God the Created

Pragmatic Constructive Realism in Philosophy and Theology

By Benjamin J. Chicka

Subjects: Philosophy Of Religion, Religion, Theology, Epistemology, Process Philosophy
Hardcover : 9781438487199, 256 pages, February 2022
Paperback : 9781438487205, 256 pages, August 2022

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Table of contents

Pragmatic Constructive Realism


A Sketch of the Argument

1. Realism, Constructivism, and Their Discontents
Realism versus Constructivism in Philosophy and Science
Philosophical Implications for Religion
Realism versus Constructivism in Theology
Beyond the Impasse?

2. Beyond the Impasse: Charles S. Peirce and American Pragmatism
"Paper" Doubt and Groundless Grounds
Triads in Human Inquiry and the Natural World
Peirce's Musings on God

3. Pragmatic Constructive Realism
Peirce and Neopragmatists
Peirce and Classical Pragmatists
Peirce without Panpsychism
Peirce without Evolutionary Love
From Constructivism or Realism to Pragmatic Constructive Realism

4. Emerging Philosophically and Theologically
Two Giants of Modern Theology
Tillich's Realism and Barth's Constructivism in Theology
Transcending Whitehead

5. John Cobb's Creative Transformation
John Cobb's Peircean Habit
Challenges from and Challenges to Science
Process Philosophy and a Loving God
God's Revealing in God's Concealing
God the Container of Possibilities
Creative Transformation

6. Robert Neville's God the Creator
Robert Neville's Peircean Habit
The Indeterminate One and the Determinate Many
Divine Wildness over Goodness
Transcendence and Immanence?
True Engagement, Broken Symbols
Challenges from and Challenges to Science
Steps toward a More Complete Model of God the Creator

7. Reinvigorating the Cobb-Neville Dialogue
Criticisms and Defenses of God the Container
Criticisms and Defenses of God the Creator
An Explanation of Different Peircean Habits
Different Names for the Same Concern
Two Valid Guesses at the Riddle

8. A Pragmatic Constructive Realist Model of God
Pragmatic Constructive Realism: A New Name for a New Way of Thinking
The Unnecessary Nature of God the Container
Concrete Determinations of God the Creator
Emergence and Growth in God the Created

9. Pragmatic Pluralism and Theological Progress
The Paradox of Pluralism

The Courage to Continue Creating God


Develops a creative and provocative new model of God that brings together insights from both process theology and ground-of-being theology.


In God the Created, Benjamin Chicka develops a method of inquiry and program for theology that he labels "pragmatic constructive realism." While influenced most heavily by American pragmatism, especially that of Charles S. Peirce, Chicka’s method draws upon a variety of sources, ranging from Plato to Karl Popper, Paul Tillich, and the field of biosemiotics. Chicka presents pragmatic constructive realism as a means of moving past binary debates between realism and antirealism in both philosophy and theology, and its fruitfulness is displayed by examining the philosophical theologies of John Cobb and Robert Cummings Neville. The result of that engagement is a novel hypothesis about God that embraces legitimate criticisms of both process theology (Cobb) and ground-of-being theology (Neville) while integrating insights from both ways of thinking. God's transcendence and immanence, indeterminacy and determinacy are fully affirmed. The entire argument serves as an example of why a fallible and pluralistic form of theology, one that embraces and learns from difference instead of trying to eliminate it, is important for the future of theology.

Benjamin J. Chicka is Lecturer in Philosophy and Religious Studies at Curry College.


"Remarkable in its clarity, forcefulness, and orientation, Chicka's book belongs on the shelf of every person concerned with process thought." - Robert Cummings Neville

"This book goes beyond careful and critical description to creative formulation, and is itself a significant contribution to systematic theology. If, as I believe, the reality and nature of God is a question of great importance not only to members of the Abrahamic tradition but also for the 'spiritual but not religious,' clarifying where that debate stands is a major contribution to our culture." — John Cobb

"God the Created is an exciting and ambitious book, written by an important new voice in philosophical theology. Benjamin Chicka provides an illuminating comparative analysis of two giants in contemporary theology: Robert Cummings Neville and John Cobb. He also introduces a creative and provocative model of God and, even more significantly, puts forward a bold and promising program for the future of theology, which he calls 'pragmatic constructive realism.' Anyone interested in contemporary philosophical theology needs to read this book and grapple with its potent arguments." — Demian Wheeler, author of Religion within the Limits of History Alone: Pragmatic Historicism and the Future of Theology