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One way of defining the Christian God

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posted on Mar, 18 2018 @ 03:05 PM
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“The Creator.
That which is not the Universe, but the originator of the Universe.”

Eight years ago, a philosopher on this forum invited Christians to volunteer their own definitions of God. The question of “proof” was going to be postponed for a later thread (which never happened).
I took two bites at the cherry. The opening statement here was my first attempt. In a second post, I expanded the proposed definition as follows;

God is a Creator
God is one who Communicates
God is one who becomes Incarnate

God is a Creator

I see this view as distinct from both Monism and Dualism.

As I understand the difference;
Monism resolves everything to one point of origin.
Dualism resolves everything to two points of origin, distinct and independent.

Creation theory falls short of being genuine Monism, because the created universe is understood as distinct from God.

Creation theory falls short of being genuine Dualism, because the created universe is understood as dependent upon God.

My private theory is that Creation teaching ought to be called "One-and-a-half-ism", but I don't suppose it will catch on.

As far as I can see, this involves the traditional teaching of "ex nihilo" ("out of nothing") Creation.

Because if God is "creating" using pre-existing raw material, then the material is not genuinely dependent upon him- this has become Dualism.

Or if God is producing the material of the universe "out of himself", then the material is not genuinely distinct- this has become Monism.

"Ex nihilo" is the only logical alternative, which is presumably why the teaching was developed in the first place.

God is one who Communicates

This assumption is built into Biblical religion.

In the first place, the Bible is believed to contain examples of communication (as reported, for example, by the prophets).

Furthermore, the Bible is believed to reflect a policy of communication.
It is said that God is using the Bible to "reveal himself", and so Biblical religion used to be described as "revealed religion".

The belief that "God is one who Communicates" links back with the belief that "God is one who Creates".

In the first place, some of the content of the communication points to God as Creator.

The proper Biblical answer to the question "Why do you believe your God made the universe?" is not really "Because that's the only way to account for the universe."
The truly Biblical answer is "Because he says he did, and I believe him."

But I think the very act of communication also points to God as a Creator.

Any act of communication necessarily implies a distinction between the communicator and the other party.
I've already said the Biblical understanding of Creation involves a distinction between God and the universe.

An act of communication implies the existence of a "will" in the communicator, or at least some sort of analogy of one.
But the same could be said, surely, of an act of "Creation".

Finally, a God who creates a universe thereby sets up a relationship between himself and the universe.
The effect of communication is to set up a relationship between himself and individuals (or even a group of individuals) within the same universe.

I assume that a purely monistic deity would not be communicating with, or setting up a relationship with, parts of itself.

My point is that
The idea of the God who Creates
and the idea of the God who Communicates
are very akin to one another.

The kind of God who would Create would also be the kind of God who could Communicate.

God is one who becomes Incarnate

I could hardly, really, leave this out of a definition of the Christian God.

The understanding is that the Incarnation is a more direct presence of God within the created universe.

If this is true, it's the ultimate form of Communication, as the author of Hebrews points out;
"God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets
but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son".

But it's also the ultimate form of "establishing a relationship";

Because the doctrine of the Incarnation is that the Creator and his creation, divinity and humanity, are bound together within the person of the Son.
The bond is understood to be irrevocable.
It's impossible for a relationship to get any closer than that.

Anyone who tries to understand the church's teaching about the Incarnation will discover that it's all about finding the right "balance".

On the one hand, the distinction between the divinity and the humanity must not be exaggerated, to the point that the unity disappears.
O the other hand, the unity between them must not be exaggerated, to the point that the distinction disappears.
The correct position is somewhere halfway between the two extremes.

But this is exactly what I said, at the beginning of this piece, about Creation;
That it occupied a halfway position between Monism and Dualism.

So it seems to me that the "balancing act" which Jehovah's Witnesses love to mock, when it comes in the teaching about the Incarnation, is also inherent in the very doctrine of the Creation itself.

The kind of God who would Create is also the kind of God who could become Incarnate.


I began by naming the Christian God as
The one who Creates
The one who Communicates
The one who becomes Incarnate.

I now suggest that these three ideas are akin to one another.
They belong together, naturally.

Whether you can believe them or not, they all belong to the same kind of God.




posted on Mar, 18 2018 @ 03:06 PM
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I may as well explain how this definition has re-emerged.
Ever since it first appeared, its location on ATS has been a secondary post on somebody else’s thread, which was not convenient when I wanted to refer back to it.
I did place it on my wall, but who looks at the walls nowadays?
I also made it an extra post on my Introduction thread, but my Introduction thread is so old that it’s not very accessible even to me.
A couple of weeks back, I wrote the thread on “Foreknowledge and Fixed Fate”, thought of cross-linking with my other two “philosophy of religion” threads, and then remembered once again that this one was not a thread.
So now it is, and I can do something about that cross-linking.



posted on Mar, 18 2018 @ 03:11 PM
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How about "the CIO of many cults who has his workers siphon money from ordinary folks as a payoff to keep out of a hell of his own creation"?
edit on 18-3-2018 by DogStarIn1066 because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 18 2018 @ 03:13 PM
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a reply to: DogStarIn1066
That's a "Conspiracies in religions" definition. Different sub-forum.




edit on 18-3-2018 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 18 2018 @ 03:33 PM
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"God" does not reveal itself through a book, "God" reveals itself through your act of existence.

