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Page last edited on 23 April, 2003

[ More on Concept of God in World Religions ]

Concept of God

this is an Interfaith Dialogue publication

Man has been seeking for his Creator from the beginning of known human history. He has called his Creator by many different names, at different times and in different places.

According to religion the earliest created man and woman were aware of their Creator and prayed to Him. As time passed their descendants did not transmit the knowledge of the Creator to their offspring properly. At some point in time they lost this knowledge almost completely.

Man has an innate nature to seek for his Creator. While seeking for his Creator, anything that were very powerful, enormous, or unusual, drew his attention and he worshipped them. He even worshipped fellow human beings who were gifted with special abilities by God, could perform magic or miracles.

Everything we see around us has been created by someone. The houses, cars, TV, radios etc. did not come into existence by themselves. Although we do not know the individuals who assembled them, we know for sure that human hands are behind their creation.

If any 'beings of outer space' ever see our space machines, they probably will marvel at the precise function of their intricate mechanical and electronic parts. If they observe the exact orbital path that these space crafts follow, will they think that these came into existence by themselves like the other celestial bodies, having no hand behind their creation and function?

Each human cell performs hundreds of thousands of complex chemical reactions every day for its proper function and exact reproduction. All tissues and organs in the body are regulated by biological laws set forth for them. The brain does not perform the function of heart and the heart does not perform the function of kidney. The complex and intimate relationships between the organs are precise and governed by fundamental laws. We may utilize these laws, already set forth for them, to our advantage, but in no way can we alter these fundamental laws.

We see the apparent lifeless seeds grow into plants with life. Again we see plants and animals, full with life, made into lifeless materials. We also observe the vast universe, its grand design, the superb organization, and its precise and flawless functions. Did all these come into existence and continue to exist by themselves? Basic human intelligence will tell us that there is a Creator who brought into existence each and everything around us and beyond. This is God, our Creator and the Creator of the universe.

When we want to perceive anything in our environment we use our organs of perception, e.g. eye, ear, nose, tongue and skin. We do not see the air but we can feel it and see its effect in the environment. Things that can not be perceived by these organs, we try to appreciate them by using our intellect. We discuss their characteristics. In the case of God we appreciate Him by discussing His attributes.

All the attributes of God are unique and only belongs to Him. If reversed, they point only towards Him. For example, God is The Creator, The Creator is God. No one other than God can have these unique attributes. His attributes are absolute, perfect, complete, unconditional, unlimited, independent, ultimate, and everlasting. There can not be two authorities with absolute attributes.

The correct attributes of God can not be combined with wrong attributes. One can not say that God is the Creator of the universe and was born in a human family in New York, because to take birth in a human family is against the attributes of God. Similarly one can not say God can heal all illness but when He went to Nazareth, He could not heal the people there because of their unbelief. God's ability do not depend on our belief or disbelief.

God's attributes can not separated and given to different Authorities, like one is the creator and another is the preserver or Sustainer. In that case there will be multiple Divine Authorities and will create confusion in the universe. One of them will either have no authority over the others, or if He has power over the others than the others will have no independent authority. God is the ultimate Authority of every affair. Multiple Divine Authorities will make incomplete, inadequate, and deficit Gods. They will fight and kill each other to gain power over the others as we find with the gods of mythology.

God is One and Only:

Every attributes of God maintains the unity of His Lordship. All the revealed books proclaimed unity of God.

  • In the Jewish Holy Book God said: "I am the first, and I am the last; and besides me there is no God" (Isaiah 44:6).
  • "You shall have no other gods besides Me." (Exodus 20:3).
  • In the Christian Holy Gospel Jesus (P*) said "The first of all commandments is, 'Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord' " (Mark 12:29, Deut 6:4).
  • The Holy Quran says: "Say, He is God, The One and Only" (Q* 112:1)
  • Hindu Holy Book Rig Veda says: "There is only one God, worship Him" (Rig Veda, Vol. 6, Hymn 45, verse 16 )
  • Every Prophet mentioned in the revealed Holy Books, proclaimed unity of God No Prophet ever proclaimed more than one God and no Prophet ever claimed to be God. No Prophet ever associated any one with God in Divinity. There is no association with Him. There can not be more than one ultimate authority.

God is the Creator of the universe:

All revealed Holy Books confirm this. Creator is different from the created. Created are temporal but the Creator is eternal. He is independent of everything and everything is dependent on Him. "Ability to create" being the most important attribute of God, it, therefore, follows that any one who can not create, can not be God. Jesus (P*) said: "I can of mine own self do nothing" (John 5:30).

