Pantheism vs. panentheism

This post was written by DoctorJay on November 29, 2009
Posted Under: A Course In Miracles,philosophy,Theology

Today’s thought for the day is: God is in everything I see. So the question my be is this pantheism or panentheism?

Before even attempting to answer the question we have to understand what the terms mean.

  • Pantheism is the idea that all (Pan) is God (theism). And the reverse is true. God is all.
  • Now panentheism has the same idea but the word en (in) is added inside. It means all is in God but God is more than the all.

I used to believe in pantheism – actually philosophically I’m a radical monist. That’s to say that the philosophy that I adhere to is radical monism which means I believe the only thing which as real reality (rather than illusory ego based reality) is whole shebang (all that is – however we define the all).

When I started to study at the Philosophical Research SocietyI first heard about the term panentheism. It was explained to me as above that God is more than all. In fact I’m not sure that the idea makes sense linguistically. If by the all we mean just physical objects (for now let’s not bother to define what we mean by physical and say it is what we call physical in consensus reality) – then God may be greater than the all (Pan).

However, if we mean by the all, all that there is and could be then all we do is to redefine God as the all and we get back to pantheism. So yes I see God in everything and everything is in God and God is more than every “thing” if by thing we mean physical objects. But God cannot be more than the all as the all is the all and there cannot be anything more than the all. It is much more a question of semantics rather than philosophy and theology.

Then again I would like to add as an adherent of neo-linguistic philosophy that in reality most philosophical questions (but not all as claimed in linguistic philosophy) are a question of word definitions and semantics. That’s why I prefer to use the term “Ultimate Reality,” rather than God as the word God has too much bagage and is associated in most people’s minds with the various male sky gods who supposedly lead male dominated mass religions.

One of the reasons “A Course in Miracles,” was channeled was to talk about the real God of total compassion and unconditional love rather than that of consensus mass religions – as opposed to the real God of the mystics in all the same religions.

Reader Comments

Right. Total Reality is a much better word for God than God. It clears the clutter of things vs. spirits and things happening vs. consciousness of things happening. Cheers,

Written By albert cipriani on December 3rd, 2009 @ 10:35 pm

Some random thoughts.

God (as I have experienced Him) is both utterly transcendent and wonderfully immanent. He works all in all but retains His transcendence and immanence into eternity.

Physical objects exist as projected icons of the metaphysical (sometimes these may be induced supernaturally, that is, their manifestation in the physical universe is not at all accidental).

If you extrapolate this to include all natural phenomenon one can start to approach a working (albeit restricted) inner knowledge of God.

Evidently (or demonstrably) Jesus Christ (or God as Person) has existed from the very beginning of recorded time and is the means through which God reclaims Himself from out of the world of men.

Panentheism is a better description of what the “ancients” believed.


Written By Steve on December 17th, 2009 @ 4:24 am


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