Nature of the Absolute – Part 1

Universalist Radha-Krishnaism offers a panentheistic(1) theology. The personal Absolute enfolds even the formless, attributeless Absolute, which we call Undifferentiated Oneness. God-dess’ power to reconcile the irreconcilable reconciles our imperfect, contradictory ideas of qualified and unqualified Absolute in a higher synthesis.

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We cannot fully express the infinite unbounded Absolute in words, but this does not mean we cannot express it at all. We reject the idea of the Absolute as ultimately pure, undifferentiated being. The Absolute must exist as a positive concept to be intelligible and real. Since nothing positive exists without attributes, the Absolute must be qualified. Being infinite, the Absolute must be determined and qualified in endless ways. It encompasses all and lacks nothing. The idea of personality remains consistent and essential to the infinite Absolute. God-dess possesses character, which implies something definite and limiting, but God-dess remains unlimited in the sense of being immeasurable and all encompassing.

Vedic writings portray the Absolute as both qualified and unqualified, often clearly describing the Absolute as both qualified and unqualified in the same breath. Those who wish to merge with the unqualified Absolute may do so. Those who wish a relationship with the personal Absolute, God-dess, may do so. The Absolute is both-and. God-dess reciprocates according to our mode of approach.

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(1)* Panentheism is a constructed word composed of the English equivalents of the Greek terms pan, meaning all, en, meaning in, and theism, meaning God. Panentheism understands God and the world to be inter-related with the world being in God and God being in the world. It offers an increasingly popular alternative to traditional theism and pantheism. Panentheism seeks to avoid both isolating God from the world as traditional theism often does and identifying God with the world as pantheism does. Traditional theistic systems emphasize the difference between God and the world while panentheism stresses God’s active presence in the world.

Pantheism emphasizes God’s presence in the world but panentheism maintains the identity and significance of the non-divine. Anticipations of panentheistic understandings of God have occurred in both philosophical and theological writings throughout history. However, a rich diversity of panentheistic understandings has developed in the past two centuries primarily in Christian traditions responding to scientific thought. [Borrowed from Stanford’s Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, Stanford University. Please see links below for more.]

Interested to learn more? Just click here to visit Stanford’s Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, here for Wikipedia’s article on panentheism. To learn more about Symbiotic Panentheism — A Universal Philosophy for Humankind, just click here. The purpose of that fifty-year project is to fuse Ontological, Cosmological, and Metaphysical Systems into one system in order that we, humankind, (as the authors suggest) may ‘put our house in order. Here’s their excerpt about the history of panentheism.


One Response to “Nature of the Absolute – Part 1”

  1. Michael Valle says:

    Very nice. A personal absolute engenders the most satisfying manifestation of devotional sentiments. Devotional love is the essence of true spirituality.