Pantheism and Deism

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: Ephesians 5:8-21 

I.         It is amazing the many, subtle ways Satan introduces false religions into the thinking of many well intentioned Christians

            A.        Movies are a popular vehicle for false ideas. We often look for the big errors.

                        1.         Example: Pocahontas was criticized for its slaughter of history and scantily dressed main character. But have you noticed the worship of nature? The idea that there are “friendly spirits” (i.e. gods) in everything?

                        2.         Example: Star Wars contains the idea that there are two forces that are prevalent in the universe (good and bad). These forces permeate everything.

            B.        I have heard comments from multiple people that makes me wonder if they really understand what they are saying.

                        1.         Statements that indicate that God is everywhere and IN everything.

                        2.         There is a confusion of omnipresent and omniperson

II.        A popular belief around the founding of country was deism

            A.        Deism: the idea that God created the world but then withdrew from its day-to-day governance, leaving it to run by itself as a machine. Deism safeguards the transcendence of God at the expense of His immanence

            B.        God is involved in His creation

                        1.         It is impossible to read the Holy Scriptures and not see the active involvement of God in creation and in mankind

                        2.         If God was not involved, then prayer becomes meaningless. Yet, Jesus taught us to ask God - Matthew 7:7-11

                        3.         Romans 8:31-39 - God shows his deep love by the active work of saving us from our sins. And He continues to show His love by caring for us to make even the bad things that happen life to work toward our betterment (Romans 8:28)

III.       In this century, the New Age movement has re-established idea of pantheism

            A.        Pantheism: this is the opposite error of deism, for it virtually identifies God with His creation. God is a kind of World Soul or impersonal force which permeates all the universe.

            B.        Webster’s Dictionary, “A doctrine that equates God with the forces and laws of the universe.”

IV.      God is omnipresent

            A.        The word “omnipresent” is not in our Bibles, but it is a summary of biblical teaching

            B.        God fills heaven and earth - Jeremiah 23:23-24

                        1.         How does God know all that is going on?

                        2.         It is because He fills the universe. He is everywhere

            C.        Yet at the same time, the universe cannot contain God - I Kings 8:27

            D.        God’s influence (or presence) is found through out the world in such things as His creations, laws, works, agents, appointments, and the such like. Even though God is in heaven there is nothing on earth of which God is not aware - Hebrews 4:13

            E.        Jonah thought to flee from God’s presence - Jonah 1:1-3

                        1.         But he found out that thee is no escaping God - Jonah 2:2-7

            F.        God does not have to be in a particular spot for us to speak of God’s presence in a local sense

                        1.         God saved Israel from the Egyptians - Exodus 14:30-31

                                    a.         But it was accomplished through the “angel of His presence” - Isaiah 63:9

                        2.         God spoke to Moses - Exodus 3:4

                                    a.         But it was through an angel - Exodus 3:2

                        3.         God lead the children of Israel in a pillar of fire/cloud of smoke - Exodus 13:21

                                    a.         But He did it through an angel - Exodus 14:19

            G.        Omnipresent doesn’t mean His person is everywhere at all times

                        1.         God is not with the sinner - II Kings 13:23; 24:20; Genesis 4:16

                        2.         It means God withdrew His support

            H.        Jesus is in heaven, seated at the right-hand of God - Acts 7:56; Ephesians 1:20; I Peter 3:22

                        1.         We look forward to His return - Acts 1:11; I Thessalonians 4:16-17

                        2.         Yet at the same time, Jesus is with His disciples to the end of the world - Matthew 28:20; 18:20

                        3.         His is with us by His laws, appointments, and teachings. When we serve Jesus, we come into His presence.

                        4.         He is with us, aware of all we do, say, and even think. As Solomon pointed out - I Kings 8:28-30

            I.         Frequently, the name of the person is used in place of the work or effect of the person. This is called a “metonymy”.

                        1.         We have seen examples of where angels of the Lord, working on behalf of God, are treated as a synonym for the Lord Himself.

                        2.         In the “Rich man and Lazarus”, the rich man is told that his brothers have “Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.” - Luke 16:29

                                    a.         This doesn’t mean that Moses or the prophets were actually with them, but that the brothers have the results of their work with them.

            J.         During the first century, the Spirit empowered men to work miracles - Hebrews 2:3-4; I Corinthians 12:7-11

                        1.         His presence was felt through the works that men did with His power

                        2.         So the Holy Spirit coming as cloven tongues on the apostles in Acts 2:1-4 is a metonymy. His power is felt, His presence was with them, He had come upon them.

                        3.         When the Spirit gave the prophets the words of God, He was in the prophets - I Peter 1:10-12

                                    a.         Not physically, but His word, His work, His presence, His influence was in the prophets.

                        4.         The Spirit dwells with the Apostles - John 14:16-17. “In them”. Yet that dwelling in someone in the biblical sense means having close fellowship with a person.

                        5.         This is how we can be commanded to be filled with the Spirit - Ephesians 5:18-21

                                    a.         When we do the things the Spirit has commanded and taught

                                    b.         The fruits of His work blossoms in us - Galatians 5:22-25

V.        There is no escaping the presence of God. His power, His work, His influence is felt everywhere. - Psalms 139

            A.        Yet, this does not equate to God being in everything (pantheism)

                        1.         He is not in the podium or the building

                        2.         But God’s influence is felt in our lives as we follow His word

            B.        When we pray God hears us and answers (meaning deism is wrong)

            C.        His presence is felt all around us

            D.        The world, our lives, are an open book beneath His gaze - Proverbs 15:3; Psalms 11:4-7

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