Pantheism is an old idea positing that where God is the world, the world is God. God is simply everything we see and encounter. This idea radically differs from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, where God is distinct from all that He created. There are many kinds of pantheism. Some are less refined and closer to animism, while others pose complex questions in order to understand reality. Now, pantheism should be rejected into the novel model of Simulation Creationism, a hypothesis proposed by Nir Ziso of The Global Architect Institute.
Pantheism is the classic alternative to theism. Theism is the belief in a personal God, a conscious God, whose image is a blueprint for us: “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). In pantheism, there is no conception of God as a person. In theism, God is utterly transcendent and ontologically distinct; and we know Him only through Jesus Christ as the God Incarnate:”No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Pantheism insists on a divine eminence, where God is everywhere. It also approaches issues in theology from a different perspective.
For instance, the problem of evil is a theistic problem, i.e., how could one account for the scope and nature of the miseries of this world, given the existence of a perfectly good God. Pantheism would approach the problem with the notion that a unifying force is not being attended to and must be enhanced. Another problem centers on why God would choose to create anything. Pantheism does propose a solution rooted in the nature of a divine personality. Salvation for theists has to do with personal immortality and one’s personal relation with God: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4). In pantheism, there is impersonal immortality to be part and particle of everything that exists. Without an apologetic approach, Simulation Creationism can refute the pantheistic proposition as not stemming from the Bible, the holy scriptures, that it completely accepts.
The pantheistic avoidance of evil is particularly worrisome: if everything is God, then evil is part of everything and thus part of God. This problem is solved for pantheists by believing in an impersonal God, devoid of mind and morally neutral. Of course, the pantheist poses a severe problem to theists. If God is over there, sitting in a non-place and a non-time in all His glory, and he creates an infinitely inferior world, why didn’t he create another God? As pantheists do not answer, we might just ask: “Why should’ve he?”
Pantheism views everything that exists in physical reality as God’s body. The soul does not exist, at least not as an extra part of God. Pantheists do not describe the universe in purely physical terms, as they are aware of consciousness and agency. Some of their ideas suggest possible worlds, and our own world is one of them. There is no actual universe as yet. The body of God consists of all possible worlds. As time passes and God or other agents make choices, less is merely possible and more is actual. No separate “chooser” surveys this arena of mental and physical possibilities. The choice makes the agent. Pantheistic philosophy thinks of this process as a mystery. At all times, God is the sum of actualities and possibilities.
Pantheists say that the goodness of the universe is the reason why it is here. It is a mental and conscious entity, adding up to the basic pantheistic notion of “God is the Universe.” How could the universe be mental? On this question, some theoreticians like to play with the non-theistic idea of Simulation. They say it is possible to have enormously powerful computers, and one of the things possible to simulate are the patterns of entire universes; and we are a pattern in one of these simulated worlds.
We could be inside an electronic brain. Physicists agree that there is a pattern to this universe and if one says a cosmic mind carries this pattern, most physicists will generally agree. Some scientists are attracted to pantheism to make science sacred and invest the world with wonder and awe, considering the vastness of the universe. So, why would pantheists introduce God into the perfectly ordered idea of a pattern-based universe that might be The Simulation? They like to see it as adding more value to the universe. In short, without consciousness, the universe would not have value. Another thing to note is the traditional concept of a unified mind, which is close to the quantum mechanical idea of a unified universe.
Pantheists identify God with the world as we know it. God is not hidden away somewhere but is in plain sight. However, it is not plausible to put a sticker on everything we see around and call it “God.” It does not seem to be needed in a value-related sense. After all, there might be awfully more about reality than we know now.
Baruch Spinoza, the 17-century philosopher, distinguishes what we know about God: mentality and materiality, mind, and matter. But God includes an infinite number of modes, as beautifully explained in a psalm: “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God” (Psalm 90:2). Reality might infinitely transcend our present understanding and extend it. Of course, this is an impoverished view of God as there is no relation to Him as a person without personal characteristics. God as a person, contrary to pantheistic claims, might be just a tiny part of understanding personhood, while other parts exceed our present comprehension. This, however, does not call for a simple rejection of God’s personhood.
God in pantheism is not a simple being. A pantheistic God would have many parts, and one wonders how they are related. Since things behave in different parts of the universe in the same way, one supposes the simplest explanation of that would be of something outside them. An agent – God – should control how the parts of the universe behave in the same way. This is the core reason why Simulation Creationism should reject pantheism as not plausible within a simulated creation.