Names of God
A diagram of the names of God in Athanasius Kircher's Oedipus Aegyptiacus (1652–54). The style and form are typical of the mystical tradition, as early theologians began to fuse emerging pre-Enlightenment concepts of classification and organization with religion and alchemy, to shape an artful and perhaps more conceptual view of God.

Names of God, or Holy Names, describe a form of addressing God present in liturgy or prayer of various world religions.[1] Prayer involving the Holy Name or the Name of God has become established as common spiritual practice in both Western and Eastern spiritual practices. A number of traditions have lists of many names of God, many of which enumerate the various qualities of the Supreme Being. According to Islam, the earliest mention of the name of God is found in the Koran sura 2, The Cow: "When your Lord said to the angels: 'I am placing on the earth one that shall rule as My deputy,' they replied: 'Will You put there one that will do evil and shed blood, when we have for so long sung Your praises and sanctified Your Name?" Mohammad encouraged his followers to call upon God by any of His 99 Names. Judaism refers to 72 Divine Names, and the Hindu scripture Mahabharata contains a thousand names of Vishnu.[2]

The English word "God" is used by multiple religions as a noun or name to refer to different deities.[3]

Ancient cognate equivalents for the word "God" include proto-Semitic El (deity), Hebrew Elohim "God or/of gods", Arabic 'ilah "(an or the) god", and Biblical Aramaic 'Elaha "God". The personal or proper name for God in many of these languages may either be distinguished from such attributes, or homonymic. For example, in Judaism the Holy Name is sometimes related to the ancient Hebrew ehyeh, "I AM". In Hinduism the term Brahman or Parabrahman is often used, while in other cases the proper name for a deity is given special significance as a true name of God; or incorporated from earlier beliefs, as in the case of the Native American appellation Gitche Manitou.

Correlation between various theories and interpretation of the Name of God (AEIOU), used to signify a monotheistic or ultimate Supreme Being from which all other divine attributes derive, has been a subject of ecumenical discourse between Eastern and Western scholars for over two centuries.[4] In Christian theology the word must be a personal and a proper name of God; hence it cannot be dismissed as mere metaphor.[5] On the other hand, the Names of God in a different tradition are sometimes referred as symbols.[6] The question whether divine names used by different religions are equivalent has been raised and analyzed. See also Taboos below.[7]

Exchange of names held sacred between different religious traditions is typically limited. Other elements of religious practice may be shared, especially when communities of different faiths are living in close proximity (for example, the use of Om and Gayatri within the Indian Christian community) but usage of the names themselves mostly remain within the domain of a particular religion, or even may help define ones' religious belief according to practice, as in the case of the recitation of names of God (such as the japa).[8] The Divine Names, the classic treatise by Pseudo-Dionysius, defines the scope of traditional understandings in Western traditions such as Hellenic, Christian, Jewish and Islamic theology on the nature and significance of the Names of God.[9] Further historical lists such as The 72 Names of the Lord show parallels in the history and interpretation of the Name of God amongst Kabbalah, Christianity, and Hebrew scholarship in various parts of the Mediterranean world.[10]

One definition of the Name of God (AEIOU) was given by Elisha Mulford as 'that name which passes into the common forms of thought'. The author states that in its derivation it may have an ethical significance.[11] Other writers suggest that the "name of God represents the nature of God".[12] The attitude as to the transmission of the Name in many cultures was surrounded by secrecy. The pronunciation of the Name of God, in Judaism, has always been guarded with great care. It is believed that in ancient times the sages communicated the pronunciation only once every seven years;[13] this system was challenged by more recent movements.

The nature of a holy name can be described as either personal or the attributive. In many cultures it is often difficult to distinguish between the personal and the attributive names of God, the two divisions necessarily shading into each other.[14]

Contents

Indian religions

Hinduism

Within Hinduism, there are a number of names of God which are generally in Sanskrit, each supported by a different tradition within the religion. Brahma, Indra, Bhagavan, Ishvara, and Paramatma are among the most commonly used terms for God in the scriptures of Hinduism.

