Panentheism vs. Theism


#1

@Relates

Your point that without the earth’s molten iron core the earth would not exist as is, to support life, and that volcanoes played an important role in the earth’s formation is a well known fact however, this is not an answer to suggest that a rational being created the earth or the volcano. Yes, in the philosophical sense, the singularity, which is the essence of the multiverse has being. This universe has being. They are “rational” and have some naturalistic form of “intelligence.” In this sense only do I agree that God is a “rational being”—this is why I subscribe to panentheism. However, the suggestion that God is a deistic rational being who resides outside the multiverse, who has eyes to see and ears to hear is fantasy! As I stated many times before mankind is the outgrowth of the universe and [all] cognitive abilities have evolved here, on earth, amongst mankind.

The fact that the initial singularity and the ensuing Big Bang created the time, space, and nature of this universe does not imply that it was not a natural event. Also, by stating that it does not have a rational cause you are suggesting that God is not rational, which seems to be the case that you are trying to make—“We can affirm God is rational because God created a rational universe.” Thus, it would seem that you are contradicting yourself. Any thoughts?


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(Roger A. Sawtelle) #2

Tony,
Thank you for the response.
Are you saying that Christians believe that God needs ears to hear and eyes to see? That has been rejected long ago by Augustine. Even blind people can “see” without ears, so why would God need physical ears?

I am not a panentheist because it is clear to me that the universe is not a part of God. God is separate from God’s creation, just as people are separate from, yet connected to, their creations.
God can perceive what is going on in God’s universe without ears and eyes because God is not inferior to God’s creations which are dependent on God’s power.

What I am saying is that the beginning of nature does not have a natural cause, because nothing by definition create itself.

You are right in saying that there does seem some confusion in saying that the universe does not have a rational cause and then saying that God must be the rational cause of the universe. What I meant to say is that if the universe has no (rational) natural cause, then it must have a divine cause, (which is rational.)

Since we do not know God directly but only through God’s revelation of Godself through nature and the Word, we know that God is rational because we and God’s Creation are rational.


#3

@Relates

Hi Roger, thank you for answering…

I am saying that when the average person in society, and many churchgoers for that matter, talk about God they have the picture of Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam in mind. Augustine may have rejected that belief long ago however, that worldview of God still has a very strong grip on today’s society because it is pushed into the minds of people through various religious ideologies. Above, even you made the statement to Wayne,

Would the “rational being” that you are referring to be the same “rational being” portrayed in Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam? Is this not what atheists reject? Thus, was Augustine not an atheist since he rejected such a “rational being?” And those who even now hold fast to Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam God—are they not distorting the truth for those who seek to find it?

My premise is true that,

Your premise is false that,

This is simply because there was nothing that created itself—ex-nihilo is a false assertion. Thus, the energy/matter of the multiverse exists eternally and endlessly recycles itself suggesting it is a natural cause and effect to itself. “Panentheism holds that God is the ‘Supreme affect and effect’ of the universe.” http://www.reference.com/browse/wiki/Panentheism

A more in-depth analysis of panentheism can be found here http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/panentheism/

However, the universe does have a rational natural cause and who’s to say that this rational natural cause should not be considered divine?

The Encyclopedia Britannica has an article for the divine at http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/divine?s=t

“the power, being, or realm understood by religious persons to be at the core of existence and to have a transformative effect on their lives and destinies. Other terms, such as holy, divine, transcendent, ultimate being (or reality), mystery, and perfection (or purity) have been used for this domain. “Sacred” is also an important technical term in the scholarly study and interpretation of religions.”

It is also noteworthy to comprehend that the word divine can also imply “to foretell, predict, foresee, forecast, discern, understand.” And the root word “divine” makes up the term divination “to discover or declare (something obscure or in the future) by divination; prophesy.”

We must acknowledge that the rational determined laws of nature (the cosmological constants) [are] divine and fine tuned for life. Through the spirit that dwells in life they determinedly point to a specific future as outlined in the Holy Scriptures. This conscious outgrowth of the universe is the awakening of God.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #4

Panentheism is mistaken. God is the Source or Cause of the universe, but God is not the effect of the universe.

