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Debate: Pantheism vs. Deism

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How do the two religious philosophies compare?

Background and context

In this discussion/debate, we will set forth the paramaters defining the theological theories of Pantheism and Deism. We will discuss their points of agreement and points of disagreement, and we will discuss whether Pandeism or Panendeism -- or some other formulation of ideas -- can adequately reconcile these idea.

For thousands of years, mankind has struggled to comprehend the nature of our Universe, its apparent mysteries, its origin, our purpose within it, and its destiny, surely intertwined with our own. Unknowing ancients, perhaps spurred by an inherent intuition, manufactured gods to explain the more basic natural phenomena and placate their fears. But even among the musings of the earliest recorded speculators are the seeds of philosophies that would later come to be known as Pantheism, Deism, and Pandeism. But many today misunderstand these ideas, and perhaps modern Deists and Pantheists even misunderstand each other. So, what ideas are fundamental to each of these systems? What range and variation is available within them? And how reconciliable might they be to one another?

For each section, tell us, please, what is the evidence which has lead you to your view?

Is "God" equal to our Universe? Is our Universe within God, but not equal to it? Is God separate from our Universe? Is God part of our Universe, but not all of it? The universe is but a reflection of god. "God" (i.e the eternal laws that govern creation) can exist without the universe so obviously is more than it.
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1. Is there a "God"?
And, what is an appropriate definition of this concept?

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Pantheist views

Yes, and the appropriate definition is that God is what everything proceeds from and returns to. This is the universe, where universe is everything that ever was, is or will be. (HT)

For Pantheism, the only "God" is the Universe itself. Thus the word "God" is being used primarily to express an attitude of profound reverence towards the Universe, rather than denoting a separate being or person. Pantheism does not believe that there is any God in the sense of a creator with a mind (Deism) still less in a being which does things for us or judges us (theism). (PH)

Duke University physicist Robert G. Brown, in his "Pandeist Theorem" has noted that in order for a proposed deity to be "omniscient" it would have to be the Universe itself for no other reason than the fact that our Universe is fundamentally composed of "information" (locations and trajectories of energy particles) and anything less than complete identity would require some information lag, thus rendering the thing deemed to be "God" to be less than omniscient. His conception is not a "Creator" God, and he similarly denies any contention of a God with any part existing outside our Universe, our Universe being definable as all that is, and so all parts of God being that which is, and so part of our Universe. Pandeism 11:38, 4 June 2010 (EDT)

It's funny you should bring up Robert Brown because I know him in a totally different sense ... but I would tend to agree with him in that God, being all things is not only all matter and energy but all thought. Spinoza described the "mind of God" as having every thought or idea, and thus as Dr. Brown points out, omniscience. Not in the "fortune telling" sense that so many people have tried to use as an argument against God, but in the sense that everything is known, and all events are present and every actor and actee is in fact the same entity. Spinoza goes on to say that all of these ideas are connected by a cause-and-effect network, just as the motion of all bodies is (in Cartesian thought anyway), and thus God not only knows everything, but understands all ideas as proceeding from their causes. Humans, on the other hand, know only a small subset of the mind of God, and often do not know enough to understand the logical causation of all things, and thus we have "inadequate ideas" which could be likened to supersition, or just plain wrong ideas. And if you think about it, this makes sense, even people who believe ridiculous things have some kind of reason why - if only that someone they trust has told them this erroneous information - but in their minds it seems to make sense, at least until shown otherwise. To me Pantheism speaks directly to this idea of God versus us and how the universe is everything, and we are but a part of it, and yet that we are connected to the whole, a part of the whole, both in mind and in body. (HT)

The tenant of Pantheism states absolutely that all is God. This "All", cannot be limited to the physical universe alone as this is merely one expression of the great One whom we move through and have our being. While the physical sciences honor physical laws and the metaphysical sciences honor spiritual laws, neither are mutually exclusive as they share in the experience of learning the system of governance in the orders of Creation. In the light of True Pantheism, Deism & Theism are both true. Neither can there be any separation between the Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent Deity. All traits that have sprung forth into physical creation, have at its base a metaphysical foundation. That which has given rise to the conscious minds of humanity that ever strive to learn the nature of self is a Diety both manifest and non-manifest in multiple/eternal dimensions.--Svaha 13:39, 29 August 2010 (EDT)

