Hartshorne’s neoclassical theology is governed by his “principle of
dual transcendence” (OOTM, 44). In contrast with dual transcendence,
classical theism offers a half-truth—a single transcendence. In Omnipotence
and Other Theological Mistakes (1984), Hartshorne identifies “Six
Common Mistakes About God” (chapter 1) which, taken together,
describe classical theism. Classical theism is characterized by mistaken
conceptions of (1) divine perfection, (2) divine omnipotence, (3) divine
omniscience, and (4) divine sympathy, plus mistakes about (5) human
immortality and (6) human reception of divine revelation.

(1) The classical conception of divine perfection is maximally antisocial
in holding a perfect God must be wholly immutable and nonrelative
in every respect. For neoclassical theism, God is the surrelative
“subject of all change” (MVG, 251). Whereas classical theism affirms
divine immutability and denies divine change, neoclassical theism
affirms both, with change including immutable aspects.
(2) The classical conception of divine omnipotence errs in holding
that God is wholly determinative of all actual events. Such talk is nonsense,
void of coherent meaning. Neoclassical metaphysics holds that
nothing is wholly determinative of anything else. For neoclassical theology,
omnipotence means God is partly determinative of all actual
events, and partly determined by all actual events; where, by contrast,
less powerful entities are partly determinative of some actual events,
and partly determined by some actual events.
(3) The classical conception of divine omniscience wrongly holds
that whatever happens must have been eternally known as wholly
predetermined in every respect by God. Neoclassical theology holds
that omniscience means all-knowing, and knowing all things as they
really are means knowing the actually determined as actually determined
and knowing the not yet fully determined (not yet actual) as not
yet fully determined. Classical talk of knowing the partly indeterminate
as already wholly determined is logical nonsense.
(4) The classical conception of divine goodness wrongly holds that
God is impassible or unsympathetic, an “unmoved mover” (Aristotle)
who does not suffer. Rather than conceiving of God as an unmoved
mover, neoclassical theology conceives of God as unsurpassably
moved (and unsurpassably moving). Neoclassical theology holds that
divine goodness includes supreme and unsurpassable sympathy. The
all-inclusive one experiences every experience, suffering every pain
and joy fully.
(5) Classical theism frequently errs in conceiving of human immortality
as “a career after death” (OOTM, 4).19 Instead of the classical
view of “subjective immortality” as a never-ending, after-death career,
Hartshorne holds to a Whiteheadian doctrine of “objective immortality”
according to which “an entire career, with all its concrete values,
is an imperishable possession of deity” (OOTM, 40).20
(6) Classical theism is marked by an erroneous conception of infallible
special revelation (OOTM, 5). Logically, divinely inspired humans
cannot produce wholly infallible documents or doctrines because any
synthesis of the wholly infallible and the partly fallible must yield a
partly fallible product.
By emphasizing necessary divine absolutes and denying or ignoring
divine relativity, the single transcendence of classical theism produces
a supremely anti-social (nonrelative) conception of God—God
as a wholly other, immutable, unmoved mover. By contrast, the dual
transcendence of neoclassical theism yields a supremely social-relational
conception of God. Hartshorne says, “Maximizing relativity as
well as absoluteness in God [dual transcendence] enables us to conceive
him as a supreme person” (DR, 142). Logical metaphysical analysis
confirms the religious idea of God as the supremely relative person.

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