Pandeism

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Pandeism or Pan-Deism (derived from Greek πάν, 'pan' = 'all' and Latin deus = God, in the sense of deism), is a term used at various times to describe religious beliefs. Since at least as early as 1859, it has delineated syncretist concepts incorporating or mixing elements of pantheism (that God is identical to the Universe) and deism (that the creator-god who designed the Universe no longer exists in a status where he can be reached, and can instead be confirmed only by reason). It is therefore most particularly "the belief that God precedes the Universe and is the Universe's creator, [and] that the Universe is currently the entirety of God",[1][2] with some adding the contention that "the Universe will one day coalesce back into a single being, God".[1]

It is through this incorporation pandeism claims to answer primary objections to deism (why would God create and then abandon the Universe?) and to pantheism (how did the Universe originate and what is its purpose?).

Contents

[edit] A pantheistic form of deism

Pandeism falls within the traditional hierarchy of philosophies addressing the nature of God. This use of the term is a blend of the Greek root πάν ( 'pan' ), meaning 'all', and the Latin deus meaning God. These differing roots make pandeism a hybrid word, like automobile, hyperactivity, neonatal, sociology, and television. Pan is used in this same way in pantheism and panentheism, while deism is derived from deus. Pandeism shares these roots as a variation of the term "pantheism", and of "deism".

The words deism and theism are both derived from words for god. While the root of the word deism is the Latin word deus, which means "god", the root of the word theism is the Greek word θεóς (theos), which also means "god".

Prior to the 17th century the terms ["deism" and "deist"] were used interchangeably with the terms "theism" and "theist", respectively. ... Theologians and philosophers of the seventeenth century began to give a different signification to the words.... Both [theists and deists] asserted belief in one supreme God, the Creator.... and agreed that God is personal and distinct from the world. But the theist taught that god remained actively interested in and operative in the world which he had made, whereas the deist maintained that God endowed the world at creation with self-sustaining and self-acting powers and then abandoned it to the operation of these powers acting as second causes.[3]

The deist movement adopted that name to refer to a God not knowable by revelation, but who could only be found by rational thought. Perhaps the first use of the term deist is in Pierre Viret's Instruction Chrestienne (1564), reprinted in Bayle's Dictionnaire entry Viret. Viret, a Calvinist, regarded deism as a new form of Italian heresy.[4] Viret wrote:

There are many who confess that while they believe like the Turks and the Jews that there is some sort of God and some sort of deity, yet with regard to Jesus Christ and to all that to which the doctrine of the Evangelists and the Apostles testify, they take all that to be fables and dreams.... I have heard that there are of this band those who call themselves Deists, an entirely new word, which they want to oppose to Atheist. For in that atheist signifies a person who is without God, they want to make it understood that they are not at all without God, since they certainly believe there is some sort of God, whom they even recognize as creator of heaven and earth...

Pantheism, in turn, came from the term "pantheist" purportedly first referenced by Irish writer John Toland in his 1705 work, Socinianism Truly Stated, by a pantheist. The word "pantheism" was first used by Toland's opponent Jacques de la Faye in de la Faye's Defensio Religionis ('"Defense of Religion') a 251-page critique of Toland published at Utrecht in 1709.[5] The 1859 coining of the term "Pandeism" to identify a pantheistic deism by Moritz Lazarus and Heymann Steinthal is discussed below.

The concepts of pantheism and deism can each be used to cover a wide variety of positions on a wide variety of religious issues. Thus, pandeism may theoretically cover a wide variety of positions, so long as these logically fall at the same time within some form of pantheism and some form of deism. Like many Deists (and some Pantheists), Pandeists may refer to "God" as "the Deus" to avoid confusing Pandeist conceptions of the creator with those of theistic faiths.

[edit] Compatibility with scientific and philosophical proofs

Arguments for the existence of God (other than those premised on the truth of a particular religious text) tend to support a pandeistic Universe as readily, if not more, as a theistic Universe. Both the cosmological argument (that there must be a first cause) and the teleological argument (that the existence of complex patterns in the Universe show intentional design) point to a pandeistic Universe as readily as one with an active God. Pandeism is particularly compatible with evolutionary creationism in that it posits the creation of a fine-tuned Universe by intelligent design. Pandeism differs from theistic creation theories by suggesting that the designer has ceased to have an independent existence. The Big Bang may be seen as the event signifying the transformation of the Deus into the Universe.

