Personal god

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A personal god is a deity who can be related to as a person [1] instead of as an impersonal force, such as the Absolute, "the All", or the "Ground of Being".

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In the scriptures of the Abrahamic religions, God is described as being a personal creator, speaking in the first person and showing emotion such as anger and pride, and sometimes appearing in anthropomorphic shape. [2] In the Pentateuch, for example, God talks with and instructs his prophets and is conceived as possessing volition, emotions (such as anger, grief and happiness), intention, and other attributes characteristic of a human person. Personal relationships with God may be described in the same ways as human relationships, such as a Father, as in Christianity, or a Friend as in Sufism. [3]

A 2019 survey by the Pew Research Center reported that, of U.S. adults, 70% view that "God is a person with whom people can have a relationship," while 15% believe that "God is an impersonal force." [4] A 2019 survey by the National Opinion Research Center reports that 77.5% of U.S. adults believe in a personal god. [5] The 2014 Religious Landscape survey conducted by Pew reported that 77% of U.S. adults believe in a personal god. [6]

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Abrahamic religions

Baha'i

In the Baha'i Faith God is described as "a personal God, unknowable, inaccessible, the source of all Revelation, eternal, omniscient, omnipresent and almighty". [7] [8] Although transcendent and inaccessible directly, his image is reflected in his creation. The purpose of creation is for the created to have the capacity to know and love its creator. [9] God communicates his will and purpose to humanity through intermediaries, known as Manifestations of God, who are the prophets and messengers that have founded religions from prehistoric times up to the present day. [10]

Christianity

In the case of the Christian belief in the Trinity, whether the Holy Spirit is impersonal – or personal, [11] is the subject of dispute, [12] with experts in pneumatology debating the matter. Jesus (or God the Son) and God the Father are believed to be two persons or aspects of the same god. Jesus is of the same ousia or substance as God the Father, manifested in three hypostases or persons (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit). Nontrinitarian Christians dispute that Jesus is a "hypostasis" or person of God.

Islam

Most Islamic sources teach that God is a personal God, he speaks in the Quran in first person and has personal attributes, yet the Quran still maintains that God is unique in nature and substance and has no similarity to anything else. [13] Islam also teaches that God is beyond comprehension, and the best way for Muslims to have a relationship of God is to obey his commands. [14]

The Quran asserts the existence of a single and absolute truth that transcends the world: a unique and indivisible being who is independent of the entire creation. [15] The Qur'an clearly opposes conceiving God as resembling "the creation" and it maintains that whatever image a believer has of God is not God, and that he is truly transcendental. According to the Qur'an: [15]

"Say: He is God, the One and Only; God, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him." (Sura 112:1-4, Suraah Ikhlaas)
Thy Lord is self-sufficient, full of Mercy: if it were God's will, God could destroy you, and in your place appoint whom God will as your successors, even as God raised you up from the posterity of other people." (Sura 6:133, Yusuf Ali)

Judaism

Jewish theology states that God is not a person.[ citation needed ] However, there exist frequent references to anthropomorphic characteristics of God in the Hebrew Bible such as the "Hand of God." Judaism holds that these are to be taken only as figures of speech. Their purpose is to make God more comprehensible to the human reader. As God is beyond human understanding, there are different ways of describing him. He is said to be both personal and impersonal; he has a relationship with his creation but is beyond all relationships. [16]

Deism

In general, most deists view God as a personal God. This is illustrated by the 17th-century assertions of Lord Edward Herbert, universally regarded as the Father of English deism, which stated that there is one Supreme God, and he ought to be worshiped. [17] However, deism is a general belief encompassing people with varying specific beliefs, and the notion of God as a personal God cannot be ascribed to all deists.

Christian

Christian deism is a term applied both to Christians who incorporate deistic principles into their beliefs and to deists who follow the moral teachings of Jesus without believing in his divinity. [18] With regard to those who are essentially deists who follow the moral teachings of Jesus, these are a subset of classical deists. Consequently, they believe in a personal God, but they do not necessarily believe in a personal relationship with God.

