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ISLAMIC SPAIN

ANDALUSI SOCIETY

THREE FAITHS, ONE LAND

ARTS & SCIENCE

TIMELINES

FILM & OUTREACH

FOR TEACHERS

The Monotheistic Concept of God and the Afterlife

Concept of God

The monotheistic tradition of God includes the idea of a covenant, or promise, of God. The covenant is a trust placed upon human beings to believe in God, to worship only Him, and not to worship any other gods.

All three Abrahamic faiths share many ideas about the nature of God. He is the Creator of the Universe. What's more, the scriptures describe Godís characteristics, or attributes. They include His justice, mercy, and power over all of Creation.

Another shared concept of God is that He is omnipresent, or present everywhere at all times, and not distant or removed from the world. And each human being can approach God and become nearer to Him, through prayer and other acts of worship.

Theology is the study of the nature of God. It developed as an important intellectual tradition in the Abrahamic faiths. Theologians have written thousands of books discussing the characteristics of God, trying to grapple with ideas that seem to contradict each other and affect the human condition.

For example, the idea that God created human beings with a free will seems to contradict the idea that God decides the fate, or outcome, of each personís life.

Meanwhile, the idea of evil in the world and disasters that happen to innocent people seems to contradict the idea of a merciful, benevolent God. These questions concern people in traditions other than the Abrahamic faiths, but there is much shared philosophy among them.

The Afterlife

The scriptures of the Abrahamic faiths describe the promise of God to judge all human beings on Judgment Day. After humans have died, they will be rewarded or punished according to Godís justice. The promise of God is for eternal life after death, in a heavenly paradise. Equally, those who do evil will be punished in Hell.

All of the faiths believe that God requires human beings to show mercy to others and do good deeds, such as helping others. In return, He will reward those who have faith and do good works in this world.

Some Christians differ over the importance of having faith versus doing good works. They believe that human beings are only granted salvation by the grace of God and His mercy, not by virtue of good works.

However, the scriptures indicate that the most important thing for human beings is to have faith in God; He will grant mercy to whomever He wills, and forgive their sins or wrongdoing.

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DISCLAIMER: This purpose of this website is to provide supplemental information to the Cities of Light film and is not intended as a scholarly or academic resource. For scholars' sources, see the Recommended Readings section on this site. Articles reprinted from other sources reflect the views and opinions of the authors, and may not necessarily mirror those of UPF.