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willguy

Christian/catholic Panentheism

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willguy
First, note that I am not asking about pantheism, which is obviously un-Christian. I am asking about pan[u]en[/u]theism. Can this view exist with Christianity/Catholicism? Would a partial panentheism exist due to the sacraments?

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Laudate_Dominum
[quote name='willguy' date='Mar 29 2004, 09:42 PM'] First, note that I am not asking about pantheism, which is obviously un-Christian. I am asking about pan[u]en[/u]theism. Can this view exist with Christianity/Catholicism? Would a partial panentheism exist due to the sacraments? [/quote]
When I think of panentheism I think of Matthew Fox, creation-centered spirituality and process theology. This all smacks of heresy. Cha-ching! $0.02

:)

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Laudate_Dominum
And the distinction between pantheism and panentheism is rather slight. I would say panentheism is basically a move toward the new age stuff.
I haven't looked into it in any depth so I can't provide quotes or anything, just giving my first reaction to your post.

God bless.

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willguy
Pantheism is the belief that all creation is divine, and all that is divine is creation (basically then, there is no god, because everything is god).

Panentheism states that creation is divine, but the divine is more than just creation (everything is part of the divine, but there is also part of the divine, or god, that is not creation).

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Laudate_Dominum
[quote name='willguy' date='Mar 30 2004, 11:14 AM'] Pantheism is the belief that all creation is divine, and all that is divine is creation (basically then, there is no god, because everything is god).

Panentheism states that creation is divine, but the divine is more than just creation (everything is part of the divine, but there is also part of the divine, or god, that is not creation). [/quote]
Yeah, I know. As I said, its a thing spread by new age "catholics" such as Matthew Fox and is not orthodox.

They'll say for example that God is in everything in a way that they make God dependent upon creation in a certain sense. Some try to mingle christian concepts with Whitehead's God of process and Jungian categories as well as eastern mysticism. "God is the collective unconscious", or "You have to realize that you are Divine" and other such stuff. The universe is not God's body and God is not immanent in the universe in this way. God is totally transcendent.

The universe is expressive of the Divine, but it is not Divine. The relationship between contingent being and Absolute Being is mainly analogous, creation has a symbolic character. Although it is a superactual kind of expressiveness because God Himself is the Exemplar and the Principle which sustains creation. God is not merely some distant cause of creation, but God is also not the same as creation. Hence we call it creation, whereas God is Uncreated. Edited by Laudate_Dominum

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dairygirl4u2c
[quote]The universe is expressive of the Divine, but it is not Divine. [/quote]

What makes you so sure? Is this your opinion? Catholic Church teaching? Teaching of the early church?

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Laudate_Dominum
[quote name='dairygirl4u2c' date='Mar 30 2004, 02:45 PM']
What makes you so sure? Is this your opinion? Catholic Church teaching? Teaching of the early church? [/quote]
hehehe. I didn't make it up dairygirl, I promise. :D

It's part of the philosophical roots of Christian doctrine. The principles are discernable through studying the great Theologians and mystics. Some big names being St. Augustine, St. Maximus, St. Gregory of Nyssa, Origen, Pseudo-Dionysius. And the medievals as well, namely St. Bonaventure, who's works are a profound sythesis of the Fathers (in my opinion the best synthesis ever achieved). Also Aquinas, Albert Magnus, etc.. There is not one Christian metaphysic, but there are principles that are foundational and are the foundations of Theology, especially philosophical principles relating to God. For example the idea of creation ex nihilo has profound philosophical ramifications and is central to Christian Theology. When you abandon a distinctly Christian cosmology and/or metaphysics you are inevitably going to err and your Theology will not be Christian (at least not Catholic) because you have deviated from the Tradition. This is what happens when people adopt new age principles without discretion. This is not to say there is no room for new philosophical insight, of course there is, but when it is incompatible with the foundations of the Christian worldview there are serious problems. And I wouldn't be surprised if panentheism has been explicitly condemned, either explicitly or implicitly, although I don't have any quotes off hand.

God bless.

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morostheos
It's in the Catechism of the Catholic Church in several forms:

[quote]212 Over the centuries, Israel's faith was able to manifest and deepen realization of the riches contained in the revelation of the divine name. God is unique; there are no other gods besides him.(24)

He transcends the world and history. He made heaven and earth: "They will perish, but you endure; they will all wear out like a garment....but you are the same, and your years have no end."(25)
24 Cf. Is 44:6

25 Ps 102:26-27[/quote]

[quote]339 Each creature possesses its own particular goodness and perfection. For each one of the works of the "six days" it is said: "and God saw that it was good." "By the very nature of creation, material being is endowed with its own stability, truth and excellence, its own order and laws."(208) Each of the various creatures, willed in its own being, reflects in its own way a ray of God's infinite wisdom and goodness. Man must therefore respect the particular goodness of every creature, to avoid any disordered use of things which would be in contempt of the Creator and would bring disastrous consequences for human beings and their environment.

