Pandeism or Pan-Deism (from Ancient Greek: πάν pan "all" and Latin: deus meaning "God" in the sense of deism), is a term describing beliefs incorporating or mixing logically reconcilable elements of pantheism (that "God", or its metaphysical equivalent, is identical to the Universe) and deism (that the creator-god who designed the Universe no longer exists in a status where it can be reached, and can instead be confirmed only by reason). It is therefore most particularly the belief that the Creator of the Universe actually became the Universe, and so ceased to exist as a separate and conscious entity.[1][2]

Through this synergy pandeism claims to answer primary objections to deism (why would God create and then not interact with the Universe?) and to pantheism (how did the Universe originate and what is its purpose?).


A pantheistic form of deism

Pandeism falls within the traditional hierarchy of philosophies addressing the nature of God. This use of the term is a blend of the Greek root πάν ( 'pan' ), meaning 'all', and the Latin deus meaning God. These differing roots make pandeism a hybrid word, like automobile, hyperactivity, neonatal, sociology, and television. Pan is used in this same way in pantheism and panentheism, while deism is derived from deus. Pandeism shares these roots as a variation of the term "pantheism", and of "deism".

The words deism and theism are both derived from words for god. While the root of the word deism is the Latin word deus, which means "god", the root of the word theism is the Greek word θεóς (theos), which also means "god".

Prior to the 17th century the terms ["deism" and "deist"] were used interchangeably with the terms "theism" and "theist", respectively. ... Theologians and philosophers of the seventeenth century began to give a different signification to the words.... Both [theists and deists] asserted belief in one supreme God, the Creator.... and agreed that God is personal and distinct from the world.  But the theist taught that god remained actively interested in and operative in the world which he had made, whereas the deist maintained that God endowed the world at creation with self-sustaining and self-acting powers and then left it to the operation of these powers acting as second causes.[3]

The deist movement adopted that name to refer to a God not knowable by revelation, but who could only be found by rational thought. Perhaps the first use of the term deist is in Pierre Viret's Instruction Chrestienne (1564), reprinted in Bayle's Dictionnaire entry Viret.  Viret, a Calvinist, regarded deism as a new form of Italian heresy.[4]  Viret wrote:

There are many who confess that while they believe like the Turks and the Jews that there is some sort of God and some sort of deity, yet with regard to Jesus Christ and to all that to which the doctrine of the Evangelists and the Apostles testify, they take all that to be fables and dreams.... I have heard that there are of this band those who call themselves Deists, an entirely new word, which they want to oppose to Atheist. For in that atheist signifies a person who is without God, they want to make it understood that they are not at all without God, since they certainly believe there is some sort of God, whom they even recognize as creator of heaven and earth...

Pantheism, in turn, came from the term "pantheist" purportedly first referenced by Irish writer John Toland in his 1705 work, Socinianism Truly Stated, by a pantheist. The word "pantheism" was first used by Toland's opponent Jacques de la Faye in de la Faye's Defensio Religionis ('Defense of Religion') a 251-page critique of Toland published at Utrecht in 1709.[5] The earliest use of the actual term, Pandeism, may have come as early as 1787, with another use related in 1838, both discussed below, though it is possible that the relative authorities were really discussing Pantheism. The unequivocal 1859 coining of "Pandeism" explicitly in contrast to both Pantheism and Deism by Moritz Lazarus and Heymann Steinthal is discussed below.

Thus no-one used the term Pandeism or Pandeist before the 18th century, because these words did not exist. However, many earlier writers, schools of philosophy, and religious movements expressed essentially pandeistic ideas.

The concepts of pantheism and deism can each be used to cover a wide variety of positions on a wide variety of religious issues. Thus, pandeism may theoretically cover a wide variety of positions, so long as these logically fall at the same time within some form of pantheism and some form of deism. Like many Deists (and some Pantheists), Pandeists may refer to "God" as "the Deus" to avoid confusing Pandeist conceptions of the creator with those of theistic faiths.

Compatibility with scientific and philosophical proofs

Scientific proofs

In 2009, Robert G. Brown, a professor of physics at Duke University with a background in philosophy, published a scientific proof asserted to demonstrate the truth of pandeism under information theory.[6] Titled "The Pandeist Theorem", the theorem states that "If God exists, then God is identical to the Universe. That is, the theorem is a statement of conditional pandeism. If God exists at all, God must be absolutely everything that exists."[6] The basic premise is that a being properly defined as God must have absolute knowledge of the Universe, and that no method except existing as a real-time map of the whole content of the Universe would permit that. Brown's conception does not accept a created "Universe," (he is careful to distinguish the "Universe" to mean all that is, including God, from the "Cosmos" which is simply our physical experience of galaxies and other physical phenomena) but one that is pandeistic without having been created (as "God" can, and indeed must, become the Cosmos) although he allows for the possible consciousness of "God" - the Universe itself - at n-dimensional levels.[6]

Stephen Hawking's recent determination that our Universe (and others) needed no Creator to come about inspired the response from Deepak Chopra, interviewed by Larry King, that:

"he says in the book that at least 10 to the power of 500 universes could possibly exist in super position of possibility at this level, which to me suggests an omniscient being. The only difference I have was God did not create the universe, God became the universe."[7]

Chopra insists that Hawking's discoveries speak only to the nature of God, not to its existence.

