While we have taken a very broad view of the differences between pantheistic and panentheistic conceptions of divinity, our discussion should suffice to give the reader a reasonably robust sense of two of the most prominent alternative conceptions of God and the broad ontological commitments of such concepts of divinity. In the remainder of this section, we briefly consider the value of examining alternative concepts of God.

In particular, we are interested in the value of such approaches for philosophers of religion who wish to take a more global perspective in their research, examining not just the traditional theistic picture of divinity that emerged in the West but also non-theistic conceptions of ultimate reality and considering how these alternative pictures of ultimate reality may relate to one another. While this is no doubt a controversial claim, we are inclined to think that alternative conceptions of divinity such as pantheism and panentheism are better suited to engage with non-theistic conceptions of ultimate reality than versions of classical theism.

According to traditional theism, God is ontologically distinct from the universe. There is no ontological overlap between God and the universe as the universe is God’s creation. Pantheists and panentheists reject this idea because they believe that the universe is part of God.


God while panentheists typically hold that the universe constitutes God or is a proper
part of God.