Western Concepts Of God
Western Concepts Of God

Western Concepts Of God

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  • Published: December 21, 2017
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Though regarded as sexless, God has traditionally been referred to by the masculine pronoun. Concepts of God in philosophy are entwined with concepts of God in religion. This is most obvious in figures like Augustine and Aquinas, who sought to bring more rigor and consistency to concepts found in religion.

Others, like Leibniz and Hegel, interacted constructively and deeply with religious concepts. Even those Like Hump and Nietzsche, who criticized the concept of God, dealt with religious concepts. While Western philosophy has Interfaced most obviously with Christianity,Judaism and Islam have had some influence.

The orthodox forms of all three religions have embraced theism, though each religion has also yielded a wide array of other views. Philosophy has shown a similar variety.

For example, with regard to the initiating cause of the world, Plato and Aristotle held God to be the crafter of uncreated matter. Plotting regarded matter as emanating from God. Spinal, departing from his judicial roots, held God to be Identical with the universe, while Hegel came to a similar view by reinterpreting Christianity.

Issues related to Western concepts of God include the nature of divine attributes and how hey can be known, if or how that knowledge can be communicated, the relation between such knowledge and logic, the nature of divine causality, and the relation between the divine and the human will. Table of Contents 1 . Sources of Western Concepts of God 2.

Historical Overview b. Early Christian Thought Medieval Thought d. Renaissance Thought 2. Enlightenment f. Modern Period 2. Divine Attributes a.

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Incorporeally b. Simplicity Unity d. Eternity 2. Immutability f.

Omnipotence g. Omniscience h. Impassibility I. Goodness Sources of western concepts of the divine have been threefold: experience, evaluation, and reason. Reported experiences of God are remarkably varied and have produced equally varied concepts of the divine being.

Experiences can be occasioned by something external and universally available, such as the starry sky, or by something external and private, such as a burning bush. Experiences can be internal and affable, such as a vision, or internal and ineffable, as is claimed by some mystics.

Revelation can be linked to religious experience or a type of it, both for the person originally receiving it and the one merely accepting it as authoritative. Those who accept its authority typically regard it as a source of concepts of the divine that are more detailed and more accurate than could be obtained by other means. Increasingly, the modern focus has been on the complexities of the process of interpretation (philosophical hermeneutics) and the extent to which it is necessarily subjective.

Revelation can be intentionally unconnected to reason such that it is accepted on bare faith (fiddles; compare Graveyard), or at the other extreme, can be grounded in reason in that it is accepted because and only insofar as it is reasonable (compare Locke). Reason has been taken as ancillary to religious experience and revelation, or on other accounts, as independent and the sole reliable source of concepts of God. Each of the three sources of concepts of God has had those who regard it as the sole reliable

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basis of our idea of the divine.

By contrast, others have regarded two or three of the sources as interdependent and mutually reinforcing.

Regardless of these differing approaches, theism broadly construed has been a dominant theme for much of the history of Western thought. A. Greeks At the dawn of philosophy, the Ionian Greeks sought to understand the true nature of the cosmos and its manifestations of both change and permanence. To Heraclites, all ere Pythagoreans found order and permanence in mathematics, giving it religious significance as ultimate being. The Stoics identified order with divine reason.

O Plato, God is transcendent-the highest and most perfect being-and one who uses eternal forms, or archetypes, to fashion a universe that is eternal and uncreated. The order and purpose he gives the universe is limited by the imperfections inherent in material. Flaws are therefore real and exist in the universe; they are not merely higher divine purposes misunderstood by humans. God is not the author of everything because some things are evil.

We can infer that God is the author of the punishments of the wicked because those punishments benefit the wicked.

God, being good, is also unchangeable since any change would be for the worse. For Plato, this does not mean (as some later Christian thought held) that God is the ground of moral goodness; rather, whatever is good is good in an of itself. God must be a first cause and a self-moved mover otherwise there will be an infinite regress to causes of causes. Plato is not committed to monotheism, but suggests for example that since planetary motion is uniform and circular, and since such motion is the motion of season, then a planet must be driven by a rational soul.

These souls that drive the planets could be called gods. Aristotle made God passively responsible for change in the world in the sense that all things seek divine perfection. God imbues all things Ninth order and purpose, both of which can be discovered and point to his (or its) divine existence. From those contingent things we come to know universals, whereas DOD knows universals prior to their existence in things. God, the highest being though not a loving being), engages in perfect contemplation of the most worthy object, which is himself.

He is thus unaware of the world and cares nothing for it, being an unmoved mover. God as pure form is wholly immaterial, and as perfect he IS unchanging since he cannot become more perfect. This perfect and immutable DOD is therefore the apex of being and knowledge. God must be eternal. That is because time is eternal, and since there can be no time without change, change must be eternal.

And for change to be eternal the cause of change-the unmoved mover- must also be eternal. To be eternal God must also be immaterial since only immaterial things are immune from change.

Additionally, as an immaterial being, DOD is not extended in space. The Neo-Platonic God of Plotting (204/5-270 A. D.

) is the source of the universe, which is the inevitable overflow of divinity. In that

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