Scientific plausibility for this theory was introduced to pandeism through a paper written by Italian astrophysicist Paola Zizzi. Notable for her work in the field of Loop quantum gravity theory that regards the early as a kind of quantum computer, Zizzi proposed that the universe could have achieved the threshold of computational complexity sufficient for the emergence of consciousness during the period of cosmic inflation, in a paper entitled "Emergent Consciousness: From the Early Universe to Our Mind",[6] which has become known as the "Big Wow" theory. Zizzi states that the universe reached a level of quantum computational complexity, during the period of cosmic inflation, to undergo Orchestrated Objective Reduction, or Orch-OR, allowing the emergence of consciousness. Zizzi's paper is fundamentally a theory of Loop quantum gravity which derives some of its power from the Holographic Principle. It suggests that the universe's conscious moment, or 'occasion of experience' came at the end of the inflationary period in physical cosmology, and was the event that allowed the universe's quantum state vector to reduce, thus selecting the conditions for our specific universe, out of a superposed multitude of possibilities. This, too, has been reflected in fiction, in the Star Trek novel, "Corona" which featured sentient proto-stars seeking to induce a new Big Bang.

The pandeistic universe is just as the universe described in naturalistic pantheism, with the distinction that the belief necessarily encompasses a sentient being that existed before the formation of the universe. Panentheism also suggests a universe designed by a sentient deity, and composed of matter derived from that deity. The belief systems part on the point that panentheism asserts that God is greater than the universe, and therefore continues a separate existence alongside it, while pandeism asserts that everything that was the Deus became incorporated into the universe. Pandeism is notable for explicitly accepting, and even revering, concepts such as chemical abiogenesis and evolution by natural selection, including human evolution. A basic assumption of Pandeism is that scientific inquiry will accurately reveal the mechanisms by which the Universe operates, which in turn will be shown to derive from a very simple set of principles established with the creation of the Universe.

Because "Pandeists believe all consciousness, in all life, to be fragments of God's awareness"[1] Such a being may not consciously interact with the material Universe, but might still exert a latent influence over the development of the physical Universe and the evolution of things within it. Because man is part of the material Universe, and therefore composed of remnants of the Deus, it could then be possible for the energy of the Deus to be tapped by an individual.

As with man's ability to release the power of the atom in an atomic bomb or nuclear reactor, every human mind could conceivably access and release some portion of the power or the knowledge of the Deus, perhaps by simply realizing their connection with the Universe through meditation. If this is valid, religious figures such as Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, the Buddha, and others may have been able to perform those miracles attributed to them by tapping into this infinite source of energy.

[edit] Morality

The moral basis of pandeism is the idea that God (or the Deus, or the Creator) exists in all things, so that whatever we do do each other we are really doing to God. This very argument caused Saint Augustine to recoil from pandeistic interpretations, since he found it objectionable to think that a master whipping a slave would cause God to feel the blow. Yet later philosophers have pointed out that even theistic conceptions of God require this, for if God is all-knowing, then God's knowledge of the experience of that pain must be not only equal to, but superior to, that of the whipped slave. And so pandeists do not accord credence to the idea of God-given moral laws, but instead insist on treating everything in the Universe as they would treat God, giving God the awe and reverence (but not worship) due to a Creator with such creative ability, and attempt to maximize the experience of pleasure and happiness and joy in the world while minimizing the experience of pain and suffering and sorrow.

[edit] Comparison to Eastern philosophy

The ideas described by pandeism in the West have resonance with certain Eastern philosophies, particularly with some expressions of Hinduism. Warren Sharpe wrote:

To the Hindu, for example, God didn't create the universe, but God became the universe. Then he forgot that he became the universe. Why would God do this? Basically, for entertainment. You create a universe, and that in itself is very exciting. But then what? Should you sit back and watch this universe of yours having all the fun? No, you should have all the fun yourself. To accomplish this, God transformed into the whole universe. God is the Universe, and everything in it. But the universe doesn't know that because that would ruin the suspense. The universe is God's great drama, and God is the stage, the actors, and the audience all at once. The title of this epic drama is "The Great Unknown Outcome." Throw in potent elements like passion, love, hate, good, evil, free will; and who knows what will happen? No one knows, and that is what keeps the universe interesting. But everyone will have a good time. And there is never really any danger, because everyone is really God, and God is really just playing around.[7]

[edit] Development

[edit] In mythology

Many ancient mythologies suggested that the world was created from the physical substance of a dead deity or a being of similar power. In Sumerian and Babylonian mythology, the young god Marduk slew Tiamat and created the known world from her body. Similarly, Norse mythology posited that Odin and his brothers, Vili and Vé defeated a frost giant, Ymir and then created the world from his. Later Chinese mythology recounts the creation of elements of the physical world (mountains, rivers, the sun and moon, etc.) from the body of a creator called Pángǔ (盤古). Such stories did not go so far as to identify the designer of the world as being one as having used his or her own body to provide the material.

