Panentheism

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Panentheism (meaning "all-in-God", from the Greek πᾶνpân, "all", ἐνen, "in" and ΘεόςTheós, "God") [1] is the belief that the divine pervades and interpenetrates every part of the universe and also extends beyond space and time. The term was coined by the German philosopher Karl Krause in 1828 to distinguish the ideas of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831) and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling (1775–1854) about the relation of God and the universe from the supposed pantheism of Baruch Spinoza. [1] Unlike pantheism, which holds that the divine and the universe are identical, [2] panentheism maintains an ontological distinction between the divine and the non-divine and the significance of both.

Greek language Language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Belief is the attitude that something is the case or true. In epistemology, philosophers use the term "belief" to refer to personal attitudes associated with true or false ideas and concepts. However, "belief" does not require active introspection and circumspection. For example, few ponder whether the sun will rise, just assume it will. Since "belief" is an important aspect of mundane life, according to Eric Schwitzgebel in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, a related question asks: "how a physical organism can have beliefs?"

Divinity divine mythological character

In religion, divinity or Godhead is the state of things that are believed to come from a supernatural power or deity, such as God, the supreme being, creator deity, or spirits, and are therefore regarded as sacred and holy. Such things are regarded as divine due to their transcendental origins or because their attributes or qualities are superior or supreme relative to things of the Earth. Divine things are regarded as eternal and based in truth, while material things are regarded as ephemeral and based in illusion. Such things that may qualify as divine are apparitions, visions, prophecies, miracles, and in some views also the soul, or more general things like resurrection, immortality, grace, and salvation. Otherwise what is or is not divine may be loosely defined, as it is used by different belief systems.

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Soul The incorporeal essence of a living being.

The soul, in many religious, philosophical, and mythological traditions, is the incorporeal essence of a living being. Soul or psyche comprises the mental abilities of a living being: reason, character, feeling, consciousness, memory, perception, thinking, etc. Depending on the philosophical system, a soul can either be mortal or immortal.

Spirit is the vital principle or animating force within all living things. As far back as 1884, both William Harvey and René Descartes speculated that somewhere within the body, in a special locality, there was a ‘vital spirit’ or 'vital force', which animated the whole bodily frame, such as the engine in a factory moves the machinery in it. Primitive persons have been said to feel the influence of a spirit as something supernatural or dangerous, and are greatly relieved when the spirit is banished, or expelled.. Spirit has frequently been conceived of as a supernatural being, or non-physical entity; for example, a demon, ghost, fairy, or angel.

In religion, transcendence is the aspect of a deity's nature and power that is wholly independent of the material universe, beyond all known physical laws. This is contrasted with immanence, where a god is said to be fully present in the physical world and thus accessible to creatures in various ways. In religious experience transcendence is a state of being that has overcome the limitations of physical existence and by some definitions has also become independent of it. This is typically manifested in prayer, séance, meditation, psychedelics and paranormal "visions".

In philosophy

Ancient Greek philosophy

The religious beliefs of Neoplatonism can be regarded as panentheistic. Plotinus taught that there was an ineffable transcendent God ("the One", to En, τὸ Ἕν) of which subsequent realities were emanations. From "the One" emanates the Divine Mind ( Nous , Νοῦς) and the Cosmic Soul ( Psyche , Ψυχή). In Neoplatonism the world itself is God (according to Plato's Timaeus 37). This concept of divinity is associated with that of the Logos (Λόγος), which had originated centuries earlier with Heraclitus (c. 535–475 BC). The Logos pervades the cosmos, whereby all thoughts and all things originate, or as Heraclitus said: "He who hears not me but the Logos will say: All is one." Neoplatonists such as Iamblichus attempted to reconcile this perspective by adding another hypostasis above the original monad of force or Dunamis (Δύναμις). This new all-pervasive monad encompassed all creation and its original uncreated emanations.

