This paper is a critical examination of Amos Yong’s pneumatological use of emergence theory. In seeking to bridge the divide between the worldviews of science and Pentecostalism, Yong sees emergence theory as a fruitful mediating discourse. We will argue for the following: 1) the supernaturalism of Yong’s Pentecostal theology renders the concept of emergence obsolete; 2) the ontological independence of various types of spirits in Yong’s theology breaks his commitment to supervenience theory; and 3) Yong’s transference of scientific concepts into the normative discourse of theology is potentially problematic. These criticisms should be seen as a call for Yong to depart from emergence theory (and supervenience) in his admirable ambition to harmonize the spirit-filled imagination of Pentecostalism with the scientific culture of the 21st century.
- Amos Yong