Who Created the Creator?

One of the most simplistic and easy to dismiss philosophical arguments against the existence of God was raised famously by Richard Dawkins in the God Delusion, but has probably been around for much longer. It essentially states, that if the universe was designed, then who designed the designer? At a quick glance, it appears like a real “gotcha” question, but this ignores the fact that virtually all understandings of God, across all time, places and culture have held the view that God is uncreated and eternal, entirely negating any need for God to have a creator.

This idea is found in numerous holy scriptures of most of the world’s religions, so it’s a bit strange or perhaps even ignorant that this argument ever rose. In Christianity and Judaism, there are references to an eternal, unchanging creator scattered throughout (Psalms 90 is a beautiful and poetic example, as well as Genesis of course). The Qur’an also has numerous quotes of a creator and its eternal nature. The Arabic term badi means a creator with nothing necessary to pre-exist but itself in order to create. The first chapter of the Tao Te Ching, the primary text of Taoism, in it’s first few lines speaks of the universe being created by the unvarying, unchanging Tao. And in Hinduism, it’s a little bit more complicated due to the diversity of belief within the religious system. The Upanishads – among Hinduism’s most ancient and sacred texts – is relatively vague about the creation of the universe. But in the Bhagavad Gita, an incredibly important scriptural text, it can be explicitly found: “Brahman (a term for the ground of all existence) is that which is immutable, and independent of any cause but itself”.

So basically, a very quick look at some of the sacred texts of the world’s religions makes the “who created God?” question appear a little ridiculous. But to me, it raises a much more interesting and challenging question, “who created the concept of God and what does this mean for God’s existence?”

Undoubtedly, every religion approaches the idea of God in different ways, and even within religions, the understanding varies rather significantly. Without going into too much detail, there are concepts of a personal and impersonal God. One that is pure Love, one that is vengeful. One that is maternal, or one that is paternal. A God that is one single, undivided entity or a God that manifests into others gods and avatars. A God that is separate from the universe, a God that is the universe, or one that is both. There’s an endless list of differences and they can’t all be correct. So without much scientific evidence that one idea is more true than any other, should we just accept that God was just made up in the heads of people thousands of years ago to help them explain the world or cope with suffering?

Not necessarily. Since the palaeolithic age, humanity has had an awareness of an ever present sacred reality, which later became known as God, Tao, Brahman etc. Though there is little evidence from the period, by looking at hunter-gatherer societies such as in Australia, Africa and South America, some glimpses into the past can be ascertained.

111142703
Taken from: http://time.com/3879943/lascaux-early-color-photos-of-the-famous-cave-paintings-france-1947

Our ancestors were perhaps pantheistic, believing in a World Soul of sorts where each animal was part of that divine reality. Being much closer and connected to the earth and the cycle of life and death than we are today, to me it isn’t inconceivable that they were more able to intuit or experience something greater to the universe than what we can perceive with senses. Some sort of inexplicable Mystery linking all things. To read this idea in detail, please have a look at Karen Armstrong’s The Case for God.

Moreover, those who have the mystical experience across all genuine religions and spiritual traditions return reporting this same mystery. The Ultimate Reality is utterly incomprehensible, infinite, intangible, beyond all thought and concepts. Something that brought us into being and connects us all together. Whether it is a monk in divine union, a Buddhist experiencing Nirvana, or a Hindu who has undergone complete Self-realisation, all suggest the same Mystery albeit using different language according to the tradition and culture in which they were raised. What many mystics have often described this experience of God is by saying “neti, neti, not this, not this”, essentially meaning that words and thoughts are useless and too limiting to conceptualise the divine (this is part of what is known as apophatic theology).

But regardless, efforts have been made to understand the mystical experience as well as what layman experience in their everyday interactions with the divine. And these attempts of explaining – whether it is a God of love, wrath, impersonal, or that there are multiple gods – are how many differing conceptions have emerged across time and religion. It’s not that differing religions’ conceptions of God are entirely false or untrue, but rather the people who have witnessed an act of God or experienced God in a certain way, attribute words and ideas to the divine and subsequently theorise about its nature. A hint of truth is there, but their words ultimately fall short of truly grasping it.

Nevertheless, this is why I believe there are truths behind each of the religions. Each can shed insight on the nature of God, and it is also why each conception appears to have similarities. In most religions, the divine is eternal, infinite, omnipresent, and is what brought the universe into being as well as what sustains it. In addition, love is also generally considered a key attribute to God, being a binding factor of the universe as well as the core teaching of all the major world religions.