Neoplatonism Strand of Platonic philosophy that emerged in the 3rd century AD

Neoplatonism is a strand of Platonic philosophy that emerged in the third century AD against the background of Hellenistic philosophy and religion. The term does not encapsulate a set of ideas as much as it encapsulates a chain of thinkers which began with Ammonius Saccas and his student Plotinus and which stretches to the sixth century AD. Even though neoplatonism primarily circumscribes the thinkers who are now labeled Neoplatonists and not their ideas, there are some ideas that are common to neoplatonic systems, for example, the monistic idea that all of reality can be derived from a single principle, "the One".

Plotinus Neoplatonist philosopher

Plotinus was a major Hellenistic philosopher who lived in Roman Egypt. In his philosophy, described in the Enneads, there are three principles: the One, the Intellect, and the Soul. His teacher was Ammonius Saccas, who was of the Platonic tradition. Historians of the 19th century invented the term Neoplatonism and applied it to Plotinus and his philosophy, which was influential during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Much of the biographical information about Plotinus comes from Porphyry's preface to his edition of Plotinus' Enneads. His metaphysical writings have inspired centuries of Pagan, Jewish, Christian, Gnostic, and Islamic metaphysicians and mystics, including developing precepts that influence mainstream theological concepts within religions, such as his work on duality of the One in two metaphysical states that laid the foundation for Christian notions of Jesus being both god and man, a foundational idea in Christian theology.

Henology refers to the philosophical account or discourse on The One that appears most notably in the philosophy of Plotinus. Reiner Schürmann describes it as a "metaphysics of radical transcendence" that extends beyond being and intellection.

Modern philosophy

Baruch Spinoza later claimed that "Whatsoever is, is in God, and without God nothing can be, or be conceived." [5] "Individual things are nothing but modifications of the attributes of God, or modes by which the attributes of God are expressed in a fixed and definite manner." [6] Though Spinoza has been called the "prophet" [7] and "prince" [8] of pantheism, in a letter to Henry Oldenburg Spinoza states that: "as to the view of certain people that I identify god with nature (taken as a kind of mass or corporeal matter), they are quite mistaken". [9] For Spinoza, our universe (cosmos) is a mode under two attributes of Thought and Extension. God has infinitely many other attributes which are not present in our world.

Baruch Spinoza Dutch philosopher

Baruch Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher of Portuguese Sephardi origin. One of the early thinkers of the Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism, including modern conceptions of the self and the universe, he came to be considered one of the great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy. Inspired by the groundbreaking ideas of René Descartes, Spinoza became a leading philosophical figure of the Dutch Golden Age. Spinoza's given name, which means "Blessed", varies among different languages. In Hebrew, it is written ברוך שפינוזה. His Portuguese name is Benedito "Bento" de Espinosa or d'Espinosa. In his Latin works, he used Latin: Benedictus de Spinoza.

Pantheism is the belief that reality is identical with divinity, or that all-things compose an all-encompassing, immanent god. Pantheist belief does not recognize a distinct personal god, anthropomorphic or otherwise, and instead characterizes a broad range of doctrines differing in forms of relationships between reality and divinity. Pantheistic concepts date back thousands of years, and pantheistic elements have been identified in various religious traditions. The term "pantheism" was coined by mathematician Joseph Raphson in 1697 and has since been used to describe the beliefs of a variety of people and organizations.

Henry Oldenburg German theologian

Henry Oldenburg FRS was a German theologian known as a diplomat, a natural philosopher and as the creator of scientific peer review. He was one of the foremost intelligencers of Europe of the seventeenth century, with a network of correspondents to rival those of Fabri de Peiresc, Marin Mersenne and Ismaël Boulliau. At the foundation of the Royal Society he took on the task of foreign correspondence, as the first Secretary.

According to German philosopher Karl Jaspers, when Spinoza wrote "Deus sive Natura" (God or Nature) Spinoza did not mean to say that God and Nature are interchangeable terms, but rather that God's transcendence was attested by his infinitely many attributes, and that two attributes known by humans, namely Thought and Extension, signified God's immanence. [10] Furthermore, Martial Guéroult suggested the term "panentheism", rather than "pantheism" to describe Spinoza's view of the relation between God and the world. The world is not God, but it is, in a strong sense, "in" God. Yet, American philosopher and self-described panentheist Charles Hartshorne referred to Spinoza's philosophy as "classical pantheism" and distinguished Spinoza's philosophy from panentheism. [11]

Karl Jaspers German psychiatrist and philosopher

Karl Theodor Jaspers was a German-Swiss psychiatrist and philosopher who had a strong influence on modern theology, psychiatry, and philosophy. After being trained in and practicing psychiatry, Jaspers turned to philosophical inquiry and attempted to discover an innovative philosophical system. He was often viewed as a major exponent of existentialism in Germany, though he did not accept the label.

