Systematic Vegetarian Theology
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God's Omnipresence - The
Nature of God
by: Michael Shaw
Posted 18 August 1998
Part One of Mike Shaw's Systematic Vegetarian Theology: (the nature of God)
Primitive Cultures: Some primitive cultures have ideas regarding Gods and Goddesses that I am not going to get into during this presentation of Mike Shaw's Systematic Vegetarian Theology. Rather, I will restrict myself to just three views of God as understood in the minds of Western Spirituality.
God is Omnipresent (in all places). There are basically three views regarding God as an all-powerful being and what it means for God to be omnipresent. The "first" and most common, is that God lives in Heaven, and that with the exception of the converted, wherein His Holy Spirit dwells, the rest of life is devoid of His presence. This view is usually termed (((Monotheism))) and really does not reflect an omnipresent God. Some adherers to this belief, say that God is omnipresent by his all knowingness, which I will get into next week, but it really falls short of being truly Omnipresent.
The "second" most popular view of God, by western minds, is that God is everywhere. That He lives in the trees, flowers, rocks, rivers, sky, stars, animals, humans etc. etc. Those who hold to this view, do not usually believe in a transcendent or personal God. This belief is called (((Pantheism, sometimes called Monism))). This view is definitely shows that God is Omnipresent.
The "third" and least popular, but the most Biblical, is the view that combines the two preceding views. Those who hold to this third view, believe that God both dwells personally in Heaven or at least separately from Creation, yet, at the same time permeates it with His Spirit, or that the creation is in fact, made from His essence. This view, which I hold as being the most Scriptural is called (((Panentheism))), notice the "en" in this word which makes it different from the former idea of Pantheism. In my opinion, the following passages from the Bible show that indeed, the teaching of Pan(en)theism is the true teaching.
Ephesians 4:6 "One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."
Acts 17:28 "For in Him we live, and move, and have our being."
Romans 11:36 "For of Him and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.
Jeremiah 23:24 "Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?" declares the Lord. "Do not I fill heaven and earth?" declares the Lord." (NIV)
Sirach 43:27 "We could say more but could never say enough; let the final word be: "He is the all." (NRSV)
Proverb 15:3 "Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me."
Scripture seems, in my opinion, to be quite clear that God is in all places, and lest anyone think that the above passages point to (((Pantheism rather than Panentheism))), then I want to offer the following passages which clearly state that God also transcends the heavens and the earth.
1st Kings 8:27 "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee."
2nd Chron. 2:6 "But who is able to build him an house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain him?" (see also Acts 17:24)
To me, God's Omnipresent nature, is the first step to understanding, not only the truth of God in general, but also the vegetarianism of God. For this teaching tells us that God dwells everywhere and in all of creation, be it animals, humans, plants, rocks, etc. Thus, God, in His immanent self, feels the pain we and animals feel. This be the case, then everytime we frighten, harm or kill an animal, then God feels everything the animal felt. Do we really want to be part of this type of behaviour?
There are various degrees of understanding the Transcendent and Immanent aspects of God. I recommend to those who are interested, that they read any books by the following authors: "Paul S. Fiddes; Jurgen Moltman; Paul Tillich; Charles Hartshorne; Alfred North Whitehead; Daniel A. Dombrowski."
Peace and Eternal Blessings, Mike Shaw
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