God Facts
God Facts

77 Divine Facts about God

By Nathan James, Associate Writer
Published March 20, 2018
  • The word "God," in whatever language it is uttered, picks out a concept or being that is arguably more existentially important to individual human beings, and more historically momentous, than any other single word.[4][9][37][38][3][30][40]
  • "God" can mean many different things. The term can be used to describe beings of mere might and power, such as the ancient Greek gods Zeus, Hera, and Apollo, or it can denote a qualitatively different sort of being, an eternal, uncreated Divinity, through which all else exists and has its being, such as the Judeo-Christian God, or Hinduism's Brahman.[2][4][15][38]
  • Not all religions believe in a god or gods. Buddhism, for instance, contains no concept that strictly parallels the Western notion of "God." Nature religions, such as Japanese Shinto, likewise lack such a concept.[1][16]
  • A 2016 Gallup poll revealed that 89% of Americans believe in God. This number is down from the first such poll, conducted in 1944, when 94% answered yes.[26]
  • Even though Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are vastly different, they worship the same historical deity: the God of Abraham.[15][30]
  • Belief in a single, unique deity is called monotheism, while polytheism is the belief in multiple gods.[28]
  • Major monotheistic traditions include Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Sikhism.[16]
  • Major world polytheistic religions include the following: the ancient Egyptian religion, Sumerian religion, the ancient Greek and Roman religions, ancient Norse religion, Hinduism, religious Taoism, and certain Buddhist sects.[16]
  • The Judeo-Christian God is conceived of as being omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), and omnibenevolent (all-good).[38]
  • God Facts Blake
    God is often represented as being primordial Reason, willing ordered creation from Its own Being (William Blake)

  • God is often characterized as being "transcendent" of the physical universe, meaning God is metaphysically different, above, and beyond the mundane world of physical cause and effect.[28]
  • Atheism is the belief that there is no divine being or beings. While this idea has gained popularity over the past few centuries, it is a fairly new idea. Widespread atheism is nowhere to be found prior to the Modern era.[11][34][35][37][38]
  • The God of Abraham is represented as very distinct from the tribal deities and graven images worshiped by Abraham's contemporaries. Abraham's God is not a mere tribal deity, ruling over a specific portion of the Earth, but is represented as the only God, the sole and supreme Deity.[15]
  • If it may be permitted to translate the communings of the Infinite with Himself into human language, we may imagine God addressing himself in these terms: I am from eternity to eternity: apart from me there is nothing, except it be through me.

