Pantheism and the Beach

I hope no one minded not getting to have a blog yesterday. I was on vacation and I even need a vacation from blogging at times. My roommate and a friend of ours all went to the beach. Readers of this blog by now should know that I am not on best terms with water. I am hydrophobic about getting my face wet at all and going underwater, but I do like the beach.

I’ve also been reading Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth”, and I plan on writing a review of it soon. It comes from the pantheistic worldview so answering that has been on my mind lately. I understood more the glitter of it when I went to the beach this time. Going to the beach is so mystifying. It’s like seeing the waves is the ocean’s way of greeting an old friend and you want to say “I missed you too.”

We as Christians are doing right when we are not pantheists. However, I think it is a shame that we are not often tempted with pantheism. When I at first see the awe that is the ocean, I can ponder for a time and understand how someone could be a pantheist. The problem with pantheism is not that it goes too far. The problem is that it does not go far enough.

Pantheism takes the foreplay of God as I put it in creation and mistakes it for consummation. It is saying that you will have the book but you have no desire to meet the author. You would rather flirt with the lady than put a ring on her finger and enjoy the intimacy. Pantheism takes the gift and replaces the gift with the giver.

Yet it is a shame we are not tempted. I often wonder “Why do I not feel this awe?” Maybe it is not a problem as much as I think it is. Maybe it’s just my temperament and that I’m aware of that is enough. C.S. Lewis seemed to indicate the same thing in the Four Loves in asking why we don’t feel the great love for God. There is an awareness, but it seems there is an emotional disconnect.

Ancient Israel was tempted to worship the sun, moon, and stars. Our problem is that we are not. We have taken into reductionistic ideas that say that if we can tell what the sun is, that it removes the wonder. Incredible. As if if you knew the chemical make-up of the beautiful lady, that she would not hold you awe and you would not want to date her.

Please understand again that I am not endorsing pantheism, but I fear if we approach the world at times and aren’t tempted, there’s something dead in us. People are pantheists for a reason and part of that is the awe of nature. Let us not defend orthodoxy so much that we end up losing the experience of the wonder of creation.

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