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HLT 302 Topic 5 Discussion Question One
HLT 302 Topic 5 Discussion Question One
Read Colossians 1 in the Bible. Compare ways in which the concepts of “God,” “Person,” “Environment,” “Health,” and “Nursing” would be defined according to Colossians 1.
Conceptions of God in monotheist, pantheist, and panentheist religions – or of the supreme deity in henotheistic religions – can extend to various levels of abstraction:
- as a powerful, human-like, supernatural being, or as the deification of an esoteric, mystical or philosophical entity or category;
- as the “Ultimate“, the summum bonum, the “Absolute Infinite“, the “Transcendent“, or Existence or Being itself;
- as the ground of being, the monistic substrate, that which we cannot understand; and so on.
The first recordings that survive of monotheistic conceptions of God, borne out of henotheism and (mostly in Eastern religions) monism, are from the Hellenistic period. Of the many objects and entities that religions and other belief systems across the ages have labeled as divine, the one criterion they share is their acknowledgment as divine by a group or groups of human beings.
The Abrahamic God in this sense is the conception of God that remains a common attribute of all three traditions. God is conceived of as eternal, omnipotent, omniscient and as the creator of the universe. God is 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.
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Main article: God in Judaism
In Judaism, God has been conceived in a variety of ways. Traditionally, Judaism holds that YHWH, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the national god of the Israelites, delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, and gave them the Law of Moses at biblical Mount Sinai as described in the Torah. According to the rationalist stream of Judaism articulated by Maimonides, which later came to dominate much of official traditional Jewish thought, God is understood as the absolute one, indivisible, and incomparable being who is the ultimate cause of all existence. Traditional interpretations of Judaism generally emphasize that God is personal yet also transcendent, while some modern interpretations of Judaism emphasize that God is a force or ideal.
Jewish monotheism is a continuation of earlier Hebrew henotheism, the exclusive worship of the God of Israel (YHWH) as prescribed in the Torah and practiced at the Temple of Jerusalem. Strict monotheism emerges in Hellenistic Judaism and Rabbinical Judaism. Pronunciation of the proper name of the God of Israel came to be avoided in the Hellenistic era (Second Temple Judaism) and instead Jews refer to God as HaShem, meaning “the Name”. In prayer and reading of scripture, the Tetragrammaton (YHWH) is substituted with Adonai (“my Lord”).
Some[who?] Kabbalistic thinkers have held the belief that all of existence is itself a part of God, and that we as humanity are unaware of our own inherent godliness and are grappling to come to terms with it. The standing view in Hasidism currently, is that there is nothing in existence outside of God – all being is within God, and yet all of existence cannot contain him. Regarding this, Solomon stated while dedicating the Temple, “But will God in truth dwell with mankind on the earth? Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You.”
Modern Jewish thinkers have constructed a wide variety of other ideas about God. Hermann Cohen believed that God should be identified with the “archetype of morality,” an idea reminiscent of Plato’s idea of the Good. Mordecai Kaplan believed that God is the sum of all natural processes that allow man to become self-fulfilled.
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