For the Promotion of Reason Based Spirituality...

Deism Defined

Deism is a category of belief in god (Spirit, Deity, ground of being, Dao, etc...) based on reason, experience, and the observation of nature. 

Deism vs. Atheism
    Deism differs from Atheism in that Atheism is a Rational based category of belief that asserts that God doesn't exist (Strong Atheism) or simply a lack of belief in any god, gods, or any higher power, etc... (Weak Atheism).  Deism is a Rational based category of belief in god.
Deism vs. Theism
     Deism differs from Theism in that Theism is a traditional and scriptural based category of belief in God, where Deism is a rational based category of belief in god.

Panendeism Defined 

    Panendeism is a sub-category of Deism.  It is based on the speculation that the universe is a part of god, but not all of god and literally means "all in god".  Some panendeists have established numerous additional beliefs, some of which are quite detailed, and use more specialized terminology to describe their beliefs.  However, any deist who believes that the universe is a part (but not the whole) of god, can be considered a panendeist.

"First there was the eternal Tao; From One came two ... "

~Lao Tzu


History of Panentheism and Panendeism

The term Panentheism was originally used by Karl Christian Friedrich Krause (1781-1832) in 1828, as a way to transcend the Theist - Pantheist dichotomy.  Although Krause coined the term, aspects of it can be traced all of the way back to Plato, the Neoplatonism of Plotinus, Meister Eckhart, and Giordano Bruno.  Fuller elaborations of panentheistic beliefs can be found in the development of German Idealism, starting with Immanuel Kant and Johann Gottlieb Fichte, but particularly in the work of Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling, and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, as well as in the Transcendentalism of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and in the development of Process Theism in the 20th century, in the work of Alfred North Whitehead and Charles Hartshorne.

    According to Hartshorne, Panentheism can best be understood through an analogy: just as a single organism exists both as a collection of semiautonomous, individual cells and as an autonomous individual who is more than just a collection of cells, god can be seen as both a collection of all the constituent parts of reality and as "something more" than the universe itself.  Although we, along with the rest of existence, can be thought of as part of god's "body," god's mind or consciousness extends beyond that body and causes god to be more than just a collection of parts.


 "Standing on the bare ground, — my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, — all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God. "

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


    As parts of god, our freedom is not absolute - just as the freedom of cells in our body is not absolute.  At the same time, our actions and thoughts are not dependent upon or controlled by god any more than we are able to consciously control and direct the actions of our individual cells.  We may be more than our cells, but we depend upon our cells acting independently of our minds in order for us to grow and even to "be" in the first place.


     The term PanenDeism was first coined by Larry Copling in 2000 as a way to differentiate between the deistic conception and approach to belief that he had in mind vs. the theistic conception and approach that had become common in the Process Panentheism movement.  Even though the term wasn't coined until recently, it can be argued that many so called "Panentheists" throughout history can more accurately be described as Panendeists.  This includes the above mentioned Schelling, Hegel, Emerson, Whitehead and Hartshorne as well as many others.


“Divinity is the enfolding and unfolding of everything that is. Divinity is in all things in such a way that all things are in Divinity.”

~ Nicolas of Cusa


Panen- vs. Pan-

    What is the difference between standard Pantheism and Panendeism?


    There is an understandable tendency to confuse Panendeism with Pantheism or even to consider Panendeism to be a type of Pantheism - a problem exacerbated by the fact that we simply don't hear the term Panendeism very often and most people are unfamiliar with it.

    It is true that both panendeists and pantheists share the view that the universe and every natural thing in it is pervaded by divinity.  However, since Panendeism postulates that the universe is contained within god and not god in the universe, Panendeists believe in a god who is present in everything but also extends beyond the universe.

    In other words, god is the universe but is also greater than the universe.


PanenTheism vs. PanenDeism

    What is the difference between Panentheism and Panendeism?

    Panentheism is based on a Mythic or Theistic approach to the belief in "God" where Panendeism is based on a Post-Mythic or Modern approach to the belief in "god" or "Spirit".  Panentheists tend to see God in personal terms and rely on scripture and tradition as the basis for their belief. Panendeists on the other hand view the relationship between "god", and humanity as transpersonal and rely on reason and experience as the basis for their belief.

    Panendeism differs from Monodeism, which only postulates a god separate from nature.  Or a god that transcends but does not include nature.

"God is one and the same God always and everywhere. He is omnipresent not only virtually but also substantially; for action requires substance.... In him all things are contained and move, but he does not act on them nor they on him. God experiences nothing from the motions of bodies; the bodies feel no resistance from God's omnipresence.


~ The Principia, Sir Isaac Newton


 Discussion Forum

For questions, comments, and discussion of Panendeism please visit our online discussion forum here.

Panendeistic Writings and Models