What is God - Who is God

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Justin
 
Reply Thu 31 Jan, 2008 12:15 pm
What is God? One of the greatest and most argued topics on the planet. Take a look below at the Wikipedia and all the information within about the various conceptions of God.

Who is God?
[INDENT]Wikipedia Says:
God most commonly refers to the deity worshiped by followers of monotheisticmonolatrist religions, whom they believe to be the creator and overseer of the universe.

Theologians have ascribed a variety of attributes to the various conceptions of God. The most common among these include omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, omnibenevolence (perfect goodness), divine simplicity, and eternal and necessary existence. God has also been conceived as being incorporeal, a personal being, the source of all moral obligation, and the "greatest conceivable existent". These attributes were all supported to varying degrees by the early Jewish, Christian and Muslim theologian philosophers, including Augustine of Hippo, Al-Ghazali, and Maimonides. Many notable medieval philosophers developed arguments for the existence of God attempting to wrestle with the apparent contradictions implied by many of these attributes. Philosophers have developed many arguments for and against the existence of God.
[/INDENT][INDENT]Distribution of beliefs in God:

As of 2000, approximately 53% of the world's population identifies with one of the three Abrahamic religions (33% Christian, 20% Islam, <1% Judaism), 6% with Buddhism, 13% with Hinduism, 6% with traditional Chinese religion, 7% with various other religions, and less than 15% as non-religious. Most of these religious beliefs involve a god or gods
[/INDENT]So what is God to you? Let's discuss:
  • What is God?
  • Who is God?
 
ltdaleadergt
 
Reply Tue 12 Feb, 2008 08:46 am
@Justin,
It has being a long time! Gee I hope you guys doing fine.
I finally had some free time and also gain some minor knowledge to have the courage to share and argue my opinion. hehe Justin nice thread there has not being a day that I asked myself the same question and I looked for it everywhere but guess what God is nowhere to be found, dont get me wrong I believe in God but God is aint a material obejct that we can look for it!

I think the way that we can really answer your question is that what is God and What is god to you? By this I mean what do you consider God to be and that is it! Remmber this man is a very creative creature that can make Satan an angel, remmber the romantic era where books was made about the romantic version of Lucifer.

HERE IS my answer, as Niteszche put it "God is everything that I am not". I like to add on this by saying God is everything that I was and I am not but want to be!

I hope this answer the question. Now going back to the idea of that God is nowhere to be found is this. Humans are real intellegent and challenging creatures! We to, hopfully that is, rational beings! Therefore there would be days that we cannot accept what WE CANNOT see. THAT IS there would be a day that we would be all empriisct and ignore what is call feeling! Untill we have feeling we can have god, once we loss feeling we loss God! Now one can say what I mean by feeling. Well since I am not sure about it myself what do you guys get from what I said, maybe I can learn from that what I meant by it!
 
Nick A
 
Reply Wed 13 Feb, 2008 03:22 pm
@ltdaleadergt,
Perhaps Meister Eckhart is right and we cannot know God

Quote:
"The mind never rests but must go on expecting and preparing for what is yet known and what is still concealed. Meanwhile, man cannot know what God is, even though he be ever so well of what God is not; and an intelligent person will reject that. As long as it has no reference point, the mind can only wait as matter waits for him. And matter can never find rest except in form; so, too, the mind can never find rest except in the essential truth which is locked up in it--the truth about everything. Essence alone satisfied and God keeps on withdrawing, farther and farther away, to arouse the mind's zeal and lure it to follow and finally grasp the true good that has no cause. Thus, contented with nothing, the mind clamors for the highest good of all."
 
Justin
 
Reply Thu 14 Feb, 2008 02:51 am
@Justin,
Think about this, "God is everything that I am." - for the sake of example.

How can we know God if we cannot know ourselves? How can we be a manifestation of God yet be separate from God?

