Many religions use images to "represent" God in icons for art or for worship. Here are some examples of representations of God in Christianity and various branches of Hinduism.

In monotheistic thought, God is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, and principal object of faith.[1] God is usually conceived as being omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful), omnipresent (all-present) and as having an eternal and necessary existence. These attributes are used either in way of analogy or are taken literally. God is most often held to be incorporeal (immaterial).[1][2][3] Incorporeality and corporeality of God are related to conceptions of transcendence (being outside nature) and immanence (being in nature) of God, with positions of synthesis such as the "immanent transcendence".

Some religions describe God without reference to gender, while others or their translations use sex-specific terminology. Judaism, for example, attributes only a grammatical gender to God, using terms such as "Him" or "Father" for convenience.[4]

God has been conceived as either personal or impersonal. In theism, God is the creator and sustainer of the universe, while in deism, God is the creator, but not the sustainer, of the universe. In pantheism, God is the universe itself. In atheism, there is an absence of belief in God. In agnosticism, the existence of God is deemed unknown or unknowable. God has also been conceived as the source of all moral obligation, and the "greatest conceivable existent".[1] Many notable philosophers have developed arguments for and against the existence of God.[5]

Monotheists refer to their gods using names prescribed by their respective religions, with some of these names referring to certain cultural ideas about their god's identity and attributes. In the ancient Egyptian era of Atenism, possibly the earliest recorded monotheistic religion, this deity was called Aten,[6] premised on being the one "true" Supreme Being and creator of the universe.[7] In the Hebrew Bible and Judaism, Elohim, Adonai, YHWH (Hebrew: יהוה‎) and other names are used as the names of God. Yahweh and Jehovah, possible vocalizations of YHWH, are used in Christianity. In the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, God, coexisting in three "persons", is called the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In Islam, the name Allah is used, while Muslims also have a multitude of titular names for God. In Hinduism, Brahman is often considered a monistic concept of God.[8] In Chinese religion, Shangdi is conceived as the progenitor (first ancestor) of the universe, intrinsic to it and constantly bringing order to it. Other religions have names for the concept, for instance, Baha in the Bahá'í Faith,[9] Waheguru in Sikhism,[10] Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa in Balinese Hinduism,[11] and Ahura Mazda in Zoroastrianism.[12]

The many different conceptions of God, and competing claims as to God's characteristics, aims, and actions, have led to the development of ideas of omnitheism, pandeism,[13] or a perennial philosophy, which postulates that there is one underlying theological truth, of which all religions express a partial understanding, and as to which "the devout in the various great world religions are in fact worshipping that one God, but through different, overlapping concepts".[14]

Etymology and usage

The Mesha Stele bears the earliest known reference (840 BCE) to the Israelite God Yahweh.

The earliest written form of the Germanic word God comes from the 6th-century Christian Codex Argenteus. The English word itself is derived from the Proto-Germanic * ǥuđan. The reconstructed Proto-Indo-European form * ǵhu-tó-m was likely based on the root * ǵhau(ə)-, which meant either "to call" or "to invoke".[15] The Germanic words for God were originally neuter—applying to both genders—but during the process of the Christianization of the Germanic peoples from their indigenous Germanic paganism, the words became a masculine syntactic form.[16]

The word 'Allah' in Arabic calligraphy

In the English language, capitalization is used for names by which a god is known, including 'God'.[17] Consequently, the capitalized form of god is not used for multiple gods (polytheism) or when used to refer to the generic idea of a deity.[18][19] The English word God and its counterparts in other languages are normally used for any and all conceptions and, in spite of significant differences between religions, the term remains an English translation common to all. The same holds for Hebrew El, but in Judaism, God is also given a proper name, the tetragrammaton YHWH, in origin possibly the name of an Edomite or Midianite deity, Yahweh. In many translations of the Bible, when the word LORD is in all capitals, it signifies that the word represents the tetragrammaton.[20]

Allāh (Arabic: الله‎) is the Arabic term with no plural used by Muslims and Arabic speaking Christians and Jews meaning "The God" (with the first letter capitalized), while "ʾilāh" (Arabic: إله‎) is the term used for a deity or a god in general.[21][22][23]

God may also be given a proper name in monotheistic currents of Hinduism which emphasize the personal nature of God, with early references to his name as Krishna-Vasudeva in Bhagavata or later Vishnu and Hari.[24]

Ahura Mazda is the name for God used in Zoroastrianism. "Mazda", or rather the Avestan stem-form Mazdā-, nominative Mazdå, reflects Proto-Iranian *Mazdāh (female). It is generally taken to be the proper name of the spirit, and like its Sanskrit cognate medhā, means "intelligence" or "wisdom". Both the Avestan and Sanskrit words reflect Proto-Indo-Iranian *mazdhā-, from Proto-Indo-European mn̩sdʰeh1, literally meaning "placing (dʰeh1) one's mind (*mn̩-s)", hence "wise".[25]

Waheguru (Punjabi: vāhigurū) is a term most often used in Sikhism to refer to God. It means "Wonderful Teacher" in the Punjabi language. Vāhi (a Middle Persian borrowing) means "wonderful" and guru (Sanskrit: guru) is a term denoting "teacher". Waheguru is also described by some as an experience of ecstasy which is beyond all descriptions. The most common usage of the word "Waheguru" is in the greeting Sikhs use with each other:

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh
Wonderful Lord's Khalsa, Victory is to the Wonderful Lord.

