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The term, panentheism, is constructed from three Greek terms:  “pan” “en” “theism”, which translate as “all in God”. In contrast to “pantheism”, which sees the divine and the world/cosmos as the same, panentheism sees the divine as an eternal cosmic animating force that is part of all things in nature, and also extends beyond. This gives ways of envisioning God as immanent (present in the world) and also separate (transcendent).

With a panentheist view, the world acts fully in accordance with natural laws, but all living things and parts of nature are seen as containing and expressing the will or spirit of God. The divine spirit and the world are inter-related, with the world as part of God, and God as part of all things in the world.

One take on this was described by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

“There is a soul at the centre of nature, and over the will of every man, so that none of us can wrong the universe. It has so infused its strong enchantment into nature, that we prosper when we accept its advice . . . The whole course of things goes to teach us faith. We need only obey. There is guidance for each of us, and by lowly listening we shall hear the right word.”