If you believe you cannot know God, you are correct. If you believe you can know God, then you are also correct. Where does one start to look to know God?... in Creation? Church? An old warehouse? Ancient Ruins?... Where?
 
madscientist phil
 
Reply Thu 14 Feb, 2008 05:39 am
@Justin,
Nicely said <daleader>!! Can God be found? Don't think so. I heard He looks for us, and then we discover Him in the Bible (I am a believer). But still - how can one be sure for 100%? We can't. Belief is belief, nothing more or less.
I think for the feeling you meant "consciousness" or "conscience" maybe? Don't know. Very Happy But something of the sort Smile Or the will to understand God?
Justin wrote:
How can we know God if we cannot know ourselves? How can we be a manifestation of God yet be separate from God?

Good question. I think we are the manifestation - as created in His image but have free will and all that so we are separate. But are we separate really? He controls us, and all that. OK don't know to what extent and all that - free will vs. predestination debate again... this is eternal and we don't get anywhere!! It is like a creation we do - for example, you build something - the thing you build is a manifestation of you but is separate from you. Yah... maybe not the best example but that's how i see it. Wink
 
ogden
 
Reply Thu 14 Feb, 2008 08:42 pm
@madscientist phil,
This is perhaps the most impossible question and one that is so loaded with strong beliefs and emotions. God is un-falsifiable so no answer could ever be wrong. If no one is wrong or right the hope of finding anything beyond conjecture is nil? Perhaps through conjecture though, we may discover more about ourselves and this incessant tendency to believe in God.
I realize my ideas may be unpalatable to many believers. I don't ever
  • God is. I concede this only for the sake of argument. God's existence is not the topic anyway. What and who is the topic.
  • God is good. It is understood that God is excellence. No one really wants a bad God. Even if you call satan god then you're just saying the devil is good. God is always good.
  • God is divine. Deific attributes are always ascribed to god. Supernatural. Omni this and omni that. What use is a powerless stupid God anyway?
  • God is metamorphic. Boundless physical state. God is everywhere and anything and in everything all at once. There is nothing that God can not be or take the shape of.
  • God is miraculous. Hope beyond reason. Supernatural manifestation in the physical world.
  • God is the answer. Whatever can not be answered is generally ascribed to god. I mean answers that fill the gap in knowledge, like why did our crops fail, where did creation come from?
  • God is in control. Just let go and let god? Everything good must be from God and everything bad is just what god allowed the devil to do, or is some kind of punishment. Whatever happens, god is always in control. It's comforting to think some supernatural omnipotent, omniscient being is watching out and minding the store.
  • God is harmonious. God is never chaotic. God is orderly and even in complexity maintains perfect harmony. Chaos indicates something is out of control.
  • God favors humans. God is for people, even though He created everything. He in fact created everything for us.
I believe the human mind works in such a way as to produce the tendency for the concept and perhaps the sensation of God. Once we grasp the concept in ourselves it is natural for us to imagine it to its infinite proportion or ideal state. I think it is no coincidence that God is given supernatural humanistic attributes and values.
 
Nick A
 
Reply Thu 14 Feb, 2008 08:58 pm
@ogden,
Hi Ogden

Quote:

I believe the human mind works in such a way as to produce the tendency for the concept and perhaps the sensation of God. Once we grasp the concept in ourselves it is natural for us to imagine it to its infinite proportion or ideal state. I think it is no coincidence that God is given supernatural humanistic attributes and values.


This is why I accept Dr. Nicoll's definition of God as "Meaning." He writes in this excerpt I saved:

Quote:
"At the beginning (of time) Meaning already was, and God had meaning with him, and God was Meaning." John 1:1

When a man finds no meaning in anything he has at the same time no feeling of God. Meaninglessness is a terrible illness. It has to be got over. It is the same as godlessness, because if you say there is no God you are saying that there is no meaning in things. But if you think there is Meaning, you believe in God. Meaning is God. You cannot say that you do not believe in God but believe that there is meaning in things. The two are the same, in that one cannot be without the other. God is meaning. If you dislike the word God, just say the word meaning instead. The word God just shuts some people's minds. The word Meaning cannot. It opens minds.
Meaning was before time began. It was before creation, for creation occurs in running time, in which birth and death exist. Birth and death belong to the passage of time. But meaning was before Time and creation in Time began. There is no way of describing existence in the higher dimensional world outside of time, save by the language of passing time - of past, present, and future. Meaning is - not was - before the beginning of creation in time. It does not belong to what is becoming and passing away but to what is above Time. if then, there is Meaning above our heads, what is our meaning by creation?