"God is light", correct? Do you see the light? I do. Most "look" at it but do not "see" it for what it truly is. The bible (and any other religious/spiritual text) can help to guide you to the truth but is not the truth within itself, it is only a tool that, when read in the correct context, will always lead back to you and your very own direct experience of life in the here and now.

"When your eye is healthy your body will be full of light", look at the body we call the universe, it is full of light. Do you see the light? If not then you are spiritually blind. "It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." What you see is God's light emanating from your very being.
edit on 3/18/2018 by 3NL1GHT3N3D1 because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 18 2018 @ 03:35 PM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: DogStarIn1066
That's a "Conspiracies in religions" definition. Different sub-forum.





My definition still stands.



posted on Mar, 18 2018 @ 03:38 PM
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a reply to: 3NL1GHT3N3D1
The claim of "revelation" is that a conscious entity has been communicating with people, and the communications have been recorded.

Of course it is "in a book". This was before the invention of Youtube. Writing was the only form of transmission that was available. How else would they have done it?



posted on Mar, 18 2018 @ 03:39 PM
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a reply to: 3NL1GHT3N3D1

We are not God. We may interact with His spirit, the Holy Spirit, be spirit-filled, but we are not God.



posted on Mar, 18 2018 @ 03:39 PM
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a reply to: DogStarIn1066
Don't expect me to pay it any attention, then.



posted on Mar, 18 2018 @ 03:41 PM
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a reply to: ketsuko

A drop of water is not the ocean, that doesn't mean the ocean isn't made of water though.



posted on Mar, 18 2018 @ 03:43 PM
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a reply to: 3NL1GHT3N3D1
But the ocean does not have a conscious personal relationship with any of its water drops.
The existence of a relationship implies the existence of a distinction.



posted on Mar, 18 2018 @ 03:47 PM
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God is creator of all. The end.



posted on Mar, 18 2018 @ 03:49 PM
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a reply to: carewemust
Quite so. The first and the last, the beginning and the end.



posted on Mar, 18 2018 @ 03:49 PM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: DogStarIn1066
Don't expect me to pay it any attention, then.



Don't care if you do. But as long as this thread stays up folks can see my 2 cents and how you tried to brush it off. Not that anyone would want to suppress an opinion?



posted on Mar, 18 2018 @ 03:50 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

It is an analogy and not meant to imply the ocean is conscious of itself. A mustard seed is not faith but Jesus used it to describe what he meant, as he used many other analogies that weren't exactly 1:1 in his parables. My point stands with the analogy, we are the drops of water while God is the entire ocean.



posted on Mar, 18 2018 @ 03:54 PM
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a reply to: 3NL1GHT3N3D1
Yes, I understand it as an analogy.
My argument is that the analogy is imperfect, not exactly applicable, because you are comparing an ocean, something which has no self-consciousness, with something which (ex hypothesi) DOES have self-consciousness.



posted on Mar, 18 2018 @ 03:55 PM
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a reply to: 3NL1GHT3N3D1

God is the Creator. We did not create ourselves, nor did we create God.
edit on 18-3-2018 by ketsuko because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 18 2018 @ 04:01 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

In that case, Jesus comparing God to a farmer is imperfect. The ocean in the case of my analogy IS consciousness. That's the entire point of the analogy, to equate consciousness with an ocean, much like Jesus compared God to a farmer or faith to a mustard seed.



posted on Mar, 18 2018 @ 04:05 PM
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a reply to: ketsuko



We did not create ourselves, nor did we create God.


I never said we did. What I said is that we are drops in the ocean that many call God. There is no such thing as creation (beginning) or destruction (end) along an infinite plain. If God is "the beginning and end" then neither exist because that implies an infinite loop, one always leads into the other. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, energy is eternal by it's very definition. The energy that you call consciousness is infinite and never had a beginning and will never have an end. It may change forms but it will never be destroyed.



posted on Mar, 18 2018 @ 04:06 PM
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a reply to: 3NL1GHT3N3D1
In that case we come back to the point about communication.
Consciousness does not communicate with parts of itself.
Consciousness communicates with, and has a relationship with, other consciousnesses.
If the Bible records communication, and the existence of a relationship, then it demonstrates the existence of a consciousness distinct from our own.



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