God is eternal and Absolute:

Being eternal nothing caused Him to come to existence and nothing outside Him causes Him to exist. Therefore He is self sustained. He is the Sustainer of the universe. He has no beginning and no end. Everything else has a beginning and an end. They are temporal, relative and conditional.

His attributes are also absolute and everlasting. There cannot be two creators with absolute attributes. It also follows that anything that has a beginning or an end, cannot be God.

Sons of God:

God did not have any father or mother, and He does not have any son or daughter. 'He does not beget nor is He begotten'(Q* 112:3). The Holy Quran also says: "It is not befitting to (the Majesty of) God that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him. When He determines a matter, He only says to it, 'Be', and it is" (Q* 19 : 35). Sons and daughters of God, as mentioned in some Holy Books, are only metaphorical. In the Bible God said: "God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should repent." (Numbers 23:19).

God is the only Savior:

"I am the Lord; and besides me there is no savior" (Isaiah 43:11, Hosea 13:4). Quran also says that God is the Savior (Q.* 19:72, 6:64, and 39:61).

He is invisible, but Omnipresent:

  • The Holy Bible says: "No man hath seen God at any time" (John 1 : 18) .
  • Jesus (P*) said "Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape" (John 5:37).
  • God said to Moses "Thou canst see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live" (Exodus 33:20).
  • The Holy Quran says: "No vision can grasp Him" (Q* 6:103).

So the Holy Bible and the Holy Quran agree that anyone who is, or was, visible to the human eye, cannot be God.

Confusion arises when one finds in the Holy Bible that Abraham (P*) sees God face to face and also feeds Him (Genesis 18:1-8).

Jacob (P*) also saw God and nothing happened to him. He said "For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved" (Genesis 32:30)!

God is All-powerful having power over every thing and has no limitation of ability.

  • The Holy Quran says: "Glory be to Him. When He determines a matter, He only says to it, 'Be', and it is" (Q* 19:35).
  • In the Holy Bible we find God got tired after creating the havens and the earth, and needed rest: "That in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed" (Exodus 31:17).
  • God wrestled with Jacob at night in a tent but He did not prevail against Jacob. "Then he (God) said, 'Let me go, for the day is breaking'. But Jacob said, 'I will not let you go, unless you bless me' ... Then he (God) said, 'your name shall no more be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed'" (Genesis 32:24, 25, 26, 28).
  • God was with Judah but could not help him win the plain. "And the LORD was with Judah; and he took possession of the hill country, but he could not drive out the inhabitants of the plain, because they had chariots of iron. (Judges 1:19)

He is The All-knowing:

The Holy Quran says:

  • "He knows what is in the havens and on earth; and He knows what you conceal and what you reveal: yes, God knows well the (secrets) of (all) hearts" (Q* 64:4).

In the Holy Bible God does not appear to be informed of the present or future events.

  • God said to Prophet Abraham (P*): "I will go down to see whether they (people of Sodom and Gomorrah) have done altogether according to the outcry which has come to me: and if not, I will know" (Genesis 18:21).
  • "And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the sons of men had built" (Genesis 11:5) .

It also appears that when God created mankind, He did not know in advance what man would be doing in future! So later on He regrets creating man.

  • "And the Lord was sorry that he made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, I am sorry that I have made them" (Genesis 6:6 - 7).

God is Most Gracious, Most Merciful:

In the Holy Quran, 113 chapters (out of 114) begin with: "In the name of God, the most gracious and most merciful."

The Holy Quran further reads: "And He is oft-forgiving, full of loving kindness" (Q* 85:14).

"On those who believe and work deeds of righteousness, will (God) Most Gracious bestow Love" (Q* 19:96).

In the Holy Bible one gets a little confused when God says:

  • "when the land which you are entering to take possession ... and you defeat them; then you must utterly destroy them" (Deuteronomy 7:2).
  • "You shall surely put the inhabitants of that city to the sword, destroying it utterly, all who are in it and the cattle, with the edge of the sword ... . you shall save alive nothing that breathes" (Deuteronomy 13:15; 20:16).
  • "And the Lord said: "Go through the city and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have you pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids and little children, and women" (Ezekiel 9:5 - 6).
  • "The Lord said: Because they have forsaken me ... and have burned incense in it unto other gods, ... I will make them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and everyone shall eat the flesh of their neighbor" (Jeremiah 19:4,9 & Leviticus 26 : 29).