It is easy to experience that "meaning" is relatve for us. But what is the highest degree of meaning?
 
madscientist phil
 
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2008 09:36 am
@Nick A,
Again, I think it related to belief. "Meaning" for someone who is a strong unbeliever, means this life. Someone who decides to spend his life without God, and only devote his life and time and everything to this world - does the word "meaning" has a different meaning for him?
Highest degree of meaning, I'd say, if you meant "meaning of life" is knowing where we are going, our aim and all that. For Christians it is to love God, do His will etc. The purpose of life according to Bible. That seems to be the highest meaning of "meaning". Very Happy

Looks like the author of the text - Dr. Nicoll was a strong believer himself... someone who knows where he is going, what is the purpose of life.

Also agree with ogden - religions were invented by people; attributes given to godly beings are to fit those patterns.

Nevertheless, I am a believer in God... Smile
 
Aristoddler
 
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2008 05:36 pm
@Justin,
Some people have also held firm the belief that God is the conglomeration of our minds.
Perhaps subjectively speaking this would be appealing to atheists, and those who believe that god is a creation made from the desperate rulers of mankind to quell the masses.
 
ogden
 
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2008 06:25 pm
@Nick A,
Hey Nick,
I agree that for some the word God brings a negative response, but that only indicates the value/meaning they ascribe to it. I understand the concept of "meaning is God" up to a point. When meaning is placed before creation and time, I find that imposible. Meaning is by it's definition a value, and values are subjective determinations held by people. so how could meaning preceed people?

Nick_A wrote:
It is easy to experience that "meaning" is relatve for us. But what is the highest degree of meaning?


The highest degree of meaning is whatever you say it is because values are totally subjective. Some might say thier relationship with the living God is the highest value and thats fine, but it means nothing to me. Some might say thier relationship with fellow man is paramount and thats what I would consider more meanngfull. If you say God is everything of value then that makes sense because God is good. Right?Wink
 
Nick A
 
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2008 06:53 pm
@ogden,
ogden wrote:
Hey Nick,
I agree that for some the word God brings a negative response, but that only indicates the value/meaning they ascribe to it. I understand the concept of "meaning is God" up to a point. When meaning is placed before creation and time, I find that imposible. Meaning is by it's definition a value, and values are subjective determinations held by people. so how could meaning preceed people?



The highest degree of meaning is whatever you say it is because values are totally subjective. Some might say thier relationship with the living God is the highest value and thats fine, but it means nothing to me. Some might say thier relationship with fellow man is paramount and thats what I would consider more meanngfull. If you say God is everything of value then that makes sense because God is good. Right?Wink


I know it seems odd but I believe in Buddhism the highest degree of meaning is "dharma:"

Quote:
Dharma



n.
  1. Hinduism & Buddhism.
    1. The principle or law that orders the universe.
    2. Individual conduct in conformity with this principle.
    3. The essential function or nature of a thing.