    - Immanuel Kant

  • The ancient Mesopotamians saw the Divine as the power within certain immanent objects, such as the sun and moon, or the power that caused a seed to grow.[18]
  • In 1652, Mary Adams of Tillingham, England, claimed that she was pregnant with God's child, who was to be the true Messiah. She gave birth to a stillborn monster with toad-like claws after eight days of labor; she then committed suicide by disemboweling herself.[5]
  • For many Christians, participation in the kingdom of God is a spiritual state attainable in this life.[23]
  • The God of the Old Testament is represented at times as jealous of the Jewish people's worship and arguably as cruel and arbitrary at times in his distribution of punishment and vengeance.[15]
  • Many people are undecided as to the existence or non-existence of God. Such a position is known as agnosticism.[28]
  • God Facts Hindu
    The Rishis lived ascetic lives devoted to prayer and mediation
  • Hindu scriptures, such as the Vedas and Upanishads, were written by holy sages called "Rishis." The Rishis agreed that the ultimate reality was Brahman, the infinite Godhead, and that at the core of each person is the "Atman," or true self, which is identical to Brahman. Thus, according to Hindu theology, all of us are intimately connected with, and in some sense, identical to, God.[40]
  • Theology, or the study of God, can be broken down into two domains. "Revealed Theology" is the study of holy texts such as the Bible or Qur'an, and the words of prophets or holy people. "Natural Theology," on the other hand, is an attempt to speak of God through natural reason and philosophy.[10][38]
  • Within the domain of Western natural theology, there are three traditional types of argument for God's existence: ontological arguments, cosmological arguments, and teleological arguments.[39]
  • Henotheism, which was practiced by some ancient Sumerians and Egyptians, is the practice within polytheism of worshiping a singular, personal god from among the pantheon.[17]
  • "Pantheism" is the belief that god and nature are one and the same thing, or that god is present in all aspects of the natural world.[28]
  • In the Old Testament, a group of boys mock the prophet Elisha for being bald. Elisha curses them in the name of the Lord, and two bears come down from the mountains and kill 42 of the boys.[15]
  • The oldest symbol for god in Egyptian hieroglyphics is a staff wrapped with a flag, which may represent a battlefield standard, or symbol of power.[17]
  • The Christian tradition holds that God is neither male nor female, but transcends gender.[9]
  • Polls show that widespread belief in God is more common in poorer countries, and atheism is more prevalent in richer nations.[42]
  • Worldwide, approximately eight in ten people identify themselves as part of a religious group. The largest religion in the world is Christianity, with 32% of the world's population, then Islam at 23%.[14]
  • God Facts Islam
    Islamic art is dominated by calligraphy and geometrical form
  • It is forbidden to represent God in Islamic art, and representations of human beings are also generally discouraged.[12]
  • Norway, China, Japan, Australia, and Iceland are among the countries with the highest percentages of avowed atheists.[36]
  • Roman Catholicism, as well as many off-branching Christian sects, identify God as a trinity, made up of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.[9]
  • The Nicene Creed states that there is one God, "the Father Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth, of all things visible and invisible." This means that God is not simply the creator of the physical world, but also of the invisible laws of nature and the underlying meanings and essences that animate the physical world.[9]
  • Not being religious is not the same thing as being an atheist. Someone may very well believe in a supreme being without being affiliated with any religious organization.[28]
  • Hinduism has a vast pantheon of gods, including Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Siva the destroyer. At the heart of Hinduism, however, lies the concept of Brahman, the single uncreated reality and ultimate godhead.[3][40]
  • Dutch philosopher Benedict de Spinoza famously argued that there was only a single substance in reality, which he called Deus sive Natura: "God or Nature." This was considered heretical, and Spinoza was exiled from his Jewish community.[35]
  • God Facts Augustine
    St. Augustine, pictured here with his mother, St. Monica, is one of the founding philosophers of the Christian church
  • Catholic Church Father St. Augustine describes a journey towards God in his famous spiritual autobiography, The Confessions. Augustine retraces the steps of his life, from early sinful years towards his conversion to Christianity, revealing to the reader how nothing satisfied his longing for peace and happiness until he turned to God and the spiritual life.[37]
  • Devout members of the Sikh religion do not cut their hair, a sign of their acceptance of God's will. They also wear a steel bracelet to remind them of restraint in action and remembrance of God.[19]
  • The Catholic belief in "real presence" holds that the body and blood of Jesus Christ, the second member of the Godhead, is literally and wholly present in the bread and wine of the Eucharist.[9]
  • Tradition holds that Muslim rug weavers would create small, deliberate flaws in their creations, in recognition that God alone is perfect and capable of perfect creation.[22]
  • The vast majority of theistic religious traditions agree that lasting happiness cannot be achieved without God.[4][37][3][15][30]
  • You are great, O Lord, and greatly to be praised: great is your power and to your wisdom there is no limit. And man, who is a part of your creation, wishes to praise you...You arouse him to take joy in praising you, for you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.

    - St. Augustine

  • God has been cited as the motivation for some of humanity's best and worst deeds. Some of the world's most enduring artistic accomplishments, including music, sculpture, painting, and architecture, have been inspired by love for the Divine. Unfortunately, war and mass killings have also been justified through appeal to God's will.[16][38]
  • Certain mystics in various religious traditions often approach God in an almost romantic or erotic fashion. Christian mystics such as St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila, and Islamic mystics like Rumi and Rabi'a, often expressed their spiritual insights in passionate terms.[27]
  • Approximately 6% of the world's population practice "folk religions." These are usually local to a certain region or tribal group and often have no formal creed or set of scriptures. Some such religions include belief in a god or gods, some do not.[14]
  • In his monumental treatise, the Summa Theologiae, St. Thomas Aquinas argued that God's existence can be proved in five ways. The Quinque viæ, or five ways, are classics of scholastic theology.[38]
  • Early Egyptian religious texts name 200 deities. A text written only a few centuries later lists 500 deities, and records of Egyptian myths bring the number to 800 deities.[33]
  • God Facts Egypt
    In this scene from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the soul of the deceased is being guided through the underworld while the god Osiris looks on

