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with Benedikt P. Göcke, “On the Importance of Karl Christian Friedrich Krause's Panentheism”; Mariusz Tabaczek, “The Metaphysics of Downward Causation: Rediscovering the Formal Cause”; and Zachary Simpson, “Emergence and Non-Personal Theology”


  • Zachary Simpson


In response to recent theories of emergence which attempt to examine system dynamics and the evolution of complexity from physics to biology and consciousness, a number of theologians have attempted to distill religious insights from a philosophical concept of emergence. Recent work by Terrence Deacon, however, which emphasizes constraint and a process understanding of complexity, undercuts significant features in emergent theologies, namely the privileging of certain loci within emergent complexity, an emphasis on efficient causation, and, theologically, an agential and personal God. The final section of this article, using the example of Navaho religious thought, argues that other religious insights which centralize norm-ativity, global features of complexity, and are depersonalized, have greater traction with current scientific theories of emergence.