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Deist views

I cannot speak for the "classical" Deist, but as a PanenDeist, what we refer to as "God" is (like I have posted elsewhere) an "everywhere-present, creative Life force that animates all life and is the essence of all matter." God is "All that IS, and then some" to a PanenDeist. It encompasses all of the physical universe, but also exists beyond that universe in whatever form that "transcendent domain" happens to take. Personally, I suspect that the "String Theory" in quantum physics best describes the universe; an infinite number of parallel universes co-existing together. Whatever "transcendent domain" might exist beyond this three-dimensional plane we will probably find the place where the "Great Architect of the Universe" (as we refer to God in Freemasonry), it It's fullness, presides. LC

I define God as the being who purposefully created the universe. The universe is the place that we currently live in, which includes all the galaxies, stars, planets, creatures, and space we currently perceive. There are at least three reasons I believe that God exists.

One, the universe seems created. The universe is complex, magnificent, and balanced. If it were an accident rather than a work of God, it would almost certainly be homogeneous, bland, and chaotic. For example, a haze of gray gas is likely to exist without being created but not all the complex, magnificent, and balanced galaxies, stars, planets, and creatures of the universe. Therefore, God almost certainly exists.

Two, everything came from something except the first cause, because there cannot be an infinite regression. Consider me for instance. What caused me to exist? Here is the probable chain of events as I understand them: I am a human who came from other humans, and the first humans came from apes, and the first apes came from some other kind of mammal, and the first mammal came from a reptile, and the first reptile came from an amphibian, and the first amphibian came from a fish, and the first fish came from some other kind of multi-celled aquatic creature, and the first multi-celled aquatic creature came form a single-celled aquatic creature, and the first single-celled aquatic creature came from the Earth, and the Earth came from a nebula, and the nebula came from the Milky Way Galaxy, and the Milky Way Galaxy came from the Big Bang, and the Big Bang came from . . . something. Was that something God or an accident? Because the universe seems created, I believe that that something is God.

Many Deists find that these two reasons, the Argument from Design and the First Cause Argument, are enough for them to believe in God, and they would strongly disagree with my third reason, which, as you will see, is soon to follow. Their disagreement is just fine with me. I will give you the answer that makes the most sense to me, not the answer that makes the most sense with a certain type of person who is not me.

Three, human existence has a weird quality to it. We experience great joys and sorrows, and sometimes coincidences can be so meaningful that they seem planned by something supernatural like God. Shakespeare seemed to have noticed this strange quality of human life too, as illustrated in Act II, Scene vii, Lines 139-166 of As You Like It.

"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth.
And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything."

If all the world is a stage and we are merely players, then Someone (God) created the stage and players for some reason. The universe in general and one's life in particular probably follow some kind of plot, which was also created by God. I am not saying that we do not have free will or that everything is predetermined. I believe that we do have free will to a large extent and most things happen by pure chance. However, I believe that God has established the general way that the universe, including humanity, will work and occasionally tinkers around with it to get the desired result.

Human history is so much like a play. Life imitates art, and art imitates life. People do much good and accomplish great things. People also do much evil and accomplish many horrible things. There are amazing heroes, incredible villains, and lots of people in between.

There is also a fascinating balance between progress, regress, and repetition. Humanity has progressed from the Stone Age to the Space Age. It has also progressed from savagery to decent civilizations in many nations. However, it seems that for every two steps humanity takes forward, it takes one step back. For example, Western Civilization has largely escaped the superstition of the Dark Ages, but religious fundamentalism, bigotry, and ignorance is on the rise in the United States of America. (Yet one more reason to promote Deism!)

And, of course, the old saying has much truth: "The more things change, the more things remain the same." People are basically the same now as they were when humanity first migrated from Africa. We still create and destroy, love and hate, progress and regress, promote life and destroy it, etcetera.

Life is one heck of a play, and God is one heck of a playwright! JX

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2. Is our Universe the product of a conscious designer?

