Divinity

Divinity

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Divinity and divine are broadly applied but loosely defined terms, used variously within different faiths
Faith
Faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing, or a belief that is not based on proof. In religion, faith is a belief in a transcendent reality, a religious teacher, a set of teachings or a Supreme Being. Generally speaking, it is offered as a means by which the truth of the proposition,...

 and belief systems
Belief system
A belief system is a set of mutually supportive beliefs. The beliefs may be religious, philosophical, ideological or a combination of these.The British philosopher Stephen Law has described some belief systems as "claptrap" and said that they "draw people in and hold them captive so they become...

 — and even by different individuals within a given faith — to refer to some transcendent or transcendental
Transcendence (religion)
In religion transcendence refers to the aspect of God's nature which is wholly independent of the physical universe. This is contrasted with immanence where God is fully present in the physical world and thus accessible to creatures in various ways...

 power or deity
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

, or its attributes or manifestations in the world. The root of the words is literally "godlike" (from the Latin deus, cf. Dyaus
Dyaus Pita
In the Vedic pantheon ' or ' or Dyaus Pitar is the Sky Father, divine consort of the Prithvi and father of Agni, Indra , and Ushas, the daughter representing dawn. In archaic Vedic lore, Dyauṣ Pitṛ and Prithivi Matṛ were one, single composite dvandva entity, named as the Dyavaprthivi...

, closely related to Greek zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

, div
Daeva
Daeva in Avestan language meaning "a being of shining light", is a term for a particular sort of supernatural entity with disagreeable characteristics. Equivalents in Iranian languages include Pashto dêw , Baluchi dêw , Persian dīv , Kurdish dêw...

in Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 and deva
Deva (Hinduism)
' is the Sanskrit word for god or deity, its related feminine term is devi. In modern Hinduism, it can be loosely interpreted as any benevolent supernatural beings. The devs in Hinduism, also called Suras, are often juxtaposed to the Asuras, their half brothers. Devs are also the maintainers of...

in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

), but the use varies significantly depending on which god
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

 is being discussed. This article outlines the major distinctions in the conventional use of the terms.

For academic or professional
Professional
A professional is a person who is paid to undertake a specialised set of tasks and to complete them for a fee. The traditional professions were doctors, lawyers, clergymen, and commissioned military officers. Today, the term is applied to estate agents, surveyors , environmental scientists,...

 uses of the terms, see Divinity (academic discipline)
Divinity (academic discipline)
Divinity is the study of Christian and other theology and ministry at a school, divinity school, university, or seminary. The term is sometimes a synonym for theology as an academic, speculative pursuit, and sometimes is used for the study of applied theology and ministry to make a distinction...

, or Divine (Anglican)

Usages

  • To refer to powers or forces that are universal, or transcend human capacities
  • To refer to qualities of individuals who are considered to have some special access or relationship to the divine


Overlap occurs between these usages because deities or godlike entities are often identical with and/or identified by the powers and forces that are credited to them — in many cases a deity is merely a power or force personified — and these powers and forces may then be extended or granted to mortal
Human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

 individuals. For instance, Jehovah
Jehovah
Jehovah is an anglicized representation of Hebrew , a vocalization of the Tetragrammaton , the proper name of the God of Israel in the Hebrew Bible....

 is closely associated with storms and thunder throughout much of the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

. He is said to speak in thunder, and thunder
Thunder
Thunder is the sound made by lightning. Depending on the nature of the lightning and distance of the listener, thunder can range from a sharp, loud crack to a long, low rumble . The sudden increase in pressure and temperature from lightning produces rapid expansion of the air surrounding and within...

 is seen as a token of His anger. This power was then extended to prophets
Prophets in Judaism
The 48 Prophets and seven Prophetesses according to Rashi, Megillah 14a and glosses ad loc.-The 48 Prophets:# Abraham# Isaac# Jacob# Moses# Aaron# Joshua # Phineas# Elkanah# Eli# Samuel # Gad# Nathan# David...

 like Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

 and Samuel, who caused thunderous storms to rain down on their enemies. (See and 1 Samuel
Books of Samuel
The Books of Samuel in the Jewish bible are part of the Former Prophets, , a theological history of the Israelites affirming and explaining the Torah under the guidance of the prophets.Samuel begins by telling how the prophet Samuel is chosen by...

