Lessons In Apologetics #7: Panentheism

The next worldview examined by Geisler in “Christian Apologetics” is Panentheism. Whereas Deism postulated a God detached from His creation for the sake of transcendence and Pantheism claims that God and the world are coterminous for the sake of immanence, Panentheism attempts to conceptualize a God that is distinct from yet part of the world.

To the Panentheist, God is to the world what mind or soul is to the body (193). Like many of the worldviews and methodologies already discussed, Panentheism can be traced back to the days of ancient Greece.

Perhaps one of the foremost examples of Panentheism would be the Demiurge of Platonic thought. Whereas the Judeo-Christian God created matter out of nothing, Plato’s Demiurge did not create the world out of nothing but rather shaped and crafted it out of independent eternally existent matter.

Since the matter which coexists with this version of God is just as eternal as God, God does not necessarily have the ultimate say. As such, Panentheism is also known as finite godism or process theology.

According to Alfred North Whitehead, God is bipolar. No, that does not mean God is depressed though you might be if this system posited is the best man can hope for. The theology of bipolarity hypothesizes a God with one end in eternity where His potentiality and the things He hopes to accomplish are located and His other end located in the temporal world where His actuality is manifested but not always to the extent He might intend as His creations possess their own autonomy.

Since the world and those in it are able to exhibit a degree of independence thwarting God’s will and ends, the bipolar theory of God is also a form of process theology or finite godism. According to process theology, God changes over time, must rely on us for the accomplishment of His plans in the world, and cannot assure from eternity past that He will ultimately prevail.

In his analysis of the theory, Geisler writes, “How can anyone worship a god so impotent that he cannot even call the whole thing off? Is not such a god so paralyzed as to be perilous (210)?” If the Christian has no assurance that God will triumph, from the way the world appears to be going, one would be better off hedging one’s bets by siding with the Devil or sitting the whole thing out all together.

By Br. Frederick Meekins
http://www.celticcrossministry.com/ccforum.html

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Message from our Archbishop Paul Roberts…

A Message from our Archbishop Paul Roberts in the United Kingdom of England…

Take it to heart Warriors, this message is for you and all peoples…
Sincerely IHS and yours, Bp. Andrew

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

Last week in the Vatican in Rome the Pope Francis, requested that all Cardinals and Bishops within the Roman Catholic Church to give their opinion on Gay marriage and abortions within the Roman Catholic Church.

Why not ask the Independent Catholic Church members we know more about society.

We are Independent Catholic, Priests, Archdeacons, Bishops and Archbishops and in the Catholic Church movement this is about time all members of the Catholic Church stand up for the legal rights in Canon laws of Rome Catholic Church.

We have 861,000 Independent Catholic Priests, Sisters, Archdeacons Bishops and Archbishops within the  Church movement, from all over the world. We are the second largest Catholic Christian movement in the Universal Church.

We do not receive a salary or payment from the Roman Catholic Church whatsoever. We fend for ourselves by teaching the words of God for our community, we seek no rewards whatsoever from society. Only teaching our shepherds and their flocks to understanding the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Father.

We support all walks of life in sickness and health and compassion towards all brothers and sisters throughout the world.
Pope Francis is the POPE for the people not the Vatican. He is one of us, a shepherd of God. We are not rich like the Roman Catholic Church but, we are rich in teaching the Holy Words of God, to our flocks.

We are not corrupt, our priests and sisters can marry, have children and have family life within our church. Without any rules from the Vatican. We are from all walks of life from doctors, nurses, Ex-government Officials, Ex-military forces, Ex-priest and clergy of different Christian Faiths, we even have within our church many who are disabled members of society. As well as many others that would enter into the priesthood of the ministry.

We all need to stand together as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Sincerely, the Most Right Reverend Dr. Paul V. Roberts HDD., MPR., APP., M.Ph. In Law., O.S.P., O.S.B., O.S.A., O.S.BB.

Apologetics Lesson #6: Pantheism

If Deism is the belief that God is so transcendent from the cosmos He created that He no longer participates directly in it, Pantheism must be the worldview at the other end of the continuum believing that a higher power exists as Pantheism holds that God is so immanent with the universe that God and the universe are one. As a worldview, Pantheism has plagued the religious thought of both the East and West from ancient times on up through our contemporary day.

Though there are various forms of Pantheism, most share a set of common characteristics. Pantheists will agree that ultimately there is but one substance.

Parmenides hypothesized that there is either being or nonbeing and in order to exist there must be being. And if everything possesses this quality, everything is of the same substance as to differ by nothing would be not to exist at all.

Though everything is ultimately one under Pantheism, what we perceive as multiplicity or distinction are either manifestations or emanations of the absolute unity.

In the “Enneads”, the Greek mystic Plotinus said that from this impersonal unity flowed the various levels of reality starting with unity, then inward into mind, then the world soul, then multiple souls, then to the lowest level of matter. It is man, Geisler writes in “Christian Apologetics” of this brand of Pantheism in as “the microcosm who possesses mind, soul, and matter” that the journey back to unity and oneness begins (175).

