Thomistic versus Process theology

It occurred to me that I should probably have been a little more clear about something in my post about different folks in the Anglican unpleasantness using either Thomistic (Aristotelian) or Process reasoning.

I had in my mind the difference between discrete and non-local properties that undergird so much of Quantum Physics (the particle/wave duality). I was thinking that the Thomistic methodology would be roughly analogous to the Particle description of matter and the Process methodology to the Wave description.

The thing is that matter is both a particle and a wave. At the same time. They’re equivalent ways of describing the same phenomenon.

I think we might be able to say the same for the two theological viewpoints as well.

I’ve often wondered if even categories like “reappraiser” and “reasserter” are really orthogonal with each other as people seem to claim. I’ve often found myself wondering if we aren’t all a mixture of both, using one or the other depending on the situation which we find ourselves in at the moment.

Author: Nicholas Knisely

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...

6 thoughts on “Thomistic versus Process theology”

  1. I think you’re right; in theology I seem to be very traditional – but also interested in how the “Christology of the ages” can be seen in a new light.
    In morality, I’m also quite traditional – and BTW I think “gay marriage” is a conservative idea. Isn’t it “traditional” to promise to love, honor, cherish, and be faithful to one person till death you do part?
    IOW, I believe in “bringing out of our treasure things new and old.” In recognizing that the past has much to offer, mining it for the faith values found therein, weighing the old ways to see if they fit with what we know today, and amending what’s wrong in practice and thought.
    This is why many of us don’t feel we fit in on either “side.”

  2. I see process theology as a way to view the same classical truths but from a non-essentialist perspective. In particular, the sexuality discussion seems to divide between those who see the importance in the “being” or “essence” of the person as opposed to the relationship between them. (Of course, it is also possible within the classical framework to note that male and female are accidens not esse.)

  3. It seems that you have confused Thomistic metaphysics with Aristotelian. Remember Thomas holds at least two positions Aristotle cannot:
    (1) A numerically singular item can be present in two disjoint locations, e.g. ‘at once.”
    (2) An numerically singular item can have more than one essence.
    (3) The features of an item can exist apart from the nature of the item.
    The doctrine of Real Presence requires (1) and (3); the doctrine of the Incarnation requires (2).
    It seems dogmatic requirements yield interesting results: from (2) on the face of it one and the same thing could have two natures, say being a particle and being a wave, while (from (1)) being bi-located or appearing to have a “twin”.
    Clearly Thomas is using Aristotelian terminology for un-Aristotelian ends.

  4. Fair enough – I probably am confusing the two. The only thing I really know about Aristotle/Thomas is what I’ve used in teaching the development of historical physics, so I’m constantly recasting things in my head into Physics categories and then back again…
    But being that you actually do natively speak these topics, can you understand what I’m trying to get at well enough to help me put into canonical language?

  5. In the posting it was said: I’ve often wondered if even categories like “reappraiser” and “reasserter” are really orthogonal with each other
    In the current debate, I would suggest that “reappraiser” and “reasserter” are closer to negatives of each other, rather than orthogonal. Those who have earned the “reappraiser” title are to me not looking at Holy Scripture in orthogonal way to traditional understandings, they are negating traditional understanding of Holy Scripture.
    From the comment above In morality, I’m also quite traditional – and BTW I think “gay marriage” is a conservative idea. Isn’t it “traditional” to promise to love, honor, cherish, and be faithful to one person till death you do part?
    This is an example of reappraiser thinking to my mind. It is traditional to promise to love, honor, cherish, and be faithful, but that promise is only to one of the opposite sex to be a marriage. There is no way that sodomite marriage does not take away from real marriage. The joining of opposite sexes is an core of the concept of marriage.
    I was just looking at a picture. The object in that picture has 14 wheels. The object of that picture is moving at a good rate of speed. The object in the picture not the largest member of the class to which it a part. The object of that picture has two major elements. The object in the picture is part of a class of objects used to move thing which are often critical. The object in the picture in an M1 it is not a tractor trailer rig. So called gay marriage is not more marriage that the M1 is a tractor trailer rig. The M1 and a tractor trailer rig have what I discussed in common, and more, but they are not the same.

  6. In what ways, exactly, does gay marriage take away from heterosexual marriage, please? Be specific and explain in detail.

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