The Flame of Creation
Monotheism has been defined as the belief in the existence of only one god or in the oneness of God. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church gives a more restricted definition: "belief in one personal and transcendent God", as opposed to polytheism and pantheism. A distinction may be made between exclusive monotheism, and both inclusive monotheism and pluriform (panentheistic) monotheism which, while recognizing many distinct gods, postulate some underlying unity.
Monotheism is distinguished from henotheism, a religious system in which the believer worships one god without denying that others may worship different gods with equal validity, and monolatrism, the recognition of the existence of many gods but with the consistent worship of only one deity.
Monotheism characterizes the traditions of Bábism, the Bahá'í Faith, Cao Dai (Caodaiism), Cheondoism (Cheondogyo), Christianity, Deism, Eckankar, Islam, Judaism, Mandaeism, Rastafari, Ravidassia religion, Seicho no Ie, Shaivism, Shaktism, Sikhism, Tengrism (Tangrism), Tenrikyo (Tenriism), Vaishnavism, Yazidism, and Zoroastrianism, and elements of pre-monotheistic thought are found in early religions such as Atenism, Ancient Chinese religion, and Yahwism.
Monotheism (from the Greek monos "only", and theos "god") is a word coined in comparatively modern times to designate belief in the one supreme God, the Creator and Lord of the world, the eternal Spirit, All-powerful, All-wise, and All-good, the Rewarder of good and the Punisher of evil, the Source of our happiness and perfection. Monotheism is part of many religions. Monotheism is the recognition of God's presence and activity in every part of creation.
Quasi-monotheistic claims of a universal deity date to the Late Bronze Age, with Akhenaten's Great Hymn to the Aten. A possible inclination towards monotheism emerged during the Vedic period. The Rigveda exhibits notions of monism of the Brahman, in particular, in the comparatively late tenth book, also dated to the early Iron Age, e.g. in the Nasadiya sukta.
Zoroastrianism (though not monist) and Judaism are generally conceived to be the earliest monotheistic religions, though it is debated precisely which came first - the establishment of Zoroastrianism or the transition of Israelite monolatrism into Judaic monotheism. Ethical monotheism and the associated concept of absolute good and evil are also attributed to Judaism and Zoroastrianism, later culminating in the doctrines of Christology in early Christianity and later (by the 7th century) in the tawhid in Islam.
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