He first appears in Egyptian records by -1363 as YHW. He is also known as YHWH, Yahweh, Jehovah, Elah, Allah, the Lord, the Holy Trinity, God Almighty and the Demiurge. I will call him by his common English name, God.
Jews, Christians and Muslims say he is the only god, the one who created the world. Other gods are demons or made up.
God talks to us through prophets, angels, holy books and prayer. He tells us what is right and wrong. At the end of the world on Judgement Day he will judge us, rewarding the good and punishing the wicked. He is all-powerful and all-knowing. He is beyond human thought and word.
Do Jews, Christians and Muslims worship the same god? Historically, yes. Theologically, it depends who you ask.
Christians say that God has three Persons: he is one God yet somehow he is also God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit. This is called the Holy Trinity. They see Jesus Christ as God made flesh.
Gnostics call him the Demiurge, which means Creator. But they mean that in a bad way: they see this world as a prison of matter that our spirits have fallen into. He is hardly God Almighty.
Even though he was the god of a people with an unhappy history, he has conquered the gods of the Roman Empire, the gods of the Greek philosophers, the 360 gods of Mecca, the gods of the Aztecs and countless others.
Three things set him apart from other gods:
- Like a wife, he is jealous. He wants us to worship him alone. Even though he started out as a god of the Jews, a people who never built an empire, he says he is god of all men, of the whole universe! Other gods are happy being the god of rain or war or whatever and sharing men’s worship with other gods. Not this one.
- Like a hard father, he is severely moral. Unlike other gods he does not use his power to do whatever he wishes. He always acts justly and morally and demands the same of us. But with justice comes mercy:
- Like a friend, he listens to us and shows mercy. He is not some nameplate in the sky, he is the “living God”. He hears us and cares about us. But like a good father he will punish us out of love and yet pardon us when that is wisest.
Because he is so wise, he is often pictured as an old man with a long white beard, as Michelangelo did in the Sistine Chapel (pictured above). But of course he is beyond anything we can picture. Muslims and Jews and some Christians say it is wrong to even try to make a picture of him.
– Abagond, 2007, 2015.
- Jesus Christ
- holy books