The pandeistic universe is just as the universe described in naturalistic pantheism, with the distinction that the belief necessarily encompasses a sentient being that existed before the formation of the universe. Panentheism also suggests a universe designed by a sentient deity, and composed of matter derived from that deity.  The belief systems part on the point that panentheism asserts that God is greater than the universe, and therefore continues a separate existence alongside it, while pandeism asserts that everything that was the Deus became incorporated into the universe.

The God Theory

Physicist Bernard Haisch has published two books expressing a pandeistic model of our Universe.  The first was the 2006 book entitled The God Theory, in which he writes

I offer a genuine insight into how you can, and should, be a rational, science-believing human being and at the same time know that you are also an immortal spiritual being, a spark of God. I propose a worldview that offers a way out of the hate and fear-driven violence engulfing the planet.

Haisch published a follow-up in 2010, "The Purpose-Driven Universe." Both books reject both atheism and traditional theistic viewpoints, favoring instead a model of Pandeism wherein our Creator has become our Universe, to share in the actualized experiences therein manifested.  Haisch provides as proof of his views a combination of fine tuning and mystical experiences arguments.

Comparison to Eastern philosophy

The ideas described by pandeism in the West have resonance with certain Eastern philosophies, particularly with some expressions of Hinduism. Robert G. Brown, in his Pandeist Theorem, identifies Hinduism as "perhaps surprisingly, remarkably compatible with the theorem," and specifically observes that "pure Vedantic Hinduism as described in particular in the Upanishads is monist and either pandeist or panendeist...."[8] Similarly, Warren Sharpe wrote:

To the Hindu, for example, God didn't create the universe, but God became the universe. Then he forgot that he became the universe. Why would God do this? Basically, for entertainment. You create a universe, and that in itself is very exciting.  But then what? Should you sit back and watch this universe of yours having all the fun? No, you should have all the fun yourself. To accomplish this, God transformed into the whole universe. God is the Universe, and everything in it. But the universe doesn't know that because that would ruin the suspense. The universe is God's great drama, and God is the stage, the actors, and the audience all at once. The title of this epic drama is "The Great Unknown Outcome". Throw in potent elements like passion, love, hate, good, evil, free will; and who knows what will happen? No one knows, and that is what keeps the universe interesting. But everyone will have a good time. And there is never really any danger, because everyone is really God, and God is really just playing around.[9]

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, as well, had previously observed this:

In the Mandukya Upanishad it is written, "As a spider throws out and retracts its web, as herbs spring up in the ground . . . so is the Universe derived from the undecaying one," Brahma, for the "Germ of unknown Darkness", is the material from which all evolves and develops, "as the web from the spider, as foam from the water," etc. This is only graphic and true, if the term Brahma, the "Creator", is derived from the root brih, to increase or expand. Brahma "expands", and becomes the Universe woven out of his own substance.[10]


In mythology

Many ancient mythologies suggested that the world was created from the physical substance of a dead deity or a being of similar power. In Babylonian mythology, the young god Marduk slew Tiamat and created the known world from her body. Similarly, Norse mythology posited that Odin and his brothers, Vili and Vé defeated a frost giant, Ymir and then created the world from his.  Later Chinese mythology recounts the creation of elements of the physical world (mountains, rivers, the sun and moon, etc.) from the body of a creator called Pángǔ (盤古). Such stories did not go so far as to identify the designer of the world as being one as having used his or her own body to provide the material.

But, one such example exists in Polynesian myth, for in the islands of the Pacific, the idea of Supreme Deity manifests in a divinity that New Zealanders call Tangaroa, the Hawaiians Kanaroa, the Tongans and Samoans Tangaloa, the Georgian and Society islanders Taaroa. A native poetic definition of the Creator relates: " He was; Taaroa was his name; he abode in the void. No earth, no sky, no men. Taaroa calls, but nought answers; and alone existing, he became the universe. The props are Taaroa; the rocks are Taaroa; the sands are Taaroa; it is thus he himself is named."[11]

In Jesus and the Lost Goddess the authors claim that some Gnostic Christians held to a pandeistic idea (while acknowledging that most believed in an a celestial disaster and an ignorant/evil demiurge).

Ancient philosophy

Religious studies professor, F. E. Peters traced the idea of pandeism to the philosophy of the Milesians, who had also pioneered knowledge of pantheism, in his 1967 Greek Philosophical Terms: A Historical Lexicon, noting that "[w]hat appeared... at the center of the Pythagorean tradition in philosophy, is another view of psyche that seems to owe little or nothing to the pan-vitalism or pan-deism that is the legacy of the Milesians.[12]

Milesian philosopher Anaximander in particular favored the use of rational principles to contend that everything in the world was formed of variations of a single substance (apeiron), which had been temporarily liberated from the primal state of the world. Friedrich Nietzsche, in his Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks, stated that Anaximander viewed "...all coming-to-be as though it were an illegitimate emancipation from eternal being, a wrong for which destruction is the only penance."[13] Anaximander was among the material monists, along with Thales, who believed that everything was composed of water, Anaximenes, who believed it was air, and Heraclitus, who believed it to be fire.