Classical

Classical deists who adhere to Herbert's common notion certainly believe in a personal God because those notions include the belief that God dispenses rewards and punishments both in this life and after it. [17] This is not something which would be done by an impersonal force. However, a personal relationship with God is not contemplated, since living a virtuous and pious life is seen as the primary means of worshiping God. [17]

Humanist

Humanist deists accept the core principles of deism but incorporate humanist beliefs into their faith. [19] Thus, humanistic deists believe in a personal God who created the universe. The key element that separates humanistic deists from other deists is the emphasis on the importance of human development over religious development and on the relationships among human beings over the relationships between humans and God. [19] [20] Those who self-identify as humanistic deists may take an approach based upon what is found in classical deism and allow their worship of God to manifest itself primarily (or exclusively) in the manner in which they treat others. Other humanistic deists may prioritize their relationships with other human beings over their relationship with God, yet still maintain a personal relationship with the Supreme Being.

Pandeism

Pandeists believe that in the process of creating the universe, God underwent a metamorphosis from a conscious and sentient being or force to an unconscious and unresponsive entity by becoming the universe. [21] Consequently, pandeists do not believe that a personal God currently exists.

Polydeism

Polydeists reject the notion that one Supreme Being would have created the universe and then left it to its own devices which is a common belief shared by many deists. Rather, they conclude that several gods who are superhuman but not omnipotent each created parts of the universe. [22] Polydeists hold an affirmative belief that the gods who created the universe are completely uninvolved in the world and pose no threat and offer no hope to humanity. [23] Polydeists see living virtuous and pious lives as the primary components of worshiping God, firmly adhering to one of the common notions set forth by Herbert. [17] Thus, polydeists believe that there are several personal Gods. Yet, they do not believe they can have a relationship with any of them.

Scientific

Scientific deists believe, based on an analysis utilizing the scientific method, that a personal God created the universe. This analysis finds no evidence of a purpose God may have had for creation of the universe or evidence that God attempted to communicate such purpose to humanity. It therefore concludes that there is no purpose to creation other than that which human beings choose to make for themselves. [24] Thus, scientific deists believe in a personal God, but generally do not believe in relationships between God and human beings, since there is no proof of a purpose for creation.

Spiritual

Spiritual deism is a belief in the core principles of deism with an emphasis on spirituality including the connections between humans and each other, nature and God. Within spiritual deism, there is an absolute belief in a personal God as the creator of the universe along with the ability to build a spiritual relationship with God. [25] While Spiritual deism is nondogmatic, its followers generally believe that there can be no progress for mankind without a belief in a personal God. [26]

Indian religions

Hinduism

Vaishnavism and Shaivism, [27] traditions of Hinduism, subscribe to an ultimate personal nature of God. The Vishnu Sahasranama [28] declares the person of Vishnu as both the Paramatma (supreme soul) and Parameshwara (supreme God) while the Rudram describes the same about Shiva. In Krishna-centered theology (Krishna is seen as a form of Vishnu by most, except Gaudiya Vaishnavism) the title Svayam Bhagavan is used exclusively to designate Krishna in his personal feature, [29] [30] it refers to Gaudiya Vaishnava, the Nimbarka Sampradaya and followers of Vallabha, while the person of Vishnu and Narayana is sometimes referred to as the ultimate personal god of other Vaishnava traditions. [31] [32]

Jainism

Jainism explicitly denies existence of non-personal transcendent god and explicitly affirms existence of personal gods. All gods in Jainism are personal.

One of the major point of dispute between Digambara and Shwetambara is the gender of the gods. Digambara gods can only be men, and any man of at least eight years of age can become god if he follows the right procedure.

Jain gods are eternal, but they are not beginningless. Also, Jain gods are all omniscient, but not omnipotent. They are sometimes called quasi-gods due to this reason.

Gods are said to be free from the following eighteen imperfections: [33]

  1. janma – (re)birth;
  2. jarā – old-age;
  3. triśā – thirst;
  4. kśudhā – hunger;
  5. vismaya – astonishment;
  6. arati – displeasure;
  7. kheda – regret;
  8. roga – sickness;
  9. śoka – grief;
  10. mada – pride;
  11. moha – delusion;
  12. bhaya – fear;
  13. nidrā – sleep;
  14. cintā – anxiety;
  15. sveda – perspiration;
  16. rāga – attachment;
  17. dveśa – aversion; and
  18. maraņa – death.

