Is there a Creator of the Universe?


Question & Answer

Q: By Kevin
Has humankind invented God to look after life after death? One can say this in connection with many of the Gods in the Bible and elsewhere in man’s evolution, but is there a Creator of the Universe? If so, after studying the cosmos, one must conclude that it must be entirely different from what we have assumed, so far. If so, this might explain why we have produced such a cruel world with most of us thinking only of our own survival. But, again, there are so many examples of selflessness and good!
A: By Toni Reynolds

Dear Kevin,

I think there is something of a God vs. Science question beneath the ones you’ve posed.

I do think that humans created stories, and rituals to articulate their experiences of/with God. All in attempt to better understand their relationship to their experiences. I am not convinced that humans invented God, most definitely not just so that God could oversee the afterlife. Through those rituals and applications of the stories, I think the civilizations before ours were deciding about the intricate ways in which God works here and out there in the cosmos you speak of. In these ways we got many of the stories found in the Bible as recorded observations from generations as they studied their relationship to God and the people around them. Today, we are more comfortable using the framework of science to explain and relate to phenomena. Experientially, I think the authors of religious stories had a similar project to yours and simply used a different toolbox to work out potential answers.

I don’t quite know what to conclude about the Creator after a study of the cosmos. It seems to me that even among the specialists there is quite a range of conclusions to be drawn about such divine architecture…I would love to know more about what you conclude yourself, as well as how that conclusion informs the way you see the world at work on any given day.

The unknown details of the Creator don’t shift my thoughts when it comes to your final piece about the production of cruelty in our world. When bad things happen it can be easy to say, “what a cruel world we live in” without interrogating the ways we are organized and, therefore, enabling or altogether creating the catastrophes we recognize as “cruel”. Though God has made this world, and us in it, I do not think God should get credit for making or even allowing the evils we experience and perpetuate. We are creators here too. We are not separate from God; blame can’t go on one side and us, blameless on the other. Our decisions have consequences and we can no longer shove the responsibility into the hands of God and fain ignorance. God cannot force us to act in accordance with the rest of nature–partnering with other organisms to live symbiotically. As humans we get to choose to do that, it is no fault of the Creator when we don’t. We can make a better world than this.

If there is a creator God, and I truly think there is, I imagine that creator God is wondering how we could stray so far off the pattern of creation, blame God for the woes, and seriously expect tomorrow to be better without changing our bad habits.

You are right, there are so many examples of selflessness and goodness. I hope we can grow those examples so that they become general traits of society, instead of just fringe examples.

With you in making more examples of goodness,

~ Toni Reynolds

This Q&A was originally published on Progressing Spirit – As a member of this online community, you’ll receive insightful weekly essays, access to all of the essay archives (including all of Bishop John Shelby Spong), and answers to your questions in our free weekly Q&A. Click here to see free sample essays.

About the Author
Minister Toni Anne Reynolds is committed to singing flesh onto the bones of the Christian tradition by incorporating recently found texts of the ancient world into liturgy, sermons, and poetry. Toni’s Christianity forms a holy trinity with the psychological medicine of Tibetan Buddhism and the eternal Life found in Yoruba traditions. Balanced in an eclectic faith and focused in theology, Toni’s ministry offers a unique perspective on life, theology, and spirituality.

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