  • Adi Purush (ādi-puruṣ) means "Timeless Being", "Primordial Lord", "First Person".
  • Bhagwaan (Bhagwan or Bhagavan) means "God".
  • Ishvar (īśvar) means "Cosmic Controller" or "Lord".
  • Maheshvar (mahā-īśhvar) means "Great Lord", used as an attribute of god Shiva within Shaivism traditions.
  • Para Brahman (para-brahma), an ineffable entity, best translated as "The Absolute Truth", Supreme Brahman, or Supreme Cosmic Spirit.
  • Paramatman (parama-ātman) means "Supreme Soul".
  • Parameshvar (parama-īśvara) means "Supreme Lord".
  • Vishnu is seen as Para Brahman within Vaishnava traditions, and the Vishnu Sahasranama enumerates 1000 names of Vishnu, each name eulogizing one of His countless great attributes. The names of Vishnu's Dasavatara in particular are considered divine names.
  • Krishna (Kṛṣṇa) is associated with Vishnu and certain Vaishnava traditions also regard Him as Para Brahman and Svayam Bhagavan (svayambhagavān) or the Lord Himself.[15] In Krishna-centered schools of Vaishnavism, which includes the Nimbarka, Vallabha and Caitanya schools Krishna is held as the Supreme Personality of Godhead[16] based on the descriptions of Him within the Bhagavata Purana and Mahabharata, with particular reference to the Bhagavad-Gita.[17]
  • Rama (Rāma) is associated with Vishnu and is especially venerated in bhakti literature, such as that of Kabir and Ravidas, and more recently in the writings of Mohandas Gandhi.

Sikhism

There are multiple names for God in Sikhism. Some of the popular names for God in Sikhism are:

  • Waheguru, meaning Wonderful Teacher bringing light to remove darkness, this name is considered the greatest among Sikhs, and it is known as "Gurmantar", the Guru's Word.Waheguru is the only way to meet god in sikhism.
  • Ek Onkar, ek meaning "one", emphasizes the singularity of God. It is the beginning of the Sikh Mool Mantra.
  • Satnam meaning True Name, some are of the opinion that this is a name for God in itself, others believe that this is an adjective used to describe the "Gurmantar", Waheguru (See below)
  • Nirankar, meaning formless One
  • Akal Purakh, meaning timeless One

God according to Guru Nanak is beyond full comprehension by humans; has endless number of virtues; takes on innumerable forms; and can be called by an infinite number of names thus "Your Names are so many, and Your Forms are endless. No one can tell how many Glorious Virtues You have."[18]

Abrahamic religions

According to the Bible, the name of God was used during the lifetime of Adam and Eve, but by the time Moses was born, the scriptures imply that none of mankind still knew the Name. In the Book of Exodus, God commands Moses to tell the people that 'I AM' sent him, and this is revered as one of the most important names of God according to Mosaic tradition.

Then Moses said to God, "If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' what shall I say to them?" God said to Moses, "I AM who I AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'AEI has sent me to you.'" God also said to Moses, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'AEI, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you': this is my name for ever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.

—Exodus 3:13-15

According to Islam, the earliest mention of the name of God is found in the Koran sura 2, The Cow: "When your Lord said to the angels: 'I am placing on the earth one that shall rule as My deputy,' they replied: 'Will You put there one that will do evil and shed blood, when we have for so long sung Your praises and sanctified Your Name?"

In Exodus 6:3, when Moses first spoke with God, God said, 'I used to appear to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as El Shaddai, but I did not make myself known to them by My Name A E I.' When Moses heard the name of God he realized that since he had a speech impediment as a result of what he called "uncircumcised lips" (Ex 6:12), he was unable to pronounce it accurately. He was able to say 'Allah'[page needed] and that was the name conveyed to Pharaoh and the Egyptians and the name Allah was referenced from that point in time.

The Torah further describes the role of Aaron who acted as Moses' mouthpiece and conveyed the Name of God distinctly to the Israelites (transcribed as 'YHWH' in Biblical Hebrew), and conveyed the Name of God distinctly as 'AEIOU' to the Israelites. The pronunciation of AEIOU is described in Psalms 8.2 by the prophet who wrote, 'Thou hast made babes, infants at the breast sound aloud Thy praise.' Several thousands of years later commentaries additionally suggested that the true pronunciation of this name is composed entirely of vowels, such as the Greek Ιαουε,[19] as they allow the creation of language, thus conveying the absolute infinite potential of God's character.[citation needed] However, this is put into question by the fact that vowels were only distinguished in the time-period by their very absence due to the lack of explicit vowels in the Hebrew script. The resulting substitute made from semivowels and glottals, known as the tetragrammaton, is considered the proper name of God in Judaism, and is not ordinarily permitted to pronounce it aloud, even in prayer. The prohibition on misuse (not use) of this name (AEIOU) is the primary subject of the First Commandment. See also Taboos below.

