1. Monistic religious and philos. view that God and the universe are one; denies the personality of God; ascribes to Him only an immanent existence in the universe and identifies Him with it.
One kind of pantheism, pancosmism, holds that God is merged in the universe; it emphasizes nature and its unity, almost loses sight of God, hence approaches atheism.* Another kind, acosmism, holds that the universe is merged in God. There is little practical difference bet. the 2 kinds; both are aspects of the same thing.
2. The concept of pantheism is older than the term. The word pantheist was apparently coined 1705 by J. Toland.* Pantheism is the fundamental doctrine of much ancient philos. (see e.g., Hinduism, 2). True pantheistic ideas are rare in medieval literature. In modern times the pantheism of B. Spinoza* influenced J. G. Fichte,* J. W. v. Goethe,* G. W. F. Hegel,* J. G. v. Herder,* G. E. Lessing,* F. W. J. v. Schelling,* F. D. E. Schleiermacher,* et al.
3. Pantheism has occurred among Eng. and Am. thinkers only in a veiled or partial form. RCm has found pantheistic leanings linked more with mysticism than doctrine and has always opposed the basic notions of pantheism; pope and council have formally condemned pantheism repeatedly since 1861.
4. Besides destroying the personality of God and reducing Him to a lower object of worship, pantheism destroys the personality of man, who becomes merely a part of the Whole. Individual responsibility and the moral world order are destroyed. Pantheism does not explain the existence of evil. Christ's redemptive work becomes an illusion.
See also Monism.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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