Last modified on August 23, 2020, at 10:05


Panentheism (from Greek πᾶν (pân) "all"; ἐν (en) "in"; and θεός (Theós) "god"; "all-in-God") is the theological position that God is both immanent and transcendent, that is that the Universe is within God, but God is also above it.

The word was coined in 1828 by German philosopher Karl Christian Friedrich Krause (1781–1832) who sought to reconcile monotheism and pantheism. It was popularized in the mid-1900s by theologian Charles Hartshorne, who made this conception the core of his process theology, which describes God as not merely a being, but a process of constant perfection. For Hartshorne, God was necessarily able to become 'more perfect', having absolute perfection in categories for which absolute perfection was possible, and relative perfection in categories for which perfection can never be precisely determined, such as being perfect in love or mercy.[1]

In reaching this conclusion Hartshorne examined and charted numerous conceptions of God. He specifically reviewed pantheism, deism, and pandeism discarding each as flawed compared to panentheism. "Panentheistic doctrine", he wrote, "contains all of deism and pandeism except their arbitrary negations".[2]

In modern times, Hinduism (Sanatan) is the largest, and best known of the Panentheistic religions. In Hinduism, God interpenetrates every atom of the universe, and every being has the potential to be one with God (transcendence).


  1. Charles Hartshorne, Man's Vision of God and the Logic of Theism (1964).
  2. Hartshorne, Man's Vision of God and the Logic of Theism, p. 348