The Judeo–Christian Concept of God

The Judeo–Christian Concept of God

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Genesis 1

  • Chapter 1 tells us how God created the world ex nihilo (out of nothing) over a period of six days. The earth was “without form and void” as the “Sprit of God” moved over its face. Did God turn chaos into order?
  • After each day, he surveyed what he had created and “saw that it was good”. Thus, all that was created was created with intent.
  • On the sixth day, he created man “in his own image” (Genesis 1:27).
  • He provided them with all that they needed and made them stewards of his creation.

The Spirit of God was identified with the ‘logos’ – the Word of God, the intelligible part of God’s being. This is reflected in the way that God creates simply by command. The logos is often compared with Plato’s Forms.

The account shows that God pre-exists the creation of the world, and shows God’s complete sovereignty over the created order.

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Genesis 2

Tree of knowledge

“You may eat the fruit of any tree in the garden, except the tree that gives knowledge of good and bad. You must not eat the fruit of that tree. If you do, you will die the same day.” (Genesis 2:16-17)


One of God’s animals. He is not demonic, simply clever, wise and arrogant. He starts the Fall by distorting the words of God.

Eve + the serpent

Serpent tempts Eve into touching apple to prove she will not die. Serpent tells her that God forbade them from eating of the tree because he was scared that they would become more powerful than him. Woman is ‘becoming’ human through temptation.

Result of eating apple

  • Man and woman become human as we know.
  • They are vulnerable and aware of nakedness and sexuality and experience guilt and shame.
  • Man blames woman who blames serpent – more human characteristics.

God as judge

  • Serpent – forced to crawl on his belly.
  • Eve – pain in child birth.
  • Adam – will have to ‘work’ for a living.
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Plato God - Judea-Christain God Comparison

  • The God of the Bible is shown to be personal and interactive, not separate and static as Plato’s Form of the Good is. God is shown to be compassionate to individuals in answering their prayers.
  • The Euthyphro Dilemma

Euthyphro asks: is an act good because God commands it or does God command it because it is good? God in the Bible is shown to be the absolute standard of morality. So, whatever God says is good is good even if that is ****. However, Plato formulated the Form of the Good, which is the absolute standard of goodness. Therefore what God says is good is not good simply because he says it is but is good because the Form of the Good determines that it is. I.e. God says that murder is wrong because it is. Therefore the standard of goodness is not God – it is external to him.

  • The God of the Bible is shown to perform miracles (e.g. Joshua 10). Thus, he is involved with the world of man. The Platonic version of God is in contrast external and unchanging – impersonal.
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Over the centuries, many Christians and non-Christians have questioned whether it is possible to believe in the goodness of God, given the amount of evil and suffering in the world.

Some people would argue that God does not show his goodness by intervening in the world because they have not witnessed events such as miracles or visions.

What about the bits in the Bible that suggest God is not good e.g. the destruction of the city of Ai, Joshua 8?

Some philosophers have suggested that it is not possible to talk directly about what it means for God to be good. This is because God is not a physical being like a human being and so to describe God’s actions as good is not the same as saying the action of the prime minister is good, where you can assess the minister’s actions against some standard of behaviour, such as the 10 commandments.

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