moral-cultural stage in the process of the cosmos.

The human moral-cultural stage is a totally free stage as far as the application of the law of the stage, the moral law, is concerned. This stage has no pre-determined outcome. Human freedom is thus the most significant factor in the process of the cosmos. The process of the cosmos can be understood as a process of freedom and lawfulness, rather than a process of chance and necessity.

Each successive stage in the process of the cosmos exhibits a greater degree of freedom in the application of the laws applying to the stage, until total freedom is provided in the spiritual or deontological stage. It is reasonable to assume that a successful completion of this stage will lead to a final emergent stage. Such a final emergent stage would be both self-created and good. It would be a self-existent entity, and so an entity similar to God. This final emergent would only become possible when and if the moral potential of the present human moral-cultural stage is fully and freely realised.

The natural theologian is now in a position to postulate, from the evidence, that God has initiated the process of the cosmos with the purpose of enabling the self-creation of an entity which is similar to God. This is the only sufficient reason which justifies the initiation by God, a self-existent entity, of a process which would, at some earlier stages, bring imperfect, contingent things into being.

The recognition that the process of the cosmos is as yet incomplete enables the natural theologian to dissolve the antinomy which frustrated his Classical Greek predecessors. He is able to accommodate Aristotle's argument that God could not love man as man, and to propose that the process of the cosmos can only be theosis - the process of the possible free self-creation of an entity which is self-existent and good, and therefore similar to God.

Human culture has an important role in this process of human self-creation. Mary Midgley demonstrates that man is formed in such a way that he needs a culture to complete him. She points out that we have an innate need of culture, and we cannot live without it, nor without creating it. She argues that rather than standing in the way of the development of the individual, culture provides the necessary matrix for that development. (1978,286)

Human culture is a human spiritual creation which can be developed so that it fosters further human spiritual development. A culture essentially tells its members who or what they are, and what the world is all about. As Dix's analysis of culture has shown, the roots of a culture are to be found in the ideas which the people of that culture take for granted as to the meaning and purpose of human life. (1967,7) Nowhere is the process of human self-creation more evident than in the process of a culture. There is a reciprocal interaction between any human culture and its members. Each individual is influenced by his or her culture, and is able to influence that culture in return.

The variation of moral standards between different cultures reflects the fact that we humans have the responsibility to create our individual and communal moral standards, with the aid of our moral value-consciousness. This is part of the process of our own individual and communal self-creation. (This is more fully argued in Kelly, 1999)

We can now turn from this post-Copernican natural theology to the case made by Karl-Joseph Kuschel that there was a philosophically inspired distortion in the reasoning of the Council of Nicea. The Council of Nicea occurred in the philosophical context of Middle Platonism, the Zeitgeist of the contemporary Roman Empire. Neo-Platonic philosophy assumed a created second God, a `world soul', intermediate between the transcendent God and the world. Arius sought to explain the ontology of Christ in these terms. As a result, the Council had before it, in the words of Karl-Joseph Kuschel, 'only one alternative: either Jesus Christ belongs at the level of the created, in which case God cannot really fully reveal himself in Jesus and bring about full redemption, or he belongs wholly on the side of the uncreated. In that case he is 'God from God', `Light from Light', `true God from true God'. The choice of this (unbiblical) terminology was therefore necessary in order to preserve the biblical idea of revelation and redemption on the new philosophical presuppositions'. (1992, 500)

Nicea was presented with the bald alternative of Christ as either a created entity, or as uncreated and eternal. This limited choice was a result of the static, two dimensional world of the philosophy of the time. When the static two dimensional world of Aristotle, Plato and Plotinus is replaced with the dynamic perception that the world is in process, at least one further alternative becomes possible. This alternative is that Christ is neither created nor eternal. He represents the possible ultimate product of the process of cosmic and human self-creation. But he is ahead of his time. He is the proleptic exemplar of the final emergent. He is born as man, and in his proleptic role, he completes the process of human self-creation as Christ, as an instance of the final emergent. He is a product of the process of human moral-cultural self-creation. As such he is the Son of Man, the title he claimed for himself. As a self-created and so self-existent product of a process initiated by God, he can also be understood as the Son of God, begotten through the process of self-creation which God initiates.

The proleptic nature of the Christ-event has been noted by a number of theologians, including Pannenberg, Lonergan and Patrick Madigan. Madigan sees Christ as the proleptic anticipation of the life form which should eventually characterise the world as a whole, although he does not offer any explanation as to how this might eventuate. (1988,112, note 6)

This post-Copernican natural theology shows the Cosmos as a process directed towards the possible self-creation of an entity similar to God. As the process of human moral-cultural self-creation is essentially a free process, the process could either succeed or fail. The Good News of Christ could be that the process is successful and that we will make it in the end.

This perspective resolves the first of the ambiguities of Christianity, the ontology of Christ. It may also resolve the second ambiguity, the meaning of salvation. Salvation may be the completion of the process of human self-creation, the divinisation of mankind. Revelation may best be considered not as a series of immutable propositions, but as the history of the process of salvation, a series of insights expressed in the categories of their time. A new process theology would reinterpret revelation in the light of the apparent purpose of the process of the Cosmos, the divinisation of mankind.

That man is to become divine is not a new idea. It is as old as Christianity. The problem with this concept has always been the question, as again posed by Mascall who asks how can a creature be deified? (1966,184-5) One possible response is that no creature can be deified unless that creature is self-created, the product of a process of cosmic and human self-creation and so self-existent.

The perception that each culture is a separate process of human self-creation enables an answer to be given to some questions recently posed by Max Charlesworth in his `Religious Inventions' (1997). He asks what we are to think of the fact that Christianity appeared as an historical phenomenon some 50,000 years after the beginnings of Australian Aboriginal religion, and how we are to explain the religious interregna between the beginnings of humankind, the choosing of the Hebrews and the manifestation of Jesus Christ. (1997,30-31)

Quite simply, God could have been waiting for the evolution of the circumstances which could lead to the emergence of morality in Homo Sapiens, and then for the subsequent moral evolution and self-creation of each culture. All this took time. The Hebrews were the first culture to develop a moral standard. They were the first with a moral law, the Mosaic law. They had morals when other peoples only had mores. I have argued elsewhere that the Hebrews were the first culture to emerge with a spiritual consciousness. (Kelly, 1999) A lengthy further process of human self-creation was needed, within the Hebrew culture, before the advent of Jesus. The process continues.

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Emerging Church Economics

There are too many errors in this book for unsophisticated readers. McLaren’s book has value only to readers who recognize the mistakes but are willing to learn about a position that springs from ideology and a theological framework. For me, the emerging church movement is enough to consider by itself without flawed economics intertwined

Mordecai Kaplan: Rethinking Judaism for the New World

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