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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: When the God of the Bible Is Rejected

Don Stewart :: Is Everything That Exists Part of God?

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Is Everything That Exists Part of God? (Pantheism)

When the God of the Bible Is Rejected – Question 12

One popular way of looking at ultimate reality is known as “pantheism.” Pantheism sees God and the universe as basically being the same thing. In other words, there is no distinction between them. A number of important points about pantheism need to be made.

Pantheism Defined: God Is Everything and Everything Is God

The term pantheism is derived from two Greek words pan and theos. Pan means “all or everything” and theos means “God.” Pantheism, therefore, means god is everything and everything is god.

There Is No Distinction between the Creator and the Created in Pantheism

Pantheism teaches that everything that exists is part of one single reality and that reality is called god. God is all, and all is god. There is no distinction between the creature and the creator in pantheism. God is equal to anything and everything. Trees and rocks, birds and land animals, the wind and the rain, everything that exists, including human beings, is declared to be parts of God. God expresses himself through these substances and forces.

The concept of a personal God who created the universe as a separate substance is foreign to pantheism. Pantheism depersonalizes any idea of God.

The Problems with Pantheism

There are a number of problems with believing the pantheistic point of view from a biblical perspective. They include the following:

1. The God of the Bible Is Distinct from Creation: He Exists Apart from the Universe

The first verse of the Bible refutes the idea of pantheism. In no uncertain terms, it makes it clear that God is not the same as the created universe. It reads as follows:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 KJV)

According to this opening verse in Scripture, the universe and God are not the same thing. Indeed, God created the universe. He did not make it out of Himself. The Apostle Paul wrote,

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse... (Romans 1:20 NKJV)

God’s eternal power is seen by His creation. It is not His Person because He is not part of the created universe. He has existence separate from it.

2. The Universe Was Something Newly Created: It Has Not Existed Eternally

There is something else. The universe has not existed eternally, but God has. When God created the universe He brought into being something different from Himself. The Bible says,

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen has been made from things that are not visible. (Hebrews 11:3 HCSB)

Pantheism blurs this distinction.

3. God Made Everything in the Universe except Himself

Scripture teaches that God made everything except Himself. The Apostle Paul said the following to a crowd in Athens:

“The God who made the world and everything in it—He is Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in shrines made by hands.” (Acts 17:24 HCSB)

Everything in the universe is the result of God—s creative activity. Everything. The only thing He did not created was Himself. He has not been created.

4. God Is the Sustainer of All Things

The living God is also the Sustainer of the universe which He created. Paul wrote the following to the church at Colosse:

...for all things in heaven and on earth were created by him—all things, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions, whether principalities or powers—all things were created through him and for him. He himself is before all things and all things are held together in him. (Colossians 1:16, 17 NET)

The universe is not God rather it depends upon God for its existence. He created it and He sustains it.

5. The Origination of Pantheism: The Rejection of God—s Truth

Scripture gives us a clue as to the origination of pantheism. Speaking of the eternal God, Paul wrote the following to the Church at Rome.

For although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks, but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles. (Romans 1:21-23 NET)

When people on the earth began to reject the idea that the God of the Bible existed, they substituted the creation for the Creator. Realizing that humanity needed something big and powerful to worship, humans turned their affections to the creation, rather than the Creator. This is the origin of pantheism.

6. Pantheism Brings Confusion between Creator and the Created

Pantheism confuses God with His creation. The art is not the artist, the poem is not the poet, the music is not the musician, and the creation is not the Creator. We are the clay and the Lord is the potter. We should never confuse the two. We read in Isaiah,

Your thinking is perverse! Should the potter be regarded as clay? Should the thing made say about its maker, “He didn’t make me”? Or should the pottery say about the potter, “He doesn’t understand”? (Isaiah 29:16 NET)

The potter is not the clay. This is something we should never forget.

7. The Present World Will Someday Pass Away

While God has revealed Himself through nature, He is separate and above it. Nature is not divine. Scripture says that the present heavens and earth will pass away, but that God will exist forever. Peter wrote the following:

But by the same word the present heavens and earth are held in store for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. (2 Peter 3:7 HCSB)

The pantheist position is: without the universe, there is no God. The Christian position is: if the universe were taken away, God still exists. The Bible says the present heaven will one day disappear. Peter also wrote,

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief; when it comes, the heavens will disappear with a horrific noise, and the celestial bodies will melt away in a blaze, and the earth and every deed done on it will be laid bare. (2 Peter 3:10 NET)

Though the present heavens will one day disappear the Lord will continue to exist. He is eternal but the universe is not.

8. Good and Evil Is Blurred in Pantheism

Pantheism must also deny the existence of evil. Since everything that exists is God this must, of necessity, include evil. Consequently, those who hold to a pantheistic belief system do not really have an answer for the problem of evil because they do not see it as a problem.

This is in contrast to Christianity which teaches that evil does exist but it was not the creation of a good God. Evil came about through the choice given to creatures who had a free-will.

We can compare pantheism, atheism, and Christianity in their views of God and evil. Pantheism denies that evil exists, yet accepts the idea of God. Atheism denies that God exists yet recognizes the problem of evil. Christianity recognizes the problem of evil and accepts the idea that God exists. These are some of the distinctions between these belief systems.

As far as pantheism is concerned it contradicts all the main beliefs of the Christian faith. Consequently, it should be soundly rejected.

Summary – Question 12
Is Everything That Exists Part of God? (Pantheism)

One of the alternatives to the God of the Bible is known as pantheism. Pantheism states that God is equal to anything and everything. All things that exist are part of one reality. This reality is called God. There is no distinction between God and the creation in pantheism.

This is not the biblical idea of God. There are a number of reasons as to why this is so.

The god of pantheism is impersonal while the God of Scripture is the personal Creator. Thus, we have the contrast between the personal and impersonal.

God is distinct from His creation according to the Bible but not according to pantheism. When we read the Scripture, we find that God created the universe. It had no existence before He created it. Therefore, the universe is not part of His nature. He existed before there was such a thing as a universe.

Thus, pantheism confuses the creature with the Creator. It makes everything god and misses the God of everything. This belief originated when people exchanged the truth of God and substituted the worship of created things. People worshiped the creation instead of the Creator.

The Bible also says that the physical universe will one day pass away but the God which created the universe will remain. Obviously He is not the same entity as the universe.

There is also the fact that pantheism denies the existence of evil. If everything which exists is termed as “God” then this must include evil. Thus, good and evil do not exist. Pantheists can give no answers for all the evil we find in this world. Indeed, they do not see it as a problem.

Therefore, pantheism is contradictory to the biblical view of God in every conceivable area. Either the Bible is true or pantheism is true. There is sufficient objective evidence to believe that the message of Scripture is true but there is none whatsoever which supports pantheism.

If the God of the Bible Is the Only One Who Exists, Then Why Does Scripture Speak of Other Gods? ← Prior Section
Is God Subject to Change? Next Section →
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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