The four infinitudes of god are (ananta cātuṣṭaya) are: [33]

  1. ananta jñāna, infinite knowledge
  2. ananta darśana, perfect perception due to the destruction of all darśanāvaraṇīya karmas
  3. ananta sukha, infinite bliss
  4. ananta vīrya – infinite energy

Those who re-establish the Jain faith are called Tirthankaras. They have additional attributes. Tirthankaras revitalize the sangha, the fourfold order consisting of male saints (sādhus), female saints (sādhvis), male householders ( śrāvaka ) and female householders (Śrāvika).

The first Tirthankara of the current time cycle was Ṛṣabhanātha, and the twenty-fourth and last Tirthankara was Mahavira, who lived from 599 BCE to 527 BCE.

Jain texts mention forty-six attributes of arihants or tirthankaras. These attributes comprise four infinitudes (ananta chatushtaya), thirty-four miraculous happenings (atiśaya), and eight splendours (prātihārya). [33]

The eight splendours (prātihārya) are: [34]

  1. aśokavrikśa – the Ashoka tree;
  2. siṃhāsana– bejeweled throne;
  3. chatra – three-tier canopy;
  4. bhāmadal – halo of unmatched luminance;
  5. divya dhvani – divine voice of the Lord without lip movement;
  6. puśpavarśā – shower of fragrant flowers;
  7. camara – waving of sixty-four majestic hand-fans; and
  8. dundubhi – dulcet sound of kettle-drums and other musical instruments.

At the time of nirvana (final release), the arihant sheds off the remaining four aghati karmas:

  1. Nama (physical structure forming) Karma
  2. Gotra (status forming) Karma,
  3. Vedniya (pain and pleasure causing) Karma,
  4. Ayushya (life span determining) Karma.

And float at the top of the universe without losing their individuality and with the same shape and size as the body at the time of release.

