Pantheism (from Greek pan ‘all’ + theos ‘god’) is a belief which identifies God with the universe (and all that comprises it: laws, motion, matter, energy, consciousness, life, etc.) or regards the universe as a manifestation of God. This belief is accepted by the adherents of the New Age Movement, who view God as an impersonal life force, consciousness or energy, rather than a Person. Here is what some New Agers have stated.
Marilyn Ferguson wrote in her book The Aquarian Conspiracy: “In the emergent spiritual tradition God is not the personage of our Sunday-school mentality but more nearly the dimension described by William James: The further limits of our being plunge, it seems to me, into an altogether other dimension of existence from the sensible and merely ‘understandable’ world …. We belong to it in a more intimate sense than that in which we belong to the visible world, for we belong in the most intimate sense wherever our ideals belong …. I will call the higher part of the universe by the name of God. God is experienced as flow, wholeness, the infinite kaleidoscope of life and death, Ultimate Cause, the ground of being, what Alan Watts called ‘the silence out of which all sound comes’. God is the consciousness that manifests as lila, the play of the universe. God is the organizing matrix we can experience but not tell, that which enlivens matter. In J. D. Salinger’s short story, Teddy, a spiritually precocious youngster recalls his experience of immanent God while watching his little sister drink her milk. ‘… All of a sudden I saw that she was God and the milk was God. I mean, all she was doing was pouring God into God….’ (Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy, Paladin Grafton Books, London 1986, page 420).
Benjamin Crème says: ‘Everything is God. There is nothing else in fact but God.’ (Creme Benjamin, The Reappearance of the Christ and Masters of Wisdom, Los Angeles: Tara Center, 1980, page 103).
Neale Donald Walsch says: ‘For God is the All, and the Goddess is everything, and there is nothing else that is’ (Walsch, Neale Donald, Conversations With God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Book 2, Charlottesville, Va.: Hampton Roads Publishing Company, 1997, page 92)
Helen Schucman says: ‘God is in everything I see’ (Helen Schucman, A Course in Miracles; Vol. 2, Workbook for Students, Tiburon, CA: Foundation for Inner Peace, 1975. page 45) and also: ‘God is still everywhere and in everything forever. And we are a part of Him’ (Ibid., page 92), again: ‘There is no separation of God and His creation’ (Vol. 1, Text, Tiburon, CA: Foundation for Inner Peace, 1975, page 136)
According to the Scripture, which is the Word of God, there is one God, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 15:6), as it is written in Isaiah: “I am the First and I am the Last; Besides me there is no God” (Isaiah 44:6 – NKJV) and in the first epistle to the Corinthians: “For us there is one God, the Father …” (1 Corinthians 8:6 – NKJV); He is also called “the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob” (Exodus 3:16 – NKJV).
He is a spiritual being, as it is written: “God is Spirit” (John 4:24 – NKJV); He is mighty in power and His understanding has no limit, as it is written: “Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite” (Psalm 147:5 – NKJV); He knows everything, as it is written: “The Lord is the God of knowledge” (1 Samuel 2:3 – NKJV – The Italian Bible Riveduta Version, reads “L’Eterno è un Dio che sa tutto”, that is, “the Eternal is a God who knows everything”); He is everywhere, as it is written: “If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell [Sheol], behold, you are there” (Psalm 139:8 – NKJV). He sees, as it is written: “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3 – NKJV); He hears, as it is written: “He hears the prayer of the righteous” (Proverbs 15:29 – NKJV); He speaks, as it is written: “When He utters His voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens” (Jeremiah 10:13 – NKJV). He remembers, as it is written: “He remembers His covenant forever” (Psalm 105:8 – NKJV); He is full of mercy and gracious, as it is written: “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy” (Psalm 103:8 – NKJV); He is righteous and thus He rewards those who do what is right in His sight, as it is written: “He will fulfil the desire of those who fear Him” (Psalm 145:19 – NKJV), and He punishes those who deserve to be punished for their evil deeds as it is written: “He repays those who hate him to their face, to destroy them. He will not be slack with him who hates Him; He will repay him to his face” (Deuteronomy 7:10 – NKJV). He protects those who fear Him, as it is written: “The Lord preserves the simple” (Psalm 116:6 – NKJV), and guides them, as it is written: “He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3 – NKJV). I have mentioned just some of His attributes and just some of the things He does.
This God, by the Word, created out of nothing all the things that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, as it is written: “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3 – NKJV), and they continue this day according to His ordinances, as it is written: “Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you” (Psalm 119:91 – NIV).
