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Tuesday
Aug052014

Theological Term of the Week

pantheism
“[T]he view that there is a God, and God is everything. … God isn’t beyond the universe or greater than the universe. Rather, God is the universe.”1

  • Scripture disproving pantheism by teaching that God is distinct from creation:
    In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 ESV)

    For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 

    Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. (Romans 1:18-25 ESV)

    Despite its prominence in some cultures, Pantheism faces serious problems as a worldview, at least for those who believe in the reality of good and evil.   … 

    If everything is God, then it seems to follow that everything is good. If God is pure goodness—as surely God ought to be—then every part of God must be good. I’m good; you’re good; we’re all good. Adolf Hitler was good. The Holocaust was good.  … It’s all good, because it’s all God. [page 81]

  • From Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem:
  • [P]antheism is the idea that everything, the whole universe, is God, of is part of God. …
    Pantheism denies several essential aspects of God’s character. If the whole universe is God, then God has no distinct personality. God is no longer unchanging, because as the universe changes, God also changes. Moreover, God is no longer holy, because the evil in the universe is also part of God. Another difficulty is that ultimately most pantheistic systems (such as Buddhism and many other eastern religions) end up denying the importance of individual human personalities: since everything is God, the goal of an individual should be to blend in with the universe and become more and more united with it, thus losing his or her individual distinctiveness. If God himself (or itself) has no distinct personal identity separate from the universe, then we should certainly not strive to have one either. Thus, pantheism destroys not only the personal identity of God, but also, ultimately, of human beings as well. [pages 268-9]

Learn more:

  1. Compelling Truth: Pantheism - What is it?
  2. Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry: What is pantheism?
  3. Third Millennium Ministries:Pantheism
  4. Blue Letter Bible: Is Everything That Exists Part of God?
  5. Pat Zukeran: Buddhism
  6. Rick Rood:Hinduism

Related terms:

Filed under Worldviews

1From What’s Your Worldview?: An Interactive Approach to Life’s Big Questions by James N. Anderson, page 81.

Do you have a a theological term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it, giving you credit for the suggestion and linking back to your blog when I do.

Clicking on Theological Terms in the navigation bar above will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms in alphabetical order.

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