What is Pantheism?
By W. A. Colcord
Originally published on The Central Advance - April 20, 1904, Pg. 2
What is Pantheism? Pantheism is "the doctrine that the universe, taken or conceived as a whole, is God;" in other words, that GOD, AS A PERSONAL BEING, IS IN EVERYTHING, and therefore that He must be as large as the universe itself.
What does the work in question teach respecting the personality of God? After stating that, according to certain calculations based upon statements found in the fortieth chapter of Isaiah, the height of God "must be at least 81,000 miles," the work says: "It is just as easy to conceive of a person filling all space as of a person having a height equal to ten times the diameter of the earth."—p. 33. BUT A PERSON "FILLING ALL SPACE" IS THE PANTHEISTIC IDEA OF GOD.
The work teaches that when men recognize "this great truth, the universal unity of being," they will "no longer be able to call some things sacred, other things common. All things become sacred. Every eating and drinking is a sacrament, a partaking of God's substance sacrificed for our sustenance." —p. 459.
The work "Desire of Ages," p. 660, teaches that "to the death of Christ we owe even this earthly life," that "the bread we eat is the purchase of His broken body;" and that "the light shining from that communion service in the upper chamber makes sacred the provisions for our daily life. The family board becomes the table of the Lord, and every meal a sacrament."
One conclusion, it will be noticed, is based upon the pantheistic idea of God, the "universal unity of being," the other upon the cross of Christ. And this is as near as the writings of the two works agree upon the subject of the personality of God. From the apparent resemblance in sound and phraseology, THE CARELESS READER MUGHT CONCLUDE THAT THE TWO WORKS TAUGHT THE SAME THING, WHILE IN SENTIMENT AND IN ACTUAL FACT THEY ARE WIDE APART.
"Living Temple" teaches that GOD IS EVERYWHERE PRESENT IN HIS PERSON. The Bible and the writings of the spirit of prophecy teach that HE IS EVERYWHERE PRESENT BY HIS SPIRIT.
"Living Temple" teaches that "the sunshine is Heaven's light and life and glory, the true Shekinah, the real presence."—p. 412. The Bible teaches that God made the sunshine.
If the power, wisdom, and presence of God are dependent upon and in proportion to the size of His person, then in order for Him to be all powerful, all-wise, and omnipresent, He must, in His person, be infinite in size. If, in order for God to be great, He must, be large, then for Him to be almighty, HE MUST, IN HIS PERSON, "FILL ALL SPACE." THERE IS NO ESCAPE FROM THIS CONCLUSION. But this is pantheism pure and straight, and unless those setting forth this idea of the largeness of God's person are willing to go the whole length and accept THE INEVITABLE CONCLUSION THAT HE DOES, IN HIS PERSON, FILL ALL SPACE, they would better not start out on the theory at all, but leave the question of God's size just where God Himself has left it in His word,—a secret which He has not revealed. Let us concern ourselves with the things which have been revealed, leaving pantheism where it belongs, to the heathen and to heathenism.