Conceptions of God

Main articles: Conceptions of God and Image of God

Conceptions of God in monotheistpantheist, and panentheist religions – or of the supreme deity in henotheistic religions – can extend to various levels of abstraction:

  • as a powerful, human-like, supernatural being, or as the deification of an esoteric, mystical or philosophical entity or category;
  • as the “Ultimate”, the summum bonum, the “Absolute Infinite”, the “Transcendent“, or Existence or Being itself;
  • as the ground of being, the monistic substrate, that which we cannot understand; and so on.

General conceptions about God

The first recordings that survive of monotheistic conceptions of God, borne out of henotheism and (mostly in Eastern religionsmonism, are from the Hellenistic period. Of the many objects and entities that religions and other belief systems across the ages have labeled as divine, the one criterion they share is their acknowledgement as divine by a group or groups of human beings.

Specific conceptions

God is absolutely other than His creation. The Creator cannot by any means be the same kind of being as that which He created. Although this is self-evident to sense and reason, some people still ask why we cannot directly see God.

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, omnibenevolence and omnipresence.

 

 

Singular God

Binitarianism

Other views

 

 

Finger Forefinger Gesture Up Pointing Point

A single raised index finger, around the world means symbolizing Tawhid.

Trinitarianism

dividerAtheism and Non-theistic views

Non-theist views about God also vary. Some non-theists avoid the concept of God, whilst accepting that it is significant to many; other non-theists understand God as a symbol of human values and aspirations.

General atheism concepts

Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities.

Related positions

Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human traits, emotions, or intentions to non-human entities. It is considered to be an innate tendency of human psychology.

Agnosticism is the view that the truth values of certain claims – especially metaphysical and religious claims such as whether God, the divine or the supernatural exist – are unknown and perhaps unknowable.

History of atheism

What type of thing is atheism?

Types of atheism

Atheism publications

Persons influential in atheism

Forest Winter Forest Snow Landscape Wintry

Snowy, foggy forrest

God’s Attributes

Different religious traditions assign differing (though often similar) attributes and characteristics to God, including expansive powers and abilities, psychological characteristics, gender characteristics, and preferred nomenclature. The assignment of these attributes often differs according to the conceptions of God in the culture from which they arise. For example, attributes of God in Christianity, attributes of God in Islam, and the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy in Judaism share certain similarities arising from their common roots.

Main articles: The Attributes of God

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

Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Gender of God

The gender of God may be viewed as either a literal or an allegorical aspect of a deity who, in classical western philosophy, transcends bodily form. Polytheistic religions commonly attribute to each of the gods a gender, allowing each to interact with any of the others, and perhaps with humans, sexually. In most monotheistic religions, God has no counterpart with which to relate sexually. Thus, in classical western philosophy the gender of this one-and-only deity is most likely to be an analogical statement of how humans and God address, and relate to, each other. Namely, God is seen as begetter of the world and revelation which corresponds to the active (as opposed to the receptive) role in sexual intercourse.

Frequently Asked Questions about God

God’s existence in Sufism

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