How do you define God?

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I begin with the understanding of the limitations that we are under in order to truly exhaust an answer to this question in this type of forum. However, this being said, we do have enough from which to built on in creating a fundamental understanding to this question and how our theology is built.

All theological perspectives are developed from within the foundation, yet individual answer to this question. In all expressed terms, in order to present the arguments of theology (the study of God: theo+logy) assumptions must first be created in the mind of the theologian as to the very nature and position of (God) matter. The categories of this assumptions being labeled by presuppositions established in the philosophical or Biblical views.

It is possible for an agreement to exist between a philosophical and a Bible viewpoint relating to the existence and nature of God. However, the philosophical will always be lacking in trying to understand through logic the transcendence and immanence of God.

An early 1900′s Dictionary (White’s Modern Dictionary of the English Language) gave a simple yet conscientious definition of the word God. White’s definitions is, The Supreme Being.

A 2008 copyright edition of Webster’s New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition, defines God is the following manner:

1. any of various beings conceived of as supernatural, immortal, and having special powers over the lives and affairs of people and the course of nature;

2. an image that is worshiped;

3. a person or thing deified or excessively honored and admired;

4. in monotheistic religions, the creator and ruler of the universe, regarded as eternal, infinite, all-powerful, and all-knowing;

Take into consideration the definitions given by these two dictionaries in a space of 100 years, and you can see why theological views may differ when a definition for God can evolve to a modern definition pointing to 4 possible applications. The Supreme Being of the early 1900s has become a possible alternative meaning in the early 2000. Why is this important? If the object of the study can evolve in definition, then the research methods and viewpoints will only follow.

An effort has been made in these times to provide alternative meanings, where man is free to choose a definition that will align with his own personal beliefs. Instead of beginning with God in our theology, we begin with our own methodology and presuppositions; fit them into a preconceived and self-adequate definition of God, and finally build theological views and positions that are, what may be called, user-friendly. We end up with distorted views of God that are then passed along from generation to generation, each readjusting the building blocks used to fit the current mood of society.

Is the theology of today a representation of the theology presented by the early church? Or better asked, Is our view of God today the same as that found in the Bible? You may believe that God is unchanging, as indicated in Scripture, however, the very study of God (theology) continues to evolve and adjust to the sentiment of the people and times they live in. The reality is that as our theology changes, so does our perspective of the God we know.

It is then of great concern for anyone who is involved in theological studies to measure there results with the one thing that does not change, the Word of God. If we solely depend upon the opinions of men, then truly we take a risk of distorting our view of who God is to us, and transfer that distorted view to those who are willing to hear us. It is how we have come, as indicated above, to a point in our modern times of having multiple definitions available on God, and how we define Him.

One thought on “How do you define God?

    Hany Nabil Sadik said:
    December 28, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Dear Dr. Galloza
    I agree with you in the point that we have to depend on the scriptures; but what about the natural theology? and what about some people who claim that God is greater than what the scripture can reveal, what do you think?

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