The doctrine or theory of immanence holds that the divine encompasses or is manifested in the material world. It is held by some philosophical and metaphysical theories of divine presence. Immanence is usually applied in monotheistic, pantheistic, pandeistic, or panentheistic faiths to suggest that the spiritual world permeates the mundane. It is often contrasted with theories of transcendence, in which the divine is seen to be outside the material world.

Charles Hartshorne American philosopher

Charles Hartshorne was an American philosopher who concentrated primarily on the philosophy of religion and metaphysics, but also contributed to ornithology. He developed the neoclassical idea of God and produced a modal proof of the existence of God that was a development of St. Anselm's ontological argument. Hartshorne is also noted for developing Alfred North Whitehead's process philosophy into process theology.

In 1828, the German philosopher Karl Christian Friedrich Krause (1781–1832) seeking to reconcile monotheism and pantheism, coined the term panentheism (from the Ancient Greek expression πᾶν ἐν θεῷ, pān en theṓ, literally "all in god"). This conception of God influenced New England transcendentalists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson. The term was popularized by Charles Hartshorne in his development of process theology and has also been closely identified with the New Thought. [12] The formalization of this term in the West in the 19th century was not new; philosophical treatises had been written on it in the context of Hinduism for millennia. [13]

Karl Christian Friedrich Krause German philosopher

Karl Christian Friedrich Krause was a German philosopher, born at Eisenberg, in Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. His philosophy, known as "Krausism", was very influential in Restoration Spain.

Monotheism is the belief in one god. A narrower definition of monotheism is the belief in the existence of only one god that created the world, is all-powerful and intervenes in the world.

Ancient Greek Version of the Greek language used from roughly the 9th century BC to the 6th century AD

The ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BC to the 6th century AD. It is often roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, and Hellenistic period. It is antedated in the second millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek and succeeded by Medieval Greek.

Philosophers who embraced panentheism have included Thomas Hill Green (1839–1882), James Ward (1843–1925), Andrew Seth Pringle-Pattison (1856–1931) and Samuel Alexander (1859–1938). [14] Beginning in the 1940s, Hartshorne examined numerous conceptions of God. He reviewed and discarded pantheism, deism, and pandeism in favor of panentheism, finding that such a "doctrine contains all of deism and pandeism except their arbitrary negations". Hartshorne formulated God as a being who could become "more perfect": He has absolute perfection in categories for which absolute perfection is possible, and relative perfection (i. e., is superior to all others) in categories for which perfection cannot be precisely determined. [15]

In religion

Hinduism

Earliest reference to panentheistic thought in Hindu philosophy is in a creation myth contained in the later section of Rig Veda called the Purusha Sukta, [16] which was compiled before 1100 BCE. [17] The Purusha Sukta gives a description of the spiritual unity of the cosmos. It presents the nature of Purusha or the cosmic being as both immanent in the manifested world and yet transcendent to it. [18] From this being the sukta holds, the original creative will proceeds, by which this vast universe is projected in space and time. [19]

The most influential [20] and dominant [21] school of Indian philosophy, Advaita Vedanta, rejects theism and dualism by insisting that "Brahman [ultimate reality] is without parts or attributes...one without a second." [22] Since Brahman has no properties, contains no internal diversity and is identical with the whole reality it cannot be understood as an anthropomorphic personal God. [23] The relationship between Brahman and the creation is often thought to be panentheistic. [24]

Panentheism is also expressed in the Bhagavad Gita. [24] In verse IX.4, Krishna states:

By Me all this universe is pervaded through My unmanifested form.
All beings abide in Me but I do not abide in them.

