In Christianity, God is the eternal being who created and preserves the world. Christians believe God to be both transcendent (wholly independent of, and removed from, the material universe) and immanent (involved in the world). Christian teachings of the immanence and involvement of God and his love for humanity exclude the belief that God is of the same substance as the created universe but accept that God incarnated as a man.
Early Christian views of God were expressed in the Pauline Epistles and the early creeds which proclaimed one God and the divinity of Jesus almost in the same breath, as in 1 Corinthians (8:5-6): "For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many 'gods' and many 'lords'), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live." "Although the Judæo-Christian sect of the Ebionites protested against this apotheosis of Jesus, the great mass of Gentile Christians accepted it." This began to differentiate the Gentile Christian views of God from traditional Jewish teachings of the time.
The god of monotheism, pantheism or panentheism, or the supreme deity of henotheistic religions, may be conceived of in various degrees of abstraction:
Monotheist conceptions of God appear in the Hellenistic period, out of predecessor concepts of monism (mostly in Eastern religions) and henotheism. Since humans, plants and animals, rocks, mountains, and other things, have been labeled as divine by various religions and beliefs, it can be argued that anything can be considered a god, and that there is no criteria other than acknowledgement of divinity.
A triple deity (sometimes referred to as threefold, tripled, triplicate, tripartite, triune or triadic, or as a trinity) is a deity associated with the number three. Such deities are common throughout world mythology; the number three has a long history of mythical associations. Carl Jung considered the arrangement of deities into triplets an archetype in the history of religion.
Divine command theory is a meta-ethical theory which proposes that an action's status as morally good is equivalent to whether it is commanded by God. The theory asserts that what is moral is determined by what God commands, and that to be moral is to follow his commands. Followers of both monotheistic and polytheistic religions in ancient and modern times have often accepted the importance of God's commands in establishing morality. Numerous variants of the theory have been presented: historically, figures including Saint Augustine, Duns Scotus, and Thomas Aquinas have presented various versions of divine command theory; more recently, Robert Merrihew Adams has proposed a "modified divine command theory" based on the omnibenevolence of God in which morality is linked to human conceptions of right and wrong. Paul Copan has argued in favour of the theory from a Christian viewpoint, and Linda Zagzebski's divine motivation theory proposes that God's motivations, rather than commands, are the source of morality.
Semantic challenges to divine command theory have been proposed; the philosopher William Wainwright argued that to be commanded by God and to be morally obligatory do not have an identical meaning, which he believed would make defining obligation difficult. He also contended that, as knowledge of God is required for morality by divine command theory, atheists and agnostics could not be moral; he saw this as a weakness of the theory. Others have challenged the theory on modal grounds by arguing that, even if God's command and morality correlate in this world, they may not do so in other possible worlds. In addition, the Euthyphro dilemma, first proposed by Plato, presented a dilemma which threatened either to leave morality subject to the whims of God, or challenge his omnipotence. Divine command theory has also been criticised for its apparent incompatibility with the omnibenevolence of God, moral autonomy, and religious pluralism, although some scholars have attempted to defend the theory from these challenges.
Arguments for and against the existence of God have been proposed by philosophers, theologians, scientists, and others for thousands of years. In philosophical terms, such arguments involve primarily the disciplines of epistemology (the nature and scope of knowledge) and ontology (study of the nature of being, existence, or reality) and also the theory of value, since concepts of perfection are connected to notions of God. A wide variety of arguments exist which can be categorized as metaphysical, logical, empirical, or subjective. The existence of God is subject to lively debate in philosophy, the philosophy of religion, and popular culture.
The Western tradition of philosophical discussion of the existence of God began with Plato and Aristotle, who made arguments that would now be categorized as cosmological. The field of theodicy arose from attempts to answer this question. Other arguments for the existence of God have been proposed by St. Anselm, who formulated the first ontological argument; Ibn Rushd (Averroes) and Aquinas, who presented their own versions of the cosmological argument (the argumentkalam and the first way, respectively); Descartes, who said that the existence of a benevolent God was logically necessary for the evidence of the senses to be meaningful; and Immanuel Kant, who argued that the existence of God can be deduced from the existence of good. Thinkers who have provided arguments against the existence of God include David Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, and Bertrand Russell. In modern culture, the question of God's existence has been discussed by scientists such as Stephen Hawking, Francis Collins, Richard Dawkins, and John Lennox, as well as philosophers including Daniel Dennett, Richard Swinburne, William Lane Craig, and Alvin Plantinga.
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