# Religion:God

Short description: Principal object of faith in monotheism
Representation (for the purpose of art or worship) of God in (left to right from top) Christianity, Islam, Atenism, the Monad, Balinese Hinduism, and Zoroastrianism.

In monotheistic thought, God is usually viewed as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith.[1] God is usually conceived of as being omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnibenevolent, as well as having an eternal and necessary existence. God is most often held to be incorporeal, with said characteristic being related to conceptions of transcendence or immanence.[1][2][3]

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, while in panentheism, the universe is part (but not the whole) of God. Atheism is an absence of belief in any God or deity, while agnosticism is the belief that 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 theologians and philosophers have developed arguments for and against the existence of God.[4] God is referred to by different names depending on the language and cultural tradition with titles sometimes used referring to God's attributes.

## Etymology and usage

The Mesha Stele bears the earliest known reference (840 BCE) to the Israelite God Yahweh.

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".[5] 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.[6] In the English language, capitalization is used when the word is used as a proper noun, as well as for other names by which a god is known.[7] Consequently, the capitalized form of god is not used for multiple gods or when used to refer to the generic idea of a deity.[8][9] 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.

El is God in Hebrew, 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.[10] In Judaism some of the Hebrew titles of God are considered holy names.

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.[11][12][13] Muslims also use a multitude of other titles for God.

In Hinduism, Brahman is often considered a monistic concept of God.[14] 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 Krishna-Vasudeva in Bhagavata or later Vishnu and Hari.[15] Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa is the term used in Balinese Hinduism.[16]

In Chinese religion, Shangdi is conceived as the progenitor (first ancestor) of the universe, intrinsic to it and constantly bringing order to it.

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".[17] Meanwhile 101 other names are also in use.[18]

Waheguru (Punjabi: vāhigurū) is a term most often used in Sikhism to refer to God.[19] 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".[20]

Other names for God include Aten[21] in ancient Egyptian Atenism where Aten was proclaimed to be the one "true" Supreme Being and creator of the universe,[22] Chukwu in Igbo,[23] and Hayyi Rabbi in Mandaeism.[24][25]

## General conceptions

Main page: Religion: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)[26]

There is no clear consensus on the nature or the existence of God.[27]

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.

Theism generally holds that God exists objectively and independently of human thought; that God created and sustains everything; that God is omnipotent and eternal; and that God is personal and interacting with the universe through, for example, religious experience and the prayers of humans.[28] Theism holds that God is both transcendent and immanent; thus, God is simultaneously infinite and, in some way, present in the affairs of the world.[29] Not all theists subscribe to all of these propositions, but each usually subscribes to some of them (see, by way of comparison, family resemblance).[28] Catholic theology holds that God is infinitely simple and is not involuntarily subject to time. Some theists ascribe to God a self-conscious or purposeful limiting of omnipotence, omniscience, or benevolence. Open Theism, by contrast, contends that, due to the nature of time, God's omniscience does not mean the deity can predict the future. Theism is sometimes used to refer in general to any belief in a god or gods, i.e., monotheism or polytheism.[30][31]

### Oneness

Main pages: Philosophy:Monotheism and Philosophy:Henotheism
Trinitarians 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[32] and Sikhism.[33] Idolatry, equating others to God in some way, is often strongly condemned in monotheistic traditions.

Judaism includes some of the oldest monotheistic traditions in the world.[34] Islam's most fundamental concept is tawhid meaning "oneness" or "uniqueness".[35] The first pillar of Islam is an oath that forms the basis of the religion and which non-Muslims wishing to convert must recite, declares that "I testify that there is no deity except God and I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God."[36]

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[37] God the Father, God 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.

God in Hinduism is viewed differently by diverse strands of the religion with most Hindus having faith in a Supreme being who can be manifested in numerous chosen deities. Thus, the religion is sometimes characterized as Polymorphic Monotheism.[38]

Henotheism is the belief and worship of a single god while accepting the existence or possible existence of other deities.[39]

### Transcendence

Transcendence is the aspect of God's nature that is completely independent of the material universe and its physical laws. Pantheism holds that God is the universe and the universe is God and denies that God transcends the Universe.[40] Panentheism holds that God contains, but is not identical to, the Universe.[41] It is also the view of the Liberal Catholic Church; Theosophy; some views of Hinduism except Vaishnavism, which believes in panentheism; Sikhism; some divisions of Neopaganism and Taoism, along with many varying denominations and individuals within denominations. Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism, paints a pantheistic/panentheistic view of God—which has wide acceptance in Hasidic Judaism, particularly from their founder The Baal Shem Tov—but only as an addition to the Jewish view of a personal god, not in the original pantheistic sense that denies or limits persona to God.

### Role as creator

God Blessing the Seventh Day, 1805 watercolor painting by William Blake

Deism holds that God is wholly transcendent: God exists, but does not intervene in the world beyond what was necessary to create it.[29] In this view, God is not anthropomorphic, and neither answers prayers nor produces miracles. Common in Deism is a belief that God has no interest in humanity and may not even be aware of humanity. Pandeism combines Deism with Pantheistic beliefs.[42][43][44] Pandeism is proposed to explain as to Deism why God would create a universe and then abandon it,[45] and as to Pantheism, the origin and purpose of the universe.[45][46]

Most theists hold that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and benevolent, although this belief raises questions about God's responsibility for evil and suffering in the world. Dystheism, which is related to theodicy, is a form of theism which holds that God is either not wholly good or is fully malevolent as a consequence of the problem of evil.

