De Moor IV:25: Against Pantheism

The Simplicty of God excludes:

α. On the one hand, all Partial Communication of the Divine Essence, whether with all Creatures, or with man; just as the Manicheans are related to have held that all Creatures were propaged from God’s Essence as a vine, and that the Soul of Man in particular is a particle of the diven Essence: consult AUGUSTINE, de Hæresibus, chapter XLVI, page 967a, b, and DANÆUS on the same place, page 970a; EPIPHANIUS, Hæresi LXVI, chapter IX, page 626. Thus the Fanatics and Ruder Mystics:

The Ruder Mystics so identify God and man that man is accidental property of God and indeed necessary, of which sort is Light relatively to the Sun, and brightness relatively to fire, as the Theologia Germanica[1] speaks: see the Most Illustrious CREMER, Evangelische Zedenketen on 2 Peter 1:4, pages 130-133. They maintain that everything active and passive is taken away from man, when he comes to perfection; indeed, that man is altogether annihilated, so that he might be absorbed by God, page 136. They suppose that God is universal Being, from which all things emanate, and into which all things flow again, pages 137, 138. Thus the Hernhutters[2] attribute extension to Deity, whereby that as Universal Essence, and the foundation of all Essences, is extended throughout the entire Universe, and is found essentially in every part of it, inasmuch as it emanated from the Essence of the Deity: see KULENKAMP’S[3] Enthusiastery der Hernhuthers, chapter IV, part I, pages 272, 273, and following, who shows in § 1 that this opinion of the Hernhutters, א. is accurately gathered from the passages cited in the pastoral Epistle, α. from Hymno VI, verse 9, pages 273-282; β. from Hymno LXXI, pages 283-306, where on pages 302-306 are discussed what things Master Oetinger[4] has in Defensione Hymnorum Hernhuthorum, in which he rejects Creation ex Nihilo, asserts Creation through the effusion or Emanation of all things from the Essence of God, as a root is produced from a seed and fruit from a flower, misapplying Acts 17:27; Hebrews 11:3. ב. Is defended erroneously from Bible passages, α. Romans 11:36, pages 307-311; β. Colossians 1:16, 17, pages 311, 312; γ. Hebrews 2:10-12, pages 312-314; δ. Ephesians 4:6, page 314; ε. Acts 17:27, 28; Hebrews 11:3; John 1:3, pages 315, 316. In § 2, he confirms the thesis set forth above as verily taught by the Hernhutters by new examples thesis-by-thesis, of which the first is that Deity by the Hernhutters is contemplated as the Universal Essence, which is the foundation and life of all Essences, is indeed the air in which we live and move: this he demonstrates on pages 317-323. The second thesis is that Deity fills and penetrates all things in this sense, so that Deity is contemplated as the Center of the entire Universe and the Soul animating all, pages 323-328. The third thesis is that one and the same Essence common is to be attributed to God and to His Creatures, with all essential distinction between both Beings having been removed, pages 329-332. In § 3, he indicates the following sources of this error. The Jewish Kabbalists explain Creation by Emanation of the entire Universe from the Essence of God, pages 332, 333. The Gentile Philosophers either were confounding God and Nature, teaching that God is corporeal and the World is God; or were calling God the Soul of the World, or the World the Body of God; whose opinions are individually reviewed, pages 333-336. The Valentinians[5] were favoring the Emanation of all things from the divine Essence through their Æons, and were contemplating the Deity as the Spirit of the entire Universe, pages 336, 337. Almaricus[6] in the Thirteenth Century was saying God is the Essence of all Creatures, that all things are God and God is all things (just how far the things that are related concerning him be true, compare SPANHEIM’S Historiam ecclesiasticam, Century XIII, chapter IX, § 2, column 1694), whom David de Dinanto follows,[7] page 337. But he more recent Enthusiasts and Mystics both teach that all things emanated from God, that hence all things are God, and that God is the Essence of all creatures, which is demonstrated at great length on pages 337-340.

