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Representation (for the purpose of art or worship) of God in (from upper left, clockwise) Judeo-Christian religions, AtenismZoroastrianism, and Balinese Hinduism.

God, in monotheistic thought, is conceived of as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith.[1] God is usually conceived of as being omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), omnipresent (all-present) and omnibenevolent (all-good) as well as having an eternal and necessary existence. God is most often held to be incorporeal (immaterial).[1][2][3] God’s incorporeality or corporeality is related to conceptions of God’s transcendence (being outside nature) or immanence (being in nature); Chinese theology exhibits a synthesis of both notions.

Some religions describe God without reference to gender, while others use terminology that is gender-specific and gender-biased. God has been conceived as either personal or impersonal. In theism, God is the creator and sustainer of the universe, while in deism, God is the creator, but not the sustainer, of the universe. In pantheism, God is the universe itself. Atheism is an absence of belief in God, while agnosticism deems the existence of God unknown or unknowable. God has also been conceived as the source of all moral obligation, and the “greatest conceivable existent”.[1] Many notable philosophers have developed arguments for and against the existence of God.[4]

Monotheistic religions refer to their god using various names, some referring to cultural ideas about their god’s identity and attributes. In ancient Egyptian Atenism, possibly the earliest recorded monotheistic religion, this deity was called Aten[5] and proclaimed to be the one “true” Supreme Being and creator of the universe.[6] In the Hebrew Bible and Judaism, the names of God include ElohimAdonaiYHWH (Hebrew: יהוה‎) and othersYahweh and Jehovah, possible vocalizations of YHWH, are used in Christianity. In the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, one God coexists in three “persons” called the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In Islam, the name Allah is used, while Muslims also use a multitude of titles for God. In HinduismBrahman is often considered a monistic concept of God.[7] In Chinese religionShangdi is conceived as the progenitor (first ancestor) of the universe, intrinsic to it and constantly bringing order to it. Other names for God include Baha in the Baháʼí Faith,[8] Waheguru in Sikhism,[9] Ahura Mazda in Zoroastrianism,[10] and Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa in Balinese Hinduism.[11]

Etymology and usage

The Mesha Stele bears the earliest known reference (840 BCE) to the Israelite God YahwehMain article: God (word)

The earliest written form of the Germanic word God comes from the 6th-century Christian Codex Argenteus. The English word itself is derived from the Proto-Germanic * ǥuđan. The reconstructed Proto-Indo-European form * ǵhu-tó-m was likely based on the root * ǵhau(ə)-, which meant either “to call” or “to invoke”.[12] The Germanic words for God were originally neuter—applying to both genders—but during the process of the Christianization of the Germanic peoples from their indigenous Germanic paganism, the words became a masculine syntactic form.[13]

In the English language, capitalization is used for names by which a god is known, including ‘God’.[14] Consequently, the capitalized form of god is not used for multiple gods (polytheism) or when used to refer to the generic idea of a deity.[15][16] The English word God and its counterparts in other languages are normally used for any and all conceptions and, in spite of significant differences between religions, the term remains an English translation common to all. The same holds for Hebrew El, but in Judaism, God is also given a proper name, the tetragrammaton YHWH, in origin possibly the name of an Edomite or Midianite deity, Yahweh. In many English translations of the Bible, when the word LORD is in all capitals, it signifies that the word represents the tetragrammaton.[17]The word ‘Allah’ in Arabic calligraphy

Allāh (Arabic: الله‎) is the Arabic term with no plural used by Muslims and Arabic speaking Christians and Jews meaning “The God”, while ʾilāh (Arabic: إِلَٰه‎ plural `āliha آلِهَة) is the term used for a deity or a god in general.[18][19][20]

God may also be given a proper name in monotheistic currents of Hinduism which emphasize the personal nature of God, with early references to his name as KrishnaVasudeva in Bhagavata or later Vishnu and Hari.[21]

