Wednesday, 19 October 2016

"God" In Human And Alien Languages

We will consider human, then Andersonian alien. See also here.

Human
How many gods are there? My answer is: none or many. How many uses of the word "God" are there? I used to think that belief in a single God united Jews, Christians, Muslims, Sikhs and some Hindus. However, groups in these traditions can use this word in very different senses. Bigots think that He is one of them. If "God" means just the object of mystical experience, then it need not refer to a person.

For a human use of the word "God" in Anderson's Technic History, see here.

Andersonian Aliens
Some Ivanhoans: "God."
Ythrians of the New Faith: "God the Hunter."
Merseians: "the God."
Aycharaych: "immortal God" (that may mean just that the Chereionite knew how to manipulate a human audience).

- and, outside the Technic History, in World Without Stars, some inhabitants of a planet orbiting a star in intergalactic space call our galaxy "God."

Aycharaych was speaking Anglic to a Terran. In the other four cases, "God" translates some word in an alien language: Planha and Eriau in the case of the Ythrians and Merseians, respectively. Those words must mean something that justifies their translation as "God" but they cannot entail any of the abstract theological doctrines that have been formulated on Earth. I think that, minimally, the alien words translated as "God" must mean some combination of:

transcendence;
infinity;
awesomeness;
maybe consciousness/personality?

However, there is no question of a personal relationship with either "God the Hunter" or "the God." A "God" that is merely present, like the Sun or our galaxy seen from outside, need not be particularly personal except perhaps in a very abstract sense, maybe just by the use of a personal instead of an impersonal pronoun?

1 comment:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    I'm sure you would not be surprised to read that I believe God is One only and that no other gods exist or can exist. I also believe the highest human and non human monotheistic religions would agree that God is omnipotent, omniscient, un-created and existing from all eternity, else He could not BE God.

    Yes, I agree many faiths would have different conceptions of how God "interacted" with his creation. Some might be like the Ythrian New Faith, others like the remote and distant
    God of the Merseians, etc. The Ivanhoans Falkayn had to contend with in "The Three Cornered Wheel," seemed to have a very advanced conception of God (when disentangled from their notions about circles and spheres).

    Aycharaych arguably commits a logical non-sequitur by saying "...how I pity immortal God!" in WE CLAIM THESE STARS. God, to be God, would need to be infinitely happy and self sufficient, to be lacking in nothing.

    Sean

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