The Bankrupt “God” of Panentheism


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by Rob Lundberg

Recovering from the upper respiratory “bug” that has been going around the area, I am back for 2019.  For those of you who have praying for us, thank you and I pray you all have had a very Merry Christmas and a reflective New Year.  We begin the new year by  continuing our evaluation of the world views that were mentioned in my post,  What Do Other Worldviews Believe? The next worldview we are are going to look at is the worldview of panentheism.

We do not hear a lot about this one, and that is because there is no particular religion embracing panentheism.  This worldview asserts that God is in the universe. Although this worldview sounds much like pantheism, there are many differences and many people confuse with the pantheistic worldview.[1]  This post is going to give a very quick summation of this worldview.

What is it about Panentheism that makes it unique?

Unlike most forms of pantheism, those who embrace a panentheistic view, affirm the existence of a personal God who relates to the world. While pantheists believe God is impersonal, those who embrace a panentheistic view of God, believe that God is in the world just as a soul is in the body or as a mind is in the brain. Another way to put it, God has two poles: the physical (the world) and spiritual — one infinite and the other finite.

Contrary to pantheism, panentheists should be recognized for preserving the individuality of God, the world, and humanity. At the same time though, there are two very crucial problems with panentheism.

First, the panentheist’s idea of an infinite-finite God is actually impossible.  Many have pointed out that an infinite-finite view of God is a contradiction in terms.  How can an infinite being, who is not dependent upon anything also be a finite dependent being. Something that is finite needs a cause for its existence. But if God is infinite He needs no cause, because His nature is divine essence (Being).

To believe that God is both infinite and finite at the same time is like believing that a drinking glass is full of water and not full at the same time and in the same sense. I hope you can see the contradiction in this.

A second problem is that a finite God cannot guarantee the final victory over evil. The God of panentheism is a struggling God, who must learn and grow toward perfection as history unfolds.  If God learns from the evil that humans have experienced in the past, then God would be using us as pawns in the chessboard of life to better His own nature.

Conclusion.

Do these two points reflect the God of the Bible?  To review, in panentheism, God has two aspects of existence: finite and infinite. The finite world is God’s body and the infinite side is the immaterial aspect located beyond the world.

In the panentheistic worldview if the world changes then God changes with it. I should say not. God is unchanging (Malachi 3:6). God is immutable in His power.  The God of panentheism is not all powerful, and all knowing.   The biblical view of God is spacelesstimelessimmaterialpowerfulmoralpersonalintelligentsustainerCreator and First Cause of the existence and design of the universe. . . Absolute Essence or Being.

Notes

[1] Unlike the pantheistic worldview, who believe God is all, panentheists assert that God is in all. In other words, God has two aspects of existence: finite and infinite.  The finite world is God’s body and the infinite side is the immaterial aspect located beyond the world. In the panentheistic worldview if the world changes then God changes with it.

Author: roblundberg

I am a blogger, writer, equipper, and public speaker on a mission to equip the believer to think and articulate what they believe and then take it and communicate it to a confused culture in a "brave new world." My mission involves evangelism undergirded by apologetics, and training; and equipping you to walk in the spiritual disciplines. I currently serve as the local Chapter Director and Community Apologist for Ratio Christi in Fredericksburg, VA.

One thought on “The Bankrupt “God” of Panentheism”

  1. Good post. The learning god of panentheism changes and learns. According to Aquinas, it is therefore imperfect and not a real God. The God of Christianity, Judaism and Islam is immutable.

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