See also

Notes

  1. "Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's concepts of God". Plato.stanford.edu. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  2. Williams, W. Wesley, "A study of anthropomorphic theophany and Visio Dei in the Hebrew Bible, the Qur'an and early Sunni Islam", University of Michigan, March 2009
  3. "The man who realizes God as a friend is never lonely in the world, neither in this world nor in the hereafter. There is always a friend, a friend in the crowd, a friend in the solitude; or while he is asleep, unconscious of this outer world, and when he is awake and conscious of it. In both cases the friend is there in his thought, in his imagination, in his heart, in his soul." Inayat Khan, quoted from The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan
  4. "Chapter 1: Religious Beliefs and Practices". U.S. Religious Landscape Survey: Religious Beliefs and Practices. Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. 1 June 2008. II. Religious Beliefs: God.
  5. Smith, Tom W. (18 April 2012). "Beliefs about God across Time and Countries" (PDF). NORC at the University of Chicago. Table 3: Believing in a Personal God (2019).
  6. "Most Christians Believe in a Personal God, Others Tend to See God as Impersonal Force". U.S. Public Becoming Less Religious. Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. 29 October 2015.
  7. Smith, Peter (2008). An Introduction to the Baha'i Faith. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 106. ISBN   0-521-86251-5.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  8. Effendi, Shoghi (1944). God Passes By. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. p. 139. ISBN   0-87743-020-9.
  9. Smith, Peter (2008). An Introduction to the Baha'i Faith. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 111. ISBN   0-521-86251-5.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  10. Effendi, Shoghi (1991). The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. pp. 113–114. ISBN   0-87743-231-7.
  11. Fairchild, Mary. "Who Is the Holy Spirit? Third Person of the Trinity". Christianity.about.com. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  12. "Is the Holy Spirit a Person or an Impersonal Force?". Spotlightministries.org.uk. 8 December 1973. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  13. Quran,112 Surat al ikhlas
  14. Norcliffe (1999), p.32-33
  15. 1 2 Vincent J. Cornell, Encyclopedia of Religion, Vol 5, pp.3561-3562
  16. "Judaism 101: The Nature of G-d". Jewfaq.org. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  17. 1 2 3 4 González, Justo L. (1985). The Reformation to the Present Day. The Story of Christianity. 2. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers. p.  190. ISBN   978-0-06-063316-5. LCCN   83049187.
  18. "Christian Deism". Enlightenment Deism. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  19. 1 2 Jone, Brian (9 October 2006). "Just Ask! Brian "Humanistic" Jones about Deism". ReligiousFreaks.com. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  20. Coon, Carl (16 July 2000). "Humanism vs. Atheism". Progressive Humanism. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  21. Große, Gottfried; Plinius Secundus, Gaius (1787). Naturgeschichte: Mit Erläuternden Anmerkungen (in German). p. 165. ISBN   978-1175254436 . Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  22. Broad, C. D. (1953). Religion, Philosophy and Psychical Research: Selected Essays . New York, New York: Harcourt, Brace. pp.  159–174. ASIN   B0000CIFVR. LCCN   53005653.
  23. Bowman, Jr., Robert M. (1997). "Apologetics from Genesis to Revelation" (Essay).Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  24. deVerum, Alumno (12 March 2012). "Scientific Deism Explained". Institute of Noetic Sciences. Archived from the original on 22 October 2013. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  25. Clendenen, Chuck. "Deism in Practice". Spiritual But Not Religious. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  26. "Spiritual-Deism". Yahoo! Groups . Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  27. Satguru Sivaya, Subramuniyaswami. "Dancing with Shiva". Himalayan Academy. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
  28. "Sri Vishnu Sahasaranama - Transliteration and Translation of Chanting". Swami-krishnananda.org. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  29. Gupta, Ravi M. (2007). Caitanya Vaisnava Vedanta of Jiva Gosvami. Routledge. ISBN   0-415-40548-3.
  30. Gupta, Ravi M. (2004). Caitanya Vaisnava Vedanta: Acintyabhedabheda in Jiva Gosvami's Catursutri tika. University Of Oxford.
  31. Delmonico, N. (2004). "The History Of Indic Monotheism And Modern Chaitanya Vaishnavism". The Hare Krishna Movement: the Postcharismatic Fate of a Religious Transplant. Columbia University Press. ISBN   978-0-231-12256-6 . Retrieved 12 April 2008.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  32. Elkman, S.M.; Gosvami, J. (1986). Jiva Gosvamin's Tattvasandarbha: A Study on the Philosophical and Sectarian Development of the Gaudiya Vaishnava Movement. Motilal Banarsidass Pub.
  33. 1 2 3 Jain 2014, p. 3.
  34. Jain 2013, p. 181.

Related Research Articles

Deism is the philosophical position that rejects revelation as a source of religious knowledge and asserts that reason and observation of the natural world are sufficient to establish the existence of a Supreme Being or creator of the universe.

Theism belief in the existence of at least one deity

Theism is broadly defined as the belief in the existence of a Supreme Being or deities. In common parlance, or when contrasted with deism, the term often describes the classical conception of God that is found in monotheism – or gods found in polytheistic religions—a belief in God or in gods without the rejection of revelation as is characteristic of deism.

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.

Names of God Forms of addressing or referring to God

There are various 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".

Orthopraxy Correct conduct

In the study of religion, orthopraxy is correct conduct, both ethical and liturgical, as opposed to faith or grace etc. This contrasts with orthodoxy, which emphasizes correct belief, and ritualism, the practice of rituals. The word is a neoclassical compound—ὀρθοπραξία (orthopraxia) meaning 'correct practice'.

Both Jainism and Sikhism are faiths native to the Indian subcontinent. Sikhism rejected the authority of the Vedas and created independent textual traditions based on the words and examples of their early teachers, eventually evolving entirely new ways for interacting with the lay community.

In Jainism, godliness is said to be the inherent quality of every soul. This quality, however, is subdued by the soul's association with karmic matter. All souls who have achieved the natural state of infinite bliss, infinite knowledge, infinite power and infinite perception are regarded as God in Jainism. Jainism rejects the idea of a creator deity responsible for the manifestation, creation, or maintenance of this universe. According to Jain doctrine, the universe and its constituents have always existed. All the constituents and actions are governed by universal natural laws and perfect soul, an immaterial entity cannot create or affect a material entity like the universe.

