By Dr. Arlette Poland
Whitehead was ambiguous about time in many ways. It was not totally clear in his explanations about the creator deity whether that deity was the lure in our future or the nudge from our past. Many have argued for one or the other answer. Some have answered that issue with the usual Process style answer: both/and. I am in the latter group.
If G_d is who or what G_d is, then it must be true that there is no spot where G_d is not. However, that also does not mean that because the deity is everywhere present that there is not also other expressions of life and energy equally present. Thus, the good that we need to G_d to be is as present everywhere as is the bad that we don’t want to connect with G_d. The only way that is an issue is if the world is either/or rather than both/and.
If we can accept a world that is both/and, we can begin to open our notion of the deity and think more deeply about what is the quality of the energy of the deity. We can look within and perhaps notice that our thinking about the deity is fluid. If we need the deity to be consistent in character then we need to find a way to allow the deity to be both/and, as Whitehead proposed the concept.
In order to keep in line with Whitehead who posited a both/and world, I suggest that we experience the deity as a type or quality of energy. That energy is the energy of opportunity for greater care and connection for self and others. Such opportunities are every present, all the time. If we do not notice the opportunities then we have lost the opportunity for our own good to be expressed into our world. If we notice the opportunity but do not act on it, we have chosen to ignore the impulse for care and connection that translates into our refusal to be part of the good that is G_d in action in our world.
So, yes G_d leads. And yes, G_d follows. And Yes, G_d is all good. To connect to that good and the happiness that it brings we can focus on our answer to this one question at every turn: What is my opportunity for greater care and connection for self and others, right now?