"Transcend and include... this is the self-transcending drive of the Kosmos—to go beyond what went before and yet include what went before... to open into the very heart of Spirit-in-action." Ken Wilber, A Brief History of Everything

"Wouldn't it be wonderful if a group of people somewhere were for something and against nothing?" Ernest Holmes

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pantheism vs Panentheism as God's 3rd Face

I am God
You are God
It all is God
As I explore what it means to integrate all three faces of God, the distinction between pantheism and panentheism fit what I was experiencing. In pantheism, the material universe IS God. And hence I can worship nature or, in a more "sophisticated" version, tremble in awe at the laws of physics. And I have done both. They are both flavors of the third face of God as expressed by Ken Wilber and Terry Patten.

I had long since left behind the second face of God from my Catholic childhood; "You, a force outside me, are God."

Then in New Thought metaphysics I began to have experiences in which my intention appeared to shift the outcome of a situation. And hence I experienced a version of the first face of  God, "I am God," which evolved into, "I am a co-creator with God" or "I am God expressing."  

But as I continued inquiring into WHAT I was expressing or co-creating with, I cycled back around to the inescapable conclusion that it was indeed a force outside of me, and something more than the laws of physics. This is Panentheism. Material reality is IN God, but is not all of God. In my current understanding, Panentheism integrates all three faces of God. Ken Wilber and Andrew Cohen, leading proponents of this integration, have declared themselves to be "Evolutionary Panentheists." A beautiful expression of panentheism is found in this song below, "God is More Than This," sung by the Agape choir in Los Angeles and interrupted by a brief sermonette by Rev. Michael Beckwith.

My understanding of this continues to evolve. But my experience of it deeply enriches my life.

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