Panentheism – What is it?
Panentheism is a blending of theism (belief in a God) and pantheism (all is God). It specifically teaches that God is greater than the universe and that the universe exists within God. It therefore stands distinct from pantheism (which believes God is all) as well as theism (which teaches God is distinct from His creation). Within Christian theology, panentheism is often discussed under the term Process Theology.
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Panentheism is clearly contrary to the teaching of the Bible. Scripture presents God as one (Deuteronomy 6:4) and that all people are called to worship Him. If all things are part of God as panentheism teaches, worship of God and other beings could co-exist without conflict. Yet Scripture clearly teaches to worship God alone (Exodus 20:3-5).
Further, the Bible begins with the statement that, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). God created all things, existing before their creation. As such, He is perfect, unchanging, and distinct from all created things. This should not result in the worship of created things, but rather the Creator of all things (Romans 1:20).
Many of God's other attributes also affirm traits only possible of a theistic God, or one God separate from His creation. For example, 1 Chronicles 29:11 affirms God is sovereign or in control of all things. If the creation exists within God and is changing (as panentheism suggests) then God could not be sovereign. If God is self-existent or eternal (Psalm 36:9), then no part of His creation could exist as part of Him. If God is unchanging (Psalm 33:11; James 1:17), then no part of creation could be equal with God since it is changeable.
Perhaps the fundamental flaw in panentheism is the desire to provide harmony between the views of theism and pantheism. God cannot be one and be all at the same time. God is either a single being who is the source of all other life or He is not. If not, some other explanation must be made that is sufficient to explain everything that exists. Yet even the scientific evidence of our time points to a single beginning of all space, time, matter, and energy. A single source is the cause of all things. This agrees with the biblical teaching of one God who is the Creator of all things rather than a view of God that is changing and part of creation.
What is atheism?
What is Naturalism?
What is agnosticism?
Pantheism – What is it?
Polytheism – What is it?
Truth about Worldview and Apologetics