Heythrop College Publications

Burns, Elizabeth (2009) Must Theists Believe in a Personal God? Think, 8 (23), pp. 77-86. [Journal Article]

Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1017/S147717560999010
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    The claim that God is a person or personal is, perhaps, one of the most fundamental claims which religious believers make about God. In Hinduism, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are represented in person-like form. In the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament God walks in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:8), experiences emotions (e.g., Isaiah 61:8), and converses with human beings (e.g., Job 38-41). In the New Testament, God communicates with his people, usually by means of angels or visions (e.g., Matthew 1:20-21), and retains the ability to speak audibly, as he does to Paul on the Damascus road (Acts 9:4-6). And, in the Qur’an, Allah is said to have a face and two hands (e.g., Qur’an 38: 75), to see, and to sit on a throne (e.g. Qur’an 57:4). Many believers today would still claim that, among other things which God can do, he loves those who believe in him (e.g., Ephesians 5:29; I Peter 5:7; Qur’an 1:3) and responds to their prayers (e.g., Matthew 7: 7-8; Mark 11:24; Qur’an 11:61). In this article, I will consider several ways in which God has been understood to be a person or personal and argue that, if God’s person-like characteristics must be understood in a metaphorical sense, we cannot draw a clear line between a personal God and an impersonal Absolute.

    Item Type: Journal Article
    Journal or Publication Title: Think
    Department: Philosophy
    Depositing User: Dr Elizabeth Burns
    Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2010 14:56
    Last Modified: 16 Mar 2013 16:27
    URI: http://publications.heythrop.ac.uk/id/eprint/50

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