The God Idea (The God Idea Series Book 1)

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God in a monotheistic or the Supreme Being or as an Ishta-deva of monistic thought. Ishvara is a transcendent and immanent entity best described in the last chapter of the Shukla Yajur Veda Samhita, known as the Ishavasya Upanishad. It states " ishavasyam idam sarvam " which means whatever there is in this world is covered and filled with Ishvara. Ishvara not only creates the world, but then also enters into everything there is. In Saivite traditions, the term is used as part of the compound " Maheshvara " "great lord" later as a name for Siva.

Lord Shiva is more often considered as first Hindu God. Mahadeva literally means "Highest of all god". Shiva is also known as Maheshvar, the great Lord, Mahadeva, the great God, Shambhu, Hara, Pinakadhrik, bearer of the axe and Mrityunjaya, conqueror of death. He is the spouse of Shakti , the goddess. He also is represented by Mahakala and Bhairava, the terrible, as well as many other forms including Rudra.

Shiva is often pictured holding the damaru , an hour-glass shape drum, shown below with his trishula. His usual mantra is om namah shivaya. This must not be confused with the numerous devas. Deva may be roughly translated into English as deity , demigod or angel , and can describe any celestial being or thing that is of high excellence and thus is venerable. The word is cognate to Latin deus for "god".

The misconception of million devas is commonly objected to by Hindu scholars. The description of 33 koti 10 million, crore in Hindi devas is a misunderstanding. The word koti in Sanskrit translates to 'type' and not '10 million'. So the actual translation is 33 types and not million devas.

Ishvara as a personal form of God is worshiped and not the 33 devas. The concept of 33 devas is perhaps related to the geometry of the universe. Bhagavan literally means "possessing fortune, blessed, prosperous" from the noun bhaga , meaning "fortune, wealth", cognate to Slavic bog "god" , and hence "illustrious, divine, venerable, holy", etc. In some traditions of Hinduism it is used to indicate the Supreme Being or Absolute Truth, but with specific reference to that Supreme Being as possessing a personality a personal God.

The Western Wisdom Teachings present the conception of The Absolute unmanifested and unlimited "Boundless Being" or "Root of Existence", beyond the whole universe and beyond comprehension from whom proceeds the Supreme Being at the dawn of manifestation: The One, the " Great Architect of the Universe ".

From the threefold Supreme Being proceed the "seven Great Logoi " who contain within themselves all the great hierarchies that differentiate more and more as they diffuse through the six lower Cosmic Planes. In the Highest World of the seventh lowest Cosmic Plane dwells the god of the solar systems in the universe. These great beings are also threefold in manifestation, like the Supreme Being; their three aspects are Will , Wisdom and Activity.

According these Rosicrucian teachings, in the beginning of a Day of Manifestation a certain collective Great Being, God, limits himself to a certain portion of space, in which he elects to create a solar system for the evolution of added self- consciousness. In God there are contained hosts of glorious hierarchies and lesser beings of every grade of intelligence and stage of consciousness, from omniscience to an unconsciousness deeper than that of the deepest trance condition. During the current period of manifestation these various grades of beings are working to acquire more experience than they possessed at the beginning of this period of existence.

Those who, in previous manifestations, have attained to the highest degree of development work on those who have not yet evolved any consciousness. In the Solar system, God's Habitation, there are seven Worlds differentiated by God, within Himself, one after another. Mankind's evolutionary scheme is slowly carried through five of these Worlds in seven great Periods of manifestation, during which the evolving virgin spirit becomes first human and, then, a God.

Concepts about deity are diverse among UUs. Some have no belief in any gods atheism ; others believe in many gods polytheism. Some believe that the question of the existence of any god is most likely unascertainable or unknowable agnosticism. Some believe that God is a metaphor for a transcendent reality. Some believe in a female god goddess , a passive god Deism , an Abrahamic god, or a god manifested in nature or the universe pantheism. Many UUs reject the idea of deities and instead speak of the "spirit of life" that binds all life on earth. UUs support each person's search for truth and meaning in concepts of spirituality.

Historically, Unitarianism was a denomination within Christianity. The term may refer to any belief about the nature of Jesus Christ that affirms God as a singular entity and rejects the doctrine of the Trinity. Universalism broadly refers to a theological belief that all persons and creatures are related to a god or the divine and will be reconciled to a god Universal Salvation. God is considered omnipresent in all creation and visible everywhere to the spiritually awakened.

