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Pantheism

The view that the universe is to be identified with God, i.e., that there is only one reality, alternately describable as “God” or “nature.” Pantheism is clearly incompatible with the Christian view of creation and of the creature-Creator distinction so fundamental to Christian theology. In the tradition of Western culture, Spinoza* is the classic exponent of pantheism, but it is capable of a great diversity of expression, such as materialistic pantheism (d'Holbach), or psychological or mystical pantheism as in some Eastern religions. Pantheism is also an important strand in absolute idealism (e.g., Josiah Royce's The Conception of God, 1893) and in the Romanticism of Goethe* and Lessing.* There are interesting remarks of a pantheistic kind in the early philosophical jottings of Jonathan Edwards.* The term “pantheism” is first used in Toland's Socinianism Truly Stated (1705).

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