Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and the Baháʼí Faith,[1] alongside Samaritanism, Yazidism, Druzism, and Rastafarianism,[1] are considered Abrahamic religions because they all accept the tradition of the God (known as Yahweh in Hebrew and Allah in Arabic) that revealed himself to Abraham.[1] Abrahamic religions share the same distinguishing features:[2]

The Abrahamic God in this sense is the conception of God that remains a common feature of all Abrahamic religions.[4] God is conceived of as one, eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, and the creator of the universe.[4] God is always referred to as masculine only,[4] and further held to have the properties of holiness, justice, omnibenevolence and omnipresence. Proponents of Abrahamic faiths believe that God is also transcendent, meaning that he is outside space and outside time and therefore not subject to anything within his creation, but at the same time a personal God, involved, listening to prayer, and reacting to the actions of his creatures.

Opinions differ on whether Mormonism belongs within the Christian tradition or amounts to a distinct Abrahamic religion.[5] The heterogenous Rastafari movement with roots in Jamaica is classified by some scholars as an international socio-religious movement, and by others as a separate Abrahamic religion or new religious movement.[6]

Judaism

Main article: God in Judaism

Further information: Elohim, Shema Yisrael, and Tetragrammaton

[God], the Cause of all, is one. This does not mean one as in one of series, nor one like a species (which encompasses many individuals), nor one as in an object that is made up of many elements, nor as a single simple object that is infinitely divisible. Rather, God is a unity unlike any other possible unity.

— Maimonides, 13 principles of faith, Second Principle

Judaism, the oldest Abrahamic religion, is based on a strict, exclusive monotheism, finding its origins in the sole veneration of Yahweh,[7][8][9] the predecessor to the Abrahamic conception of God.[Note 1] This is referred to in the Torah: "Hear O Israel: the LORD is our God, the LORD is One" (Deuteronomy 6:4).[15]

The idea of God as a duality or trinity is heretical in Judaism - it's considered akin to polytheism. God in Judaism is conceived as anthropomorphic,[14] unique, benevolent, eternal, the creator of the universe, and the ultimate source of morality.[16][17] Thus, the term God corresponds to an actual ontological reality, and is not merely a projection of the human psyche. Maimonides describes God in this fashion:

The foundation of all foundations and the pillar of wisdom is to know that there is a Primary Being who brought into being all existence. All the beings of the heavens, the earth, and what is between them came into existence only from the truth of His being.[18]

Traditional interpretations of Judaism generally emphasize that God is personal and able to intervene in the world, while some interpretations of Judaism emphasize that God is an impersonal force or ideal rather than a being who intervenes in the world.[19]

Christianity

Main article: God in Christianity

Further information: Diversity in early Christian theology, Great Apostasy, Son of God (Christianity), and Trinity

Christianity originated in 1st-century Judea from a sect of apocalyptic Jewish Christians within the realm of Second Temple Judaism,[20][21][22][23] and thus shares most of its beliefs about God, including his omnipotence, omniscience, his role as creator of all things, his personality, immanence, transcendence and ultimate unity, with the innovation that Jesus of Nazareth is considered to be, in one way or another, the fulfillment of ancient prophecies about the Jewish Messiah, the completion of the Law of the prophets of Israel, and/or the incarnation of God as a human being.[20]

Most Christian denominations believe Jesus to be the incarnated Son of God, which is the main theological divergence with respect to the other Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Islam, and the Baháʼí Faith. Although personal salvation is implicitly stated in Judaism, personal salvation by grace and a recurring emphasis in orthodox theological beliefs is particularly emphasized in Christianity, often contrasting this with a perceived over-emphasis in law observance as stated in Jewish law, where it is contended that a belief in an intermediary between man and God is against the Noahide laws, and thus not monotheistic.

For mainstream Christians, beliefs about God are enshrined in the doctrine of monotheistic Trinitarianism, which holds that the three persons of the trinity are distinct but all of the same indivisible essence, meaning that the Father is God, the Holy spirit is God, and the Son is God, yet there is one God as there is one indivisible essence. These mainstream Christian doctrines were largely formulated at the Council of Nicaea and are enshrined in the Nicene Creed. The Trinitarian view emphasizes that God has a will, and that God the Son has two natures, divine and human, though these are never in conflict but joined in the hypostatic union.