Sikhs believe in a single god that has existed from the beginning of time and will survive forever. God is genderless, fearless, formless, immutable, ineffable, self-sufficient, omnipotent and not subject to the cycle of birth and death. God in Sikhism is depicted in three distinct aspects: God as deity; God in relation to creation; and God in relation to man.

He replies: "To think of the Transcendent Lord in that state is to enter the realm of wonder.

Gods and Warriors

Even at that stage of sunn, he permeated all that void" GG, According to Brahma Kumaris , God is the incorporeal soul with the maximum degree of spiritual qualities such as peace and love. Some comparatively new belief systems and books portray God as extraterrestrial life. Many of these theories hold that intelligent beings from another world have been visiting Earth for many thousands of years and have influenced the development of our religions.

Some of these books posit that prophets or messiahs were sent to the human race in order to teach morality and encourage the development of civilization see, for example, Rael and Zecharia Sitchin. Divine Love is unlimited in essence and expression, because it is experienced by the soul through the soul itself. The sojourn of the soul is a thrilling divine romance in which the lover, who in the beginning is conscious of nothing but emptiness, frustration, superficiality and the gnawing chains of bondage, gradually attains an increasingly fuller and freer expression of love and ultimately disappears and merges in the Divine Beloved to realize the unity of the Lover and the Beloved in the supreme and eternal fact of God as Infinite Love.

Anton LaVey , founder of the Church of Satan , espoused the view that "god" is a creation of man, rather than man being a creation of "god". In his book, The Satanic Bible , the Satanist's view of god is described as the Satanist's true "self"—a projection of his or her own personality—not an external deity. He argues that man's unwillingness to accept his own ego has caused him to externalize these gods so as to avoid the feeling of narcissism that would accompany self-worship. If man insists on externalizing his true self in the form of "God," then why fear his true self, in fearing "God,"—why praise his true self in praising "God,"—why remain externalized from "God" in order to engage in ritual and religious ceremony in his name?

Man needs ritual and dogma, but no law states that an externalized god is necessary in order to engage in ritual and ceremony performed in a god's name! Could it be that when he closes the gap between himself and his "God" he sees the demon of pride creeping forth—that very embodiment of Lucifer appearing in his midst? Process theology is a school of thought influenced by the metaphysical process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead — , while open theism is a similar theological movement that began in the s. In both views, God is not omnipotent in the classical sense of a coercive being.

Reality is not made up of material substances that endure through time, but serially-ordered events, which are experiential in nature. The universe is characterized by process and change carried out by the agents of free will. Self-determination characterizes everything in the universe, not just human beings. God and creatures co-create. God cannot force anything to happen, but rather only influence the exercise of this universal free will by offering possibilities. Process theology is compatible with panentheism , the concept that God contains the universe pantheism but also transcends it.

God as the ultimate logician - God may be defined as the only entity, by definition, possessing the ability to reduce an infinite number of logical equations having an infinite number of variables and an infinite number of states to minimum form instantaneously. A posthuman God is a hypothetical future entity descended from or created by humans, but possessing capabilities so radically exceeding those of present humans as to appear godlike.

One common variation of this idea is the belief or aspiration that humans will create a God entity emerging from an artificial intelligence. Another variant is that humanity itself will evolve into a posthuman God. The concept of a posthuman god has become common in science fiction. Science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke said in an interview, "It may be that our role on this planet is not to worship God, but to create him. In Frank Herbert 's science-fiction series Dune , a messianic figure is created after thousands of years of controlled breeding.

The Culture series , by Iain M. Banks , represents a blend in which a transhuman society is guarded by godlike machine intelligences. A stronger example is posited in the novel Singularity Sky by Charles Stross , in which a future artificial intelligence is capable of changing events even in its own past, and takes strong measures to prevent any other entity from taking advantage of similar capabilities. Another example appears in the popular online novella The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect in which an advanced artificial intelligence uses its own advanced quantum brain to resolve discrepancies in physics theories and develop a unified field theory which gives it absolute control over reality, in a take on philosophical digitalism.

The philosopher Michel Henry defines God from a phenomenological point of view. We can know it only in God. This Life is not biological life defined by objective and exterior properties, nor an abstract and empty philosophical concept, but the absolute phenomenological life , a radically immanent life that possesses in it the power of showing itself in itself without distance, a life that reveals permanently itself.