In Christianity this same idea is wisdom:

Quote:

(Proverbs 8:22-33)


Every great spiritual teaching speaks of itself in its own way as a mirror of cosmic reality. In the traditions of China the Tao is both the way to truth and the way things are. In Christianity the Word is both the teaching of Jesus Christ and the fundamental manifestation of God. In the Hindu tradition (including Buddhism) Dharma means both duty and the sustaining order of the universe. And in the Hebrew tradition Torah includes not only law in the sense of the teaching, but also law in the sense of the foundations of God's creation. A well-known passage in the book of Proverbs expresses this idea without ambiguity. Wisdom is speaking:[INDENT]The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.[/INDENT]

[INDENT]I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.[/INDENT]

[INDENT]When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water...[/INDENT]

[INDENT]When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth... when he gave the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment; when he appointed the foundations of the earth: then I was by him...[/INDENT]

[INDENT]Now therefore harken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways.[/INDENT]

[INDENT]Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.[/INDENT]



I believe in Intelligent Design. This belief assumes the reality of objective dharma and objective wisdom being potentially experienced by a human being as something our subjective constructs of "meaning" are an indication of. If this is true, meaning was before creation as conscious potential. In this day and age of the condemnation of intelligent design, many would growl at this. Yet it seems like common sense to me.
 
ogden
 
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2008 06:54 pm
@Aristoddler,
Aristoddler wrote:
Some people have also held firm the belief that God is the conglomeration of our minds.
Perhaps subjectively speaking this would be appealing to atheists, and those who believe that god is a creation made from the desperate rulers of mankind to quell the masses.


Hello, "conglomeration of our minds"? Do you mean the joining of peoples minds or something that happens within the mind?

As of the creation of God by desperate rulers to quel the masses; I would have to say that IMO the concept of god is quite natural and that all societal groups seem to come up with some concept of god. The extensin of this concept produces a set of values that work to standardize the values of the individuals within that society. I wouldn't say it starts out as a conspiracy to rule but as a guide for normative behavior. Common law is designed for the express purpose of rulling the masses and I don't regard it as a conspiracy either, but a usefull way to standardise society.
 
ogden
 
Reply Fri 15 Feb, 2008 07:19 pm
@Nick A,
Nick_A wrote:
I know it seems odd but I believe in Buddhism the highest degree of meaning is "dharma:"
I believe in Intelligent Design. This belief assumes the reality of objective dharma and objective wisdom being potentially experienced by a human being as something our subjective constructs of "meaning" are an indication of. If this is true, meaning was before creation as conscious potential. In this day and age of the condemnation of intelligent design, many would growl at this. Yet it seems like common sense to me.


No Nick, I do not think your beliefs are odd. I think I understand now what you meant by meaning; a universal wisdom or law that is some fundimental truth to all creation. I think it is beautifull, and comforting, but I think it is a nieve realism and an hypostization.

I think it is I that am odd because as much as I value the very concepts you speak of I do not believe they are real (outside of my mind). I can't proove that they aren't real so I could be wrong. Wink
 
Nick A
 
Reply Sat 16 Feb, 2008 09:52 pm
@ogden,
ogden wrote:
No Nick, I do not think your beliefs are odd. I think I understand now what you meant by meaning; a universal wisdom or law that is some fundimental truth to all creation. I think it is beautifull, and comforting, but I think it is a nieve realism and an hypostization.

I think it is I that am odd because as much as I value the very concepts you speak of I do not believe they are real (outside of my mind). I can't proove that they aren't real so I could be wrong. Wink


I don't experience the feeling of "meaning" as comforting but more as awakening..

Anyhow I must tell you something funny about this and how quickly people change their mind.

I live in NY and near to the Hudson valley. There is a school of art there called the Hudson River School. IMO its greatest painter in the 19th century was Frederic Church.

Alexander Von Humboldt had written his major work called "Cosmos" which is basically intelligent design. He knew that in the Andes one could almost experience genesis itself and wanted some painter to depict the living forces there. Frederic church was very drawn to cosmology and intelligent design so decided to go to the Andes and paint. He produced many fine canvases including "In The Heart of the Andes" which is in NY.

For a while it was highly celebrated. Then Darwin became popular and people thought that all was chaos since all these animals were eating each other. No good in that. So Church and this painting lost popularity. For a while it was hanging is someone's hallway. Then after 1900 and Church's death people started thinking that it really isn't all that bad and in fact rather good and a certain return to the study of grace in nature began again. It didn't take too long for the painting to end up at the Met and now it is priceless.

