God is everything?
Pantheism is the view that God is everything and everyone and that everyone and everything is God. Pantheism is similar to polytheism (the belief in many gods), but goes beyond polytheism to teach that everything is God. A tree is God, a rock is God, an animal is God, the sky is God, the sun is God, you are God, etc. Pantheism is the supposition behind many cults and false religions (e.g., Hinduism and Buddhism to an extent, the various unity and unification cults, and “mother nature” worshippers).
Does the Bible teach pantheism? No, it does not. What many people confuse as pantheism is the doctrine of God’s omnipresence. Psalm 139:7-8 declares,
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.”
God’s omnipresence means He is present everywhere. There is no place in the universe where God is not present. This is not the same thing as pantheism. God is everywhere, but He is not everything. Yes, God is “present” inside a tree and inside a person, but that does not make that tree or person God. Pantheism is not at all a biblical belief.
The clearest biblical arguments against pantheism are the countless commands against idolatry. The Bible forbids the worship of idols, angels, celestial objects, items in nature, etc. If pantheism were true, it would not be wrong to worship such an object, because that object would, in fact, be God. If pantheism were true, worshipping a rock or an animal would have just as much validity as worshipping God as an invisible and spiritual being. The Bible’s clear and consistent denunciation of idolatry is a conclusive argument against pantheism.
The description of God in the Old Testament is of a jealous God because people were worshipping many gods, including the concept of pantheism and idolatry. (Jealousy is not admonished per say – the allegory was that God made a “marriage-type” commitment to Israel and Israel basically was promiscuous with other gods) The first commandment – “you shall have no other gods before Me.”
Genesis’s account for creation refutes pantheism (the belief that God is everything and everything is God), for God is transcendent (apart from and independent of the material universe) to that which He created. He made it all, and we’re told not to worship the creation but the creator:
“They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.” Rom 1:25
While God’s creation can show God’s glory, it is not because He IS a giant redwood tree, but that he’s able to create that.
“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” Rom 1:20
This verse doesn’t mean that God is the earth and sky, but that upon beholding the wonder that they are, one should certainly not believe that it was all just a fluke over billions of years.
This is a belief that the bible supports that God is in everything. (slightly different than pantheism which asserts that everything is God)
Many other verse are used to support this view. However, the context of these passages matter. The trouble comes when you remove a quote from context. One must ALWAYS verify scripture in context.
One such verse used to show that God/Christ are everything and vice versa:
“Christ is all, and is in all” – Colossians 3:11
This is not even a full verse being quoted!
The full verse in the KJV is:
Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. – Colossians 3:11
This context limits and focuses the scope of this phrase. They were judging one another based on their ethnicity and Paul is correcting them saying that it doesn’t matter if you were born a Jew or not, if you’re in Christ, that’s all that matters. The bible indicated that when you are in Christ (baptized into the body of believers), God’s spirit (essence/power/mindset) is placed in you.
The bible does not provide any doctrine that would support pantheism or even panentheism. God created all things, but does not literally exist in the things He created, with the exception of His spirit dwelling in those who are baptized:
‘Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ – Acts 2:38
Other verses can also be interpreted (out of context) to indicate that God is in all, but Genesis gives us the whole picture – it all belongs to God, since He created everything! God created the air we breathe, but is God “in” it? In a sense, I am “in” my artwork pieces, but I am not literally in it.