The concept of God in different religions as well as deism seems to be inconsistent. So what is the best way of defining God?

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    There’s a great book by Tim Mawson, called ‘Belief in God’. It talks about all the classic Divine attributes (like omniscience, necessity, etc.) It’s very readable. Incidentally, it may also help with your question on objective value. – MarkOxford Feb 13 '18 at 21:44
  • Hi, welcome to Philosophy SE. Please visit our Help Center to see what questions we answer and how to ask. We do not answer questions on definitions of terms, you can google "God definition", read Wikipedia's God, or ask on English SE, Christianity SE, etc. – Conifold Feb 13 '18 at 22:28
  • See Concepts of God. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Feb 14 '18 at 9:54
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    Asking for what is "best" is opinion based, and thus not proper for this Q&A forum. – luchonacho Feb 15 '18 at 10:22
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    There is no commonly agreed definition among theists or atheists. I doubt any two believers or any two sceptics will have the same definition. This is what makes most of the arguments for and against so futile. – user20253 Feb 15 '18 at 13:02

A god is a person whose will cannot be disputed by humans

A god satisfies all three of these criteria:

  • A god is a person. Do note that person does not mean "human". All humans are persons but not all persons are humans. The concept of "person" was actually developed during theological debates during the 5th century common era to distinguish between a god and forces of nature.

  • A god has a will, a plan, and acts to enforce this will/plan.

  • The god's will cannot be disputed by humans. The god answers to no human and no human has the authority nor the weight to dispute the will. Humans may try to defy the will, but it will still not be disputed.


I am not an expert but I will try my best. My understanding is that God is a being/existence that would have adequate capabilities to create the known universe as based on God's own will.

  • Welcome to Philosophy SE. Your answer is reasonable, but a little recursive insofar as you mention the will of the God in the definition of the God. Perhaps it would be useful to edit your answer to reflect that the power and ability to wield it according to intent are both factors in the definition? Nuclear weapons (for example) are powerful, but do not release their power in a manner that they consciously control. Examples of how each attribute works together (as well as in isolation) can assist here. – Tim B II Feb 15 '18 at 0:36
  • Not quite. For many people God would transcend Being and Existence and would not create the universe but simply be a necessary condition. Thus for Lao Tsu the world is as it is, 'Tao being what it is'. Such people use the word 'created' to refer to metaphysically unreal phenomena - the idea being that what is truly real is not created. . .. . . – user20253 Feb 16 '18 at 13:48
  • By that definition, humans can become gods, when we create self-aware artificial intelligence and lock it into a "universe" that is a simulation. We are already seeing the first traces of this. – MichaelK Mar 17 '18 at 14:14
  • @TimBII Can you please explain to this young grasshopper about what constitutes to conscious? If the being is "conscious" but we, as a human just do not have yet the knowledge to understand that consciousness, do they become not yet conscious instead of not conscious? Thank you! – scriptbaby Mar 20 '18 at 12:35
  • @PeterJ your idea seems legit but my english/philosophy skill is not capable enough to understand it. can you please simplify and perhaps provide some simpler examples please? Thank you beforehand – scriptbaby Mar 20 '18 at 12:37

I would suggest a reading of defining God by what He is not.


For example

The Tâo that can be trodden is not the enduring and unchanging Tâo. The name that can be named is not the enduring and unchanging name.

The Tâo Te Ching 1.1

Compare with Douglas Adams:

There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.

There is another theory which states that this has already happened.

  • This does not really answer the question. This is more like a comment that states that "You could use this approach when creating a definition". Also the Douglas Adams quote is a non sequiteur in relation to the question. – MichaelK Mar 22 '18 at 12:58
  • @MichaelK - In the line of 'whatever you think God is, God is other', this constitutes a kind of definition. Hence the link to Tâo and Adams' universe. Nevertheless that definition is still too determinate for a proper negative theology, and only stated to give a gist of the idea. – Chris Degnen Mar 22 '18 at 13:29
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    @MichaelK - It is analogous to Heidegger putting Being under erasure. Holding back from jumping in with a definition for something whose definition is only just being attempted. You could say Heidegger "could use this approach when creating a definition" of Being. – Chris Degnen Mar 22 '18 at 14:18
  • @ChrisDegnen - Good point about Heidegger. He warns us against confusing 'Being' with 'beings', a common mistake he calls 'no mere error'. – user20253 Mar 26 '18 at 8:46

God is the idea of All Knowledge & All Power. In whichever form that idea takes.

  • What is knowledge? What is power? – MichaelK Mar 22 '18 at 12:54
  • Knowledge: understand, comprehension, command, mastery, awareness, consciousness, realization, cognition, apprehension, perception, etc. Power: ability to act or produce an effect, any effect, etc. – M. Zeal Mar 28 '18 at 21:43

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