Judaism

In the Hebrew scriptures the Jewish name of God is considered sacred and, out of deep respect for the name, Jews do not say the name of God and do not erase it if it is written. (See Exodus 20:7) The tetragrammaton (Hebrew: יהוה, English: YHVH) is the name for the group of four Hebrew letters which represent the name of God. The Tetragrammaton occurs 6,828 times in the Hebrew text in the Biblia Hebraica and the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. Neither vowels nor vowel points were used in ancient Hebrew writings.

Some claim the pronunciation of YHWH has been lost, while other authorities say it has not and that it is pronounced Yahweh. References, such as The New Encyclopædia Britannica, validate the above by offering additional specifics:

Early Christian writers, such as Clement of Alexandria in the 2nd century, had used a form like Yahweh, and claim that this pronunciation of the tetragrammaton was never really lost. Other Greek transcriptions also indicated that YHWH should be pronounced Yahweh.[19]

Clement of Alexandria transliterated the tetragrammaton as Ιαου. The above claims were founded upon the understanding that Clement of Alexandria had transliterated YHWH as Ιαουε in Greek, which is pronounced "Yahweh" in English. However, the final -e in the latter form has been shown as having been a later addition. For a more in-depth discussion of this, see the article Yahweh.

The original statement commonly translated "I AM" is Ehyeh (Hebrew: אהיה), from Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh, "I Am that I Am (or will be, ongoing)" and is commonly given as a sacred name for God. Rabbinical interpreters and some scholars have asserted that Yahweh is an archaic third person form of hayah "to be", which is rendered Ehyeh when spoken by God in the first person; critics of this theory note that the proper triconsonantal root would seem to be h-w-h.

Instead of pronouncing YHWH during prayer, Jews say Adonai ("Lord"). Halakha requires that secondary rules be placed around the primary law, to reduce the chance that the main law will be broken. As such, it is common Jewish practice to restrict the use of the word Adonai to prayer only. In conversation, many Jewish people, even when not speaking Hebrew, will call God "Hashem", השם, which is Hebrew for "the Name" (this appears in Leviticus 24:11).

A common title of God in the Hebrew Bible is Elohim (Hebrew: אלהים); as opposed to other titles of God in Judaism, this name also describes gods of other religions, angels, or even humans of great importance (John 10:34-36). The root Eloah אלה is a feminine noun, meaning goddess, also used in poetry and late prose (e.g. the Book of Job) and ending with the masculine plural suffix "-im" ים creating a word that indicates a plurality of both masculine and feminine essences yet in a singular identity "G-d".

The Hebrew name of God - El: The word El comes from a root word meaning - might, strength, power. Sometimes referring to God and sometimes the mighty when used to refer to the true God of Israel, El is almost always qualified by additional words that further define the meaning that distinguish Him from false gods.

Most observant Jews forbid discarding holy objects, including any document with a name of God written on it. Once written, the name must be preserved indefinitely. This leads to several noteworthy practices:

  • Commonplace materials are written with an intentionally abbreviated form of the name. For instance, a Jewish letter-writer may substitute "G-d" for the name God. (Note that not all Jews agree that non-Hebrew words like God are covered under the prohibition.)
  • Since the Divine presence (or possibly an appearance of God) can supposedly be called simply by pronouncing His true name correctly, substitute names are used.
  • Copies of the Torah are, like most scriptures, heavily used during worship services, and will eventually become worn out. Since they may not be disposed of in any way, including by burning, they are removed, traditionally to the synagogue attic. See genizah. There they remain until they are buried.
  • All religious texts that include the name of God are buried. See also Taboos below.

Christianity

The authors of the New Testament took for granted the existence of the God of the Old Testament. They believed in Yahweh, "the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob," whom the Jews worshipped as the one true God.[Acts 13:32] [Ro 3:29,4:3]

The New Testament teaches that there is only one God [Mk 12:29] [Eph 4:6] [Jas 2:19] who is pure spirit;[Jn 4:24] [1Jn 4:12] the creator of the world,[1Tim 4:4] [Heb 3:4] holy and good,[Ro 3:4] [Eph 4:24] [Rev 4:8] all-powerful,[Mt 19:26] [Mk 2:7] [10:18] and worthy of humanity's worship and love.[Mt 6:24] [Mk 11:22] [Lk 2:14] English translations of the New Testament render ho theos (Greek: Ο Θεός) as God and ho kurios (Greek: Ο Κύριος) as "the Lord".[citation needed]

Following the Christian New Testament, God is referred to in slightly abbreviated form as the 'Alpha and Omega', the beginning and the end, literally and figuratively.