In particular, the Hernhutters teach that the human soul flowed out of, and was generated by, God’s Essence, and that thus is is an essential Part of the Deity; concerning which see KULENKAMP’S Enthusiastery der Hernhuthers, chapter IV, part II, pages 341 and following, who explains this opinion of the Hernhutters out of Master Oetinger, § 1, pages 342-348; and then shows in § 2 that this in Epistola pastorali has been fairly demonstrated, α. from Hymno CLXXI, pages 348-353, β. from Hymno CLXXII, pages 353-350, and, γ. that it is not to be overthrown by this exception, that in the places cited there is a treatment of the production of the human Soul in the state of Integrity, pages 359-362. In § 3, he heaps up a number of passages from the writings of the Hernhutters teaching the same concerning the origin of the Soul, pages 362-365. In § 4, he exposes those that of old or in later ages held the same error concerning the Emanation of the human Soul from the divine Essence, and concerning the Soul as a particle of the divine Breath. He mentions the Egyptians according to the opinion of some, page 366, the Kabbalistic Jews, page 367. Among the Gentile Philosophers, above the rest the Platonists and Stoics, pages 367-370. Pythagoras is dexterously refuted by Cicero on this topic: see page 368. Add the Arabian Philosophers, page 370. Moreover, among the Christians of old the Gnostics, Manicheans, and Priscillians[8] were addicted to this error, whom the Orthodox skillfully refuted, pages 370, 371, while others among the Fathers spoke less prudently, pages 371, 372. And, that the More Recent Enthusiasts hold the same concerning the Emanation of the Soul from the divine Essence, and concerning the Soul as a particle of the Deity, KULENKAMP shows in the words of Jacob Böhme,[9] Stiefel,[10] Antoinette Bourignon,[11] Aletophilus,[12] and Poiret;[13] against Poiret’s system concerning the Origin of the Soul from the divine Essence, the Reverend Kulenkamp commends the Dissertation of LANGIUS,[14] pages 372-375.

In Part III of chapter four, pages 376 and following, the Learned Kulenkamp treats of the Return of all things to their origin, of the Return of all things to the same fount from which they emanated, namely, the oceans of the incomprehensible divine Essence; in particular, concerning the Deification of man, by which he is transformed into the very Essence of God; he treats of these as Errors that the Hernhutters, with others mentioned above, hold. Next, on page 376, he cites a number of passages that are able to be consulted on this matter. In § 1, he vindicates from some exceptions passages set forth in the Epistola pastorali, so that he might prove that the theses mentioned are taught by the Hernhutters; 1. indeed, what things are there found concerning the destruction of the self in God, after the assumption of the self into God; with which are compared expressions, that it makes for the bottom of the immense Essence; dissolves in God; that there is an influx of God into the Soul and of the Soul in turn into God, whereby the Soul is altogether the same with God; that it is absorbed in pure Deity; disappears in God; etc., pages 377-384. 2. Concerning the glorification of the Soul to divine dignity, to such an extent that the Soul enjoys that which God enjoys, and receives in God whatever God possesses, pages 384-394, in which, page 390, are gathered some things from Homine occulto cordis, concerning the Transubstantiation of the Soul in the Essence of the Triune God, in such a way that clearly in the divine World, as at the beginning, the Spirit is made purely divine, liberated from all matter as a garment and accidental property. A response is also given to the passages, 1 John 3:2; Psalm 17:15, alleged on behalf of the Hernhutters, pages 394-396. 3. Concerning the Return of the soul to its origin, pages 396-400, and concerning the divine Nature communicated to the soul (laid in the soul), pages 397, 400, 401, on behalf of which expression of the Hernhutters he warns 2 Peter 1:4 is not rightly gathered (on which passage see also Commentarium meum on 2 Peter 1, pages 139-157), pages 401-405. In § 2, are added several passages, from which KULENKAMP makes an effort to prove by degrees the mystical ἀποθέωσιν/apotheosis/ deification of the Hernhutters, pages 405-416. In § 3, he shows the sources of this impious error. At this point the Gentile Philosophers are set forth again. Namley, as Pythagoras himself was desiring to be held as divine, so so the end of his Philosophy was the ἀποθέωσις/apotheosis of man, pages 416, 417. The Platonists also were frequently saying that the end of Philosophy was ἐξομοίωσιν τῷ Θεῷ, assimilation to God, which is also able to be said in a different, sound sense, page 417. The Stoics were no less affirms that the Soul, which emanated from God, and is a particle of Deity, returns to God as its fountain, and is assumed into the divine Essence; as it is proven from the words of Seneca and Antonius,[15] pages 417-419. Not far from this Philosophical error, which Jerome abominates, was Origen, page 419. But thus following Hermes Trismegistus and Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, speak also with one voice the more recent Mystics and Enthusiasts, concerning the Deification of the Soul, whereby it is made divine, and man is graciously made a partaker of the divine Essence, Nature, and Attributes; falling into the divine immensity, like a drop of water into a great sea, whence it is altogether deified: certainly, as all things again enter into God, so also the waters into the sea, from which they have their origin: see pages 419-423, in which are cited Tauler,[16] the Author of Hominis occulti cordis, the Author of Theologiæ Germanicæ, Schwenckfeld,[17] Weigel, Jacob Böhme, Pordage,[18] and Arnold.[19]

After which things the conclusion to the entire Chapter follows, pages 423-425.

