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In which cases can we use definite article before 'God'?

closed as too broad by user140086, curiousdannii, Helmar, Rand al'Thor, Scott Nov 20 '16 at 22:36

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    Yes, when you have an OF: The God of Israel. Or: the God of Hinduism. Or: the god of love (Greek mythology). NO of, no THE. – Lambie Nov 19 '16 at 20:24
  • Probably never (except in book titles like The God of Small Things, where God gets capitalised as a matter of course). So far as I'm concerned, it should normally be lower-case the god of X, because God should only be capitalised in "monotheistic" contexts, and usually if there's a god of X this implies the gods of Y and Z also exist, so they're all just "ordinary" gods. – FumbleFingers Nov 19 '16 at 20:30
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    The god of love in Greek mythology. A lower-case god. – Lambie Nov 19 '16 at 20:57
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    @Lambie That’s because gods with articles have their own names, like Zeus and Odin. With God, that is his name. One is a proper name, the other a common noun. You could not talk about “a Zeus” without losing the personal touch. – tchrist Nov 19 '16 at 20:58
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    @MarkBeadles anarthrous I knew George III lost his mind, but I always thought he'd kept his joints. – deadrat Nov 19 '16 at 22:14
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Assuming you're referring to monotheism, then "the God" can be used in phrases like "the God of" or "the God who/that", "the God over" and similar constructions, e.g.:

  1. Hebrews 13:20 KJV: Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the ...

  2. 2 Samuel 7:26 And let thy name be magnified for ever, saying, The LORD of hosts [is] the God over Israel: and let the house of thy servant David be established before thee.

  3. 1 Kings 18:24 And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.

EDITED TO ADD:

There is no logical contradiction in using the definite article before an (arguendo) singular being. In the phrases like "the God of peace", the phrase isn't being used as a specifier as to which god. It's being used as a descriptor of the attributes of that god.

  • Well, I did point out one of them. The God who is due to the fact there is only one for that specific point. The God over Israel is like the the God of Israel. But there are also many Greek and other gods, which can be said to be The god of x. – Lambie Nov 19 '16 at 20:56
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    Unlike common nouns, personal names so resist articles that to use one converts the one to the other. Merely give John an article and he becomes a john like any other, no longer unique. Telling John something is different from telling a john something, even if it’s the john on hand. A john like that is no longer directly addressable.; you cannot hail an articled john because vocative uses, being names, forbid determiners. – tchrist Nov 19 '16 at 20:56
  • @tchrist that's true for the indefinite article, but the definite article has a slightly different use. – Mark Beadles Nov 19 '16 at 21:02
  • The god of love takes OF because it's "genitive". That is a rule for the use of //the// in English: The Queen of England/ The president of France. The gift of gab. So, it has nothing to do with the noun god. But what it is of and god is not a personal name. – Lambie Nov 19 '16 at 21:03
  • @Lambie, "the god of love" has a subtly different meaning than "the God of love". The former is "love's god" - the deity identified with Love. "The God of love", in monotheistic writing, means "God, who has love among His attributes". – Mark Beadles Nov 19 '16 at 21:06

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