Gottfried Große in his 1787 interpretation of Pliny the Elder’s Natural History, describes Pliny, a First Century figure, as a pandeist as well,[14] though this may be a misunderstanding on Große's part, no other historian having proposed the same as to Pliny the Elder.

Origin of modern pandeism

In the 9th century, Johannes Scotus Eriugena proposed in his great work, De divisione naturae (also called Periphyseon, probably completed around 867 AD), that the nature of the Universe is divisible into four distinct classes:

Johannes Scotus Eriugena was among the first to propose that God became the Universe, and did so to learn something about itself.
  1. that which creates and is not created;
  2. that which is created and creates;
  3. that which is created and does not create;
  4. that which neither is created nor creates.

The first is God as the ground or origin of all things, the last is God as the final end or goal of all things, that into which the world of created things ultimately returns. One particularly controversial point made by Eriugena was that God was "nothing", in that God could not fall into any earthly classification. Eriugena followed the argument of Pseudo-Dionysius and from neo-Platonists such as Gaius Marius Victorinus that because God was above Being, God was not a being: "So supremely perfect is the essence of the Divinity that God is incomprehensible not only to us but also to Himself. For if He knew Himself in any adequate sense He should place Himself in some category of thought, which would be to limit Himself."[15] A more contemporary statement of this idea is that: "Since God is not a being, he is therefore not intelligible... This means not only that we cannot understand him, but also that he cannot understand himself. Creation is a kind of divine effort by God to understand himself, to see himself in a mirror."[16]

Eriugena depicts God as an evolving being, developing through the four stages that he outlines. The second and third classes together compose the created Universe, which is the manifestation of God, God in process, Theophania; the second being the world of Platonic ideas or forms. The third is the physical manifestation of God, having evolved through the realm of ideas and made those ideas seem to be matter, and may be pantheistic or pandeistic, depending on the interference of God in the Universe:

[God] enters... the realm of space and time, where the ideas become subject to multiplicity, change, imperfection, and decay. In this last stage they are no longer pure ideas but only the appearances of reality, that is phenomena. ... In the realm of space and time the ideas take on the burden of matter, which is the source of suffering, sickness, and sin. The material world, therefore, of our experience is composed of ideas clothed in matter — here Eriugena attempts a reconciliation of Platonism with Aristotelean notions. Man, too, is composed of idea and matter, soul and body. He is the culmination of the process of things from God, and with him, as we shall see, begins the process of return of all things to God.[15]

The divine system is thus distinguished by beginning, middle and end; but these are in essence one; the difference is only the consequence of man's temporal limitations. This eternal process is viewed with finite comprehension through the form of time, forcing the application of temporal distinctions to that which is extra- or supra-temporal. Eriugena concludes this work with another controversial argument, and one that had already been scathingly rejected by Augustine of Hippo, that "[n]ot only man, however, but everything else in nature is destined to return to God."[15] Eriugena's work was condemned by a council at Sens by Honorius III (1225), who described it as "swarming with worms of heretical perversity," and by Pope Gregory XIII in 1585. Such theories were thus suppressed for hundreds of years thence.

Pandeism from the 16th Century on

The ideas of Spinoza lay the foundations for pandeism.

Giordano Bruno conceived of a God who was immanent in nature, and for this very purpose was uninterested in human affairs (all such events being equally part of God). However, it was Baruch Spinoza in the 17th Century who appears to have been the earliest to use deistic reason to arrive at the conception of a pantheistic God. Spinoza's God was deistic in the sense that it could only be proved by appeal to reason, but it was also one with the Universe. As one critic states:

The labeling of Spinoza's philosophy as "pantheism" by the Church was meant more as an invective and indictment than a true analysis of his writings. It was really a variant of Deism -- a "pandeism,"... Theism, however, posits something very different. Theism believes that nature was not God, but created BY God. That God is a completely independent sentient and cognitive Being, and that God interacts with his "children" on a personal level (e.g., The Bible).[17]

Unlike Eriugena, Spinoza's pantheistic focus on the Universe as it already existed did not address the possible creation of the Universe from the substance of God, for Spinoza rejected the very possibility of changes in the form of matter required as a premise for such a belief.

Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn was the first to articulate a pantheistic deism.