The 2006 film, The Fountain, depicts Mayan mythology as describing a world made from the body of the "First Father", who sacrificed his own life to become the world. However, the film-makers took great liberties with the mythology, which is in fact more polytheistic than pandeistic.

[edit] Ancient philosophy

Religious studies professor, F. E. Peters traced the idea of pandeism to the philosophy of the Milesians, who had also pioneered knowledge of pantheism, in his 1967 Greek Philosophical Terms: A Historical Lexicon, noting that "[w]hat appeared... at the center of the Pythagorean tradition in philosophy, is another view of psyche that seems to owe little or nothing to the pan-vitalism or pan-deism (see theion) that is the legacy of the Milesians.[8]

Milesian philosopher Anaximander in particular favored the use of rational principles to contend that everything in the world was formed of variations of a single substance (apeiron), which had been temporarily liberated from the primal state of the world. Friedrich Nietzsche, in his Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks, stated that Anaximander viewed "...all coming-to-be as though it were an illegitimate emancipation from eternal being, a wrong for which destruction is the only penance."[9] Anaximander was among the material monists, along with Thales, who believed that everything was composed of water, Anaximenes, who believed it was air, and Heraclitus, who believed it to be fire.

Although the rise of Christianity displaced nontheological discourse for many centuries, some pandeist concepts are conveyed in the New Testament. Particularly in the Gospel of Matthew, 25:31-46, popularly known as the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. There Jesus tells of how those who do good things for their fellow men will be blessed, and those who fail to will be cursed, saying to the blessed:

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 25:40.

Jesus then also says to the cursed:

Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 25:45.

This conforms to the pandeist view that, the Deus having become the Universe and all things (including people) being part of the Deus, everything that one person does for the benefit of another is experienced by the Deus, and whatever one person fails to do for another (or even whatever harm one person does to another) is experienced by the Deus.

[edit] Origin of modern pandeism

In the 9th century, Johannes Scotus Eriugena proposed in his great work, De divisione naturae (also called Periphyseon, probably completed around 867 AD), that the nature of the Universe is divisible into four distinct classes:

Johannes Scotus Eriugena was among the first to propose that God became the Universe, and did so to learn something about itself.
  1. that which creates and is not created;
  2. that which is created and creates;
  3. that which is created and does not create;
  4. that which neither is created nor creates.

The first is God as the ground or origin of all things, the last is God as the final end or goal of all things, that into which the world of created things ultimately returns. One particularly controversial point made by Eriugena was that God was "nothing", in that God could not fall into any earthly classification. Eriugena followed the argument of Pseudo-Dionysius and from neo-Platonists such as Gaius Marius Victorinus that because God was above Being, God was not a being: "So supremely perfect is the essence of the Divinity that God is incomprehensible not only to us but also to Himself. For if He knew Himself in any adequate sense He should place Himself in some category of thought, which would be to limit Himself."[10] A more contemporary statement of this idea is that: "Since God is not a being, he is therefore not intelligible... This means not only that we cannot understand him, but also that he cannot understand himself. Creation is a kind of divine effort by God to understand himself, to see himself in a mirror."[11]

Eriugena depicts God as an evolving being, developing through the four stages that he outlines. The second and third classes together compose the created Universe, which is the manifestation of God, God in process, Theophania; the second being the world of Platonic ideas or forms. The third is the physical manifestation of God, having evolved through the realm of ideas and made those ideas seem to be matter, and may be pantheistic or pandeistic, depending on the interference of God in the Universe:

[God] enters... the realm of space and time, where the ideas become subject to multiplicity, change, imperfection, and decay. In this last stage they are no longer pure ideas but only the appearances of reality, that is phenomena. ... In the realm of space and time the ideas take on the burden of matter, which is the source of suffering, sickness, and sin. The material world, therefore, of our experience is composed of ideas clothed in matter — here Eriugena attempts a reconciliation of Platonism with Aristotelean notions. Man, too, is composed of idea and matter, soul and body. He is the culmination of the process of things from God, and with him, as we shall see, begins the process of return of all things to God.[10]

