Panentheism (from Greek πᾶν (pân) "all"; ἐν (en) "in"; ; and θεός (Theós) "god"; "all-in-God") is the theological position that God is immanent within the Universe, but also transcends it. It is distinguished from pantheism, which holds that God is synonymous with the material universe. In panentheism, God is viewed as creator and/or animating force behind the universe, and the source of universal morality. The term is closely associated with the Logos of Greek philosophy in the works of Herakleitos, which pervades the cosmos and whereby all things were made.
Development of a formal philosophy
The German philosopher Karl Christian Friedrich Krause (1781–1832) seeking to reconcile monotheism and pantheism, coined the term panentheism (all in God) in 1828. This conception of God influenced New England transcendentalists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson. The term was popularized by Charles Hartshorne in his development of process theology and has also been adopted by proponents of various New Thought beliefs. However despite formalization of this term in the west as late as the 18th century, the formal analysis of panentheism is not new; for example philosophical treatises have been written on it in the context of Hinduism for millennia.
Beginning in the 1940s, Hartshorne examined numerous conceptions of God. He reviewed and discarded pantheism, deism, and pandeism in favor of panentheism, finding that "panentheistic doctrine contains all of deism and pandeism except their arbitrary negations". Hartshorne formulated God as necessarily being able to become 'more perfect', contending that God had absolute perfection in categories for which absolute perfection was possible, and relative perfection (i.e. was superior to all others) in categories for which perfection can not be precisely determined.