But in the end, all of our theorising of God’s nature are just indicators which point towards that inexpressible, infinite mystery that seems to give us meaning in the universe and has been with us throughout our entire journey on this planet. Perhaps the most accurate conception is one that makes God as grand as possible with the limited tools of language we have, not one that restricts the Ground of All Being to any one attribute. So to answer my own question, we created God, the concept of God I mean. But we use our creation to try to explain and understand something greater than this universe that since time immemorial, we as humans have always intuitively and experientially known was there.

creation-2-680x450
Taken from: http://darrowmillerandfriends.com/2016/05/05/moral-creator-moral-creation-atheists-deny-god

 

Sources:

Karen Armstrong, The Case for God

http://freethinkingministries.com/who-created-god

http://www.reviewofreligions.org/9577/the-beginning-of-creation-in-scriptures-of-different-religions

 

 

 

 

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37 thoughts on “Who Created the Creator?

  1. Going to have to think about this one for a bit. Then will reply. To much here to just say something off the bat. Could you please explain further “we created God, the concept of God” a little further for me? Thanks and God Bless, SR

    Liked by 1 person

    1. David Robertson

      Sorry for the late reply, the way my work schedule is, I’m incredibly busy on weekends. So first of all, I believe God is real, but God is so unbelievably magnificent, beautiful, infinite, powerful, filled with love, that our minds can’t really comprehend it fully. This is why when we experience God it’s usually something of the heart, of intuition.

      So by the concept of God, I don’t mean He doesn’t exist, but I meant that the ideas we have surrounding God, what can be found in the holy scriptures of the world (although true and incredible in many senses) are in the end just indicators towards the greater truth that is God. Our very limited minds and language have made an attempt to fully comprehend God, but words will never fully grasp what God is. And for this reason, I believe this is why so many different understandings of God have emerged in different religions, yet all of them have underlying similarities.

      I hope this has clarified what this means for you. And I’m happy to answer any more questions (the response might be a bit delayed!) Thank you and bless you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just wanted to stop by and say thank you for taking the time to answer my question. This clarifies it so much for me. I hate to comment without truly knowing what was meant.

        I am going to wait until you answer what Steven asked before I give my thoughts on this. As I need some of his questions answered also. Have a great weekend. God Bless, SR

        Liked by 1 person

      2. David Robertson

        I’m glad you showed an interest in my article, I’ve given Steven a proper response now, and will be happy to answer any more questions you have!

        Bless you!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi David. Another really interesting reflection. Your blog is one of my favourites at the moment (and I read a lot of blogs!).

    I’m curious to know whether you have read the New Testament? I ask because it seems to me that the Christian view of God is quite distinct (in certain ways) from other world religions. Whereas in the east God is often seen as the ground of being – something we can experience – in Christianity normally God is seen as separate from but intervening in creation. Also, in Christianity God is personal (e.g. He speaks to people, fills them with His spirit, saves them, etc).

    I suppose I just want to make the point that I find it problematic to compare the God of Christianity with the God of Hinduism or Taoism (for instance). I’m not trying to be critical of your post – it’s just that this is what came to my mind as I was reading. It reflects where I’m at in my own spiritual journey and in my thinking, having spent a lot of time reading the Bible in recent years.

    God bless you David and please keep writing, always a joy 🙂

    Steven 🙏🏻

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think that was a “problem” for me also, the comparing of the “god’s” That is why David, I asked you to explain this a little further. I want to make sure I am getting the right concept of what you are saying here. Thanks and God Bless, SR

      Liked by 1 person

    2. David Robertson

      Thanks so much Steven, your words are always encouraging. I don’t have much time right now (just woken up before work and felt I really needed to get back to SR!) So I’ll reply to you more fully tomorrow. God bless!

      Liked by 1 person

    3. David Robertson

      Hi Steven, sorry it took me a while to get back to you. The way my job works is that I teach all day Saturday and Sunday. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

      To answer your first question, I’m quite familiar with the New Testament, but I guess I haven’t read it thoroughly. I’ve read all the Gospels, and several of the books and epistles, but I’m still working through a complete reading.

      Yes, I’d agree that at least on the surface, Eastern and Western understandings of God are quite different. Tao in particular stands out as being almost completely impersonal. Yet I would say love is still a component of its nature. As for Hinduism though, Brahman is at the Ground perhaps impersonal, but due to its infinite nature, it has manifested its countless aspects into personal gods, like the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, as well as the countless other gods. I see the “polytheistic” aspect of Hinduism not truly polytheistic, but rather parts of one Ultimate Reality/God.