The divine system is thus distinguished by beginning, middle and end; but these are in essence one; the difference is only the consequence of man's temporal limitations. This eternal process is viewed with finite comprehension through the form of time, forcing the application of temporal distinctions to that which is extra- or supra-temporal. Eriugena concludes this work with another controversial argument, and one that had already been scathingly rejected by Augustine of Hippo, that "[n]ot only man, however, but everything else in nature is destined to return to God."[10] Eriugena's work was condemned by a council at Sens by Honorius III (1225), who described it as "swarming with worms of heretical perversity," and by Pope Gregory XIII in 1585. Such theories were thus suppressed for hundreds of years thence.

[edit] Pandeism from the 16th Century on

The ideas of Spinoza lay the foundations for pandeism.

Giordano Bruno conceived of a God who was immanent in nature, and for this very purpose was uninterested in human affairs (all such events being equally part of God). However, it was Baruch Spinoza in the 17th Century who appears to have been the earliest to use deistic reason to arrive at the conception of a pantheistic God. Spinoza's God was deistic in the sense that it could only be proved by appeal to reason, but it was also one with the Universe. As one critic states:

The labeling of Spinoza's philosophy as "pantheism" by the Church was meant more as an invective and indictment than a true analysis of his writings. It was really a variant of Deism -- a "pandeism,"... Theism, however, posits something very different. Theism believes that nature was not God, but created BY God. That God is a completely independent sentient and cognitive Being, and that God interacts with his "children" on a personal level (e.g., The Bible).[12]

Unlike Eriugena, Spinoza's pantheistic focus on the Universe as it already existed did not address the possible creation of the Universe from the substance of God, for Spinoza rejected the very possibility of changes in the form of matter required as a premise for such a belief.

Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn was the first to articulate a pantheistic deism.

18th Century British philosopher Thomas Paine also approached this territory in his great philosophical treatise, The Age of Reason, although Paine was concentrated on the deistic aspects of his inquiry.[13] According to the Encyclopedia of American Philosophy "Later Unitarian Christians (such as William Ellery Channing), transcendentalists (such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau), writers (such as Walt Whitman) and some pragmatists (such as William James) took a more pantheist or pandeist approach by rejecting views of God as separate from the world."[14] It was Dutch naturalist Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn who first specifically detailed a religious philosophy incorporating deism and pantheism, in his four volume treatise, Java, seine Gestalt, Pflanzendecke, und sein innerer Bau (Images of Light and Shadow from Java's interior) released anonymously between 1850 and 1854. Junghuhn's book was banned for a time in Austria and parts of Germany as an attack on Christianity. In 1884, theologian Sabine Baring-Gould would contend that Christianity itself demanded that the seemingly irreconcilable elements of pantheism and deism must be combined:

This world is either the idea or it is the workmanship of God. If we say that it is the idea,--then we are Pantheists, if we say that it is the work, then we are Deists... But how, it may be asked, can two such opposite theories as Pantheism and Deism be reconciled,--they mutually exclude one another? I may not be able to explain how they are conciliable, but I boldly affirm that each is simultaneously true, and that each must be true, for each is an inexorably logical conclusion, and each is a positive conclusion, and all positive conclusions must be true if Christ be the Ideal and the focus of all truths.[15]

Within a decade after that, Andrew Martin Fairbairn similarly wrote that "both Deism and Pantheism err because they are partial; they are right in what they affirm, wrong in what they deny. It is as antitheses that they are false; but by synthesis they may be combined or dissolved into truth".[16] Ironically, Fairbairn's criticism concluded that it was the presence of an active God that was missing from both concepts, rather than the rational explanation of God's motives and appearance of absence.

In the 19th century, poet Alfred Tennyson revealed that his "religious beliefs also defied convention, leaning towards agnosticism and pandeism",[17] integrating deism with the pantheism of Spinoza, and Spinoza's predecessor, Giordano Bruno.[18]

Literary critic, Hayden Carruth, said of Alexander Pope that it was "Pope's rationalism and pandeism with which he wrote the greatest mock-epic in English literature"[19]