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.[47] Depending on one's interpretation and tradition, Buddhism can be conceived as being either non-theistic, trans-theistic, pantheistic, 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.[48][49] Also, major Indian Buddhist philosophers, such as Nagarjuna, Vasubandhu, Dharmakirti and Buddhaghosa, consistently critiqued Creator God views put forth by Hindu thinkers.[50][51][52]

### Other concepts

In modern times, some more abstract concepts have been developed, such as process theology and open theism. The contemporaneous French philosopher Michel Henry has however proposed a phenomenological approach and definition of God as phenomenological essence of Life.[53]

God has also been conceived as being incorporeal (immaterial), a personal being, the source of all moral obligation, and the "greatest conceivable existent".[1] These attributes were all supported to varying degrees by the early Jewish, Christian and Muslim theologian philosophers, including Maimonides,[54] Augustine of Hippo,[54] and Al-Ghazali,[4] respectively.

## 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. The nineteenth-century English atheist Charles Bradlaugh declared that he refused to say "There is no God", because "the word 'God' is to me a sound conveying no clear or distinct affirmation";[55] he said more specifically that he disbelieved in the Christian god. Stephen Jay Gould proposed an approach dividing the world of philosophy into what he called "non-overlapping magisteria" (NOMA). In this view, questions of the supernatural, such as those relating to the existence and nature of God, are non-empirical and are the proper domain of theology. The methods of science should then be used to answer any empirical question about the natural world, and theology should be used to answer questions about ultimate meaning and moral value. In this view, the perceived lack of any empirical footprint from the magisterium of the supernatural onto natural events makes science the sole player in the natural world.[56]

Another view, advanced by Richard Dawkins, is that the existence of God is an empirical question, on the grounds that "a universe with a god would be a completely different kind of universe from one without, and it would be a scientific difference."Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref>` tag

### Agnosticism and atheism

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.[57][58][59]

Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities.[60][61] In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities, although it can be defined as a lack of belief in the existence of any deities, rather than a positive belief in the nonexistence of any deities.[62]

### Anthropomorphism

Pascal Boyer argues that while there is a wide array of supernatural concepts found around the world, in general, supernatural beings tend to behave much like people. The construction of gods and spirits like persons is one of the best known traits of religion. He cites examples from Greek mythology, which is, in his opinion, more like a modern soap opera than other religious systems.[63] Bertrand du Castel and Timothy Jurgensen demonstrate through formalization that Boyer's explanatory model matches physics' epistemology in positing not directly observable entities as intermediaries.[64] Anthropologist Stewart Guthrie contends that people project human features onto non-human aspects of the world because it makes those aspects more familiar. Sigmund Freud also suggested that god concepts are projections of one's father.[65]

Likewise, Émile Durkheim was one of the earliest to suggest that gods represent an extension of human social life to include supernatural beings. In line with this reasoning, psychologist Matt Rossano contends that when humans began living in larger groups, they may have created gods as a means of enforcing morality. In small groups, morality can be enforced by social forces such as gossip or reputation. However, it is much harder to enforce morality using social forces in much larger groups. Rossano indicates that by including ever-watchful gods and spirits, humans discovered an effective strategy for restraining selfishness and building more cooperative groups.[66]

## Existence

Main page: Existence of God
Thomas Aquinas summed up five main arguments as proofs for God's existence. (Painting by Carlo Crivelli, 1476)
Isaac Newton saw the existence of a Creator necessary in the movement of astronomical objects. Painting by Godfrey Kneller, 1689

Arguments about the existence of God typically include empirical, deductive, and inductive types. Different views include that: "God does not exist" (strong atheism); "God almost certainly does not exist" (de facto atheism); "no one knows whether God exists" (agnosticism);[67] "God exists, but this cannot be proven or disproven" (de facto theism); and that "God exists and this can be proven" (strong theism).[56]

Countless arguments have been proposed to prove the existence of God.[68] Some of the most notable arguments are the Five Ways of Aquinas, the Argument from desire proposed by C.S. Lewis, and the Ontological Argument formulated both by Anselm and René Descartes.[69]

Anselm's approach was to define God as, "that than which nothing greater can be conceived". Famed pantheist philosopher Baruch Spinoza would later carry this idea to its extreme: "By God I understand a being absolutely infinite, i.e., a substance consisting of infinite attributes, of which each one expresses an eternal and infinite essence." For Spinoza, the whole of the natural universe is made of one substance, God, or its equivalent, Nature.[70] His proof for the existence of God was a variation of the Ontological argument.[71]

Scientist Isaac Newton saw the nontrinitarian God[72] as the masterful creator whose existence could not be denied in the face of the grandeur of all creation.[73] Nevertheless, he rejected polymath Leibniz' thesis that God would necessarily make a perfect world which requires no intervention from the creator. In Query 31 of the Opticks, Newton simultaneously made an argument from design and for the necessity of intervention:

For while comets move in very eccentric orbs in all manner of positions, blind fate could never make all the planets move one and the same way in orbs concentric, some inconsiderable irregularities excepted which may have arisen from the mutual actions of comets and planets on one another, and which will be apt to increase, till this system wants a reformation.[74]

Thomas Aquinas asserted that the existence of God is self-evident in itself, but not to us: "Therefore I say that this proposition, "God exists", of itself is self-evident, for the predicate is the same as the subject.... Now because we do not know the essence of God, the proposition is not self-evident to us; but needs to be demonstrated by things that are more known to us, though less known in their nature—namely, by effects."[75] Thomas believed that the existence of God can be demonstrated. Briefly in the Summa theologiae and more extensively in the Summa contra Gentiles, he considered in great detail five arguments for the existence of God, widely known as the quinque viae (Five Ways).

