ADVERTISING
 
Wednesday, August 15   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 
 

POLL
New season
What kind of contents do you enjoy most?






SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Will Graham
1
 

The Creator/ Creation Distinction

Why Christians reject Pantheism, Deism and Dualism.

FRESH BREEZE AUTHOR Will Graham 10 JUNE 2017 10:30 h GMT+1

For our Christian doctrine of God to be orthodox, we must confess both the transcendence and immanence of God. Not only is God beyond the universe but He is also present within it. Both truths, based upon God’s omnipresence, are to be affirmed by all Christians.



Throughout the centuries, there have other Creator/ creation models proposed which we would do well to steer clear of in the name of biblical revelation. Let’s take a look at three of the most prominent.



Model #1: Pantheism



Pantheism is the doctrine that God is all and all is God. It is the exaltation of the immanence of God in detriment of His transcendence and otherness. This kind of thinking lay behind a great part of the theological liberalism that plagued Europe in the nineteenth centuries.



So, what’s so bad about pantheism?



First of all, it denies the personal nature of God. If God is the world-process then He has no independent personality apart from the cosmos. God is the world hence the doctrine of His personhood disappears. This is a blatant denial of biblical revelation.



 



Spinoza was a champion of classical Pantheism.



Secondly, since pantheism states that God is the world-process, it reasons that God is in a constant state of flux and change. There is no notion of God’s immutability, the holy One who uttered to Moses that sacred sentence: “I am that I am” (Exodus 3:14).



God, according to Scripture, does not change; whereas pantheism says that God does nothing but change. He will not be tomorrow what He is today (although using a masculine pronoun for God is problematic for any pantheist as the Lord is more of an ‘it’ than a ‘He’).



In third place, if God is the world-process, His unique holiness is dramatically compromised. Wherever sin takes place, it is God who is sinning as He is all things. God is no longer “holy, holy, holy” but sinful, vile and ungodly. By no means can this false pantheistic deity be in any way approved by Scripture.



Model #2: Deism



Deism states the exact opposite to pantheism. It is the exaltation of the transcendence of God in detriment of His immanence and nearness. It is a modern phenomenon that kicked off following Kant’s Enlightenment revolution.



So, what’s so bad about deism?



The first problem is that it violates the doctrine of God’s providence. God, contrary to deist thought, has not abandoned the world. Scripture makes clear that the Lord continues to sustain and uphold all that He has created. Deism, thus, was the first step towards a wholly secularized religion, devoid of God’s presence.



The second drawback is its outright denial of God’s immanence. Deism forgets that the Spirit of God is still actively at work throughout the whole planet. Not only does the Spirit abide within the Lord’s chosen people but He also moves throughout the whole creation as the Spirit of life.



Wherever there is life, there we have a manifestation of God’s precious Spirit (as the late Wolfhart Pannenberg reminded us).



Thirdly, and this critique could also apply just as easily to the pantheistic model discussed above, deism makes prayer void and useless. Since God is so utterly beyond us and has abandoned the world He created in much the same way as a watchmaker sells off the watches he makes, there is no concept of having any kind of relationship with the Lord of heaven and earth. Therefore, true spirituality dies a death of a thousand qualifications. Deists have no doctrine of prayer.



Model #3: Dualism



Dualism has always been more associated with the Eastern world but it has also appeared in the West under different guises. The key conviction regarding its system is that there are two eternal principles: one good, the other evil. So rather than postulating an eternal God as uniquely sovereign; there are two deities at work, so to speak.



So, what’s so bad about dualism?



To kick off, dualism is an out-an-out attack on the precious sovereignty of God. The Bible speaks of only one God –the blessed Trinity- who reigned long before anything else began.



Before the creation of the cosmos there was simply no other force at work outside of the sphere of God. Everything that was created stemmed, in the last analysis, from the Christian God. Even the devil and all of his phonies only exist because of the sovereign will of the Almighty.



 



The Chinese concept of Yin Yang is a traditional form of dualism.

Secondly, dualism destroys the Christian’s confidence. If there really are two eternal principles at work way out there, how can the believer have any notion of security regarding the future? How does the Christian know that His Lord will overcome all evil?



Is there any guarantee that evil won’t thwart God and eliminate Him completely? Dualism makes shipwreck of Christian security and in this sense it is a non-Gospel.