Church, Heart of the Andes


The Hudson River School was initially a derogatory name referring to a bunch of weirdos who were content to feel the energy of the Hudson Valley and depict this experience of grace in nature. Now it is no longer a derogatory term but a highly respected one.

The point of all this is that I believe we are capable of this inner experience of the connectedness of all things on a cosmological structure Church depicts so beautifully in that painting.that reflects "meaning." Of course many follow the fashion as they did with the painting. One minute they praise it and the next scoff at it. There are also those that have felt this interconnectedness of all things where the microcosmos is within the macrocosmos far better then I can.

I think the worst mistake we can make when we just deny rather than remaining impartial and open to receive this inner experience. Then whatever happens happens.
 
ogden
 
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2008 07:44 am
@Nick A,
Nick-A, thank you for that wonderfull painting I'll probably use it as a screen saver. I notice it has a cross in it and I wonder if this indicates some predisposition on the part of the observer or if it just happened to be there.

I don't really think we want to discuss Darwin Vs inteligent design. I have already decided that inteligent design is not for me, so in that sense you are right about me being closed minded.

Do not assume that I have not seen the wonder of nature or appreciated beauty, religion, and art with an open mind. Nor should you think that I will infer God from creation. I see a reasonable argument that matter exists so it must have come from somewhere i.e. creator, but thats as close as I can get. I have studied and searched many years for God, and I ultimately found that god was just a concept in my head. If He is real to you then great; I'm happy for you, but I feel happy, complete, and free now, so I hope you can be happy for me to.

I do not assume that you have closed your mind to the possibility that God is an extension of your imagination. If you have though, and your faith rejects this thought, I still appreciate your views and this conversation.

Thanks.
 
Nick A
 
Reply Sun 17 Feb, 2008 12:04 pm
@ogden,
ogden wrote:
Nick-A, thank you for that wonderfull painting I'll probably use it as a screen saver. I notice it has a cross in it and I wonder if this indicates some predisposition on the part of the observer or if it just happened to be there.

I don't really think we want to discuss Darwin Vs inteligent design. I have already decided that inteligent design is not for me, so in that sense you are right about me being closed minded.

Do not assume that I have not seen the wonder of nature or appreciated beauty, religion, and art with an open mind. Nor should you think that I will infer God from creation. I see a reasonable argument that matter exists so it must have come from somewhere i.e. creator, but thats as close as I can get. I have studied and searched many years for God, and I ultimately found that god was just a concept in my head. If He is real to you then great; I'm happy for you, but I feel happy, complete, and free now, so I hope you can be happy for me to.

I do not assume that you have closed your mind to the possibility that God is an extension of your imagination. If you have though, and your faith rejects this thought, I still appreciate your views and this conversation.

Thanks.


Knowing church as I do, I believe the cross is intentional. I do not believe in the Hebrew personal God. Actually IMO one of the reasons for the quick devolution of Christianity into Christendom was having this personal God imposed on it from Jewish nationalism. Christianity was a religion that featured abandoning power for the greater good. Because of this personal God of power and Rome's adoption of Christianity as its religion, Christianity that was about abandoning earthly power became its opposite and a religion of power which Kierkegaard rightfully called Christendom.

I take the Simone Weil approach to God:

Quote:
"God could only create by hiding himself. Otherwise there would be nothing but himself."


In her usual profound laconic fashion, she expresses a very ancient idea which depicts why God is outside time and space and God's will expressed in creation through universal laws are within time and space. God being outside time and space doesn't deny levels of lesser consciousness within time and space. If this is true then it is only natural for the greater consciousness to help the lesser in its conscious evolution.