1. Motion: Some things undoubtedly move, though cannot cause their own motion. Since there can be no infinite chain of causes of motion, there must be a First Mover not moved by anything else, and this is what everyone understands by God.
2. Causation: As in the case of motion, nothing can cause itself, and an infinite chain of causation is impossible, so there must be a First Cause, called God.
3. Existence of necessary and the unnecessary: Our experience includes things certainly existing but apparently unnecessary. Not everything can be unnecessary, for then once there was nothing and there would still be nothing. Therefore, we are compelled to suppose something that exists necessarily, having this necessity only from itself; in fact itself the cause for other things to exist.
4. Gradation: If we can notice a gradation in things in the sense that some things are more hot, good, etc., there must be a superlative that is the truest and noblest thing, and so most fully existing. This then, we call God (Note: Thomas does not ascribe actual qualities to God Himself).
5. Ordered tendencies of nature: A direction of actions to an end is noticed in all bodies following natural laws. Anything without awareness tends to a goal under the guidance of one who is aware. This we call God (Note that even when we guide objects, in Thomas's view, the source of all our knowledge comes from God as well).[76]

Some theologians, such as the scientist and theologian Alister McGrath, argue that the existence of God is not a question that can be answered using the scientific method.[77][78] Agnostic Stephen Jay Gould argues that science and religion are not in conflict and do not overlap.[79]

Some findings in the fields of cosmology, evolutionary biology and neuroscience are interpreted by some atheists (including Lawrence M. Krauss and Sam Harris) as evidence that God is an imaginary entity only, with no basis in reality.[80][81] These atheists argue that a single, omniscient God who is imagined to have created the universe and is particularly attentive to the lives of humans has been imagined, embellished and promulgated in a trans-generational manner.[82] Richard Dawkins interprets such findings not only as a lack of evidence for the material existence of such a God, but as extensive evidence to the contrary.[56]

## Specific characteristics

See also: Attributes of God in Christianity and Thirteen Attributes of Mercy

The characteristics attributed often differ according to the conceptions of God in the tradition from which they arise. Many traditions see God as eternal and incorporeal and is seen as the perfect and constant embodiment of all virtues, powers and values.[83] Many characteristics are described in human terms and Christian theologian Alister McGrath writes that one has to understand a "personal god" as an analogy. "To say that God is like a person is to affirm the divine ability and willingness to relate to others. This does not imply that God is human, or located at a specific point in the universe."[84]

### Titles

99 names of Allah, in Chinese Sini (script)
Main page: Religion:Names of God

In the Judeo-Christian tradition, "the Bible has been the principal source of the conceptions of God". That the Bible "includes many different images, concepts, and ways of thinking about" God has resulted in perpetual "disagreements about how God is to be conceived and understood".[85] Throughout the Hebrew and Christian Bibles there are many names for God. One of them is Elohim. Another one is El Shaddai, translated "God Almighty".[86] A third notable name is El Elyon, which means "The High God".[87] Also noted in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles is the name "I Am that I Am".[88]

God is described and referred in the Quran and hadith by certain names or attributes, the most common being Al-Rahman, meaning "Most Compassionate" and Al-Rahim, meaning "Most Merciful".[89] Many of these names are also used in the scriptures of the Baháʼí Faith.

Vaishnavism, a tradition in Hinduism, has a list of titles and names of Krishna.

### Gender

Main page: Religion: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.[90][91] 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.[92]

Biblical sources usually refer to God using male or paternal words and symbolism, except Genesis 1:26–27,[93][94] Psalm 123:2–3, and Luke 15:8–10 (female); Hosea 11:3–4, Deuteronomy 32:18, Isaiah 66:13, Isaiah 49:15, Isaiah 42:14, Psalm 131:2 (a mother); Deuteronomy 32:11–12 (a mother eagle); and Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34 (a mother hen).

### Image

Ahura Mazda (depiction is on the right, with high crown) presents Ardashir I (left) with the ring of kingship. (Relief at Naqsh-e Rustam, 3rd century CE)

In Zoroastrianism, during the early Parthian Empire, Ahura Mazda was visually represented for worship. This practice ended during the beginning of the Sasanian Empire. Zoroastrian iconoclasm, which can be traced to the end of the Parthian period and the beginning of the Sassanid, eventually put an end to the use of all images of Ahura Mazda in worship. However, Ahura Mazda continued to be symbolized by a dignified male figure, standing or on horseback, which is found in Sassanian investiture.[95]

In Judaism, the Torah often ascribes human features to God, however, many other passages describe God as formless and otherworldly. Judaism is aniconic, meaning it overly lacks material, physical representations of both the natural and supernatural worlds. Furthermore, the worship of idols is strictly forbidden. The traditional view, elaborated by figures such as Maimonides, reckons that God is wholly incomprehensible and therefore impossible to envision, resulting in a historical tradition of "divine incorporeality". As such, attempting to describe God's "appearance" in practical terms is considered disrespectful to the deity and thus is deeply taboo, and arguably heretical.

