What is panentheism?

by Matt Slick
10/17/2014

 

Panentheism (Greek pan which means "all," en which means "in," and theos which means "God") is the position that God is greater than the universe, that the universe is in God, that he permeates every part of nature, is part of nature, extends beyond nature, and is also distinct from it. Panentheism should not be confused with pantheism which says God and nature are the same and cannot be distinguished. However, panentheism maintains that God is changing. "Panentheists think of God as a finite, changing, director of world affairs who works in cooperation with the world in order to achieve greater perfection in his nature...they believe the world is God's body."1

Panetheism maintains that God has two "polls": actuality and potentiality. God's actual existence and nature is changing, but His potential, what He can become, does not change.

  • Panentheism:  "Term coined by K. C. F. Krause (1781–1832) the view that God is in all things. This view also sees the world and God as mutually dependent for their fulfillment.2
  • Panentheism:  "Meaning “all is in God,” this view equates the universe with God (like pantheism) but allows God to have a separate identity distinct from the universe (unlike pantheism). In panentheism, everything that exists is contained within God, but God is separate from and greater than everything that exists."3

Panentheism is unbiblical since it denies God’s transcendent nature, says that God is changing, confuses creation with God, denies miracles, and denies the incarnation of Christ along with the atoning sacrifice.

 

 

  • 1. Geisler, Norman. Baker Encyclopedia of Christian apologetics. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 2000, p. 576
  • 2. McKim, Donald K.. The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms, Second Edition: Revised and Expanded . Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.
  • 3. Barry, John D., David Bomar, Derek R. Brown, Rachel Klippenstein, Douglas Mangum, Carrie Sinclair Wolcott, Lazarus Wentz, Elliot Ritzema, and Wendy Widder, eds. The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016.
 
 

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.