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God - The Dictionary of Philosophy

In metaphysical thinking a name for the highest, ultimate being, assumed by theology on the basis of authority, revelation, or the evidence of faith as absolutely necessary, but demonstrated as such by a number of philosophical systems, notably idealistic, monistic and dualistic ones. Proofs of the existence of God fall apart into those that are based on facts of experience (desire or need for perfection, dependence, love, salvation, etc.), facts of religious history (consensus gentium, etc.)), postulates of morality (belief in ultimate justice, instinct for an absolute good, conscience, the categorical imperative, sense of duty, need of an objective foundation of morality, etc.)), postulates of reason (cosmological, physico-theological, teleological, and ontological arguments), and the inconceivableness of the opposite. As to the nature of God, the great variety of opinions are best characterized by their several conceptions of the attributes of God which are either of a non-personal (pantheistic, etc.) or personal (theistic, etc.) kind, representing concepts known from experience raised to a superlative degree ("omniscient", "eternal", etc.). The reality, God, may be conceived as absolute or as relative to human values, as being an all-inclusive one, a duality, or a plurality. Concepts of God calling for unquestioning faith, belief in miracles, and worship or representing biographical and descriptive sketches of God and his creation, are rather theological than metaphysical, philosophers, on the whole, utilizing the idea of God or its linguistic equivalents in other languages, despite popular and church implications, in order not to lose the feeling-contact with the rather abstract world-ground. See Religion, Philosophy of. -- K.F.L.

According to the common teaching of the Schoolmen, philosophy is able to demonstrate the existence of God, though any statement of his essence is at best only analogical. See Analogy. Aquinas formulated the famous five ways by which to demonstrate God's existence, as prime motor, first cause, pure act to be assumed because there has to be act for anything to come into existence at all, necessary being in which existence and essence aie one, as set over against contingent beings which may be or not be, as summit of the hierarchy of beings. A basic factor in these demonstrations is the impossibility of infinite regress. God is conceived as the first cause and as the ultimate final cause of all beings. He is pure act, ens realissimum and summum bonum. Thomism and later Scholasticism denied that any adequate statement can be made on God's essence; but earlier thinkers, especially Anselm of Canterbury indulged in a so-called "Christian Rationalism" and believed that more can be asserted of God by '"necessary reasons". Anselm's proof of God's existence has been rejected by Aquinas and Kant. See Ontologtcal argument. -- R.A.

Consult other dictionaries:

God - American Tract Society Bible Dictionary

God - Dictionary of the Apostolic Church

God - Theological Dictionary

God - New Catholic Dictionary

God - Catholic Encyclopedia

God - Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

God - Easton's Bible Dictionary

God - Fausset's Bible Dictionary

God - Bridgeway Bible Dictionary

God - A Dictionary Of Christ And The Gospels

God - Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

God - The Poor Man’s Concordance and Dictionary to the Sacred Scriptures

God - International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

God - Popular Cyclopedia Biblical Literature

God - Concise Bible Dictionary

God - Nave's Topical Bible

God - People's Dictionary of the Bible

God - Smith's Bible Dictionary

God - Vine's Dictionary of New Testament Words

God - Biblical and Theological Dictionary

The Dictionary of Philosophy