Episode 3: Did we actually invent the idea of a God?
God is a very crucial subject of discussion. Before you continue, please WATCH THIS VIDEO.
First, let’s explore the description of God. Especially by the common religions in the world.
According to “whyislam“, Monotheism, belief in one God, is the most important and foundational concept in Islam. Muslims believe in one God who created the universe and has power over everything within it. He is unique and exalted above everything He creates, and His greatness cannot be compared to His creation. Furthermore, He is the only one deserving of any worship and the ultimate purpose of all creation is to submit to Him. The Islamic understanding of God is distinct from all other religions and beliefs in various respects. Since it is based on a pure and clear understanding of monotheism. This essentially captures the concept of God in Islam.
In Judaism, God has been conceived in a variety of ways. According to the rationalist stream of Judaism, God is understood as the absolute one, indivisible, and incomparable being who is the ultimate cause of all existence. Traditional interpretations of Judaism generally emphasize that God is personal yet also transcendent, while some modern interpretations of Judaism emphasize that God is a force or ideal.
Most classical Judaism views God as a personal god, meaning that humans can have a relationship with God and vice versa. God, as conceived by Judaism, is not only the First Cause, the Creative Power, and the World Reason, but also the living and loving Father of men. He is not only cosmic but also personal. Jewish monotheism thinks of God in terms of
definite character or personality, while pantheism is content with a view of God as impersonal. –>> Source
God in Christianity is the eternal being who created and preserves all things. Christians believe God to be both transcendent (wholly independent of, and removed from, the material universe) and immanent (involved in the world). Also, God is traditionally described as omniscience (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful), and omnibenevolent (supremely good). In other words, God knows everything, has the power to do anything, and is perfectly good.
Around the year 200, Tertullian formulated a version of the doctrine of the Trinity which clearly affirmed the divinity of Jesus. The doctrine of the Trinity can be summed up as: “The One God exists in Three Persons and One Substance, as God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Trinitarians, who form the large majority of Christians, hold it as a core tenet of their faith. Tertullian has been described as the father of Latin Christianity and the founder of Western theology which is widely accepted today.
Understanding the concept of a God
Speaking about the Creator or trying to describe the concept of God is quite a tough subject. It’s beyond the scope of this article. However, judging from the above three main beliefs, one is likely to jump to a conclusion that God is an idea. Perhaps, we historically invented the concept of a God to form a traditional belief system called “Religion“.
Not to mention that the whole concept was being formulated and argued through ages. The more people (especially the so-called scholars) attempted descriptions of God, the more segregated (separated) they became – forming different (or sub religion) groups. Because they could not agree with their theories about who he is.
Looking at the above perspectives of who God is by these religions, it may seem like they have so much in common. But, I’m quite curious if they are describing the same God. Important to realize that, as expressed in the Pauline epistles (8:5-6), there are many other gods and many lords.
In like manner, Joshua (24:1-15) acknowledge the fact that there are other gods. But one of them stands out and is the best choice. Because that One is defined based on the art of creation. In the light of attempting to understand creation – how everything came into existence, something (or someone) must have been involved.
Does the art of creation define God?
For instance, if you suddenly discover a flower in your room. The next thing is to try to find out how it got there. Someone must have entered your room to keep it there, in the first place. “Who could the person be?” “How and when did the person get into your room” Certainly, these are the questions you might ask. Especially if you’re the only one that has access to the room.
Likewise, for ages, we have always asked some important questions: “How did everything come into existence?” “How did the world begin?” “How did life begin?”
As a matter of fact, everyone has ask these questions at some point in time. Especially, when you observe nature and think critically about everything. Surely, it can not be a mere random coincidence. Of course, there are several theories out there, trying to explain everything. But, they don’t seem to get it right enough. Something about creation and existence is absolutely beyond our comprehension.
Now the real question is: “if we’re all an outcome of creation, do we have the capacity to describe the One behind the scene of creation?”
Creatures are limited to explain God
The source from which everything came into existence transcends this world. Besides, our language and reasoning are of this world – of human construct. So how can we say or write anything credible about “him”? This is a paradox.
Hence, just as the flower in the room scenario, it is inevitable not to discuss all creation sources. We acknowledge the necessity of speaking about the Creator while at the same time recognizing that all descriptions of Him are limited – half-truths at best.
Imagine a substance locked inside a container. It can not tell what’s outside its container, not even if the container has a label on it. Likewise, we are just like that substance. Our knowledge and abilities to know the creator is limited.
Although this may be true but I do believe that our Creator left his signature, hidden in everything he’d created.
Man reaching out to his Creator in his brain
A fascinating piece of art by Michelangelo got my attention. It has forced me to write this episode in the first place. I do believe he was overwhelmed by the thoughts of an intelligent mind behind creation. Well, not so sure what stimulated him to create this artwork, to say the least.
At a first glance, the message is simple – “A man reaching out to God and vice versa.” On a second thought, the picture depicts a man reaching out to his Creator that’s in his brain.
To further breakdown the details in this renaissance artwork, the picture depicts;
- the weakness of man without his Creator. Take a closer view at both fingers – Illustrating God’s strength always reaching out to man’s weakness.
- the relationship between a father (Creator) and his son (humans) – the expression of love
- an earthly man and heavenly father – a connection between the terrestrial and the celestial
- other beings around his Creator. Representing people that are equally competing for man’s attention. Also, represent certain creatures are struggling to occupy man’s brain (mind).
- man and other creatures are always naked before their Creator
God is an idea locked in our brain
God is an idea locked in our brain – like time. You cannot see it. You cannot explain it. Yet you cannot deny its influence over your existence.
In fact, this has nothing to do with religion. The subject of a Creator is beyond the grasp of any religion. Either you have a religious background or not, this idea is locked in your mind.
We may have invented the name “God” as one of our ways of naming things. But, the idea of a Creator is an inevitable phenomenon.
Given these points, religion is one of many ways man has used to search for his Creator. Religion and language – man’s construct to attempt in inventing a God he cannot explain.