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Is it possible to have monotheism without panentheism (or vice versa)?

Discussion in 'Panentheism' started by Paraprakrti, May 1, 2013.

  1. Paraprakrti

    Paraprakrti Custom User

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    I suppose I should clarify that I am also able to distinguish the two in basic concept. What I mean to say is that I cannot see how one doesn't end up entailing the other.


    Increase or decrease within the system of a creation/universe, the energy necessarily coexists with an eternal God.


    How is this different from panentheism?


    I'm still not sure what factor this plays into these theological concepts. All the energy is always existing; whether in or out of the universe seems neither here nor there.


    And that's just it. Why would any (mono)theist in his or her right mind read this, stop, and then say, "Nope. God can't do that."? When the alternative is limiting, then the only reasonable route is to incorporate the greater and more nuanced understanding of the subject matter.


    Then the first question is: What is our eternal constitution? This "becoming" talk is some material conception. What is the eternal, spiritual truth regarding our being?


    And apparently God is also given more freedom when our view of monotheism includes panentheism. So I am here to ask those non-panentheistic monotheists where the difficulty lies.


    But the increase as well as the "universe" prior to the increase can also be seen as an extension of God. How can it possibly be otherwise?
    Again, I understand these basic concepts and the distinctions they mean to draw between themselves. It simply seems the case to me that it all boils down and comes back around to the same thing.


    I don't know that I can agree with either of those outlooks, seeing as I feel they imply something questionable about God. But that might be another topic.


    I would be interested in talking with a panentheistic polytheist if such an animal exists. But as far as I have seen, it seems that panentheists are also monotheists. What possibly is the nature of a realm in which a multitude of utterly different-from-each-other "gods" (<---However that's defined) extend into, beyond creation as would be entailed in a panentheistic polythiesm model? Is it relative universal manifestation number 2? Once we reach the absolute platform in this model, do the various gods dissolve into oneness or are revealed to all be personalities of the same Godhead as necessitated by an absolute realm?
    Anyway, it appears that the main point of contention in this thread concerns whether monotheists are or ought to also be panentheists.
     
  2. fallingblood

    fallingblood Agnostic Theist

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    So basically you are talking about pantheism. Also, you can't prove this idea anyway. So yes, according to your rigid definition (and incorrect) of panentheism, it must be monotheism. However, those definitions simply are incorrect.

    Also, I never stated that God is completely and utterly transcendent.

    Again, this is pantheism, not panentheism.

    Now, your argument only works if demand that your definition of God must be correct. However, you can't prove that it is. It is just as probable that God can create something that is outside of God's being. That does not imply God is incomplete. It implies that I am not talking about pantheism.
     
  3. Willamena

    Willamena Just me
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    Pantheism is a picture: one substance, God, informs everything. In terms of deity that does not differ from everything that exists, this substance is an image of pantheism. In terms of things that differ from deity, this substance is an image of panentheism.

    Where monotheism is a picture of the Only or the One, it can be either.
     
  4. Talinn

    Talinn New Member

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    Well, I think we diverge at the point of God being able to evoke energy. I do not see God as being incapable of being able to ''summon'' energy. After all, God had to have an origin and thus he has invoked himself, if we see the monotheistic or panentheistic God as being creator of all things. According to logic, surely he too must have a creator.

    The Universe that we see as a byproduct of monotheism is simply Creation. It is unfathomable for the human being to grasp literally something out of nothing; all things, according to the human brain, must have an origin. So, this is where my brain starts screaming at me that this doesn't make sense lol. Panentheism has a point in which something (God himself) was created out of nothing, but in monotheism God has both simultaneously created himself / has always existed, and he has invoked Creation by his Will. Thus in monotheism God invokes energy (Himself/Herself) twice; in panentheism he does so only once by invoking himself into existence somehow and then spreading his divinity throughout the universe. Perhaps I'm repeating myself at this point, I'm just stuck on how to explain my opinion.

