In the Beginning: A Panentheist Origin Story

In the Beginning: A Panentheist Origin Story August 3, 2017

On a pagan message board I moderated many moons ago (many, many, many moons….) I made some tactless comments that expressed my utter bafflement that “Creationist Theory” was still a thing that anyone took seriously. Those comments offended a member who identified as a Christian Wiccan – a combo that was just as utterly baffling to me at the time.

Since then, I’ve met a fair few reasonable Christo-Pagan/Wiccans that I can respect, mostly because none of them thinks that Jesus rode to temple on his dinosaur, but…to each their own. Personally, I accept scientific theory to describe the natural world and can integrate that with my spiritual beliefs very easily. My beliefs grew out of my studies of science, actually.

I was challenged with this query:

…the tone of your reply sounds rather “agnostic” in nature, and I wonder that you can walk any spiritual path with such a viewpoint. By and large, most spiritual beliefs, by definition, are scientifically unprovable. I’d like to get your input on what your world view is, origins wise, and how science (or what is considered mainstream science) proves your origins world view, and how that fits in with your spiritual belief system. ~ an offended Christian Wiccan

For the previous 10 years I’d been dumping the baggage strapped to me by Genesis, while constructing my own theories about the nature of Divinity, Their relationship to human beings and the origins of the universe. So, on that Yahoo-group of yore, I wrote up this bit of my own philosophy for the consideration of my peers.

I’ve long identified myself a panentheist, and when this was first written 12 years ago, it certainly reflected that philosophy.  My understanding has since deepened a bit and so I’ve edited to include some soft-polytheist adaptations. For what its worth, I offer you this origin story with a heavy dash of playfulness.

In the Beginning: The Word According to my Own Inner Divinity - Witch on Fire
CC0 Public Domain ~ Pixabay

The WORD According to My Own Inner Divinity

In the beginning, before there was time, there was the ALL. You could call this ALLness: Deity, Great Spirit, Universe, Divine Mind, or the Source, nameless and all names, an entity without dimension that simply WAS.

Within the ALL bloomed a dream of Divine Love –a dream of infinite possibility. Then, the All that WAS, chose to be OTHERWISE and blew itself outward in the bliss of OTHERNESS. This was the great cosmic orgasm of creation, and it is unceasing – all within the Universe still vibrates to this pulse.

Universe: Turning as One. From Latin uni- ONE + vertere TO TURN. The universe is the whole of space and all the stars, planets, and other forms of matter and energy in it. source

Impetus to grow and evolve was born. In that first micro-second, the ALL manifested and polarized into The Two Who Move As One: Particle and anti-particle, matter and energy, light and darkness, creation and destruction, projective and receptive, Goddess and God. Yet, ALL remains interconnected throughout the Divine Universe – turning as one. In that first microsecond, the mechanics of natural cycles began to turn: Birth, growth, change, death back to energy form, to rest then try again and be reborn anew. These cycles turn in repeating patterns from macrocosm to microcosm, setting the rhythms we perceive as time.

Immanence: refers to philosophical and metaphysical theories of the divine as existing and acting within the mind and the world. ”

The Two Who Move as One continue their dance in love and creation to the rhythms of the Divine Universe, continuously morphing as they dreamed new dreams, merging in new ways. They bloomed into the dimension of matter as biological life evolving one cycle at a time. They are the stars, the galaxies, a new hybrid of flower cross-pollinated by the bee that is also Divine. They are the energy of chemical bonds and the elements they bind. The force that holds the orbiting electron *and* the electron itself.

They are the great “Why” and the unanswered “Because.” Their essence is ineffable and yet Their ways are measurable with mathematics, predictable by the laws of physics, and categorical in the language of biology. Those sciences are also evolving and changing, drawing closer to the truth through trial and error.

In the Beginning: The Word According to my Inner Divinity - Witch on Fire
CC0 Public Domain – Pixabay

“Transcendence: in theology, the state of a deity who is above all creation in the sense of being ‘greater than,’ rather than ‘apart from’ ”

This transcendent Spirit of creation within the Universe motivates life to continue, prods us on through instinct and intuition, inspiring us through our own dreams, and is not much concerned over whether we think They wear a skirt or pants…neither listening, ignoring nor ambivalent to us; neither gracing some with blessings nor smiting others – its all Divine Love to Them. However, when They manifest as a human being with a sentient mind, they are given a voice, and a choice between good or evil, to be a benefit or a harm.

As manifest Deities, humans choose how to influence creation, calling into manifestation our own benefits or detriments. When we work magick, it is a prayer of co-creative partnership with Universe; by tapping our own Divine Spirit within, we answer our own prayers. But we are also tapping something far greater than what dwells within us…that synergistic effect…that greatness that transcends this reality, this dimension, time or space.

“Synergy: The simultaneous joint action of separate parts which, together, have greater total effect than the sum of their individual effects.”

The Divine Universe as The Two Who Move as One evolved into infinite diversity, layers upon layers of beings within Spirit. Their non-corporeal selves are as varied and interesting at their corporeal forms. The closer to humanity that Divinity draws, the greater their likenesses to us, the greater their interest in human affairs, and agency to interact uniquely within the human realm.

Like a many-faceted jewel, humans perceive Them with infinite faces, forms, names, and cultures and we evolve as a reflection of each other. There are as many facets to Divinity as there are beings within it and observing it. However, we remain interconnected within the ALL; inseparable, all are sacred and blessed within Their Divine Love.

faceted jewel
CCO Public Domain – Pixabay

Many -isms

In my vision of the Divine Universe, and this Divine Jewel (1) idea, I accept that every being has their own facet, both matter and Spirit, and there are layers of facets that progress closer to the Source. Quantum physics indicates that the outcome of an experiment changes based on the expectations of the observer.

Folks on this Earth of ours identify as many “-isms.” If atheism or humanism perceives the jewel seeing only their own faces, that can be correct for them. If monotheism perceives the wholeness of the jewel, more power to them. Polytheism can perceives many facets, families of them connected by culture, and that is OK, too. It is all about perception and how broadly we “see.”  Each approach to Divinity has a correctness for the individual at that time. I’ve found that the longer one works toward spiritual enlightenment, the more inclusive and accepting one becomes, because their perception is continually broadening.

As for the original challenge that claimed “most spiritual beliefs, by definition, are scientifically unprovable.” I will say that I still disagree. Consider this: When the scientist studies the universe, they could be a manifest form of Deity, turning a mirror back upon itself, defining their own nature. Science would then be the self-exploration of “God.” Wrap your head around that!

That gives some nuance to “Know Thyself,” and “If that which you seek you find not within, you will never find it without. (2)”

Do you have an Origin Story that reflects your personal approach to the Divine Universe? If there isn’t one that fits your understanding, write one! Be open to adapting that story as your understanding evolves over time, because I can just about promise that if you are doing this “personal evolution” thing as you should, that your view of the world now will be different at every stop along the road. The ability to each write our own stories, and then to adapt them at will is the best way to remain flexible and fend off the constraints of dogma.

Blessings,

~Heron

(1) I first came across this concept as “The Diamond of Divinity” in the Temple of Witchcraft series by Christopher Penczak.

(2) A line from the Charge of the Goddess, Doreen Valiente

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