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God: One or more hypothetical entities, normally invisible to humans, supposed to possess supernatural powers

The attributes of a god or God vary from one religion to another.

In polytheistic religion (poly = many, theos = god) several of these beings are posited. They are usually presumed to be immortal, and to control aspects of nature or human destiny. Although invisible, they are imagined to be human-like or animal-like in appearance.

In monotheistic religions (monos = one) God is usually viewed as an all- powerful and omnipresent being who created and still sustains the universe. He is thought to be incorporeal, but possessed of a human-like mind capable of planning actions, and of powers capable of carrying out those actions in the real world.

In Judaism, Christianity and Islam, God also has a human-like personal aspect, as the perfectly good, perfectly just, all-knowing judge of human actions and thoughts. He allegedly cares for and loves each one of us personally, and is merciful and forgiving if we accept him.

In the metaphysics of Principia Cybernetica, there is no need to posit the existence of a personal God, as an all-powerful, intelligent agent which governs the universe but which is external to it. Indeed, the role of God as creator and director of the universe is taken over by self-organizing evolution. On the other hand, if such an agent with the traditional attributes of omnipotence, omniscience and perfect goodness would be posited, this would lead to logical inconsistencies. There are many arguments supporting this conclusion.

However, this still leaves open a few philosophical positions. Which position you prefer is more a matter of taste than a matter of logic, since they seem equivalent in most practical respects. The simplest one is atheism, which assumes that there is no God, and thus no need to think about the concept. A more subtle approach is pantheism, where the word God is redefined and is equated with the universe and nature. In this spirit of pantheism, God might be seen as the highest level of control in the Universe. God is for the Universe what human will is for the human body. Natural laws are one of the manifestations of God's will. Another manifestation is the evolution of the Universe: the Evolution. Finally, there is the "intermediate" position of agnosticism, which simply assumes that we don't know whether God exists, since none of the existing arguments can prove that God either exists or does not exist.

Copyright© 1997 Principia Cybernetica - Referencing this page

Paul Harrison, F. Heylighen, V. Turchin,

Nov 5, 1997 (modified)
Sep 1991 (created)


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Arguments for and against the Existence of God


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