Date of Award


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Religion, PhD


School of Religion

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Philip Clayton

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Anselm Kyungsuk Min

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Ingolf U. Dalferth

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2012 Dong-Sik Park


Divine Action, God and the world, Joseph Bracken, open theism, panentheism, Philip Clayton

Subject Categories

Philosophy | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


This dissertation investigates the God-world relationship between Joseph Bracken as a process theologian, Philip Clayton as a panentheist, and the open theism. They have affinities and differences as conversational partners in their multilayered relations. Their common question must be as follows: “What does it mean to believe in God today?” In this dissertation I compare their respectively theological perspectives and explore their affinities and differences. Many scholars have already noted more affinities than untenable differences among Bracken’s theology, Clayton’s panentheism, and the open theism. On the one hand, even though theological perspectives of Bracken and Clayton are obviously different from each other, they are both influenced in specific ways by Whitehead. On the other hand, open theism is a movement that emphasizes “the openness of God,” from within evangelical theism. The fact that there is even within classical theism the pursuit of new models of God such as revised classical theism or modified classical theism might suggest the need for contemporary models of God in philosophical theology.

This dissertation will thus explore philosophical theologies that are proper both to the biblical faith and intellectual earnestness, that is, 居敬窮理 (geo (to live) kyeong (piety) kung (to acknowledge) li (reason)) in Eastern philosophy, which means distinctions but not separation between piety and intelligence, and that stand between classical theism and “orthodox” process theism. If there is no consistency among biblical, rational and existential descriptions of God, how can we establish philosophical theologies? Our theological task is to frame a new constructive theology whose primary aspect must synthesize both classical theism and process theology in the hermeneutical circle. For example, this new theism admits an infinitely qualitative difference between God and the world, as well as a really radical relation between God and the world. Aspects and domains do not encroach upon each other.