Variously labeled “classical theism,” “omniGod theism,” “traditional theism,” and “mainstream theism,” the prevailing orthodoxy in the Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—has traditionally affirmed a conception of God as an omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect being who is the creator and sustainer of the universe. Importantly, God within this tradition is regarded as personal and ontologically distinct from the universe.1 Additionally, the orthodoxy has included an endorsement of realism about theological language.

Of course, there are points of disagreement among those who accept the dominant orthodoxy. For instance, some argue that God is a timelessly eternal being who exists entirely outside of time while others hold that God is sempiternal, existing at all times. There is also disagreement over how to understand the various omni-attributes. For instance, some hold that God’s omniscience includes foreknowledge while others hold that it does not.

There are, however, sufficiently many points of agreement to form a family resemblance between such views and to group them together in a class. It is the members of this class that collectively constitute something like the general standard or classical account of the divine in contemporary analytic philosophy of religion. That God is personal or a person according to what might be properly labeled as “classical theism” is controversial.


If the progenitors of classical theism are taken to be the likes of Anselm, Ibn Rushd, Maimonides, and Thomas Aquinas, then it is not clear that they literally took God to be a person.