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The Quest of Every Heart

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Mike Shreve was a teacher of yoga at four universities. (The portrait above was drawn by one of his students in 1970.) Then a spiritual rebirth brought him into a real relationship with God and drastically changed his heart, his life and his belief system.  Read his story here.

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TheTrueLight.Net
Site Completed–10/15/01
Major Revision—5/28/03
Last Updated–03/19/09

The True Light Project
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Phone: (423) 478-2843
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©2002 copyright
Mike Shreve.
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The Origin and Nature
of the Universe

The Origin of the Universe-There are seven main ways the existence of the universe is explained in various religions of the world:

(1) The universe is eternal and uncreated.
(2) The universe was created by God out of nothing (ex nihilo).
(3) The universe was created by God (or various gods) using a preexisting substance.
(4) The universe was created by God, yet is separate from him.
(5) The universe was created by God. Though it is not God in manifestation, he is the essence of life within it.
(6) The universe was emanated out of God (ex Deo). Therefore, it is divine in essence.
(7) The universe is simply the result of causal actions.

The Nature of the Universe-Some religions teach the natural creation is an illusion; others teach it is real. Some teach that it has a divine essence; others teach it is separate from God. The various views are defined as follows:

  • Dualism: the concept that the universe is composed of two distinct parts-mind and matter, or "being" and "non-being"-and that there is a distinct difference and separation between the Creator and his creation.

  • Monism: the concept that all things in the universe, natural and spiritual, are of one essential substance. Monism is usually married to the concept of pantheism. If "All is One" (monism) it is only logical that "All is God" (pantheism). There are three types of monism-the belief that the universe is: (1) Purely Mental; (2) Purely Physical; (3) A Mixture of Both Views.
  • Monistic Theism: a blend between monism and dualism. According to this view, during the soul"s evolution, God temporarily "appears" to be transcendent, separate from creation and from us. Ultimately, all things will blend together in undifferentiated, monistic oneness. In monistic theism God is both transcendent and immanent. This allows for a personal relationship with God on the way to an undifferentiated union with an impersonal God.
  • Pantheism: the idea that creation with its substances, laws and forces, is an emanation of God. In the most extreme form of pantheism, God does not exist apart from these-"All is God; and God is All."
  • Panentheism: the teaching that even though he transcends creation, yet God is the essence of life within it-"All is in God; and God is in All."

  • Pluralism: the idea that reality is comprised of a number of parts. No single belief system can sufficiently explain the nature of the universe and of God.
  • Theism: the view that creation is separate from God, that he is transcendent, existing apart from the material universe. The "life" of animate things is distinct from God. It is a gift from God, but it is not an emanation of God.

Some religions are very precise in their cosmogony; others are vague. A few even discourage speculation in these areas. Regardless of which view is held, most of us can agree with Sir Thomas Brown that:

"The created world is just a small parenthesis in eternity."


Select the desired religion or teacher from the drop-down box below to view
what followers believe regarding the origin and nature of the universe.


"In Search of the True Light" 2002 copyright by Mike Shreve.
All articles unless otherwise noted are copyright by Mike Shreve.
Personal Stories are the work of the individuals.
All Rights Reserved.

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