Baha, the "greatest" name for God in the Baha'i faith, is Arabic for "All-Glorious".

Other Languages
Адыгэбзэ: Тхьэ
Afrikaans: God
Akan: Awurade
Alemannisch: Gott
አማርኛ: እግዚአብሔር
Ænglisc: God
العربية: الله
aragonés: Dios
ܐܪܡܝܐ: ܐܠܗܐ
armãneashti: Dumnidză
অসমীয়া: ভগবান
asturianu: Dios
Avañe'ẽ: Tupã
Aymar aru: Tatitu
azərbaycanca: Tanrı
تۆرکجه: تانری
বাংলা: ঈশ্বর
Bân-lâm-gú: Siōng-tè
башҡортса: Хоҙай
беларуская: Бог
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Бог
български: Бог
Boarisch: God
bosanski: Bog
brezhoneg: Doue
català: Déu
Чӑвашла: Турă
Cebuano: Ginoo
čeština: Bůh
chiShona: Mwari
corsu: Diu
Cymraeg: Duw
Deutsch: Gott
eesti: Jumal
Ελληνικά: Θεός
emiliàn e rumagnòl: Dio
эрзянь: Инешкипаз
español: Dios
Esperanto: Dio
euskara: Jainko
eʋegbe: Mawu
فارسی: خدا
Fiji Hindi: God
français: Dieu
Frysk: God
furlan: Diu
Gaeilge: Dia
Gaelg: Jee
Gàidhlig: Dia
galego: Deus
ГӀалгӀай: Даьла
ગુજરાતી: ઈશ્વર
𐌲𐌿𐍄𐌹𐍃𐌺: 𐌲𐌿𐌸
गोंयची कोंकणी / Gõychi Konknni: Deu
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Song-ti
한국어: 하느님
Hausa: Allah
հայերեն: Աստված
हिन्दी: ईश्वर
hrvatski: Bog
Bahasa Hulontalo: Eya
Ido: Deo
Ilokano: Dios
Bahasa Indonesia: Tuhan
interlingua: Deo
Ирон: Хуыцау
isiXhosa: UThixo
isiZulu: UNkulunkulu
íslenska: Guð
italiano: Dio
עברית: אלוהים
Jawa: Hyang
Kabɩyɛ: Ɛsɔ
ქართული: ღმერთი
қазақша: Құдай
kernowek: Duw
Kiswahili: Mungu
Kreyòl ayisyen: Bondye
kurdî: Xweda
Latina: Deus
latviešu: Dievs
Lëtzebuergesch: Gott
lietuvių: Dievas
lingála: Nzámbe
Lingua Franca Nova: Dio
Livvinkarjala: Jumal
lumbaart: Dio
magyar: Isten
македонски: Бог
മലയാളം: ദൈവം
मराठी: ईश्वर
მარგალური: ღორონთი
مصرى: الله
مازِرونی: خادا
Bahasa Melayu: Tuhan
Minangkabau: Tuhan
Mirandés: Dius
монгол: Бурхан
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ဘုရားသခင်
Nederlands: God (monotheïsme)
Nedersaksies: God
नेपाली: ईश्वर
नेपाल भाषा: ईश्वर
нохчийн: Дела
Norfuk / Pitkern: God
norsk: Gud
norsk nynorsk: Gud
Nouormand: Dùu
occitan: Dieu
Oromoo: Waaqa
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Xudo
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਪਰਮਾਤਮਾ
پنجابی: اللّہ
پښتو: الله
Picard: Diu
Piemontèis: De
Tok Pisin: God
Plattdüütsch: Gott
polski: Bóg
português: Deus
română: Dumnezeu
romani čhib: Devel
rumantsch: Dieu
Runa Simi: Apuyaya
русиньскый: Бог
русский: Бог
саха тыла: Таҥара
ᱥᱟᱱᱛᱟᱲᱤ: ᱜᱚᱥᱟᱸᱭ
संस्कृतम्: ईश्वरः
Scots: God
Seeltersk: God
Sesotho: Tumelo
Sesotho sa Leboa: Modimo
shqip: Perëndia
sicilianu: Diu
Simple English: God
slovenčina: Boh
slovenščina: Bog
словѣньскъ / ⰔⰎⰑⰂⰡⰐⰠⰔⰍⰟ: Богъ
ślůnski: Bůg
کوردی: خودا
српски / srpski: Бог
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Bog
suomi: Jumala
svenska: Gud
Tagalog: Diyos
தமிழ்: கடவுள்
Taqbaylit: Yillu
татарча/tatarça: Ходай
తెలుగు: దేవుడు
тоҷикӣ: Худо
Türkçe: Tanrı
українська: Бог
اردو: خدا
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: تەڭرى
vèneto: Dio
vepsän kel’: Jumal
Tiếng Việt: Thiên Chúa
Volapük: God
Võro: Jummal
walon: Bon Diu
West-Vlams: God
Winaray: Diyos
Wolof: Yàlla
Xitsonga: Xikwembu
ייִדיש: גאט
粵語: 上帝
Zazaki: Homa
žemaitėška: Dievs