The Development of the Idea of God in the Bible


Today’s Questions, an outstanding blog that I follow had a great article on the development in the understanding of God in the Christian Bible. I strongly encourage you to read the entire post here, but set forth below is the introduction.

“The idea of God is found in all ancient civilizations and still alive today in different forms of spirituality.  The Biblical literature reflects the development of the idea of God in the Hebrew tradition which is transformed in the New Testament by Christ and his followers to reach out to all nations since the first century AD. With Abraham a tribal local God is worshiped. Moses finds that God is in more than one territory. Hosea speaks of God in terms of love. In Jesus Christ, God becomes human so as to restore fallen humanity to his eternal love (Trinity in One God). Central to Christian thought is the idea that “God is Love” (1 John 4:8).”

The Appearance of the Idea of God:
How has the idea of God come into human consciousness? Research in anthropology since the 19th century brought to light a number of discoveries in ancient Greek, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Babylonian, Persian, Roman, Indian and Chinese cultures. Among the well known are James Fraser, Franz Boas, Mircea Eliade, and René Girard. In those authors and others we recognize the interaction and development of history, religion, psychology, and culture. Probably the most influential introduction of religion in the 21st century is Joseph Ratzinger’s “Truth and Tolerance” published in 2004. For thousands of years, in every region and country a polytheist, or pantheist plethora of gods were worshiped.  There were gods for every material or spiritual need; a god for rain to bring rain to farmers; a god for fertility to bring offspring to mothers; a goddess of love that inspired reflections and poetry, and the Sun as the source of fire and food as well as many other gods and goddesses. The need of humans for worship has never lacked.

The post then goes on to trace the biblical developments from many gods to one God to the Trinity in one God.

George Farahat blogpost on The Development of the Idea of God in the Bible

About William Ockham

I am a father of two with eclectic interests in theology, philosophy and sports. I chose the pseudonym William Ockham in honor of his contributions to philosophy, specifically Occam's Razor, and its contributions to modern scientific theory. My blog ( explores Ignatian Spirituality and the intersection of faith, science and reason through the life and writings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (pictured above).
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2 Responses to The Development of the Idea of God in the Bible

  1. Lynda says:

    This is excellent. Thanks for posting it.

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