Abstract

I seek in this paper to explore what might be meant by "the presence of God." The sense of God’s presence, which never disappeared from the lives of many people, seems to be emerging quietly in the work of serious thinkers. Sometimes other terms, such as "spirit" or even "face," hint at the issue. In later sections, I discuss the relevance of this issue to the thought of Alfred North Whitehead and others influenced by him. Finally, I discuss the reality of trauma in human life and its implications for Whiteheadian thought and thought about the presence of God. I explore the sense we have of presence, something different from mind or body or objects or consciousness. (1) We become aware of our own presence in the world and the unique and irreplaceable sense we have of our own presence. (2) We become aware that sometimes we are more intensely present to other people than is normally the case. Then we begin to sense occasions when the other person becomes more intensely present to us. (3) Some people search for a cosmic presence, hoping perhaps that we are not ultimately alone.

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