208 GS 36 # 1.

[/quote]

Since creation will perish and God will endure (quoted from the Bible), creation can't be part of God. 339 states that creatures reflect a ray of God's infinite wisdom and goodness. If they are reflecting it, they can't be part of it already.

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Laudate_Dominum
I feel like doing a tad more name dropping.

Here are a couple more important Fathers:

St. Irenaeus - his arguments against the gnostics are applicable to the new age type theologizing of today.
St. Athanasius - his treatise on the Incarnation is profound and helpful for understanding the distinctly Christian worldview.

And as far as the medieval period goes:

St. Anselm
St. Gregory Palamas (kind of rips on philosophy, but in a good way. more against the abuse of philosophy)

But the master when it comes to the integration of metaphysics and Theology is certainly the Universal Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas. I would peep the summa contra gentiles and the summa theologiae as well as being and essence.

These guys can explain things way better than posts if anyone is truly studious about this. Edited by Laudate_Dominum

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Laudate_Dominum
Thank you for those quotes morostheos. :)

I forgot to mention that new agey/eastern type cosmologies are not only incompatible (most of the time) with the whole tradition of Catholic thought, but they are also usually contrary or antagonistic toward the whole Biblical revelation of God. The Bible is actually quite philosophical and there are many philosophical principles contained in the Word. The basic Christian cosmology is completely Scriptural.

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Theologian in Training
I think the difficulty in trying to understand this concept is the fact that the concept itself is so skewed and confused that it is hard to apply logical principles to it. As Fr. Mitch Pacwa, a leader in the anti-New Age movement, is apt to say, New Agers focus more on the right side of the brain rather than the left. In fact, he cites that as their "out," as it were, in justifying some very irrational claims.

The idea of panentheism was founded by someone before the now ex-Dominican priest, Matthew Fox, however, Fox has used it as central to his idea of Creation Spirituality. For Fox creation is good, and God intended it that way, but there has been the idea that has crept in that, according to Fox, which is "dualistic" and "patriarchal," that is the idea of the Fall and Redemption. It has detracted us, according to Fox, from focusing on "creativity, Eros, play, and the God of delight." As the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Jesus Christ The Bearer of the Water of Life A Christian Reflection on the “New Age” states: "Pantheism: (Greek pan = everything and theos = God) the belief that everything is God or, sometimes, that everything is in God and God is in everything (panentheism). Every element of the universe is divine, and the divinity is equally present in everything. There is no space in this view for God as a distinct being in the sense of classical theism."

With this as his impetus, he goes on lead the people to a new understanding of Christ, that is less patriarchal and has more reverence of "Mother Earth." For, according to Fox, in experiencing Christ with this midset, this allows us to experience God on a more "cosmic" level. Therefore, he comes up with his most famous theory to date, that of the "Cosmic Christ." Essentially, this "Cosmic Christ" reveals to us the dualistic nature of humanity, and, in essence, merges them together once again. In other words, think of the Eastern symbol of the Yin and Yang, and translate that to an understanding of yourself. As a result, we are all called to be "Cosmic Christ's" to others and bring this "Good News" to the world.

Of course, since this idea makes earth divine, it is no surprise that he will, as a result, revere Mother Earth as a goddess. Given this then, his concept of Original Blessing, as opposed to Original Sin makes more sense.

I could go on and on, as I have studies both the New Age movement and Matthew Fox for some time. I must admit, I still cannot fully understand all the implications, and some just remain completely foreign and obsolete to me.

Hope that helps.

God Bless

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Laudate_Dominum
Sweet! Thanks Theologian. :)

I would add however, that there is an orthodox "cosmic Christology". The Eastern Fathers and some medievals have written profoundly on the cosmic dimensions of the Incarnation and Redemption (as did St. Paul). But its a totally different thing than the Matthew Fox or Teilhard de Chardin style cosmic Christology. Its rooted in Scripture and the truths of Christianity, whereas these heterodox approaches are Hegelian or Whiteheadian, or worse. ;)

God bless. Edited by Laudate_Dominum

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Theologian in Training
[quote name='Laudate_Dominum' date='Mar 31 2004, 09:06 AM'] Sweet! Thanks Theologian. :)

I would add however, that there is an orthodox "cosmic Christology". The Eastern Fathers and some medievals have written profoundly on the cosmic dimensions of the Incarnation and Redemption (as did St. Paul). But its a totally different thing than the Matthew Fox or Teilhard de Chardin style cosmic Christology. Its rooted in Scripture and the truths of Christianity, whereas these heterodox approaches are Hegelian or Whiteheadian, or worse. ;)

God bless. [/quote]
I did not know about that. Would you mind elaborating a little bit more on their understanding of this cosmic Christ?

Thanks

God Bless

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