Gnostic cosmogony often depicts the creator god of the Old Testament as an evil lesser deity or Demiurge, while the higher benevolent god or Monad is thought of as something beyond comprehension having immeasurable light and not in time or among things that exist, but rather is greater than them in a sense. All people are said to have a piece of God or divine spark within them which has fallen from the immaterial world into the corrupt material world and is trapped unless gnosis is attained.[96][97][98]

Use of the symbolic Hand of God in the Ascension from the Drogo Sacramentary, c. 850

The Arabic script of "Allah" in the Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

In Islam, Muslims believe that God (Allah) is beyond all comprehension and equal, and does not resemble any of his creations in any way. Thus, Muslims are not iconodules, are not expected to visualize God, and instead of having pictures of Allah in their mosques, typically have religious calligraphy written on the wall.[105]

## Relationship with creation

Praying Hands by Albrecht Dürer

### Worship

Theistic religious traditions often require worship of God. Muslims believe that the purpose of existence is to worship God.[106][107] To address the issue of an all-powerful being demanding to be worshipped, it is held that God does not need or benefit from worship but that worship is for the benefit of the worshipper.[108] Gandhi expressed the view that God does not need his supplication and that "Prayer is not an asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is a daily admission of one's weakness".[109] Invoking God in prayer plays a significant role among many believers. Depending on the tradition, God can be viewed as a personal God who is only to be invoked directly while other traditions allow praying to intermediaries, such as saints, to intercede on their behalf. Prayer often also includes supplication such as asking forgiveness. God is often believed to be forgiving. For example, a hadith states God would replace a sinless people with one who sinned but still asked repentance.[110] Sacrifice for the sake of God is another act of devotion that includes fasting and almsgiving. Remembrance of God in daily life include mentioning interjections thanking God when feeling gratitude or phrases of adoration such as repeating chants while performing other activities.

### Salvation

Main page: Religion:Salvation

Adherents of different religions generally disagree as to how to best worship God and what is God's plan for mankind, if there is one. There are different approaches to reconciling the contradictory claims of monotheistic religions. One view is taken by exclusivists, who believe they are the chosen people or have exclusive access to absolute truth, generally through revelation or encounter with the Divine, which adherents of other religions do not. Another view is religious pluralism. A pluralist typically believes that his religion is the right one, but does not deny the partial truth of other religions. The Baháʼí Faith preaches that divine manifestations include great prophets and teachers of many of the major religious traditions such as Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Zoroaster, Muhammad, Bahá'ú'lláh and also preaches the unity of all religions and focuses on these multiple epiphanies as necessary for meeting the needs of humanity at different points in history and for different cultures, and as part of a scheme of progressive revelation and education of humanity. An example of a pluralist view in Christianity is supersessionism, i.e., the belief that one's religion is the fulfillment of previous religions. A third approach is relativistic inclusivism, where everybody is seen as equally right; an example being universalism: the doctrine that salvation is eventually available for everyone. A fourth approach is syncretism, mixing different elements from different religions. An example of syncretism is the New Age movement.

## Theological approaches

Classical theists (such as ancient Greco-Medieval philosophers, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, many Jews and Muslims, and some Protestants)[lower-alpha 1] speak of God as a divinely simple 'nothing' that is completely transcendent (totally independent of all else), and having attributes such as immutability, impassibility, and timelessness.[112] Theologians of theistic personalism (the view held by Rene Descartes, Isaac Newton, Alvin Plantinga, Richard Swinburne, William Lane Craig, and most modern evangelicals) argue that God is most generally the ground of all being, immanent in and transcendent over the whole world of reality, with immanence and transcendence being the contrapletes of personality.[113] Carl Jung equated religious ideas of God with transcendental metaphors of higher consciousness, in which God can be just as easily be imagined "as an eternally flowing current of vital energy that endlessly changes shape ... as an eternally unmoved, unchangeable essence."[114]

Many philosophers developed arguments for the existence of God,[4] while attempting to comprehend the precise implications of God's attributes. Reconciling some of those attributes—particularly the attributes of the God of theistic personalism—generated important philosophical problems and debates. For example, God's omniscience may seem to imply that God knows how free agents will choose to act. If God does know this, their ostensible free will might be illusory, or foreknowledge does not imply predestination, and if God does not know it, God may not be omniscient.[115]

The last centuries of philosophy have seen vigorous questions regarding the arguments for God's existence raised by such philosophers as Immanuel Kant, David Hume and Antony Flew, although Kant held that the argument from morality was valid. The theist response has been either to contend, as does Alvin Plantinga, that faith is "properly basic", or to take, as does Richard Swinburne, the evidentialist position.[116] Some theists agree that only some of the arguments for God's existence are compelling, but argue that faith is not a product of reason, but requires risk. There would be no risk, they say, if the arguments for God's existence were as solid as the laws of logic, a position summed up by Pascal as "the heart has reasons of which reason does not know."[117]

Many religious believers allow for the existence of other, less powerful spiritual beings such as angels, saints, jinn, demons, and devas.[118][119][120][121][122]

## References

Footnotes

1. The attributes of the God of classical theism[clarification needed] were all claimed to varying degrees by early Jewish, Christian and Muslim scholars, including Maimonides,[54] St Augustine,[54] and Al-Ghazali.[111]