So, when God orders innocent animals, little children; women, and old people to be killed and makes parents eat the flesh of their sons and daughters, God does not appear to be a very kind, all loving and all forgiving God, and that "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son" to redeem the sins of the world (John 3:16).

God is most Just:

  • The Holy Bible says: "The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him" (Ezekiel 18:20); "and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour" (I Corinthians 3:8).
  • The Holy Quran says: "God is never unjust in the least degree" (Q* 4:40).

Therefore, as a just God, He cannot punish 'A' for the crime of 'B'. So God cannot crucify innocent Jesus (P*) to redeem the guilty. Concept of redemption is against the teaching of the Holy Bible.

God does not incarnate:

In the Old Testament there are many prophecies about future Prophets and events. There is no prophecy for God to come as incarnate. The Holy Bible says: "For God is not the author of confusion" (I Corinthians 14:33).

The concept of incarnation and Trinity was introduced to the world by Hinduism long before Christianity. It appears these doctrines were borrowed from them, with some modification.

God is Truth and Honesty:

In the Holy Bible God tells people to be dishonest.

  • God says in Holy Quran: "And cover not truth with falsehood, nor conceal the truth when you know (what it is)" (Q* 2:42).
  • Before the Exodus, God says to Moses (P*): "But every woman shall borrow of her neighbor, and of her that sojourneth in her home, jewels of silver and jewels of Gold, and raiment: and you shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters: and you shall spoil the Egyptians" (Exodus 3:22).

Personal name of God:

God is a common name. Although we all are men, each of us has a personal name. The personal name of God in Aramaic (the mother tongue of Jesus-P*), is ALAHA. In Hebrew it is ALAH, ELAH, or ELOH. (Encyclopedia Britanica 1980, 'On church doctrines', & New and improved edition of the Holy Bible, edited by Rev. C. I. Scoffield).

According to the Holy Bible, when Jesus (P*) was being crucified, he cried out "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabach thani? which means, 'My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mark 15: 34).

In the Holy Quran God says: "Say (O' Mohammed), He is Allah, the one and only" (Q(Q*. 112:1). Allah is from AL-ILAH, one to be worshipped.

In Arabic Holy Bible the name of Creator is given as Allah.

So the personal name of God is Allah. Moses, Jesus (P*), and Mohammad (P*) all called Him by this name. Allah is a unique name. It has no plural, no gender, and it cannot be mutilated as we see with the word 'God' viz. God (greater God), god (lesser God), Gods, Goddess, Godchild, Goddaughter, Goddamned, Godfather, Godmother, Godhead, Godless, Godlike, Godly, Godsend, etc.

Concept of God in Hindu Scripture:

  • "There is only one God, worship Him" (Rig Veda, Vol. 6, Hymn 45 vs 16 )
  • "Do not worship any one beside Him" (Rig Veda Bk. 8, Hymn 1, Vs 1)
  • "God is only one, - not a second"- (Chandogya Upanishad Ch. 6, Section 2, verse 1).
  • Brahma Sutra, main creed of Vedanta, reads:
  • "Ek kam Braham Dusra nasti, Nia naste, naste kichan"- (In Hindi: -"Bhagaban ek hi hai, dusra nehi hai, nehi hai, nehi hai, jera bhi nehi hai" ). In English "There is only one god, not a second one; not at all, not at all, not in the least of it."

Physical form of God:

  • "There is no image of Him" ("God is formless and bodiless.") (Yajur Veda, Chap. 32:3)
  • "God is bodiless and pure" (Yajur Veda, Chap. 40:8)
  • "There is no likeness of Him. (Spretas patara Upanishad Ch 4:19).
  • His form can not be seen" (Spretas patara Upanishad Ch 4:20).
  • "Of that God you cannot make any images" (Yajur Veda, Chap. 3:32)
  • "Of Him there is no parent or Lord" (Spretas patara Upanishad Ch 6 Verse 9).

Worship of God:

  • "He is unborn and He should be worshipped." (Yajur Veda, Chap. 32:4)
  • "Do not worship any one beside Him" (Rig Veda Bk. 8, Hymn 1, Vs 1)
  • "All those who worship the Asambhuti (things of nature like fire, air, water etc.) they are in darkness, and you will enter more into darkness if you worship Sambhuti (the created things)." (Yajur Veda, Chap. 40:9).
  • "Those whose intelligence has been stolen by materialistic desires, they worship Demigods." (Bhagavad Gita 7:19-21).