18th Century British philosopher Thomas Paine also approached this territory in his great philosophical treatise, The Age of Reason, although Paine was concentrated on the deistic aspects of his inquiry.[18] According to the Encyclopedia of American Philosophy "Later Unitarian Christians (such as William Ellery Channing), transcendentalists (such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau), writers (such as Walt Whitman) and some pragmatists (such as William James) took a more pantheist or pandeist approach by rejecting views of God as separate from the world."[19] It was Dutch naturalist Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn who first specifically detailed a religious philosophy incorporating deism and pantheism, in his four volume treatise, Java, seine Gestalt, Pflanzendecke, und sein innerer Bau (Images of Light and Shadow from Java's interior) released anonymously between 1850 and 1854. Junghuhn's book was banned for a time in Austria and parts of Germany as an attack on Christianity. In 1884, theologian Sabine Baring-Gould would contend that Christianity itself demanded that the seemingly irreconcilable elements of pantheism and deism must be combined:

This world is either the idea or it is the workmanship of God. If we say that it is the idea,--then we are Pantheists, if we say that it is the work, then we are Deists... But how, it may be asked, can two such opposite theories as Pantheism and Deism be reconciled,--they mutually exclude one another? I may not be able to explain how they are conciliable, but I boldly affirm that each is simultaneously true, and that each must be true, for each is an inexorably logical conclusion, and each is a positive conclusion, and all positive conclusions must be true if Christ be the Ideal and the focus of all truths.[20]

Within a decade after that, Andrew Martin Fairbairn similarly wrote that "both Deism and Pantheism err because they are partial; they are right in what they affirm, wrong in what they deny. It is as antitheses that they are false; but by synthesis they may be combined or dissolved into truth".[21] Ironically, Fairbairn's criticism concluded that it was the presence of an active God that was missing from both concepts, rather than the rational explanation of God's motives and appearance of absence.

Literary critic, Hayden Carruth, said of 18th century figure Alexander Pope that it was "Pope's rationalism and pandeism with which he wrote the greatest mock-epic in English literature"[22] In the 19th century, poet Alfred Tennyson revealed that his "religious beliefs also defied convention, leaning towards agnosticism and pandeism",[23] integrating deism with the pantheism of Spinoza, and Spinoza's predecessor, Giordano Bruno.[24] Friedrich Engels var also Pandeistic. Marx's General: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels By Tristram Hunt. 2010. Page 43.

Developments from the 20th Century to today

Understanding of pandeism was much advanced in the 1940s by the process theology of Charles Hartshorne. Hartshorne identified pandeism as one of his many models of the possible nature of God, acknowledging that a God capable of change (as Hartshorne insisted God must be) is consistent with pandeism. Hartshorne preferred pandeism to pantheism, explaining that "it is not really the theos that is described".[25] However, he specifically rejected pandeism early on in favor of a God whose characteristics included "absolute perfection in some respects, relative perfection in all others" or "AR", writing that this theory "is able consistently to embrace all that is positive in either deism or pandeism."[26] Hartshorne accepted the label of panentheism for his beliefs, declaring that "panentheistic doctrine contains all of deism and pandeism except their arbitrary negations".[26]

In 2001, Scott Adams published God's Debris: A Thought Experiment, in which he explicitly set down his own variation of pandeism, a radical form of kenosis. Adams surmised that an omnipotent God annihilated himself in the Big Bang, because God would already know everything possible except his own lack of existence, and would have to end that existence in order to complete his knowledge. Adams asks about God, "would his omnipotence include knowing what happens after he loses his omnipotence, or would his knowledge of the future end at that point?"[27] He proceeds from this question to the following analysis:

A God who knew the answer to that question would indeed know everything and have everything. For that reason he would be unmotivated to do anything or create anything. There would be no purpose to act in any way whatsoever. But a God who had one nagging question—what happens if I cease to exist?—might be motivated to find the answer in order to complete his knowledge. ... The fact that we exist is proof that God is motivated to act in some way. And since only the challenge of self-destruction could interest an omnipotent God, it stands to reason that we... are God's debris.[28]

Adams' God exists now as a combination of the smallest units of energy of which the Universe is made (many levels smaller than quarks), which Adams called "God Dust", and the law of probability, or "God's debris", hence the title. An unconventional twist introduced by Adams proposes that God is in the process of being restored not through some process such as the Big Crunch, but because humankind itself is becoming God.

Adams is hardly the first author to incorporate pandeistic doctrines into fiction. Robert A. Heinlein, in his  Stranger in a Strange Land, a 1967 novel, so identifies a character who appears to other characters as identifying humanity as God. Heinlein's pandeistic bent in that novel is encapsulated in his use of the phrase "Thou Art God", and in key passages in which the protagonist of the story, Michael Valentine Smith, explains how, "Thou art God, and I am God and all that groks is God," God being that which is in all things (even the "happy blades of grass") and having no choice but to experience all things. Smith sets humankind on the course to releasing itself from its physical limitations, and thus truly becoming God. The idea of humankind becoming God is also fundamental to the 1950s Isaac Asimov short story, "The Last Question", in which human and computer knowledge is merged before the heat death of the Universe. The computer, which continued to exist in hyperspace, had been asked how to stop entropy. It finally figured out the answer and implemented it, saying "Let there be light!" This is not a necessary element of pandeism, but correlates with it well.