God Supreme being, creator deity, and principal object of faith in monotheism

In monotheistic thought, God is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, and principal object of faith. God is usually conceived as being omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful), omnipresent (all-present) and as having an eternal and necessary existence. These attributes are used either in way of analogy or are taken literally. 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".

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are called Abrahamic religions because they all accept the tradition of the God that revealed himself to 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 by the story of Abraham, acclaimed as the Father of monotheism in the history of Judaism.

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

This is a glossary of spirituality-related terms. Spirituality is closely linked to religion.

Ietsism is an unspecified belief in an undetermined transcendent reality. It is a Dutch term for a range of beliefs held by people who, on the one hand, inwardly suspect – or indeed believe – that "there must be something undefined beyond the mundane and that which can be known or can be proven", but on the other hand do not necessarily accept or subscribe to the established belief system, dogma or view of the nature of a deity offered by any particular religion. Some related terms in English are agnostic theism, eclecticism, deism and spiritual but not religious.

Jainism does not support belief in a creator deity. According to Jain doctrine, the universe and its constituents—soul, matter, space, time, and principles of motion—have always existed. All the constituents and actions are governed by universal natural laws. It is not possible to create matter out of nothing and hence the sum total of matter in the universe remains the same. Jain text claims that the universe consists of jiva and ajiva. The soul of each living being is unique and uncreated and has existed since beginningless time.

Polytheism Worship of or belief in multiple deities

Polytheism is the worship of or belief in multiple deities, which are usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own religions and rituals. In most religions which accept polytheism, the different gods and goddesses are representations of forces of nature or ancestral principles, and can be viewed either as autonomous or as aspects or emanations of a creator deity or transcendental absolute principle, which manifests immanently in nature. Most of the polytheistic deities of ancient religions, with the notable exceptions of the Ancient Egyptian and Hindu deities, were conceived as having physical bodies.

The will of God, divine will, or God's plan is the concept of a God having a plan for humanity. Ascribing a volition or a plan to a God generally implies a personal God.

Christian deism

Christian deism is a standpoint in the philosophy of religion, which branches from Christianity. It refers to a deist who believes in the moral teachings—but not divinity—of Jesus. Corbett and Corbett (1999) cite John Adams and Thomas Jefferson as exemplars.

Deism, the religious attitude typical of the Enlightenment, especially in France and England, holds that the only way the existence of God can be proven is to combine the application of reason with observation of the world. A Deist is defined as "One who believes in the existence of a God or Supreme Being but denies revealed religion, basing his belief on the light of nature and reason." Deism was often synonymous with so-called natural religion because its principles are drawn from nature and human reasoning. In contrast to Deism there are many cultural religions or revealed religions, such as Judaism, Trinitarian Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and others, which believe in supernatural intervention of God in the world; while Deism denies any supernatural intervention and emphasizes that the world is operated by natural laws of the Supreme Being.

Nontheistic religions are traditions of thought within a religious context—some otherwise aligned with theism, others not—in which nontheism informs religious beliefs or practices. Nontheism has been applied to the fields of Christian apologetics and general liberal theology, and plays significant roles in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. While many approaches to religion exclude nontheism by definition, some inclusive definitions of religion show how religious practice and belief do not depend on the presence of god(s). For example, Paul James and Peter Mandaville distinguish between religion and spirituality, but provide a definition of the term that avoids the usual reduction to "religions of the book":

Religion can be defined as a relatively-bounded system of beliefs, symbols and practices that addresses the nature of existence, and in which communion with others and Otherness is lived as if it both takes in and spiritually transcends socially-grounded ontologies of time, space, embodiment and knowing.

Deism is the philosophical belief which posits that although God exists as the uncaused First Cause, responsible for the creation of the universe, God does not interact directly with that subsequently created world. The deists, differing widely in important matters of belief, yet agreed denying the significance of revelation in the Old and New Testaments. They either ignored the Scriptures, endeavoured to prove them in the main by a helpful, or directly impugned their divine character, their infallibility, and the validity of their evidences as a complete manifestation of the will of God. Deism manifested itself principally in England towards the latter end of the seventeenth century.

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