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God

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The earliest written records about Abraham are found in Jewish scriptures, where Abraham adheres to the idea of a transcendental God, and follows a set of moral principles enshrined in the Noahide covenant. A properly called Abrahamic religion would thus be in line with. (a) The idea of a universal God. (b) The need for man to be subject to a moral law in accordance to the will of God. (c) The claim of that religion to be the heir of the original faith of Abraham. The last point is the source of contention amongst all religions that claim a direct Abrahamic link.

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam see God as the eternal being who created the universe and all there is. God is usually held to have the properties of holiness (separate from sin and incorruptible), justice (fair, right, and true in all his judgments), sovereignty (unthwartable in his will), omnipotence (all-powerful), omniscience (all-knowing), omni-benevolence (all-loving), omnipresence (present everywhere at the same time), and immortality (eternal and everlasting). He is also believed to be transcendent, meaning that he is outside space and outside time, and therefore eternal and unable to be changed by earthly forces or anything else within his creation.

In Judaism, Islam and Christianity, God is understood to be a personal god, with a will and personality.

Contents

Judaism

The conception of God in Judaism is strictly monotheistic, and has been thought to possibly originate from the polytheistic religions of semite tribes in a fashion similar to that in which Akhenaten's religion originated from Egyptian polytheism. It cannot be stated when exactly the Israelites moved from an original polytheism to a monotheistic worldview now how much of their theology had Egypt as its source (Moses was said to be an Egyptian)

The God of Israel, according to the Jews, was known by two principal names. One being YHWH, an acronym known as the Tetragrammaton due to the omission of vowels in biblical texts and representing the "I am the one who is" response to the question raised by Moses "Who are you?". This name is sometimes vocalized theoretically by scholars as Yahweh, and for tabuistic reasons (i.e. the name can not be rightly pronounced by an ephemeral creature) is replaced with Adonai "LORD" in liturgy and in many English translations of the Bible. The other commonly used name in the Bible, Elohim, is related to the Northwest Semitic generic term for "god", El, though plural forms of El, such as elim and the diminutive elilim, are found in the Bible, and is cognate with the Arabic Allah and the Aramaic Elah. See also Names of God in Judaism.

Judaism adheres to the view that people who follow the Noahide covenant, are said to worship the one true God with no need of conversion and no need to join a religion to fulfill man's duties to the creator.

Christianity

Christianity originated within the realm of Judaism and thus shares most of its beliefs about God, including his omnipotence, omniscience, his role as creator of all things, his personality, Immanence, trascendence 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 and/or the completion of the Law of the prophets of Israel.

Most Christian denominations believe Jesus of Nazareth to be the incarnation of God as a human being, which is the main theological divergence with respect to Judaism. 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 God together form a single God. The doctrines were largely formalized at the Council of Nicea and are enshrined in the Nicaene 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, see also Hypostatic union. However, this point is disputed by Oriental Orthodox Christians, who hold that God the Son has only one will of unified divinity and humanity (see Miaphysitism).

A small minority of Christians hold non trinitarian views, largely coming under the heading of Unitarianism.

Islam

Islam was born as a result of the perceived loss of the word of God by Christians and Jews according to Muhammed, who claimed to be the final seal of a long chain of Prophets and the authentic depositary of the faith of Abraham. 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[1][2] Islam puts a heavy emphasis on the conceptualization of God as strictly singular (tawhid).[3] He is unique (wahid) and inherently one (ahad), all-merciful and omnipotent.[4] 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.[5][6] All these names refer to Allah, the supreme and all-comprehensive divine name.[7] Among the 99 names of God, the most famous and most frequent of these names are "the Merciful" (al-rahman) and "the Compassionate" (al-rahim).[5][6]

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)[2]

God in Islam is not only majestic and sovereign, but also a personal god: According to the Qur'an, he is nearer to person than 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".[8]

Islam teaches that its god is the same god worshiped by the members of other Abrahamic religions such as Christianity and Judaism (29:46).[9] This is not universally accepted by non-Muslims.

Bahá'í faith

The Bahá'í Faith split from Islam in the same fashion that Christianity separated from Judaism, and thus, considers itself the natural descendant of a chain of revelations that supersede not only Abrahamic religions, but all other world religions as well, reinterpreting all these and its respective founders as manifestations of the will of God.

Though inaccessible directly, God is nevertheless seen as conscious of the events in this world, with a mind, will and purpose. Bahá'ís believe that God expresses this will at all times and in many ways, including through a series of divine messengers referred to as Manifestations of God or sometimes divine educators.

In expressing God's intent, these manifestations are seen to establish religion in the world.Bahá'í teachings state that God is too great for humans to fully comprehend, nor to create a complete and accurate image.

Bahá'u'lláh often refers to God by titles (e.g. the All-Powerful, or the All-Loving). Bahá'ís believe that this anthropomorphic description of God amounts to Bahá'u'lláh, in his capacity as God's manifestation, abstracting him in language that human beings can comprehend, since direct knowledge of the essence of God is believed impossible.

See also

References

  1. ^ Gerhard Böwering, God and his Attributes, Encyclopedia of the Quran
  2. ^ a b John L. Esposito, Islam: The Straight Path, Oxford University Press, 1998, p.22
  3. ^ John L. Esposito, Islam: The Straight Path, Oxford University Press, 1998, p.88
  4. ^ "Allah." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica
  5. ^ a b Bentley, David (Sept. 1999). The 99 Beautiful Names for God for All the People of the Book. William Carey Library. ISBN 0-87808-299-9. 
  6. ^ a b Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa, Allah
  7. ^ Annemarie Schimmel,The Tao of Islam: A Sourcebook on Gender Relationships in Islamic, SUNY Press, p.206
  8. ^ Britannica Encyclopedia, Islam, p. 3
  9. ^ F.E. Peters, Islam, p.4, Princeton University Press, 2003
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