    Also it appears that I have to extremely precise in my wording, I didn't mean to say that a monotheistic God cannot extend himself to the whole universe; I'm saying he just doesn't. It is difficult to articulate why I believe the intentions of God might differ in monotheism and panentheism, and it is probably simply a matter of personal opinion. Also I'm looking at causal relationships and you're looking at effectual relationships, I'm not certain we can find common ground.
     
    #24 Talinn, May 6, 2013
    Last edited: May 6, 2013
  5. Paraprakrti

    Paraprakrti Custom User

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    No. You're talking about panetheism. I'm just following the logic set forth by you.


    How are they incorrect?


    If you don't say that God is completely and utterly transcendent, but you do hold God to be transcendent, then are you a panentheist? What other options are there?

    Then that makes you a pantheist, according to your own admission. Again, I'm just apply logic to your statements. You claimed that God and God's energies are identical. Hence, pantheism.


    What definition of God would you prefer?


    It implies that very thing, actually; especially since you're proposing that God and God's energies are identical. If God is to then create something that is utterly outside and in addition to Himself/His energies, then that implies that God created something that God previously lacked. If God lacks, God isn't God. So, a contradiction arises. How is this avoided?
     
  6. fallingblood

    fallingblood Agnostic Theist

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    Yes, I am talking about panentheism; however, you have not followed the logic set forth by me. This is why I have had to correct what you have said about the ideas that I am proposing.
    You are implying that panentheism is the idea that God and God's energies is what constitutes everything. That is pantheism. As in, the divine is the universe, which is basically what you're saying. Panentheism is the idea that God is in the world, but more than the world. It is the idea that God is immanent and transcendent. Meaning that God is also other.
    Panentheism is the idea that God is transcendent and immanent. That is what I believe.
    That is not following my logic. More so, you are attaching ideas to God's energies that I did not. I am not a pantheist. It simply doesn't hold for me. There is nothing wrong with the idea, but it simply is not for me.

    My ideas place me as a panentheist. I may see that God and God's energies are the same; however, that is because I rejected your concept of God's energies. I do not think that God's energies, as you proposed, are distinct from God. God and God's energies, as far as I am concerned, are the same thing. They are a single divine. God's energies are within God, they do not seep through everything. That is my opinion. Which goes to show you that the rigid ideas that you believe yourself, your opinions, are not the only opinions. Yet you are trying to force those opinions onto everyone else.

    I think trying to define God is ridiculous. Every definition of God is going to be flawed as we have no way to test them, or observe God. Even if we could observe God, we are still limited by our own perceptions, and the manner in which we can think. We can't think like God would think, as we are humans. It is the same way that we can only think about animals from a human perspective.

    But just because you can make a rigid definition of God, doesn't mean that it is correct. The fact that many others have contrasting definitions of God would actually suggest otherwise.

    It only implies that if you do not understand what I meant by saying that God and God's energies are the same. In fact, it doesn't imply that unless you used your preconceived ideas regarding what God's energies are, and then assumed incorrectly that I had the same perspective.

    More so, I don't think it is necessary that God created everything (and there is no reason for a panentheist or monotheist to think such). The reason being that one can also hold the view that God did not create everything out of nothing, but used what was already there. That, or God just made the first spark, and allowed things to happen. Through the process of evolution, human creativity, etc, other things were also created.
     
  7. Paraprakrti

    Paraprakrti Custom User

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    If God is summoning energy that previously didn't belong to God, then we're violating the very concept of God. Another poster (on the first page of this thread) quoted the Sri Isopanisad: Isavasyam idam sarvam, which relates that God is the owner/controller of all potencies. This is the basic idea here.


    I wouldn't make the statement that God is the creator of all things and then leave it at that. I'd say that God is overall responsible for creating all things that begin to exist.


    I don't think this is a serious dilemma. One just needs to adjust one's definition as I've shown above.


