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In the Rambam's Mishne Tora, the end of chapter 8 of M'lachim reads:

Any [gentile] who accepts seven commands and is careful to fulfill them is among the pious of the nations of the world and has a share in the world to come. But that's provided he accepts them and does them because God commanded them in the Torah and informed us through our leader Moshe that descendants of Noach had been commanded them. If, on the other hand, he does them because of the force of logic, he is… not one of the pious of the nations of the world, but one of their wise men.

Now, Jews must — again, I'll quote Mishne Tora, this time from Y'sode Hatora chapter 1:

know there is a first existing thing who brings all that exists into existence.…

And if one could conceive that all other things in existence, except him, would not exist, then he alone would exist: he would not be nonexistent due to their nonexistence, for all existing things require him but he does not require them or any one of them. Thus, his truth is not the truth of any one of them:… there is no truly existing thing besides him like him.…

And he guides the wheel with infinite strength, with unending strength….

And this god is… not one like a type that includes many individuals, and not one like a body that has many divisions and extents, but a oneness like no other.…

It's clear in the Torah and the books of the prophets that God is no body….

We seem to have a few aspects of God that Rambam holds necessary for Jews to believe (or know): that he exists, that he creates every other existence, that his existence is true whereas others' is dependent on his, that he guides all events, that he is indivisible, and that he is incorporeal.

Which of these beliefs, according to Rambam, are required of gentiles in order to be considered "among the pious of the nations of the world and [to have] a share in the world to come"?

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This is a sort-of followup to judaism.stackexchange.com/q/18628. –  msh210 Apr 28 '13 at 15:11
    
I think they only need to believed in a single all-powerful God. I don't have a source on me but I've heard that from the Jewish perspective, Muslims for example are not considered idolaters because they believed in the "same" God. –  Aaliyah Jul 17 '13 at 22:35
    
@Aaliyah, you may be right, but your evidence from Muslims' not being considered idolaters because they believe in the same god seems weak: if they believe in the same god, then that god is the creator, is indivisible, etc. –  msh210 Jul 18 '13 at 3:38
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I really think the answer to this is that non-Jews have to believe in the same god we do, namely, God. It's more a linguistic-philosophical question how to verify that. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proper_name_(philosophy) –  Double AA Jul 24 '13 at 7:08
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See judaism.stackexchange.com/a/11287/1012 –  wfb Jul 25 '13 at 22:01

1 Answer 1

First it should be noted that the 7 Noahide laws themselves do not say anything about necessitating a belief in God. As summarized by this article on Simple to Remember The relevant law is #4, namely it is forbidden to worship idols.

However the whole area of relations between humanity and its Creator has been placed under specific requirements, namely that only His truth and unity should be the subject of belief, worship and philosophy.

As you already explained, Rambam says that a belief in a single God, and a belief that this God commended the 7 Noahide laws, are a prerequisite, but he doesn't clearly say how detailed or accurate their understanding of God must be besides that.

There is a good book on the topic, The Path of the Righteous Gentile: An Introduction to the Seven Laws of the Children of Noah by Chaim Clorfene and Yaakov Rogalsky, that covers the issue. Here appears to be an online version of the book, but I can't vouch for the website. I couldn't find where he explicitly mentions this, but the feeling I got from it is that a gentile should simply believe in the God of the Torah. In Chapter 4 he describes various things that one "must realize" or "should contemplate" that basically explain the understanding of the omnipotence, mercy, and other qualities of God.

In Chapter 6 of the book, he details the laws against idolatry. In the beginning there, he explains that just by avoiding idolatry, he demonstrates belief in God.

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So atheists, by avoiding idolatry, is fulfilling the command then? –  Jim Thio Sep 11 '13 at 8:26

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