Emergentist theologies commonly claim that the universe exhibits a hierarchy of emergence and that God has or will emerge from the universe most likely through evolution. Emergentist theologies that are defended by such contemporary scholars as Arthur Peacocke, Harold Morowitz, and Philip Clayton are construed as versions of panentheism, which places the universe within God.
Thomas argues that Alexander’s emergentist view is radically different from these others because it places God within the universe. According to Alexander’s view, God will emerge as the final quality in a temporal and logical hierarchy of emergence. Thomas argues that Alexander’s view is not only unique but also compelling. In order to show this, she contrasts it with Clayton’s view. First, she defends Alexander’s view against Clayton’s criticisms. Eric Steinhart focuses on religious naturalism. Religious naturalism is based on two main theses: (i) all religiously significant objects are natural, and (ii) some natural objects are religiously significant.
There are many distinct versions of religious naturalism because there are many distinct ways of construing such concepts as nature and religious significance. Yet Steinhart argues that most versions of religious naturalism can be understood in terms of five contexts that they address: the concrete context, which is associated with nature in the largest and deepest sense; the physical context, which is associated with our universe; the chemical context, which is associated with our solar system; the biological context, which is associated with our earth; and the personal context, which is associated with human animals.