Another title of God is ho on (Greek: Ο Ων), often depicted in Orthodox iconography, literally meaning he who is or he who exists but usually translated as the living God or "I Am that I Am".

Regarding the Old Testament, the Israelite theonyms Elohim and Yahweh are mostly rendered as "God" and "the Lord" respectively, although in the Protestant tradition, the personal names Yahweh and Jehovah, based on the tetragrammaton, are also used. Jehovah appears in Tyndale's Bible, the King James Version, and other translations from that time period and later. Many translations of the Bible translate the tetragrammaton as Lord, following the Jewish practice of substituting the spoken Hebrew word 'Adonai' (translated as 'Lord') for YHWH when read aloud.[20] Many[who?] avoid using either Yahweh or Jehovah altogether on the basis that the actual pronunciation of the 'tetragrammaton has been lost in antiquity. They use God or The Lord instead.[citation needed]

Jesus (Iesus, Yeshua, Joshua (Yahshua), or Yehoshûa) (Arabic: يسوع) is a Hebraic personal name meaning "Yahweh saves/helps/is salvation".[21] Christ means "the anointed" in Greek (Greek text: Χριστός). Khristos is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word Messiah (Arabic: المسيح); while in English the old Anglo-Saxon Messiah-rendering hæland 'healer' was practically annihilated by the Latin Christ, some cognates such as heiland in Dutch and Afrikaans survive.

In Messianic Judaism, generally regarded as a form of Christianity,[citation needed] YHWH (pre-incarnate) and Yeshua (incarnate) are one and the same, the second Person, with the Father and Ruach haQodesh (the Holy Spirit) being the first and third Persons, respectively, of ha'Elohiym (the Godhead). YHWH is expressed as "haShem," which means 'the Name.'

Some Quakers often refer to God as The Light. Another term used is 'King of Kings' or 'Lord of Lords' and Lord of the Hosts. Other names used by Christians include Ancient of Days, Father/Abba, 'Most High' and the Hebrew names Elohim, El-Shaddai, and Adonai. The name, "Abba/Father" is the most common term used for the creator within Christianity,[citation needed] because it was the name Jesus Christ (Yeshua Messiah) himself used to refer to God.

Jehovah's Witnesses consistently use the name Jehovah for God the Father as this is the personal name that God has revealed to humans through his written word the Holy Bible. Psalm 83:18 (Exodus 6:3, Isaiah 12:2 & 26:4) King James Version.[22]

In Mormonism Father God's name is Elohim [23] and Jesus name in his preincarnate state was Jehovah.[24][25]

In the movement Imiaslavie ("Name glorification") opposed by the Russian Orthodox Church, the name of God is God Himself and can be used to evoke miracles.[citation needed]

Shangdi 上帝 (pinyin shàng dì, literally 'King Above') is also used to refer to the Christian God in the Standard Chinese Union Version of the Bible. Korean Catholics and Korean Anglicans use a cognate of this name (sangje, which has largely fallen out of regular use in favor of the term cheon-ju/Tian Zhu listed below; this usage was applicable only not using the vernacular haneunim, which was the traditional Korean name for the mythological God of Heaven, a primary, but not the only, Korean mythological deity; liberal-minded Korean Protestants also use haneunim, but not sangje, and conservative Korean Protestants do not use sangje or haneunim at all but instead use hananim, which implied the oneness of the Almighty distinct from the mythological implications they see in the term haneunim).[26] Many Vietnamese Christians also use cognates of this name (expected to have a distribution in usage similar to Korean Christians, with Anglicans and Catholics using sangje in ritual/ceremonial contexts and Protestants not using it at all), to refer to the Biblical God.[citation needed]

Shen 神 (lit. God, spirit, or deity) was adopted by Protestant missionaries in China to refer to the Christian God. In this context it is usually rendered with a space, " 神", to demonstrate reverence.

Zhu, Tian Zhu 主,天主 (lit. Lord or Lord in Heaven) is translated from the English word, "Lord", which is a formal title of the Christian God in Mainland China's Christian churches.[citation needed] Korean Catholics also use the Korean cognate of this term, cheon-ju, as the primary reference to God in both ritual/ceremonial and vernacular (but mostly ritual/ceremonial) contexts.