[edit] Developments from the 20th Century to today

Understanding of pandeism was much advanced in the 1940s by the process theology of Charles Hartshorne. Hartshorne identified pandeism as one of his many models of the possible nature of God, acknowledging that a God capable of change (as Hartshorne insisted God must be) is consistent with pandeism. Hartshorne preferred pandeism to pantheism, explaining that "it is not really the theos that is described".[20] However, he specifically rejected pandeism early on in favor of a God whose characteristics included "absolute perfection in some respects, relative perfection in all others" or "AR", writing that this theory "is able consistently to embrace all that is positive in either deism or pandeism."[21] Hartshorne accepted the label of panentheism for his beliefs, declaring that "panentheistic doctrine contains all of deism and pandeism except their arbitrary negations".[22]

In 2001, Scott Adams published God's Debris: A Thought Experiment, in which he explicitly set down his own variation of pandeism, a radical form of kenosis. Adams surmised that an omnipotent God annihilated himself in the Big Bang, because God would already know everything possible except his own lack of existence, and would have to end that existence in order to complete his knowledge. Adams asks about God, "would his omnipotence include knowing what happens after he loses his omnipotence, or would his knowledge of the future end at that point?"[23] He proceeds from this question to the following analysis:

A God who knew the answer to that question would indeed know everything and have everything. For that reason he would be unmotivated to do anything or create anything. There would be no purpose to act in any way whatsoever. But a God who had one nagging question—what happens if I cease to exist?—might be motivated to find the answer in order to complete his knowledge. ... The fact that we exist is proof that God is motivated to act in some way. And since only the challenge of self-destruction could interest an omnipotent God, it stands to reason that we... are God's debris.[24]

Adams' God exists now as a combination of the smallest units of energy of which the Universe is made (many levels smaller than quarks), which Adams called "God Dust", and the law of probability, or "God's debris", hence the title. An unconventional twist introduced by Adams proposes that God is in the process of being restored not through some process such as the Big Crunch, but because humankind itself is becoming God.

Adams is hardly the first author to incorporate pandeistic doctrines into fiction. Robert A. Heinlein, in his Stranger in a Strange Land, a 1967 novel, so identifies a character who appears to other characters as identifying humanity as God. Heinlein's pandeistic bent in that novel is encapsulated in his use of the phrase "Thou Art God", and in key passages in which the protagonist of the story, Michael Valentine Smith, explains how, "Thou art God, and I am God and all that groks is God," God being that which is in all things (even the "happy blades of grass") and having no choice but to experience all things. Smith sets humankind on the course to releasing itself from its physical limitations, and thus truly becoming God. The idea of humankind becoming God is also fundamental to the 1950s Isaac Asimov short story, "The Last Question", in which human and computer knowledge is merged before the heat death of the Universe. The computer, which continued to exist in hyperspace, had been asked how to stop entropy. It finally figured out the answer and implemented it, saying "Let there be light!" This is not a necessary element of pandeism, but correlates with it well.

Another notable pandeist is documentarian Bruce Parry who spoke of how his experiences among primitive tribes led him to adopt the more skeptical form of pandeism:

When I came back from expeditions, I had some experiences that made me readdress all that. I'd pretty much known all along that Christianity wasn't for me. Ever since then, I've been on my own quest to find another truth. I can't read novels, but I do read books about cosmology, about astrophysics, about genetics. I'm interested in altered states of mind, and creation myths. It's all part of the same thing - I want to know why we think what we think. Now, I'd describe myself as pan-deist, reluctantly verging on atheist.[25][26]

Parry has since been described, with his apparent approval, as a "Christian turned sceptical pan-deist turned reluctant atheist" who "sees himself on a spiritual journey."[27]

[edit] History of use of the term

Luigi Ferrarese (an Italian phrenologist) described pandeism in a book called Memorie Risguardanti la Dottrina Frenologica ("Thoughts Regarding the Doctrine of Phrenology") published in 1838. He was unequivocally critical.

Here is the complete text of the line Ferrarase uses:

Dottrina, che pel suo idealismo poco circospetto, non solo la fede, ma la stessa ragione offende (il sistema di Kant): farebbe mestieri far aperto gli errori pericolosi, così alla Religione, come alla Morale, di quel psicologo franzese, il quale ha sedotte le menti (Cousin), con far osservare come la di lui filosofia intraprendente ed audace sforza le barriere della sacra Teologia, ponendo innanzi ad ogn'altra autorità la propria: profana i misteri, dichiarandoli in parte vacui di senso, ed in parte riducendoli a volgari allusioni, ed a prette metafore; costringe, come faceva osservare un dotto Critico, la rivelazione a cambiare il suo posto con quello del pensiero istintivo e dell' affermazione senza riflessione e colloca la ragione fuori della persona dell'uomo dichiarandolo un frammento di Dio, una spezie di pandeismo spirituale introducendo, assurdo per noi, ed al Supremo Ente ingiurioso, il quale reca onda grave alla libertà del medesimo, ec, ec.[28]

Roughly translated from the flowery language used by intellectuals of the day this means that Pandeism is a doctrine "declaring man a fragment of God", which "profanes the mysteries" of theology, "declaring them partly devoid of meaning, and partly reducing them to vulgar allusions and pure metaphors" and concluding that Pandeism is "absurd to us and insulting to the Supreme Being."

