What is panendeism?Question: "What is panendeism?"
Answer: In brief, panendeism is a combination of pantheism and deism. Similar to pantheism, panendeism teaches that all of the natural universe is God. Similar to deism, panendeism teaches that God transcends the universe and is not involved in the running of the universe. So, panendeism is the belief in a god who contains the whole universe but who is also bigger than the universe and takes a “hands-off” approach to the maintenance of creation. The word panendeism literally means “all in god.”
Panendeism is also similar to panentheism, which is essentially a combination of theism (God is the supreme being) and pantheism (God is everything). Panentheism claims that God is greater than the universe and that the universe is contained within God—in that belief, it agrees with panendeism. But panentheism also holds that God exerts a controlling effect on the universe; this opposes panendeism, which denies that God is involved.
Basically, any deist who believes that the universe is a part (but not the whole) of god can be considered a panendeist. In panendeism the supreme being is seen as an all-pervasive intellect, identified as the universe but also existing beyond the universe. Panendeism claims to base its teachings about God on the evidence of reason and science. Some panendeists have added numerous additional beliefs to their basic theology.
The book The Supra-Intelligent Design by the Society for the Alignment of Religion has this to say in its entry on panendeism: “Panendeism divests itself from the idea of an explicitly thinking God. Panendeism holds that there is an aspect of reality that is different from physical reality, extending into a non-thinking (i.e., formless and changeless, implicit to reality) awareness realm—aware as a result of physical-reality dependent self-connecting self-apprehension, which defines reflexive self-awareness. Panendeism may be understood as panen-pantheism, which adds a trans-physical non-thought-hosting mathematical-fabric-sourcing awareness-realm component to a pantheistic reality.”
Of course, panendeism is unbiblical, just as pantheism and deism are. The Creator God has revealed Himself to mankind in the Bible, and here is some of what we know about Him in that revelation:
1. God reveals Himself in nature (Psalm 19:1) but is separate from nature.
2. God is a personal being (Isaiah 46:9–10).
3. God is triune (Matthew 28:19).
4. God loving (1 John 4:9) and is personally involved in His creation (Psalm 37:23; Proverbs 16:9).
Panendeism wrongly asserts that God is to be equated with His creation. The Bible says that God created that oak tree in your backyard but that the tree is not a part of God. God is present everywhere (Psalm 139:7–8), but God is not everything. Panendeism impugns God as being impersonal and uninvolved. The Bible says that God is a personal being with a mind (Psalm 139:17), emotions (Psalm 78:41), and a will (1 Corinthians 1:1); and that He is intimately involved in His creation, as shown in the incarnation of Christ.
Recommended Resource: Jesus Among Other gods by Ravi Zacharias
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