God in Abrahamic religions

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are sometimes called Abrahamic religions because they all accept the tradition of the God (known as Yahweh in Hebrew and Allah in Arabic) that revealed himself to the prophet Abraham. The theological traditions of all Abrahamic religions are thus to some extent influenced by the depiction of the God of Israel in the Hebrew Bible, and the historical development of monotheism in the history of Judaism.

The Abrahamic God in this sense is the conception of God that remains a common attribute of all three traditions. God is conceived of as eternal, omnipotent, omniscient and as the creator of the universe. God is further held to have the properties of holiness, justice, omni-benevolence and omnipresence. Proponents of Abrahamic faiths believe that God is also transcendent, meaning that he is outside space and outside time and therefore not subject to anything within his creation, but at the same time a personal God, involved, listening to prayer and reacting to the actions of his creatures.

Bahá'í Faith

The Bahá'í writings describe a monotheistic, personal, inaccessible, omniscient, omnipresent, imperishable, and almighty God who is the creator of all things in the universe.[1][2] The existence of God and the universe is thought to be eternal, without a beginning or end.[3]

Though transcendent and inaccessible directly, God is nevertheless seen as conscious of creation, with a will and purpose that is expressed through messengers termed Manifestations of God.[1] The purpose of creation is for the created to have the capacity to know and love its creator,[4] through such methods as prayer, reflection, and being of service to humankind.[5] God communicates his will and purpose to humanity through intermediaries, known as Manifestations of God, who are the prophets and messengers who have founded religions from prehistoric times up to the present day.[6]

The Manifestations of God reflect divine attributes, which are creations of God made for the purpose of spiritual enlightenment, onto the physical plane of existence.[7] In the Bahá'í view, all physical beings reflect at least one of these attributes, and the human soul can potentially reflect all of them.[8] The Bahá'í view rejects all pantheistic, anthropomorphic, and incarnationist beliefs in God.[1]

Christianity

Christianity originated within the realm of Second Temple Judaism and thus shares most of its beliefs about God, including his omnipotence, omniscience, his role as creator of all things, his personality, Immanence, transcendence and ultimate unity and supremacy, with the innovation that Jesus of Nazareth is considered to be in one way or another, the fulfillment of ancient prophecy or the completion of the Law of the prophets of Israel.

Most Christian denominations believe Jesus to be the incarnation of God as a human being, which is the main theological divergence with respect to Judaism and Islam. Although personal salvation is implicitly stated in Judaism, personal salvation by grace and a recurring emphasis in right beliefs is particularly emphasized in Christianity, often contrasting this with a perceived over-emphasis in law observance as stated in canon Jewish law, where it is contended that a belief in an intermediary between man and God is against the Noahide laws, and thus not monotheistic.

For most Christians, beliefs about God are enshrined in the doctrine of Trinitarianism, which holds that the three persons of the trinity are distinct but all of the same indivisible essence, meaning that the Father is God, the Holy spirit is God and the Son is God yet there is one God as there is one indivisible essence. The doctrines were largely formalized at the Council of Nicaea and are enshrined in the Nicene creed. The Trinitarian view emphasizes that God has a will, and that God the Son has two wills, divine and human, though these are never in conflict but joined in the hypostatic union.

A small minority of Christians, largely coming under the heading of Unitarianism, hold non-trinitarian views.

Mormonism

In the Mormonism represented by most of Mormon communities (including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), God means Elohim (the Father), whereas Godhead means a council of three distinct gods; Elohim, Jehovah (the Son, or Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. The Father and Son have perfected, material bodies, while the Holy Spirit is a spirit and does not have a body. This conception differs from the traditional Christian Trinity; in Mormonism, the three persons are considered to be physically separate beings, or personages, but united in will and purpose.[9] As such, the term Godhead differs from how it is used in traditional Christianity. This description of God represents the orthodoxy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), established early in the 19th century.

