- Human pathology

Home > Resources in pathology > Epistemology > theism


Sunday 13 November 2005

Belief in the existence of a divine reality; usually referring to monotheism (one God), as opposed to pantheism (all is God), polytheism (many gods), and atheism (without God). Theistic religions such as Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all have the monotheistic belief in a God, whereas a polytheistic religion such as Hinduism holds a belief in many gods.

(Theism: Longer definition) Theism states that the existence and continuance of the universe is owed to one supreme Being, who is distinct from Creation.

For this reason, theism proclaims a dualistic relation between God and the world, wherein God is a being who controls events from outside of the human world. The main question theism raises is whether God should be seen only as transcendent, that is, beyond the limits of human experience and the material world.

Could God not also be seen as immanent in them as well, having existence and effect in human consciousness and the material world?

Theists generally claim that attempts to make God immanent in humanity and nature are pantheistic, and therefore, unacceptable to theistic religion. The philosopher and theologian Paul Tillich reconciled these two views by claiming that "God is neither in another nor in the same space as the world. [God] is the creative ground of the spatial structure of the world, but he [sic] is not bound to the structure, positively or negatively. . . .God is immanent in the world as its permanent creative ground and is transcendent to the world through freedom."