The Concept, Knowledge, and Worship of God
God is the absolute truth and substance of all things, the universal in which everything subsists. As such God is also absolute subjectivity, or spirit. The concrete development of this idea of God yields the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. But Hegel first reflects on the concept of God in a more abstract philosophical sense, where he is at pains to distinguish an authentic panentheism (all things have their being in God) from a spurious pantheism (everything is God). The analysis then shifts from the being to the knowledge of God, of which, according to Hegel, there are four basic forms: immediate knowledge (faith), feeling, representation (Vorstellung), and thought. Each is valid, but each is also superseded by the next form. Thinking about God appears in the various religions as proofs of the existence of God (cosmological, teleological, ontological). If knowledge of God is the theoretical form of the religious relationship, the worship of God is the practical form—indeed the form in which the relationship is consummated by the participation of the believer in God through cultic acts such as devotion, sacrifice, and sacraments.
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