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 Post subject: Nature of God
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 8:39 pm 
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Please explain how you differentiate pantheism and the notion that God is everywhere. Can God really be everywhere without being everything?


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 9:20 pm 
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My Priest told me that Christianity is the only monotheistic faith that comes the closest to pantheism.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 10:15 pm 
David,
Sure He can because we are talking about substance/nature/essence. God is pure Spiritual Substance - Pure Act. He IS the perfection of all excellences in himself and IS Being itself. God shares His being with creation but not His nature (There is an exception that coolmk20x brings up more about that in a sec). In other words, a fish, in essence, is a fish - it has fish nature. Its being is from God but a fish is not divine essence (which pantheism believes). It is logically absurd for there to be more than one divine nature because God is being itself, truth itself, love istself, etc. For God to share His nature with another, He then doesn't possess His nature in Himself. If I was humanity itself, then I am humanity. Thus I can be the only human. If there is another, I share my humanity and am not humanity itself. The Trinity works because there is one divine nature/substance/essence in three divine Persons. (God being love itself demands a communion of divine persons).

coolmk20x obviously refers to our sharing in the divine nature through the hypostatic union of God and man in Christ. However, even there we 'become gods' (CCC #460) via participation not via nature.

Wow....I hope that makes sense. Isn't it funny that you feel like you have it understood in your head and then it jumbles on the way out! :oops: ::):

Mike


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 10:42 pm 
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Well, the main premise of Pantheism is that there is no Diety that is seperate and distinct from the Universe.

That is different from our understanding of God, which holds that God is manifestly present in the Universe, but is distict and seperate from it.


To a Pantheist, God is part of the Universe, possibly even IS the Universe (depending on the branch of Pantheism). To us God is present in the Univerese, but the Universe is a created entity. The Universe is creation where God chooses to make Himself known, but God is by no means limited to the Universe and exists seperately from it.

God's existance is not dependant on the Universe (Pantheism) but the Universe is dependant on God (Monotheism)

Does that help?

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 11:20 pm 
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Quote:
Please explain how you differentiate pantheism and the notion that God is everywhere.


Pantheists do not believe in a God first off. They reverence the universe and nature/creation...They do not believe in a Supernatural Being. They believe creation, the universe, itself, made them. They believe in some kind of energy presence that exists everywhere, even within us, and Can Never be seperated from us, even after death. In other words, creation/the universe is their "God", but they do not believe in God.

And as for the notion that God is everywhere, well, God is everywhere. Compare and contrast w/ above...

God is not creation, He IS not everything/creation. God is God.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 9:33 am 
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Thanks one and all - your answers were enlightening.

I would take exception with the notion that pantheists are neccesarily atheists. That is not always the case. For example, Hindus have pantheistic tendencies but certainly are theistic in their belief system (of course, we can argue that there understanding of God is flawed).


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 12:49 pm 
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David Hopkins IV wrote:
Thanks one and all - your answers were enlightening.

I would take exception with the notion that pantheists are neccesarily atheists.


It depends a lot on what one considers an 'atheist'. A Pantheist, by definition does not believe in a Supernatural Being.

To a Pantheist, there is nothing beyond (Super) the (Natural) Universe; ergo, there is nothing Super-natural, least of all a Divine Being.

That does not mean they do not believe that there is a more powerful being than themselves, it is a Natural one. But even Atheists will acknowledge that (more powerful men, potential space aliens ect...)

So if one considers Atheism the denial of a SuperNatural Divine Being, then yes, Pantheists are atheists.

But by the pure definition of Atheist, the complete denial of ANY Divine Being, then no, they are not.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 12:57 pm 
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Brendan wrote:
So if one considers Atheism the denial of a SuperNatural Divine Being, then yes, Pantheists are atheists.

But by the pure definition of Atheist, the complete denial of ANY Divine Being, then no, they are not.


Technically speaking, atheism isn't the denial of a supernatural being but the lack of a belief in a divine being.

It's the difference between an assertion of existence versus an assertion of belief. [/nitpicking] :)

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 5:43 pm 
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Max Majestic wrote:

Technically speaking, atheism isn't the denial of a supernatural being but the lack of a belief in a divine being.