Many schools of Hindu thought espouse monistic theism, which is thought to be similar to a panentheistic viewpoint. Nimbarka's school of differential monism (Dvaitadvaita), Ramanuja's school of qualified monism (Vishistadvaita) and Saiva Siddhanta and Kashmir Shaivism are all considered to be panentheistic. [25] Caitanya's Gaudiya Vaishnavism, which elucidates the doctrine of Acintya Bheda Abheda (inconceivable oneness and difference), is also thought to be panentheistic. [26] In Kashmir Shaivism, all things are believed to be a manifestation of Universal Consciousness (Cit or Brahman). [27] So from the point of view of this school, the phenomenal world (Śakti) is real, and it exists and has its being in Consciousness (Cit). [28] Thus, Kashmir Shaivism is also propounding of theistic monism or panentheism. [29]

Shaktism, or Tantra, is regarded as an Indian prototype of Panentheism. [30] Shakti is considered to be the cosmos itself – she is the embodiment of energy and dynamism, and the motivating force behind all action and existence in the material universe. Shiva is her transcendent masculine aspect, providing the divine ground of all being. "There is no Shiva without Shakti, or Shakti without Shiva. The two ... in themselves are One." [31] Thus, it is She who becomes the time and space, the cosmos, it is She who becomes the five elements, and thus all animate life and inanimate forms. She is the primordial energy that holds all creation and destruction, all cycles of birth and death, all laws of cause and effect within Herself, and yet is greater than the sum total of all these. She is transcendent, but becomes immanent as the cosmos (Mula Prakriti). She, the Primordial Energy, directly becomes Matter.

Taoism

Taoism says that all is part of the eternal tao, and that all interact through qi. Chapter 6 of the Tao Te Ching describes the Tao thus: "The heart of Tao is immortal, the mysterious fertile mother of us all, of heaven and earth, of every thing and not-thing." [32]

Christianity

Panentheism is also a feature of some Christian philosophical theologies and resonates strongly within the theological tradition of the Orthodox Church. [33] It also appears in process theology. Process theological thinkers are generally regarded in the Christian West as unorthodox. Furthermore, process philosophical thought is widely believed to have paved the way for open theism, a movement that tends to associate itself primarily with the Evangelical branch of Protestantism, but is also generally considered unorthodox by most Evangelicals.

Eastern Orthodoxy

In Christianity, creation is not considered a literal "part of" God, and divinity is essentially distinct from creation (i.e., transcendent). There is, in other words, an irradicable difference between the uncreated (i.e., God) and the created (i.e., everything else). This does not mean, however, that the creation is wholly separated from God, because the creation exists in and from the divine energies. In Eastern Orthodoxy, these energies or operations are the natural activity of God and are in some sense identifiable with God, but at the same time the creation is wholly distinct from the divine essence.[ citation needed ] God creates the universe by His will and from His energies. It is, however, not an imprint or emanation of God's own essence ( ousia ), the essence He shares pre-eternally with His Word and Holy Spirit. Neither is it a directly literal outworking or effulgence of the divine, nor any other process which implies that creation is essentially God or a necessary part of God. The use of the term "panentheism" to describe the divine concept in Orthodox Christian theology is problematic for those who would insist that panentheism requires creation to be "part of" God.

God is not merely Creator of the universe, as His dynamic presence is necessary to sustain the existence of every created thing, small and great, visible and invisible. [34] That is, God's energies maintain the existence of the created order and all created beings, even if those agencies have explicitly rejected him. His love for creation is such that He will not withdraw His presence, which would be the ultimate form of annihilation, not merely imposing death, but ending existence altogether. By this token, the entirety of creation is fundamentally "good" in its very being, and is not innately evil either in whole or in part. This does not deny the existence of spiritual or moral evil in a fallen universe, only the claim that it is an intrinsic property of creation. Sin results from the essential freedom of creatures to operate outside the divine order, not as a necessary consequence of having inherited human nature.