The 1976 Simon Raven novel, The Survivors includes an exchange between characters where one observes, "God became the universe. Therefore the universe is God." while the other counters:

In becoming the universe God abdicated. He destroyed himself as God. He turned what he had been, his true self, into nullity and thereby forfeited the Godlike qualities which pertained to him.  The universe which he has become is also his grave. He has no control in it or over it. God, as God, is dead.[29]

Another notable pandeist is documentarian Bruce Parry who spoke of how his experiences among primitive tribes led him to adopt the more skeptical form of pandeism:

When I came back from expeditions, I had some experiences that made me readdress all that. I'd pretty much known all along that Christianity wasn't for me. Ever since then, I've been on my own quest to find another truth. I can't read novels, but I do read books about cosmology, about astrophysics, about genetics. I'm interested in altered states of mind, and creation myths. It's all part of the same thing - I want to know why we think what we think. Now, I'd describe myself as pan-deist, reluctantly verging on atheist.[30][31]

Parry has since been described, with his apparent approval, as a "Christian turned sceptical pan-deist turned reluctant atheist" who "sees himself on a spiritual journey."[32]

History of use of the term

Some inconsistent uses of this nuanced term has been made over time. It has occasionally been used to refer dismissively to pantheism alone, from the presumption that pantheism is deistic. It has been used to mean simultaneous belief in all religions (omnism or omnitheism), or some elements thereof.


 The term Pandeism is a blend of the  Greek root word πάν or 'pan' meaning 'all' and Latin word deus meaning  God.  These differing roots make pandeism a hybrid word, like automobile, hyperactivity, neonatal, sociology, and television. Pan is used in this same way in pantheism and panentheism, while deism is derived from deus. Pandeism shares these roots as a variation of the term "pantheism", and of "deism".

This can lead to criticism because it goes against the Classical compound method of creating words. Technical English words should only be constructed from Latin or Greek words not a combination. Indeed, in The Pilgrimage from Deism to Agnosticism, Moncure Daniel Conway stated that the name is "an unscholarly combination."[33] Pandeism holds that at some time or in some way the universe was sentient so it is separated from pantheism. It bears similarities to the god of the Watchmaker analogy which is commonly found in arguments for Monotheism.

Earliest use

1787 use of the term "Pandeisten" to describe a God that is one with the divinely designed world.

The earliest mention of pandeism found to date is in 1787, in a footnote of Gottfried Große’s translation of Pliny the Elder’s Natural History:

Beym Plinius, den man, wo nicht Spinozisten, doch einen Pandeisten nennen konnte, ist Natur oder Gott kein von der Welt getrenntes oder abgesondertes Wesen. Seine Natur ist die ganze Schöpfung im Konkreto, und eben so scheint es mit seiner Gottheit beschaffen zu seyn.[14]

English translation:

In Pliny, whom one could call, if not a Spinozist, but perhaps a Pandeist, Nature is not a being divided off or separated from the world. His nature is the whole of creation, in concrete, and the same appears to be true also of his divinity.

What's described here appears to be a description of Pantheism rather than Pandeism. There is no mention of God existing before creation, but rather of a God synonymous with Nature.

Pandeism was next mentioned in 1838 by Italian phrenologist Luigi Ferrarese in Memorie Risguardanti la Dottrina Frenologica ("Thoughts Regarding the Doctrine of Phrenology"):

Dottrina, che pel suo idealismo poco circospetto, non solo la fede, ma la stessa ragione offende (il sistema di Kant): farebbe mestieri far aperto gli errori pericolosi, così alla Religione, come alla Morale, di quel psicologo franzese, il quale ha sedotte le menti (Cousin), con far osservare come la di lui filosofia intraprendente ed audace sforza le barriere della sacra Teologia, ponendo innanzi ad ogn'altra autorità la propria: profana i misteri, dichiarandoli in parte vacui di senso, ed in parte riducendoli a volgari allusioni, ed a prette metafore; costringe, come faceva osservare un dotto Critico, la rivelazione a cambiare il suo posto con quello del pensiero istintivo e dell' affermazione senza riflessione e colloca la ragione fuori della persona dell'uomo dichiarandolo un frammento di Dio, una spezie di pandeismo spirituale introducendo, assurdo per noi, ed al Supremo Ente ingiurioso, il quale reca onda grave alla libertà del medesimo, ec, ec.[34]

Ferrarese was unequivocally critical, as he attacked the philosophy of Victor Cousin  as a doctrine which "locates reason outside the human person, declaring man a fragment of God, introducing a sort of spiritual Pandeism, absurd for us, and injurious to the Supreme Being." Though Ferrarese's target, Cousin, has often been identified as a pantheist, it was said that he repudiated that label on the basis that unlike Spinoza, Cousin asserted that "he does not hold with Spinoza and the Eleatics that God is a pure substance, and not a cause." [35]

A more optimistic note was struck in the 1859 German work, Zeitschrift für Völkerpsychologie und Sprachwissenschaft by philosophers and frequent collaborators Moritz Lazarus and Heymann Steinthal, who wrote:

Man stelle es also den Denkern frei, ob sie Theisten, Pan-theisten, Atheisten, Deisten (und warum nicht auch Pandeisten?)...[36]

This is translated as:

Man leaves it to the philosophers, whether they are Theists, Pan-theists, Atheists, Deists (and why not also Pandeists?)...