Mormonism

Main article: God in Mormonism

Further information: Beliefs and practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In the belief system held by the Christian churches that adhere to the Latter Day Saint movement and most Mormon denominations, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), the term God refers to Elohim (God the Father),[24][25] whereas Godhead means a council of three distinct gods: Elohim (the Eternal Father), Jehovah (God the Son, Jesus Christ), and the Holy Ghost, in a Non-trinitarian conception of the Godhead.[24][25] The Father and Son have perfected, material bodies, while the Holy Ghost is a spirit and does not have a body.[24][25] This differs significantly from mainstream Christian Trinitarianism; in Mormonism, the three persons are considered to be physically separate beings, or personages, but united in will and purpose.[24][25][26] As such, the term Godhead differs from how it is used in mainstream Christianity.[24][25] This description of God represents the orthodoxy of the LDS Church, established early in the 19th century.[24]

Unitarianism

A small minority of Christians, largely coming under the heading of Unitarianism, hold Non-trinitarian conceptions of God.

Islam

Main articles: Allah and God in Islam

In Islam, God (Allah) (Arabic: ٱلل‍َّٰه‎, romanizedAllāh, IPA: [ɑɫˈɫɑː(h)] (About this soundlisten), lit. "the God")[27] is the supreme being, all-powerful and all-knowing creator, sustainer, ordainer, and judge of the universe.[27][28][29] Islam puts a heavy emphasis on the conceptualization of God as strictly singular (tawhid).[27][30] He is unique (wahid) and inherently one (ahad), all-merciful and omnipotent.[27][31] According to the Qur'an there are 99 Names of God (al-asma al-husna lit. meaning: "The best names") each of which evoke a distinct characteristic of God.[32][33] All these names refer to Allah, considered to be the supreme and all-comprehensive divine Arabic name.[27][34] Among the 99 names of God, the most famous and most frequent of these names are "the Most Gracious" (al-rahim) and "the Most Merciful" (al-rahman).[32][33]

Creation and ordering of the universe is seen as an act of prime mercy for which all creatures sing his glories and bear witness to his unity and lordship. According to the Qur'an, "No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision. He is above all comprehension, yet is acquainted with all things" (Quran 6:103).[29]

God in Islam is not only majestic and sovereign, but also a personal God. According to the Qur'an, he is nearer to a person than that person's jugular vein. He responds to those in need or distress whenever they call him. Above all, he guides humanity to the right way, the "straight path".[35]

Muslims believe that Allah is the same God worshipped by the members of the Abrahamic religions that preceded Islam, i.e. Judaism and Christianity (29:46).[36] However in Islam, Muslims do not believe in the divinity of Jesus as God or son of God, but instead consider him as a prophet of God and the Messiah. Islam views that God does not have any offspring or descendants, he created all things including prophets such as Jesus Christ. Most Muslims today believe that the religion of Abraham (which split into Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) are of one source, which is the Almighty God.

Baháʼí Faith

Main article: God in the Baháʼí Faith

Further information: Baháʼí cosmology and Baháʼí teachings

The writings of the Baháʼí Faith describe a monotheistic, personal, inaccessible, omniscient, omnipresent, imperishable, and almighty God who is the creator of all things in the universe.[37][38]:106 The existence of God and the universe is thought to be eternal, without a beginning or end.[39]

Though transcendent and inaccessible directly,[40]:438–446 God is nevertheless seen as conscious of the creation,[40]:438–446 with a will and purpose that is expressed through messengers recognized in the Baháʼí Faith as the Manifestations of God[38]:106 (all the Jewish prophets, Zoroaster, Krishna, Gautama Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, the Báb, and ultimately Baháʼu'lláh).[40]:438–446 The purpose of the creation is for the created to have the capacity to know and love its creator,[38]:111 through such methods as prayer, reflection, and being of service to humankind.[41] God communicates his will and purpose to humanity through his intermediaries, the prophets and messengers who have founded World's religions from the beginning of humankind up to the present day,[38]:107–108[40]:438–446 and will continue to do so in the future.[40]:438–446