Panentheism in other Christian confessions

Many Christians who believe in universalism  – mainly expressed in the Universalist Church of America, originating, as a fusion of Pietist and Anabaptist influences, from the American colonies of the 18th century – hold panentheistic views of God in conjunction with their belief in apocatastasis , also called universal reconciliation.[ citation needed ] Panentheistic Christian Universalists often believe that all creation's subsistence in God renders untenable the notion of final and permanent alienation from Him, citing Scriptural passages such as Ephesians 4:6 ("[God] is over all and through all and in all") and Romans 11:36 ("from [God] and through him and to him are all things") to justify both panentheism and universalism.[ citation needed ] Panentheism was also a major force in the Unitarian church for a long time, based in part on Ralph Waldo Emerson's concept of the Over-soul (from the synonymous essay of 1841).[ citation needed ]

Panentheistic conceptions of God occur amongst some modern theologians. Process theology and Creation Spirituality, two recent developments in Christian theology, contain panentheistic ideas. Charles Hartshorne (1897–2000), who conjoined process theology with panentheism, maintained a lifelong membership in the Methodist church but was also a Unitarian. In later years he joined the Austin, Texas, Unitarian Universalist congregation and was an active participant in that church. [35] Referring to the ideas such as Thomas Oord's ‘theocosmocentrism’ (2010), the soft panentheism of open theism, Keith Ward's comparative theology and John Polkinghorne's critical realism (2009), Raymond Potgieter observes distinctions such as dipolar and bipolar:

The former suggests two poles separated such as God influencing creation and it in turn its creator (Bangert 2006:168), whereas bipolarity completes God’s being implying interdependence between temporal and eternal poles. (Marbaniang 2011:133), in dealing with Whitehead’s approach, does not make this distinction. I use the term bipolar as a generic term to include suggestions of the structural definition of God’s transcendence and immanence; to for instance accommodate a present and future reality into which deity must reasonably fit and function, and yet maintain separation from this world and evil whilst remaining within it. [36]

Some argue that panentheism should also include the notion that God has always been related to some world or another, which denies the idea of creation out of nothing ( creatio ex nihilo ). Nazarene Methodist theologian Thomas Jay Oord (* 1965) advocates panentheism, but he uses the word "theocosmocentrism" to highlight the notion that God and some world or another are the primary conceptual starting blocks for eminently fruitful theology. This form of panentheism helps in overcoming the problem of evil and in proposing that God's love for the world is essential to who God is. [37]

The Christian Church International also holds to a panentheist doctrine. The Latter Day Saint movement teaches that the Light of Christ "proceeds from God through Christ and gives life and light to all things." [38]

Gnosticism

"Gnosticism" is a modern name for a variety of ancient religious ideas and systems prevalent in the first and second century AD. The teachings of the various gnostic groups were very diverse. In his Dictionary of Gnosticism, Andrew Phillip Smith has written that some branches of Gnosticism taught a panentheistic view of reality, [39] and held to the belief that God exists in the visible world only as sparks of spiritual "light". The goal of human existence is to know the sparks within oneself in order to return to God, who is in the Fullness (or Pleroma).

Gnosticism was panentheistic, believing that the true God is simultaneously both separate from the physical universe and present within it.[ citation needed ] As Jesus states in the Gospel of Thomas, "I am the light that is over all things. I am all ... . Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there." [40] This seemingly contradictory interpretation of gnostic theology is not without controversy, since one interpretation of dualistic theology holds that a perfect God of pure spirit would not manifest himself through the fallen world of matter.

Manichaeism, being another gnostic sect, preached a very different doctrine in positioning the true Manichaean God against matter as well as other deities, that it described as enmeshed with the world, namely the gods of Jews, Christians and pagans. [41] Nevertheless, this dualistic teaching included an elaborate cosmological myth that narrates the defeat of primal man by the powers of darkness that devoured and imprisoned the particles of light. [42]

Valentinian Gnosticism taught that matter came about through emanations of the supreme being, even if to some this event is held to be more accidental than intentional [43] .[ citation needed ] To other gnostics, these emanations were akin to the Sephirot of the Kabbalists and deliberate manifestations of a transcendent God through a complex system of intermediaries.[ citation needed ]

