Essence Precedes Existence

Topics: Alfred North Whitehead, Meaning of life, Process theology Pages: 3 (1058 words) Published: December 11, 2012
Leslie Morales
Mrs. Murray
British Literature-3
29 February 2012
In All Essence…
People of this world confuse themselves. We believe in one thing but don’t truly know what it means. Some practice religion; some don’t. We try to pretend that we know our purpose but do we really know? In Grendel by John Gardner, it talks about this creature/monster that is in conflict with what his purpose in life is. Gardner incorporates twelve different philosophies and the astrological symbols that Grendel, the monster, deals with. Grendel tries to fit in with the Danes (humans) but finds that the Danes are afraid of him and they want to destroy him. Grendel doesn’t know why that is happening and runs off. He comes in contact with a dragon, who knows the past, present, future. The dragon gets Grendel thinking about what is his purpose in life. Who knew it is so hard to find a purpose? Are we designed to live a life that is already played out? Or are we creating our own lives? Gardner ends the novel a bit ambiguous. He doesn’t make it clear if Grendel ever found a purpose. Grendel takes a leap of faith. He definitely found his meaning; he found it through theology. “Essence precedes existence!”

In Process Theology: A Basic Introduction by C. Robert Mesle, it states that in process theology, instead of God forcing people to do good deeds, he shares “with us a vision of the better way,” (Mesle 13). Mesle is saying that God creates a better way on purpose. We are predestined. In other words, God creates us and then gives us life. We might think that we make our own decisions, but we don’t. J. R Hustwit says in his article about process philosophy that “when one actual occasion is internally related to another, the past occasions participate in and contribute to the intrinsic character of the present,” (Hustwit). This basically means that a present occasion is influenced by the past, essentially. Hustwit explains Alfred North Whitehead’s start of process theology. The...
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