Here's my two cents worth and I would appreciate
Howard's reflection on my questions/thoughts re
Panentheism's attractiveness is that it reemphasize
continuing creation. I read this in soft form as a
renewed emphasis on God's immanence, which I think is
something that Christians must do to emphasize the
relevance of God to those not within the tradition.
Evolution does not describe a mechanism separate from
God, neither do the laws of thermodynamics, etc.
There seem to me to be a couple problems with
panentheism (based on the amount I have read about it)
in a hard form which should be addressed:
1. The problem with God-and-the-World is which form
of the world was/is eternally with God? Well, we
don't know. Is it the quantum vaccuum? Is it all
matter through some sort of Phoenix universe of
eternal expansion and contraction? Certainly not all
that we see and experience is eternally with God, it
changes. Thus, I do not see how meaningful the term
God-and-the-World, which does not emphasize God as
Creator of what we find in this world in some
transcendant way meaningful.
2. In panentheism, the mechanism postulated for God's
relation to the world is rather incomplete. The body
analogy is obviously imperfect. And the idea of God's
relationship to the world is not merely kenotic. In
hard form, the world itself is often recalcitrant to
God's will, which implies some limited dualism.
3. The world is also portrayed as affecting God in
its recalcitrance, which in hard form, undermines the
transcendence that panentheists seek to maintain.
4. The least convincing critique I have heard re
panentheism is that the universe does not look much
like God's body or any sort of organism. To me this
is a more tendentious versuon of my no. 1, which I
think is a more legitimate question, but I am
interested in thoughts on this critique, too.
Perhaps someone who knows more about panentheism would
address these potential issues. I am very sympathetic
to panentheism, in a weak form, as a sort of hard
emphasis on immanence. However, a hard form
panentheism seems to me problematic.
> > Yes, I have no objection to using some other
> word to avoid violating the
> > first commandment. However, in panentheism the
> problem goes away since the
> > World is within God, and always has been. To
> distinguish between God
> > includes the world) and God-and-a-World then
> looks like a distinction
> > without a difference. In any case, the World
> cannot be ultimate apart from
> > God.
> > Howard Van Till
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