Energy/matter is not eternal. Our universe in one form or another is not eternal. The universe had a beginning while God does not. God is eternal and the universe is dependent on God for its temporal existence, but it not a part of God as panentheism claims.


#5

@Relates

Hi Roger… a while back we discussed this same issue. This was my response then which remains pertinent in response to you now.

"The speculation of the cyclical universe as a philosophical point of view rests on the basis of antinomy. Wikipedia explains this well on account of Kant: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antinomy

'The term antinomy acquired a special significance in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant (1724–1804), who used it to describe the equally rational but contradictory results of applying to the universe of pure thought the categories or criteria of reason that are proper to the universe of sensible perception or experience (phenomena). Empirical reason cannot here play the role of establishing rational truths because it goes beyond possible experience and is applied to the sphere of that which transcends it.

In each antinomy, a thesis is contradicted by an antithesis. For example: Kant proves the thesis that time must have a beginning by showing that if time had no beginning, then an infinity would have elapsed up until the present moment. This is a manifest contradiction because infinity cannot, by definition, be completed by “successive synthesis”—yet just such a finalizing synthesis would be required by the view that time is infinite; so the thesis is proven. Then he proves the antithesis, that time has no beginning, by showing that if time had a beginning, then there must have been “empty time” out of which time arose. This is incoherent (for Kant) for the following reason: Since, necessarily, no time elapses in this pretemporal void, then there could be no alteration, and therefore nothing (including time) would ever come to be: so the antithesis is proven. Reason makes equal claim to each proof, since they are both correct, so the question of the limits of time must be regarded as meaningless.’

The process of antinomy necessarily provides logical reason that we live in a cyclical universe. Since thesis and antithesis are proven concerning time having a beginning and time having no beginning the only logical conclusion is that we live in a cyclical universe."

Wikipedia continues, “This was part of Kant’s critical program of determining limits to science and philosophical inquiry. These contradictions are inherent in reason when it is applied to the world as it is in itself, independently of our perceptions of it (this has to do with the distinction between phenomena and noumena). Kant’s goal in his critical philosophy was to identify what claims we are and are not justified in making, and the antinomies are a particularly illustrative example of his larger project.”

You often write that the answers to the deepest mysteries of life lie in philosophical inquiry—a position that you know I profoundly hold. Yet, any and all logical philosophical discourse is rejected without any rational and meaningful articulation or support for your claims. What are your philosophical rationalizations in regard to Kant’s speculations on the antinomies and what support do you offer to counter the multiverse model??


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #6

That is not true. Philosophy needs to be based on fact, not speculation. Kant is based on speculation as is the existence of a multiverse.


#7

@Relates

Exactly, “Philosophy needs to be based on fact, not speculation.” I would add that neither should it be based on fantasy. Theological belief in “the white haired bearded man in the sky” who created the universe is just that—speculation and fantasy! A lie and deception that religious organizations teach their followers. Instead of teaching lies and using deception on their unsuspecting followers the philosophy that religious organizations teach should, as you rightfully stated, be based on facts. “The white haired bearded man in the sky” god is a lie and a deception.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #8

. “The white haired bearded man in the sky” god is a lie and a deception.

Tony, if you believe that this is what Christianity teaches and I believe, you have my condolences.

At one time I hoped that we could find a common ground for discussion, but I have given up on that long ago. I would like for you to agree with me, but I know that it is alright for us to not agree. I think you need to accept this too,


#9

@Relates

Roger, I have been completely forthcoming with my worldview about who and what God is. On the other hand, you beat around the bush, so to speak (I am not being arrogant or sarcastic here… just saying it as it is). I spend time researching and writing well articulated commentaries expressing my views on important points in response to yours. However, what I receive in return is “half baked” comments (you hardly ever answer anything directly, clearly, or completely). So, how am I supposed to know what you believe?

On the other hand, I know what Christianity teaches, what the masses believe, and understand the plight of the poor souls who are lost because of all this confusion (Babel).

