Pantheism - God as absolute or relative (2023)

God is absolute insofar as he is eternal, cause, activity, creator; it is relative insofar as it is temporary, effect, passive (has potentiality in its nature) and affected by the world. For pantheism and classicaltheism, God is absolute; and for many forms of pantheism, the world, since it is identical with God, is likewise absolute. For classical theism, sincepredicta separation between God and the world, God is absolute and the world is relative. For panentheism, however, God is absolute and relative, cause and effect, real and potential, active and passive. The panentheist holds that, insofar as they refer to different levels of the divine nature, both sets of statements can be attributed to God without inconsistency, who just as ahuman beingit can have an absolute and unchanging purpose, gaining now one incarnation and now another, so that the absolute character of God can be an abstract and unchanging characteristic of a changing totality.

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The world as real or illusory

Panentheism, classical theism, and many forms of pantheism hold that the world is part of ultimate reality. But for classical theism the world has a lower degree of reality than God; and for some forms of pantheism, for whichGeorg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegelcoined the termacosmismthe world is unrealmirage, and only God is real.


In those forms of pantheism thatpredictthe eternal god literallyembracingworld, mankind is an absolutely predestined part of a world which is necessarily as it is, andfreedomit is therefore an illusion. Certainly, classical theism defends human freedom, but insists that this freedom is compatible with a divine omniscience that includes his knowledge of the total future. Therefore, the question arises whether or not such freedom is illusory. Panentheism, by insisting that future reality is indeterminate or open-ended and that humanity and God together are in the process of determining what the future will be, probably supports the doctrine of human freedom more fully than any other.alternativePoint of view.

sacramentalism or secularism

To the extent that God is the immanent principle of the world and of each human being, as in pantheism, these acquire a sacramental character; and insofar as God is separate from the world as in the eighteenth centuryDeism, as it becomessecular, neutral or even down. Rather, classical theism, while basically sacramental, locates this quality in an enclave, the church.

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Diverse views of God's relationship to the world

Based on the above characteristics, seven forms of pantheism can be distinguished, in addition to classical theism and panentheism:

hylozoist pantheism

The divine is immanent in the world and is generally considered the basic element, providing the motivating force for movement and change. The world remains a plurality of separate elements.

immanentist pantheism

God is part of the world and immanent in it. Though only a part, his power extends to its full extent.

(Video) Pantheism: Is the World God? | Episode 1105 | Closer To Truth

Absolutist monistic pantheism

God is absolute and identical with the world. The world, although real, is therefore unchanging.

Relativistic Monist Pantheism

The world is real and changeable and is within God (ie, as the body of God). But God nevertheless remains absolute and unaffected by the world.


The absolute God constitutes the total reality. The world is an appearance and ultimately unreal.

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identity of opposites pantheism

The opposites of ordinary speech are identified in the supreme instance. God and his relationship to the world are described in formally contradictory terms; thus reality is not subject to rational description. Whether emphasizing being or emptiness, whether immanence or transcendence, the result is the same: one must go beyond rational description towards an intuitive understanding of the latter.

classical theism

God is absolute, eternal,first cause, pure reality, omniscient,omnipotentand be perfect. Though related to the world as its cause, it is unaffected by the world. he is essentiallytranscendentabout the world; and the world exists in relation to him as a temporary effect of his action, containing both potential and reality and characterized by change and finitude. Since all time is part of the eternal "Now" of God, and since God's knowledge now includes the total future as if it were presented to him as a landscape, it is not clear that, in this system, humanity can to have freedom in any meaningful sense. . ; for, although foreknowledge determines nothing of itself, it attests to the existence of such a determination. However, human freedom is indeedhe claimedby classical theists.


God is absolute in all respects, distant from the world and transcendent over it. This view is like classical theism, except that instead of saying that God is thecauseof the world, holds that the world is an emanation from God, occurring through intermediaries. God's absolute character is thus preserved while also providing a bridge to the world. InPlotinus(3rd centuryce), mainneoplatonic, heUs(Greek, "mind"), a realm of ideas orPlatonicforms, serves as an intermediary between God and the world, and the subject ofimmanencesustains itself by postulating the existence of asoul of the worldthat contains and animates the world.

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In this alternative, both sets of categories, that of absolutism and that of relativity, that of transcendence and that of immanence, apply equally to God, who is therefore dipolar. He is the cause of the world and its effect; his essence is eternal, but it is shrouded in time. God's knowledge includes everything there is to know; since the future is genuinely open, however, and is in no real sense likeyet, knows it only as a set of possibilities or probabilities. In this alternative, it is argued that humanity has significant freedom, participating as co-creators with God in the ongoing creation of the world.

With only slight attention given to classical theism (discussed in another article), it remains to explore the incidence of the previous eight forms of pantheism and panentheism in cultural history.


1. The Philosopher's God | Pantheism in Greek Thought
(Seekers of Unity)
2. What is Spinoza's God?
(Let's Talk Religion)
3. Spinoza - Rationalist Atheist or Mystical Pantheist ? Exploring Spinozism from Toland to Deleuze
4. What is Pantheism?
(Seekers of Unity)
5. Mod-01 Lec-12 Spinoza's pantheism-God and nature
6. Panentheism: Is the World in God? | Episode 1211 | Closer To Truth
(Closer To Truth)
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