The next earliest reported usage of a variation of "Pandeism" to identify a pantheistic deism was in the 1859 German work, Zeitschrift für Völkerpsychologie und Sprachwissenschaft by philosophers and frequent collaborators Moritz Lazarus and Heymann Steinthal. Discussing religious philosophy, they wrote:

Man stelle es also den Denkern frei, ob sie Theisten, Pan-theisten, Atheisten, Deisten (und warum nicht auch Pandeisten?)...[29]

This is translated as:

Man leaves it to the philosophers, whether they are Theists, Pan-theists, Atheists, Deists (and why not also Pandeists?)...

Some inconsistent uses of this nuanced term has also been made over time. It has occasionally been used to refer dismissively to pantheism alone, from the presumption that pantheism is deistic. It has been used to mean simultaneous belief in all religions (omnitheism), or some elements thereof.

Earlier in the 19th century, some figures (particularly religionist Godfrey Higgins, later echoed by occult figure John Ballou Newbrough) used an etymologically distinct variation of the term to describe the beliefs that they attributed to a particular cult or sect (see Pandeism (Godfrey Higgins) for this use). Higgins, in particular, used the term "Pandeism" as early as 1833 to describe his theorized cult of Pandu and the Pandavas.[30]

The term was used to describe a synthesis of pantheism and deism appears to be by William Harbutt Dawson, in his 1904 biographical work, Matthew Arnold and His Relation to the Thought of Our Time. Dawson used the term "Pan-Deism" as a comparative reference point, writing:

... whatever the deity which satisfied Arnold's personal experience may have been, the religion which he gives us in Literature and Dogma and God and the Bible is neither Deism nor bare Pan-Deism, but a diluted Positivism. As an ethical system it is in theory admirable, but its positive value is in the highest degree questionable. Pascal's judgment upon the God who emerged from the philosophical investigations of René Descartes was that He was a God who was unnecessary.[31]

Early in the 20th century, Pandeism, with its sweeping reinterpretation of the nature of the Deus and the purpose of mankind, was viewed as a threat to Christianity and possibly a force for the positive reorganization of human civilization. Towards the beginning of World War I, an article in the Yale Sheffield Monthly published by the Yale University Sheffield Scientific School commented:

Are we virtuous merely because we are restrained by the fetters of the law? We hear men prophecy that this war means the death of Christianity and an era of Pandeism or perhaps even the destruction of all which we call modern civilization and culture. We hear men predict that the ultimate result of the war will be a blessing to humanity.[32]

A similar concern was raised by Charles A. Bolton in a 1963 article, Beyond the Ecumenical: Pan-deism? [33]

An early 19th century German philosopher, Paul Friedrich Köhler, expressed the skeptical view that all of these religious labels were referring to the same thing. Köhler wrote:

Pantheismus und Pandeismus, Monismus und Dualismus: alles dies sind in Wirklichkeit nur verschiedene Formen des Gottschauens, verschiedene Beleuchtungsarten des Grundbegriffes, nämlich des Höchsten, von dem aus die verschiedenen Strahlungen in die Menschenseele sich hineinsenken und hier ein Spiegelbild projizieren, dessen Wahrnehmung die charakteriologische Eigenart des Einzelindividuums, die durch zeitliches, familiäres und soziologisches Milieu bedingte Auffassungsgabe vermittelt.[34]

Roughly translated, this means that Pantheism, Pandeism, Monism and Dualism all refer to the same God illuminated in different ways, and that whatever the label, the human soul emanates from this God.

