Toward an empathic panentheism: a study of John B. Cobb Jr.'s idea of God and Nongmun Im Seong-Ju's Idea of Ultimate Reality
Kim, Shin Myoung
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This thesis deals with "empathic panentheisim". Precisely, we look into a comparative study between the panentheism of John B. Cobb Jr.'s idea of God and Nonmun Im Seong-Ju's idea of Ultimate Reality. By doing so, we can find out that the relationship between God and the world shows us an "empathic" relationship. However, we can identify many problems in Korean churches. The core problem is "the dualistic view of God and the world." Most churches teach the divide of "the holy and the secular" or "things of God and things of the world." This dichotomy causes indifference and apathy toward the social justice or social problems. For solving this problem, we should deal with the panentheistic vision of God in Process Theology. In Alfred North Whitehead and John B. Cobb Jr.'s idea of God, actual occasions transit to the final concrescence through the mutual correspondence of God and the world. In this point, this relationship and correspondence between God and the world can be the empathic vision. Also, we should look into Nongmun Im Seong-Ju's idea of Ultimate Reality in the Neo-Confucian tradition. Nongmun Im Seong-Ju argues that li and qi are equally real. Under this major premise, Nongmun establishes his theory of li-qi unlike other Neo-Confucian scholars who separate li with qi and consider the li-qi dichotomy. In this point, Nongmun Im Seong-Ju considers the correspondence between li and qi as life-giving intention (生意, Saeng-ui). Nongmun Im Seong-Ju regards the life-giving intention as the heart-mind of empathy. The life-giving intention is an ontological and cosmic creativity to connect the human heart-mind and the Great Ultimate. For overcoming the dichotomy of Ultimate Reality (or God) and the world, both John B. Cobb Jr. and Nongmun Im Seong-Ju focus on the relationship and the correspondence. After all, both two scholars try to establish the empathic relationship between Ultimate Reality (or God) and the world.