Islam

Allah is the most frequently used name of God in Islam. It is an Arabic word meaning "The God".[27] The word Allah is a cognate of the Hebrew word Eloah.

A well established Islamic tradition enumerates 99 names of God, each representing certain attributes or descriptions of God, in which God is seen as being the source and maximum extent of each name's meaning. The names Ar-Rahman and Ar-Rahim are the most frequently mentioned in the Qur'an, both meaning the "Most Merciful", but with different emphasis of meaning, either of which are also often translated as the "Most Compassionate" or the "Most Beneficent".[citation needed]

Besides these Arabic names, Muslims of non-Arab origins may also sometimes use other names in their own languages to God, such as the Ottoman anachronism Tanrı (originally the pre-Islamic Tengrianist Turks' celestial chief god, corresponding to the Ancient Turkic god Tengri), or Khoda in Persian language. The use of the word "God" in English is also seen as acceptable to Muslims.[citation needed]

The term is used throughout the Qur'an in passages detailing the existence of God and of the beliefs of non-Muslims in other divinities. Notably, the first statement of the shahadah is "there is no ʾilāh but al-Lāh", "there is no god but Allah" (The Almighty God), which cancels out the possibility of other "gods" as it uses "the" referring to "One".[citation needed]

African religions

A Prof. John Mbiti has compiled a list of indigenous names which have been used for God by various peoples of Africa, for example:

  • ABALUYIA (Kenya): Wele, Nyasaye, Nabongo, Khakaba, Isaywa
  • ACHOLI (Uganda): Juok or Jok, Lubanga
  • ADJURU (Côte d'Ivoire): Nyam
  • AFUSARE (Nigeria): Daxunum
  • AKAMBA (Kenya): Mulungu, Ngai, Mumbi, Mwatuangi, Asa
  • AKAN (Ghana): Nyame, Nana Nyankopon, Onyame, Amowia, Amosu, Amaomee, Totorobonsu, Brekyirihunuade, Abommubuwafre, Nyaamanekose, Tetekwaframua, Nana, Borebore
  • ALUR (Uganda, Congo DR): Jok, Jok Rubanga, Jok Nyakaswiya, Jok Odudu, Jok Adranga, Jok Atar
  • AMBA (Uganda): Nyakara
  • AMBO (Zambia): Lesa, Cuta
  • ANKORE (Uganda): Ruhanga, Nyamuhanga, Omuhangi, Rugaba, Kazooba, Mukameiguru, Kazooba Nyamuhanga
  • ANUAK (Sudan): Juok
  • ARUSHA (Tanzania): Engai
  • BASA (Nigeria): Agwatana
  • BASOGA (Uganda): Kibumba, Kiduma, Kyaka, Nambubi, Lubanga
  • BASUTO (Lesotho): Molimo
  • BAVENDA (South Africa): Raluvhimba, Mwari
  • BAYA (Central African Republic): So, Zambi
  • BEIR (Sudan): Tummu
  • DUNGI (Nigeria): Kasiri, Kashira
  • DURUMA (Kenya): Mulungu
  • EBRIE (Ivory Coast): Nyangka
  • EDO (Nigeria): Osanobua, Osa
  • EGEDE (Nigeria): Ohe
  • EKOI (Cameroon, Nigeria): Osawa, Nsi
  • ELGEYO (Kenya): Asis
  • EMBU (Kenya): Ngai

Others include:

  • Chi-Ukwu/Chukwu (Nigeria): Ibo
  • Obatala, Olodumare (Nigeria): Yoruba

Other religions

Bahá'í Faith

The Bahá'í scriptures often refer to God by various titles and attributes, such as Almighty, All-Powerful, All-Wise, Incomparable, Gracious, Helper, All-Glorious, and Omniscient.[28] Baha'is believe the greatest of all the names of God is "All-Glorious" or Bahá in Arabic. Bahá is the root word of the following names and phrases: the greeting Alláh-u-Abhá (God is the All-Glorious), the invocation Yá Bahá'u'l-Abhá (O Thou Glory of the Most Glorious), Bahá'u'lláh (The Glory of God), and Bahá'i (Follower of the All-Glorious). These are expressed in Arabic regardless of the language in use (see Bahá'í symbols).[29] Bahá'ís believe Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, is the "complete incarnation of the names and attributes of God".[30]

