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Featured Can Something Be Divine Independently of a Deity?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by SalixIncendium, Jul 12, 2020.

  1. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Sākṣī
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    In another discussion, there was a comparison made between divine law and natural law. In a response, someone mentioned that they thought natural law might exist independent of deities.

    I was going to engage in a discussion about the difference between divine and deities, but then looked at the dictionary definition of 'divine' and, to my dismay, found this.

    As one that doesn't identify as a theist, I perceive Brahman to be divine, and, as I see it, Brahman is no deity. So my answer to the question in the title would be a resounding "yes," as I perceive deities to be an appearance of Brahman, but Brahman is not intrinsic to deity.

    Your thoughts?
     
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  2. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    What do you see as being the distinction?

    It is likely that the words in English have a monotheistic bias, so maybe a different word than 'divine' is more appropriate?

    Perhaps the word 'sacred' is closer to the mark?
     
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  3. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Sākṣī
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    I don't think so. I've been poking around the link I left in the OP and if you click the link GOD entry 1 sense 1 in that link, you'll see it ties to "the supreme or ultimate reality." So the dictionary definition is not as problematic as I thought when I wrote the OP.

    But I digress. The distinction I see is that while a deity can be considered divine, divinity actually transcends deity.
     
  4. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    Could you elaborate? I'm not clear about what 'transcends' means in this context.
     
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  5. Thief

    Thief Rogue Theologian

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    divine as termed to obedience of law.....?

    I suspect we each can find in ourselves some level of spirit....
    that we can recognize as .....more than human
     
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  6. Thief

    Thief Rogue Theologian

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    so even the angelic can fall from grace?

    granted
     
  7. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    I do think the English terms do tend to be monotheistic and universalist in nature, while in practice people who are pan or polytheistic would recognize more specific applications than offered in an English dictionary.

    There are lots of other words, though, to express what seems to be at issue here: something can be divine by being superb, awe-inspiring, beautiful, amazing, sacred, etc., without even a hint of deity needed to make the term work.
     
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  8. Fool

    Fool ALL in all
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    i agree. brahman, pure consciousness, is manifested through deities but is not necessarily an exact form but an exact action, a spirit.


    namaste
     
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  9. Terry Sampson

    Terry Sampson ζει

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    Terry's "Really Rough Rule of Thumb": Any thing in the universe is either rock, plant, animal, or god.
    divine - Wiktionary
    It seems to me to be a departure from the words' etymological origin, but I'd say: All gods are divine, but everything that's divine is not god.
     
    #9 Terry Sampson, Jul 12, 2020
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  10. Thief

    Thief Rogue Theologian

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    if anything could behave as 'intended'....
    and never fail to do so

    that might be physical

    and so.....pick up a rock and call it holy

    but I think not
     
  11. 'mud

    'mud ~~ Life is Stuff ~~
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    Like choosing a Brahman path to Nirvana and beyond....
    Brahman, to me, is the idea behind the action or response.
    The `life` after death is the way we live our lives and deaths,
    but only in our minds ! There may be no end !
     
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  12. dybmh

    dybmh Terminal Optimist
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    Yes, your explanation fits perfectly and is in agreement with Chabad Chassidus ( the version of Judaism I practice ). I think there's a Wikipedia page out there somewhere that describes it ...

    :rolleyes::D
     
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  13. stvdv

    stvdv Well-Known Member

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    Can Something Be Divine Independently of a Deity?

    "Can Something Be Not Divine?"
     
    #13 stvdv, Jul 12, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2020
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  14. Left Coast

    Left Coast Aspiring Vegan Mosquito Slayer
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    Hey Salix,

    I think this ties to the issue that came up in the other thread. I think in Dharmic (and pagan) traditions, "gods" are individual manifestations, albeit supernatural or somehow more than human, of the divine. Which is part of the reason they would take such exception to Brahman being called a God, as Brhaman is much more than that. For classical theists/Abrahamics, however, God IS the divine, the Ultimate Reality.
     
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  15. Sw. Vandana Jyothi

    Sw. Vandana Jyothi Truth is One, many are the Names
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    Namaste, I think your statement is dead bang on, Salixji, if by your phrase "not intrinsic" you also allow that Brahman pervades all but is not all. However, it's very difficult for most minds to grasp Existence without boundaries (Brahman/God). Hence man's need to "create" containers for that idea (which become gods and deities). The very nature of mind is to contrast and compare and in order to do so, it tries to encircle an idea from all sides in order to grasp it. Yet because mind can never know Brahman, the last obstacle to fall in Self-realization is even the idea of bonds and bodies.
     
    #15 Sw. Vandana Jyothi, Jul 12, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2020
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  16. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Sākṣī
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    Namaste Swamini. Can you please expand on this? What, in your view, is there within vyavaharika that is not Brahman?
     
  17. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Sākṣī
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    In my years of experience with Catholicism and Christianity, I have never heard of God referred to as an Ultimate Reality. In the Abrahamic religions I'm familiar with, God is perceived as a supernatural anthropomorphized being...a sentient creator and ruler. While there are such qualities in Saguna Brahman, there is no equivalent that I'm aware of in Abrahamic faiths for Nirguna Brahman (Brahman without qualities).
     
  18. Sw. Vandana Jyothi

    Sw. Vandana Jyothi Truth is One, many are the Names
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    Warm salutations, Salixji
    We may be just dancing with subtle semantics. In Eknath Easwaran's translation of the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter IX Verses 4-5, Sri Krishna states, "I pervade the entire universe in my unmanifested form. [To me, this is the reference to Brahman.] All creatures find their existence in me, but I am not limited by them. Behold my divine mystery! [There's that word "divine" again. :p] These creatures do not really dwell in me, and though I bring them forth and support them, I am not confined within them [italics mine.]

    My own Guruji, Sadguru Sant Keshavadas, translated the same verses thus:
    All this is by Me permeated
    In My aspect unmanifested
    In Me all these beings abide
    They in the end in Me subside (4

    Beings look at My yoga divine
    As wonderful, beautiful and serene
    I am not in them in reality [italics mine]
    Though I sustain them with My ability (5
    In other words, all that is within vyavaharika is perishable, but Brahman is not. I'm pretty sure you agree with that and it was this distinction I was alluding to when I said Brahman pervades all but is not all.

     
    #18 Sw. Vandana Jyothi, Jul 12, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2020
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  19. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    There's a conceptual link between the two terms, but the link doesn't need to be literal.

    ... kinda like how calling something "majestic" doesn't mean it necessarily has a literal link to royalty.
     
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  20. Left Coast

    Left Coast Aspiring Vegan Mosquito Slayer
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    It's quite unfortunate, because modern Christianity in the last century or so has been hijacked by an anthropomorphized, creationist version of God that came out of fundamentalism and is really a caricature of the God described by classical theism and the more historic understanding of God in the Abrahamic traditions. God as these faiths have long understood him is not a super-human sky daddy. That is more akin to the gods of Greek mythology.

    Regarding a close equivalent to Brahman without qualities, allow me to quote from from Vladimir Lossky's The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church (pg. 25):

    The Western Church, which had tended toward a more intellectualized, cataphatic theology, I think has often confused the painting with the object being painted. However, even in the West, theologians like Paul Tillich have emphasized that God is beyond all our categories and conceptualizations.
     
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