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Christian pantheism

Albert Einstein. The mere mention of the name is usually synonymous with the word “genius”. His name is in the news again due to the impending sale of his famous “God letter” in which he decries a belief in God and the so-called primitive nature of religion.

Einstein was born on 14 March 1879 and died 18 April 1955. His most famous work was his theory of relativity. But for all his intelligence, Einstein rejected the source of it. He did not believe in a personal God who concerns Himself with the fates and actions of human beings. He considered that view naïve. Since his death (and even when he was alive), scholars tried to determine his views on religion, creation and the universe as a whole. After all, the man was a genius – if the smartest man alive could figure it all out, surely the world would have all the answers it needed.

In actual fact, trying to determine the foundation of Einstein’s beliefs was a lot more complicated than first thought. As you might know, he was born a Jew and has been labelled everything from agnostic to atheistic to pantheistic. That said, Einstein believed that it was the atheist who was the less burdened of all.

Pantheism, for those unfamiliar with the term, is the combination of theism (God is the supreme being) and pantheism (God is everything). Now, this is where matters get complicated and where some Christians start to fall into a trap of believing in the view of pantheism. Pantheists believe that everything which exists is actually God – their founding principle is that “God is everything and everything is God”. Certainly, we know that God is omnipresent, but God is not everything. The Bible clearly speaks of God as something separate from His creation. Let me provide some examples:-

· God is not the same thing as man (Numbers 23:19);

· The universe is a created thing (Genesis 1:1);

· Man is made in His image (Genesis 1:27).

Christian pantheists, whilst seemingly holding many of the same beliefs as Bible-believing Christians, deviate on one extraordinary issue – prayer. True pantheists do not pray; they meditate. Because they believe that God is everything, they do not believe that there is a separate God to whom you pray but that you need to meditate to feel as one with God. Our Bibles tell us that this is total heresy.

Christian pantheists argue that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is proof that pantheism is real and that it shows that God and man are one in the same. However, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is not an obscure metaphor for pantheism. If Scripture intended to teach that “all is God and God is all” it would not reference concepts such as salvation, sin, prayer or judgement, all of which imply an absolute, objective difference between God and man.

Scripture is very clear: God is not the same as His creation and He is certainly not the same as man. Though many may not see the harm in Christian pantheism, it is ultimately another example of poor Biblical interpretation and, even worse, logic.

In the end, Einstein’s beliefs closely match that of Baruch Spinoza. Unfortunately, Spinoza laid a lot of the groundwork for modern Biblical criticism. In fact, Einstein was quoted as saying, “I believe in Spinoza’s God.” Spinoza (also a Jew) believed that God is essentially equivalent to nature, therefore closely allying himself with pantheist views. In some ways, he was also an atheist because he denied the notion of God in theism.

God does exist and He is a personal, loving God who wants you to walk with Him. Don’t believe anybody else who tells you otherwise because it is the fool who hath said in his heart, there is no God.

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