How absurdly the more subtle Mystics also Deify men, see in CREMER’S Evangelische Zedenketen on 2 Peter 1:4, pages 129, 130, 139-142; compare what things KULENKAMP has from the Hymnis Hallensibus, Enthusiastery der Hernhuthers, part II, chapter III, § 2, pages 232-234, and likewise pages 264-266. Concering the emanation of man and of all things from God, see to this point CREMER’S Evangelische Zedenketen on 2 Peter 1:5 at the end, pages 234, 249, 251, 252. Concerning the Mystical Deification of man by Annihilation, see in addition CREMER’S Evangelische Zedenketen on 2 Peter 1:8, part III, pages 35, 36, and likewise on verse 11, pages 166-169.

Thus the Fanatics and Ruder Mystics also contemplate God as universal Being, from which all things emanate, and into which all things flow again. Among the ineptitudes of Weigel these assertions are also related by HOORNBEECK, de Paradoxis et Heterodoxis Weigelianis, page 18: The Creature is God; God is the Creature. You are the Son of God, not by adoption, but by blood, of God Himself. CALVIN, Institutes of the Christian Religion, book I, chapter XV, § 5, observes that at this point Servetus imitates the deliria of the Manicheans, writing: “Before I proceed further, it is necessary to address the delirium of the Manicheans, which Servetus attempted to bring into this present age. Because God is said to have breathed into the face of man the breath of life, they think that the soul is a transmission of the substance of God; as if some portion of immense divinity had flowed into man:” which error he then refutes: consult also VOETIUS, Disputationum theologicarum, part I, pages 817, 818, question I. Neither will I now make mention of the prodigies of the Hernhutters or Hattemists:

Pontinaus van Hattem also taught that Man ought not to be distinguished or separated from God, namely, as something substantial, but that Men are hence to be considered as modes of Deity: which impiety of Hattem the Reverend SPANDAW brings into the light and refutes, bedekte Sponosist ontdekt, chapter I, compared with the preface *** 7: consult also what things have already been observed against Spinoza in this Chapter, § 10, 14.

Nor will I now make mention of the erroneous opinions of the Ancient Philosophers: see what things out of Epictetus,[20] Plutarch, Marcus Aurelius, and Seneca, DITTON cites in de Materia non cogitante, chapter XIII, pages 594, 595: concerning the Stoics add WALCH’S Miscellanea Sacra, book III, Exercitation III, § 9, page 584: concerning the Platonists, WALCH’S Miscellanea Sacra, book III, Exercitation III, § 20, page 595: see also LELAND’S de Utilitate et Necessitate Revelationis Christi, part I, section II, chapter XIII, pages 370-372, toward the end of this paragraph. What things are able to be said in excusing Plato to a great extent, read in BUDDEUS’ Historiam ecclesiasticam Veteris Testamenti, period II, section VI, § 13, tome 2, pages 863b, 864: but Pythagoras is less able to be excused, as BUDDEUS shows, Historia ecclesiastica Veteris Testamenti, period II, section VI, § 13, tome 2, pages 873b, 874a. Thus the opinion of Pythagoras is opposed in CICERO’S book I de Natura Deorum, chapter XI: Pythagoras, who thought that (God) was the soul extending and passing through all the nature of things, from which our souls carperentur, are plucked off (others: caperentur, are taken), did not see that by the cutting off of human souls God was mutilated and lacerated: and that, since souls are wretched (which happens to most), then a part of God is wretched: which is not able to be, etc.: on which words see the notes of DAVISIUS.[21]

But, 1. just as God, because of His consummate Simplicity, is from all Composition, actual or possible; so also His Most Simple Essence admits Division into parts in no manner. In which manner also, 2. the Divine Nature would actually have endured Mutation, which Divine Nature actually rejects all possible mutation. And, 3. the Creature, finite, dependent, imperfect in many ways, would be a partaker of Infinite, Independent, Most Simple Nature in a manner properly so called: which it implies.

Objection 1: All things are of/from God, Romans 11:36. I respond, not as from a material cause, but an efficient cause, by the production of all things, by comparison with Acts 5:38, 39.

Objection 2: We are the offspring of God, Acts 17:29. I respond, not because of Generation properly so called or Emanation from God, but with respect to Creation in the similitude of God; not by participation of Essence, but by similitude of Image: see SPANDAW, bedekte Sponosist ontdekt, chapter I, § 24-29, pages 11-14.

