What do we mean when we say "God"?

Watch
SlaveofAll
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 1 month ago
#1
The word "god" means different things for different folks.

Almost anyone from Judaism, Christianity, or Islam reserve the label for the Hebrew god, while anyone outside those religions extend the label to any anthropomorphic entity with extraordinary powers.

Sometimes, people use the term to refer to the Supreme Being, with the three Abrahamic religions doing it more often.

Historically, the terms "supreme being" and "god" (as well as their translations) were not synonymous in many parts of the world, especially in India, where Hindu worshippers have been distinguishing between Brahman or the supreme being and the devas or gods, although they seem to regard their gods as aspects of the supreme being.

Only with the spread of Christianity most people came to conflate the definitions of "supreme being" and "god", precisely by reserving the labels of god and supreme being for the Hebrew god.
1
reply
SirNoodles
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#2
Report 1 month ago
#2
"God" is not really an objective term as it is down to each person's/religion's interpretation of what "God" is.

Generally, in monotheistic religions God is seen as the supreme being who created and ruler of the universe and the source of all moral authority. Although this is a concept exclusive to only some religions, generally when people talk about "God" they are usually referring to that particular interpretation of God.

However, obviously there are religions with multiple gods which are generally superhuman beings or spirits that have power over nature and humans.
3
reply
SlaveofAll
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#3
Report Thread starter 1 month ago
#3
(Original post by SirNoodles)
"God" is not really an objective term as it is down to each person's/religion's interpretation of what "God" is.

Generally, in monotheistic religions God is seen as the supreme being who created and ruler of the universe and the source of all moral authority. Although this is a concept exclusive to only some religions, generally when people talk about "God" they are usually referring to that particular interpretation of God.

However, obviously there are religions with multiple gods which are generally superhuman beings or spirits that have power over nature and humans.
Indeed, historic and contemporary factors have been muddling the definition of what a god is.
0
reply
TheYearNiner
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#4
Report 1 month ago
#4
(Original post by SlaveofAll)
The word "god" means different things for different folks.

Almost anyone from Judaism, Christianity, or Islam reserve the label for the Hebrew god, while anyone outside those religions extend the label to any anthropomorphic entity with extraordinary powers.

Sometimes, people use the term to refer to the Supreme Being, with the three Abrahamic religions doing it more often.

Historically, the terms "supreme being" and "god" (as well as their translations) were not synonymous in many parts of the world, especially in India, where Hindu worshippers have been distinguishing between Brahman or the supreme being and the devas or gods, although they seem to regard their gods as aspects of the supreme being.

Only with the spread of Christianity most people came to conflate the definitions of "supreme being" and "god", precisely by reserving the labels of god and supreme being for the Hebrew god.
The maker of time, matter and space.
2
reply
Joleee
Badges: 19
#5
Report 1 month ago
#5
God is whatever created the universe. God is just God and is independent from religion, which is a man-made creation in an attempt to impress whatever created them. does that make sense?

but yeah, historically the word 'God' has been used for other purposes (Greek Gods for example who had no part of creation).
1
reply
SlaveofAll
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#6
Report Thread starter 1 month ago
#6
(Original post by TheYearNiner)
The maker of time, matter and space.
That is just one of the modern connotations among many.
0
reply
SlaveofAll
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#7
Report Thread starter 1 month ago
#7
(Original post by Joleee)
God is whatever created the universe. God is just God and is independent from religion, which is a man-made creation in an attempt to impress whatever created them. does that make sense?

but yeah, historically the word 'God' has been used for other purposes (Greek Gods for example who had no part of creation).
It's true that the arrival of the Christian faith has facilitated that reservation of the label to refer exclusively to the Hebrew god.
0
reply
tazarooni89
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#8
Report 1 month ago
#8
For me, the word “God” (with a capital G) refers to the source of all causation and influence over events.

If you were to consider the events in the universe like a set of dominoes, where each event or fall of a domino causes another one to happen, then “God” would be whatever knocked over the first dominio. The whole system results from God, but God itself is independent of that system.
0
reply
SlaveofAll
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#9
Report Thread starter 1 month ago
#9
(Original post by tazarooni89)
For me, the word “God” (with a capital G) refers to the source of all causation and influence over events.

