Panentheism and Scientific Naturalism

Here is an intelligent riposte to to the atheists and Christ Haters who visit our site regularly in order to convert us to their nihilism and inspire us with their negativity:

Panentheism and Scientific Naturalism

 . . . by David Ray Griffin

Rethinking Evil, Morality, Religious Experience, Religious Pluralism, and the Academic Study of Religion

“Brilliant Essays on the God-World Relation:  For several decades David Ray Griffin, the leading process philosopher of religion of his generation, has made panentheism one of the three central pillars of his work. . . . In this book Griffin’s eight most formative essays on the topic are collected together within a single volume for the first time.”

— Philip Clayton, Ingraham Professor, Claremont School of Theology

Can scientific naturalism, according to which there are no interruptions of the normal cause-effect relations, be compatible with divine activity, religious experience, and moral realism? Leading process philosopher of religion David Ray Griffin argues that panentheism provides the conceptual framework to overcome the perennial conflicts between these views, with important implications for religious pluralism, the problem of evil, and the academic study of religion.

Panentheism — God as the soul of the world — explains how theism can be fully natural while still portraying God as distinct from and more than the world. Griffin’s Panentheism and Scientific Naturalism is an essential source for philosophers of religion and others seeking to reconcile faith with science and Christianity with other religions.

“David Ray Griffin’s Panentheism and Scientific Naturalism is a superb explication of the many ways in which a worldview based upon panentheism, a “fourth alternative” beyond traditional theism, atheism, and pantheism, provides solutions to otherwise insoluble problems that have beset the three standard positions.

– Thomas C. Fletcher, Instructor of Geography at UC Berkeley  and San Francisco State (former)




One: Panentheism: A Postmodern Revelation

Two: Divine Activity and Scientific Naturalism

Three: Panentheism and Cosmic Design

Four: Panentheism and the Problem of Evil

Five: Scientific Naturalism and Religious Experience

Six: Scientific Naturalism and the Study of Religion

Seven: Scientific Naturalism and Human Morality

Eight: Panentheism and Religious Pluralism

Epilogue, 273

References, 277

Acknowledgments, 301

This book (published by the Process Century Press, August 2014) can be purchased from


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27 thoughts on “Panentheism and Scientific Naturalism

  1. Since most of us like to ‘box’ our beliefs – nice and tidy – this ‘Panentheism’ looks like a GREAT label! 🙂

  2. if you take enough drugs, the negative will seem positive … and you will do nothing to change it … unless you serve the negativity … then you are already positive about it

  3. Too many ‘isms’.

    ‘Ism’ means acceptance required by enroller and enrolee.

    The most vile ‘ism’ = Juda’ism.’ Jews need a group…. They like a ghetto.

    ‘Free Will’ defeats and overcomes ‘isms’. No groups needed.

  4. I want to preface this comment by saying that I don’t hate Christians nor am I a “Christ hater”. I am able disagree and not believe in the myths of the Bible without hating the people that do ( I can’t say that for some Bible believers). I was once a believer in the fables and myths of the Bible myself.

    Instead of addressing the merits of a persons argument on why that person doesn’t believe the Bible to be the infallible word of thee God of cosmos, many believers will engage in emotionalism and a host of logical fallacies to defend why you are wrong and they are right. Particularly circular “reasoning”, appeal to tradition, special pleading and ad hominem.

    I believe the Bible to be a work of allegorical stories and fables in which many people have been indoctrinated (inculcated) to believe as literal and real.
    The Bible is full of contradictions, inconsistencies and anachronistic history. (Purported historical events that aren’t even historical).
    Archaeology doesn’t support the fantastic (fantasy) Exodus story for example. Hebrew scribes plagiarized their stories for THEIR Bible from Egyptian and Sumerian myths. They wrote what they wished had happened in ancient times and not what actually happened.

    There is no credible historicity of an actual Jesus Christ as described in the Bible (gospel story).
    The historians of the era that Jesus Christ supposedly lived make no mention of a man in Jerusalem who claimed to be the “Son of God” or the”Messiah” performing supernatural feats of healing the blind, bringing back to life a dead man etc…
    Philo of Judea (Alexandria) traveled back and forth from Alexandria, Egypt to Jerusalem during this era and he doesn’t mention a thing about Jesus Christ in any of his writings. Why not?

    Are the New Testament gospels history? Where’s the proof?

    There were over thirty gospels written and only four made it into the canon. These four gospels were voted into the Bible at the Council of Nicea in 325AD and Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, contradict one another and they are in conflict with what Paul wrote. Why were the other gospels excluded? Revelations was almost excluded from the canon because many thought the book to be the delusional rantings of a lunatic. The excluded gospels are known as the Gnostic gospels.
    Furthermore, the earliest found gospels are all found to be written in Greek. The people in first century AD Canaan- Palestine-Israel spoke Aramaic-Hebrew (Semitic languages) and the overwhelming majority of them were illiterate. If the people in Canaan-Palestine-Israel only spoke Aramaic-Hebrew, then where are the supposed “original” gospels written in the native language of the area of these purported events?

    Christian Dilemmas Part 1

    The Truth About Jesus Is He a Myth?–Mangasar%20Magurditch%20Mangasarian.pdf

    JESUS? The Empty Cross -The hidden truth about the origin of the Jesus story.

  5. Panentheism – an expanded view

    When Krishna, the original Personality of Godhead, wishes to create the material world, He expands Himself into three Vishnu forms to do so. 1) Maha-Vishnu creates innumerable universes, 2) Garbhodakashayi Vishnu enters each universe and creates all the planetary systems, and 3) Ksirodakashayi Vishnu enters the hearts of all beings, as well as into each atom of the universe.