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Pantheist views

Not in the sense that a human-like entity sat down and decided each and every thing that would be and then through some human sensible process made it. Yes in the sense that everything in the universe creates what is the universe and the universe includes conscious entities (humans at least) that participate in that creation. (HT)

The Universe is ordered in the sense that its constituent elements behave in a consistent way. The fact that human mathematics describes this in not remarkable, since the human brain is made of the same stuff as everything else. The apparent regularity of Nature in our Universe can be explained by the multiverse hypothesis which is now dominant in cosmology - that there are innumerable other Universes, each one with a different set of laws, some of them permitting life, some not. The idea of a conscious designer explains nothing - for then you have to explain how that designer arose. As far as science tells us, conscious minds arise only after billions of years of chemical and biological evolution. The suggestion that an immaterial mind hanging alone in empty space created the physical universe or became the physical universe is very much less probable than the idea that the Multiverse has always existed, spawning Universes like a foam of bubbles. Evolutionists do not claim that biological order evolved by random chance. Mutations arise mostly by chance - but which mutations survive is very strictly limited by the conditions of the environment. There is a massive amount of evidence of presently occurring evolution, from the development of disease resistant bacteria to the size of birds beaks in the Galapagos islands in years of differing rainfall. For any complex feature you care to name, we can trace the lineage back to simpler structures that preceded it.[PH]

That the reality of universe suggests intelligence is not especially problematic, but what is that intelligence, where is it, how does it affect our reality? We don't know everything there is to know about reality - whether a multiverse exists or not for example - but the pantheist position that whatever this intelligence is, it is natural, it is an integral part of the rational reality and govenered by the laws nature, not supernatural. This precludes what we would recognize as a human-like intelligence. Rather, it is more rational that the intelligence is inherent in those laws of nature and the very fact that reality has developed as it has is due to that integral intelligence. Or to put it another way, the laws of nature that govern the relationship of energy and matter, space and time naturally give rise to the organization of information we call ideas to for what we experience as a human mind that can conceive of the laws of nature themselves and recognize the intelligence in them. It IS fantastic, but it is also ordinary, not supernatural. (HT)

That which governs the known cosmos operates in varying degrees of vibration which has given rise to form. The multitude of forms have varying degrees of intelligences. The Great being contains that which is of the manifest domain, encompasses them all and has given life to them all. Each intelligence born of the great One, is a fragment of the One. The One, is the progenitor of all biological life streams as well as those life streams and intelligences beyond the manifest domain. (Svaha)

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Deist views

Here I feel I may comment as a Deist, for Pandeism accords with this aspect of Deism. Our Universe is rationally ordered, else it would be unable to generate an ordered complexity -- indeed multitudinous aspects of our Universe reflect mathematical order, from molecules to galaxies to sunflowers to the distribution of neurons in the brain. Rational order, and even the capacity for rational order suggest a conscious designer behind the organisation of such a Universe!! Pandeism 17:28, 25 May 2010 (EDT)

In PanenDeism, order and design rule the day.

From the complexities found in organic beings (i.e. the human eye, the reproductive system, etc.) to those found in nature (i.e. the formation of stars, the emergence of life- even in the most hostile of environments), evidence of a designer is overwhelming. So much so, that attempting to win an argument by trying to "prove" that all of this is random and accidental becomes an exercise in futility, in my view. LC

Yes, my reasons for believing this are stated in the first section. JX

As a response to those who find the Universe to be self-explanatory, my concern is that it is not only complex enough to generate intelligent life, but that it is also at the same time fundamentally simple enough for intelligent beings to "crack the code" of its governing dynamics, so that we may self-accelerate through methods such as genetic engineering and technological augmentation -- as though we were meant to do so!! Pandeism 13:46, 4 June 2010 (EDT)

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3. What is the relationship between "God" and our Universe?
Is "God" equal to our Universe?
Is our Universe within God, but not equal to it?
Is God separate from our Universe?
Is God part of our Universe, but not all of it?

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Pantheist views

If you take the term "universe" to mean everything that was, is or will be both in our 4 dimensions of reality and all others, then God is equal to. If you mean the universe is what human perceives as all of reality (space and time) then I don't know, because I'm not aware that there is anything else. In either case, God is what is sometimes called "Unity" which is more than then simple sum of everything, it is everything across all dimensions - something like a singularity is when we consider only space a time. In this sense God is beyond what we understand as limited individuals, and in this sense God is transcendent - or greater than just the universe. (HT)

"God" is identical with the Universe. (PH)

