God of Jews, Christians, and Muslims Vs Epictetus’ God:
One or Two Different Deities?
When looking at Epictetus’ work through the Handbook (The Encheiridon) and The Discourses of Epictetus, we find that there can be many interpretations that can be made on Epictetus’ god. One can interpret through these text above that Epictetus’ god is all-powerful, all-good being, answer the prayers of the pious, and watches over people therefore showing his god as a personal god—God is actively involved among the world and people. These four traits describe the God of Jews, Christians, and Muslims—monotheism religions. But one could also interpret that Epictetus show more pantheistic ideology than personalistic ideology of god which may lead his audience to believe that he is a pantheist—believing God and universe are identical, immanent in the world as a rational dogma, and able to shape all things depending on the good of it. I will argue that Epictetus’ god is a pantheistic god, and his god is all-powerful, but Epictetus’ god doesn’t answer the prayer of the pious, and isn’t all-good and does not watch over people in terms of the God of monotheism.
I will argue, as I stated above, that Epictetus’ god and the God of monotheism share common characteristics, such as the description of all-powerful. Power could be described in many ways, but in this context we are talking about immanence: God exists in all corners of the universe. Also in this context omnipotence would also help describe Epictetus’ god as all-power in a way that he possesses complete, unlimited, or universal power and authority. For example, God, in Epictetus’s view, is a playwright and humans are his actors (Handbook 17). You may ask how does this show power. This shows power in the sense that Epictetus’ god has control of what will be written in the script, and the “actors” don’t get to choose the role they will be acting out, but it is up to the actors to decide what kind of attitude they want to show toward that role. This passage points out very clearly that god is powerful, but it also points out that god gives humans power to decide their own actions and attitudes. This power is reason and rationality (Discourses 6:19). Because god has designed this universe, he has put us in this world to act as spectator and to interpret god’s various purposes in the world (Handbook 17, Discourses 6: 19). Again this observation of god’s purpose of life in the universe can only be done if we have that fragment of god in us (Discourses 8:11). The statement above where we are described as interpreter in this universe shows Epictetus’ god and the God of monotheism are similar in the sense of being all-powerful. However, someone one could refute the statement that Epictetus’ god is all-powerful and not similar to the God of Monotheism. They may that his god gave humans part of himself so then Epictetus’ god can’t be omnipotent because he does not have all control over a human’s action and...