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emanationism

philosophical and theological theory that sees all of creation as an unwilled, necessary, and spontaneous outflow of contingent beings of descending perfection-from an infinite, undiminished, unchanged primary substance. Typically, light is used as an analogy: it communicates itself continually, remains unchanged, and shares its brightness in proportion to the nearness of its object. Emanationism precludes creation out of nothingness. Some scholars classify emanationism with pantheism despite their dissimilarities; however, emanationism does not hold that God is immanent in the finite world

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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