Christian Themes

(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Wieman’s empirical orientation and naturalistic metaphysics compel him to refute the transcendental conceptions of the divine celebrated within the dominant Jewish and Christian theological traditions. Dismissing a supernatural God that is immaterial and residing beyond history, Wieman conceives the creative event as materially based, where matter is meant as a form of energy that determines the very structure of time and space, together with all else that exists or is possible. As a natural process, God is the continuous creator of ideals, aspiration, and value, the supreme manifestation of freedom, and the source and sustainer of human freedom. As creativity, the creative event underlies all others in the sense of being a changeless structure of felt quality and knowable order, and it is necessarily prior to every other form of experience.

According to Wieman, the creative event is always and absolutely good in the sense of creating value and must necessarily destroy values that have become too ossified in order to achieve the best possibility for new values under prevailing conditions. Wieman further suggests that sin is any resistance to creativity for which humans are responsible, or the domination of created good over creative power. As long as humans are preoccupied with seeking only the material goods of life, then creative good cannot accumulate and enrich human lives. Although his view of God as creativity does not totally rid itself of the residue of philosophic idealism, Wieman’s pragmatism and scientific emphasis tend to avoid much of...

(The entire section is 639 words.)