Islam

In Islam, God is believed to be the only real supreme being, all-powerful and all-knowing creator, sustainer, ordainer, and judge of the universe.[10][11] Islam puts a heavy emphasis on the conceptualization of God as strictly singular (tawhid).[12] He is unique (wahid) and inherently one (ahad), all-merciful and omnipotent.[13] According to the Qur'an there are 99 Names of God (al-asma al-husna lit. meaning: "The best names") each of which evoke a distinct characteristic of God.[14][15] All these names refer to Allah, the supreme and all-comprehensive divine Arabic name.[16] Among the 99 names of God, the most famous and most frequent of these names are "the Most Gracious" (al-rahim) and "the Most Merciful" (al-rahman).[14][15]

Creation and ordering of the universe is seen as an act of prime mercy for which all creatures sing his glories and bear witness to his unity and lordship. According to the Qur'an, "No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision. He is above all comprehension, yet is acquainted with all things" (Qur'an 6:103).[11]

God in Islam is not only majestic and sovereign, but also a personal god. According to the Qur'an, he is nearer to a person than that person's jugular vein. He responds to those in need or distress whenever they call him. Above all, he guides humanity to the right way, the "straight path".[17]

Islam teaches that God is the same god worshipped by the members of other Abrahamic religions such as Christianity and Judaism (29:46).[18] This is not universally accepted by non-Muslims, as Islam denies the divinity of Jesus Christ as a son of God, Islam views that God does not have any offspring or descendants, he created all things including prophets such as Jesus Christ. Most Muslims today believe that the religion of Abraham (which now split into Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) are of one source, which is The Almighty God.

Judaism

Judaism, the oldest Abrahamic religion, is based on a strict monotheism, finding its origins in the sole veneration of the ancient predecessor to the Abrahamic God, Yahweh.[n 1] The idea of God as a duality or trinity is heretical in Judaism - it is considered akin to polytheism. "[God], the Cause of all, is one. This does not mean one as in one of series, nor one like a species (which encompasses many individuals), nor one as in an object that is made up of many elements, nor as a single simple object that is infinitely divisible. Rather, God is a unity unlike any other possible unity". This is referred to in the Torah: "Hear Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One".[Deut. 6:4][19]

God is conceived of as eternal, the creator of the universe, and the source of morality. God has the power to intervene in the world. The term God thus corresponds to an actual ontological reality, and is not merely a projection of the human psyche. Maimonides describes God in this fashion: "The foundation of all foundations and the pillar of wisdom is to know that there is a Primary Being who brought into being all existence. All the beings of the heavens, the earth, and what is between them came into existence only from the truth of His being."[20]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ While Yahweh is indeed the Abrahamic God, this specifically refers to the ancient ideas Yahweh once encompassed, such as living on mountains or controlling the weather. Thus, in this page's context, "Yahweh" is used to refer to the ancient idea of the Abrahamic God, and should not be referenced when describing His modern worship in today's Abrahamic religions.

References

  1. ^ a b c Smith, Peter (2008). An Introduction to the Baha'i Faith. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 106. ISBN 0-521-86251-5.
  2. ^ Hatcher, William (1985). The Bahá'í Faith. San Francisco: Harper & Row. p. 74. ISBN 0-06-065441-4.
  3. ^ Britannica (1992). "The Bahá'í Faith". In Daphne Daume; Louise Watson (eds.). Britannica Book of the Year. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica. ISBN 0-85229-486-7.
  4. ^ Smith, Peter (2008). An Introduction to the Baha'i Faith. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 111. ISBN 0-521-86251-5.
  5. ^ Hatcher, John S. (2005). Unveiling the Hurí of Love. Journal of Bahá'í Studies. 15. pp. 1–38.
  6. ^ Smith, Peter (2008). An Introduction to the Baha'i Faith. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 107–108. ISBN 0-521-86251-5.
  7. ^ Hatcher, William (1985). The Bahá'í Faith. San Francisco: Harper & Row. pp. 123–126. ISBN 0-06-065441-4.
  8. ^ Saiedi, Nader (2008). Gate of the Heart. Waterloo, Ontario, Canada: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. pp. 163–180. ISBN 978-1-55458-035-4.
  9. ^ The term with its distinctive Mormon usage first appeared in Lectures on Faith (published 1834), Lecture 5 ("We shall in this lecture speak of the Godhead; we mean the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."). The term "Godhead" also appears several times in Lecture 2 in its sense as used in the Authorized King James Version as meaning divinity.
  10. ^ Gerhard Böwering, God and his Attributes, Encyclopedia of the Quran
  11. ^ a b John L. Esposito, Islam: The Straight Path, Oxford University Press, 1998, p.22
  12. ^ John L. Esposito, Islam: The Straight Path, Oxford University Press, 1998, p.88
  13. ^ "Allah." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica
  14. ^ a b Bentley, David (September 1999). The 99 Beautiful Names for God for All the People of the Book. William Carey Library. ISBN 0-87808-299-9.
  15. ^ a b Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa, Allah
  16. ^ Annemarie Schimmel,The Tao of Islam: A Sourcebook on Gender Relationships in Islamic, SUNY Press, p.206
  17. ^ Britannica Encyclopedia, Islam, p. 3
  18. ^ F.E. Peters, Islam, p.4, Princeton University Press, 2003
  19. ^ Maimonides, 13 principles of faith, Second Principle
  20. ^ Mishneh Torah, book HaMadda', section Yesodei ha-Torah, chapter 1:1 (original Hebrew/English translation)
Acosmism