Therefore, the universe is not God but the work of His hands; He fills it, for God says through Jeremiah: “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” (Jeremiah 23:24 – NKJV), but He still remains separate from it because He is the Creator of the universe.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God who came down from heaven to reveal God to us, never hinted at pantheism in all His teachings. Before He came into this world He was with God in heaven from all eternity, and He knew God, but He never identified God with the universe or the earth. When He commanded His disciples not to swear, He said: “Do not swear at all; neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool” (Matthew 5:34-35 – NKJV). As you can see, Jesus called heaven the throne of God and the earth His footstool, and we know that there is a very big difference between a person who is seated on a throne and the throne on which he is seated; between a person and his footstool.
Therefore, to sum up, the universe is not God but the work of God, and through it the invisible attributes of God, that is, His eternal power and Godhead, are clearly seen, being understood from what He made, as Paul says: “Since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead” (Romans 1:20 – NKJV). And in addition to this, God is not an energy nor an impersonal force but a Person who sees, hears, speaks, remembers, etc.
Beware of pantheism, for it is a lie through which the devil causes many people all over the world to worship the earth, the sun, the moon, the stars, and also some animals and trees, and even some human beings, who are considered God. We can say that pantheism leads people to worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator who is blessed forever. In other words, pantheism leads people to idolatry, and as you know the Scripture says that idolaters will not inherit the kingdom of God (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
While your refutation is well grounded in scripture, it most obviously begs the question in favor of Christianity. Pantheism is much more a philosophy or view than a religion, and to say that it is untrue because your religion is true would be like saying that the universe does not exist because it is greater than the earth…Pantheism as a philosophy transcends religion and must therefore be refuted on philosophical grounds. e.g., is it true? To which we can only answer philosophically; does it hold together as a coherent statement in itself or is it contradictory in any obvious way?
Pantheism is repugnant to reason and the philosophical arguments against it are easily found and unassailable.
Eamon–I agree it is untrue, as Scripture easily attests to. But I’m still at a lack for philosophical arguments against it. Where can solid, flowing, poingnant proofs be found?
If all is god and god is all, as New Agers claim, then we are our own creation, our own imagination. Obviously, many of our “realities” are contradictary. How can pantheism respond to this?
What do you mean by realities exactly?
Pantheism identifies the development of the universe (think of it as evolution on a wide scale) as the biggest driving force or the closest thing to god that exists. That’s not to say me and you are going to have the same reality, nor get tingly feelings inside because we can spiritually feel the stardust we’re made of.
For several years I’ve held the Pantheistic worldview and until recently (last month after turning 16 and after consciously deconverting myself from Christianity in a strong and good Christian family at 15), I discovered that there were people who held similar beliefs, and that it had a name: Pantheism. I thought I discovered something no one else had, and although I kind of felt sad that I wasn’t the most intellectual person in the world (arrogant and not as good as being humble and meek which I assume and suppose is the best way for a human like me in my way of thinking to live life because of benefits out-weighing the disadvantages). Before then I discovered Taoism and began to questioning the basis of sin in reality, morality as objectively subjective, our interconnectedness and how spirit eventually manifests itself from nonliving matter (before we were born, the potential for our composition and emergence came from the universe itself which can be interpreted as spirit, soul, and even knowledge and abstract mathematics, etc.), and even the concept of duality as distinguished from unity, and how they are both the same thing and are fundamentally both at the same exact time and also not, etc. etc., and how voluntary action is more complicated involuntary action (if you move your hand, question how you did that and when you try and find that you find that voluntary action at it core is involuntary manifested extremely intricately, and how looking at it more fundamentally you can easily say that involuntary is the same as voluntary, since it depends entirely on perspective through different reasoning). Anyways, I came to find out the reality of Christianity at its core and I delved into the larger scope and how Christianity is so stupidly human and superstitious, closely resembling how people thought of the world back then and the irony of this generation and how people fall into the same trap over and over, finding evidence to support it, but failing to realize the psychological factors and of the Pantheistic worldview and how it can provide a more realistic and greatly fulfilling perspective on the world. I don’t believe that the universe is interpreted wrong as straight lines from a wavy world, but I think it is an efficient way of extracting information to efficiently thrive as a species and within our constructs and that our special connection to reality is what allows us to accept truth and language for use since you can see the fundamental as duality or unity since they are the same thing, because the nature of the universe can and can’t, etc. be explained through language.