      But in the end, I think it ultimately comes down to the worshipper and their personal traits, God is accommodating and has a path for everyone to become closer to him, and that’s going to change to a degree over time culture and place. God is too loving to neglect some people over others. This is why (to me at least) there are so many understandings of God, all point to truths, and it’s the worshippers decision to figure out which truth resonates with them.

      To me, as long as the concept of God helps bring love and shows His infinite nature, it’s okay with me. It’s only narrow concepts of God, like he is purely a violent, angry vengeful God, that are too small in scope to really account for how, amazing and incredible God really is.

      I hope I’ve answered you well enough!
      Bless you Steven!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi David!

        Wow, what busy weekends you have! Hope you had a good one 🙂

        Thank you for your thoughtful response to my comment. I think I understand your position pretty well.

        I was reading a passage this afternoon and you came to mind, and I felt compelled to share it with you, because it captures something of the way most Christians (in my experience) understand Jesus.

        “Once you put Jesus in a pantheon with Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest, he is no longer the only way to God. He is no longer ‘the way, the truth and the life’ but ‘a way, a truth and a life’. (David Pawson in Unlocking the Bible, p1198)

        So I suppose the important question is whether or not Jesus was speaking the truth when He stated that He is the only way to the Father. This is a matter of faith and can only come from reading the Bible and/or understanding the gospel.

        I’m probably not saying anything you haven’t heard before, but wanted to share these thoughts as I feel they are relevant and important.

        Thanks again and God bless you too!

        Steven

        Liked by 1 person

      2. David Robertson

        Thanks Steven, you always have a thoughtful reply, which is very much appreciated. I guess I am of the view that there is a pantheon of these religious figures who all point ways to the same truth.

        I quite like the Hindu concept of the avatar, where God incarnates itself into human form to show the people at the time the way towards him. To help people out of their misery and the like. I find this helps explain why so many of these incredible religious figures had such similar messages, but had differences depending on the historical and cultural context.’

        With Jesus saying he was the only way to the truth, I’m still to figure out how to reconcile that with my belief. Perhaps it was the “human” aspect of Jesus that said this. Perhaps it was a truth for the context he was in, where the people weren’t exposed the teachings of the Perennial Philosophy. Or of course, he was telling the truth in the conventional Christian approach.

        Thanks again Steven for your response, always enjoy a chat about these matters.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. InfiniteWarrior

        the important question is whether or not Jesus was speaking the truth when He stated that He is the only way to the Father.

        Not sure how or if I can possibly get this across, but I’d be grateful to give it a try.
        In my understanding, Jesus wasn’t speaking of himself at all when he made that statement. What the sages of the world’s religions have come to realize is that forms such as ourselves (as well all others) are conduits, in a sense, and have no real, permanent and abiding “identity” of our own, e.g. in the Buddhist teaching of “non-self,” which translates as “selflessness” in Christianity. In other words, as far as Jesus was concerned, there was no single, separate entity called “Jesus” and intended his disciples to learn the same.
        Say this yourself, but — imperatively — not of “your self:” “I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” The “I” in this is not the egoic “I,” i.e. the “little I” we often take ourselves to be, but rather the whole of Creation or “life force power of the Universe,” in Jill Bolte-Taylor’s terms. Do that and, as far as I’m concerned, you’ve got it because, of course, when a name was “asked,” the answer that reportedly came back was, “I Am that I Am” [Exodus 3:14] and not “God” in whatever form the name might take. “God” is just convenient shorthand for the Ineffable.
        The first “I Am” in that statement might be understood to represent the creative force or principle of the Cosmos while the second represents the “reflection” of same or the manifestation of the Cosmos itself. “I Am that I Am” works both ways, in a sense.
        What sets Christianity apart and unique as a religion is the “Christ” concept, which is equally important. “Christ,” of course, was not Jesus’ last name. The concept places Christ-ians at the crux of space and time — the present moment — as conduits of “I Am.”
        This is why the Scribes and Pharisees were continuouly shocked by Jesus and everything he said. To them, it was blasphemy because they did not understand that, at no point, was Jesus referring to himself.
        I must admit, I long ago gave up on Christianity ever actually getting this across to Christians (and am quite certain that I’ve utterly failed myself), but found some hope that it yet might in the work of Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, most specifically in his book The Christian Future: Or The Modern Mind Outrun.
        Rosenstock’s work alone has tempted me more than once to re-enter Christianity in some capacity, but I’ve thus far resisted the temptation. It’s just a little too wonky, especially in the States, to find a place for myself there. It just doesn’t look anything like Jesus himself intended, in my opinion, but the Christian canon certainly has the potential to change that.
        Christianity would then align perfectly with the universal teaching on this subject to be found in all the world’s religions. The goal is not “to become one with I AM.” The goal is to real-ize “I AM” in our daily lives. There has never been nor will there ever be a time when we are not “one” with “I AM,” regardless what we might think or what others might have us think.