Citations

1. Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Honderich, Ted. (ed)The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 1995.
2. David Bordwell (2002). Catechism of the Catholic Church, Continuum International Publishing ISBN:978-0-86012-324-8 p. 84
3. Platinga, Alvin. "God, Arguments for the Existence of", Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Routledge, 2000.
4. The ulterior etymology is disputed. Apart from the unlikely hypothesis of adoption from a foreign tongue, the OTeut. "ghuba" implies as its preTeut-type either "*ghodho-m" or "*ghodto-m". The former does not appear to admit of explanation; but the latter would represent the neut. pple. of a root "gheu-". There are two Aryan roots of the required form ("*g,heu-" with palatal aspirate) one with meaning 'to invoke' (Skr. "hu") the other 'to pour, to offer sacrifice' (Skr "hu", Gr. χεηi;ν, OE "geotàn" Yete v). OED Compact Edition, G, p. 267
5. Barnhart, Robert K. (1995). The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology: the Origins of American English Words, p. 323. HarperCollins. ISBN:0-06-270084-7
6. "'God' in Merriam-Webster (online)". Merriam-Webster, Inc..
7. Webster's New World Dictionary; "God n. ME < OE, akin to Ger gott, Goth guth, prob. < IE base * ĝhau-, to call out to, invoke > Sans havaté, (he) calls upon; 1. any of various beings conceived of as supernatural, immortal, and having special powers over the lives and affairs of people and the course of nature; deity, esp. a male deity: typically considered objects of worship; 2. an image that is worshiped; idol 3. a person or thing deified or excessively honored and admired; 4. [G-] in monotheistic religions, the creator and ruler of the universe, regarded as eternal, infinite, all-powerful, and all-knowing; Supreme Being; the Almighty"
8. Dictionary.com; "God /gɒd/ noun: 1. the one Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the universe. 2. the Supreme Being considered with reference to a particular attribute. 3. (lowercase) one of several deities, esp. a male deity, presiding over some portion of worldly affairs. 4. (often lowercase) a supreme being according to some particular conception: the God of mercy. 5. Christian Science. the Supreme Being, understood as Life, Truth, Love, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Principle. 6. (lowercase) an image of a deity; an idol. 7. (lowercase) any deified person or object. 8. (often lowercase) Gods, Theater. 8a. the upper balcony in a theater. 8b. the spectators in this part of the balcony."
9. Barton, G.A. (2006). A Sketch of Semitic Origins: Social and Religious. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4286-1575-5.
10. "God". Islam: Empire of Faith. PBS.
11. "Islam and Christianity", Encyclopedia of Christianity (2001): Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews also refer to God as Allāh.
12. L. Gardet. "Allah". Encyclopaedia of Islam Online.
13. Pantheism: A Non-Theistic Concept of Deity – p. 136, Michael P. Levine – 2002
14. Hastings 2003, p. 540
15. McDaniel, June (2013), A Modern Hindu Monotheism: Indonesian Hindus as 'People of the Book'. The Journal of Hindu Studies, Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/jhs/hit030
16. Boyce 1983, p. 685.
17. The Intellectual Devotional: Revive Your Mind, Complete Your Education, and Roam confidently with the cultured class, David S. Kidder, Noah D. Oppenheim, p. 364
18. Philosophy and Faith of Sikhism – p. ix, Kartar Singh Duggal – 1988
19. A Feast for the Soul: Meditations on the Attributes of God : ... – p. x, Baháʾuʾlláh, Joyce Watanabe – 2006
20. Jan Assmann, Religion and Cultural Memory: Ten Studies, Stanford University Press 2005, p. 59
21. M. Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, Vol. 2, 1980, p. 96
22. Afigbo, A. E; Falola, Toyin (2006) (in English). Myth, history and society: the collected works of Adiele Afigbo. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press. ISBN 978-1-59221-419-8. OCLC 61361536.
23. Buckley, Jorunn Jacobsen (2002). The Mandaeans: ancient texts and modern people. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-515385-5. OCLC 65198443.
24. Nashmi, Yuhana (24 April 2013), Contemporary Issues for the Mandaean Faith, retrieved 28 December 2021
25. Froese, Paul; Christopher Bader (Fall–Winter 2004). "Does God Matter? A Social-Science Critique". Harvard Divinity Bulletin. 4 32.
26. Smart, Jack; John Haldane (2003). Atheism and Theism. Blackwell Publishing. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-631-23259-9.
27. Lemos, Ramon M. (2001). A Neomedieval Essay in Philosophical Theology. Lexington Books. p. 34. ISBN 978-0-7391-0250-3.
28. See Swami Bhaskarananda, Essentials of Hinduism (Viveka Press 2002) ISBN:1-884852-04-1
29. D. Gimaret. "Allah, Tawhid". Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
30. Mohammad, N. 1985. "The doctrine of jihad: An introduction." Journal of Law and Religion 3(2):381–97.
31. Müller, Max. (1878) Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion: As Illustrated by the Religions of India. London: Longmans, Green and Co.
32. "Pantheism". Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 17 May 2007.
33. John Culp (2013). "Panentheism," Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Spring.