In 1997, Pastor Bob Burridge[35][36] of the Genevan Institute for Reformed Studies[37] wrote an essay titled God Is Not the Author of Sin, also identifying pandeism-described as a deistic refinement or subset of pantheism-as a threat to Christianity:

All the actions of created intelligences are not merely the actions of God. He has created a universe of beings which are said to act freely and responsibly as the proximate causes of their own moral actions. When individuals do evil things it is not God the Creator and Preserver acting. If God was the proximate cause of every act it would make all events to be "God in motion". That is nothing less than pantheism, or more exactly, pandeism.[38]

Burridge disagrees that such is the case, decrying that "The Creator is distinct from his creation. The reality of secondary causes is what separates Christian theism from pandeism."[38]

Burridge concludes by challenging his reader to determine why "calling God the author of sin demand[s] a pandeistic understanding of the universe effectively removing the reality of sin and moral law."[39]

There is marked contrast in a 1995 news article quoting this use of the term by Jim Garvin, a Vietnam vet who became a Trappist monk in the Holy Cross Abbey of Berryville, Virginia, and went on to lead the economic development of Phoenix, Arizona. Garvin described his spiritual position as "'pandeism' or 'pan-en-deism,' something very close to the Native American concept of the all- pervading Great Spirit..."[40]

[edit] Variations on the concept

Some uses to which the term has been put are etymologically disjunctive, as they ascribe a meaning to the term that does not reflect the roots of what is an obvious portmanteau within a well defined family of similar terms.

Conversely, the term may describe a deistic pantheism, in which a God that has always been pantheistic has ceased a previously active interaction with the Universe. The term has been used in some instances as a restatement of pantheism (the concept that God and the Universe are one) or panendeism (the concept that God both is the Universe, and transcends the Universe). Others have specified that it is a concept distinct from pantheism, and have used it instead to describe a Universe which combines elements of pantheism (for example, that God and the Universe are one) and deism (for example, that a creator God created a self-regulating Universe, but subsequently ceased to actively intervene in its operations).

[edit] Examples

The following excerpt from a discussion of a painting by Spanish artist Orlando Cordero illustrates the conceptual distinction between pantheism and pandeism. The author used the words "pandeísta" and "pandeísmo" in the Spanish version, which were translated by the author into "pandeist" and "pandeism", respectively. The comparison suggests that pandeism is a system with a cold, impersonal God, while pantheism presents a warm and experiential God:

His vision is pandeist, and it had to be pantheist. In order to get a pantheist painting, it is necessary to have Christ as pennant, footpath, and lighthouse. Pandeism is impersonal like in the present canvas, in which man, nature and word integrate themselves; whereas pantheism is a personal Christ-like experience of every day. Here there is signal-like materiality for the making of other paintings.[41]

[edit] Scientific Pandeism

The symbol for Scientific Pandeism.

Scientific Pandeism is a distinct form of Pandeism that incorporates aspects of Atheism. It is the belief that everything and everyone in the universe is connected, but at the same time there is no God or Deus nor are there any supernatural elements to the universe. This is based on Scientific opinion that everything was once condensed into a ball of matter, the premise for the scientific theory of the Big Bang. As such Scientific Pandeists believe everything came from one original source. As such they believe in the concept of Pandeism without the concept of the deity itself, they are also naturalist in the sense that they believe that there are no supernatural elements in and/or transcending the universe.[42][unreliable source?]

[edit] Pandeism as omnism or omnitheism

A different use of the term is typified in the usage ascribed by J. Sidlow Baxter, who wrote in his 1991 work, Our Bible: The Most Critical Issue:

If the Bible is only human lore, and not divine truth, then we have no real answer to those who say, "Let's pick the best out of all religions and blend it all into Pan-Deism - one world religion with one god made out of many".[43]

This use of the word is synonymous with omnism or omnitheism, which suppose a kernel of truth in all religions, rather than all being simultaneously true in their entirety. In a variation on this theme, the Vatican has been accused of having a pandeism conspiracy with respect to other religions:

The church of Rome uses the term "pandeism", to describe her current program of bringing under her wing the non-Christian religions of the world. In this, Rome will finally succeed, because the prediction says, "all the world wondered after the beast". (Revelation 13:3).[44]