        For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate
        us from… [Romans 8:38]

        …”I Am.”

        Liked by 1 person

      4. David Robertson

        Wow, I’m actually quite speechless. This was a beautiful summation of how I understand Jesus, but I’ve thus far been unable to articulate it in such a great way. Truly thankful that you took the time to write this comment.

        Thank you

        Like

      5. InfiniteWarrior

        Grateful for the opportunity. Pretty sure it’s still not worded in a way with which everyone can relate. As creative as language can be, it’s still no substitute for personal experience of the ineffable. : /

        Liked by 1 person

      6. David Robertson

        I agree. Thanks for the follow, it’s nice to find another like minded person! It doesnt look like you have a blog, or at least I cant see it in your name thing. You’ve got a good way with words, I recommend you start one up!

        Like

      7. InfiniteWarrior

        Not at the moment. I might add, though, that “through ‘me’,” in the statement “I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the ‘Father’ except through me,” might be understood as an indication of that very personal experience, applicable both universally and “perenially.”

        Teachers can merely point out “the Way.” It’s up to us to walk it. Or, in Morpheus’ words: “There’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.”

        Pleased to meet you, by the way. Subscribed.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. David Robertson

        Yeah that quote of Jesus’s has always stumped me a bit, indicating at initial glance an exclusivity to the religion. So that’s a very interesting interpretation of yours.

        Pleased to meet you too!

        Like

      9. InfiniteWarrior

        Personally, I think that last was added later by the so-called “mystics” (more at monastics), because they well understood the difference between tuition and intuition, as did Emerson.

        The inquiry leads us to that source, at once the essence of genius, of virtue, and of life, which we call Spontaneity or Instinct. We denote this primary wisdom as Intuition whilst all later teachings are tuitions. In that deep force, the last fact beyond which analysis cannot go, all things find their common origin.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. InfiniteWarrior

        The essay from which the above quote originates is Self-reliance. (Other works available at the same address.)

        I have a soft spot for the so-called trancendentalists with a few caveats. Of the bunch, the works of Emerson, Thoreau and Dickinson remain the most often highlighted, cited and well-worn copies in my personal library.

        Short-lived as it was, I credit this literary movement with sparking an interest in bridging the similarities between Eastern and Western cultures and traditions in America. As noted in this article, “Long before Swami Vivekananda’s famed sojourn to North America, Emerson was subtly weaving Hindu thought into the fabric of his scholarly writing as if it were his own. In the minds of the Western intelligentsia, he ploughed fertile fields of inspiration fifty years before Indian swamis traveled West to seed them.”

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Song Jie

    well written again. very interesting. so the concept of God varies in different religions but they share the same core. and our limited knowledge and different cultural backgrounds have led to the diversion in the explanation of God. but God is beyond our knowledge and imagination, the ultimate love form that no human being or religion can truly comprehend.

    personally love to read your blog, and I also want to read your reply to Steven.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. michaelaski

    A very enjoyable piece.

    … But to me, it raises a much more interesting and challenging question, “who created the concept of God and what does this mean for God’s existence?”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Okay David, I think I got you now.

    This brings to point another thought for me. Now I understand what you are saying regarding, “the concept of God.” However being that said:

    The one thing which places the difference in the “Christian God” verses say, “Hinduism,” is Jesus. Jesus is not a “concept.” He is an actual “fact” for lack of a better term. Also for a lack of a better term, Jesus is the true God.

    To me, if one does not believe in Christ, then their “concept” of God is wrong. Jesus said, “No one gets to the Father, but through Me.”

    So if one does not have Him, they do not have the “true God.” It takes our belief in the Cross, that is what makes the difference.

    The Bible says, “Jesus mediates the New Covenant.” What this means is in simple terms, is God looks at us through the Eyes of the Cross. The Cross is always standing between His wrath and our sins. That is the very thing which keeps Him from destroying us, and because He loves us, He and His Son placed it there.

    So when God looks at those of other religions who do not believe in Jesus, He is looking at them through the Cross. Because of this, He must have mercy, as God must hold true to His Word.

