| Preach to the choir|
|Crux of the matter|
|Speak of the devil|
|An act of faith|
Pandeism is a belief system that can be seen as a combination of deism, where the creator of the universe takes no part in its operation, and pantheism, where the Creator and the universe are one and the same. Pandeism suggests that this Creator (not necessarily a currently worshiped deity) made the universe by becoming the universe.
Pandeists contend that this answers some objections to both deism and pantheism, namely that deism doesn't explain why a Creator would create, then abandon the universe, and pantheism does not explain where the universe/god originates. Like some pantheists, pandeists see nature and the Creator as synonymous, and believe that scientific inquiry will reveal the mechanisms by which the universe/god operates.
Two theories have been formulated in an attempt to explain the motive behind the Creator forming the universe from itself. The first posits that it had the desire to experience existence through separate entities, a feat which could only be accomplished in a universe capable of generating ordered complexity, ranging from subatomic particles forming atoms to the evolution of intelligence. Pandeists contend that this Creator conceded its consciousness upon the creation of the universe, which means the pandeist god is not aware of human suffering. Such a Creator, Pandeists explain, does not need to be aware of the experience of the Universe while it is happening, and indeed cannot be aware of this experience because it has fully become the Universe itself. Instead, the Creator is only able to process the experience of the Universe once the Universe itself has ended, and the Creator has been restored to its original state.
A second idea proposed at various times and most famously developed by cartoonist Scott Adams in God's Debris places God as an omnipotent being who was not driven by human provocations. It contends that, by the quality of omniscience, the pandeist god could peer into its own future, thus having its decisions predetermined. Because the only conceivable motivation a colossus like this could have is a challenge to its power, the only thing that remained to be tested was its omniscience -- would its abilities include knowledge of everything after its destruction, or would its knowledge come to an end? Thus God orchestrated its abolition through the Big Bang so that it may live on as a conscious entity in its creation, should it succeed in its endeavor. Due to the fact that it is difficult to discern between a god that is absent and a god that does nothing, trying to determine if it lost its consciousness or not is a futile exercise.
Pandeism has been classed as a logical derivation of German philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz's proposition that ours was the best of all possible worlds. In 2010, author William C. Lane contended that:
If divine becoming were complete, God's kenosis--God's self-emptying for the sake of love--would be total. In this pandeistic view, nothing of God would remain separate and apart from what God would become. Any separate divine existence would be inconsistent with God's unreserved participation in the lives and fortunes of the actualized phenomena." (p. 67)—
Acknowledging that American religious philosopher William Rowe has raised "a powerful, evidential argument against ethical theism," Lane further contended that pandeism offers an escape from the evidential argument from evil:
However, it does not count against pandeism. In pandeism, God is no superintending, heavenly power, capable of hourly intervention into earthly affairs. No longer existing "above," God cannot intervene from above and cannot be blamed for failing to do so. Instead God bears all suffering, whether the fawn's[note 1] or anyone else's. Even so, a skeptic might ask, "Why must there be so much suffering,? Why could not the world's design omit or modify the events that cause it?" In pandeism, the reason is clear: to remain unified, a world must convey information through transactions. Reliable conveyance requires relatively simple, uniform laws. Laws designed to skip around suffering-causing events or to alter their natural consequences (i.e., their consequences under simple laws) would need to be vastly complicated or (equivalently) to contain numerous exceptions. (p. 76–77)—
- Theism (god exists and intervenes in the world)
- Deism (god created the world but no longer intervenes in it)
- Pantheism (god is in everything material)
- Panentheism (god is in everything material, but is more than that)
- Atheism (there is no god)
- William Rowe used, as an example of needless suffering, a fawn horribly burned in a forest fire and unable to move, yet suffering for additional days before its death.
- Lane, William C. (January 2010). "Leibniz's Best World Claim Restructured". American Philosophical Journal 47 (1): 57–84. Retrieved 9 March 2014.