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Ethical egoism Euthyphro dilemma Logical positivism Religious language Verificationism eschatological Problem of evil Theodicy Augustinian Irenaean Best of all possible worlds Inconsistent triad Natural evil. Theories of religion. Philosophers of religion. Iqbal M. Criticism of religion Ethics in religion Exegesis Faith and rationality History of religions Political science of religion Religion and science Religious philosophy Theology.

Main article: Aristotelian view of God. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Main article: The All. Main article: God in Abrahamic religions. Main article: God in Judaism. Main article: God in Christianity.

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This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Main article: Binitarianism. Main article: God in Mormonism. Main articles: Allah and God in Islam. Main articles: Apophatic theology and Cataphatic theology. August Learn how and when to remove this template message. Main article: God in Jainism. Main article: God in Buddhism. Main article: God in Hinduism.

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Main article: Phenomenological definition of God. Religion portal. The Kybalion. Chicago: Yogi Publication Society. Rochester: Inner Traditions. The Symbolism of the Eastern Star. Gilbert Pub. Eva Jospe New York: Norton, , p. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. Translated by Henry Percival. Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved Quote: "Lelio Sozzini's Brevis explicatio in primum Johannis caput appeared in , which marked the beginning of the Socinian phase among the Italian.

The term "Godhead" also appears several times in Lecture 2 in its sense as used in the Authorized King James Version as meaning divinity. William Carey Library. Islam: Empire of Faith. Encyclopaedia of Islam Online. Britannica Book of the Year. God Passes By. In Lindsay Jones ed. Encyclopedia of Religion. Craig ed. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Biblical Series I: Introduction to the Idea of God Transcript

London: Routledge. Archived from the original on Tittha Sutta: Sectarians; Anguttara Nikaya, 3. Then in that case, a person is a killer of living beings because of a supreme being's act of creation When one falls back on lack of cause and lack of condition as being essential, monks, there is no desire, no effort [at the thought], 'This should be done. This shouldn't be done. One cannot righteously refer to oneself as a contemplative. Access To Insight. Both formerly and now, monks, I declare only stress and the cessation of distress.

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In Buddhist literature, the belief in a creator god issara-nimmana-vada is frequently mentioned and rejected, along with other causes wrongly adduced to explain the origin of the world; as, for instance, world-soul, time, nature, etc. God-belief, however, is placed in the same category as those morally destructive wrong views which deny the kammic results of action, assume a fortuitous origin of man and nature, or teach absolute determinism. These views are said to be altogether pernicious, having definite bad results due to their effect on ethical conduct.

In Access To Insight ed. Conjecture about [the origin, etc. It's just as if a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. The man would die and those things would still remain unknown to him. In the same way, if anyone were to say, 'I won't live the holy life under the Blessed One as long as he does not declare to me that 'The cosmos is eternal,' Beginning Insight Meditation and other essays. Bodhi Leaves. So to these young Christians I can say, "Believe in Christ if you wish, but remember, Jesus never claimed divinity either.

Study the Eightfold Path. Seek the insights and enlightenment that come through meditative learnings. And find out how to achieve for yourself what prayer and solicitation of forces beyond you are unable to accomplish. Buddhism and the God-idea. Thales and his immediate successors came from Ionia, the coast of what is now Turkey, where the mainland cities of Greece proper had established a number of prosperous colonies of which Miletus was the acknowledged leader. But their explanations always came back to religious mythology.

Thales and his successors struck off in a fundamentally new direction, that of secular explanation. Within a generation or two, they established free rational inquiry as a recognizable movement, a culturally coherent literary and intellectual tradition, in which ideas and concerns were passed from identifiable individuals in one generation to identifiable individuals in another, with each generation building on the work of those who came before. And as any student of ancient philosophy can tell you, we see the first appearance of a unitary God not in Jewish scripture, but in the thought of the Greek philosopher Plato, who wrote in the early fourth century bc.

Moreover, its origins go back to none other than Thales, who had proposed that nature can be explained by reference to a single unitary principle that pervades everything. Thales thought everything boiled down, so to speak, to Water, which he seems to have seen as an inherently divine material substance with no agency in nature; his immediate successors posited their own monist principles, including Air, Fire, and the Infinite.

Divine but not divine agents, these ideas straddled the line between religious and secular. Adding limited agency to this tradition, Plato in his dialogue Timaeus described what he called the Demiurge, a divine Craftsman who shapes the material world after ideal Forms that exist on a perfect immaterial plane. Centuries would pass before the Jews assimilated Greek thought, and scholars suspect that it was Hellenized Jewish philosophers such as Philo of Alexandria who imported the Greek idea of a single unitary God into the Jewish tradition.

