LISTEN: The Attributes of God: A Note on Panentheism (The Reasons to Believe #86 with Daniel Whyte III)

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God has been under attack in the world almost since the beginning of time, but He and those who believe in Him are under attack more now than ever before. Atheism is increasing and atheists are becoming more vocal. This podcast is an ongoing debate response to such people as Richard Dawkins, Bill Maher and others who don’t believe in God and who preach atheism to the world. This podcast is also designed to equip Christians to do what the Holy Scriptures command, and that is to, “earnestly contend for the faith” and to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh us a reason of the hope that is in us”. But more importantly, this broadcast/podcast is designed to give you a reason to believe in God and His Son Jesus Christ.

Our Reasons to Believe passage from the Word of God today is John 6:47. It reads, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.”

Our Reasons to Believe quote for today is from Sir Isaac Newton. He said, “Atheism is so senseless. When I look at the solar system. I see the earth at the right distance from the sun to receive the proper amounts of heat and light. This did not happen by chance.”

Our Reason to Believe powerpoint today is titled “The Attributes of God” part 5 from “The Handbook of Christian Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli:

A Note on Panentheism

In recent years, the doctrine of God’s eternity has lost favor with some Christian philosophers and theologians. A number of them maintain that God exists everlastingly in time. Others argue that, since the creation of the world, God exists in time only. Still others have embraced panentheism, the doctrine that all things exist in God — a kind of compromise between theism and pantheism. It does not identify God with the material universe (as pantheism does), but neither does it hold that there actually exists an eternal God, transcendent to creation (as theism does).

Panentheists believe that the material universe constitutes God, but that God is more than the material universe. There is an eternal, necessary and unchanging (i.e., “abstract”) aspect to God’s being, but there is also the way God concretely and actually exists — namely, as the vital force, the “soul” — of this dynamically changing world. And thus the world is necessarily involved in what God actually is. He cannot concretely exist except as vitalizing the world; nor can the world exist except as vitalizing by God. Each needs the other. And just as the real world changes from one state to another, so the actual being of God must change as well. Thus panentheism is one way of making God temporal.

Any orthodox Christian who maintains that God is somehow in time must also have ready some analysis of time that does not involve any lack or incompletion of being — the kind of imperfection that, when noticed in material being, indicates the need for a Creator. In that case they mean by time something different from what we (and others) mean by it when we say that God is eternal. And so the differences between us might be merely verbal. We might be quibbling over a technical point and not a central Christian doctrine.

Panentheism, on the other hand, is clearly heretical. For it asserts as part of its doctrine that the material universe does not demand a Creator, merely a vivifier, a kind of “world-soul”. This is not only unorthodox, it seems positively irrational. For it our analysis of finite being is right, then the world does raise a much deeper and more radical question about itself, namely: Why does it exist at all, rather than not? And if that is a real question, and if God is its answer, then the world and God cannot be codependent. For God is the Creator; the world depends on him for its total being.

Dear friend, if you do not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, may I encourage you to get to know Him today. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live forever with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, my friend, please keep in mind these reasons to believe. God bless!

Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in twenty-three foreign countries. He is the author of thirty-four books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts, The Prayer Motivator Devotional and the Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report and the Second Coming Watch Update. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, and a Master’s degree in Religion from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for twenty-five years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.

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