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b) Eschatology and ‘Philosophical Cosmology’

Process theology offers a mediating position with its philosophical language about cosmology, though it is unclear whether scientific cosmology is taken entirely on board here. Barbour, for example, affirms “objective immortality”: we participate in God’s consequent nature and memory. Like some process theologians, however, he also affirms “subjective immortality, in which the human self continues as a center of experience in a radically different environment”, the endlessly changing divine eternity.Barbour, Religion in an age of science, 241. See note #37, p. 288, for references to this by other process thinkers. John Haught develops a kenotic form of process theology with a metaphysics grounded in the future. Theology offers a broad explanation of the world which includes the results of evolutionary biology. He recognizes the possible challenge to eschatological purpose posed by Big Bang cosmology but claims that “the cosmological features of modern science are no less assimilable to a deep religious trust than were the cosmologies of the past.” Gloomy scenarios of the cosmic future were based on “emaciated mathematical abstractions that ignored the contingent openness of nature’s de facto historicity.”Haught, Science & Religion, p. 174-78. See also John F. Haught, The Promise of Nature: Ecology and Cosmic Purpose (New York: Paulist Press, 1993), 124-25, 130.Instead, Haught points to the new sciences of chaos and complexity as rendering “the prospect of precise scientific prediction of final cosmic catastrope ... shakier than ever.” Moreover, from a Whiteheadian perspective, genuine novelty must arise out of the future.John F. Haught, "Evolution, Tragedy, and Hope," in Science & Theology: The New Consonance, ed. Ted Peters (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1998), esp. 238, 240.

Contributed by: Dr. Robert Russell

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