Acosmism, in contrast to pantheism, denies the reality of the universe, seeing it as ultimately illusory, (the prefix "a-" in Greek meaning negation; like "un-" in English), and only the infinite unmanifest Absolute as real. Conceptual versions of Acosmism are found in eastern and western philosophies.

Agnostic existentialism

Agnostic existentialism is a type of existentialism which makes no claim to know whether there is a "greater picture"; rather, it simply asserts that the greatest truth is that which the individual chooses to act upon. It feels that to know the greater picture, whether there is one or not, is impossible, or impossible so far, or of little value. Like the Christian existentialist, the agnostic existentialist believes existence is subjective.

Allah

Allah (; Arabic: الله‎, romanized: Allāh, IPA: [ɑɫˈɫɑː(h)] (listen)) is the Arabic word for God in Abrahamic religions. In the English language, the word generally refers to God in Islam. The word is thought to be derived by contraction from al-ilāh, which means "the god", and is related to El and Elah, the Hebrew and Aramaic words for God.The word Allah has been used by Arabic people of different religions since pre-Islamic times. More specifically, it has been used as a term for God by Muslims (both Arab and non-Arab) and Arab Christians. It is also often, albeit not exclusively, used in this way by Bábists, Bahá'ís, Mandaeans, Indonesian and Maltese Christians, and Mizrahi Jews. Similar usage by Christians and Sikhs in West Malaysia has recently led to political and legal controversies.

Atheist's Wager

The Atheist's Wager, popularised by the philosopher Michael Martin and published in his 1990 book Atheism: A Philosophical Justification, is an atheistic response to Pascal's Wager regarding the existence of God.

One version of the Atheist's Wager suggests that since a kind and loving god would reward good deeds – and that if no gods exist, good deeds would still leave a positive legacy – one should live a good life without religion. Another formulation suggests that a god may reward honest disbelief and punish a dishonest belief in the divine.

Atheistic existentialism

Atheistic existentialism is a kind of existentialism which strongly diverged from the Christian existential works of Søren Kierkegaard and developed within the context of an atheistic world view. The philosophies of Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche provided existentialism's theoretical foundation in the 19th century, although their differing views on religion proved essential to the development of alternate types of existentialism. Atheistic existentialism was formally recognized after the 1943 publication of Being and Nothingness by Jean-Paul Sartre and Sartre later explicitly alluded to it in Existentialism is a Humanism in 1946.

George I. Mavrodes

George I. Mavrodes is an American philosopher who is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Michigan.

God as the devil

In Christian heresiology, there have been historical claims that certain Christian sects worshipped the devil. This was especially an issue in the reaction of the early Church to Gnosticism and its dualism, where the creator deity is understood as a demiurge inferior to the actual, transcendent God.

God in Islam

In Islam, God (Arabic: الله‎, romanized: Allāh, contraction of الْإِلٰه al-ilāh, lit. "the God") is the absolute one, the all-powerful and all-knowing ruler of the universe, and the creator of everything in existence. Islam emphasizes that God is strictly singular (tawḥīd ): unique (wāḥid ), inherently One (aḥad ), also all-merciful and omnipotent. God is neither a material nor a spiritual being. According to Islamic teachings, beyond the Throne and according to the Quran, "No vision can grasp him, but His grasp is over all vision: He is above all comprehension, yet is acquainted with all things."Chapter 112 of the Quran, titled Al-'Ikhlās (The Sincerity) reads:

In Islam there is only one God and there are 99 names of that one God (al-asmāʼ al-ḥusná lit. meaning: "The best names"), each of which evokes a distinct attribute of God. All these names refer to Allah, the supreme and all-comprehensive god. Among the 99 names of God, the most familiar and frequent are "the Compassionate" (Ar-Raḥmān) and "the Merciful" (Ar-Raḥīm). Creation and ordering of the universe is seen as an act of prime mercy for which all creatures praise God's attributes and bear witness to God's unity.

