Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

Living Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Deity Concept

  • David A. Leeming
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27771-9_846-4

Deities are created by humans – usually in their image – to express our sense of where we came from and to express a sense of significance and protection. Deities are believed to be aware of us and our needs. They are ultimate progenitors and ultimate parent. Psychology has taught us how important our mental depictions of and memories of our parents are to any real understanding of our own identities. As far as we can tell, the concept of divinity has almost always been present in human consciousness and human life. We have indications of the concept at least as early as the cave paintings, rock carvings, and other artifacts of the Paleolithic. Deities of many sorts have arisen over time. Sky gods, mother goddesses, fertility deities, tricksters, storm-weather gods, creators, and warrior gods were ubiquitous in the ancient world. Baal and El reigned in Canaan until the Hebrew Yahweh replaced them. Hera and Zeus ruled the heavens in Greece until they were turned into mere statuary and...


Metaphorical Expression Cave Painting Creation Myth Collective Story Instinctive Drive 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ConnecticutStorrsUSA