Problem of evil
The problem of evil is the question of how to reconcile the existence of evil with an omnipotent and omniscient God. An argument from evil claims that because evil exists, either God does not exist or does not have all three of those properties. Attempts to show the contrary have traditionally been discussed under the heading of theodicy. Besides philosophy of religion, the problem of evil is important to the field of theology and ethics; the problem of evil is formulated in two forms: the logical problem of evil and the evidential problem of evil. The logical form of the argument tries to show a logical impossibility in the coexistence of God and evil, while the evidential form tries to show that given the evil in the world, it is improbable that there is an omnipotent and wholly good God; the problem of evil has been extended to non-human life forms, to include animal suffering from natural evils and human cruelty against them. Responses to various versions of the problem of evil, come in three forms: refutations and theodicies.
A wide range of responses have been made against these arguments. There are many discussions of evil and associated problems in other philosophical fields, such as secular ethics, evolutionary ethics, but as understood, the "problem of evil" is posed in a theological context. The problem of evil acutely applies to monotheistic religions such as Christianity and Judaism that believe in a monotheistic God, omnipotent and omnibenevolent; the problem of evil refers to the challenge of reconciling belief in an omniscient and omnibenevolent God, with the existence of evil and suffering in the world. The problem may be described either experientially or theoretically; the experiential problem is the difficulty in believing in a concept of a loving God when confronted by suffering or evil in the real world, such as from epidemics, or wars, or murder, or rape or terror attacks wherein innocent children, men or a loved one becomes a victim. The problem of evil is a theoretical one described and studied by religion scholars in two varieties: the logical problem and the evidential problem.
Originating with Greek philosopher Epicurus, the logical argument from evil is as follows: If an omnipotent and omniscient god exists evil does not. There is evil in the world. Therefore, an omnipotent and omniscient god does not exist; this argument is of the form modus tollens, is logically valid: If its premises are true, the conclusion follows of necessity. To show that the first premise is plausible, subsequent versions tend to expand on it, such as this modern example: God exists. God is omnipotent and omniscient. An omnipotent being has the power to prevent that evil from coming into existence. An omnibenevolent being would want to prevent all evils. An omniscient being knows every way in which evils can come into existence, knows every way in which those evils could be prevented. A being who knows every way in which an evil can come into existence, able to prevent that evil from coming into existence, who wants to do so, would prevent the existence of that evil. If there exists an omnipotent and omniscient God no evil exists.
Evil exists. Both of these arguments are understood to be presenting two forms of the'logical' problem of evil, they attempt to show that the assumed propositions lead to a logical contradiction and therefore cannot all be correct. Most philosophical debate has focused on the propositions stating that God cannot exist with, or would want to prevent, all evils, with defenders of theism arguing that God could well exist with and allow evil in order to achieve a greater good. If God lacks any one of these qualities—omniscience, omnipotence, or omnibenevolence—then the logical problem of evil can be resolved. Process theology and open theism are other positions that limit God's omnipotence and/or omniscience. Dystheism is the belief; the evidential problem of evil seeks to show that the existence of evil, although logically consistent with the existence of God, counts against or lowers the probability of the truth of theism. As an example, a critic of Plantinga's idea of "a mighty nonhuman spirit" causing natural evils may concede that the existence of such a being is not logically impossible but argue that due to lacking scientific evidence for its existence this is unlikely and thus it is an unconvincing explanation for the presence of natural evils.
Both absolute versions and relative versions of the evidential problems of evil are presented below. A version by William L. Rowe: There exist instances of intense suffering which an omnipotent, omniscient being could have prevented without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil bad or worse. An omniscient, wholly good being would prevent the occurrence of any intense suffering it could, unless it could not do so without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil bad or worse. There does not exist an omnipotent, wholly good being. Another by Paul Draper: Gratuitous evils exist; the hypothesis of indifference, i.e. that if there are supernatural beings they are indifferent to gratuitous evils, is a better explanation for than theism. Therefore, evidence prefers that no god, as understood by theists, exists; the problem of e
Cambridge University Press
Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by King Henry VIII in 1534, it is the world's oldest publishing house and the second-largest university press in the world, it holds letters patent as the Queen's Printer. The press mission is "to further the University's mission by disseminating knowledge in the pursuit of education and research at the highest international levels of excellence". Cambridge University Press is a department of the University of Cambridge and is both an academic and educational publisher. With a global sales presence, publishing hubs, offices in more than 40 countries, it publishes over 50,000 titles by authors from over 100 countries, its publishing includes academic journals, reference works and English language teaching and learning publications. Cambridge University Press is a charitable enterprise that transfers part of its annual surplus back to the university. Cambridge University Press is both the oldest publishing house in the world and the oldest university press.
It originated from letters patent granted to the University of Cambridge by Henry VIII in 1534, has been producing books continuously since the first University Press book was printed. Cambridge is one of the two privileged presses. Authors published by Cambridge have included John Milton, William Harvey, Isaac Newton, Bertrand Russell, Stephen Hawking. University printing began in Cambridge when the first practising University Printer, Thomas Thomas, set up a printing house on the site of what became the Senate House lawn – a few yards from where the press's bookshop now stands. In those days, the Stationers' Company in London jealously guarded its monopoly of printing, which explains the delay between the date of the university's letters patent and the printing of the first book. In 1591, Thomas's successor, John Legate, printed the first Cambridge Bible, an octavo edition of the popular Geneva Bible; the London Stationers objected strenuously. The university's response was to point out the provision in its charter to print "all manner of books".
Thus began the press's tradition of publishing the Bible, a tradition that has endured for over four centuries, beginning with the Geneva Bible, continuing with the Authorized Version, the Revised Version, the New English Bible and the Revised English Bible. The restrictions and compromises forced upon Cambridge by the dispute with the London Stationers did not come to an end until the scholar Richard Bentley was given the power to set up a'new-style press' in 1696. In July 1697 the Duke of Somerset made a loan of £200 to the university "towards the printing house and presse" and James Halman, Registrary of the University, lent £100 for the same purpose, it was in Bentley's time, in 1698, that a body of senior scholars was appointed to be responsible to the university for the press's affairs. The Press Syndicate's publishing committee still meets and its role still includes the review and approval of the press's planned output. John Baskerville became University Printer in the mid-eighteenth century.
Baskerville's concern was the production of the finest possible books using his own type-design and printing techniques. Baskerville wrote, "The importance of the work demands all my attention. Caxton would have found nothing to surprise him if he had walked into the press's printing house in the eighteenth century: all the type was still being set by hand. A technological breakthrough was badly needed, it came when Lord Stanhope perfected the making of stereotype plates; this involved making a mould of the whole surface of a page of type and casting plates from that mould. The press was the first to use this technique, in 1805 produced the technically successful and much-reprinted Cambridge Stereotype Bible. By the 1850s the press was using steam-powered machine presses, employing two to three hundred people, occupying several buildings in the Silver Street and Mill Lane area, including the one that the press still occupies, the Pitt Building, built for the press and in honour of William Pitt the Younger.
Under the stewardship of C. J. Clay, University Printer from 1854 to 1882, the press increased the size and scale of its academic and educational publishing operation. An important factor in this increase was the inauguration of its list of schoolbooks. During Clay's administration, the press undertook a sizeable co-publishing venture with Oxford: the Revised Version of the Bible, begun in 1870 and completed in 1885, it was in this period as well that the Syndics of the press turned down what became the Oxford English Dictionary—a proposal for, brought to Cambridge by James Murray before he turned to Oxford. The appointment of R. T. Wright as Secretary of the Press Syndicate in 1892 marked the beginning of the press's development as a modern publishing business with a defined editorial policy and administrative structure, it was Wright who devised the plan for one of the most distinctive Cambridge contributions to publishing—the Cambridge Histories. The Cambridge Modern History was published
Marmoutier Abbey, Tours
Marmoutier Abbey — known as the Abbey of Marmoutier or Marmoutiers — was an early monastery outside Tours, Indre-et-Loire, France. In its days it followed the Benedictine order as an influential monastery with many dependencies; the abbey was founded by Saint Martin of Tours, in 372, after he had been made Bishop of Tours in 371. Martin's biographer, Sulpicius Severus, affirms that Martin withdrew from the press of attention in the city to live in Marmoutier, the monastery he founded several miles from Tours on the opposite shore of the Loire River. Sulpicius described the severe restrictions of the life of Martin among the cave-dwelling cenobites who gathered around him, a rare view of a monastic community that preceded the Benedictine rule: Many of the brethren had, in the same manner, fashioned retreats for themselves, but most of them had formed these out of the rock of the overhanging mountain, hollowed into caves. There were altogether eighty disciples, who were being disciplined after the example of the saintly master.
No one there had anything, called his own. It was not allowed either to sell anything, as is the custom among most monks. No art was practiced there, except that of transcribers, this was assigned to the brethren of younger years, while the elders spent their time in prayer. Did any one of them go beyond the cell, unless when they assembled at the place of prayer, they all took their food together. No one used wine, except. Most of them were clothed in garments of camels' hair. Any dress approaching to softness was there deemed criminal, this must be thought the more remarkable, because many among them were such as are deemed of noble rank. In 853 the abbey was destroyed by Normans, who killed over 100 monks. During the years shortly after 1000 AD, the abbey grew becoming one of the richest in Europe. In the wake of the Norman Conquest the abbey acquired patronage of churches in England. In 1096 Pope Urban II consecrated its new chapel, preached the First Crusade. Pope Calixtus II preached crusade again in 1119, convincing Count Foulques V d'Anjou to take part and leading to his subsequent role as King of Jerusalem.
In 1162 Pope Alexander III, who came to reside in Tours after being chased from Rome by Frederick Barbarossa, consecrated the monastery's new Chapel Saint Benoit. The abbey grew too small for its inhabitants, was rebuilt at the start of the thirteenth century under the leadership of Abbot Hugues des Roches. In the following century its abbot Gérard du Puy became cardinal-nephew to the last of the Avignon popes, Gregory XI. In 1562 the abbey was again pillaged, this time by Huguenot Protestants at the start of the Wars of Religion. Again however it recovered. English diarist John Evelyn visited the abbey, recorded this entry for June 6, 1644: I went by water to visit that goodly and venerable Abbey of Marmoutiers, being one of the greatest in the kingdom: to it is a ample church of stone, with a high pyramid. Amongst other relics the Monks showed us is the Holy Ampoulle, the same with that which sacres their Kings at Rheims, this being the one that anointed Henry IV. Ascending many steps, we went into the Abbot's Palace, where we were showed a vast tun, which they report St. Martin filled from one cluster of grapes growing there.
The abbey was disestablished in 1799 during the French Revolution, within a few decades the bulk of its buildings had been demolished. American writer Henry James visited the abbey in 1883, being guided through the various buildings by "a chatty nun", as described in his book A Little Tour in France. Today its grounds contain a catholic private school, of its former structures only a few ruins remain. Sulpitius Severus On the Life of St. Martin. Translation and Notes by Alexander Roberts. In A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, New York, 1894, available online John Evelyn and Correspondence: Volume 1, ed. William Bray, London: George Bell and Sons, 1882. Chapter 5. France Balade online article Riley-Smith, Jonathan; the First Crusaders, 1095-1131. University of Cambridge Press
Alvin Carl Plantinga is a prominent American analytic philosopher who works in the fields of logic, philosophy of religion, epistemology. From 1963-82, Plantinga taught at Calvin College before accepting an appointment as the John A. O'Brien Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, he returned to Calvin College to become the inaugural holder of the Jellema Chair in Philosophy. A prominent Christian philosopher, Plantinga served as president of the Society of Christian Philosophers from 1983-86, he has delivered the Gifford Lectures two times and was described by TIME magazine as "America's leading orthodox Protestant philosopher of God". William Lane Craig wrote in his work Reasonable Faith that he considers Plantinga to be the greatest Christian philosopher alive. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he was awarded the Templeton Prize in 2017; some of Plantinga's most influential works including God and Other Minds, The Nature of Necessity, a trilogy of books on epistemology, culminating in Warranted Christian Belief, simplified in Knowledge and Christian Belief.
