Creation and Creator

A picture of the cosmos with a planet in the foreground

I found this diagram really useful in depicting the different ways people see the relationship between God and the universe:

Different isms.jpg

In theism, God and the universe are separate, but God can intervene in creation. In deism, God and the universe are separate and distinct from one other, with no interaction between the two. In pantheism, God and the universe are one and the same. In atheism, the universe exists, but God doesn’t. And finally, in panentheism, the universe is ‘in God’.

I believe that God is omnipresent, and importantly, He did not only create the universe but He also sustains it. Every atom is being held in existence by God. Because I don’t believe anything can exist independently of God, I see a problem in the ‘theism’ model, which depicts a God who is only sometimes involved in creation. For similar reasons, the deism model doesn’t work, as it depicts a universe existing totally independent of God.

I obviously take issue with the atheism model, as I believe creation requires a creator. I don’t like the pantheism model either, as it seems to imply that if the universe ceased to exist, so would God, and this can’t be right. God is more than the universe.

So this leads me to panentheism, the model where creation is in God, but God is more than creation. This makes good sense to me; God is obviously greater than anything He creates, but He also has a sustaining role as He holds in existence all He creates. He could destroy the universe and yet would remain perfect and whole.

Which of these models do you feel is right, and why?

16 Comments on “Creation and Creator

  1. I had to come back with this thought. I have kids. Now these kids are not part of me as far as their “physical” make- up. They have their own eye color, hair, legs, arms, etc…. They even have their own thoughts, but….. they have my genes, my bloodline, and their dad’s. So on the outside we look as if we are separate from one another, but on the inside we can never be. They inherited the “good” genes about myself and their dad, and the “bad” genes about myself and their dad. No matter what happens this will never be separated out in any form or fashion.

    I think we also inherit for lack of a better term the “genes/DNA” of God, which can never leave us, until He takes that part of us home, by taking our souls. Though I do not look like God, nor have the power of God, I still have the part of Him in me, and so does all creation which connects us as one. Just like my kids do. I mean I am Mom, they are kids, we are different in many ways, but the same also. That “same” is what keeps it all connected. God Bless, SR

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  2. Hi!

    I think Panentheism has been deliberately misunderstood by Theists who want God to be so Supreme it is somehow possible for Him to be everywhere, in everything (living and non-living) and yet somehow have a metaphysical distinctness as well. Most websites do not explain Panentheism in a good way and do not differentiate it sufficiently from pantheism.

    If we accept that God is the Creator of the universe and the cause of the Big Bang or rapid expansion of matter and space some 13.8b years ago, then what was there before the universe? Was God alone occupying no space at all? Did God create the space at the same time as matter? Did He then fill the space in order to be omnipresent as He created it?

    I found the diagrams in Steven’s post useful. If God is greater than the universe, infinite even, then it’s clear how God can create the universe within Himself and that He pre-dated our universe. And it is clear that He sustains our lives, “For in Him we live and breathe and have our being.” – Acts 17:28

    Below is a link to the Encyclopaedia Britannica’s explanation of religious philosophical concepts of God including classical theism, pantheism and panentheism:

    https://www.britannica.com/topic/pantheism

    And, below is a relevant extract from it:

    Freedom or determinism

    In those forms of pantheism that envisage the eternal God literally encompassing the world, humanity is an utterly fated part of a world that is necessarily just as it is, and freedom is thus an illusion. To be sure, classical theism holds to human freedom, but it insists that this freedom is compatible with a divine omniscience that includes his knowledge of the total future. Thus, the question arises whether or not such freedom is illusory. Panentheism, by insisting that future reality is indeterminate or open and that humanity and God, together, are in the process of determining what the future shall be, probably supports the doctrine of human freedom more completely than does any alternative point of view.

    I hope this explanation and the encyclopaedic link is helpful to understand Panentheism better.

    Peace and love to all,
    Dinos

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  3. That’s interesting post and a good. I suppose panantheism would be a close fit, but I tend not to trust -isms. God created the world. Heaven is his throne, earth his footstool. He created time but he is outside of time. Christ holds all things together (Colossians 1: 27). That verse always makes me think of gravity.

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    • Hi Sheryl

      Below is a link on Panentheism if you want to do some further reading:

      http://frimmin.com/faith/godinall.php

      If we believe that God exists and that He created the universe and everything in it, including living organisms and spacetime as it is referred to now, then it’s probably true that we learn more about how God achieved this through science than through the scriptural writers. Everywhere now science and technology are being used, mostly for our benefit but also for our detriment (global warming from human activity and war, for example). It is because of God’s consistency and His laws of the sciences that we have managed to evolve to be who we are. It’s too easy to take it all for granted but the scientists and technologists know only too well how rigorous and disciplined they need to be to make real and useful advances.

      Gravity does not hold everything together as you seem to suggest. Within atoms, electrons are attracted to protons due to their opposite electrical charges. Also, gravity is now regarded as a property of the spacetime continuum which bends around objects like planets and stars. The clocks on board the Global Positioning Satellites have to be adjusted regularly as they are less affected by the curvature of space due to their altitude than the clocks on the earth’s surface. If they were not adjusted, our SatNavs would be useless so space and time should be considered as spacetime.

      If God is the sustainer of everything, just one aspect of Him (the science) will keep us busy for aeons!

      Peace and love to all,

      Dinos

      Like

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