God in Christianity

Christian conception of God / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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God in Christianity is believed to be the eternal, supreme being who created and preserves all things.[1][2][3][4] Christians believe in a monotheistic conception of God, which is both transcendent (wholly independent of, and removed from, the material universe) and immanent (involved in the material universe).[1][2][3][4] Christian teachings on the transcendence, immanence, and involvement of God in the world and his love for humanity exclude the belief that God is of the same substance as the created universe (rejection of pantheism) but accept that God the Son assumed hypostatically united human nature, thus becoming man in a unique event known as "the Incarnation".[1][5][6][7]

Early Christian views of God were expressed in the Pauline epistles and the early Christian creeds,[4][8][9] which proclaimed one God and the divinity of Jesus.[lower-alpha 1][2][11][12][13] Although some early sects of Christianity, such as the Jewish-Christian Ebionites, protested against the apotheosis of Jesus,[14] the concept of Jesus being one with God was accepted by the majority of Gentile Christians.[15] This formed one aspect of the split of early Christianity and Judaism, as Gentile Christian views of God began to diverge from the traditional Jewish teachings of the time.[12]

The theology of the attributes and nature of God has been discussed since the earliest days of Christianity, with Irenaeus writing in the 2nd century: "His greatness lacks nothing, but contains all things".[16] In the 8th century, John of Damascus listed eighteen attributes which remain widely accepted.[17] As time passed, Christian theologians developed systematic lists of these attributes, some based on statements in the Bible (e.g., the Lord's Prayer, stating that the Father is in Heaven), others based on theological reasoning.[18][19] The Kingdom of God is a prominent phrase in the Synoptic Gospels, and while there is near unanimous agreement among scholars that it represents a key element of the teachings of Jesus, there is little scholarly agreement on its exact interpretation.[20][21]

Although the New Testament does not have a formal doctrine of the Trinity as such, "it does repeatedly speak of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit... in such a way as to compel a Trinitarian understanding of God".[22] Around the year 200 AD, Tertullian formulated a version of the doctrine of the Trinity which clearly affirmed the divinity of Jesus.[7][8][23] This concept was later expanded upon at the First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD,[22] and a later definitive form was produced by the Ecumenical Council of 381.[24] The Trinitarian doctrine holds that God the Son, God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit are all different hypostases (Persons) of one substance,[7][25][26] and is not traditionally held to be one of tritheism.[7] Trinitarianism was subsequently practiced through Nicene Christianity thereafter, and forms a cornerstone of modern Christian understandings of God, though some Christian denominations hold Nontrinitarian views about God.[3][27][28][29]