Plantinga was born on November 15, 1932, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Cornelius A. Plantinga and Lettie G. Bossenbroek. Plantinga's father was a first-generation immigrant, born in the Netherlands, his family is from the Dutch province of Friesland, they lived on a low income until he secured a teaching job in Michigan in 1941. Plantinga's father earned a Ph. D. in philosophy from Duke University and a master's degree in psychology, taught several academic subjects at different colleges over the yearsPlantinga married Kathleen De Boer in 1955. They have four children: Carl, Jane and Ann. Both of his sons are professors at Calvin College, Carl in Film Studies and Harry in computer science. Harry is the director of the college's Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Plantinga's older daughter, Jane Plantinga Pauw, is a pastor at Rainier Beach Presbyterian Church in Seattle and his younger daughter, Ann Kapteyn, is a missionary in Cameroon working for Wycliffe Bible Translators, his granddaughter Natasha Pauw lives at home with her parents.
One of Plantinga's brothers, Cornelius "Neal" Plantinga Jr. is a theologian and the former president of Calvin Theological Seminary. Another of his brothers, Leon, is an emeritus professor of musicology at Yale University, his brother Terrell worked for CBS News. After Plantinga completed 11th grade, his father urged him to skip his last year of high school and enroll in college. Plantinga reluctantly followed his father's advice and in 1949, a few months before his 17th birthday, he enrolled in Jamestown College, in Jamestown, North Dakota. During that same year, his father accepted a teaching job at Calvin College, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In January 1950, Plantinga enrolled in Calvin College. During his first semester at Calvin, Plantinga was awarded a scholarship to attend Harvard University. Beginning in the fall of 1950, Plantinga spent two semesters at Harvard. In 1951, during Harvard's spring recess, Plantinga attended a few philosophy classes at Calvin College, was so impressed with Calvin philosophy professor William Harry Jellema that he returned in 1951 to study philosophy under him.
In 1954, Plantinga began his graduate studies at the University of Michigan where he studied under William Alston, William Frankena, Richard Cartwright, among others. A year in 1955, he transferred to Yale University where he received his Ph. D. in 1958. Plantinga began his career as an instructor in the philosophy department at Yale in 1957, in 1958 he became a professor of philosophy at Wayne State University during its heyday as a major center for analytic philosophy. In 1963, he accepted a teaching job at Calvin College, he spent the next 19 years at Calvin before moving to the University of Notre Dame in 1982. He retired from the University of Notre Dame in 2010 and returned to Calvin College, where he serves as the first holder of the William Harry Jellema Chair in Philosophy, he has trained many prominent philosophers working in metaphysics and epistemology including Michael Bergmann at Purdue and Michael Rea at Notre Dame, Trenton Merricks working at University of Virginia. Plantinga served as president of the American Philosophical Association, Western Division, 1981–82. and as President of the Society of Christian Philosophers 1983–86.
He has honorary degrees from Glasgow University, Calvin College, North Park College, the Free University of Amsterdam, Brigham Young University, Valparaiso University. He was a Guggenheim Fellow, 1971–72, elected a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1975. In 2006, the University of Notre Dame's Center for Philosophy of Religion renamed its Distinguished Scholar Fellowship as the Alvin Plantinga Fellowship; the fellowship includes an annual lecture by the current Plantinga Fellow. In 2012, the University of Pittsburgh's Philosophy Department and Philosophy of Science Department, the Center for the History and Philosophy of Science co-awarded Plantinga the Nicholas Rescher Prize for Systematic Philosophy, which he received with a talk titled, "Religion and Science: Where the Conflict Really Lies". In 2017, Baylor University's Center for Christian Philosophy inaugurated the Alvin Plantinga Award for Excellence in Christian Philosophy. Awardees deliver a lecture at Baylor University and their name is put on a plaque with Plantinga's image in the Institute for Studies in Religion.
He was named the first fellow of the center as well. He was awarded the 2017 Templeto
The soul, in many religious and mythological traditions, is the incorporeal essence of a living being. Soul or psyche are the mental abilities of a living being: reason, feeling, memory, thinking, etc. Depending on the philosophical system, a soul can either be immortal. In Judeo-Christianity, only human beings have immortal souls. For example, the Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas attributed "soul" to all organisms but argued that only human souls are immortal. Other religions hold that all living things from the smallest bacterium to the largest of mammals are the souls themselves and have their physical representative in the world; the actual self is the soul, while the body is only a mechanism to experience the karma of that life. Thus if we see a tiger there is a self-conscious identity residing in it, a physical representative in the world; some teach that non-biological entities possess souls. This belief is called animism. Greek philosophers, such as Socrates and Aristotle, understood that the soul must have a logical faculty, the exercise of, the most divine of human actions.