Earlier in the 19th century, some figures (particularly religionist Godfrey Higgins, later echoed by occult figure John Ballou Newbrough) used an etymologically distinct variation of the term to describe the beliefs that they attributed to a particular cult or sect (see Pandeism (Godfrey Higgins) for this use). Higgins, in particular, used the term "Pandeism" as early as 1833 to describe his theorized cult of Pandu and the Pandavas.[37]

Another view expressed is more by way of comparison:

Certo è che quel concetto forma una delle basi morali fondamentali di religioni i cui segnaci sono oltre i due terzi della popolazione del globo, mentre è influenzato dall'indole speciale di ciascuna di esse, cioè da un idealismo sovrumano nel Cristianesimo, da un nichilismo antiumano nel Buddismo, e da un pandeismo eclettico nell'incipiente ma progrediente Bramoismo indiano; e a queste credenze che ammettono il principio ideale della fratellanza universale, conviene aggiungere il naturalismo estetico scientifico greco-romano e moderno che inspira, in modo sostanziale, tutto l'insegnamento pubblico Europeo, e contro il quale protestarono sempre e molto logicamente gli ortodossi cristiani, da Paolo II papa a Giuseppe di Maistre.[38]
It is certain that this concept [universal brotherhood] forms one of the fundamental moral bases of religions whose believers are more than two-thirds of the world's population, while it [that concept], at the same time, is influenced by the unique temperament of each of them; that is to say, by a superhuman idealism in Christianity, by an anti-human nihilism in Buddhism, and by an incipient but growing (progressing) pandeism of Indian Brahmanism.  Furthermore, to this set of beliefs, all of which admit an ideal principle of universal brotherhood, it makes sense to include naturalism in all of its forms – aesthetic, scientific, Greco-Roman, and modern - which naturalism influences, to a significant degree, all of the public education (conducted) in Europe, and against which (all) orthodox Christians, from Pope Paul II to Joseph de Maistre, always protest with perfect logic (always and very logically).

Use of the term in the Twentieth Century

The term appears to be used to describe a synthesis of pantheism and deism by William Harbutt Dawson, in his 1904 biographical work, Matthew Arnold and His Relation to the Thought of Our Time. Dawson used the term "Pan-Deism" as a comparative reference point, writing:

... whatever the deity which satisfied Arnold's personal experience may have been, the religion which he gives us in Literature and Dogma and God and the Bible is neither Deism nor bare Pan-Deism, but a diluted Positivism. As an ethical system it is in theory admirable, but its positive value is in the highest degree questionable. Pascal's judgment upon the God who emerged from the philosophical investigations of René Descartes was that He was a God who was unnecessary.[39]

Early in the 20th century, Pandeism, with its sweeping reinterpretation of the nature of the Deus and the purpose of mankind, was viewed as a threat to Christianity and possibly a force for the positive reorganization of human civilization. Towards the beginning of World War I, an article in the Yale Sheffield Monthly published by the Yale University Sheffield Scientific School commented:

Are we virtuous merely because we are restrained by the fetters of the law? We hear men prophecy that this war means the death of Christianity and an era of Pandeism or perhaps even the destruction of all which we call modern civilization and culture. We hear men predict that the ultimate result of the war will be a blessing to humanity.[40]

A similar concern was raised by Charles Anselm Bolton in a 1963 article, Beyond the Ecumenical: Pan-deism?:[41] "I first came upon this extension of ecumenism into pan-deism among some Roman Catholic scholars interested primarily in the "reunion of the churches," Roman, Orthodox, Anglican." . . . . "We may perhaps ask what is the ultimate aim of the Curia in promoting the pan-deist movement."[42]

An early 19th century German philosopher, Paul Friedrich Köhler, expressed the skeptical view that all of these religious labels were referring to the same thing. Köhler wrote:

Pantheismus und Pandeismus, Monismus und Dualismus: alles dies sind in Wirklichkeit nur verschiedene Formen des Gottschauens, verschiedene Beleuchtungsarten des Grundbegriffes, nämlich des Höchsten, von dem aus die verschiedenen Strahlungen in die Menschenseele sich hineinsenken und hier ein Spiegelbild projizieren, dessen Wahrnehmung die charakteriologische Eigenart des Einzelindividuums, die durch zeitliches, familiäres und soziologisches Milieu bedingte Auffassungsgabe vermittelt.[43]

Roughly translated, this means that Pantheism, Pandeism, Monism and Dualism all refer to the same God illuminated in different ways, and that whatever the label, the human soul emanates from this God.