Judaism

While mainstream Rabbinic Judaism is classically monotheistic, and follows in the footsteps of Maimonides (c. 1135–1204), the panentheistic conception of God can be found among certain mystical Jewish traditions. A leading scholar of Kabbalah, Moshe Idel [44] ascribes this doctrine to the kabbalistic system of Moses ben Jacob Cordovero (1522–1570) and in the eighteenth century to the Baal Shem Tov (c. 1700–1760), founder of the Hasidic movement, as well as his contemporaries, Rabbi Dov Ber, the Maggid of Mezeritch (died 1772), and Menahem Mendel, the Maggid of Bar. This may be said of many, if not most, subsequent Hasidic masters. There is some debate as to whether Isaac Luria (1534–1572) and Lurianic Kabbalah, with its doctrine of tzimtzum, can be regarded as panentheistic.

According to Hasidism, the infinite Ein Sof is incorporeal and exists in a state that is both transcendent and immanent. This appears to be the view of non-Hasidic Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin, as well. Hasidic Judaism merges the elite ideal of nullification to a transcendent God, via the intellectual articulation of inner dimensions through Kabbalah and with emphasis on the panentheistic divine immanence in everything. [45]

Many scholars would argue that "panentheism" is the best single-word description of the philosophical theology of Baruch Spinoza. [46] It is therefore no surprise, that aspects of panentheism are also evident in the theology of Reconstructionist Judaism as presented in the writings of Mordecai Kaplan (1881–1983), who was strongly influenced by Spinoza. [47]

Islam

Several Sufi saints and thinkers, primarily Ibn Arabi, held beliefs that have been considered panentheistic. [48] These notions later took shape in the theory of wahdat ul-wujud (the Unity of All Things). Some Sufi Orders, notably the Bektashis [49] and the Universal Sufi movement, continue to espouse panentheistic beliefs. Nizari Ismaili follow panentheism according to Ismaili doctrine. Nevertheless, some Shia Muslims also do believe in different degrees of Panentheism.

Al-Qayyuum is a Name of God in the Qur'an which translates to "The Self-Existing by Whom all subsist". In Islam the universe can not exist if Allah doesn't exist, and it is only by His power which encompasses everything and which is everywhere that the universe can exist. In Ayaẗ al-Kursii God's throne is described as "extending over the heavens and the earth" and "He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them". This does not mean though that the universe is God, or that a creature (like a tree or an animal) is God, because those would be respectively pantheism, which is a heresy in traditional Islam, and the worst heresy in Islam, shirk (polytheism). God is separated by His creation but His creation can not survive without Him.

In Pre-Columbian America

The Mesoamerican empires of the Mayas, Aztecs as well as the South American Incas (Tahuatinsuyu) have typically been characterized as polytheistic, with strong male and female deities. [50] According to Charles C. Mann's history book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus , only the lower classes of Aztec society were polytheistic. Philosopher James Maffie has argued that Aztec metaphysics was pantheistic rather than panentheistic, since Teotl was considered by Aztec philosophers to be the ultimate all-encompassing yet all-transcending force defined by its inherit duality. [51]

Native American beliefs in North America have been characterized as panentheistic in that there is an emphasis on a single, unified divine spirit that is manifest in each individual entity. [52] (North American Native writers have also translated the word for God as the Great Mystery [53] or as the Sacred Other [54] ) This concept is referred to by many as the Great Spirit. Philosopher J. Baird Callicott has described Lakota theology as panentheistic, in that the divine both transcends and is immanent in everything. [55]

One exception can be modern Cherokee who are predominantly monotheistic but apparently not panentheistic; [56] yet in older Cherokee traditions many observe both aspects of pantheism and panentheism, and are often not beholden to exclusivity, encompassing other spiritual traditions without contradiction, a common trait among some tribes in the Americas. In the stories of Keetoowah storytellers Sequoyah Guess and Dennis Sixkiller, God is known as ᎤᏁᎳᏅᎯ, commonly pronounced "unehlanv," and visited earth in prehistoric times, but then left earth and her people to rely on themselves. This shows a parallel to Vaishnava cosmology.