I don't know if there has ever been another incident of two complimentary geniuses growing up in the same home. Where Simone's genius was well described by T. S. Eliot as that of a saint. She could put science into a greater transcendent perspective. Her brother andre was a math genius. At sixteen in France, educators were at a loss of what to do with him since he knew more than the professors in universities. He and Simone were very close since probably they could understand things about each other no one else could. When she was twelve and he was fifteen, they used to argue Greek philosophy in the ancient Greek language they learned by themselves. Being Jewish, the family escaped to America to escape persecution and he finally wound up in the same think tank in Princeton University and a peer of Einstein. So this math genius wrote:

Quote:
"God exists since mathematics is consistent, and the Devil exists since we cannot prove it."
Quoted in H Eves Mathematical Circles Adieu (Boston 1977).


He is using God and the Devil here as concepts. It is kind of hard to argue the basics of it. Math has this logic to it yet at some point even those at the level of Andre Weil come up against problems (Devil) that struggle against our understanding.

I agree the personal God would be an extension of our imagination but when people like Andre Weil and Einstein experience this deep logic that is not at all chaotic, I have to believe the laws are there which means that objective meaning and wisdom are also there.

So really I don't see any major disagreement between us and even if there were, it is not my business to be critical. I have a hard enough time trying to understand and it would be ludicrous for my idiocy to attack anyone. So we respect each other as two ships passing in the night talking about life and sharing some cocktails. Smile
 
Dustin phil
 
Reply Fri 22 Feb, 2008 08:10 pm
@Justin,
Justin wrote:
Think about this, "God is everything that I am." - for the sake of example.

How can we know God if we cannot know ourselves? How can we be a manifestation of God yet be separate from God?

If you believe you cannot know God, you are correct. If you believe you can know God, then you are also correct. Where does one start to look to know God?... in Creation? Church? An old warehouse? Ancient Ruins?... Where?


Yes! If it is our very self that is God, then we can know God by knowing ourself.

With respect to the beliefs of others, I personally believe if God ceased to exist then so would we. Is not God our very life. Is it not strange there is no mechanism which makes the lungs function. Biogenesis or "no life without antecedent life," has been victorious all along the way. Think about that one. We say, "I will do a thing," however the "I" that which we call ourself is not the body. We came into bodily form by our mother and father's body. God made them both; He is One. Yet, the "I" was not made by mother or father. The "I" is a part of God - He is your true Father! The One and only!

Recent quantum theories clearly show that a God-like source created the physical Universe; some will say this is no proof, and that's true because the only proof lies within what you believe. If we are like God, a creator, then surely (for the time being) we can create "no God." I'm sure we've all at some time had doubts about the existence of God. However, I tend to think when we can't prove God exists, it's rather our way of being angry with God...
 
Play Dough
 
Reply Fri 22 Feb, 2008 11:43 pm
@Justin,
"God" is a 'template of consciousness' that serves as an idealized expression of what Man can become.
 
Ruthless Logic
 
Reply Thu 27 Mar, 2008 01:54 am
@Play Dough,
The provable existence of God is clearly a timeless pursuit.
 
Ruthless Logic
 
Reply Thu 27 Mar, 2008 02:54 am
@Ruthless Logic,
The quest to prove the existence of God cannot begin without fully understanding the #1 axiom that pertains to the absolute constraint of our natural world, which is that it is impossible to consider, conjure, or create anything that simply does not exist. Let me explain. Factual truths are provable concepts that reasonable people agree to be unequivocally consistent in there existence (1+1=2). My simple equation is a factual truth made up of component truths. What we call the number 1 and number 2 exists, also the concept of the equation sign and the positive sign clearly exists. On the other hand, Falsehoods, such as Flying Pink Elephants are empirically provable (we simply do not see them) not to exist. What does exist is the revelation that falsehoods are simply compilations of component truths (pink exists, flying exists, elephants exist) and that is the utter constraint of our Natural World (Reality). It is impossible for component falsehoods to exist, every provable falsehood requires the compilation of component truths. Getting back to the provable existence of God, the question then becomes is the prospect of God a compilation (potential falsehood) or a component truth(s). Due to the simplicity of the concept that something greater then ourselves can potentially exist, the proposal for God lends itself as a component truth.
 
 

 
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