God in Abrahamic religions

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Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are sometimes called Abrahamic religions because they all accept the tradition of the God, Yahweh, (known as 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.

Judaism ancient, monotheistic, Abrahamic religion with the Torah as its foundational text

Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people. It is an ancient, monotheistic, Abrahamic religion with the Torah as its foundational text. It encompasses the religion, philosophy, and culture of the Jewish people. Judaism is considered by religious Jews to be the expression of the covenant that God established with the Children of Israel. Judaism encompasses a wide body of texts, practices, theological positions, and forms of organization. The Torah is part of the larger text known as the Tanakh or the Hebrew Bible, and supplemental oral tradition represented by later texts such as the Midrash and the Talmud. With between 14.5 and 17.4 million adherents worldwide, Judaism is the tenth largest religion in the world.

Christianity is a Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as described in the New Testament. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament. Most Christians get baptized, celebrate the Lord's Supper, pray the Lord's Prayer and other prayers, have clergy, and attend group worship services.

Islam is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion teaching that there is only one God (Allah), and that Muhammad is the messenger of God. It is the world's second-largest religion with over 1.8 billion followers or 24% of the world's population, most commonly known as Muslims. Muslims make up a majority of the population in 50 countries. Islam teaches that God is merciful, all-powerful, unique and has guided humankind through prophets, revealed scriptures and natural signs. The primary scriptures of Islam are the Quran, viewed by Muslims as the verbatim word of God, and the teachings and normative example of Muhammad.

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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.

A creator deity or creator god is a deity or god responsible for the creation of the Earth, world, and universe in human religion and mythology. In monotheism, the single God is often also the creator. A number of monolatristic traditions separate a secondary creator from a primary transcendent being, identified as a primary creator.

Omnibenevolence

Omnibenevolence is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "unlimited or infinite benevolence". Some philosophers have argued that it is impossible, or at least improbable, for a deity to exhibit such a property alongside omniscience and omnipotence, as a result of the problem of evil. However, some philosophers, such as Alvin Plantinga, argue the plausibility of co-existence. The word is primarily used as a technical term within academic literature on the philosophy of religion, mainly in context of the problem of evil and theodical responses to such. Although even in said contexts the phrases "perfect goodness" or "moral perfection" are often preferred because of the difficulties in defining what exactly constitutes "infinite benevolence".

Omnipresence the property of being present everywhere. This property is most commonly used in a religious context as an attribute of a deity or supreme being

Omnipresence or ubiquity is the property of being present everywhere. The term omnipresence is most often used in a religious context as an attribute of a deity or supreme being, while the term ubiquity is generally used to describe something "existing or being everywhere at the same time, constantly encountered, widespread, common." Ubiquitous can also be used as a synonym for words like worldwide, universal, global, pervasive, all over the place.

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]

Baháí Faith Monotheistic religion founded in 1863 by Baháulláh in the Middle East; promotes the unity of all people; sees major religions as unified in purpose; faces persecution in the Iran

The Bahá'í Faith is a religion teaching the essential worth of all religions, and the unity and equality of all people. Established by Bahá'u'lláh in 1863, it initially grew in Iran and parts of the Middle East, where it has faced ongoing persecution since its inception. It is estimated to have between 5 and 8 million adherents, known as Bahá'ís, spread out into most of the world's countries and territories.

Monotheism is defined as the belief in the existence of only one god that created the world, is all-powerful and intervenes in the world. A broader definition of monotheism is the belief in one god. A distinction may be made between exclusive monotheism, and both inclusive monotheism and pluriform (panentheistic) monotheism which, while recognising various distinct gods, postulate some underlying unity.

The existence of God is a subject of debate in the philosophy of religion and popular culture.

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]

Prayer in the Bahá'í Faith refers to two distinct concepts: obligatory prayer and general or devotional prayer. Both types of prayer are composed of reverent words which are addressed to God, and the act of prayer is one of the most important Bahá'í laws for individual discipline. The purpose of prayer in the Bahá'í Faith is to grow closer to God and his Manifestation and to help better one's own conduct and to request divine assistance.

Introspection is the examination of one's own conscious thoughts and feelings. In psychology, the process of introspection relies exclusively on observation of one's mental state, while in a spiritual context it may refer to the examination of one's soul. Introspection is closely related to human self-reflection and is contrasted with external observation.

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]

Soul essence of an individual

The soul, in many religious, philosophical, and mythological traditions, is the incorporeal essence of a living being. Soul or psyche are the mental abilities of a living being: reason, character, feeling, consciousness, memory, perception, thinking, etc. Depending on the philosophical system, a soul can either be mortal or immortal. In Judeo-Christianity, only human beings have immortal souls. For example, the Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas attributed "soul" (anima) to all organisms but argued that only human souls are immortal.

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.

Judeo-Christian is a term that groups Judaism and Christianity, either in reference to Christianity's derivation from Judaism, both religions' common use of the Torah, or due to perceived parallels or commonalities shared values between those two religions, which has contained as part of Western culture.

Second Temple Judaism is Judaism between the construction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, c. 515 BCE, and its destruction by the Romans in 70 CE. The development of the Hebrew Bible canon, the synagogue, Jewish apocalyptic expectations for the future, and the rise of Christianity, can all be traced to the Second Temple period.

