Brahman is the name of the transcendent power that exists beyond the universe in Hinduism. It can manifest itself as gods in the Hindu faith, but it is an energy that exists beyond any deity. Christians believe in one being that created the entire universe. Both faiths believe that the creator of the universe will also be its destroyer. In Hinduism, the creation and destruction process is a constant flow.
Hindus do not worship Brahman. However, they believe that the power that is Brahman appears throughout the entire universe and sustains everything in it. While Hindus hold vastly different beliefs from each other, and do not agree on basic tenants of the faith, many believe Brahman may manifest itself in various forms, including of the three-part deity that is responsible for the act of creating, maintaining and destroying the universe. The three-part deity is called the Saguna Brahman. It consists of the gods Brahma, different from Brahman, who creates the world, Vishnu who sustains it and Shiva who destroys it.
Christians believe that three different parts comprise their deity. However, they believe that the different aspects of God are in fact the same being. While Hindus see god and Brahman as separate, Christians believe in only one single deity, existing in three parts, who created the entire universe. One part of the deity, Jesus, assisted in the creation of the universe in some Christian denominations. God has an active role, not only in the creation of the universe, but in human life and the maintenance of it.
Hindus believe that Brahman is the creative source of the universe, but does not exist in it or take care of it. The relationship between Brahman and the creation of the universe is asymmetrical, according to Haridas Chaudhuri, author of "The Concept of Brahman in Hindu Philosophy.." Brahman is the energy, and the creation of the world is a manifestation of that energy; the universe exists as a byproduct of Brahman. God, in the Christian belief, has a much more active role in creation. Christians believe he created the universe, as told in the Biblical story of the Book of Genesis; it did not come into existence as a byproduct of his energy, but he actively created it. God created the world in six days, and rested on the seventh in the Christian belief. Each day he created a different aspect of it, ranging from the Earth, to the cosmos to life forms, including humans.
Hindus believe that different deities, which some believe to be manifestations of Brahman's energies, perform the task of creating and destroying the universe in an ongoing process. The manifestation of Brahman that is responsible for destroying the universe is Shiva. However, Hindus do not view this process as undesirable, but as a natural order of things; Shiva must destroy the universe so Brahma can recreate it. Brahman's energy allows the creation and destruction process, but does not take an active role in it. God in the Christian faith will also destroy his creation. Christian eschatology beliefs describe God destroying the universe, and recreating much of it. They believe that the faithful will be taken into Heaven, and he will destroy the Earth, and judge all people.
- Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images