Brahma Kumaris

According to Brahma Kumaris religion, the accurate name of only one God is "Shiva" or Shiva Baba. Shiva means benefactor and Baba means father, normally just called "Baba" for short. Shiva does not have the same meaning Shankar in Hinduism.[31][32][33]

Native American religions

In Algonquian lore, the term Gitche Manitou is used to refer to a Great Spirit or supreme being. The term was similarly adopted by Anishnaabe Christian groups such as the Ojibwe to refer to the monotheistic God of Abrahamic tradition by extension, often by missionary syncretism. However, the term has analogues dating back before European contact. While Manitou "spirit or spirits" has shamanistic connotations of a collection of nature spirits in general, similar to that of Eastern religions such as Shinto, however Gitche Manitou is more specifically associated with the personalized universal spirit or creator. In Sioux lore this spirit is known as Wakan Tanka.

New religions

In the Japanese new religion Happy Science, God is known as El Cantare.

In the older Japanese new religion Tenrikyo, God is referred to as Tenri-O-no-Mikoto, Tsukihi, or Oya.

New religions

In the Hindues new religion Happy Science, God is known as "Matter & Energy". All objects are made by matter, hence God(Brahma) is present everywhere; and all work are done by energy, hence Goddess(Saraswati) helps any time. Since e=m*c*c, hence god is only one.

Zoroastrianism

Ahura Mazda "Lord of Light" or "Lord Wisdom" (wisdom and light being synonymous in either case) is the name of the supreme benevolent god in Zoroastrianism. Zoroastrians today may refer to Ahura-Mazda as 'Ormazd,' simply being a contraction of the original term.

Taboos

Several religions have taboos related to names of their God. In some cases, the name may never be spoken, only spoken by inner-circle initiates, or only spoken at prescribed moments during certain rituals. In other cases, the name may be never freely spoken, but when written, more limited taboos apply. To avoid saying names of God, they are often modified, such as by clipping and substitution of phonetically similar words.

The earliest mention of the name of God is found in the Koran sura 2, The Cow;`When your Lord said to the angels: 'I am placing on the earth one that shall rule as My depuy,' they replied: 'Will You put there one that will do evil and shed blood, when we have for so long sung Your praises and sanctified Your Name?' It is only fairly recently that it's been determined that life on earth probably exceeds 3.4 billion years and certainly there is a likelihood that the creation of the angels predates that. The phrase 'so long' is both extremely literal as well as an amazing understatement. During the lifetime of Adam and Eve, the record from the Bible indicates that the name of God was used, but by the time Moses was born the scriptures show that none of mankind still knew the Name. Perhaps an argument could be made that this knowledge was lost at the time of Noah, when only he and his relatives survived the flood. When Moses first spoke with God and asked His Name, God said, 'I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as El Shaddai, but I did not let myself be known by My Name.' When Moses heard the name of God he realized that since he had a speech impediment as a result of a harelip, he was unable to pronounce it accurately. He was able to say 'Allah' and that was the name conveyed to Pharaoh and the Egyptians and the name Allah was referenced from that point in time till today.

  • Further details in the Torah describe the role of Aaron who acted as Moses' mouthpiece and conveyed the Name of God distinctly as 'AEIOU' to the Israelites. The pronunciation of AEIOU is described in Psalms 8.2 by the prophet who wrote, 'Thou hast made babes, infants at the breast sound aloud Thy praise.' In what is commonly referred to as the 'New Testament' God is referred to by a slightly abbreviated form as the 'Alpha and Omega', the beginning and the end, literally and figuratively.

This name constitutes the First Commandment and embodied in the rest of the Ten Commandments is the rest of the alphabet as revealed by God to Moses and Aaron, ultimately replacing for the first time the hieroglyphics of the Egyptians. At the completion of Soloman's Temple the name of God was made unlawful; its public use was punishable by death by the Jews living at the time. 'Allah' was the only name which remained commonly preserved and has continued to be used throughout the middle east. A simple google/ YouTube search, 'infant cry' provides the best pronunciation as mentioned by Psalms 8.2. In the New Testament the reference is Matthew 21.16. [34]

It is common to regard the written name of one's God as deserving of respect;[citation needed] it ought not, for instance, be stepped upon or dirtied, or made common slang in such a way as to show disrespect. It may be permissible to burn the written name when there is no longer a use for it.[citation needed]