    1. From the link: “Vishnu is a form of the Supreme Person,”

      ‘Person’ is a mask, a fictional character. From the Latin – persona.

      Vishnu is the Supreme Fiction.

      1. Pat, Do you think perhaps the word ‘persona’ was extant in the original Sanskrit
        form/meaning before Latin was even born?

        Greek/Latin/Western centr-ism can be a terribly limiting thing..

      2. It does not matter what I ‘think’ about the word.
        I did not invent it.
        I did not use it. The author did.
        So, ask him/her what he/she thinks about his/her use of it.

  6. “Person’ is a mask, a fictional character. From the Latin – persona.”

    “It does not matter what I ‘think’ about the word.
    I did not invent it.
    I did not use it.”


    Shucks Pat, not only did you use it, you reused it.
    Perhaps even a bit obtusely.

    Just an exhibition of ‘free will’ I reckon?
    (i get it)

  7. William Blake: The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
    …Without contraries is no progression. Attraction and Repulsion, Reason and Energy, Love and Hate are necessary to human existence. From these contraries spring what the religious call Good and Evil. Good is the passive that obeys Reason, Evil is the active springing from Energy. Good is heaven, Evil is hell.
    Tao Teh Ching
    Their are two forces, the Yang which is masculine and energetic and the Yin which is feminine and passive. Combined they create the 64 hexagrams. (the DNA code -K.T.)
    Timothy Leary; Info-Psychology
    If a credible, respectable god does not exist let us by all means invent Hir, we do need someone interesting to talk to.
    Humans would be well advised to treat each other gently at this stage in our evolution because mutation is a time of uncertainty and fragility.
    One cannot evolve from ones robothood until one realizes how totally one has been robotized.

      1. Five gems from William Blake. I am not too happy with the fifth one. It makes no sense to me.

        — The cut worm forgives the plow.
        — A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.
        — Every thing possible to be believ’d is an image of truth.
        — To create a little flower is the labour of ages.
        — Sooner murder an infant in its cradle than nurse unacted desires.

      2. I took 5 to mean he would – definitely – NOT harbor desires without acting on them. No frustrations accepted by Blake.

  8. Hmmm. Only #2 seems reasonable.
    #5 is an absurdity, whether meant to be or not.
    Nothing (haha) abnormal, for an oddball.

    1. Lasha,

      You have highlighted the following passage above:

      Griffin’s Panentheism and Scientific Naturalism is an essential source for philosophers of religion and others seeking to reconcile faith with science and Christianity with other religions.

      As one who appears to be equally at home in the Oriental religions and in Christianity, can you explain to me how Panentheism can “reconcile faith with science and Christianity with other religions”? And what exactly, in your opinion, is the difference between panentheism and pantheism?

  9. About Panentheism v Pantheism:

    Panentheism (from Greek “all-in-God”) is a belief system which posits that the divine (be it a monotheistic God, polytheistic gods, or an eternal cosmic animating force which interpenetrates every part of nature and timelessly extends beyond it.

    Panentheism differentiates itself from pantheism, which holds that the divine is synonymous with the universe.

    Unlike pantheism, panentheism maintains the identity and significance of the non-divine in the world.

  10. For the sake of clarification: “Evil invented A (as opposed to “the”) solar ‘system’ (lower-case “ess’s”). “Invented” not the same as “created”, which Evil cannot do. Evil can only destroy. Its microcosmic application so precisely articulated by those most illustrious rabbinical conveyors – “we jews are destroyers only”, or words to that effect.

    The quintessential destruction? Why, “death” itself, of course. That relentless, inexorable killer of All in the “end”.

    Sound familiar?

    But “destroy” cannot mean, say, “rendering non-existent”, which is not possible to do once some “thing” has manifested. The essence of any “thing” is immortal, and that any “thing” can be “destroyed” implies that what is ESSENTIAL to it, its true essence, has been tampered with. Or to have “them” tell it, “modified” (talk about your euphemisms!)

    Now, what has this to do with a solar “system”?

    In the interest of keeping posts from getting too long, I’ll continue this subject at a later time. As a segue I’ll reiterate from hp’s post quoting Blake:

    God Appears & God is Light
    To those poor souls who dwell in night
    But does a Human Form Display
    To those who Dwell in Realms of day

    This present planetary configuration isn’t Origin-al. Not of “Source”, but of a changed cosmology resulting in what is called the “night”.

    Our humanity has been cloaked.

    1. hp,

      “…’GIVEN’ another chance to get out of the process of transmigration…”

      “…when ‘PUT’ into…”

      ” he is again ‘PLACED’ in the cycle…”

      “such a planmaker is thus ‘FORCED’…”

      “Given” “Placed” “Forced” “Put”

      By whom, by what? “Krishna”?

      While TO whomever, or whatever, while to be expected, is it also to be thought of as being acceptable?

      COULD (key word here) an acceptability such as this imply bending to an authority of imposition that in effect has usurped our personal sovereignty?

    2. hp –

      I need to have a serious talk with the deist, Ben Franklin. He should have cycled through a couple more times by now.

      Do you have any idea in which vessel he resides today? Got and email for him?

      1. Thanks. Not much help.

        But…I’m glad you didn’t tell me you stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night. 😉

  11. Looking for divinity outside of yourself is futile. The more you want to believe the universe is divine, the less you’ll actually believe it.

    The only divinity in this world is superiority.

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