At his defense trial, Socrates summarized his teaching as nothing other than an exhortation for his fellow Athenians to excel in matters of the psyche since all bodily goods are dependent on such excellence. The current consensus of modern science is that there is no evidence to support the existence of the soul when traditionally defined as the spiritual breath of the body. In metaphysics, the concept of "Soul" may be equated with that of "Mind" in order to refer to the consciousness and intellect of the individual; the Modern English word "soul", derived from Old English sáwol, sáwel, was first attested in the 8th century poem Beowulf v. 2820 and in the Vespasian Psalter 77.50. It is cognate with other German and Baltic terms for the same idea, including Gothic saiwala, Old High German sêula, sêla, Old Saxon sêola, Old Low Franconian sêla, sîla, Old Norse sála and Lithuanian siela. Deeper etymology of the Germanic word is unclear; the original concept behind the Germanic root is thought to mean “coming from or belonging to the sea ”, because of the Germanic and pre-Celtic belief in souls emerging from and returning to sacred lakes, Old Saxon sêola compared to Old Saxon sêo.
The Koine Greek Septuagint uses ψυχή to translate Hebrew נפש, meaning "life, vital breath", refers to a mortal, physical life, but in English it is variously translated as "soul, life, person, mind, living being, emotion, passion". Vulgate – Creavitque Deus cete grandia, et omnem animam viventem atque motabilem. Authorized King James Version – "And God created great whales, every living creature that moveth."The Koine Greek word ψυχή, "life, consciousness", is derived from a verb meaning "to cool, to blow", hence refers to the breath, as opposed to σῶμα, meaning "body". Psychē occurs juxtaposed to σῶμα, as seen in Matthew 10:28: Greek – καὶ μὴ φοβεῖσθε ἀπὸ τῶν ἀποκτεννόντων τὸ σῶμα, τὴν δὲ ψυχὴν μὴ δυναμένων ἀποκτεῖναι· φοβεῖσθε δὲ μᾶλλον τὸν δυνάμενον καὶ ψυχὴν καὶ σῶμα ἀπολέσαι ἐν γεέννῃ. Vulgate – et nolite timere eos qui occidunt corpus animam autem non possunt occidere sed potius eum timete qui potest et animam et corpus perdere in gehennam. Authorized King James Version – "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him, able to destroy both soul and body in hell."Paul the Apostle used ψυχή and πνεῦμα to distinguish between the Jewish notions of נפש and רוח ruah.
In the ancient Egyptian religion, an individual was believed to be made up of various elements, some physical and some spiritual. Similar ideas are found in ancient Babylonian religion. Kuttamuwa, an 8th-century BCE royal official from Sam'al, ordered an inscribed stele erected upon his death; the inscription requested that his mourners commemorate his life and his afterlife with feasts "for my soul, in this stele". It is one of the earliest references to a soul as a separate entity from the body; the 800-pound basalt stele is 2 ft wide. It was uncovered in the third season of excavations by the Neubauer Expedition of the Oriental Institute in Chicago, Illinois; the Bahá'í Faith affirms that "the soul is a sign of God, a heavenly gem whose reality the most learned of men hath failed to grasp, whose mystery no mind, however acute, can hope to unravel". Bahá'u'lláh stated that the soul not only continues to live after the physical death of the human body, but is, in fact, immortal. Heaven can be seen as the soul's state of nearness to God.
