A deity (i/ˈdiː.ɨti/ or i/ˈdeɪ.ɨti/) is a being, natural, supernatural or preternatural, with superhuman powers or qualities, and who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred. Believers may consider or believe that they can communicate with the deity, who can respond supernaturally to their entreaties, and that the deity's myths are true. Some religions have one supreme deity, others have multiple deities of various ranks.
C. Scott Littleton's Gods, Goddesses, And Mythology defined them as "a being with powers greater than those of ordinary humans. but who interacts with humans. positively or negatively, in ways that carry humans to new levels of consciousness beyond the grounded preoccupations of ordinary life."
Deities are depicted in a variety of forms, but are also frequently expressed as having human form. Some faiths and traditions consider it blasphemous to imagine or depict the deity as having any concrete form. Deities are often thought to be immortal, and are commonly assumed to have personalities and to possess consciousness, intellects, desires, and emotions comparable but usually superior to those of humans. A female deity is a goddess.
Natural phenomena whose causes are not understood, such as lightning and catastrophes such as earthquakes and floods, are sometimes attributed to them. They may be thought to be able to work supernatural miracles and to be the authorities and controllers of various aspects of human life (such as birth or an afterlife). Some deities are asserted to be the directors of time and fate itself, to be the givers of human law and morality, to be the ultimate judges of human worth and behavior, and to be the designers and creators of everything (the Earth or Universe and all contents).
Famous quotes containing the word deity:
“Man disavows, and Deity disowns me:
Hell might afford my miseries a shelter;
Therefore hell keeps her ever-hungry mouths all
Bolted against me.”
—William Cowper (17311800)
“Whenever the deity contrives misfortunes for a man, he first harms their understanding.”
—Sophocles (497406/5 B.C.)
“The difference of the English and Irish character is nowhere more plainly discerned than in their respective kitchens. With the former, this apartment is probably the cleanest, and certainly the most orderly, in the house.... An Irish kitchen ... is usually a temple dedicated to the goddess of disorder; and, too often, joined with her, is the potent deity of dirt.”
—Anthony Trollope (18151882)