…Well, I’m not about to try and define deity, but I’ve just started to read John Blanchard’s ‘Does God Believe in Atheists’, and in his introduction, he explains what he means when he says God.

Blanchard led up to his definition by showing that statistics or ‘opinion polls’ do not give a true representation of facts since they are too general, an example was a poll that was taken in Western European which showed 75% of those polled said they believed in God, yet when the question was asked as to whether they believed in a personal God, the figures dropped to 32%.

This shows that words need definition. Voltaire (The pen-name of the French Philosopher, Francois-Marie Arouet who is the author of Candide (the best of all possible worlds…well worth a read it if you haven’t as yet)) is quoted as saying “If any man reason with me, let us first define our terms”. Blanchard goes on to say:

“To talk about ‘theism’ and ‘atheism’ is to engage in a dialogue of the deaf until we determine what we mean when we use these words and, as the meaning of the second depends directly on that of the first, we must begin with ‘theism’.”

So, to get to the post…John Blanchard goes on to set out a bench-mark of what he means when he says ‘God’,  There are so many people with so many different ideas of ‘god’, that to add definition to who we refer to is helpful so we know where we stand when we talk about God. Since I am in agreement with Blanchard’s definition, I thought I would write it here:

Blanchard says:

Put in a nutshell, I mean ‘a unique, personal, plural, spiritual, eternally self-existent, transcendent, immanent, omniscient, immutable, holy, loving Being, the Creator and Ruler of the entire universe and the Judge of all mankind.

That is a pretty good definition! He then goes on to elaborate:

    • By ‘unique‘ I mean that there is only one God and that all other objects or ideas given that name are figments of misled imagination.
    • By ‘personal‘ I mean that God is not a ‘thing’ or ‘power’, influence or energy, but that He lives, thinks, feels and acts
    • By ‘plural‘ I mean that there are distinguishable persons withing a single Godhead
    • By ‘spiritual‘ I mean that God has no physical attributes or dimensions, that he does not have a body, or any characteristics that can be defined in terms of size of shape
    • By ‘eternally self-existent’ I mean that he has always had the power of being within himself and had neither beginning or end
    • By ‘transcendent‘ I mean that God is over and above all things, outside of time and space, completely distinct from the universe, and not to be confused with it in any way
    • By ‘immanent‘ I mean that, while remaining separate from it in being and essence, he permeates the entire universe
    • By ‘omniscient‘ I mean that he knows everything, including the past, the present and the future
    • By ‘immutable‘ I mean that he is unchangeable in every aspect of his being
    • By ‘holy‘ I mean that he is utterly without blemish or deficiency in his being, essence or actions
    • By ‘loving‘ I mean that he cares for all of creation and that in a very special way he demonstrates his love to humanity and communicates this to individuals
    • By ‘Creator‘ I mean that by his own choice and power he brought into being all reality other than himself
    • By ‘Ruler‘ I mean that he is in sole and sovereign control of everything that exists or happens, and that nothing can prevent him doing as he please
    • By ‘Judge of all mankind‘ I mean that he alone determines the eternal destiny of every member   of the human race

Blanchard goes on to explain that this list is not exhaustive, but is enough to put across who we mean when we say ‘God’.

This is just the beginning of the book! So I’m looking foward to reading what lays in the pages ahead.

John Blanchard – ‘Does God Believe in Atheists’