    As now is the time for mercy, as there will not be any at the last judgment. During this time of mercy, He is giving to all the chance to accept His Son and the Cross. Make sense????? I am trying to and hope I am not rambling! 🙂

    Those who do of course are redeemed, and those who never do will never be redeemed.

    Loved the post and thoughts. I thank you so much for taking the time to explain our questions to us. If you disagree or think I am wrong please point out the points and I will try and explain better. God Bless, SR

    Liked by 1 person

    1. David Robertson

      Thanks for your reply. I really do appreciate the perspective of a Christian. It’s always interesting and makes me stop to think. But I guess it’s not completely my view. When it comes to Jesus, I do love Him, but I also love the Buddha, Lao Tzu, and the scriptures of other religions as well as the Bible, so it’s very difficult for me to become a Christian over another religion. Perhaps it’s a weakness of mine to face a hard truth, but I simply just love all of the religions so much, all having something truthful to say in my eyes, and I can’t choose any single one.

      Thanks again for your response, and God bless!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I understand David. Give yourself time. It will all come to you. I had the same struggles at one time in my life. Then I actually heard a Hindu say one time, “I read the Bible and thought, “Who in the world could make this up?” He converted of course.

        That really opened my eyes to the truth of Scripture. At times it is so unbelievable you have to believe it! LOL!

        I have read about other religions and found many beautiful things in them, myself. No matter what I could never find Jesus in them. That is what made the difference to me.

        You are a beautiful person David, in the soul, heart, and mind. Don’t rush it, as God will not let loose of soul He loves so much. God Bless, SR

        Liked by 1 person

      2. David Robertson

        Thank you SR, your words really did just bring a warmth to my heart. Your a shining example of what a good Christian is. I’ve spent a lot of time coming to terms with Christianity, so maybe one day, because it is a beautiful religion. It’s examples like you that really make the faith shine.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I had one more thought here. Let us again take Hinduism. Remember Jesus said on the Cross, “Father forgive them for they no not what they do.” That is part of what Jesus mediates in heaven for that is part of the New Covenant, because it came from the Cross.

    Everything that was done on the Cross is what stands between us and let us say, “God sending another flood.” God Bless, SR

    Liked by 1 person

  7. David,

    You came back up in my comments I want to give you some food for thought here. This is nothing I have not done myself. So please do not feel as if I am attacking you in any way, form or fashion. I would never do that, this is just life experience.

    There are things in the Bible that I usually had to take a second, third, and even fourth look at. Hard to believe without thinking it through to what I call my “rationalism.”

    Then one day I had to ask myself, “Did Jesus lie?” Of course I knew the answer to that statement was, “No.”

    This question came about because I just could not piece it together. Then I had to ask myself another question. What human being would place themselves under the torment, and torture that He went through willingly, if what He said was not the “truth.” If He Himself was not the “truth?”

    Then it all just kind of became clear. Just some food for thought. God Bless, SR

    Liked by 1 person

    1. David Robertson

      Hi SR,

      In no way I took it as an attack, so don’t worry. I’m always interested in hearing alternative perspectives.

      That was a very insightful read, I’d never quite thought of it like that. That last paragraph of Jesus’s suffering for the truth was very touching. So thank you.

      I don’t believe Jesus was lying, but I haven’t been able to articulate exactly how I feel. But, if you don’t mind taking a look at what InfiniteWarrior has posted on this page, he has managed explain roughly my perspective quite well. I find that this quite well shows another way of seeing how Christ is the Way and the Truth without necessarily negating the other religions.

      Always nice to hear from you, SR. God bless.

      Like

  8. Another facet to the debate is the nature of God as either personal (having a personality) or being the Impersonal Absolute of the idealist philosophers. Radhakrishnan touched on this in his work The Idealist View of Life.

    For me, it seems a stretch to believe that our individuated consciousnesses would arise from an Impersonal Absolute; that would seem to mean that our individuality is a fluke. The Bhaghavad Gita is the account of a personal God, Lord Krishna, and his discussions with Arjuna, and tells us of the supremely transcendent personality of God.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. David Robertson

      Yeah, I think I’d like to write a piece on that debate sometime in the future.

      I’d agree with you on the personal God side of things, but I do believe an impersonal one has something to say. Perhaps its not necessarily an either A or B situation. Thanks for informing me about Radhakrishnan, Ill check him out.

      And P.S. thanks for the follow!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. David Robertson

      Thanks for the kind words (and the follow!) I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Yeah, the Bhagavad Gita is a tough one, but the version I’ve got is quite good with a straight forward and easy to understand interpretation.

      All the best!

      Like

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