Finally, dualism commits the double evil of downplaying the grandeur of the Scriptural God and making far too much of evil. It forgets how our Protestant confessions of faith reveal how the Lord decided to allow evil entrance into the world in order to glorify His own name.



There is no contest between light and darkness. God is on the throne. No one can prevail against His will: not me, not you, not anything or anyone else for that matter. Even if the whole universe were to revolt against its Maker, God wouldn’t drop a bead of sweat. It’s all under control. Our God reigns.



Conclusion



The Christian, then, must not embrace a pantheistic, deistic or dualistic concept of the Creator/ creation distinction. The Bible confesses that the Lord who is immanent in creation also transcends the universe.



Furthermore, it makes plain that there is no force that can ultimately overthrow His glorious decrees. This means that the Christian can have great confidence regarding the future and display great faith in prayer knowing that the Lord of the universe hears him (her) every time he (she) calls upon Him in the name of the blessed Mediator, Jesus Christ.


 

 


1
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 

Deist
10/06/2017
23:43 h
1
 
Re Deism, it is a common misconception that Deism teaches God abandoned God's creation. This is incorrect and probably originates with Noah Webster, the Calvinist. Since there is no man-made dogma in Deism, Deists are free to believe what is most reasonable to them regarding things like God intervening in human affairs through Providence, etc .The best book written about Deism is Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason. It is very evident from this book that the definition is incorrect.
 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - The Creator/ Creation Distinction
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA

“Prostitution is nobody’s dream,  it’s a very traumatic lifestyle”, says Kathy Bryan, director of the Elevate Academy. She mentors former victims.

 
Christians in politics? Christians in politics?

What is the role of Christians serving in politics? An interview with Auke Minnema, the new General Director of the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM).

 
Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies

RZIM International Director Michael Ramsden responds to questions about the secularisation of Europe, the role of Christians in public leadership and the new ‘culture of victimism’.

 
Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe

The economist summarises the manifesto “Confederal Europe: Strong Nations, Strong Union” and explains why personal relationships should be at the centre of our economy, education and democracy. 

 
Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

 
Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Sharing Jesus with World Cup fans in Moscow Sharing Jesus with World Cup fans in Moscow

A team of Steiger mission is starting conversations about the gospel in the middst of the football celebration in Russia.

 
Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible

At the 2018 Apologetics Forum in Comarruga (Spain), Michael Ramsden, Pablo Martinez, Ruth Valerio and José de Segovia analysed how society and the Bible approach the issues of personal identity, integrity, sexuality, pop culture, and environmental care.

 
European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga

The network of Christian ministries working for the inclusion of people with disabilities, celebrated its tenth continental meeting in Latvia with the participation of 12 countries.

 

 
Coexistence in the church - a model for society Coexistence in the church - a model for society

“Gospel, identity and coexistence” were the themes of the General Assembly of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance. Two days in Palma de Mallorca to reflect about the role of evangelical churches in society.

 
'Ungi kulimi changana' 'Ungi kulimi changana'

Educator and journalist Jordi Torrents shares images of the Sekeleka social centre in Mozambique. About 50 children live there, many with some kind of disability. All photos were taken with permission.

 
The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve

For the first time, the President of Portugal attended a worship service in an evangelical church. It was in Sintra, on Christmas Eve.

 
VIDEO Video
 
Being a peacemaker Being a peacemaker

Ken Sande, Founder and President of Relational Wisdom 360, develops a practical systematic theology for pursuing peace and resolving the conflicts of real life. 

 
“No one should have to leave their values at the door” “No one should have to leave their values at the door”

Author Krish Kandiah talks with politician Tim Farron about the Christian faith, politics and secularism.

 
What are the essential characteristics of a godly leader? What are the essential characteristics of a godly leader?

Clinical Pastoral Counsellor Emoke Tapolyai reflect on three characteristics Christians who have been given leadership roles should develop.

 
Reaching non-Christian ‘Christians’ Reaching non-Christian ‘Christians’

How can we reach those who call themselves ‘Christians’ but have not experienced a conversion to Christ? Forty missiologists and mission practitioners came together for a Lausanne Movement global consultation in Rome.

 
Trailer: “The Peace Between” Trailer: “The Peace Between”

A film about the experience of refugees in Europe. Churches, small groups and individuals are encouraged to use it during Refugee Week: 17-24 June.

 
Heart Heart

A short animation film by Swiss cartoonist Alain Auderset tells the message of the Bible in four minutes.

 
Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

 
An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.