So one indisputable thing the last century or so of scholarly work has uncovered about faith and reason is that they are hardly the rigidly separate traditions we commonly take them for. Even more surprising, perhaps, is how quickly monotheistic faith followed, starting with its first glimmering in the thought of Thales himself. As we perceive order in nature, it seems, we also gravitate to the One. This extraordinarily powerful idea was, in fact, entirely unprecedented. For thousands of years before Thales, humanity encountered only one undifferentiated world, a world still inhabited today by some, it is true, though their numbers are dwindling.

In this holistic world, matter and spirit are the same: people, places, objects, and events merge and mingle with the gods, goddesses, spirits, and demons who animate them. We saw a vivid example of this outlook during the solar eclipse over Asia in July , when some local authorities closed schools and urged pregnant women to stay indoors to avoid ill effects as the evil spirit swallowed the Sun god. The epic poems of Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey , reflect the oral traditions of this sort of world. These poems established the classical Greek religious pantheon, in which the gods gleam brightly in the sunlight and the sea, rumble through the land as earthquakes, and darken the sky with clouds or eclipses.

With the help of his ally Athena, goddess of wisdom, Odysseus gathers his wits enough to swim along the shore, desperately looking for a place to land. Like the Olympians, the little river is amoral and not much interested in the human world, but it is susceptible to a properly formulated plea for sanctuary Greek custom held that sanctuary had to be granted to a self-declared suppliant.

River and deity are one and the same. Putting up that boundary was the most significant act in the history of human thought. There are real things, whose characters are entirely independent of our opinions about them; those realities affect our senses according to regular laws, and.

The new conception here involved is that of reality. It soon gave rise to many branches of learning that are still with us, including literary theory, rhetoric, political science, history, ethnology, medicine, botany, biology, and not least logic itself—the rules of naturalistic thinking. Where physical sciences attempt to explain raw material reality in naturalistic terms, these disciplines sought to explain various other aspects of reality human social realities, for example, or realities of the plant or animal kingdoms in the same way.

He also made it psychologically necessary for someone to invent faith as well. We can draw a direct line from Thales through Plato, whose Demiurge shapes the seen in the image of the unseen, to St. Where Plato and Aristotle had tried to close the gap, the new faiths would own it. Hebrews was attributed to Paul by later figures such as Jerome and Augustine, who adored it. Many Greek philosophers had been intensely skeptical of the gods and religion, and starting as early as the fifth century bc, we can discern a hostile religious backlash against rational inquiry in Greece.

More than half a century ago, the classicist E. Applying his idea to the broader sweep of history, however, suggests that the phenomenon of faith itself emerged from a similar reaction—not in mainstream Judaism, in other words, but only with the radically new splinter tradition that became Christianity as it was taken up by the larger Greco-Roman world.

And so rather than the transmission of an essential idea from one civilization to another, the rise of Christianity should be regarded as one stage of a long tug-of-war within a single civilization over the foundations of belief. Much hangs on how we answer this question, including how we interpret the last two and a half thousand years of Western civilization which of course also happen to be the first two and a half thousand years of Western civilization. No one cared what you believed when you offered a sacrifice or prayed to the gods.

What was important was to say and do the appropriate things in the appropriate way. They were alien to Judaism for the same reason. The question posed by Greek philosophy was whether the divine exists at all. Only when that sort of questioning starts does positive affirmation of something previously unquestioned become necessary.

It was reason, with its pesky skepticism and even peskier inclination toward naturalistic explanation, that put belief on the table. And there it has stayed ever since. Geoffrey Lloyd, a historian of science at Cambridge University, has spent his career examining the origins of Greek inquiry and comparing it with its counterparts in Babylonia, Egypt, and China. My exclusivity may rule out your God, in other words, but even your God is better than no God at all. So while the tradition of rational inquiry involves explanation about explanation, the tradition of exclusive monotheism involves belief about belief.

If reason is second-order explanation, faith is second-order belief. Explanation and secularism may actually take in the same territory. Where reason finds regularity in nature, faith extols miracles that overturn that regularity. In place of skepticism, faith exalts credulity. We may find some hints about the psychological wellspring of this old antagonism by comparing Greek thought with Chinese thought, which is often credited with having developed a separate scientific tradition around the same time as the Greeks. Yet we hesitate to call the Chinese tradition one of free inquiry, since Chinese inquiry was sponsored, and therefore controlled, by the Chinese state.