 12:18.)

Divinity always carries connotations of goodness, beauty
Beauty
Beauty is a characteristic of a person, animal, place, object, or idea that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure, meaning, or satisfaction. Beauty is studied as part of aesthetics, sociology, social psychology, and culture...

, beneficence, justice
Justice
Justice is a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, or equity, along with the punishment of the breach of said ethics; justice is the act of being just and/or fair.-Concept of justice:...

, and other positive, pro-social attributes. In monotheistic faiths there is an equivalent cohort of malefic supranormal beings and powers, such as demons, devil
Devil
The Devil is believed in many religions and cultures to be a powerful, supernatural entity that is the personification of evil and the enemy of God and humankind. The nature of the role varies greatly...

s, afreet, etc., which are not conventionally referred to as divine; demon
Demon
call - 1347 531 7769 for more infoIn Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered an "unclean spirit" which may cause demonic possession, to be addressed with an act of exorcism...

ic
is often used instead. Pantheistic and polytheistic faiths make no such distinction; gods and other beings of transcendent
Transcendence (religion)
In religion transcendence refers to the aspect of God's nature which is wholly independent of the physical universe. This is contrasted with immanence where God is fully present in the physical world and thus accessible to creatures in various ways...

 power often have complex, ignoble, or even irrational motivations for their acts. Note that while the terms demon and demonic are used in monotheistic faiths as antonyms to divine, they are in fact derived from the Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 word daimón (δαίμων), which itself translates as divinity.

There are three distinct usages of divinity and divine in religious discourse
Discourse
Discourse generally refers to "written or spoken communication". The following are three more specific definitions:...

:

Divinity as entity



In monotheistic faiths, the word divinity is often used to refer to the singular God  central to that faith. Often the word takes the definite article
Definite Article
Definite Article is the title of British comedian Eddie Izzard's 1996 performance released on VHS. It was recorded on different nights at the Shaftesbury Theatre...

 and is capitalized — "the Divinity" — as though it were a proper name
Proper name
"A proper name [is] a word that answers the purpose of showing what thing it is that we are talking about" writes John Stuart Mill in A System of Logic , "but not of telling anything about it"...

 or definitive honorific.
Divine — capitalized — may be used as an adjective to refer to the manifestations of such a Divinity or its powers: e.g. "basking in the Divine presence..."

The terms divinity and divine — uncapitalized, and lacking the definite article — are sometimes used as to denote 'god(s) or certain other beings and entities which fall short of godhood but lie outside the human realm. These include (by no means an exhaustive list):
  • The multiple gods of pan- and polytheistic faiths (as in the ancient Greek and Roman
    Roman mythology
    Roman mythology is the body of traditional stories pertaining to ancient Rome's legendary origins and religious system, as represented in the literature and visual arts of the Romans...

    )
  • Elementals such as the dragons of traditional Chinese religion and sylph
    Sylph
    Sylph is a mythological creature in the Western tradition. The term originates in Paracelsus, who describes sylphs as invisible beings of the air, his elementals of air...

    s and salamanders from Alchemical traditions
  • Anthropomorphized aspects of nature
    Nature
    Nature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical world, or material world. "Nature" refers to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general...

    , like the tree
    Tree
    A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance. A minimum height specification at maturity is cited by some authors, varying from 3 m to...

     and river
    River
    A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

     spirits of Roman mythology
    Roman mythology
    Roman mythology is the body of traditional stories pertaining to ancient Rome's legendary origins and religious system, as represented in the literature and visual arts of the Romans...

  • Animal
    Animal
    Animals are a major group of multicellular, eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Animalia or Metazoa. Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later on in their life. Most animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and...

     beings, many of which populate the stories of Native American
    Indigenous peoples of the Americas
    The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

    s and Indigenous Australians
    Indigenous Australians
    Indigenous Australians are the original inhabitants of the Australian continent and nearby islands. The Aboriginal Indigenous Australians migrated from the Indian continent around 75,000 to 100,000 years ago....