In 1997, Pastor Bob Burridge[44][45] of the Genevan Institute for Reformed Studies[46] wrote an essay titled God Is Not the Author of Sin, also identifying pandeism-described as a deistic refinement or subset of pantheism-as a threat to Christianity:

All the actions of created intelligences are not merely the actions of God. He has created a universe of beings which are said to act freely and responsibly as the proximate causes of their own moral actions. When individuals do evil things it is not God the Creator and Preserver acting. If God was the proximate cause of every act it would make all events to be "God in motion". That is nothing less than pantheism, or more exactly, pandeism.[47]

Burridge disagrees that such is the case, decrying that "The Creator is distinct from his creation. The reality of secondary causes is what separates Christian theism from pandeism."[47]

Burridge concludes by challenging his reader to determine why "calling God the author of sin demand[s] a pandeistic understanding of the universe effectively removing the reality of sin and moral law."[48]

There is marked contrast in a 1995 news article quoting this use of the term by Jim Garvin, a Vietnam vet who became a Trappist monk in the Holy Cross Abbey of Berryville, Virginia, and went on to lead the economic development of Phoenix, Arizona. Garvin described his spiritual position as "'pandeism' or 'pan-en-deism,' something very close to the Native American concept of the all- pervading Great Spirit..."[49]

Variations on the concept

Some uses to which the term has been put are etymologically disjunctive, as they ascribe a meaning to the term that does not reflect the roots of what is an obvious portmanteau within a well defined family of similar terms.

Conversely, the term may describe a deistic pantheism, in which a God that has always been pantheistic has ceased a previously active interaction with the Universe. The term has been used in some instances as a restatement of pantheism (the concept that God and the Universe are one) or panendeism (the concept that God both is the Universe, and transcends the Universe). Others have specified that it is a concept distinct from pantheism, and have used it instead to describe a Universe which combines elements of pantheism (for example, that God and the Universe are one) and deism (for example, that a creator God created a self-regulating Universe, but subsequently ceased to actively intervene in its operations).


Some theologians have criticised particular points of pandeism. An example is William Walker Atkinson, in his Mastery of Being:[50]

It will be seen that this fact of the Immutability of REALITY, when clearly conceived, must serve to confute and refute the erroneous theories of certain schools of Pantheism which hold that "God becomes the Universe by changing into the Universe." Thus it is sought to identify Nature with God, whereby, as Schopenhauer said, "you show God to the door." If God changes Himself into The Phenomenal Universe, then God is non-existent and we need not concern ourselves any more about Him, for he has committed suicide by Change. In such case there is no God, no Infinite, no Immutable, no Eternal; everything has become finite, temporal, separate, a mere union of diverse finite parts. In that case are we indeed adrift in the Ocean of Diversity. We have lost our Foundation of REALITY, and are but ever-changing "parts" of physical things governed by physical laws. Then, indeed, would be true the  idea of some of the old philosophies that "there is No Being; merely a Becoming." Then would there, in truth, be nothing constant, the universe never the same for two consecutive moments, with no permanent ground of REALITY to support it. But the reason of man, the very essence of his mental being, refuses to so think of That-which-IS. In his heart of hearts he recognizes the existence of THAT-WHICH-CHANGES-NOT, THAT-WHICH-IS-ETERNAL, THAT-WHICH-IS-REALITY.
Moreover, the idea of the immutability of REALITY must, serve to confute the erroneous idea of certain schools of metaphysics which assert the existence of "an Evolving God"; that is, a God which increases in intelligence, nature, and being by reason of the change of the universe, which is an expression of Himself. This conception is that of a Supreme Being who is growing, developing, and increasing in efficiency, wisdom, power, and character. This is an attempt to combine the anthropomorphic deity and the pantheistic Nature-God. The conception is clearly anthropomorphic, as it seeks to attribute to God the qualities and characteristics of man. It defies every fact of Ultimate Principle of REALITY. It is extremely unphilosophical and will not stand the test of logical examination.[50]

He claims that if God were evolving or improving, being an infinite being, it would have to be traceable back to some point of having "an infinitely undeveloped state and condition."[50] But, this claim was made prior to the rise of scientific knowledge pinpointing the beginning of the Universe in time, and connecting time with space, so that time would not exist as we know it prior to the Universe existing. In Islam, a criticism is raised, wherein it is argued that "from the juristic standpoint, obliterating the distinctions between God and the universe necessarily entails that in effect there can be no Sharia, since the deontic nature of the Law presupposes the existence of someone who commands (amir) and others who are the recipients of the command (ma'mur), namely God and his subjects."[51]


