Is God (Literally) Everything?
by Kyle Beshears
One of the most pervasive imports of eastern religious and philosophical thought into Christianity is pantheism – the idea that God is not only everywhere, but is literally everything. From the largest star to the smallest molecule, from the device by which you’re reading this article to you yourself, everything is God.
Pantheism is a prominent idea in many eastern religions. Hinduism and Taoism, for example, both speak of a God being the mysterious underlying element to all existence. God is not an individual divine being, but itself constitutes all reality.
This idea has become more and more popular over the years and it is becoming more and more identifiable in Christian thought. But are the two compatible? Does Christianity and pantheism jive?
DOES THE BIBLE TEACH PANTHEISM?
At the end of the day, pantheism blurs the line between the Creator and his creation. For Christianity, this quickly becomes a major problem.
Why? Because blurring the line between Creator and creation inevitably leads to idolatry.
Paul makes an argument in the first chapter of Romans for why the world is so messed up. Basically, he argues that it all comes down to one perpetual mistake on humanity’s part – we constantly mix up the Creator/creation distinction.
Our problem is a rejection of God. Once we’ve rejected God, Paul says, “[we] exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator (Rm 1:25).”
Here we see the necessary outcome of rejecting God – a blurred line between the Creator and his creation.
We are all worshippers. It’s in our DNA. It’s the way we were designed to exist. Whether we know it or not, we are worshipping something. And worshipping something other than God is, by definition, idolatry.
It’s easy to point out idolatry in many of the world religions. Hinduism alone contains +300M deities. But even if you don’t believe in God, you’re still worshipping something – yourself, your career, your hobby, etc. Whatever takes your time, focus, devotion, and admiration away from God and onto something else causes you to worship the creation rather than the Creator.
This is where pantheism leads into idolatry. Essentially, pantheism is a crafty way of being an idolater while still claiming to worship God.
If you worship a statue of a golden calf, but the statue is God, then you are technically worshipping God.
Yet, as we learned from Paul, there is a distinction between the Creator and the creation. God is not [insert your idol here] because he is not literally everything. Thus, when you worship that idol, you are not worshiping God.
Worshiping anything but God is idolatry precisely because God is not everything. This, then, is the major reason why Christianity and pantheism doesn’t jive. Pantheism is essentially a roundabout way to idolatry.
This is not the only problem with pantheism. Here are some other things to think about…
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Kyle Beshears is the author of, Robot Jesus and Three Other Jesuses You Never Knew (only $0.99!)