  • Conceptual beings like the Muses and Fates
    Moirae
    The Moirae, Moerae or Moirai , in Greek mythology, were the white-robed incarnations of destiny . Their number became fixed at three...

     of ancient Greek belief


In certain instances, individual humans are elevated to divine status without becoming actual gods: the eight immortals
Eight Immortals
The Eight Immortals are a group of legendary xian in Chinese mythology. Each Immortal's power can be transferred to a power tool that can give life or destroy evil. Together, these eight tools are called "Covert Eight Immortals" . Most of them are said to have been born in the Tang Dynasty or...

 of taoism
Taoism
Taoism refers to a philosophical or religious tradition in which the basic concept is to establish harmony with the Tao , which is the mechanism of everything that exists...

, for instance. Compare with the section on divinity and mortals given below.

Divine force or power


As previously noted, divinities are closely related to the transcendent force(s) or power(s) credited to them, so much so that in some cases the powers or forces may themselves be invoked independently. This leads to the second usage of the word divine (and a less common usage of divinity): to refer to the operation of transcendent power in the world.

In its most direct form, the operation of transcendent power implies some form of divine intervention
Miracle
A miracle often denotes an event attributed to divine intervention. Alternatively, it may be an event attributed to a miracle worker, saint, or religious leader. A miracle is sometimes thought of as a perceptible interruption of the laws of nature. Others suggest that a god may work with the laws...

. For pan- and polytheistic faiths this usually implies the direct action of one god or another on the course of human events. In Greek legend
Legend
A legend is a narrative of human actions that are perceived both by teller and listeners to take place within human history and to possess certain qualities that give the tale verisimilitude...

, for instance, it was Poseidon
Poseidon
Poseidon was the god of the sea, and, as "Earth-Shaker," of the earthquakes in Greek mythology. The name of the sea-god Nethuns in Etruscan was adopted in Latin for Neptune in Roman mythology: both were sea gods analogous to Poseidon...

 (god of the sea) who raised the storms which blew Odysseus
Odysseus
Odysseus or Ulysses was a legendary Greek king of Ithaca and the hero of Homer's epic poem the Odyssey. Odysseus also plays a key role in Homer's Iliad and other works in the Epic Cycle....

' craft off course on his return journey, and Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese tradition holds that a god-sent wind saved them from Mongol invasion. Prayers
Prayers
is an anime set in the year 2014 where the young of Japan have rebelled against the government for segregating Shibuya and declared themselves to be independent of Japan...

 or propitiations are often offered to specific gods of pantheisms to garner favorable interventions in particular enterprises: e.g. safe journeys, success in war, or a season of bountiful crops. Many faiths around the world — from Japanese Shinto
Shinto
or Shintoism, also kami-no-michi, is the indigenous spirituality of Japan and the Japanese people. It is a set of practices, to be carried out diligently, to establish a connection between present day Japan and its ancient past. Shinto practices were first recorded and codified in the written...

 and Chinese traditional religion, to certain African practices and the faiths derived from those in the Caribbean, to Native American beliefs — hold that ancestral or household
Household
The household is "the basic residential unit in which economic production, consumption, inheritance, child rearing, and shelter are organized and carried out"; [the household] "may or may not be synonymous with family"....

 spirits offer daily protection and blessings. In monotheistic religions, divine intervention may take very direct forms: miracles, visions, or intercessions by blessed figures.

Transcendent force
Force
In physics, a force is any influence that causes an object to undergo a change in speed, a change in direction, or a change in shape. In other words, a force is that which can cause an object with mass to change its velocity , i.e., to accelerate, or which can cause a flexible object to deform...

 or power may also operate through more subtle and indirect paths. Monotheistic faiths generally support some version of divine providence
Divine providence
In Christian theology, divine providence, or simply providence, is God's activity in the world. " Providence" is also used as a title of God exercising His providence, and then the word are usually capitalized...

