Three Dominant Conceptions of God

Classical Theism is the belief in which God is an absolute and ultimate metaphysical being. Whereas most theists agree that God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and good, some classical theists go further and conceive of God as utterly transcendent, simple, and as having attributes such as immutability, impassibility, and timelessness. The ideas of Classical Theism are associated with philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Augustine, St. Anselm, Maimonides, Averroes and Thomas Aquinas.

Because Greek philosophy influences traditional theistic ideas and focus on God in the abstract and metaphysical sense, Classical Theism can be difficult to reconcile with the caring, and compassionate view of God manifested in the religious texts of the main monotheistic religions including the Bible, Torah, and Qur’an

Aristotelian Theology takes a somewhat different viewpoint than Classical Theism. In Metaphysics, Aristotle discusses the meaning of “being as being.” Aristotle holds that “being” refers to the Unmoved Movers, and assigned one of these to each movement in the heavens. Each Unmoved Mover continuously contemplates its contemplation, and everything that fits the second meaning of “being” by having its source of motion in itself, moves because the knowledge of its Mover causes it to emulate this Mover (or should).

Aristotle’s definition of God connects perfection to this being, and as a perfect being can only contemplate upon perfection and not on imperfection, otherwise perfection would not be one of his attributes. God, according to Aristotle, is in a state of “stasis” untouched by change and fault. As such, the “unmoved mover” is dissimilar to the conception of God seen in most religions.

Pantheism is the belief that all reality is identical with divinity and that everything composes an all-encompassing, immanent God. Pantheists do not believe in a distinct personal or anthropomorphic God. Additionally, Pantheists believe in and accept all interpretations of God regardless of religion and view all religions as equal.

Pantheism views all religions as equally valid and that everything composes an all-encompassing, immanent God.

Pantheism views all religions as equally valid and that everything that people can observe represents God.

Many traditional and folk religions can be seen as being aligned with the ideas of pantheism and there are elements of pantheism in some forms of Christianity and Hinduism. Pantheism is also popular in some New age religious movements such as Neopaganism and Theosophy.

 

 

 

the author

Matt is a graduate of Monmouth University. Matt has been studying and analyzing politics at all levels since the 2004 Presidential Election. He writes about political trends and demographics, the role of the media in politics, comparative politics, political theory, and the domestic and international political economy. Matt is also interested in history, philosophy, comparative religion, and record collecting.

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