Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

David Schweingruber


God concept researchers have used quantitative methodology exclusively. The Likert Scale combined with the Adjective Rating of God Scale is the most common measurement used in God concept research. The Adjective Rating of God Scale (Gorsuch, 1968) measures conceptualizations of God through a list of adjectives describing God. Combined with the Likert scale, researchers have measured relationships between adjectives, sex, and religious denomination. Although research that has employed these methods has yielded intriguing information, it has not been able to fully explore the area of God concept research. It is argued this scheme ignores three important topics in God concept research. First, the fact that Christians believe in the Trinity. Second, how the God concepts are formed, and finally, how people know God. After providing a brief summary of the primary survey instruments used followed by a brief account of the historical and contemporary studies associated with God concept research, this paper will discuss four familiar God concepts: (1) God is Loving and Nurturing, (2) God is Distant, (3) God is a Friend and Companion, and (4) God is Controlling and Judging. These are followed by two unfamiliar concepts: (1) God has physical human attributes (2) and God is ultimately unknowable. Three sources of how people know God are discussed: (1) the Bible as a source, (2) personal experience, and (3) through others. Finally, findings are presented indicating the Trinity allows for a situational God.


Copyright Owner

Ashley Burgess Leininger



Date Available


File Format


File Size

96 pages

Included in

Sociology Commons