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Panentheism holds that the universe is a part of God or Goddess, but that it is not the whole of God's being. Nature is thus an aspect of divinity. Unlike pantheism, however, it does not say that the universe is identical to God; it maintains that there is more to God than just the universe. In panentheism God maintains a transcendent character, and is viewed as creator and the source of morality.

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Panentheism in Christianity

Panentheism has only recently been introduced to Christianity via process theology. More recently, this view has also been embraced by Creation Spirituality. This belief is only held by a minority of Christians.

Panentheism in Judaism

When Hasidic Orthodox Jews first developed as a movement and as a theology, their theology was essentially panentheistic, even though they themselves never had even heard of this word. Non-Hasidic Orthodox Jews viewed this theology as as heretical. However, after the schism between Hasidic and non-Hasidic Orthodox Jews closed in the mid 1800s, panentheism became an accepted way of thinking in Orthodox Jewish theology. While not the mainstream point of view, panentheism has become more popular in the non-Orthodox Jewish denominations like Conservative Judaism and Reform Judaism through the writings of rabbis like Abraham Joshua Heschel, Arthur Green, Wayne Dosick, and Lawrence Kushner.

Spiritual Panentheism

Spiritual Panentheism is a form of philosophical mysticism whose tenets are derived from aspects of panentheism, holism, freethinking, holographic paradigms, and quantum mysticism. The only authorized church in the world is online at www.panentheism.org. "Spiritual Panentheism" is a legal trademark of the Church of Spiritual Panentheism, and is used here with permission.

Opposing Views

Gnosticism holds the inverse idea of panentheism: it regards matter as evil and ultimately flawed, and thus not a part of God, even though they admit that it came about through emanations of the supreme being, but more of an accident than on purpose.

See also: process theology, Creation Spirituality

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