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ a b c "Christian Forums: Pandeism". Christianforums.com. http://www.christianforums.com/t2738327-wiki-pandeism.html. Retrieved on 2008-02-16. [dead link]
  2. ^ Alex Ashman, BBC News, "Metaphysical Isms".
  3. ^ Orr, John (1934). English Deism: Its Roots and Its Fruits. Eerdmans. pp. p. 13. 
  4. ^ See the article on the history of deism in the online Dictionary of the History of Ideas.
  5. ^ Jonathan Irvine Israel, Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity, 1650-1750 (2001) p. 611.
  6. ^ gr-qc/0007006: Emergent Consciousness: From the Early Universe to Our Mind.
  7. ^ Warren B. Sharpe, Philosophy for the Serious Heretic: The Limitations of Belief and the Derivation of Natural Moral Principles (2002) p. 396 ISBN 0-595-21596-3.
  8. ^ Francis E. Peters, Greek Philosophical Terms: A Historical Lexicon, p. 169 (NYU Press 1967).
  9. ^ Friedrich Nietzsche, Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks (1873) § 4.
  10. ^ a b c William Turner, The Catholic Encyclopedia: John Scotus Eriugena.
  11. ^ Jeremiah Genest, John Scottus Eriugena: Life and Works (1998)
  12. ^ Roncelin de Fos, Christian Origins of U.S., 2004:
  13. ^ Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason.
  14. ^ John Lachs and Robert Talisse, American Philosophy: An Encyclopedia, 2007, p. 310.
  15. ^ Sabine Baring-Gould, The Origin and Development of Religious Belief Part II (1884) Page 157.
  16. ^ Andrew Martin Fairbairn, The Place of Christ in Modern Theology (1893) p. 416.
  17. ^ Cambridge Book and Print Gallery.
  18. ^ Freethought of the Day, August 6, 2006, Alfred Tennyson.
  19. ^ Carruth, Hayden, Suicides and Jazzers (1993) p. 161.
  20. ^ Charles Hartshorne, Man's Vision of God and the Logic of Theism (1941, republished in 1964) p. 347 ISBN 0-208-00498-X.
  21. ^ Man's Vision of God and the Logic of Theism, p. 348.
  22. ^ Man's Vision of God and the Logic of Theism, p. 348.
  23. ^ Scott Adams, God's Debris (2001) p.43 ISBN 0-7407-2190-9.
  24. ^ God's Debris, p. 43-44.
  25. ^ Bruce Parry, quoted in Ed Caesar, "Bruce almighty; He really has been there and done that." Saturday Magazine, August 11, 2007.
  26. ^ "Bruce almighty: What drives Tribe's presenter-explorer Bruce Parry?" by Ed Caesar in The Independent (11 August 2007)
  27. ^ James Donaghy, The best of Bruce Parry, The Guardian, September 12, 2008.
  28. ^ Ferrarese, Luigi (1838). Memorie risguardanti la dottrina frenologica. 
  29. ^ Moritz Lazarus and Heymann Steinthal, Zeitschrift für Völkerpsychologie und Sprachwissenschaft (1859), p. 262.
  30. ^ Godfrey Higgins, Anacalypsis: An Attempt to Draw Aside the Veil of the Saitic Isis: Or an Inquiry into the Origin of Languages, Nations and Religions (1833), p. 439, ISBN 1-56459-273-1.
  31. ^ William Harbutt Dawson, Matthew Arnold and His Relation to the Thought of Our Time, (1904, republished 1977), p. 256. The editor of the 1977 edition suggests that the usage is erratum, and that Dawson intended to reference "Pan-Theism" rather than "Pan-Deism", possibly out of mere familiarity with the former term.
  32. ^ "The Chimerical Application of Machiavelli's Principles", Louis S. Hardin, '17, Yale Sheffield Monthly, pp 461-465, Yale University, May 1915 p. 463.
  33. ^ Charles A. Bolton, Beyond the Ecumenical: Pan-deism? (1963).
  34. ^ Paul Friedrich Köhler, Kulturwege und Erkenntnisse: Eine kritische Umschau in den Problemen des religiösen und geistigen Lebens (1916), p. 193.
  35. ^ Genevan Institute for Reformed Studies.
  36. ^ Homepage of Bob Burridge.
  37. ^ Genevan Institute for Reformed Studies.
  38. ^ a b Genevan Institute for Reformed Studies.
  39. ^ Pastor Bob Burridge, "The Decrees of God" (1997).
  40. ^ Albuquerque Journal, Saturday, November 11, 1995, B-10.
  41. ^ Meta-Pintores Uno.
  42. ^ http://au.answers.yahoo.com/my/my;_ylt=Al5BpSDkHL84O65AN_3i.k3G5gt.;_ylv=3
  43. ^ J. Sidlow Baxter, Our Bible: The Most Critical Issue.
  44. ^ Conrad Baker, The Three Powers Of Armageddon: An Exposition of Revelation 16:13-16, August 12, 2005.

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