, which acknowledges that the divinity of the faith has a profound but unknowable plan always unfolding in the world. Unforeseeable, overwhelming, or seemingly unjust events are often thrown on 'the will of the Divine', in deferences like the Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 inshallah ('as God wills it') and Christian 'God works in mysterious ways'. Often such faiths hold out the possibility of divine retribution
Divine retribution
Divine retribution is supernatural punishment of a person, a group of people, or all humanity by a deity in response to some human action.Many cultures have a story about how a deity exacted punishment on previous inhabitants of their land, causing their doom.An example of divine retribution is the...

 as well, where the divinity will unexpectedly bring evil
Evil
Evil is the violation of, or intent to violate, some moral code. Evil is usually seen as the dualistic opposite of good. Definitions of evil vary along with analysis of its root motive causes, however general actions commonly considered evil include: conscious and deliberate wrongdoing,...

-doers to justice through the conventional workings of the world; from the subtle redressing of minor personal wrongs, to such large-scale havoc as the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
Sodom and Gomorrah
Sodom and Gomorrah were cities mentioned in the Book of Genesis and later expounded upon throughout the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament and Deuterocanonical sources....

 or the biblical Great Flood. Other faiths are even more subtle: the doctrine of karma
Karma
Karma in Indian religions is the concept of "action" or "deed", understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect originating in ancient India and treated in Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh philosophies....

shared by Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 and Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 is a divine law
Divine law
Divine law is any law that in the opinion of believers, comes directly from the will of God . Like natural law it is independent of the will of man, who cannot change it. However it may be revealed or not, so it may change in human perception in time through new revelation...

 similar to divine retribution
Divine retribution
Divine retribution is supernatural punishment of a person, a group of people, or all humanity by a deity in response to some human action.Many cultures have a story about how a deity exacted punishment on previous inhabitants of their land, causing their doom.An example of divine retribution is the...

 but without the connotation of punishment
Punishment
Punishment is the authoritative imposition of something negative or unpleasant on a person or animal in response to behavior deemed wrong by an individual or group....

: our acts, good
Good
Good may refer to:* Good and evil - The distinction between positive and negative entities* Good - Objects produced for market* Form of the Good - Plato's macrocosmic view of goodness in living* Good...

 or bad, intentional or unintentional, reflect back on us as part of the natural working of the universe
Universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

. Philosophical Taoism
Taoism
Taoism refers to a philosophical or religious tradition in which the basic concept is to establish harmony with the Tao , which is the mechanism of everything that exists...

 also proposes a transcendent operant principle — transliterated in English as tao or dao, meaning 'the way' — which is neither an entity or a being per se, but reflects the natural ongoing process of the world. Modern western mysticism and new age
New Age
The New Age movement is a Western spiritual movement that developed in the second half of the 20th century. Its central precepts have been described as "drawing on both Eastern and Western spiritual and metaphysical traditions and then infusing them with influences from self-help and motivational...

 philosophy often use the term 'the Divine' as a noun in this latter sense: a non-specific principle
Principle
A principle is a law or rule that has to be, or usually is to be followed, or can be desirably followed, or is an inevitable consequence of something, such as the laws observed in nature or the way that a system is constructed...

 and/or being that gives rise to the world, and acts as the source or wellspring of life. In these latter cases the faiths do not promote deference, as happens in monotheisms; rather each suggests a path of action that will bring the practitioner into conformance with the divine law: ahimsa — 'no harm' — for Buddhist and Hindu faiths; de or te — 'virtuous action' — in daoism; and any of numerous practices of peace and love in new age thinking.

Divinity applied to mortals



In the third usage, extensions of divinity and divine power are credited to living, mortal individuals. Political leaders are known to have claimed actual divinity in certain early societies — the ancient Egyptian Pharaohs being the premier case — taking a role as objects of worship and being credited with superhuman status and powers. More commonly, and more pertinent to recent history, leaders merely claim some form of divine mandate
Mandate (theology)
In Christian theology, a mandate is an order given from God that must be obeyed without question. For example, the mandate given to Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice to God....