God of Israel

God of Israel may refer to:

God in Judaism, God as understood in Jewish theological discussion.

Yahweh, the national god of the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

Tetragrammaton, the four Hebrew letters YHWH as the name of God, and various pronunciations given to them.

El Shaddai, one of the names of the God of Israel.

Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit, is a term found in English translations of the Bible that is understood differently among the Abrahamic religions. The term is also used to describe aspects of other religions and belief structures.

Jehovah (disambiguation)

Jehovah may refer to:

Jehovah, a reading of the name of God in Abrahamic religions

Jehovah 1, an important character in the parody religion, Church of the SubGenius

Jehovah Wanyonyi, a Kenyan mystic who claims to be God

List of philosophies

Philosophical schools of thought and philosophical movements.

Natural-law argument

Natural-law argument for the existence of God was especially popular in the eighteenth century as a result of the influence of Sir Isaac Newton. As Bertrand Russell pointed out much later, many of the things we consider to be laws of nature, in fact, are human conventions. Indeed, Albert Einstein has shown that Newton's law of universal gravitation was such a convention, and though elegant and useful, one that did not describe the universe precisely. Most true laws are rather trivial, such as mathematical laws, laws of probability, and so forth, and much less impressive than those that were envisioned by Newton and his followers. Russell wrote:

"If you say, as more orthodox theologians do, that in all the laws which God issues he had a reason for giving those laws rather than others -- the reason, of course, being to create the best universe, although you would never think it to look at it -- if there was a reason for the laws which God gave, then God himself was subject to law, and therefore you do not get any advantage by introducing God as an intermediary. You really have a law outside and anterior to the divine edicts, and God does not serve your purpose, because he is not the ultimate law-giver. In short, this whole argument from natural law no longer has anything like the strength that it used to have."The argument of natural laws as a basis for God was changed by Christian figures such as Thomas Aquinas, in order to fit biblical scripture and establish a Judeo-Christian teleological law.

Nicholas Wolterstorff

Nicholas Wolterstorff (born January 21, 1932) is an American philosopher and a liturgical theologian. He is currently Noah Porter Professor Emeritus Philosophical Theology at Yale University. A prolific writer with wide-ranging philosophical and theological interests, he has written books on aesthetics, epistemology, political philosophy, philosophy of religion, metaphysics, and philosophy of education. In Faith and Rationality, Wolterstorff, Alvin Plantinga, and William Alston developed and expanded upon a view of religious epistemology that has come to be known as Reformed epistemology. He also helped to establish the journal Faith and Philosophy and the Society of Christian Philosophers.

Religious skepticism

Religious skepticism is a type of skepticism relating to religion. Religious skeptics question religious authority and are not necessarily anti-religious but skeptical of specific or all religious beliefs and/or practices. Socrates was one of the most prominent and first religious skeptics of whom there are records; he questioned the legitimacy of the beliefs of his time in the existence of the Greek gods. Religious skepticism is not the same as atheism or agnosticism and some religious skeptics are deists.

Robert Merrihew Adams

Robert Merrihew Adams (born 1937) is an American analytic philosopher of metaphysics, religion, and morality.

Supreme deity

Supreme deity may refer to:

Creator deity

God

God in Abrahamic religions

Yahweh in Jewish belief

The Trinity in most Christian traditions

Jesus Christ of Nazareth in some other Christian traditions

Allah in Muslim belief

God in the Bahá'í Faith

Waheguru, in Sikhism

Supreme Being

the deity regarded as chief among many, often a sky god or god of sovereignty, such as:

Para Brahman, in Hinduism

Adi Narayana, in Hinduism

Adi Shakthi, in Hinduism

Jupiter (mythology), in the religion of ancient Rome

Pangu, in Chinese folk religion

Tagroa Siria, in Rotuman society

Ukko, in Finnish mythology

Zeus, in ancient Greek religion

Theological noncognitivism

Theological noncognitivism is the position that religious language – specifically, words such as "God" – are not cognitively meaningful. It is sometimes considered synonymous with ignosticism.

Transcendental argument for the existence of God

The Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God (TAG) is the argument that attempts to prove the existence of God by arguing that logic, morals, and science ultimately presuppose a supreme being and that God must therefore be the source of logic and morals.A version was formulated by Immanuel Kant in his 1763 work The Only Possible Argument in Support of a Demonstration of the Existence of God, and most contemporary formulations of the transcendental argument have been developed within the framework of Christian presuppositional apologetics.

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