Anyways, I know that I don’t represent all of Pantheism or reflect it in anyway, because I am very young and unexperienced and live under extreme Christian influence which is what makes me depressed very often, making others perceive it as demons, etc. which it very well might be if you define it as psychological and as the act of God holding the universe together as the strong force because it makes more sense that way instead of constantly receding God more and more the more science reveals more about our universe as they help our species thrive and invent computers, rockets, etc. One thing that I realized is that Pantheism isn’t and is the best worldview that can possibly be obtained for a human being, and that I chose to accept it because it made more sense on criteria that I logically deduced as priorital or important (if that was even a word, because I guess there is no way of saying priority in a way for that to flow well) based on my approach to reality, etc (I know that it makes sense that thinking in this way should be uncommon because it makes things confusing although it makes things more concise and logical, and I know that anything I say is a trap because language is a human invention to get the same flawed ideas across although they are not flawed at the same time, etc.). Getting to the point, I realized I was very confident in my ideologies and worldview so much so that I wondered if it was possible for it to be flawed (although, of course, it does, but it is, I think, the most logical worldview possible to ever achieve for a human being), so I typed “Why Pantheism is..” (just to see what the search results would be), and I was utterly astonished to see the first results and was thinking that there were flaws with Pantheistic dogma, and I clicked on this website with all of the knowledge and trains of thought that I’ve obtained for a long time know. I read the beginning of the article and was thinking, “O_O No way in hell can this be possible” and was although open-minded, scared to death that there was a possibility that my thinking could be addressed, and that the reason why Pantheism isn’t that common is because there are arguments against it which I slowly began to doubt with intense fear and anxiety. Essentially, after reading a while through the article including questioning the intent and structure of the article for a person who could refute Pantheism, I realized they were quoting from the Bible and then I smiled. Anyways, I’m going to search elsewhere on the internet to find someone who can refute Pantheism to make sure and confirm or to see if Pantheism has logistic flaws as to ease my own view on myself and others as pieces of God (as odd as god sounds). At the moment, however, I am struggling in my life since no one I know is a Pantheist, and since I wasn’t raised to think about the world critically, I have slowly begun to help myself into trying to understand reality more which includes growing up and actually finding out how emails work and how to deposit a check and drive a car since how I was raised, I’ve realized, is something that I’ve began to realize wasn’t as great as I thought it could have been.
Since I am here and since there are comments here that I can address, I will say to Chris that in Pantheistic terms (to me, at least), Good and bad don’t contradict each other because Pantheism addresses them as non-contradictory things, as to many Pantheists, duality can easily be interpreted as a sort of perpetual unity. I’ve thought long and hard about these things in regard to reality since I used to be a Taoist (No one but you knows that I was once a Taoist because I am kind of entirely alone here, and talking to my parents about these things I know will cause extreme chaos and conflict aside from my autism and bipolar disorder). Anyways, I know that morality has derived from the ability for humanity to harness their reward and punishment systems derived from cortisol as well as dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, and oxytocin among other specified chemicals alongside neurotransmitters and components of neurons which, as complex systems, manifests consciousness into existence as well as psychological phenomenon and the ability to compensate for those who make others of the same species feel pain or inhibit thriving systems and the promotion of more human beings.
Essentially, you could say that, from previous arguments mentioned here, Pantheism is more philosophical and deeply grounded, where religion is more of a silly, superficial apparatus which is something I can never take seriously. Sin is an abstract concept just like Calculus which still exists even if it never existed since it is a part of the universe identical with knowledge, and knowledge can manifest into itself and become self-aware knowledge and manifest into knowledgeable. Many Christians make the distinction between spirit and the rest of the universe and that we are different from the dirt which is why being a pagan is considered bad or evil like homosexuality (although Christians believe in walking on water and of rising from the dead making absolutely no damn sense, making it kind of ironic since any of these religions have the same superstitions with a basis that is commonly, by default, composed of sinking sand). Before a human comes into existence and has spirit (was it after the first cell that there was spirit? No, because people make the mistake of creating a distinction when it is more so a phase or spectrum and emergence) that spirit existed in nonliving matter, and only when it was arranged in a certain way could we call it an individual and unseparated spirit. Pantheism is grounded on philosophy, and religion isn’t really in a position to suffice. This applies the same way with contradictions, because religion would see a contradiction, but most people don’t realize or want to realize (because critical thinking is discouraged and deep thinking isn’t encouraged often in the religious community (whatever I am referring to, I assume you do)) that they are more so unstable on the grounds of philosophical principles in Pantheism and that these more superficial concepts of contradictory ideas or things are fundamentally identical, consistently resolving a conflict that can’t be resolved on theistic grounds.
I find it ridiculous how much this person doesn’t know anything about Pantheism, much less their own religion.