Omnipotence quality of having unlimited power

Omnipotence is the quality of having unlimited power. Monotheistic religions generally attribute omnipotence to only the deity of their faith. In the monotheistic philosophies of Abrahamic religions, omnipotence is often listed as one of a deity's characteristics among many, including omniscience, omnipresence, and omnibenevolence. The presence of all these properties in a single entity has given rise to considerable theological debate, prominently including the problem of theodicy, the question of why such a deity would permit the manifestation of evil.

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

Related Research Articles

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.

Messiah saviour or liberator of a group of people, most commonly in the Abrahamic religions

In Abrahamic religions, a messiah or messias is a saviour or liberator of a group of people.

Revelation revealing or disclosure of information or religious truth

In religion and theology, revelation is the revealing or disclosing of some form of truth or knowledge through communication with a deity or other supernatural entity or entities.

Comparative religion branch of the study of religions concerned with the systematic comparison of the doctrines and practices of the worlds religions

Comparative religion is the branch of the study of religions concerned with the systematic comparison of the doctrines and practices of the world's religions. In general the comparative study of religion yields a deeper understanding of the fundamental philosophical concerns of religion such as ethics, metaphysics, and the nature and forms of salvation. Studying such material is meant to give one a broadened and more sophisticated understanding of human beliefs and practices regarding the sacred, numinous, spiritual, and divine.

Proselytism is the act of attempting to convert people to another religion or opinion. The word proselytize is derived from the Greek language prefix προσ- and the verb ἔρχομαι in the form of προσήλυτος. Historically in the Koine Greek Septuagint and New Testament, the word proselyte denoted a Gentile who was considering conversion to Judaism. Though the word proselytism originally referred to Early Christianity, it now refers to the attempt of any religion or religious individuals to convert people to their beliefs, or any attempt to convert people to a different point of view, religious or not. Proselytism is illegal in some countries.

Christianity and other religions

Christianity and other religions documents Christianity's relationship with other world religions, and the differences and similarities.

The religious perspectives on Jesus vary among world religions. Jesus' teachings and the retelling of his life story have significantly influenced the course of human history, and have directly or indirectly affected the lives of billions of people, even non-Christians. He is considered to be the most influential person to have ever lived by many, finding a significant place in numerous cultural contexts.

God the Father

God the Father is a title given to God in various religions, most prominently in Christianity. In mainstream trinitarian Christianity, God the Father is regarded as the first person of the Trinity, followed by the second person God the Son and the third person God the Holy Spirit. Since the second century, Christian creeds included affirmation of belief in "God the Father (Almighty)", primarily as his capacity as "Father and creator of the universe". However, in Christianity the concept of God as the father of Jesus Christ goes metaphysically further than the concept of God as the Creator and father of all people, as indicated in the Apostle's Creed where the expression of belief in the "Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth" is immediately, but separately followed by in "Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord", thus expressing both senses of fatherhood.

Names of God forms of addressing or referring to God

A number of traditions have lists of many names of God, many of which enumerate the various qualities of a Supreme Being. The English word "God" is used by multiple religions as a noun or name to refer to different deities, or specifically to the Supreme Being, as denoted in English by the capitalized and uncapitalized terms "god" and "God". Ancient cognate equivalents for the biblical Hebrew Elohim, one of the most common names of God in the Bible, include proto-Semitic El, biblical Aramaic Elah, and Arabic 'ilah. The personal or proper name for God in many of these languages may either be distinguished from such attributes, or homonymic. For example, in Judaism the tetragrammaton is sometimes related to the ancient Hebrew ehyeh. In the Hebrew Bible, the personal name of God is revealed directly to Moses, namely: "Yahweh".

Supreme deity may refer to:

A personal god is a deity who can be related to as a person instead of as an impersonal force, such as the Absolute, "the All", or the "Ground of Being".

Religious significance of Jerusalem

The city of Jerusalem is sacred to a number of religious traditions, including the Abrahamic religions Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, which consider it a holy city. Some of the most sacred places for each of these religions are found in Jerusalem and the one shared between all three is the Temple Mount.

Baháí Faith and the unity of religion

Unity of religion is a core teaching of the Bahá'í Faith which states that there is a fundamental unity in many of the world's religions. The principle states that the teachings of the major religions are part of a single plan directed from the same God. It is one of the core teachings of the Bahá'í Faith, alongside the unity of God, and the unity of humanity.

God Divine entity, supreme being and principal object of faith

In monotheistic thought, God is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, and principal object of faith. The conceptions of God, as described by theologians, commonly include the attributes of omniscience (all-knowing), omnipotence (all-powerful), omnipresence (all-present), and as having an eternal and necessary existence. Depending on one's kind of theism, these attributes are used either in way of analogy, or in a literal sense as distinct properties. God is most often held to be incorporeal (immaterial). Incorporeality and corporeality of God are related to conceptions of transcendence and immanence of God, with positions of synthesis such as the "immanent transcendence". Psychoanalyst Carl Jung equated religious ideas of God with transcendental aspects of consciousness in his interpretation.

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

God in Islam Muslim views of divinity

In Islam, God is the God, 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 : unique, inherently One, 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."

The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as Abrahamism, are a group of Semitic-originated religious communities of faith that claim descent from the Judaism of the ancient Israelites and the worship of the God of Abraham. The Abrahamic religions are monotheistic, with the term deriving from the patriarch Abraham.

Ethical monotheism is a form of exclusive monotheism in which God is the source for one standard of morality, who guides humanity through ethical principles.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to theology:

References

  1. 1 2 3 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. 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. 1 2 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. 1 2 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. 1 2 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)
  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.