34. Alan H. Dawe (2011). The God Franchise: A Theory of Everything. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-473-20114-2. "Pandeism: This is the belief that God created the universe, is now one with it, and so, is no longer a separate conscious entity. This is a combination of pantheism (God is identical to the universe) and deism (God created the universe and then withdrew Himself)."
35. Sean F. Johnston (2009). The History of Science: A Beginner's Guide. p. 90. ISBN 978-1-85168-681-0. "In its most abstract form, deism may not attempt to describe the characteristics of such a non-interventionist creator, or even that the universe is identical with God (a variant known as pandeism)."
36. Paul Bradley (2011). This Strange Eventful History: A Philosophy of Meaning. p. 156. ISBN 978-0-87586-876-9. "Pandeism combines the concepts of Deism and Pantheism with a god who creates the universe and then becomes it."
37. Allan R. Fuller (2010). Thought: The Only Reality. p. 79. ISBN 978-1-60844-590-5. "Pandeism is another belief that states that God is identical to the universe, but God no longer exists in a way where He can be contacted; therefore, this theory can only be proven to exist by reason. Pandeism views the entire universe as being from God and now the universe is the entirety of God, but the universe at some point in time will fold back into one single being which is God Himself that created all. Pandeism raises the question as to why would God create a universe and then abandon it? As this relates to pantheism, it raises the question of how did the universe come about what is its aim and purpose?"
38. Peter C. Rogers (2009). Ultimate Truth, Book 1. p. 121. ISBN 978-1-4389-7968-7. "As with Panentheism, Pantheism is derived from the Greek: 'pan'= all and 'theos' = God, it literally means "God is All" and "All is God." Pantheist purports that everything is part of an all-inclusive, indwelling, intangible God; or that the Universe, or nature, and God are the same. Further review helps to accentuate the idea that natural law, existence, and the Universe which is the sum total of all that is, was, and shall be, is represented in the theological principle of an abstract 'god' rather than an individual, creative Divine Being or Beings of any kind. This is the key element that distinguishes them from Panentheists and Pandeists. As such, although many religions may claim to hold Pantheistic elements, they are more commonly Panentheistic or Pandeistic in nature."
39. Nayanar, Prof. A. Chakravarti (2005). Samayasāra of Ācārya Kundakunda. p.190, Gāthā 10.310, New Delhi: Today & Tomorrows Printer and Publisher.
40. Narada Thera (2006) "The Buddha and His Teachings," pp. 268-269, Jaico Publishing House.
41. Hayes, Richard P., "Principled Atheism in the Buddhist Scholastic Tradition", Journal of Indian Philosophy, 16:1 (1988:Mar) p. 2.
42. Hsueh-Li Cheng. "Nāgārjuna's Approach to the Problem of the Existence of God" in Religious Studies, Vol. 12, No. 2 (Jun., 1976), pp. 207-216 (10 pages), Cambridge University Press.
43. Hayes, Richard P., "Principled Atheism in the Buddhist Scholastic Tradition", Journal of Indian Philosophy, 16:1 (1988:Mar.).
44. Harvey, Peter (2019). "Buddhism and Monotheism", p. 1. Cambridge University Press.
45. Henry, Michel (2003). I am the Truth. Toward a philosophy of Christianity. Translated by Susan Emanuel. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-3780-7.
46. Edwards, Paul. "God and the philosophers" in Honderich, Ted. (ed)The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 1995. ISBN:978-1-61592-446-2.
47. "A Plea for Atheism. By 'Iconoclast'", London, Austin & Co., 1876, p. 2.
48. Dawkins, Richard (2006). The God Delusion. Great Britain: Bantam Press. ISBN 978-0-618-68000-9.
49. Hepburn, Ronald W. (2005). "Agnosticism". in Donald M. Borchert. The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 1 (2nd ed.). MacMillan Reference USA (Gale). p. 92. ISBN 978-0-02-865780-6. "In the most general use of the term, agnosticism is the view that we do not know whether there is a God or not.".  (p. 56 in 1967 edition)
50. Rowe, William L. (1998). "Agnosticism". in Edward Craig. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-415-07310-3. "In the popular sense, an agnostic is someone who neither believes nor disbelieves in God, whereas an atheist disbelieves in God. In the strict sense, however, agnosticism is the view that human reason is incapable of providing sufficient rational grounds to justify either the belief that God exists or the belief that God does not exist. In so far as one holds that our beliefs are rational only if they are sufficiently supported by human reason, the person who accepts the philosophical position of agnosticism will hold that neither the belief that God exists nor the belief that God does not exist is rational.".
51. . Oxford University Press. 2012. "agnostic. : A. n[oun]. :# A person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of immaterial things, especially of the existence or nature of God. :# In extended use: a person who is not persuaded by or committed to a particular point of view; a sceptic. Also: person of indeterminate ideology or conviction; an equivocator. : B. adj[ective]. :# Of or relating to the belief that the existence of anything beyond and behind material phenomena is unknown and (as far as can be judged) unknowable. Also: holding this belief. :# a. In extended use: not committed to or persuaded by a particular point of view; sceptical. Also: politically or ideologically unaligned; non-partisan, equivocal. agnosticism n. The doctrine or tenets of agnostics with regard to the existence of anything beyond and behind material phenomena or to knowledge of a First Cause or God.".
