Belief about Deity

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Key Words

  • Apostle's Creed
  • Cosmological argument
  • Father
  • Forgiveness
  • Heaven
  • Holy Spirit
  • Incarnate
  • Monotheism
  • Resurrection
  • Son
  • Teleological argument
  • Trinity
  • Ontological argument
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The Nature of God

Is God a person? Monotheism- belief of one God-Christianity, Judaism and Islam, however there is a belief that God is 3 in 1 --> the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit)

  • 'personal God' refers to God as a person- an almight and divine person, supports and cares for us as a friend would with human emotions like us
  • if this were the case, prayer would become part of our individual relationship- a conversation with God
  • however, God is meant to be omnipresent- how can a personal God be everywhere at once 
  • 'impersonal God' refers to God as a concept, a force or an idea of goodness and light
  • 'prime number' theory --> idea of God, can't be divided or reduced, but how can you have a relationship with a force or an idea?

Where is God?

  • 'immanent' --> in the world with us, has taken an active role in the progress of human history and continues to do so
  • however, an immanent God may appear small or fallible
  • 'transcendant' God --> outside the world, doesn't directly act in human history. Makes him remote and separate from our experience but God is working through us
  • ^too abstract, many argue God needs to be a blend of all of the above 
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Beliefs about God

  • omnipotent --> all powerful
  • omnipresent --> everywhere
  • omnibenevolent --> all loving
  • omniscient --> all knowing
  • divine, supreme, totally good and perfect
  • God has given us free will

The Trinity:

  • God the Father --> transcedent part of God, the creator and judge
  • God the Son --> the immanent and personal part of God, human incarnation and the saviour
  • God the Holy Spirit --> the immanent yet impersonal part of God, the force: inspiring, guiding and comforting them
  • Best expressed in the Nicene Creed:
    'We believe in one God, the Father, the almighty, maker of heaven and earth... We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only son of God... Of one being witht the Father... We believe in the Holy Spirit... The giver of life... Who proceeds from the Father and the Son'
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Reasons for Belief

  • People brought up by religious parents or community and given religious teaching are more likely to believe in god
  • The presence of religon in the world gives some people faith, based on the good work that religion does- individuals, communities or those who are suffering
  • Some people are drawn to the purpose and structure it provides or they desire to have something to believe in
  • Strengthened by the feelings they experience during worship- awareness of the presence of god. Others- 'charismatic' worship --> extreme experiences such as dances, speaking in unknown languages or uncontrollably shaking or crying
  • Explains why some people move from one religion to another- they desire to find out why we are here or why bad things happen

Someone must have designed the planet:

  • The intricate workings of the Universe can't have come out by random chance- there must have been a designer- God- Isaac Newtons thumb theory or William Paley's teleological argument
  • Causation arguments--> everything that's happened is caused by something else which must have started from a First Cause- God
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  • when something extraordinary happens
  • Roman Catholics believe miracles happen in the present day an example being healing at Lourdes
  • Other Christians believe we do not live in a time of miracles anymore
  • Others argue that miracles in religious texts should be interpreted symbolically
  • Miracles in the Gospels- Jesus has God's power and to demonstrate the importance of faith:
    1. Jesus feeds the 5000
    Only 5 loaves and 2 fish to eat. Jesus gives thanks to God and breaks the bread. All 5000 had enough to eat and there was enough food left over to fill 12 baskets
    2. Jesus walks on water
    Jesus catches up with his disciples boat by walking across water
  • Christians also believe the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus were miracles
  • At the feast of Pentecoast --> celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit on to Jesus' early followers- speak many different languages, power to speak out and do amazing things like Jesus
  • Many Christians believe God continues to act in the world today through the Holy Spirit- forces and guides them to do good in this world
  • Modern miracles --> recovering from a terminal illness etc 
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