How about for a change you describe what you believe about who or what God is as opposed to “the white haired bearded man in the sky,” and as opposed to the “multiverse” scenario. What remains is a “big bang” from nothing (ex nihilo). So, is the “big bang” which expands to create the universe God? Well, no, because you don’t believe in pantheism or panentheism. Or, is “the nothing” which caused the “big bang” God? Yes, maybe you believe God is “the nothing” from which everything came into existence. However, this is irrational considering we live in a rational universe… remember! It would seem that you are trapped in the corner Roger!!! I am very much looking forward to your answer. Surprise me!

What common ground? You don’t explain what your ground is. You would like for me to agree with you on what? You don’t articulate what your position is. Finally, yes, it is alright for us to not agree… but to not agree on what? Either way—if you articulate your position, I’ll show you courtesy and I’ll agree to disagree, if we actually do disagree. If you don’t articulate your position, well… I’ll still show you courtesy, I’ll peaceably agree to give up the discussion with you, since it would be pointless to continue.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #10

Tony,

What kind of evidence would it take to convince you that panentheism is false?


#11

Hi @Relates

It would take evidence that God does not work through nature, of course!—Evidence that you cannot provide.

In Response to Jim, in the comments section of the article, “Will Intelligent Design Ever be Accepted if no Naturalistic Explanations Can Ever be Found?” you made the statement;

“I think your response to ID is basically on target. The question is not “Does God create?” but “How does God create?” and God does create by natural processes as best we can tell.”

Do I need to bring out the big guns again? Well, if you insist;

"Panentheism (from Greek πᾶν (pân) “all”; ἐν (en) “in”; and θεός (Theós) “God”; “all-in-God”) is a belief system which posits that God exists and interpenetrates every part of nature, and timelessly extends beyond as well. Panentheism is distinguished from pantheism, which holds that God is synonymous with the material universe.

In panentheism, God is not exactly viewed as the creator or demiurge but the eternal animating force behind the universe, with the universe as nothing more than the manifest part of God. The cosmos exists within God, who in turn “pervades” or is “in” the cosmos. While pantheism asserts that God and the universe are coextensive, panentheism claims that God is greater than the universe and that the universe is contained within God. Panentheism holds that God is the “supreme affect and effect” of the universe." http://www.reference.com/browse/wiki/Panentheism


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #12

While pantheism asserts that God and the universe are coextensive, panentheism claims that God is greater than the universe and that the universe is contained within God.

Tony wrote:
> Christianity holds that God created the universe and God sustains the universe, but the universe is separate from God, just as human creations are a product of human creativity, but are not contained within humans.

Because humans and the universe have an existence separate from God even though created and sustained by God, humans and the universe can be subject to sin or can be out of sync with God and they are. Thus pantheism and panentheism are not true.


#13

Hi @Relates

Roger made an error above, ascribing to me what he wrote—I know this because it was sent to me as a private message. My response was… Roger, If you want an answer to your comment you should post your comment in the forum under my comment—in this way others can follow the discussion! Unless… you don’t want others to see your comment?

So, Roger wrote the comment;

God created the universe and God sustains the universe because the universe [is] a part of God. This is how God sustains the universe—the universe is contained within God and He interpenetrates every part of it. Think of it this way… before the universe came into existence where was it? It was contained within God, of course!

To anthropomorphize we can explain it this way;

God imagined the universe into existence. In this sense, the universe exists within God’s imagination with God sustaining the universe by interpenetrating all areas of His imagined universe.

Alternatively, in cosmological language, we can explain it this way;

This cycle of the multiverse assumed the universe into existence. Accordingly, in this sense, the universe exists within the multiverse and its cosmological constants sustain the universe by interpenetrating all areas of the assumed universe.

You cannot compare human creations and the products of human creativity in this way because humans are not omnipresent as God is. Hence your example is invalid.

Humans and the universe [do not] have an existence separate from God—Remember God is omnipresent!

I’ll agree that humans can, and many are, subject to sin, or can be out of sync with God. The physical universe, on the other hand, cannot be subject to sin or be out of sync with God because the physical universe is subject to the cosmological constants established at the commencement of this cycle of the multiverse.

The fact that humans can be, and are, subject to sin, in no way provides evidence against nor disproves the validity of panentheism as a viable cosmological model for Absolute Reality.