Sikhism

The Sikh gurus have described God in numerous ways in their hymns included in the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of Sikhism, but the oneness of the deity is consistently emphasized throughout. God is described in the Mool Mantar, the first passage in the Guru Granth Sahib, and the basic formula of the faith is:

(Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1) in Punjabi — ੴ ਸਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਕਰਤਾ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਨਿਰਵੈਰੁ ਅਕਾਲ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਅਜੂਨੀ ਸੈਭੰ ਗੁਰਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥

Punjabi in Latin script

Ik Oankar Satnaam KartaaPurakh Nirbhau Nirvair AkaalMoorat Ajooni Saibhan GurPrasad

English translation

One primal being who made the sound (oan) that expanded and created the world. Truth is the name. Creative being personified. Without fear, without hate. Image of the undying. Beyond birth, self existent. By Guru's grace~

Guru Arjan, the fifth guru of Sikhs, says, "God is beyond colour and form, yet His/Her presence is clearly visible" (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Ang 74), and "Nanak's Lord transcends the world as well as the scriptures of the east and the west, and yet He/She is clearly manifest" (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Ang 397).

Knowledge of the ultimate Reality is not a matter for reason; it comes by revelation of the ultimate reality through nadar (grace) and by anubhava (mystical experience). Says Guru Nanak; "budhi pathi na paiai bahu chaturaiai bhai milai mani bhane." This translates to "He/She is not accessible through intellect, or through mere scholarship or cleverness at argument; He/She is met, when He/She pleases, through devotion" (GG, 436).

Guru Nanak prefixed the numeral one (ik) to it, making it Ik Oankar or Ek Oankar to stress God's oneness. God is named and known only through his Own immanent nature. The only name which can be said to truly fit God's transcendent state is SatNam ( Sat Sanskrit, Truth), the changeless and timeless Reality. God is transcendent and all-pervasive at the same time. Transcendence and immanence are two aspects of the same single Supreme Reality. The Reality is immanent in the entire creation, but the creation as a whole fails to contain God fully. As says Guru Tegh Bahadur, Nanak IX, "He has himself spread out His/Her Own “maya” (worldly illusion) which He oversees; many different forms He assumes in many colours, yet He stays independent of all" (GG, 537).

Bahá'í Faith

In the Bahá'í Faith, God is described as a single, imperishable God, the creator of all things, including all the creatures and forces in the universe. The connection between God and the world is that of the creator to his creation. [57] God is understood to be independent of his creation, and that creation is dependent and contingent on God. Accordingly, the Bahá'í Faith is much more closely aligned with traditions of monotheism than panentheism. God is not seen to be part of creation as he cannot be divided and does not descend to the condition of his creatures. Instead, in the Bahá'í understanding, the world of creation emanates from God, in that all things have been realized by him and have attained to existence. [58] Creation is seen as the expression of God's will in the contingent world, [59] and every created thing is seen as a sign of God's sovereignty, and leading to knowledge of him; the signs of God are most particularly revealed in human beings. [57]

Konkōkyō

In Konkōkyō, God is named “Tenchi Kane no Kami-Sama” which can mean “Golden spirit of the universe.” Kami(God) is also seen as infinitely loving and powerful.

See also

People associated with panentheism:

Related Research Articles

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Monism attributes oneness or singleness to a concept e.g., existence. Various kinds of monism can be distinguished:

Process theology is a type of theology developed from Alfred North Whitehead's (1861–1947) process philosophy, most notably by Charles Hartshorne (1897–2000) and John B. Cobb. Process theology and process philosophy are collectively referred to as "process thought".

Theism belief in the existence of at least one deity

Theism is broadly defined as the belief in the existence of the Supreme Being or deities. In common parlance, or when contrasted with deism, the term often describes the classical conception of God that is found in monotheism – or gods found in polytheistic religions—a belief in God or in gods without the rejection of revelation as is characteristic of deism.

Emanationism is an idea in the cosmology or cosmogony of certain religious or philosophical systems. Emanation, from the Latin emanare meaning "to flow from" or "to pour forth or out of", is the mode by which all things are derived from the first reality, or principle. All things are derived from the first reality or perfect God by steps of degradation to lesser degrees of the first reality or God, and at every step the emanating beings are less pure, less perfect, less divine. Emanationism is a transcendent principle from which everything is derived, and is opposed to both creationism and materialism.

