Outline of Conceptions 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.

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.

Conceptions of God

Main article: Conceptions of God
See also: 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.

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.

Bing Bang

Bing Bang
The Creator God

Main articles:

General conceptions about God

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.

Specific conceptions of God

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Abrahamic religions

Main article: God in Abrahamic Religions 

Judaism, Christianity and Islam (and also the Bahá’í Faith) see God as a being who created the world and who rules over the universe. God is usually held to have the following properties: holiness, justice, sovereignty, omnipotence, omniscience, benevolence and omnipresence. It is also believed to be transcendent, meaning that God is outside space and time. Therefore, God is eternal, unchangeable and unaffected by earthly forces or anything else within its creation.

Judaism

Main article: God in Judaism 

Judaism traditionally teaches that God is neither matter nor spirit. God is the creator of both, but is himself neither, and is beyond all constructs of space and time. There are two aspects of God: God himself, who in the end is unknowable, and the revealed aspect of God, which created the universe, preserves the universe, and interacts with mankind in a personal way. In Judaism, the principle statement of monotheism is the Shema, a passage in the Torah which states, “Listen, Israel, HaShem is our God HaShem is one.”

Christianity

Main article: God in Christianity

Within Christianity, the doctrine of the Trinity states that God is a single being that exists, simultaneously and eternally, as a perichoresis of three hypostases (i.e. persons; personaeprosopa): the Father (the Source, the Eternal Majesty); the Son (the eternal Logos (“Word”), manifest in human form as Jesus and thereafter as Christ); and the Holy Spirit (the Paraclete or advocate). Since the 4th Century AD, in both Eastern and Western Christianity, this doctrine has been stated as “One God in Three Persons”, all three of whom, as distinct and co-eternal “persons” or “hypostases”, share a single divine essence, being, or nature.

Islam

Main articles: Allah and God in Islam 

Islam’s most fundamental concept is a strict monotheism called tawhid. God is described in the Qur’an as:

“Say: He is God, the One; God, the Eternal, the Absolute; He begot no one, nor is He begotten; Nor is there to Him equivalent anyone.”.”

Negative theology

Main article: Cataphatic Theology (Positive theology) and Apophatic Theology (Negative Theology)

Eastern religions

Jainism

Main article: God in Jainism

Jainism does not support belief in a creator deity.

Buddhism

Main article: God in Buddhism

The non-adherence to the notion of a supreme God or a prime mover is seen as a key distinction between Buddhism and other religious views. dharmakaya (a notion of transcendent divinity)

Bodhisattva, Avalokiteshvara and hope to embody him.

Hinduism

Main article: God in Hinduism

In Hinduism, the concept of god is complex and depends on the particular tradition. The concept spans conceptions from absolute monism to henotheism, monotheism and polytheism. In vedic period monotheistic god Concept culminated in the semi abstract semi personified form of creative soul dwelling in all god such as Vishvakarman, Purusha, and Prajapathy .

Main article: Brahman

Main article: Ishvara

Lord Shiva

Main article: Bhagavan

Sikhism

Main article: God in Sikhism

The term for God in Sikhism is Vahigurū. Nānak describes God as niraṅkār (from the Sanskrit nirākārā, meaning “formless”), akāl (meaning “eternal”) and alakh (from the Sanskrit alakśya, meaning “invisible” or “unobserved”).

Brahma Kumaris

According to Brahma Kumaris, God is the incorporeal soul with the maximum degree of spiritual qualities such as peace and love.

African Traditional Concept of God

Main article: African Traditional Concept of God

Oneness of God joined its moral vision with the traditional activities, which have opened the way to the triumph of the African traditional religious followers in their expectations of life and spiritual satisfactions. Monotheism’s insistence on the concept of One God directs their lives in every dimension and point towards dignity, gratefulness, values, achievements, hopes, etc.

Early Modern and new religious movements

Rosicrucian

Main article: The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception

The Western Wisdom Teachings present the conception of The Absolute (unmanifested and unlimited “Boundless Being” or “Root of Existence”, beyond the whole universe and beyond comprehension) from whom proceeds the Supreme Being at the dawn of manifestation: The One, the “Great Architect of the Universe”.

Unitarian Universalism

Main article: Unitarian Universalism

Concepts about deity are diverse among UUs. Some have no belief in any gods (atheism); others believe in many gods (polytheism). Some believe that the question of the existence of any god is most likely unascertainable or unknowable (agnosticism).

Extraterrestrial

See also: UFO religion

Some comparatively new belief systems and books portray God as extraterrestrial life.

Meher Baba

The spiritual teacher Meher Baba described God as infinite love: “God is not understood in His essence until He is also understood as Infinite Love.

Satanism

Main article: LaVeyan Satanism

Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan, espoused the view that “god” is a creation of man, rather than man being a creation of “god”. In his book, The Satanic Bible, the Satanist’s view of god is described as the Satanist’s true “self”—a projection of his or her own personality—not an external deity.

Modern philosophy

Process philosophy and open theism

Main articles: Process theology and Open theism

God is not omnipotent in the classical sense of a coercive being. Reality is not made up of material substances that endure through time, but serially-ordered events, which are experiential in nature.

Posthuman

Main articles: Omega Point

A posthuman God is a hypothetical future entity descended from or created by humans, but possessing capabilities so radically exceeding those of present humans as to appear godlike. One common variation of this idea is the belief or aspiration that humans will create a God entity emerging from an artificial intelligence. Another variant is that humanity itself will evolve into a posthuman God.

Phenomenological definition

The philosopher Michel Henry defines God from a phenomenological point of view. He says:

“God is Life, he is the essence of Life, or, if we prefer, the essence of Life is God. Saying this we already know what is God the father the almighty, creator of heaven and earth, we know it not by the effect of a learning or of some knowledge, we don’t know it by the thought, on the background of the truth of the world ; we know it and we can know it only in and by the Life itself. We can know it only in God.”

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