Each state follows as a natural consequence of individual efforts, or the lack thereof, to develop spiritually. Bahá'u'lláh taught that individuals have no existence prior to their life here on earth and the soul's evolution is always towards God and away from the material world. Buddhism teaches that all things are in a constant
Holy Spirit, is a term found in English translations of the Bible, understood differently among the Abrahamic religions. The term is used to describe aspects of other religions and belief structures; the word spirit appears either alone or with other words, in the New Testament. Combinations include expressions such as the "Holy Spirit", "Spirit of God", in Christianity, "Spirit of Christ"; the word spirit is rendered as רוּחַ in Hebrew-language parts of the Old Testament. In its Aramaic parts, the term is rûacḥ; the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, translates the word as πνεῦμα. This is the same word, used throughout the New Testament, written in Greek; the English term spirit comes from its Latin origin, how the Vulgate translates both the Old and New Testament concept. The alternative term, "Holy Ghost", comes from Old English translations of spiritus; the Hebrew Bible contains the term "spirit of God" in the sense of the might of a unitary God. This meaning is different from the Christian concept of "Holy Spirit" as one personality of God in the Trinity.
The Christian concept tends to emphasize the moral aspect of the Holy Spirit more than Judaism, evident in the epithet Holy Spirit that appeared in Jewish religious writings only late but was a common expression in the Christian New Testament. According to theologian Rudolf Bultmann, there are two ways to think about the Holy Spirit: "animistic" and "dynamistic". In animistic thinking, it is "an independent agent, a personal power which like a demon can fall upon a man and take possession of him, enabling him or compelling him to perform manifestations of power" while in dynamistic thought it "appears as an impersonal force which fills a man like a fluid". Both kinds of thought appear in Jewish and Christian scripture, but animistic is more typical of the Old Testament whereas dynamistic is more common in the New Testament; the distinction coincides with the Holy Spirit as either a permanent gift. In the Old Testament and Jewish thought, it is temporary with a specific situation or task in mind, whereas in the Christian concept the gift resides in man permanently.
On the surface, the Holy Spirit appears to have an equivalent in non-Abrahamic Hellenistic mystery religions. These religions included a distinction between the spirit and psyche, seen in the Pauline epistles. According to proponents of the History of religions school, the Christian concept of the Holy Spirit cannot be explained from Jewish ideas alone without reference to the Hellenistic religions. However, according to theologian Erik Konsmo, the views "are so dissimilar that the only legitimate connection one can make is with the Greek term πνεῦμα itself". Another link with ancient Greek thought is the Stoic idea of the spirit as anima mundi—or world soul—that unites all people; some believe that this can be seen in Paul's formulation of the concept of the Holy Spirit that unites Christians in Jesus Christ and love for one another, but Konsmo again thinks that this position is difficult to maintain. In his Introduction to the 1964 book Meditations, the Anglican priest Maxwell Staniforth wrote: Another Stoic concept which offered inspiration to the Church was that of'divine Spirit'.
Cleanthes, wishing to give more explicit meaning to Zeno's'creative fire', had been the first to hit upon the term pneuma, or'spirit', to describe it. Like fire, this intelligent'spirit' was imagined as a tenuous substance akin to a current of air or breath, but possessing the quality of warmth, it is not a long step from this to the'Holy Spirit' of Christian theology, the'Lord and Giver of life', visibly manifested as tongues of fire at Pentecost and since associated – in the Christian as in the Stoic mind – with the ideas of vital fire and beneficient warmth. The Hebrew language phrase ruach ha-kodesh is a term used in the Hebrew Bible and Jewish writings to refer to the spirit of YHWH, it means "spirit of the holiness" or "spirit of the holy place". The Hebrew terms ruacḥ qodshəka, "thy holy spirit", ruacḥ qodshō, "his holy spirit" occur; the "Holy Spirit" in Judaism refers to the divine aspect of prophecy and wisdom. It refers to the divine force and influence of the Most High God, over the universe or over his creatures, in given contexts.
For the large majority of Christians, the Holy Spirit is a member of the Trinity: The "Triune God" manifested as Father and Holy Spirit. Two symbols from the New Testament canon are associated with the Holy Spirit in Christian iconography: a winged dove, tongues of fire; each depiction of the Holy Spirit arose from different historical accounts in the Gospel narratives. Called "the unveiled epiphany of God", the Holy Spirit is the One who empowers the followers of Jesus with spiritual gifts and power that enables the proclamation of Jesus Christ, a
Brahman connotes the highest Universal Principle, the Ultimate Reality in the universe. In major schools of Hindu philosophy, it is the material, efficient and final cause of all that exists, it is the pervasive, infinite, eternal truth and bliss which does not change, yet is the cause of all changes. Brahman as a metaphysical concept is the single binding unity behind diversity in all that exists in the universe. Brahman is a Vedic Sanskrit word, it is conceptualized in Hinduism, states Paul Deussen, as the "creative principle which lies realized in the whole world". Brahman is a key concept found in the Vedas, it is extensively discussed in the early Upanishads; the Vedas conceptualize Brahman as the Cosmic Principle. In the Upanishads, it has been variously described as Sat-cit-ānanda and as the unchanging, highest reality. Brahman is discussed in Hindu texts with the concept of Atman, impersonal or Para Brahman, or in various combinations of these qualities depending on the philosophical school.