If you were to consider the events in the universe like a set of dominoes, where each event or fall of a domino causes another one to happen, then “God” would be whatever knocked over the first dominio. The whole system results from God, but God itself is independent of that system.
That looks like a definition of the First Cause.
0
reply
Anonbro1
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#10
Report 1 month ago
#10
(Original post by SlaveofAll)
Almost anyone from Judaism, Christianity, or Islam reserve the label for the Hebrew god, while anyone outside those religions extend the label to any anthropomorphic entity with extraordinary powers.
You can be Muslim and still believe that God has two hands.
"If someone were to say: What is the proper approach with regard to the meaning of these attributes that you have mentioned, some of which are mentioned in the Book and revelation of Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, and some were mentioned by the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him)? Our response is: The correct approach in our view is to affirm the meaning in a real sense, without likening Him to His creation, as Allah said of Himself in the Qur’an (interpretation of the meaning): “There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer” [ash-Shoora 42:11]. … So we affirm all of the meanings that we said are mentioned in the reports and the Qur’an and the revelation according to their apparent meaning, and we reject any likening of Him to His creation. Hence we say: He, may He be glorified and exalted, hears all sounds, but not through a hole in an ear or through any physical faculty like those of the sons of Adam. Similarly, He sees all people with vision that is not like the vision of the sons of Adam, which is a physical faculty of theirs. He has two hands, a right hand, and fingers, but not in a physical sense; rather His two hands are outstretched, bestowing blessings upon creation, not withholding good. And He has a countenance or face, but it is not like the physical faces of the sons of Adam that are made of flesh and blood. We say that He smiles upon whomever He will of His creation, but we do not say that this is showing teeth (like a human smile); and He descends every night to the lowest heaven." [https://islamqa.info/en/answers/1517...-metaphorical]

You can not believe it and still be Muslim.
"According to latter generation scholars and some of the former, it is permissible to interpret these Qualities in a metaphoric manner, i.e. conveying a broader meaning that humans can understand. For example, Imam Bukhaari (RA) translates the Face of Allah to mean the Very Being of Almighty Allah. Other Scholars say the Hand refers to Power and Control. These meanings do not go contrary to any Law of Qur’aan and Hadeeth, nor are they different or contrary to the Attributes of Almighty Allah." [https://islamqa.org/hanafi/askmufti/...ies-of-allah/]
0
reply
Justvisited
Badges: 16
Rep:
?
#11
Report 1 month ago
#11
(Original post by SlaveofAll)
It's true that the arrival of the Christian faith has facilitated that reservation of the label to refer exclusively to the Hebrew god.
Referring to the "Hebrew god" is misleading. Monotheism was original to mankind; many nations in antiquity declined into polytheistic confusion, but still retained an idea of the one supreme God different from the rest. The Hebrews retained the original concept (at least in their writings, not always in practice), and during the last 2,000 years the earlier global trend to polytheism has been reversed. There used to be far more polytheists than monotheists; now it's the opposite.
0
reply
SlaveofAll
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#12
Report Thread starter 1 month ago
#12
(Original post by Anonbro1)
You can be Muslim and still believe that God has two hands.
"If someone were to say: What is the proper approach with regard to the meaning of these attributes that you have mentioned, some of which are mentioned in the Book and revelation of Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, and some were mentioned by the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him)? Our response is: The correct approach in our view is to affirm the meaning in a real sense, without likening Him to His creation, as Allah said of Himself in the Qur’an (interpretation of the meaning): “There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer” [ash-Shoora 42:11]. … So we affirm all of the meanings that we said are mentioned in the reports and the Qur’an and the revelation according to their apparent meaning, and we reject any likening of Him to His creation. Hence we say: He, may He be glorified and exalted, hears all sounds, but not through a hole in an ear or through any physical faculty like those of the sons of Adam. Similarly, He sees all people with vision that is not like the vision of the sons of Adam, which is a physical faculty of theirs. He has two hands, a right hand, and fingers, but not in a physical sense; rather His two hands are outstretched, bestowing blessings upon creation, not withholding good. And He has a countenance or face, but it is not like the physical faces of the sons of Adam that are made of flesh and blood. We say that He smiles upon whomever He will of His creation, but we do not say that this is showing teeth (like a human smile); and He descends every night to the lowest heaven." []https://islamqa.info/en/answers/151794/the-divine-attributes-are-to-be-affirmed-in-a-literal-sense-not-metaphorical]

