A central point in the historic Christian concept of God is what’s known as “the Creator-creature distinction,” which observes that the Creator is not identical to his creation, and vice versa. While pantheism clearly vilolates this principle, panentheism seeks to avoid this error by postulating not that the world is identical to God in his fullness, but that the world is in God (i.e., is a part of God). Still, panentheism should be viewed as a heterodox doctrine, since it indeed violates the Creator-creature distinction by claiming that the world and God are of the same nature. In other words, the world is part of God, but God is more than the world. Yet, God being more than the world does not avoid the panentheistic proposition that “the world is a part of God.” Consider the various ways in which classical Christian theism and panentheism differ in their doctrines of God:
Theism: God is Creator of the world
Panentheism: God is ‘director’ of the world
Theism: The world is essentially different from God
Panentheism: The world is the same as God’s body
Theism: God is in control of the world
Panentheism: God cooperates with the world
Theism: God is independent of the world
Panentheism: God is interdependent with the world
Theism: God is unchanging
**Panentheism: **God is continually changing
Theism: God is absolutely perfect
Panentheism: God is constantly being perfected
Theism: God is infinite and eternal
Panentheism: God is actually finite and temporal
Theism: God is absolutely one
Panentheism: God has two poles (primordial, and consequent)
Protestant apologist, Norman Geisler, makes this point against panentheism:
“[H]ow can we know that everything is changing if there is not some unchanging standard by which to measure change? Because we are moving along with it, we don’t notice that the world is rotating on its axis or revolving around the sun. It feels like we are standing still… We can only be sure that something is moving when we measure it by something that is not moving. So how can we know that everything is changing unless we can look at something that is not changing *? Panentheism has no explanation for this because it holds that even God is constantly changing” (When Skeptics Ask: A Handbook of Christian Evidences, p.51).
Essentially, panentheism denies the transcendent nature of God, the fact that he is ‘other than’ his creation, and this creates theological and philosophical problems all down the line. As Catholic philosophers, Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli, conclude:
“Panentheism…is clearly heretical. For it asserts as part of its doctrine that the material universe does not demand a Creator, merely a vivifier, a kind of ‘world-soul’. This is not only unorthodox, it seems positively irrational. For if our analysis of finite being is right, then the world does raise a much deeper and more radical question about itself, namely: Why does it exist at all, rather than not? And if that is a real question, and if God is its answer, then the world and God cannot be codependent. For God is the Creator; the world depends on him for its total being” (Handbook of Christian Apologetics, p. 95).
A couple of books you might find helpful:
Ronald Nash, ed. Process Theology (Baker, 1987).
R. Nash, The Concept of God: An Exploration of Contemporary Difficulties with the Attributes of God (Zondervan, 1983).