  • In Christianity, God's name may not "be used in vain" (see the Ten Commandments), which is commonly interpreted to mean that it is wrong to curse while making reference to God (ex. "Oh my God!" as an expression of frustration or anger). Another natural interpretation of this passage[citation needed] is in relation to oath taking, where the command is to hold true to those commands made 'in God's name'. (The idea that Christians should hold to their word is reinforced by certain statements by Jesus in the Gospels.)[Mt ] God's name being used in vain can also be interpreted as trying to invoke the power of God, as a means to impress, intimidate, punish, condemn, or control others.[citation needed] This can also be used to refer to the idea of saying that one acts "in God's behalf" when doing things that are clearly personal actions.[citation needed]
  • Different Christian cultures have different views on the appropriateness of naming people after God. English-speaking Christians generally would not name a son "Jesus", but "Jesús" is a common Spanish first name. This taboo does not apply to more indirect names and titles like Emmanuel or Salvador.[citation needed] The word "Christian" is sometimes used as a first name, and is currently the name of about 1 out of every 1500 males in the United States.[35]
  • Perhaps because of taboos on the use of the name of God and religious figures like Mary, mother of Jesus, these names are used in profanity (a clear case is Quebec French profanity, based mostly on Catholic concepts). More pious swearers try to substitute the blasphemy against holy names with minced oaths like Jeez! instead of Jesus!, or Judas Priest! instead of Jesus Christ!