Greek philosophers, by contrast, were independent writers and thinkers, not bureaucrats. The Chinese tradition retained a holistic outlook, braiding natural and supernatural influences together even as it evolved in quite sophisticated ways.

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That allowed a measure of control, since one of the big advantages of supernatural causation, long recognized by the powerful, is that it can be arbitrarily dictated by authority, or indeed by anyone aspiring to authority, as for example Paul and Muhammad did. The nascent discipline of evolutionary psychology offers scientific support for this analysis.

It may have been this law which provided the legal context for the prosecution of Socrates several decades later. Natural causation, evidence like this suggests, has the unsettling and potentially anarchic drawback of not being subject to human agendas. As Geoffrey Lloyd shows in his book The Ambitions of Curiosity: Understanding the World in Ancient Greece and China , the Chinese tradition stressed practical application over theory, technology over explanation, results over understanding. The great sinologist Joseph Needham, a strong defender of the Chinese achievement, recognizes this in explaining why China never underwent a Scientific Revolution comparable to the one that began much later in the West.

It may well be that here, at this point of tension, lies some of the secret of European creativeness when the time was ripe. We might even say that faith and reason both find their origins in the psychological consequences of this recognition. There may be something in that, although the distinction seems a little too clear-cut. Most of us, I should think, are to some extent pulled in both directions.

Biblical Series I: Introduction to the Idea of God

The most searching questions about the origins of faith hardly ever get asked: Why did belief take center stage, when properly performed ritual, not inner conviction about truth, was sufficient for the worshipper of the pagan gods? And how on earth did we get to the seemingly unlikely idea of one exclusive god? Why was this idea so anomalous at first, and why is it so dominant now? They were like outlaws in the Old West once the frontier was tamed. Anticipating the critique made later by Muslims, Celsus thought the idea that God might have a son to be downright blasphemous.

The gods had originally been flamboyant characters with clear-cut and quite distinct identities—promiscuous Zeus was known for having children with any mortal woman who caught his eye. If paganism, too, was centered on belief by the second century as Celsus and other sources suggest , what differentiated Christians from pagans in this crucial period of Christian growth? If the pressure of reason had transformed paganism, too, into a kind of monotheism, what was it that gave Christian faith an edge?

A worshipper of Isis was still open, for example, to worshipping Apollo—indeed, all the more so now that they were seen as representing different faces of the same ultimate divine presence. But I would suggest that exclusivity did more even than this scholarship has observed. Inclusive monotheism rolled the pagan gods into One, but like them that One remained firmly grounded in the old holistic world.

Pluriform or uniform, the gods of nature could never fit comfortably in a world that had split the natural from the supernatural. Their worshippers had left them behind in this regard. In the late second century ad, as E. Dodds and many others since have noted, social and political turmoil turned this sojourn into a stampede. Only an exclusive God could fully meet the demands of a society in the grip of supernaturalism, because only an exclusive God could be said to stand above nature rather than merely being part of it.

And since these demons were thought of as holding the natural world in their grip, the old gods were still the gods of nature. In this specific religious context, exclusivity constituted the precise adaptation that allowed faith to hit upon its most resonant message, the triumph of the unseen over the seen. By the time of Jesus, both pagan and Jewish miracle-workers were a dime a dozen.

But Christian faith emphasized miracles in a way that was stunningly original in its rhetorical coherence and sophistication. The Gospels, the New Testament as a whole, and all of patristic literature are saturated with the wonder-working abilities not only of Jesus but also of his followers, through whom Jesus was said to work. This process seems to have begun with St. With this stroke, Christianity finally offered a coherent response to the challenge of radical naturalism initiated by Thales and first articulated by Hippocrates. For more than a thousand years, until the Protestant Reformation, miracles stood as the unquestioned benchmark of religious credibility—and credulity—in the Christian world.

It went hand-in-hand with the demotion of nature itself. And neither can be adequately explained without reference to the original rise of reason in classical antiquity. Yet the deep connections among reason, exclusivity, and supernaturalism go unremarked by the scholars who have described the latter two phenomena, seemingly without noticing the first.

Where is the E. Dodds of the new millennium? Strikingly, the issue at stake was not whether miracles occurred, but whose miracles were divinely sourced, and whose were merely demonic or magical.