The Manifestations of God reflect divine attributes, which are creations of God made for the purpose of spiritual enlightenment, onto the physical plane of existence.[42] In the Baháʼí view, all physical beings reflect at least one of these attributes, and the human soul can potentially reflect all of them.[43] The Baháʼí conception of God rejects all pantheistic, anthropomorphic, and incarnationist beliefs about God.[38]:106

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Although the Semitic god El is indeed the most ancient predecessor to the Abrahamic God,[10][11][12] this specifically refers to the ancient ideas Yahweh once encompassed in Ancient Hebrew religion, such as being a storm- and war-god, living on mountains, or controlling the weather.[11][12][13][14] Thus, in this page's context, "Yahweh" is used to refer to the ancient idea of the Abrahamic God, and should not be referenced when describing his later worship in today's Abrahamic religions.

References

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  2. ^ a b c d Bremer, Thomas S. (2015). "Abrahamic religions". Formed From This Soil: An Introduction to the Diverse History of Religion in America. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 19–20. ISBN 978-1-4051-8927-9. LCCN 2014030507. S2CID 127980793.
  3. ^ Hughes, Aaron W. (2012). "What Are "Abrahamic Religions"?". Abrahamic Religions: On the Uses and Abuses of History. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 15–33. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199934645.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-993464-5. S2CID 157815976.
  4. ^ a b c d Christiano, Kevin J.; Kivisto, Peter; Swatos, Jr., William H., eds. (2015) [2002]. "Excursus on the History of Religions". Sociology of Religion: Contemporary Developments (3rd ed.). Walnut Creek, California: AltaMira Press. pp. 254–255. ISBN 978-1-4422-1691-4. LCCN 2001035412. S2CID 154932078.
  5. ^ Shipps, Jan (2001). "Is Mormonism Christian? Reflections on a Complicated Question". In Eliason, Eric A. (ed.). Mormons and Mormonism: An Introduction to an American World Religion. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press. pp. 76–98. ISBN 0-252-02609-8. S2CID 142892455.
  6. ^ Chryssides, George D. (2001) [1999]. "Independent New Religions: Rastafarianism". Exploring New Religions. Issues in Contemporary Religion. London and New York: Continuum International. pp. 269–277. ISBN 9780826459596. OCLC 436090427. S2CID 143265918. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Van der Toorn 1999, pp. 362–363.
  8. ^ Betz 2000, pp. 916-917.
  9. ^ Gruber, Mayer I. (2013). "Israel". In Spaeth, Barbette Stanley (ed.). The Cambridge Companion to Ancient Mediterranean Religions. New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 76–94. doi:10.1017/CCO9781139047784.007. ISBN 978-0-521-11396-0. LCCN 2012049271.
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  14. ^ a b Van der Toorn 1999, pp. 361-362.
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  24. ^ a b c d e f Davies, Douglas J. (2003). "Divine–human transformations: God". An Introduction to Mormonism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 67–77. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511610028.004. ISBN 9780511610028. OCLC 438764483. S2CID 146238056.
  25. ^ a b c d e Robinson, Stephen E.; Burgon, Glade L.; Turner, Rodney; Largey, Dennis L. (1992), "God the Father", in Ludlow, Daniel H. (ed.), Encyclopedia of Mormonism, New York: Macmillan Publishing, pp. 548–552, ISBN 0-02-879602-0, OCLC 24502140, retrieved 7 May 2021 – via Harold B. Lee Library
  26. ^ The term with its distinctive Mormon usage first appeared in Lectures on Faith (published 1834), Lecture 5 ("We shall in this lecture speak of the Godhead; we mean the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."). The term Godhead also appears several times in Lecture 2 in its sense as used in the Authorized King James Version, meaning divinity.
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  32. ^ a b Bentley, David (September 1999). The 99 Beautiful Names for God for All the People of the Book. William Carey Library. ISBN 0-87808-299-9.
  33. ^ a b Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa, Allah
  34. ^ Annemarie Schimmel,The Tao of Islam: A Sourcebook on Gender Relationships in Islamic, SUNY Press, p.206
  35. ^ Britannica Encyclopedia, Islam, p. 3
  36. ^ F.E. Peters, Islam, p.4, Princeton University Press, 2003
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Bibliography