Literature and fiction

  • Names of God in Old English poetry
  • Aigonz is the word for God in the lingua ignota of Hildegard of Bingen.
  • Eru Ilúvatar (also Ëu), a name of monotheistic God in Quenya, a fictional language invented by J. R. R. Tolkien, a professor of linguistics. Notably, the creation of the universe is named Eä, (all that) Is, from the proclamation "Therefore I say: Eä! Let these things Be!", a probable reference to Ehyeh by the devoutly-religious Tolkien.
  • "The Nine Billion Names of God", a short story by Arthur C. Clarke.
  • Maleldil is the name of God (or, more accurately, of the allegorical character associated with Jesus) in Old Solar, the true language in the Space Trilogy books by C. S. Lewis. In The Chronicles of Narnia series, Aslan is similarly associated with Jesus as a lion in a fictional other world.
  • In the movie Pi, the characters are looking for the true name of god, which is 216 letters long.
  • In the movie Warlock the main character seeks out the pages of the Grand Grimoire which can be commanded to reveal the true lost name of God. If it can be spoken backwards, the universe will end. Viewers are shown the letters forming, but not the actual word, and the Warlock does not get beyond pronouncing the first (last) syllable before he is killed.
  • In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indiana nearly gets killed trying to spell the name of God (Jehovah) in an ancient word puzzle. He had stepped on "J" and nearly fell to his death, then remembered that in Latin Jehovah begins with an "I".[36]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Baesler, E.J. "Spiritual Leadership in the Entrepreneurial Business: A Multifaith Study." Journal of Ecumenical Studies. 2001. pp.196–217
  2. ^ Andrew Wilson, World scripture: a comparative anthology of sacred texts—p. 596 International Religious Foundation, Paragon House, 1991 ISBN 0892261293
  3. ^ Velde, Rudi van de (2006). Aquinas on God: the 'divine science' of the Summa theologiae. Aldershot, Hants, England: Ashgate. pp. 45–46. ISBN 0-7546-0755-0. 
  4. ^ Jordan, Mark D. (1983) The Names of God and the Being of Names. In The Existence and Nature of God, edited by Alfred J. Freddoso, pp. 161-190. University of Notre Dame Press. ISBN 0268009112
  5. ^ Sacraments of the Incarnate Word: The Christological Form of the Summa theologiae C Wells
  6. ^ Aiyadurai Jesudasen Appasamy, G. S. S. Sreenivasa Rao, Inter-faith dialogue and world community. Christian Literature Society for India (1991) "All these names of God are, of course, symbols. ... All names of God or the Absolute are symbols." p. 9
  7. ^ Peter C. Phan Being religious interreligiously: Asian perspectives on interfaith dialogue. 2004 p.102
  8. ^ Jerald D. Gort On sharing religious experience: possibilities of interfaith mutuality p.146 Encounter of Religions Research Group Rodopi, 1992 ISBN 0802805051
  9. ^ Paul Rorem, Pseudo-Dionysius: a commentary on the texts and an introduction to their influence. Oxford University Press, 1993, p.163 ISBN 0195076648
  10. ^ Valentina Izmirlieva, All the names of the Lord: lists, mysticism, and magic, University of Chicago Press, 2008 ISBN 0226388700
  11. ^ Elisha Mulford The republic of God: An institute of theology. p.5 1882. "The name of God is that name which passes into the common forms of thought. In its derivation it may have an ethical significance."
  12. ^ James Montgomery Boice Foundations of the Christian faith: a comprehensive & readable theology. p.231 1986
  13. ^ James Orr The International Standard Bible encyclopaedia Edition: 2 - Item notes: v. 1 - 1959 1915 p. 1267
  14. ^ John S. Mbiti. Concepts of God in Africa. p.217, 1970
  15. ^ Gupta, Ravi M. (2007). Caitanya Vaisnava Vedanta of Jiva Gosvamii. Routledge.  p.36
  16. ^ Krishna explained in the Srimad Bhagavatam
  17. ^ B-Gita Chapter 10, texts 12-13
  18. ^ Guru Granth Sahib p. 358
  19. ^ a b The New Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol. 12, 1998, Chicago, IL, article "Yahweh," p. 804.
  20. ^ Many agree that the ' NASB (1995). ""Preface to the New American Standard Bible"". New American Standard Bible (Updated Edition). Anaheim, California: Foundation Publications (for the Lockman Foundation). Archived from the original on 2006-12-07. http://web.archive.org/web/20061207004013/http://www.bible-researcher.com/nasb-preface.html. "There is yet another name which is particularly assigned to God as His special or proper name, that is, the four letters YHWH (Exodus 3:14 and Isaiah 42:8). This name has not been pronounced by the Jews because of reverence for the great sacredness of the divine name. Therefore, it has been consistently translated Lord. The only exception to this translation of YHWH is when it occurs in immediate proximity to the word Lord, that is, Adonai. In that case it is regularly translated God in order to avoid confusion. See also Taboos below." 
  21. ^ Bible Dictionary by William Smith LLD 1948 p.307; An Expository Dictionary of NT Words by W.E. Vine 1965 edition p.275, Websters English Dictionary; etc.
  22. ^ ' Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania (1984). ""The Divine Name That Will Endure Forever"". The Divine Name That Will Endure Forever. Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. Archived from the original on 2008-04-11. http://web.archive.org/web/20080411010047/http://watchtower.org/e/na/. "Jehovah's name is "majestic, great, fear-inspiring and unreachably high." All of God's purposes are linked to his name." '
  23. ^ First Presidency and Council of the Twelve, 1916, "God the Father," compiled by Gordon Allred, p. 150
  24. ^ Moroni 10:34
  25. ^ Old Testament Institute Manual:Genesis to 2 Samuel—"Who is the God of the Old Testament?"
  26. ^ http://koreaweb.ws/pipermail/koreanstudies_koreaweb.ws/2008-July/006960.html
  27. ^ "Allah." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica
  28. ^ Adamson, Hugh C. (2007). Historical dictionary of the Bahá'í Faith. Metuchen, N.J: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-5096-6. 
  29. ^ Smith, Peter (2000). "greatest name". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 167–168. ISBN 1-85168-184-1. 
  30. ^ Effendi, Shoghi (1991). The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. p. 112. ISBN 0877432317. http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/se/WOB/wob-37.html#pg112. 
  31. ^ "Brahma Kumaris: A New Religion?". Reender Kranenborg, Free University of Amsterdam. http://www.cesnur.org/testi/bryn/br_kranenborg.htm. Retrieved 2007-07-27.
  32. ^ Redemptive Encounters: Three Modern Styles in the Hindu Tradition By Lawrence A. Babb. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=B8bMjUt6AqIC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false
  33. ^ "Based on our real life experiences we clearly know that it was God, the Supreme Soul, Shiva, Himself, had entered into his body. It was God who had revealed the truth about the coming destruction, and of the establishment of the heavenly world which would then follow. And it was God Himself who had given the sign that he, Dada, was to be His medium and the engine for creating such a divine world."
  34. ^ Allan, Keith (2001). Natural language semantics. Oxford: Blackwell. pp. 156–157. ISBN 0-631-19297-2. 
  35. ^ http://names.mongabay.com/male_names.htm
  36. ^ Goofs for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

References

External links


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