I tend to agree with Pandeism, in the sense that God experiences itself through the universe. I'm not sure that I would say God "became" the universe, God is, and God can and does experience itself as a universe of temporal, distinct being, precisely because God is neither temporal nor distinct. Everything in that universe is as it is, indeed as it must be, to further that experience, because that experience was the "purpose" if you will, of the experiencing itself as such (hope that is self evident at least) and thus it DOES appear as if it is made to be exactly what it is, as if it was made to be just that. What I reject is the independence or permanence of that self expression. Yes it seems rather permanent, because otherwise it would not serve its purpose (again, using the word purpose rather loosely), but in fact it is only one possible expression. Pantheism, as I understand it, focuses on that universal non-distinguished existence. I start there, but I add a lot to it, so I'm maybe not such a good example. Obviously there are some aspects of Deism that work for me, as well as a number of other things - and all of it is little more than one man's attempt at grasping something larger than himself. (HT)

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Deist views

Already addressed in PanenDeism. LC

God created the universe, and, unless the universe somehow purposefully created itself, God is not equal to the universe. I believe that the universe is a part of God, like a thought is part of a brain. This is a very speculative belief, though. God is very mysterious. Not only does God remain hidden and silent, even if God blatantly manifested Itself to us and explained exactly what It is, we might not be able to understand everything that It was trying to tell us. God is probably amazingly big, old, powerful, different, and wise; and we have very limited knowledge and intelligence. JX

In response to JX, I hew to pandeism in part because God becoming our Universe is a rational explanation for why God is "hidden and silent" -- this traces back to lines of reasoning in Hinduism and Eriuginean thought: why does God become the Universe? To experience, perhaps to experience what "God" can not, such as the understanding of God itself from the non-God viewpoint? Pandeism 13:50, 4 June 2010 (EDT)

I should also provide the link for Professor Brown's article containing the Pandeist Theorem -- it is A Theorem Concerning God. Pandeism 00:50, 6 June 2010 (EDT)

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4. Is "God" active in our Universe, in the sense of consciously influencing events?
Are there revelations? Miracles? Divinely inspired visions?

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Pantheist views

Much like question 2 - not if you mean as a distinct entity with its own agenda, but yes in the sense that everything that is active is part of God. As for the rest, only that can be understood through natural phenomena.(HT)

No, no, no and no. (PH)

We don't understand everything. Some things we think we understand are wrong. Science has a long history of discovering its own ignorance and error. Things we do not understand leave room for some to suggest a supernatural occurrence. In some ways they are right, because we tend to define natural as what we understand. There may be ways for information to move in and out of consciousness that we do not currently understand, but if so I don't know how that works. Pantheism focuses on the idea that God or Nature is rational and follows laws we can discover and eventually we find that all phenomena fit those laws. In the mean time there will always be those who fall back on superstition. (HT)

What is the nature of humanity? Well, God is unity, dimensionless, indivisible. Reality, including humanity, is a choice. A choice of distinction. To view one thing as distinct from another. Without distinction there can be no dimensionality, temporality, or being. Being is empty, it is dependent. You cannot be distinct from me, unless I am distinct from you. And that is the crux, once we choose to view unity with distinction, each piece of the puzzle we create must fit with all the others. We are as we are because that which we are not is as it is. This is the origin of all things, good and evil, black and white, every thing. It must be because in reality none of the things we see as distinct are actually independent. In fact they all depend on one another. Go going back to the original question - is "revelation" possible? Yes, in the sense that all of us are truly one - it is possible such revelation could exist. Though in practice we don't actually know anyone who can perform this "miracle." I would tend to be skeptical, but then again I know from personal experience that there is a connection between any of us and everything else. I don't know how to use it, but it is an integral part of nature. So that is the nature of humanity. (HT)

To deny these aspects of Deity is to divorce ourselves from Deity.

The active agency in our Universe is Omnipresent - ever present, a noumenon. Clearly God (as evidenced in our own physical world) is both active and passive- both principles exist to give rise to the manifest. We ascribe the active principle as masculine and the passive principle as feminine.

The term "influence" is a succint one, insofar as it expresses the nature of unseen currents which shape the evolutionary structure of form. The nature of such a reality is comprised of something unseen. It involves the thought or idea behind the action. Indeed, all is subject to varying degrees of influence, just as we ourselves have seen the affects of our own influence upon our physical world. In the natural world, the heavenly bodies have an influence upon our world, (most obviously the influence of the sun and moon). Apart from the physical, is the realm of mind and consciousness, of thought forms, and the electrical currents of thought and emotion.