    The dichotomy of can versus does breaks down once we realize that if God's immeasurable potencies/energies are an inseparable part of God, then it follows that God necessarily extends Himself throughout the universe.
     
  8. Paraprakrti

    Paraprakrti Custom User

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    Theism in general contains within it the propostion that God and God's energies constitute everything. The next question involves the relationship between God and God's energies. If we say that these two categories are utterly identical, then we're logic-bound to a pantheistic view. I have not made this claim. Hence, I cannot rightly be held accountable for espousing a pantheist position. You, on the other hand, have proposed or suggested that God and God's energies are identical. So...


    Yes. Panentheism is my position.


    OK.


    What ideas am I attaching to God's energies that you do not? If God and God's energies are completely identical, as you say, then where and how do you recognize the sense of divide to become a panentheist or to support the position of non-panentheistic monotheism as a viable option?


    And in moving to reject my claim, you cause problems for yours, as I've demonstrated numerous times now.


    My proposition is that God's energies are simultaneously one and distinct from God. The two are inseparable yet distinguishable in the sense that one is in control of the other.


    What is "everything" if not God and/or God's energies? Something that exists beyond God?


    I don't see much value in trying to reduce this all to opinions. I hold a certain position. You hold another. So here we are talking about it. Let's just continue to support our respective positions with reasoning.


    OK. I am open to other suggestions about what God is. Shoot.


    Either you're ultimately supporting a pantheist position by proposing that God and God's energies are identical, or you are suggesting that something exists outside of God's domain. I took the liberty of assuming that you wouldn't support the latter.

    I agree. Some things aren't created at all.


    I find the proposition that God created out of nothing to be absurd. The power to create "out of nothing" is a "something" from/of which things are created. Everything that exists as an extension or in addition to God is a manifestation of God's eternally existing energies. So, it is always necessarily the case that God creates using something that was already there.


    Or both. The old saying "nothing new under the sun" is appropriate here. Well, under or over the sun, actually. No truly new things are emerging in the creative potency of God. Similarly, no new potencies are coming into being that didn't previously exist for God. In respect to our finite vision one might overwhelmingly feel that God's power is increasing infinitely at every moment, but for God it is all part of His eternal potencies.
     
  9. idav

    idav Being
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    This sounds like the issue I sometimes bring up regarding the Trinity concept. I have a hard time with the concept of God and Gods Spirit somehow being another being of sorts. The way I figure it, All is one and all is all. If someone magages to connect with the spirit of god then they are in fact connected to god not some other being representing god.

    Anyhow it gets into the mystery of gods relationship with humans. I don't think a God would have much issue interacting with it's creation whether or not the creation is inherently divine or not. God wouldn't need to send a separate personage to bridge a gap.
     
  10. Onkara

    Onkara Well-Known Member

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    Hi
    Yes, I find personally that monotheism which tries to distinguish itself from panentheism is nit picking rather than persuasive. It comes down to "creator versus creation", however both are linked in my view. For example, separation in space or time does not imply that two or more objects are completely separate in their relationship.
     
  11. Orbit

    Orbit I'm a planet

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    Monotheism: Christianity, for example, envisions a God as separate from Creation/man, cut off by sin. There is nothing panentheistic about this. So no, monotheism is not necessarily panentheistic.

    Where panentheism views God as both immanent in, and transcendent from creation, simple monotheism makes God a personal God, an anthropomorphized entity separate from creation.

    A Christian could take the heretical view that God is everything, but that would be a belief far outside of mainstream Christianity.

    So the short answer is "no monotheism and panentheism are not necessarily the same".
     
  12. Acintya_Ash

    Acintya_Ash Bhakta

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    Hare Krishna!
    Yes its quite difficult to imagine monotheism without pantheism. Dvaita Philosophy of Madhvacharya is monotheistic yet non pantheistic.
    Dvaita FAQ
     
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