In dualistic schools of Hinduism such as the theistic Dvaita Vedanta, Brahman is different from Atman in each being. In non-dual schools such as the Advaita Vedanta, Brahman is identical to the Atman, is everywhere and inside each living being, there is connected spiritual oneness in all existence. Sanskrit Brahman from a root bṛh- "to swell, grow, enlarge" is a neuter noun to be distinguished from the masculine brahmán—denoting a person associated with Brahman, from Brahmā, the creator God in the Hindu Trinity, the Trimurti. Brahman is thus a gender-neutral concept that implies greater impersonality than masculine or feminine conceptions of the deity. Brahman is referred to as the supreme self. Puligandla states it as "the unchanging reality amidst and beyond the world", while Sinar states Brahman is a concept that "cannot be defined". In Vedic Sanskrit: Brahma, brahman from root bṛh-, means "to be or make firm, solid, promote". Brahmana, from stems brha + Sanskrit -man- from Indo-European root -men- which denotes some manifest form of "definite power, inherent firmness, supporting or fundamental principle".
In Sanskrit usage: Brahma, brahman means the concept of the transcendent and immanent ultimate reality, Supreme Cosmic Spirit in Hinduism. The concept is central to Hindu philosophy Vedanta. Brahm is another variant of Brahman. Brahmā, means the deity or deva Prajāpati Brahmā, he is one of the members of the Hindu trinity and associated with creation, but does not have a cult in present-day India. This is because Brahmā, the creator-god, is long-lived but not eternal i.e. Brahmā gets absorbed back into Purusha at the end of an aeon, is born again at the beginning of a new kalpa; these are distinct from: A brāhmaṇa, is a prose commentary on the Vedic mantras—an integral part of the Vedic literature. A brāhmaṇa, means priest; this usage is found in the Atharva Veda. In neuter plural form, Brahmāṇi. See Vedic priest. Ishvara, in Advaita, is identified as a partial worldly manifestation of the ultimate reality, the attributeless Brahman. In Visishtadvaita and Dvaita, Ishvara has infinite attributes and the source of the impersonal Brahman.
Devas, the expansions of Brahman/God into various forms, each with a certain quality. In the Vedic religion, there were 33 devas, which became exaggerated to 330 million devas. In fact, devas are themselves regarded as more mundane manifestations of the One and the Supreme Brahman; the Sanskrit word for "ten million" means group, 330 million devas meant 33 types of divine manifestations. Brahman is a concept present in Vedic Samhitas, the oldest layer of the Vedas dated to the 2nd millennium BCE. For example, The concept Brahman is referred to in hundreds of hymns in the Vedas. For example, it is found in Rig veda hymns such as 2.2.10, 6.21.8, 10.72.2 and in Atharva veda hymns such as 6.122.5, 10.1.12, 14.1.131. The concept is found in various layers of the Vedic literature; the concept is extensively discussed in the Upanishads embedded in the Vedas, mentioned in the vedāṅga such as the Srauta sutra 1.12.12 and Paraskara Gryhasutra 3.2.10 through 3.4.5. Jan Gonda states that the diverse reference of Brahman in the Vedic literature, starting with Rigveda Samhitas, convey "different senses or different shades of meaning".
There is no one single word in modern Western languages that can render the various shades of meaning of the word Brahman in the Vedic literature, according to Jan Gonda. In verses considered as the most ancient, the Vedic idea of Brahman is the "power immanent in the sound, words and formulas of Vedas". However, states Gonda, the verses suggest that this ancient meaning was never the only meaning, the concept evolved and expanded in ancient India. Barbara Holdrege states that the concept