Revelations are merely new truths revealed. Such has ever been the case with regard to humanity. The evolutionary achievements in the conscious development of humanity comes in waves of collective understanding. The minds of man, like cycles of seasons giving rise to new blooms in the garden are ever providing the fruits which seed the fertile soil of mankind. Revelations occur regularly in the minds of truth seekers, be they magnetized toward the spiritual or scientific spectrums of understanding. Each human individuation who achieves a greater cognition of the One, who transcends the barrier of anthropocentrism, approaches ever greater revelations in their respective consciousness.

Based upon the definition of the term miracle, is not the very nature of our existence a miracle? The varying life forms and their lives in and of themselves a miracle? This being is nothing less than a miracle in every moment of all time.

"Divine" is that which is emanating from GOD. With the Pantheist view already that "All is God," we would conclude that we could not divorce that which is Divine from the human sphere of existence. The very meaning of "inspiration" is "To affect, guide, or arouse by divine influence." It is already apparent that it has been nothing less than divine influence which has given rise to our life form - in and of itself. What has given humankind the ability to see with physical eyes as well as the minds eye? The minds eye in a myriad of human forms, by way of intuition has received a great influx of information. How might Einstein or Tesla have come up with their formulae? Where did Whitman, Gibran, or Rumi's inspiration to write beautiful poetry come from? With regard to consciousness, thought forms, and the electrical currents comprised in our physical brains that has given birth to language, be it alphabetical or numerical, there is always the progenitor which is the Source of All. We can ascribe the originator of an idea ie: E=Mc2 to Einstein, but what was the originator to Einstein? What is that which governs the atomic structures that comprise our being? That which holds our cellular collective in place to give rise to a mind which could bring forth new developments in the living sphere of humanity? It is all attributable to the One. (Svaha)

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Deist views

I think Deists and Pantheists probably will concur in that there are no conscious interventions or miracles -- I think this position verily defines Deism, though I suspect some may call themselves 'Pantheist' and yet hew to belief in miraculous intervention on the part of the Universe itself, as God. From the perspective of Pandeism, naturally, miraculous occurances are the product of the human mind alone, unwittingly tapping into the unconscious underlying deitic power sustaining our Universe. Pandeism 17:35, 25 May 2010 (EDT)

That last statement you make is, in my view, right on track. This question begs another: What is the nature of humanity? In PanenDeism, it is the investigation of the very nature of everything that will uncover deeper truth. We find Reason to be a firm foundation on which to build, but it is common knowledge that rationality will only take us so far. It is recognizing that limitation that will free us to consider other explanations than those found in Deism, Pantheism (or PanDeism).

PanenDeism includes an "open at the top" component that embraces the ideas of mysticism and intuition. Those "ways of knowing" allow us to include the possibility of things like ESP, Near-Death Experiences, and other "new age" ideas- all grounded, as much as is possible, on a foundation of rational argument.

I am convinced that what has been described as "miracles" in previous eras can now be described as either a better understanding of natural law, or an actual application of that creative energy that we ALL possess as creatures who were created in the image of that Creative Life force that is behind all things.

According to the Law of Attraction, I actually become what I think about (over time) and I attract into my experience that which I believe most deeply (good OR bad). We are all "godlings" and it is the development of that creative ability that is the whole point of our Being, I believe. LC

The only thing that can be called revelation is reason. As for miracles and "divine visions" even if they are true they can be explained by tapping into the power of the deus.

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5. Is "God" unchanging; able to become something different from what it is?

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Pantheist views

Good question. Obviously I don't know, but I think the answer is that God is unchanging, that God exists outside of time (see question 3) and as such exists in all states at once and is unchanging. (HT)

The Pantheist "God" is the Universe, which science shows us to be in a process of constant change, both in the details and in the larger picture. We currently assume that most of the laws and basic constants stay the same, however, it is possible that these also change (eg, the variable speed of light theory). (PH)

