Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Terminology Tuesday: Panentheism

Panentheism: The belief that God's being includes and permeates the entire universe so that everything exists in God. In contrast to pantheism, panentheists declare that God's being is greater than and not exhausted by the universe. God is affected by each event in the universe, and thus God's knowledge must change and grow. However, God simultaneously retains personal integrity and complete reality.1

*Note: An easy rule of thumb is that pantheists see the universe as God, but panentheists see the universe almost like God's body.

1. Stanley J. Grenz, David Guretzki & Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), p. 88.

5 comments :

Davitor said...

There also varieties of Pantheism involving reverence for the Universe or Totality rather than for any creator being or personal God. All imply some level of unity in reality. All have a strong emphasis on Nature as a focus of spirituality and of ethics. There are three major categories of Pantheism, which differ as to whether they regard reality as made up of only one type of substance, or two, and what that type of substance is.
1. Monist physicalist or Naturalistic Pantheism holds that there is only one type of substance, and that substance is physical, i.e. energy and matter. Historically this version was held by Stoics such as Zeno of Citium or Marcus Aurelius, and in modern times by John Toland, Ernst Haeckel, D.H. Lawrence and Paul Harrison. This version is represented today by the World Pantheist Movement. In this version, the term god - if used at all - is basically a synonym for Nature or Universe, seen from the point of view of reverence.
2. Monist idealist Pantheism holds that there is only one type of substance, and that substance is mental or spiritual. Ultimate reality consists of a single consciousness. This version is common in Hindu philosophies and Consciousness-Only schools of Buddhism, as well as in some New Age writers such as Deepak Chopra.
3. Dualist Pantheism holds that there are two major types of substance, physical and mental/spiritual. Dualistic pantheism is very diverse, and may include beliefs in reincarnation, cosmic consciousness, and paranormal connections across Nature. It is represented most widely today in literal versions of Paganism.

Personally I lean toward the monist idealist Pantheist.

Davitor said...

There also varieties of Pantheism involving reverence for the Universe or Totality rather than for any creator being or personal God. All imply some level of unity in reality. All have a strong emphasis on Nature as a focus of spirituality and of ethics. There are three major categories of Pantheism, which differ as to whether they regard reality as made up of only one type of substance, or two, and what that type of substance is.
1. Monist physicalist or Naturalistic Pantheism holds that there is only one type of substance, and that substance is physical, i.e. energy and matter. This version is represented today by the World Pantheist Movement. In this version, the term god - if used at all - is basically a synonym for Nature or Universe, seen from the point of view of reverence.
2. Monist idealist Pantheism holds that there is only one type of substance, and that substance is mental or spiritual. Ultimate reality consists of a single consciousness. This version is common in Hindu philosophies and Consciousness-Only schools of Buddhism, as well as in some New Age writers such as Deepak Chopra.
3. Dualist Pantheism holds that there are two major types of substance, physical and mental/spiritual. Dualistic pantheism is very diverse, and may include beliefs in reincarnation, cosmic consciousness, and paranormal connections across Nature. It is represented most widely today in literal versions of Paganism.
Personally I lean toward the monist idealist Pantheist.

Brian said...

Thanks for that info, Davitor.
You are aware that today's term deals with panENtheism, not pantheism, right?

Davitor said...

I see no difference, for how can creation exist without God or consciousness. It's like I tell atheist how can nothing exist without you being aware of it.

Paul said...

Whats that got to do with the difference between pantheism and panentheism?

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