The answer to Absolute Reality concerning the beginnings of the cosmos comes down to two alternatives. Creation out of nothing (creatio ex nihilo), or the cyclical multiverse assuming sequential universes. The multiverse model with simultaneously existing universes, or universes popping in and out of existence does not work because this creates an infinite regress. Since God exists and interpenetrates all parts of nature, and since God is eternal, then it is only the multiverse model which is the correct logical answer. This is quite simply because energy and matter coexist (E=MC2) and are eternal, therefore the imposition of the theory of creatio ex nihilo or supernatural intervention is false. Since this model seems to be the case for the beginnings of the cosmos, the answer to Absolute Reality concerning the beginnings of life must necessarily also be constrained to the fine tuning of the cosmological constants and the energy/matter paradigm.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #14

Tony,
God as omnipresent or being everywhere does not mean that God is everything. That is where we disagree. Humans are separate from God, if God imagined the universe into existence, because the universe runs by its own laws created by God, but not divine, but natural.

Humans are created in the Image of God. I know that you do not agree with this, but nothing in science, philosophy, or theology makes sense without this.

On these things we disagree, and I am alright with this. If you want to change, that is fine also, but please do not insist that I am wrong because I do not see things your way.


#15

Hi @Relates

You are right that, “God as omnipresent or being everywhere does not mean that God is everything.” However! It does mean that God inhabits “everything”—without God “everything” would have no existence, and, with “nothing” God would have no existence.

“In panentheism, God is not exactly viewed as the creator or demiurge but the eternal animating force behind the universe, with the universe as nothing more than the manifest part of God. The cosmos exists within God, who in turn “pervades” or is “in” the cosmos.” http://www.reference.com/browse/wiki/Panentheism

When humans imagine something, or, when they dream—are they separate from their imaginings, or from their dreams? The imaginings or dreams are a different aspect of their makeup, however, one cannot exist without the other. In this same way, God cannot exist without the physical universe, and the physical universe cannot exist without God.

I definitely believe that humans are created in the Image of God. However, I believe we differ in its interpretation and what its implications involve, as is evidently indicated by our differing worldviews.

Roger, you often tell me that I am wrong when I don’t agree with your point of view. There is no problem with that. I just try harder to provide the proper evidence (inductive or deductive) to prove my point. You just have to do the same. If you cannot provide the necessary evidence to prove your point, maybe it’s because there is no evidence to prove your point. That should tell you that there is something wrong with your assumptions and to therefore assume some other point of view that is supported by evidence.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #16

[quote=“Tony, post:15, topic:376”]
*> When humans imagine something, or, when they dream—are they separate from their imaginings, or from their dreams? The imaginings or dreams are a different aspect of their makeup, however, one cannot exist without the other. In this same way, God cannot exist without the physical universe, and the physical universe cannot exist without God.

[/quote]*

Tony,

You begin a thought with something reasonable, but finish it with something clearly unsubstantiated and wrong. Yes, it is true that dreams and imagining are a part of ourselves, but you said that God “imagined” the universe into existence. If something is given existence, then it is no longer private or personal. It has an existence separate from its creator

When one writes something, it has no real existence until it is published on the internet, as a paper, or otherwise. There is no question that God gave the universe its existence, which means now it exists apart from God. There is no question that God could destroy the universe if God so desired, as God almost did in the story of Noah, although I do not think that this story is
"objectively" true.

While my book, while this writing is dependent on my thoughts, my existence is not dependent on the existence of my book or this writing. There is NO evidence that God’s existence is dependent on the universe, while of course the existence of the universe is dependent upon God. Thus your conclusion in the paragraph quoted is false.

The major difference between us is the you say that the universe is a part of God although God is also beyond the universe, while I say that God and the universe are separate entities. God knows, governs, and empowers the universe, but it is not a part of God.

If the universe were a part of God, I would be a part of God, because I am a part of the universe. I am not a part of God because God cannot die and I will die. God does not sin and I am a sinner, saved by grace. God does not make mistakes, and I make plenty of mistakes.

Therefore the universe and I are not a part of God. We are separate from God and imperfect, physical beings dependent on God, and God is not dependent on us. Case closed. Panentheism not true.