It's the difference between an assertion of existence versus an assertion of belief. [/nitpicking] :)



Per my Philosophy class a Belief is the Intellectual Commitment to a Truth of a Proposition.

Your definition sounds more like Agnosticism that Atheism.

My understanding is that an Atheist is Intellectually committed that the proposition "A Deity does not Exist" is True.

An Agnostic is not Intellectually committed to either the Proposition " A Deity exists" or "A Deity does not Exist"

One of those propositions must be True.

A Theist holds to the first,
an Atheist holds to the second
and the Agnostic makes no commitment.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 8:55 am 
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Brendan wrote:
Max Majestic wrote:

Technically speaking, atheism isn't the denial of a supernatural being but the lack of a belief in a divine being.

It's the difference between an assertion of existence versus an assertion of belief. [/nitpicking] :)



Per my Philosophy class a Belief is the Intellectual Commitment to a Truth of a Proposition.

Your definition sounds more like Agnosticism that Atheism.

My understanding is that an Atheist is Intellectually committed that the proposition "A Deity does not Exist" is True.

An Agnostic is not Intellectually committed to either the Proposition " A Deity exists" or "A Deity does not Exist"

One of those propositions must be True.

A Theist holds to the first,
an Atheist holds to the second
and the Agnostic makes no commitment.




It's the difference between a metaphysical assertion and an epistemological one. Let's flesh this out:

gnosis means knowledge. The greek prefix 'a-' means without. Thus an agnostic is someone who claims to be without knowledge. The word is typically used in reference to religion, but can be used otherwise. I can say that I'm agnostic as to whether or not the IMF is doing a good job. It sounds a bit awkward, but technically speaking, it's correct.

theism means "belief in the existence of a God or gods"

Following the same paradigm as before, atheism is therefore the lack of belief in the existence of a God. The reason for this is that the atheist cannot make any claims about the existence of a God. God, by his nature, is supernatural. Because God is supernatural, there is no natural empirical evidence for his existence. Belief in God requires faith. The atheist has no faith. If that is so, it seems odd that we'd project onto them the requisite faith to make a metaphysical assertion as to the non-existence of God. Saying that God exists or does not exist both require an equal amount of faith. Atheists are simply not making any claims at all about existence. They're talking about the state of their belief system.

If atheist "A" believes that there is no God, yet God really does exist, then we must conclude that there is no necessary correspondence between the person's belief and the existence of God. That there are divergent beliefs are testimony to this fact. If there's no necessary correspondence between each individual's belief and reality, then why do we assume that they're making claims that they're not?

Every atheist I know would agree with this definition, in fact, I've had this very conversation with them before....and I was arguing from your perspective.

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 Post subject: Re: Nature of God
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2005 10:55 am 
David Hopkins IV wrote:
Please explain how you differentiate pantheism and the notion that God is everywhere. Can God really be everywhere without being everything?


As you think about this, a good question to ask yourself is this:

1a. Is God dwelling in the Pope's heart?
1b. Is God dwelling in Billy Graham's heart?

2. Was God dwelling in Hitler's heart?

3. Is there life where God is?

4. Is there life in a rock?


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 Post subject: Re: Nature of God
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2005 7:29 am 
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2020 wrote:
As you think about this, a good question to ask yourself is this:

1a. Is God dwelling in the Pope's heart?


No. Do you think God has a little house in the Left Ventricle or the Right Atrium? Of course not. God doesn't "dwell" (meaning reside) in anyone's heart. It's a metaphor for the influence of the Holy Spirit on our emotions/minds/actions.

2020 wrote:
1b. Is God dwelling in Billy Graham's heart?


No.

2020 wrote:
2. Was God dwelling in Hitler's heart?


No, again.

2020 wrote:
3. Is there life where God is?


Not life the way you might be thinking of it. God created life. God isn't "alive" but rather exists eternally and existence and life aren't synonymous. If we think of life as "animated by spirit", then God definitely doesn't "live", owing to the fact that He is pure spirit.

4. Is there life in a rock?[/quote]

No....though if microorganisms are present then you could say there's life ON the rock. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Nature of God
PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2005 6:57 pm 
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handy distinction:

pantheism vs. panentheism


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PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2005 8:27 pm 
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the pantheistic equation is God minus the univers= zero

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