Objection 3: John 17:21, 23. I respond: The Lord does not speak of an Essential Union between God and Men; but of a Gracious Communion of the Elect with God, after, by virtue of the Spirit of Christ indwelling them, by faith they have been spiritually engrafted into Christ and compactly joined together, which does not remove the essential distinction between God and Men. While to this gracious Union of believers with God the Scripture opposes a true separation, which before faith was obtaining between them, and which is removed by the true, sponsorial Satisfaction of Christ, received by faith: compare Ephesians 2:3; John 3:36; Ephesians 1:13; 2:11-16. And so in this text there is a drawing together of things dissimilar because of a third thing, in which between the extremes of the things compared obtains, not a perfect univocal similitude, but only an analogical similitude by the slightest shadow of likeness: see SPANDAW, bedekte Sponosist ontdekt, chapter I, pages 2-11; BUDDEUS, Theologiæ moralis, part I, chapter I, section IV, § 85-88, pages 133-136.

[1] The Theologia Germanica is an anonymous work of German mystical theology, written in the later half of the fourteenth century. This work had a profound impact upon Martin Luther, theologians of the Radical Reformation, and later Pietism, but was largely rejected by the Reformed.

[2] In 1722, Count Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf began receiving Protestant refugees from Bohemia and Moravia, and allowing them to settle on his land in eastern Germany and to build the village of Herrnhut. The refugees came from diverse religious and theological backgrounds, and initially there was conflict. Peace was restored as the members of the community committed themselves to a community discipline, emphasizing love over against creed.

[3] Gerardus Kulenkamp (1700-1775) was a Dutch Reformed minister, serving in Amsterdam. He wrote polemical treatises against the Moravians and the Mennonites.

[4] Friedrich Christoph Oetinger (1702-1782) was a German Lutheran pastor, theologian, and theosopher. He spent time in Herrnhut teaching Hebrew and Greek.

[5] Valentinus (c. 100-c. 160) was perhaps the most influential Gnostic of his day, with many followers. Although his work survives only in fragments, his system continued, albeit in modified forms, in his disciples.

[6] Almaury de Berle (died c. 1205) was a Roman Catholic clergyman and professor at the University of Paris. He was the founder of a heretical, pantheistic sect.

[7] At the Council of Paris in 1209, the Pantheism of, not only Almaricus, but also of his disciple, David de Dinanto, was condemned.

[8] Priscillianism is a Gnostic and Manichean/dualistic Christian heresy. It was championed by Priscillian, Bishop of Avila, in the late fourth century. Priscillianism was condemned as heresy, but it continued in Hispania and Gaul until the late sixth century.

[9] Jacob Böhme (1575-1624) was a German theologian and mystic. In his formative years, he was influenced by the writings of Weigel and Schwenckfeld. Although Böhme had no formal education, he wrote prolifically, and had an enthusiastic following.

[10] Isaias Stiefel (1561-1627) was a German enthusiast.

[11] Antoinette Bourignon (1616-1680) was born in French Flanders. She was a mystic, believing that she had been specially chosen by God to restore true Christianity. Her influence extended through the Dutch Republic unto Germany and Scotland.

[12] Sincerus Aletophilus was a pseudonym for Siegmund Schmieder, a German alchemist.

[13] Pierre Poiret (1646-1719) was a French mystic, and disciple of Antoinette Bourignon, publishing her works (as well as those of other mystics, ancient and modern).

[14] Johannes Langius (died 1624) served as minister of the Gospel at Doesburg.

[15] Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus (121-180) was Emperor of Rome from 161 to 180. He was also an important Stoic philosopher.

[16] Johannes Tauler (c. 1300-1361) was a German Dominican preacher and theologian. A student of Meister Eckhart, he in turn emphasized and promoted the mystical elements of Dominican spirituality.

[17] Caspar Schwenckfeld von Ossig (1489-1561) was a Silesian nobleman. In 1518, he embraced the principles of Luther’s Reformation, and became a proponent and preacher of the Reformation of the Church. However, under the enthusiastical influence and teaching of Thomas Muntzer and Andreas Karlstadt, he fell out with Luther and was expelled from Silesia.

[18] John Pordage (1607-1681) was an English churchman and mystic. A follower of Jacob Böhme, he founded a Behmenist group in England. Pordage faced persistent charges of pantheism.

[19] Gottfried Arnold (1666-1714) was a German Lutheran Pietistic theologian and historian. A form of mysticism appears in his Geheimniss der göttlichen Sophia, which appears to disappear after his acceptance of a pastoral charge.

[20] Epictetus (c. 55-135) was a Greek Stoic philosopher. He taught the interconnectedness of all things, and universal harmony. Epictetus’ teaching were preserved and published by his disciple, Arrianus.

[21] Joannes Davisius, Master of Queen’s College, Cambridge, in the first half of the eighteenth century produced annotated editions of Cicero’s works.


Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.




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