Saturday, January 7, 2017

Pantheism - Elder James Oliphant

Pantheism is the doctrine that the universe is God a system of theology which maintains that matter is God. Ingersoll said, "Nature is God." Christianity maintains that the universe is a creature. "The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen being understood by the things that are made even his eternal power and Godhead." (Romans 1:20) The invisible things are not God nor a part of God. The Bible distinguishes between God and the universe. God is the creator and to all else it assigns the place of a creature. Elder Lemuel potter once asked, "Where did the Lord get his children?" He answered, "God made or created them." This view a scriptural. The Creator is infinitely above the creature. We are so far below God that our worship is due to him.

We are not the children of God in the primary sense of the word. If we were. we would be equal to God. Christ was God's son, the only son. He was the son in the primary sense of the word and was equal to God in His divinity. (Philippians 2:6) He was the root of David in his humanity. (Revelation 5:5) He was the offspring of David. The Human nature of Christ was not eternal. He was "made of a woman." (Galatians 4:4) "The Word was made flesh." (John 1:14) He became what he was not but ceased not to be what he was. Dr. Gill held that God existed from eternity in Trinity, not from his choice but necessarily, for to say he was triune from choice would be to attribute the act of choosing to him before he was. To say the children of God eternally existed in God as a part of him may not be pantheism, but it is a step towards it. It is to confound the creator with his creatures. By ordinary generation everything produces its equal. So Christ was the Son of God in this primary sense. And so was and is to be worshiped by angels and men as the true God.

I do not think we will ever be the children of God in this primary sense of the word. The New Testament often speaks of God's people as having been made or created in Christ unto good works. (Ephesians 2:10) Thus teaching that they stand related to God as creatures to a creator. There is infinite distance between the Creator and His creatures. The creatures of God are not to be confused and confounded as a part of God. For if there were not a creature in the universe God would be the same thing he is. It is to say that God is dependent on his creatures for his own existence for he could not exist as God until that which is a part of him also exists. The gulf between the creature and the creator will ever separate God from the universe in his standard of being. Pantheism is wrong. The universe is not God nor is anything in the Universe a part of God.

I do not believe in pantheism in the least conceivable degree.

Special thanks to Elder David Montgomery for his labors in compiling the excellent two volume collection of Oliphant's writings.

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