Panentheism is a belief system which posits that the divine (be it a monotheistic God, polytheistic gods, or an eternal cosmic animating force) interpenetrates every part of nature and timelessly extends beyond it. Panentheism differentiates itself from pantheism, which holds that the divine is synonymous with the universe…
What is supreme reality? Said another way, what is the mystery of this vast, seemingly unknowable universe, which is the physical manifestation, the “setting” of how we as humans perceive and experience reality?
We are born into this universe, made of the very stuff of the universe, so if we are all part of this great unified creation, this great “Self” (universe), all that is seen and unseen as they say, AND, as Joseph Campbell once said, one way of thinking about God is that God is the mystery of the Universe, it arguably FOLLOWS THAT…
If we are indeed made of the stuff of the universe, we are, logically speaking, manifestations of the mystery of the Universe, or God. And so, if one accepts the theory of evolution on the one hand, and on the other agrees with Carl Jung, and psychologists/writers like Robert Johnson who said of Jung:
"Jung believed that God and all of creation labored through time to bring conscious awareness into the universe, and that it is the role of human beings to carry that evolution forward… [and] Each of us is a microcosm in which the universal process actualized itself." IT FOLLOWS THAT…
We contain within ourselves the MYSTERY (or mysteries) OF THE UNIVERSE, of God, with the possibility for discovery if we only look! Through plumbing our own depths, seeking self-knowledge, delving deep into one’s own unconscious (whether through meditation, dream analysis, prayer, etc.) we may able to to glimpse, to realize, supreme reality.
Who am I?
I am made of the stuff of the universe. I breathe the air of this planet, which orbits through space around our sun, inhabiting our galaxy, a tiny speck in the totality of the universe.
As a creature of this universe, I observe that I create and I destroy. To wit, I procreate as an organism, and I even make art and music, I can write words and phrases conveying concepts, bringing all these things tangible and intangible into being that didn’t exist before. I also destroy, consuming living or once-living things, and cause harm directly and directly in so many ways.
Hindus would say my “self” is part of the universal Self, or Atman, the universal spirit or one reality. So, am I an avatar of the Universe, or an avatar of God (the Universe?) If, as Tibetan Buddhists may say, we are all one, does that mean, in effect, we are all children of God, the universe, because we are part of God/the Universe?
Thinking this through, perhaps the moral imperative - indeed, tied to our biological imperative - is for us is to live to “create” and to perpetuate life, the universe - and any destructive acts that cause harm to “the universe” or its constituent parts are morally (and I dare say, biologically) wrong, these harmful acts constitute “sin” in the sense that by harming one another, we harm God, we harm the fabric of the universe, from whence we were born, where we live, and into which we will dissolve when we die.
This could raise some very serious ethical questions, of course, without easy answers.
Who are you?
Does faith rest solely on desire? (The desire for life or consciousness after death, universal justice, the eternal well-being of loved ones, etc.?)
There is One Source, everywhere, always.
— Abigail Van Buren, aka “Dear Abby.”