Best when viewed with Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.


A charming story recounts Anthony's relationship with the animals in an era when bearbaiting and torturing of animals was a widespread form of entertainment:

At first wild animals in the desert coming for water often would damage the beds in his garden. But he caught one of the animals, held it gently, and said to them all: "Why do you harm me when I harm none of you? Go away, and in the Lord's name do not come near these things again." And ever afterwards, as though awed by his orders, they did not come near the place.

Such tales of monks' encounters with animals were numerous: an aging monk fed a starving lion with dates, another shared his evening meal regularly with a she-wolf, still another taught an ibex, a desert antelope, which plants to eat and which to avoid.
...Dictionary of African Christian Biography
What is Panentheism?...God is the Universe, but More Than the Universe
"The term panentheism is Greek for "all-in-God," pan-en-theos. A panentheistic belief system is one which posits a god that interpenetrates every part of nature, but is nevertheless fully distinct from nature. So this god is part of nature, but still retains an independent identity...."

"It is a matter of historical record that the saints, sages and avatars of the world's major religions have always emphasized our kinship with animals and with the whole of Creation: and that an attitude of humility, compassion and respect and reverence for all life is the key to a just, humane and sustainable society. This attitude does not preclude us form exploiting non-human life in order to sustain our own. Rather, it sets limits and raises questions because non-human life is as much a part of our moral and spiritual community of concern and responsibility as it is an integral part of the ecological community of planet Earth."

"The Christian hermetic desert fathers tried to preserve this Covenant of consciousness and conscience. They, like St. Francis of Assisi, saw the emerging age of commerce and industrialism as defiling and consuming the natural world. They did not accept the new world order of the Church of Rome that placed God above all (for God is also in all); and that placed humans above animals and Nature, and men above women."

"This universal arrangement is not pantheism (all is God), but panentheism, a term devised by Karl C. F. Krause (1781-1832) to describe his thought. It is best known for its use by Charles Hartshorne and recently by Matthew Fox. Panentheism says that all is in God, somewhat as if God were the ocean and we were fish. If one considers what is in God's body to be part of God, then we can say that God is all there is and then some. The universe is God's body, but God's awareness or personality is greater than the sum of all the parts of the universe. All the parts have some degree of freedom in co-creating with God. At the start of its momentary career as a subject, an experience is God--as the divine initial aim. As the experience carries on its choosing process, it is a freely aiming reality that is not strictly God, since it departs from God's purpose to some degree. Yet everything is within God.

"The most practical value of pantheism is that it recognizes the presence of God everywhere, but it does this at an enormous cost. It provides for the presence of God as the only actor; God's presence is an overriding presence that cancels the possibility of the existence of anything else, of any genuine beloved, of any loving or unloving response to God. In pantheism, human existence or any other finite existence is at best a mystery. Explanation in any satisfying sense is impossible. There can be affirmation that there is nothing but God, but where that leaves the affirmer is unclear; his or her existence is no more than appearance, and enlightenment brings recognition of one's illusory status as a unique, permanent perspective in reality.

Panentheism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
Back to Previous Level