  1. ^ Sean F. Johnston (2009 ISBN = 1851686819). The History of Science: A Beginner's Guide p. 90. 
  2. ^ Alex Ashman, BBC News, "Metaphysical Isms".
  3. ^ Orr, John   (1934  ). English Deism: Its Roots and Its Fruits  . Eerdmans  . pp. 13. 
  4. ^ See the article on the history of deism in the online Dictionary of the History of Ideas.
  5. ^ Jonathan Irvine Israel, Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity, 1650-1750 (2001) p. 611.
  6. ^ a b c Robert G. Brown, "The Pandeist Theorem" (May 11, 2009)
  7. ^ Deepak Chopra interview with Larry King.
  8. ^ A Theorem Concerning God--Hinduism.
  9. ^ Warren B. Sharpe, Philosophy for the Serious Heretic: The Limitations of Belief and the Derivation of Natural Moral Principles (2002) p. 396 ISBN 0-595-21596-3.
  10. ^ Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The secret doctrine: the synthesis of science, religion, and philosophy, Volume 1, 1893, 111.
  11. ^ Edward Burnett Tylor, Primitive culture: researches into the development of mythology, philosophy, religion, art, and custom, 1871, 312-313
  12. ^ Francis E. Peters, Greek Philosophical Terms: A Historical Lexicon, p. 169 (NYU Press 1967).
  13. ^ Friedrich Nietzsche, Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks (1873) § 4.
  14. ^ a b Große, Gottfried (1787). Naturgeschichte: mit erläuternden Anmerkungen. 
  15. ^ a b c William Turner, The Catholic Encyclopedia: John Scotus Eriugena.
  16. ^ Jeremiah Genest, John Scottus Eriugena: Life and Works (1998)
  17. ^ Roncelin de Fos, Christian Origins of U.S., 2004:
  18. ^ Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason.
  19. ^ John Lachs and Robert Talisse, American Philosophy: An Encyclopedia, 2007, p. 310.
  20. ^ Sabine Baring-Gould, The Origin and Development of Religious Belief Part II (1884) Page 157.
  21. ^ Andrew Martin Fairbairn, The Place of Christ in Modern Theology (1893) p. 416.
  22. ^ Carruth, Hayden, Suicides and Jazzers (1993) p. 161.
  23. ^ Cambridge Book and Print Gallery.
  24. ^ Freethought of the Day, August 6, 2006, Alfred Tennyson.
  25. ^ Charles Hartshorne, Man's Vision of God and the Logic of Theism (1941, republished in 1964) p. 347 ISBN 0-208-00498-X.
  26. ^ a b Man's Vision of God and the Logic of Theism, p. 348.
  27. ^ Scott Adams, God's Debris (2001) p.43 ISBN 0-7407-2190-9.
  28. ^ God's Debris, p. 43-44.
  29. ^ Simon Raven, The Survivors, 1976, page 90.
  30. ^ Bruce Parry, quoted in Ed Caesar, "Bruce almighty; He really has been there and done that." Saturday Magazine, August 11, 2007.
  31. ^ "Bruce almighty: What drives Tribe's presenter-explorer Bruce Parry?" by Ed Caesar in The Independent (11 August 2007)
  32. ^ James Donaghy, The best of Bruce Parry, The Guardian, September 12, 2008.
  33. ^ Moncure Daniel Conway, “The Pilgrimage from Deism to Agnosticism,” published in The Free Review, Vol. I. October 1, 1893, pages 11 to 19. Edited by Robertson, John Mackinnon and Singer, G. Astor.
  34. ^ Ferrarese, Luigi (1838). Memorie risguardanti la dottrina frenologica. 
  35. ^ James Strong, Cyclopaedia of Biblical, theological, and ecclesiastical literature, Volume 7, 1894, page 622.
  36. ^ Moritz Lazarus and Heymann Steinthal, Zeitschrift für Völkerpsychologie und Sprachwissenschaft (1859), p. 262.
  37. ^ Godfrey Higgins, Anacalypsis: An Attempt to Draw Aside the Veil of the Saitic Isis: Or an Inquiry into the Origin of Languages, Nations and Religions (1833), p. 439, ISBN 1-56459-273-1.
  38. ^ Uzielli, Gustavo (1896). Ricerche intorno a Leonardo da Vinci. 
  39. ^ William Harbutt Dawson, Matthew Arnold and His Relation to the Thought of Our Time, (1904, republished 1977), p. 256.  The editor of the 1977 edition suggests that the usage is erratum, and that Dawson intended to reference "bare Pan-Theism" rather than "Pan-Deism".
  40. ^ "The Chimerical Application of Machiavelli's Principles", Louis S. Hardin, '17, Yale Sheffield Monthly, pp 461-465, Yale University, May 1915 p. 463.
  41. ^ Charles Anselm Bolton, Beyond the Ecumenical: Pan-deism? (1963).
  42. ^ Father Charles Anselm Bolton in "Beyond the Ecumenical: Pan-deism?" in Christianity Today, 1963, page 21.
  43. ^ Paul Friedrich Köhler, Kulturwege und Erkenntnisse: Eine kritische Umschau in den Problemen des religiösen und geistigen Lebens (1916), p. 193.
  44. ^ Genevan Institute for Reformed Studies.
  45. ^ Homepage of Bob Burridge.
  46. ^ Genevan Institute for Reformed Studies.
  47. ^ a b Genevan Institute for Reformed Studies.
  48. ^ Pastor Bob Burridge, "The Decrees of God" (1997).
  49. ^ Albuquerque Journal, Saturday, November 11, 1995, B-10.
  50. ^ a b c William Walker Atkinson, Mastery of Being, 1911, pages 56 to 59.
  51. ^ Aḥmad ibn ʻAbd al-Ḥalīm Ibn Taymīyah, Wael B. Hallaq, Ibn Taymiyya against the Greek logicians, 1993, xxvi.

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