RE: [asa] Providence?

From: Alexanian, Moorad <>
Date: Thu Sep 11 2008 - 16:06:27 EDT

Panentheism (from Greek <> ??? (pn) "all"; ?? (en) "in"; and ???? (Thes) "God"; "all-in-God") is a belief system which posits that God exists and interpenetrates every part of nature, and timelessly extends beyond as well. Panentheism is distinguished from pantheism <> , which holds that God is synonymous with the material universe.[1] <[asa]%20Providence_x003F_.EML/1_text.htm#cite_note-0>



From: on behalf of j burg
Sent: Thu 9/11/2008 2:55 PM
To: David Opderbeck
Cc: D. F. Siemens, Jr.;;
Subject: Re: [asa] Providence?

"IOW, a panentheist is not a "TE" because the panentheist is not
really a "theist." Fair enough."

I suggest that this is not accurate.

One of the better books on panentheism is RELIGION & SCIENTIFIC
NATURALISM by David Ray Griffin. My PSCF review of this book is at

Griffin is a panentheist, and defends that position in the book. But
it has much insight whether or not one subscribes to panentheism.


On 9/11/08, David Opderbeck <> wrote:
> IOW, a panentheist is not a "TE" because the panentheist is not really a
> "theist." Fair enough.
> On Thu, Sep 11, 2008 at 2:06 PM, D. F. Siemens, Jr.
> <>wrote:
>> I have to disagree with your definitions. A TE cannot be a panentheist,
>> although one may subscribe to open theology. A theist holds that God is
>> not
>> part of creation, except in the incarnation. Open theology fudges this a
>> bit, in making the deity's knowledge and activity restricted to time. They
>> argue that no one can experience what does not yet exist, whereas
>> classical
>> theism does not restrict God's knowledge. Neither restricts his creative
>> power. Next is the deist, who holds that there is a Creator, but he does
>> not
>> involve himself in the world until the final judgment. Panentheists and
>> pantheists make the deity a part of the world. The difference is that
>> pantheists identify deity and world, while panenthists let the deity have
>> some independence from it.
>> Dave (ASA)
>> On Wed, 10 Sep 2008 22:40:39 -0400 "David Opderbeck"
>> <>
>> writes:
>> James, you're asking a question that is both simple and complex, but that
>> IMHO does not really have to be so critical as you make it out to be. I
>> think it's misleading to call this a "worldview" question.
>> The simple answer is, for TEs whose theology tends towards what I would
>> call an orthodox view of God's sovereignty, the course of evolution is
>> under
>> God's sovereignty and hence is guided by his providence. Many of us here
>> would refer to classical notions of causation such as Aquinas' "primary"
>> and
>> "secondary" causation.
>> Some TE's have a view of God's sovereignty that tends towards open theism.
>> In this view, God gifts the creation with the ability to develop in ways
>> that are not necessarily fully known or determined by God.
>> Some TE's tend towards or are panentheists. In this view, God does not
>> truly transcend the creation, and in some sense develops along with it.
>> Most of the TE's you'll meet on this list, I think, tend towards an
>> orthodox view of God's sovereignty. Some may be somewhat open to open
>> theism. None of the regular ASA-member list participants, so far as I
>> know,
>> tend towards panentheism.
>> Here is one reason why I think it's misleading to consider this a
>> "worldview" question (setting aside that I think the whole "worldview"
>> notion has been way overplayed in our contemporary religious discourse).
>> Do
>> you think the birth of a baby is a creative act of God governed by God's
>> providence? At the same time, would you agree that we are able to
>> describe
>> in "natural" terms the process by which a baby is conceived, develops in
>> the
>> womb, and is born, from start to finish (or at least, where there are
>> mechanisms we don't yet fully understand, such as early cell
>> differentiation, a "natural" explanation is in principle possible and
>> likely?)? Is there a "worldview" conflict in affirming both that each
>> baby
>> is a creative act within the providence of God and that the process of
>> birth
>> is explainable in "natural" terms? I don't see a "worldview" conflict
>> here
>> at all, because, per Aquinas' notion of "primary" and "secondary"
>> causation,
>> Christians have always affirmed that God's providence is operative even in
>> the sphere of "nature."
>> ____________________________________________________________
>> Click for free quote on refinancing your
>> mortgage.<>
> --
> David W. Opderbeck
> Associate Professor of Law
> Seton Hall University Law School
> Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology

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Received on Thu Sep 11 16:08:10 2008

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