Though slightly different, other forms of Pantheism share considerable similarity. For example, in Spinoza’s pantheism, God is a substance of infinite attributes and we exist as transient manifestations of the absolute that are eventually reabsorbed back into it. And in Hinduism, though that world religion is noted for its multiplicities of divinities, in its philosophically complex variants, the various gods all the way down to the material components of the physical world are the assorted levels of the comprehensive totality known as Brahman.

Though many Pantheists claim to embrace tolerance as they contend all religions are merely human efforts to understand the same all-encompassing God, one is really taking the serpent to one’s bosom when dealing with Pantheism. For example, in much of Pantheist thought, it is held that both good and evil flow from God much in the same way there is both a light and dark side of the Force in the Star Wars epic. Other Pantheists claim that God is beyond good and evil as understood by human beings.

Such positions could be used to not only justify any number of atrocities but also to view them in a disturbingly detached manner or even positively in an around about fashion. For example, if good and evil are simply just human conceptions useful for ordering social relations, what is so inherently immoral about the Holocaust?

After all, were not the Jews the ones anyway that set the ball rolling on the theism that ended up promoting the conceptual dualism that now hinders the expansion of consciousness? Besides, by liberating them of their physical materiality, aren’t we doing them a favor by reuniting them with universal oneness? Under Pantheism, the “is” becomes the “ought” and that is why one sees cows strutting freely down the streets of India with the baby girls tossed out with the trash and abortion rampant here while exceedingly harsh legal penalties are enacted to protect the most insignificant of animals such as bugs and rats.

By Br. Frederick Meekins

The 12 Commandments – Exodus 20:2

I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of Bondage. I believe that the reason God did not go directly into the commandments is that our God realized that after  430 years the children of Israel needed to be reminded who delivered them. Remember they had to spend all their waking hours in an environment that promoted Idol worship and that all phases of the Egyptian lifestyle revolved around their Idols

Lessons In Apologetics #5: Deism

The tests or methodologies of epistemology are just the first step into the realm of Apologetics. These, in turn are applied to the assorted worldviews.

The first worldview examined will be Deism. As with Christianity, Deism believes that God created the universe and set it up to operate in accord with a system of natural laws both physical and moral that are discoverable by mankind. What sets Deism apart from Christianity is the extent to which each believes God intervenes in the affairs of both nature and man.

Often, Deism is described as the watchmaker view of God. Those holding to this view believe that, while God created the world and set it into motion, the natural laws He established were so comprehensive that God no longer intervenes in or on His creation’s behalf. This assumption puts it at odds with orthodox Biblical theology on a number of points.

As a system, it could be said that Deism served as a transitional set of beliefs between two great epochs of Western intellectual history. Following the upheaval of religious conflicts such as the Thirty Years War, in a sense Deism was a recoil to the horrors of dogma that had been exorcised of the doctrines of compassion and moderation.

Deism also softened the shock to those wanting to turn their backs on a Biblically-based understanding of life but not yet ready to embrace the rampant secularism characterizing the more recent contemporary era. Deism was also the end product of the scholastic undertakings of the Renaissance and the Age of Exploration whereby European thinkers had to come to grips with the realization that a world, a goodly portion of it consisting of cultures as at least as complex as their’s, existed beyond the borders of Christendom.

The Father of English Deism was Herbert of Cherbury. In his book “On Truth“, Herbert established the following principles as common to all men: that there is one supreme God, that he ought to be worshipped, that virtue and piety are the chief parts of worship, that we ought to be sorry for our sins, and that a divine goodness dispenses rewards and punishments both in this life and the hereafter (153).

At a quick glance, the list does not appear all that controversial and there is not much there the orthodox Christian would disagree with. However, it is what is not on the list that Deists following after Herbert of Cherbury expanded upon that brought this worldview’s anti-Christian underpinnings to full fruition for all the world to see.

One thinker that most have at least a cursory knowledge of connected to Deism was John Locke. According to Geisler, Locke in “The Reasonableness Of Christianity” endorsed the Deist unitarian view of God and denied the deity of Christ.

Among early Deists, the average Christian would really have to be on their toes to detect the subtle attacks against the faith. Often then the attacks were carefully aimed at other religious systems rather than directly on the Bible itself. However, as society became more accepting as to the amount of dissent that could be openly expressed, a number of Deists more bluntly stated their antagonisms with varying degrees of success.

For example, Matthew Tindal in “Christianity As Old As Creation” argued that, since God is perfect by definition, the revelation of God in the created order is so complete that the idea of the Bible is superfluous and is actually inferior as Tindal considered the Bible to be full of errors anyway (160). And by the time of the founding of the United States of America and the early years of the Republic, Thomas Jefferson edited a version of the Bible exorcising the Scriptures of their miraculous content. Our third president ended the Gospel with “there laid they Jesus, and rolled a great stone in front of the sepulcher and departed”, thus causing this version of the good news not to be all that good as Jesus had not risen according to this act of censorship (165).

Source: Geisler, Norman. “Christian Apologetics”. Baker Academic, 1988.
By Brother Frederick Meekins