Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Terminology Tuesday: Pantheism

Pantheism: Greek for “everything is God,” the belief that God and the universe are essentially identical. More specifically, pantheism is the designation for the understanding of the close connection between the world and the divine reality found in certain religions, including Hinduism. One variety of pantheism speaks of God as the “soul” of the universe, which is thought to be God’s “body.” Pantheistic religions often suggest that our experience of being disconnected from each other and from the divine is merely an illusion.1
1. Stanley J. Grenz, David Guretzki & Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), p. 88.

20 Comments

  1. Davitor June 15, 2010

    Most Christian's are Pantheist to some degree whether they accept or not, for when they come to the realization that God knows every hair in their body they will realize what that truly means.

  2. Brian June 15, 2010

    Hi Davitor,

    How does that follow? Could you explain how that works?

  3. Davitor June 15, 2010

    Just as you cannot seperate your thoughts from God without God being aware of it.

  4. Brian June 15, 2010

    Maybe I wasn't clear. What I wanted to know was how God knowing the hairs on my head makes me a pantheist.

  5. Ex N1hilo June 16, 2010

    I encountered a deist a while back who made a claim similar to Davitor's. He argued (if you can call it that) for a deity that is entirely transcendent, a deity with ZERO imminence. His view was that any deity that takes an active role in sustaining the universe, and certainly the Christian God, "inlive breathe have our being whom we live, move and have our being," who is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, is inherently pantheistic.

    That we, and the universe as a whole, are contingent upon God for our existence meant, to him, that God is "the only real thing that exists," and that our distinctiveness from God is an illusion.

    Anyway, that was this guy's view. I say he doesn't understand the concept of ex nihilo creation. Well, I guess no one understands it fully, but this guy didn't get it at all. Perhaps Davitor's thinking is along the same lines?

  6. Davitor June 16, 2010

    Nothing cannot exist without it being acknowledged by conscience, just as darkness cannot exist without light.

  7. Brian June 16, 2010

    Davitor,

    Was your last reply a response to my question?

  8. Davitor June 16, 2010

    Nope, I think Ex N1hilo did a much better job at explaining my logic answer.

  9. Brian June 16, 2010

    So if we change the definition of pantheism we can all be pantheists. But if we are talking about the definition that was provided in the blog post, Christians are not pantheists.

  10. Davitor June 16, 2010

    Brian, I think you are going to have to give me your definition of omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, and explain to me where God is not?

  11. Brian June 16, 2010

    Let's stay focused, Davitor. If you have made a claim that God's knowing all the hairs on my head somehow entails that I am a pantheist, then you are the one that has some explaining to do – not me.

  12. Davitor June 17, 2010

    Brian, simple question where can God not be found?

  13. Brian June 17, 2010

    God is not spatial, so I don't think a "where" question applies here.

    Why don't you just lay out your position?

  14. Blake June 17, 2010

    @Davitor,

    I understand that God cannot be found in the dimension known as Hell.
    Let me know what you all think.

  15. Davitor June 17, 2010

    Simple Brian, I believe that the energy that sustains the universe is God. Christian’s want to create a concept that it comes from God but this lead to all sorts of illogical conclusion or wishful thinking that just don’t add up, as atheist likes to point out.
    But that's ok Brian please continue to believe that God is somehow separate from his creation but entirely, completely, totally, absolutely and explicitly, aware of every bit that goes on, even of that thought that you have right this second of how your going explain to me of how God is separated from his creation. Heck even the Siamese Twins were not that close.

  16. Brian June 17, 2010

    God having a comprehensive knowledge of His creation does not entail a that God therefore has a one-to-one identity with it. If He chose not to create, he would not be any less God than if He did create. So I think it is false to hold the view that "everything is God."

  17. Davitor June 17, 2010

    Blake, it's interesting you mention that because i had a discussion once with someone who was pompous of the fact that God will be aware of every grinding teeth of every bit of pain from the extreme heat that will be afflicted to every single person that is in hell without missing one second for an eternity. Kind of makes you wonder. 🙁

  18. Chad June 17, 2010

    Hello Davitor,

    I hope you are well. You wrote “Ex N1hilo did a much better job at explaining my logic answer” and Ex N1hilo had written, “our distinctiveness from God is an illusion” in his description of your views, which you affirmed.

    That being said, I was wondering if you might clear something up for me? According to your view (“our distinctiveness from God is an illusion”), individual minds would themselves be aspects of the illusion and therefore, I can’t see how they can provide a rational basis in explaining the illusion itself. If the mind is part of the illusion, which is what seems to follow from your view, it cannot be the ground for explaining the illusion. For this reason, if pantheism is true in asserting that my individuality (or “distinctiveness”) is an illusion, then pantheism, it would seem, is false, since there is then no basis for explaining the illusion.

    In short, how can part of an illusion explain an illusion? Or how can my mind, part of the illusion, bring me to the knowledge that my individuality is simply an illusion?

    Thank you

  19. Davitor June 18, 2010

    Descates if I remember correctly said that we can doubt everything the only thing we can’t doubt is that we thinking/doubting. But some argue that the thinking is done by the observer or the “I”. The observer or consciousness does not need my thoughts in order to be, just as the entire creation did not need any of my thoughts in order to be. It is this observer or “I am” which does not need my thoughts, that I can not doubt. Atheist keep debating that this consciousness needs a brain but I argue is who is the “I” that is saying that and observing the brain.

  20. jeremy July 30, 2013

    @Davitor – Are you a pantheist?