The Judeo–Christian Concept of God God as creator [Genesis 1-3]

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The Judeo–Christian Concept of God
God as creator [Genesis 1-3]
Genesis chapters 1-3 contain the two traditional accounts of the creation.
Genesis 1

  • Chapter 1 tells us how God created the world ex nihilo (out of nothing) over a period of six days. He earth was “without form and void” as the “Sprit of God” moved over its face. Did God turn chaos into order?

  • After each day, he surveyed what he had created and “saw that it was good”. Thus, all that was created was created with intent.

  • On the sixth day, he created man “in his own image” (Genesis 1:27).

  • He provided them with all that they needed and made them stewards of his creation.

The Spirit of God was identified with the ‘logos’ – the Word of God, the intelligible part of God’s being. This is reflected in the way that God creates simply by command. The logos is often compared with Plato’s Forms.

The account shows that God pre-exists the creation of the world, and shows God’s complete sovereignty over the created order.
Genesis 2-3
The second part of the creation story involves the creation of Adam and Eve and their ‘Fall’.

Tree of knowledge

“You may eat the fruit of any tree in the garden, except the tree that gives knowledge of good and bad. You must not eat the fruit of that tree. If you do, you will die the same day.” (Genesis 2:16-17)


One of God’s animals. He is not demonic, simply clever, wise and arrogant. He starts the Fall by distorting the words of God.

Eve + the serpent

Serpent tempts Eve into touching apple to prove she will not die. Serpent tells her that God forbade them from eating of the tree because he was scared that they would become more powerful than him. Woman is ‘becoming’ human through temptation.

Result of eating apple

  • Man and woman become human as we know.

  • They are vulnerable and aware of nakedness and sexuality and experience guilt and shame.

  • Man blames woman who blames serpent – more human characteristics.

God as judge

  • Serpent – forced to crawl on his belly.

  • Eve – pain in child birth.

  • Adam – will have to ‘work’ for a living.

The goodness of God [Exodus 20]

  • The God of the Bible is seen as the standard of morality. Goodness is defined by God. Thus, he is morally perfect and the source of human ethics. “The law of the Lord is perfect” (2 Samuel 22:31).

  • God is seen also as the law-giver. He gave Moses the 10 commandment (Exodus 20), which he said people must obey as part of the covenant between him and the Israelites.

  • He is seen as a benevolent dictator, who although fond of his children is swift to anger when disobeyed. God is a ‘jealous’ God.

  • God is seen as interactive and involved with his creation on a personal level. He is seen as a dynamic God.

Comparisons with Plato’s Form of the Good

  • The God of the Bible is shown to be personal and interactive, not separate and static as Plato’s Form of the Good is. God is shown to be compassionate to individuals in answering their prayers.

  • The Euthyphro Dilemma

Euthyphro asks: is an act good because God commands it or does God command it because it is good? God in the Bible is shown to be the absolute standard of morality. So, whatever God says is good is good even if that is rape. However, Plato formulated the Form of the Good, which is the absolute standard of goodness. Therefore what God says is good is not good simply because he says it is but is good because the Form of the Good determines that it is. I.e. God says that murder is wrong because it is. Therefore the standard of goodness is not God – it is external to him.

  • The God of the Bible is shown to perform miracles (e.g. Joshua 10). Thus, he is involved with the world of man. The Platonic version of God is in contrast external and unchanging – impersonal.

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