, suggesting that their rule is in accordance with the will of God. The doctrine of the divine right of kings was introduced as late as the 17th century, proposing that king
King
- Centers of population :* King, Ontario, CanadaIn USA:* King, Indiana* King, North Carolina* King, Lincoln County, Wisconsin* King, Waupaca County, Wisconsin* King County, Washington- Moving-image works :Television:...

s rule by divine decree; Japanese Emperors ruled by divine mandate until the inception of the Japanese constitution after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...



Less politically, most faiths have any number of people that are believed to have been touched by divine forces: saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

s, prophet
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

s, hero
Hero
A hero , in Greek mythology and folklore, was originally a demigod, their cult being one of the most distinctive features of ancient Greek religion...

es, oracle
Oracle
In Classical Antiquity, an oracle was a person or agency considered to be a source of wise counsel or prophetic predictions or precognition of the future, inspired by the gods. As such it is a form of divination....

s, martyr
Martyr
A martyr is somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce, or accept, a belief or cause, usually religious.-Meaning:...

s, and enlightened beings, among others. Saint Francis of Assisi, in Catholicism, is said to have received instruction directly from God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 and it is believed that he grants plenary indulgence to all who confess their sins and visit his chapel on the appropriate day. In Greek mythology, Achilles'
Achilles
In Greek mythology, Achilles was a Greek hero of the Trojan War, the central character and the greatest warrior of Homer's Iliad.Plato named Achilles the handsomest of the heroes assembled against Troy....

 mother bathed him in the river Styx to give him immortality, and Hercules
Hercules
Hercules is the Roman name for Greek demigod Heracles, son of Zeus , and the mortal Alcmene...

 — as the son of Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

 — inherited near-godlike powers. In religious Taoism
Taoism
Taoism refers to a philosophical or religious tradition in which the basic concept is to establish harmony with the Tao , which is the mechanism of everything that exists...

, Lao Tsu is venerated as a saint with his own powers. Various individuals in the Buddhist faith, beginning with Siddhartha
Gautama Buddha
Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian...

, are considered to be enlightened, and in religious forms of Buddhism they are credited with divine powers. Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

  and Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

, in their respective traditions, are each said to have performed divine miracles.

In general, mortals with divine qualities are carefully distinguished from the deity or deities in their religion's main pantheon
Pantheon (gods)
A pantheon is a set of all the gods of a particular polytheistic religion or mythology.Max Weber's 1922 opus, Economy and Society discusses the link between a...

. Even the Christian faith, which holds Christ to be identical to God, distinguishes between God the father and Christ the begotten son. There are, however, certain esoteric and mystical schools of thought, present in many faiths — Sufis in Islam, Gnostics in Christianity, Advaitan Hindus, Zen Buddhists, as well as several non-specific perspectives developed in new age philosophy — which hold that all humans are in essence
Essence
In philosophy, essence is the attribute or set of attributes that make an object or substance what it fundamentally is, and which it has by necessity, and without which it loses its identity. Essence is contrasted with accident: a property that the object or substance has contingently, without...

 divine, or unified with the Divine in a non-trivial way. Such divinity, in these faiths, would express itself naturally if it were not obscured by the social and physical worlds we live in; it needs to be brought to the fore through appropriate spiritual practice
Spiritual practice
A spiritual practice or spiritual discipline is the regular or full-time performance of actions and activities undertaken for the purpose of cultivating spiritual development. A common metaphor used in the spiritual traditions of the worlds great religions is that of walking a path...

s.

Latter-Day Saints



According to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, such spiritual
Spirituality
Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop...

 practices are, in and of themselves, inspired by promptings from the light of Christ
Light of Christ
The Light of Christ became a doctrine of the Latter Day Saint movement, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that most people would call conscience...

 or the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of the Hebrew Bible, but understood differently in the main Abrahamic religions.While the general concept of a "Spirit" that permeates the cosmos has been used in various religions Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of...

 that are communications with an individual's divine essence or spirit that is linked directly to God through pre-existence
Pre-existence
Pre-existence , beforelife, or pre-mortal existence refers to the belief that each individual human soul existed before conception, and at conception one of these pre-existent souls enters, or is placed by God, in the body...

 as his offspring.