You can not believe it and still be Muslim.
"According to latter generation scholars and some of the former, it is permissible to interpret these Qualities in a metaphoric manner, i.e. conveying a broader meaning that humans can understand. For example, Imam Bukhaari (RA) translates the Face of Allah to mean the Very Being of Almighty Allah. Other Scholars say the Hand refers to Power and Control. These meanings do not go contrary to any Law of Qur’aan and Hadeeth, nor are they different or contrary to the Attributes of Almighty Allah." []https://islamqa.org/hanafi/askmufti/44594/qualities-of-allah/]
That's just one of the aspects of the legacy of the Abrahamic religions.
0
reply
SlaveofAll
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#13
Report Thread starter 1 month ago
#13
(Original post by Justvisited)
Referring to the "Hebrew god" is misleading. Monotheism was original to mankind; many nations in antiquity declined into polytheistic confusion, but still retained an idea of the one supreme God different from the rest. The Hebrews retained the original concept (at least in their writings, not always in practice), and during the last 2,000 years the earlier global trend to polytheism has been reversed. There used to be far more polytheists than monotheists; now it's the opposite.
You need more evidence from various sources besides the Bible for the claim that you made.
0
reply
Bio 7
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#14
Report 1 month ago
#14
A god would merely be a being of significantly greater ability which, even if unexplainable at that time, doesn't make them an omnipotent force reaponsible for creation.
0
reply
aliciana
Badges: 9
Rep:
?
#15
Report 1 month ago
#15
These days people "believe" in god, which is a modern concept. But early man didn't have organized religion and science leading to feelings of doubt where you need to "believe" and have faith. To early people God just was and they didn't question it.
0
reply
SlaveofAll
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#16
Report Thread starter 1 month ago
#16
(Original post by Bio 7)
A god would merely be a being of significantly greater ability which, even if unexplainable at that time, doesn't make them an omnipotent force reaponsible for creation.
That definition is the historic one.
0
reply
SlaveofAll
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#17
Report Thread starter 1 month ago
#17
(Original post by aliciana)
These days people "believe" in god, which is a modern concept. But early man didn't have organized religion and science leading to feelings of doubt where you need to "believe" and have faith. To early people God just was and they didn't question it.
Yeah, many people today seem to conflate the Hebrew god and the supreme being as one entity, referring to the entity as "God".
0
reply
tazarooni89
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#18
Report 1 month ago
#18
(Original post by SlaveofAll)
That looks like a definition of the First Cause.
Yes, I suppose that’s exactly what it is.
0
reply
SlaveofAll
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#19
Report Thread starter 1 month ago
#19
(Original post by tazarooni89)
Yes, I suppose that’s exactly what it is.
And the word "god" is now laden with so many connotations.
0
reply
aliciana
Badges: 9
Rep:
?
#20
Report 1 month ago
#20
People don't seem to realise the concept of God has gone through many permuatations and is differnet across cultures. In the West they think it's to do with morality and omniscience and all-power. But that's just one version of a god
1
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Feeling behind at school/college? What is the best thing your teachers could to help you catch up?

Extra compulsory independent learning activities (eg, homework tasks) (6)
4.41%
Run extra compulsory lessons or workshops (23)
16.91%
Focus on making the normal lesson time with them as high quality as possible (24)
17.65%
Focus on making the normal learning resources as high quality/accessible as possible (19)
13.97%
Provide extra optional activities, lessons and/or workshops (40)
29.41%
Assess students, decide who needs extra support and focus on these students (24)
17.65%

Watched Threads

View All