Thursday, October 9, 2014

I am not a panentheist

In the past, while reading about panentheism I've had a hard time seeing how it's not simply a version of orthodox theism. That we are in God, that all our existence is a participation in God and that God is present in everything by his omnipresence and universal sustenance and causal concommittance are all perfectly orthodox ideas, ones that, for instance, any Thomist will embrace. Thus I thought that I probably am a panentheist if panentheism is understood as "All things are in God and God is in all things" (Matthew Fox). Of course, many panentheists would add to the above various unorthodox doctrines, but these did not seem to me to be a part of panentheism. However, I am now thinking, after a careful look at the rather confusing panentheism article in SEP that a core doctrine of panentheism is divine dependence on the the non-divine. And that's not compatible with orthodox theism, I think, and certainly not with what I think. So I guess I'm not a panentheist after all.

7 comments:

Eric Steinhart said...

I can't follow that SEP article. I've studied a bunch of Hartshorne, and that SEP article makes no sense to me. Of course, panentheism doesn't make much sense to me either. But there are some very interesting ideas in Hartshorne, that, probably due to his strange way of writing, have never been picked up in analytic theology.

afkimel said...

You may find of interest Met Kallistos Ware's discussion of the Orthodox understanding of the divine energies. He speaks of a "Palamite Panentheism": http://goo.gl/axk1CV

Heath White said...

Perhaps the onus is on the panentheist to clarify how their doctrine differs from the orthodox theists? Why should you have to do all the work?

Prince Randoms said...

As someone who flirted with strands of progressive theology for a year and a half, it may just be a combination of a desire to remain separate from conservative theology and to minimize the transcendence perhaps? Also to minimize the "omni's" to avoid most criticisms of traditional theism. The problem of Evil can hardly be applicable if you don't hold God as all good and all powerful.

= MJA said...

So Alexander, if God was just another name for everything, would you believe in God? =

Alexander R Pruss said...

Sure, but I'd need to use a different word for God than "God." Likewise, if "leg" meant leg or tail, I'd still believe that a dog has four legs, but I wouldn't express it with the words "A dog has four legs."

= MJA said...

There are those who grasp the tail of a lion in search of the lion (Einstein), and a very few others who find One is the other, and the other just One. =