Omnipresence the property of being present everywhere. This property is most commonly used in a religious context as an attribute of a deity or supreme being

Omnipresence or ubiquity is the property of being present everywhere. The term omnipresence is most often used in a religious context as an attribute of a deity or supreme being, while the term ubiquity is generally used to describe something "existing or being everywhere at the same time, constantly encountered, widespread, common." Ubiquitous can also be used as a synonym for words like worldwide, universal, global, pervasive, all over the place.

Classical Pantheism, as defined by Charles Hartshorne in 1953, is the theological deterministic philosophies of pantheists such as Baruch Spinoza and the Stoics. Hartshorne sought to distinguish panentheism, which rejects determinism, from deterministic pantheism.

Naturalistic pantheism, also known as scientific pantheism, is a form of pantheism. It has been used in various ways such as to relate God or divinity with concrete things, determinism, or the substance of the Universe. God, from these perspectives, is seen as the aggregate of all unified natural phenomena. The phrase has often been associated with the philosophy of Baruch Spinoza, although academics differ on how it is used.

Spinozism is the monist philosophical system of Benedict de Spinoza that defines "God" as a singular self-subsistent Substance, with both matter and thought being attributes of such.

Classical theism is a form of theism in which God is characterized as the absolutely metaphysically ultimate being, in contrast to other conceptions such as pantheism, panentheism, polytheism, deism and process theism.

In monotheistic thought, God is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, and principal object of faith. God is usually conceived as being omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful), omnipresent (all-present) and as having an eternal and necessary existence. These attributes are used either in way of analogy or are taken literally. God is most often held to be incorporeal (immaterial). Incorporeality and corporeality of God are related to conceptions of transcendence and immanence of God, with positions of synthesis such as the "immanent transcendence".

Pantheism controversy

The pantheism controversy was an event in German cultural history that lasted between 1785–1789 which had an effect throughout Europe.

Spiritual naturalism approach to spirituality that is devoid of supernaturalism

Spiritual naturalism, or naturalistic spirituality combines mundane and spiritual ways of looking at the world. Spiritual naturalism may have first been proposed by Joris-Karl Huysmans in 1895 in his book En Route – "In 'En Route' Huysmans started upon the creation of what he called 'Spiritual Naturalism,' that is, realism applied to the story of a soul. ...".

Coming into prominence as a writer during the 1870s, Huysmans quickly established himself among a rising group of writers, the so-called Naturalist school, of whom Émile Zola was the acknowledged head...With Là-bas (1891), a novel which reflected the aesthetics of the spiritualist revival and the contemporary interest in the occult, Huysmans formulated for the first time an aesthetic theory which sought to synthesize the mundane and the transcendent: "spiritual Naturalism".

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to theology:

Pandeism Theological doctrine which combines aspects of pantheism with aspects of deism

Pandeism is a theological doctrine first delineated in the 18th century which combines aspects of pantheism with aspects of deism. It holds that the creator deity became the universe (pantheism) and ceased to exist as a separate and conscious entity. Pandeism is proposed to explain, as it relates to deism, why God would create a universe and then appear to abandon it, and as to pantheism, the origin and purpose of the universe.

The belief that God became the Universe is a theological doctrine that has been developed several times historically, and holds that the creator of the universe actually became the universe. Historically, for versions of this theory where God has ceased to exist or to act as a separate and conscious entity, some have used the term pandeism, which combines aspects of pantheism and deism, to refer to such a theology. A similar concept is panentheism, which has the creator become the universe only in part, but remain in some other part transcendent to it, as well.

A number of Christian writers have examined the concept of pandeism, and these have generally found it to be inconsistent with core principles of Christianity. The Roman Catholic Church, for example, condemned the Periphyseon of John Scotus Eriugena, later identified by physicist and philosopher Max Bernhard Weinstein as presenting a pandeistic theology, as appearing to obscure the separation of God and creation. The Church similarly condemned elements of the thought of Giordano Bruno which Weinstein and others determined to be pandeistic.

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Bibliography