Panentheim vs Omnipresence
Panentheim vs Omnipresence QUESTION from Ricardo on June 3, 2004
During a recent conversation about God with a co-worker, I discovered she was a fan of former-Catholic-now-Episcopal priest Matthew Fox and his(?) idea of pan-en-theism (God-in-everything).
I remember being taught as a child that God is everywhere. I was later taught that this idea was called omnipresence. Since everywhere is the place everything is located. Are these two ideas the same? Or is there a nuanced difference between the two?
Any insights you have would be appreciated.
ANSWER by Bro. Ignatius Mary, OLSM on June 5, 2004
The omnipresence of God means that God is everywhere but the universe God created is not god. God is distinct from His creation as a sculptor is distinct from the statue sculpted.
Pantheism is a notion that everything is god. Using the sculptor analogy, pantheism would say that the sculptor and the statue are both gods, that god is in the sculptor and in the statue and are, with everything else -- god. This is nonsense of course.
I am reminded of a scripture verse that remarkably foretells today's so-called New Age philosophy (which includes the denial of a Personal God Creator and a promotions of a creature god in pantheism):
Romans 1:18-23 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; 21 for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.
1 Timothy 4:1-5 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 through the pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared, 3 who forbid marriage and enjoin abstinence from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for then it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
2 Tim 3:1-9 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of stress. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding the form of religion but denying the power of it. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who make their way into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and swayed by various impulses, 7 who will listen to anybody and can never arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8 As Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of corrupt mind and counterfeit faith; 9 but they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.
May God Bless,Bro. Ignatius MaryDomine non sum dignus