Abstract and Keywords
Searching for a way to avoid the rude anthropomorphism of his contemporaries, the Presocratic philosopher Xenophanes said of God that “always he remains in the same state, in no way changing; nor is it fitting for him to go now here now there”; that “without effort, by the will of his mind he shakes everything”; that “he sees as a whole, he thinks as a whole, and he hears as a whole”. Xenophanes' pronouncements are the first recorded sallies into philosophical theology. Although he may have had the first word, he did not have the last: his descendants include Plato, Philo, Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Spinoza, and a host of others. Xenophanes emphasizes the differences between God and creatures. For many religious believers, however, it is the similarities that are most important. The God of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam is supposed to care for his creatures, know their innermost hopes and fears, respond to their prayers, strengthen them against adversity, share in their joy, console them in their sorrow and grief, judge their deficiencies, and forgive them their sins.
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