  • To convert to Islam, one must affirm before two Muslim witnesses that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.[24][34]
  • Deism is belief that a God or gods exist but do not intervene in human affairs. This belief differs from theism, which holds there to be a deity or deities actively involved in the created world.[28]
  • In Hinduism, it is up to individuals to decide what sort of god they want to worship from among the pantheon.[32]
  • The ultimate mystery of the Christian faith is the doctrine of the Trinity, which holds Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to be one God in three divine persons. This is an ineffable mystery that the Catholic Church defines as infinitely beyond the human capacity to understand.[9]
  • Islam has 99 names for God, divided into the Names of Majesty and Names of Mercy.[24]
  • French philosopher Blaise Pascal proposed a famous and little-understood "wager" for belief in the existence of God. After a series of arguments for God's existence, Pascal urges the hesitant would-be believer to wager on God's reality even if certain knowledge isn't attainable.[29]
  • God Facts Jesus
    Christians hold that God freely sacrificed his only son in order to save humanity from their sins (Diego Velázquez)
  • Christian doctrine holds that God literally became a man in the person of Jesus Christ, an incarnation of the Divine into the created world.[9]
  • The three Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) hold that God created human beings in His own image and likeness. Many theologians interpret this to mean that human beings participate in reason and understanding, which are divine attributes, rather than that humans physically resemble God.[24][38][15]
  • In the festivals of many primitive societies, it was common for a man to don a mask made to represent a deity. When the mask was being worn during the ritual, the festival participants considered it to be the actual presence of that god among them.[7]
  • Early North American tribes had different conceptions of what divinity was, depending on whether they were hunting or agricultural tribes. Hunting tribes conceived the gods as having a more personal relationship with them, while the agricultural tribes viewed god as an impersonal force of nature.[7]
  • As Mahatma Gandhi was dying, the last word he was heard to say was "Rama," a Hindu name for God.[32]
  • In Hinduism, God's chief expectation of human beings is that they do their duty.[32]
  • Although Confucianism does not contain any specific beliefs about God, they do have a concept they call Heaven, which is an all-knowing, all-present, source of life and self-transformation.[41]
  • In Hinduism, Lord Vishnu, the preserver god, has taken on 10 incarnations, or avatars. He has appeared on Earth as a fish, a boar, a turtle, and many humans, including Krishna and the Buddha.[20]
  • Chinese religious Taoism (as opposed to philosophical Taoism) is a polytheistic system that includes the worship of both gods and ancestors.[44]
  • The gods of religious Taoism often come down to interact with, or even live in, the human world. Female gods in particular are believed to often live on Earth and marry mortal men.[44]
  • There is scholarly disagreement as to whether Judaism is primarily a religion or an ethnicity. Renowned Jewish scholar Jacob Neusner holds that the central aspect of Judaism is being of the lineage of people who believe God spoke to Moses on Mt. Sinai.[25]
  • God Facts Moses
    The revelation given by God to Moses is the bedrock of the Jewish faith (Sébastien Bourdon)

  • Allah is not the name of a tribal or ethnic God. In Arabic it refers to the supreme Divine Principle.[24]
  • Names for God in the West include Heavenly Father, the Almighty, the All-Knowing, and the Maker of Heaven and Earth. Aristotle called God the Unmoved Mover or the Prime Mover, and Plotinus referred to God as the One.[2][9][13]
  • Joseph Smith claimed to have had a vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ in a small wooded grove near Manchester, New York, in 1820. He said that God eventually directed him to start a new church that would become the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, better known as the Mormons.[1]
  • In Islamic mysticism, God is referred to as the "Black Light," insofar as God is beyond all understanding or comprehension.[24]
  • Ancient Greek philosopher Xenophanes radically critiqued the ancient gods, pointing out how the deities of different cultures tended to look like the people who worshiped them. Xenophanes concluded that the gods were human inventions, and that the true God was utterly unlike human beings and could not be fully approached or understood.[43]
  • Now if cattle, horses, or lions had hands and were able to draw with their hands and perform works like men, horses like horses and cattle like cattle would draw the forms of gods and make their bodies just like the body each of them had.

    - Xenophanes

  • A Romanian man convicted of murder tried to sue God in court for failing to keep him from temptation and evil.[31]
  • The Jewish Kabbalah states that in order to make room for creation, the infinite God had to contract within Himself. God then poured out His light into vessels, which shattered, since they could not contain Him. The shattered vessels are the created world.[21]
  • The ancient Egyptian god Set killed and chopped up his brother-god Osiris. The goddess Isis pieced him back together, but she could not locate his penis. As such, temples to Osiris often feature phallic art and statues.[33]
  • For many neolithic peoples, the central figure of worship was the Mother Goddess, or Great Goddess.[6]
  • The Great Goddess of neolithic times was worshiped as the personification of space, time, and matter, from whose womb everything was born, including the other gods.[6]
  • Most Christians believe that human beings have fallen through sin from their original blessed position within creation. The doctrine of the fall holds that human nature is thoroughly corrupted and goodness can only be achieved through participation with God's divine grace.[9]
  • Many religions have martyrs, early believers who showed their ultimate devotion to God through giving their lives for their beliefs.[15][30]
  • There are many "theophoric" names which embed the name of God or a god into a name, to both honor the divine and invoke their protection. Examples include Theophile (French), Amadeus (Italian), Bogomil (Russian), and Gottlieb (German).[28]
  • In Kabbalah, a tradition of Jewish mysticism, God is sometimes referred to as Shekhinah, which is God manifested as a female.[21]
  • In Navajo myth, god's sons come to their father to collect their inheritance. Instead, god locks them into a sweat lodge and tries to sweat them to death.[8]
  • It is a grave sin in Judaism and Christianity to take God's name in vain.[15]
  • Revelatory God Facts INFOGRAPHIC
    God Infographic Thumbnail
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