Belief in a divine potential of humankind is taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). The LDS teaches that there is a pre-mortal stage of human existence, known as pre-existence, during which pre-mortal human spirits, called spirit children, are able to make choices that influence their upcoming fully mortal existence as a direct result of the individual spirit's choices regarding truth, love and faith. Spirit children come into existence out of "intelligences". "Intelligences" are eternal forms of energy or matter existing in a less progressed form than God. (See Joseph Smith's King Follett discourse
King Follett Discourse
The King Follett discourse, or King Follett sermon, was an address delivered in Nauvoo, Illinois by Joseph Smith, president and founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, on April 7, 1844, less than three months before his assassination...

.)

According to the LDS church, Christ's unwavering ability to obey truth
Truth
Truth has a variety of meanings, such as the state of being in accord with fact or reality. It can also mean having fidelity to an original or to a standard or ideal. In a common usage, it also means constancy or sincerity in action or character...

, perceive light, and act in perfect love
Love
Love is an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment. In philosophical context, love is a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection. Love is central to many religions, as in the Christian phrase, "God is love" or Agape in the Canonical gospels...

 and faith
Faith
Faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing, or a belief that is not based on proof. In religion, faith is a belief in a transcendent reality, a religious teacher, a set of teachings or a Supreme Being. Generally speaking, it is offered as a means by which the truth of the proposition,...

, distinguishes his pre-mortal existence from the pre-mortal existence of the other spirit beings who were in the presence of the "Eternal
Immortality
Immortality is the ability to live forever. It is unknown whether human physical immortality is an achievable condition. Biological forms have inherent limitations which may or may not be able to be overcome through medical interventions or engineering...

 Father
Father
A father, Pop, Dad, or Papa, is defined as a male parent of any type of offspring. The adjective "paternal" refers to father, parallel to "maternal" for mother...

". Christ's behaviour during his "spirit child" phase serves to explain why he is considered to be God-like. The God-like quality ascribed to Jesus explains why he had a greater capacity to suffer more than mortal man could suffer; thus he could endure the anguish and incomprehensible pain of the atonement.

The LDS belief is that Christ's divinity qualified him to return to the presence of God after his death
Death
Death is the permanent termination of the biological functions that sustain a living organism. Phenomena which commonly bring about death include old age, predation, malnutrition, disease, and accidents or trauma resulting in terminal injury....

 and resurrection
Resurrection
Resurrection refers to the literal coming back to life of the biologically dead. It is used both with respect to particular individuals or the belief in a General Resurrection of the dead at the end of the world. The General Resurrection is featured prominently in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim...

. By means of the atonement and his offering of divine grace
Divine grace
In Christian theology, grace is God’s gift of God’s self to humankind. It is understood by Christians to be a spontaneous gift from God to man - "generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved" - that takes the form of divine favour, love and clemency. It is an attribute of God that is most...

 to humankind, Christ provided access to divinity for humankind. A divine being is filled with perfect love, and desires to share these qualities because of the joy they bring to each individual soul
Soul
A soul in certain spiritual, philosophical, and psychological traditions is the incorporeal essence of a person or living thing or object. Many philosophical and spiritual systems teach that humans have souls, and others teach that all living things and even inanimate objects have souls. The...

.

See also

  • Catholic Concept of the Divine
    Catholic Concept of the Divine
    Catholic Concept of the Divine is the Catholic Church definition of divine, as published in The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. II. This content is in the public domain....

  • Christology
    Christology
    Christology is the field of study within Christian theology which is primarily concerned with the nature and person of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament. Primary considerations include the relationship of Jesus' nature and person with the nature...

  • Deity
    Deity
    A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

  • Ho'oponopono
    Ho'oponopono
    Hooponopono is an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. Similar forgiveness practices were performed on islands throughout the South Pacific, including Samoa, Tahiti and New Zealand. Traditionally hooponopono is practiced by healing priests or kahuna lapaau among family...

     (Morrnah section)
  • List of deities
  • Theosis
    Theosis
    In Christian theology, divinization, deification, making divine or theosis is the transforming effect of divine grace. This concept of salvation is historical and fundamental for Christian understanding that is prominent in the Eastern Orthodox Church and also in the Catholic Church, and is a...