After the above discussion it may be a little difficult for many people, who is willing to use reasons and commonsense to accept a God who is

  • ignorant of present and future events,
  • regrets for his past actions,
  • unable to win a wrestling match with a man,
  • orders innocent women, children, elderly people, and animals to put to sword, and
  • advises people to be dishonest or
  • has multiple heads and limbs.

In Summary:

  • God is One and Only. He is not a part of Trinity. There is no association with Him.
  • He is The Creator of the Universe.
  • He does not Beget, nor is He Begotten. He has no son, nor is He the son of anyone.
  • He does not incarnate.
  • He has no beginning and no end. He is Eternal, Absolute and Everlasting.
  • He is the Most Gracious, Most Merciful, Most Forgiving and Most Loving.
  • He is Most Just. Does not punish innocents to redeem the guilty.
  • He is invisible but Omnipresent.
  • He is the Cherisher and Sustainer.
  • He has no limitation of ability.
  • He does not get tired and does not need rest or sleep.
  • He is the All-knowing. He is not ignorant of the future and does not regret.
  • He is the only Savior.
  • He is the Most Unique Pure Monotheistic God, ALLAH. There is nothing in the heavens and earth that resembles Him. If one imagines of anything, even to compare with God, that is not God. He shares His absolute attributes with no one in the universe. The only unforgivable sin is to associate any one with God's absolute attributes.

 

This is an Interfaith Dialogue publication. Interfaith Dialogue also publishes two books, "The Eternal Guidance" and "The Rational Choice", and 20 brochures. They are concise and to the point. Read all of them. You will be amazed by the information they contain. Knowledge is power and helps to make rational decisions. Enrich yourself and your family with knowledge. Send for the complete set today. For more information, Interfaith publications, or your comments write to A. S. ALAM, M.D., P.O. Box 1688, Alvin, TX 77512-1688, U.S.A.

 

References:

1.The Holy Quran - Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Tahrike Tarsile Quran Inc., 1988.

2. Sahih Al-Bukhari - Translation by Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, Dar Al Arabia, Beirut, Lebanon, 1985

3. Sahih Muslim - Translation by Abdul Hamid Siddiqi, SH Muhammad Ashraf Publishers, Lahore, Pakistan.

4. Life of Muhammad, by M. H. Haykal, North American Trust Publication, 1976

5. Islam, Beliefs and Teachings, Ghulam Sarwar, The Muslim Educational Trust, 1987.

6. Towards Understanding Islam, by A. Mawdudi, ICNA.

7. Islam at a Glance, World Assembly of Muslim Youth, Siddiqi Trust Publication.

8.The Preaching of Islam, A History of the Propagation of the Muslim Faith, Sir Thomas W. Arnold. Westminister A. Constable & Co. London, 1896

9.The Status of Woman in Islam, Dr J. Badawi 1972.

10.Polygamy in Islamic Law, Dr. J. Badawi, 1976

11.The Muslim Women's Dress, Jamal A. Badawi, The M.S.A. of the United states & Canada, May 1980.

12.Bishya Nabi, by Golam Mustafa, Ahmad Publishing House, Dhaka 1982.

13.Dictionary of Islam, T. P. Hughes

14.Islam and Christianity, by U. A. Samad, University of Peshawar, 1988

15.The Bible - Revised standard version, American Bible Society, 1980.

16. Illustrated Dictionary & Concordance of the Bible - G. G. The Jerusalem Publishing House Ltd., 1986.

17. The Bible The Quran And Science - Maurice Bucaille, North American Trust Publication, 1979.

18.Contradictions and Fallacies in The Bible, by K. Alan 1988.

19.Dimensions of Christianity, Dr. A. H. Qadri, Dawah Academy, 1989

20.Ecumenical Translation of The Bible, New Testament - 1972, Pub. Editions du Cerf et Les Bergers et les Mages, Paris.

21.Gospel of Barnabas, Unity Publishing Co. Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 1980.

22.The New Jerusalem Bible: Introduction to Gospel of John.

23.Daily Times, London, 25th June 1984

24.Awake, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Sept. 8, 1957.

25.Dimensions of Christianity, Dr. Abdul Hamid Qadri, Islamic Research Institute Press, Islamabad.

26.Let the Bible Speak, Ali Muhsin, Islamic Dawah Center, Dammam, KSA.

Abbreviations

B*.- Holy Bible

P*- Peace of God be upon him / them.

Q*- Holy Quran.

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Hate Hurts. Love Cures. Conjecture Fails. Truth Prevails.
Islam - Bearing witness to the Truth
Seek Understanding from Knowledge/ Information
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