52. Nielsen 2013: "Instead of saying that an atheist is someone who believes that it is false or probably false that there is a God, a more adequate characterization of atheism consists in the more complex claim that to be an atheist is to be someone who rejects belief in God for the following reasons ... : for an anthropomorphic God, the atheist rejects belief in God because it is false or probably false that there is a God; for a nonanthropomorphic God ... because the concept of such a God is either meaningless, unintelligible, contradictory, incomprehensible, or incoherent; for the God portrayed by some modern or contemporary theologians or philosophers ... because the concept of God in question is such that it merely masks an atheistic substance—e.g., "God" is just another name for love, or ... a symbolic term for moral ideals."
53. Edwards 2005: "On our definition, an 'atheist' is a person who rejects belief in God, regardless of whether or not his reason for the rejection is the claim that 'God exists' expresses a false proposition. People frequently adopt an attitude of rejection toward a position for reasons other than that it is a false proposition. It is common among contemporary philosophers, and indeed it was not uncommon in earlier centuries, to reject positions on the ground that they are meaningless. Sometimes, too, a theory is rejected on such grounds as that it is sterile or redundant or capricious, and there are many other considerations which in certain contexts are generally agreed to constitute good grounds for rejecting an assertion."
54. Rowe 1998: "As commonly understood, atheism is the position that affirms the nonexistence of God. So an atheist is someone who disbelieves in God, whereas a theist is someone who believes in God. Another meaning of 'atheism' is simply nonbelief in the existence of God, rather than positive belief in the nonexistence of God. ... an atheist, in the broader sense of the term, is someone who disbelieves in every form of deity, not just the God of traditional Western theology."
55. Boyer, Pascal (2001). Religion Explained. New York: Basic Books. pp. 142–243. ISBN 978-0-465-00696-0. "boyer modern soap opera."
56. du Castel, Bertrand; Jurgensen, Timothy M. (2008). Computer Theology. Austin, Texas: Midori Press. pp. 221–22. ISBN 978-0-9801821-1-8.
57. Barrett, Justin (1996). "Conceptualizing a Nonnatural Entity: Anthropomorphism in God Concepts". Cognitive Psychology 31 (3): 219–47. doi:10.1006/cogp.1996.0017. PMID 8975683.
58. Rossano, Matt (2007). "Supernaturalizing Social Life: Religion and the Evolution of Human Cooperation". Human Nature (Hawthorne, N.Y.) 18 (3): 272–94. doi:10.1007/s12110-007-9002-4. PMID 26181064. Retrieved 25 June 2009.
59. Thomas Henry Huxley, an English biologist, was the first to come up with the word agnostic in 1869 Dixon, Thomas (2008). Science and Religion: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-19-929551-7.  However, earlier authors and published works have promoted an agnostic points of view. They include Protagoras, a 5th-century BCE Greek philosopher. "The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy – Protagoras (c. 490 – c. 420 BCE)". "While the pious might wish to look to the gods to provide absolute moral guidance in the relativistic universe of the Sophistic Enlightenment, that certainty also was cast into doubt by philosophic and sophistic thinkers, who pointed out the absurdity and immorality of the conventional epic accounts of the gods. Protagoras' prose treatise about the gods began 'Concerning the gods, I have no means of knowing whether they exist or not or of what sort they may be. Many things prevent knowledge including the obscurity of the subject and the brevity of human life.'"
60. Aquinas, Thomas (1990). Kreeft, Peter. ed. Summa of the Summa. Ignatius Press. p. 63.
61. Aquinas, Thomas (1990). Kreeft, Peter. ed. Summa of the Summa. Ignatius Press. pp. 65–69.
62. Curley, Edwin M. (1985). The Collected Works of Spinoza. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-07222-7.
63. Nadler, Steven (21 August 2012). "Baruch Spinoza". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
64. Snobelen, Stephen D. (1999). "Isaac Newton, heretic: the strategies of a Nicodemite". British Journal for the History of Science 32 (4): 381–419. doi:10.1017/S0007087499003751. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
65. Webb, R.K. ed. Knud Haakonssen. "The emergence of Rational Dissent." Enlightenment and Religion: Rational Dissent in eighteenth-century Britain. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 1996. p19.
66. Newton, 1706 Opticks (2nd Edition), quoted in H.G. Alexander 1956 (ed): The Leibniz-Clarke correspondence, University of Manchester Press.
67. Summa of Theology I, q. 2, The Five Ways Philosophers Have Proven God's Existence
68. Alister E. McGrath (2005). Dawkins' God: genes, memes, and the meaning of life. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-4051-2539-0.
