Definition Essay – Defining God
Length: 396 words (1.1 double-spaced pages)
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The concept of God can be a difficult one to grasp especially in today's world - a world in which anyone that believes in God is trying to define exactly what God is. To even attempt to grasp such a concept, one must first recognize his own beliefs in respect to the following questions: Is God our creator? Is God omnipotent (all-powerful) or omniscient (all-knowing) or both? Does God care? Is God with us? Does God interfere with life on earth? These questions should be asked and carefully answered if one should truly wish to identify his specific beliefs in God's existence and persistence.
One common perception of God is that God is not so much a being, but according to seventeenth century philosopher Benedict Spinoza, that "God is everything, identical to the universe itself." That is to say that God is a part of all humans, all animals, all objects, and all matter in the universe. This particular view is called pantheism, which is literally defined to mean that there is no God, but only the combined forces and laws that are manifested in the existing universe. According to Spinoza, we are each and all an integral part of God, not as individuals or even humanity as a whole but as an integral part of what Spinoza called the "One Substance." He also believed that we are each and all components of some greater being, a being so unimaginably large that we are each nothing more than tiny parcels of matter in that being's blood.
Another fairly common perception of God is of relation God's necessity to physics, referred to as Deism and heavily supported by the French philosopher Voltaire. This view is of a God who created the universe and then abandoned it, assuming no control over life, exerting no influence on natural phenomena, and giving no supernatural revelation.
While similar in some aspects to pantheism, such as the lack of supernatural intervention, deism is far different, for a deist believes that God truly exists, or that some supreme creator existed at one time in order to create the universe. Voltaire's view reduced God to a minimum, but did not refer to him as merely the components of the universe. Instead, deism refers to a God that created the universe, and then left it to grow and develop freely, without intervention.