LC, I don't know about classic Theists ... seems like I've heard it both ways ... but the big difference is I don't really see it as a matter of a Deity as much as a matter of physics and metaphysics. What I understand (granted rather feebly) is that time as we understand it is but one of many dimensions and that the whole is truly a single unified structure with little resemblance to what we experience. The Buddhists have a word for it: emptiness. Our reality is empty which (again as I understand it) is a way of saying that we only experience a very small part of it, and time is one aspect of that small part. Now one can argue about the idea that this means "the Deity" has knowledge of the future, as opposed to the future being created as time passes, and get into all kinds of cute paradoxes but I don't see it that way, because this supposes that some anthropomorphic intelligence experiences the whole and in doing so gains knowledge of or even shapes the future. The problem with this is that said being is PART of this limited existence and cannot be the whole, just as the whole cannot be part of this existence, and yet this existence is part of the whole. Whew, now I've talked myself into a knot! What I'm trying to say is that we experience is portion of reality. It appears to change as it flows past, just like a movie film appears to change, when in fact it does not. We do not simply experience a pre-programmed reality, our actions shape our future, but the temporal experience is not what it appears to be. The problem comes when you try to insert a Deity. Where does the Deity fit? It cannot logically fit anywhere, because it has been pre-supposed as something that cannot be - an anthropomorphic entity with power distinctly outside of our human experience. God is not a being, God is the substance, beings are modes of the substance. The modes change, the substance does not. (HT)

Ah distinction. That is a whole subject unto itself. Is not everything defined by what makes it distinct? I think this very distinction is in some sense the "problem." In one way it is meaningless and artificial, but from another perspective it is the fact that we see that distinction that makes everything what it is. It makes us the creators. The modes, by the very fact of being modes make us what we are. Talking in circles again, but yes, I think maybe there is quite a lot in common. I consider myself a pantheist (little p) because that seems to define what I think better than anything else. But I think what I think because it "works" for me - at least for the moment. Probably PH has a better handle on Pantheism (big P). BTW, I checked and you're right, the RC teaches God is unchanging. But then, there is truth in all thought - because that thought is another mode. But that truth is no complete, any more than the wave is an ocean. Tell me more of this mysticism ... (HT)

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Deist views

HT, your position would be agreeable to a classic Theist and you are right- this is a good question. As a PanenDeist, I would have to differ with you and the Christians. I believe that Source Energy is constantly changing. Evolution is part of the fabric of the universe and I suspect even of that transcendent domain we spoke of earlier.

I will go one step further and really piss off the Theists- The future is truly open and not even the Deity can know what will ultimately occur in full detail. God exists around us, with us, AS us. Just like evolution, Free Will is also a part of the fabric of the universe. I do believe in a "teleology"; a defined plan for creation on the most basic level, but the Deity experiences this universe as we do, and we are free to decide how much, if any at all, we will tune into that "proleptic urge" (as described in PanenDeism), that "still, small voice" that is found somewhere deep within us; pulling us all toward that ultimate purpose of it all; should we care to listen. LC

HT: I suspect that there is much more that we can agree upon than you might think. It is just that we are getting bogged down by semantics. What I call "apple", you are calling "orange". What you are referring to as SUBSTANCE, I am referring to as Source Energy, or Deity.

Remember, in our view there is NO "duality" of substance/mode. I actually agree with your characterization and I think it is a great way to describe things (a "mode" of the substance). The difference lies in the conception. It would be more helpful, I think, to consider material reality as "distinctions", rather than separate "beings" located outside the source (or "substance").

You and I, in our relation to the Creator, is as the wave is to the ocean. A particular wave can be distinguished and identified as a distinct thing. If I am surfing off the North Shore of Oahu, that killer wave that I have identified and am riding might even seem to be "alive", but we know that it is, in reality, just a "mode" or emanation of the substance we refer to as Pacific Ocean.

There is not much we can know about this Creator, other than what we can gather through reflective thought, meditation (communicative connection), personal experience and the explorations of science, but we have more than enough analogous material to come to a few tentative conclusions, in my view. I believe that God does exist, but not in the way they taught us in Sunday School! LC

Art teaches us something about its artist. If an artist is happy, his paintings probably reflect that happiness. Conversely, if an artist is unhappy, his paintings probably reflect that unhappiness. The only creation that God made that we know of is the universe. Since the entire universe is constantly changing, this suggests that God changes too. JX

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6. New question: Can Pantheists and Deists (and Pandendeists and Pandeists) pool our knowledge, resources, and arguments to counter the pernicious effects of revelation-based theism?

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Pantheist AND Deist views

I've intentionally made this a single section because it's not on a point of what might divide us, but of what might unite us!! Pandeism 13:43, 22 June 2010 (EDT)


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