69. Floyd H. Barackman (2001). Practical Christian Theology: Examining the Great Doctrines of the Faith. Kregel Academic. ISBN 978-0-8254-2380-2.
70. Gould, Stephen J. (1998). Leonardo's Mountain of Clams and the Diet of Worms. Jonathan Cape. p. 274. ISBN 978-0-224-05043-2.
71. Krauss L. A Universe from Nothing. Free Press, New York. 2012. ISBN:978-1-4516-2445-8
72. Harris, S. The end of faith. W.W. Norton and Company, New York. 2005. ISBN:0-393-03515-8
73. Culotta, E (2009). "The origins of religion". Science 326 (5954): 784–87. doi:10.1126/science.326_784. PMID 19892955. Bibcode2009Sci...326..784C.
74. Ramsay, Tamasin (September 2010). Custodians of Purity An Ethnography of the Brahma Kumaris (Thesis). Monash University. pp. 107–08.
75. McGrath, Alister (2006). Christian Theology: An Introduction. Blackwell Publishing. p. 205. ISBN 978-1-4051-5360-7.
76. Francis Schüssler Fiorenza and Gordon D. Kaufman, "God", Ch 6, in Mark C. Taylor, ed, Critical Terms for Religious Studies (University of Chicago, 1998/2008), 136–40.
77. Gen. 17:1; 28:3; 35:11; Ex. 6:31; Ps. 91:1, 2
78. Gen. 14:19; Ps. 9:2; Dan. 7:18, 22, 25
79. Exodus 3:13-15
80. Bentley, David (1999). The 99 Beautiful Names for God for All the People of the Book. William Carey Library. ISBN 978-0-87808-299-5.
81. Aquinas, Thomas. Summa Theologica. New Advent.
82. William G. T. Shedd, ed (1885). The Confessions of Augustine. Warren F. Draper.
83. Lang, David; Kreeft, Peter (2002). "Why Male Priests?". Why Matter Matters: Philosophical and Scriptural Reflections on the Sacraments. Our Sunday Visitor. ISBN 978-1-931709-34-7.
84. Elaine H. Pagels "What Became of God the Mother? Conflicting Images of God in Early Christianity" Signs, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Winter, 1976), pp. 293–303
85. Coogan, Michael (2010). "6. Fire in Divine Loins: God's Wives in Myth and Metaphor". God and Sex. What the Bible Really Says (1st ed.). New York, Boston: Twelve. Hachette Book Group. p. 175. ISBN 978-0-446-54525-9. Retrieved 5 May 2011. "humans are modeled on elohim, specifically in their sexual differences."
86. Boyce 1983, p. 686.
87. Bataille, Georges (1930). "Base Materialism and Gnosticism". Visions of Excess: Selected Writings, 1927-1939: 47.
88. Marvin Meyer; Willis Barnstone (June 30, 2009). "The Secret Book of John". The Gnostic Bible. Shambhala. Retrieved 2021-10-15.
89. Denova, Rebecca (April 9, 2021). "Gnosticism". World History Encyclopedia.
90. James Cornwell, 2009 Saints, Signs, and Symbols: The Symbolic Language of Christian Art ISBN:0-8192-2345-X p. 2
91. Adolphe Napoléon Didron, 2003 Christian iconography: or The history of Christian art in the middle ages ISBN:0-7661-4075-X p. 169
92. Arena Chapel, at the top of the triumphal arch, God sending out the angel of the Annunciation. See Schiller, I, fig 15
93. Irene Earls, 1987 Renaissance art: a topical dictionary ISBN:0-313-24658-0 pp. 8, 283
94. Oleg Tarasov, 2004 Icon and devotion: sacred spaces in Imperial Russia ISBN:1-86189-118-0 p. 185
95. Robyn Lebron (2012). Searching for Spiritual Unity...Can There Be Common Ground?. p. 117. ISBN 978-1-4627-1262-5.
96. Richards, Glyn (2005). The Philosophy of Gandhi: A Study of his Basic Ideas. Routledge. ISBN 1135799342.
97. Plantinga, Alvin. "God, Arguments for the Existence of", Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Routledge, 2000.
98. 1998, God, concepts of, Edward Craig, Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor & Francis, [1]
99. www.ditext.com
100. Jung, Carl (1976). "Answer to Job". in Joseph Campbell. The Portable Jung. Penguin Books. pp. 522–23. ISBN 978-0-14-015070-4.
101. Wierenga, Edward R. "Divine foreknowledge" in Audi, Robert. The Cambridge Companion to Philosophy. Cambridge University Press , 2001.
102. Beaty, Michael (1991). "God Among the Philosophers". The Christian Century. Retrieved 20 February 2007.
103. Pascal, Blaise. Pensées, 1669.
104. "More Americans Believe in Angels than Global Warming". Outsidethebeltway.com. 8 December 2009.
105. Van, David (18 September 2008). "Guardian Angels Are Here, Say Most Americans". Time. Retrieved 4 December 2012.
106. Salmon, Jacqueline L.. "Most Americans Believe in Higher Power, Poll Finds". washingtonpost.com.
107. Qur'an 15:27

## Bibliography

• Bunnin, Nicholas; Yu, Jiyuan (2008). The Blackwell Dictionary of Western Philosophy. Blackwells. ISBN 9780470997215.
• Pickover, Cliff, The Paradox of God and the Science of Omniscience, Palgrave/St Martin's Press, 2001. ISBN:1-4039-6457-2
• Collins, Francis, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, Free Press, 2006. ISBN:0-7432-8639-1
• Miles, Jack, God: A Biography, Vintage, 1996. ISBN:0-679-74368-5
• Armstrong, Karen, A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Ballantine Books, 1994. ISBN:0-434-02456-2
• Paul Tillich, Systematic Theology, Vol. 1 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1951). ISBN:0-226-80337-6
• Hastings, James Rodney (1925–2003). Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. John A Selbie (Volume 4 of 24 (Behistun (continued) to Bunyan.) ed.). Edinburgh: Kessinger Publishing, LLC. p. 476. ISBN 978-0-7661-3673-1. "The encyclopedia will contain articles on all the religions of the world and on all the great systems of ethics. It will aim at containing articles on every religious belief or custom, and on every ethical movement, every philosophical idea, every moral practice."