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Author Topic: Panentheism in Orthodox Christianity  (Read 2791 times) Average Rating: 0
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Matthew777
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« on: November 27, 2005, 12:22:29 AM »

I found this to be highly interesting:

"The Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches have a doctrine called panentheism to describe the relationship between the Uncreated (God, who is omnipotent, eternal, and constant) and His creation that bears surface similarities with the panentheism described above but maintains a critical distinction.

Most specifically, these Churches teach that God is not the "watchmaker God" of the Western European Enlightenment. Likewise, they teach that God is not the "stage magician God" who only shows up when performing miracles. Instead, the teaching of both these Churches is that God is not merely necessary to have created the universe, but that His active presence is necessary in some way for every bit of creation, from smallest to greatest, to continue to exist at all. That is, God's energies maintain all things and all beings, even if those beings have explicitly rejected Him. His love of creation is such that he will not withdraw His presence, which would be the ultimate form of slaughter, not merely imposing death but ending existence, altogether. By this token, the entirety of creation is sanctified, and thus no part of creation can be considered innately evil except as a result, direct or indirect, of the Fall of man or similar active rebellion against God."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panenth...n_Christianity

This explains how "The Kingdom of God is within you".

Peace.
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« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2005, 10:17:09 AM »

While Bp. Kallistos has used the term to describe the Orthodox view, I am wary of the term. The term has been used in questionable ways, and is a possible source of confusion. Certainly our understanding of panentheism is radically different than that of Marcus Borg, or some of the unorthodox interpretations and speculations based on things like the spurious Gospel of Thomas (Saying 77). While I think it is a good starting point, I also think it important that it be a term that is very precisely defined, to avoid confusion.
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« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2005, 03:46:47 PM »

I have known of panentheism for some time, and it has been very influential in developing my theology. As for defining it, Asteriktos, I agree, but this is little different from many other Orthodox terms that can have a very un-Orthoox meaning, such as deification, for example. Nonetheless, I am glad to see that both EO and OO share this belief.
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« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2005, 05:15:04 PM »

Matthew Fox's "Creation Centred Spirituality" for which he was deposed and excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church is also based on an erroneous interpretation of panentheism. He's now Episcopalian I think.
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« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2005, 04:17:07 AM »

Jesus is "God, with us". It's amazing realizing that God is with us and within us in every place and at all times. It's quite humbling.

Peace.
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« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2009, 08:47:15 PM »

While Bp. Kallistos has used the term to describe the Orthodox view, I am wary of the term. The term has been used in questionable ways, and is a possible source of confusion. Certainly our understanding of panentheism is radically different than that of Marcus Borg, or some of the unorthodox interpretations and speculations based on things like the spurious Gospel of Thomas (Saying 77). While I think it is a good starting point, I also think it important that it be a term that is very precisely defined, to avoid confusion.

It's an excellent term. No confusion at all......well, that's if you understand it the way Orthodox Christians do. When I read Bp. Kallistos book about that back in 2001 (back when I was still protestant). It blew my mind, and I believed it wholeheartedly. It made perfect sense.

I think the western views is what is confusing. It opens up the door for Agnosticism and Atheism.


I was blessed when I first came to know about PANENTHEISM. It saved me from a world of Atheism, Agnosticism, and inconsistant western Theism.......the one that tends to stress God being way out there somewhere, and nature right here.







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« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2009, 09:11:06 PM »

I found this to be highly interesting:

"The Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches have a doctrine called panentheism to describe the relationship between the Uncreated (God, who is omnipotent, eternal, and constant) and His creation that bears surface similarities with the panentheism described above but maintains a critical distinction.

Most specifically, these Churches teach that God is not the "watchmaker God" of the Western European Enlightenment. Likewise, they teach that God is not the "stage magician God" who only shows up when performing miracles. Instead, the teaching of both these Churches is that God is not merely necessary to have created the universe, but that His active presence is necessary in some way for every bit of creation, from smallest to greatest, to continue to exist at all. That is, God's energies maintain all things and all beings, even if those beings have explicitly rejected Him. His love of creation is such that he will not withdraw His presence, which would be the ultimate form of slaughter, not merely imposing death but ending existence, altogether. By this token, the entirety of creation is sanctified, and thus no part of creation can be considered innately evil except as a result, direct or indirect, of the Fall of man or similar active rebellion against God."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panenth...n_Christianity

This explains how "The Kingdom of God is within you".

Peace.

Panentheism, in its most basic form, posits that Theos is neither merely transcendent to the cosmos, nor merely immanent, identical, or derivative of the cosmos; but that Theos is both transcendent of the cosmos and immanent (or within, or pervading) the cosmos.

The description of panentheism in the O.P. seems actually to be a description of "occasionalism", which posits that Theos is the sustaining cause of each and every moment of the cosmos' existence, as if the Theos were in fact creating the cosmos at each, smallest unit of time.
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« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2009, 10:20:39 PM »

Oh my..This has long been a pet interest of mine. I am so happy we are discussing it.

Here is the basic formulation of panentheism: "All is in God and God is in all".

The danger is that it is pretty easy to slip into a type of Gnosticism which would claim : "We are all divine deep down on the inside and merely need to bring out and realize our likeness to God"

On the other hand, when we consume the Eucharist  we are "taking in" God ( God on the inside in a literal sense)and have achieved  something like Panentheism, but that is only through our will and desire to be "joined with" God ( Baptism too). But I am not sure creation is naturally a Panenthiestic arrangement . I don't know and I am anxious to discuss this more.

Hieromonk Damascene, ( Biographer of Fr. Serephim Rose and abbot of the Monestary Fr. Serephim founded in Plantina) wrote a long treatise about Panenthiesm about two years ago. I unfortunately lost the newsletter before reading it carefully. Perhaps someone can find it. I think his analysis would be very authoritative.   
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