Ahura Mazda is the name for God used in Zoroastrianism. “Mazda”, or rather the Avestan stem-form Mazdā-, nominative Mazdå, reflects Proto-Iranian *Mazdāh (female). It is generally taken to be the proper name of the spirit, and like its Sanskrit cognate medhā, means “intelligence” or “wisdom”. Both the Avestan and Sanskrit words reflect Proto-Indo-Iranian *mazdhā-, from Proto-Indo-European mn̩sdʰeh1, literally meaning “placing (dʰeh1) one’s mind (*mn̩-s)”, hence “wise”.[22]

Waheguru (Punjabi: vāhigurū) is a term most often used in Sikhism to refer to God. It means “Wonderful Teacher” in the Punjabi language. Vāhi (a Middle Persian borrowing) means “wonderful” and guru (Sanskrit: guru) is a term denoting “teacher”. Waheguru is also described by some as an experience of ecstasy which is beyond all descriptions. The most common usage of the word “Waheguru” is in the greeting Sikhs use with each other:

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh
Wonderful Lord’s Khalsa, Victory is to the Wonderful Lord.

Baha, the “greatest” name for God in the Baháʼí Faith, is Arabic for “All-Glorious”.

General conceptions

Main article: Conceptions of God

The philosophy of religion recognizes the following as essential attributes of God:

  • Omnipotence (limitless power)
  • Omniscience (limitless knowledge)
  • Eternity (God is not bound by time)
  • Goodness (God is wholly benevolent)
  • Unity (God cannot be divided)
  • Simplicity (God is not composite)
  • Incorporeality (God is not material)
  • Immutability (God is not subject to change)
  • Impassability (God is not affected)[23]

There is no clear consensus on the nature or the existence of God.[24] The Abrahamic conceptions of God include the monotheistic definition of God in Judaism, the trinitarian view of Christians, and the Islamic concept of God.

There were also various conceptions of God in the ancient Greco-Roman world, such as Aristotle’s view of an unmoved mover, the Neoplatonic concept of the One and the pantheistic God of Stoic Physics.

The dharmic religions differ in their view of the divine: views of God in Hinduism vary by region, sect, and caste, ranging from monotheistic to polytheistic. Many polytheistic religions share the idea of a creator deity, although having a name other than “God” and without all of the other roles attributed to a singular God by monotheistic religions. Sikhism is sometimes seen as being pantheistic about God.

Śramaṇa religions are generally non-creationist, while also holding that there are divine beings (called Devas in Buddhism and Jainism) of limited power and lifespan. Jainism has generally rejected creationism, holding that soul substances (Jīva) are uncreated and that time is beginningless.[25] Depending on one’s interpretation and tradition, Buddhism can be conceived as being either non-theistictrans-theisticpantheistic, or polytheistic. However, Buddhism has generally rejected the specific monotheistic view of a Creator God. The Buddha criticizes the theory of creationism in the early Buddhist texts.[26][27] Also, major Indian Buddhist philosophers, such as NagarjunaVasubandhuDharmakirti and Buddhaghosa, consistently critiqued Creator God views put forth by Hindu thinkers.[28][29][30]


Main articles: Monotheism and HenotheismTrinitarians believe that God is composed of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Monotheists believe that there is only one god, and may also believe this god is worshipped in different religions under different names. The view that all theists actually worship the same god, whether they know it or not, is especially emphasized in the Baháʼí Faith, Hinduism[31] and Sikhism.[32]

In Christianity, the doctrine of the Trinity describes God as one God in three divine Persons (each of the three Persons is God himself). The Most Holy Trinity comprises[33] God the FatherGod the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit. In the past centuries, this fundamental mystery of the Christian faith was also summarized by the Latin formula Sancta Trinitas, Unus Deus (Holy Trinity, Unique God), reported in the Litanias Lauretanas.

Islam’s most fundamental concept is tawhid meaning “oneness” or “uniqueness”. God is described in the Quran as: “He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him.”[34][35] Muslims repudiate the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus, comparing it to polytheism. In Islam, God is transcendent and does not resemble any of his creations in any way. Thus, Muslims are not iconodules, and are not expected to visualize God.[36]

Henotheism is the belief and worship of a single god while accepting the existence or possible existence of other deities.[37]

More at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God

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