The creation of God by man could be part of evolution of human culture from its very beginning when life was crude, brutal and disorderly. As civilization started taking roots management of the society began. And in that management, God was invented as a symbol of discipline to bring in some order for an acceptable behavior in the emerging civic society. In this social construction, along with the evolution of man, there has been evolution of God too.
By Promod Puri
God is the creation of man! Or man is the creation of God.
Which one of these statements is right, and which one is wrong, or both right, or both wrong? One more question: if God is the creation of man, then is it an act of God as well?
The creation debate has been around for quite some time. The basic reasons which aroused the dubious puzzle, are man’s ability to seek rationales, his perceptions, and capacity of understanding of the nature’s phenomena around him.
The debatable topic is imperative to fathom the nature of God even He is a fabrication of man.
The creation of God by man could be part of evolution of human culture from its very beginning when life was crude, brutal and disorderly. As civilization started taking roots management of the society began. And in that management, God was invented as a symbol of discipline to bring in some order for an acceptable behavior in the emerging civic society.
In this social construction, along with the evolution of man, there has been evolution of God too.
Over the millenniums, God has been not only personified as a Super Being, but He was also set up into a sacred institution run by priests and revered by believers.
The institution itself branched into several orders, referred as religions. These are identifiable and mired by their corresponding rituals, customs, and traditions along with divers names of God based on respective linguistic and cultural diversities.
HEAVEN AND HELL
His residency is believed to be up in the celestial world. Besides governing, or misgoverning, the affairs of this universe, and other universes, the man-made God also runs heaven and hell to reward or punish humans according to their deeds during the time lived on the earthly aboard.
As the man’s deeds are believed to be recorded in God’s books, the reverence towards Him is impacted by fear factor promoted by the priest class.
Along with man’s submission to fear, God is also responsible for infusing fate into an individual’s life. He writes the destiny as His way to conduct a person’s life journey. “What is written down by Him will happen”, that is the will of God embedded in man’s psyche.
Besides these psychic experiences of fear and fate, the institutional development of God lead to more attributions to Him based on man’s social needs and circumstances, his emotions, and imaginations. And as the society advanced God was given more space in every aspect of human thinking and activity.
It is in this transformation, God became an independent entity. His creator, the man, became the created one.
Still, in the history of God, man has always been the contributing factor to give added meaning to His existence and development.
In this development, man’s intellectual, philosophical, metaphysical, and scientific faculties contributed more towards expanding the nature of God. As the process continued the constitution and expanse of God seated Him on an omnipresence status.
PROGRESSIVE AND PRAGMATIC APPROACH
The magnanimity of God finds space in every atom or sub-atoms constituting our worlds.
However, besides these somatic existences, His residency is also sought in our minds and thoughts which influence our deeds. And this is where a progressive and pragmatic turn in our study and understanding of God in the contemporary society can take place.
In this forward-looking engagement, our review and awareness of God begin by re-establishing His image that He represents the supremacy of perfection representing the ultimate in human values based on purity of thought. And He is part of the commitment and relationship with our environments including animals, plants, rivers, mountains, etc.
But God’s symbolic image for the humanity and His commitment towards the environment have been soiled by religious rituals and customs which by default represent the face of most religious orders.
In this march towards seeking a true image and feel of God, our rituals and customs are to be defused from the spiritual aspects of religions and faiths. The values and significance of rituals and customs are only ornamental in giving identities to respective religions.
Moreover, we can agree that exploring and determining God’s perceivable identity and bodily or physical existences are futile and unsettled exercises which had been and still being tried out by philosophers, priests, pundits, scholars, and scientists.
We don’t need these explorations.
Neither we are capable of these vague attempts. The reason is simple, man is just one of the millions or perhaps billions of creatures, who is ultra-microscopic in His infinite and colossal universe.
For a moment let us compare a human being to a small ant who is trying to study and research God up there in the celestial world. But we don’t. Because this has been ingrained in our cognitive senses that man is the favored work of God as being the most intelligent among all of His living creations. And that we are the only ones capable to determine His multi-dimensional but conceptual-based existence.
Perhaps, that little ant may be thinking the same. It may be believing humans walking tall up on the ground are the unintelligent creatures. Or we are the gods for the ant. Who knows!
Searching or researching to determine His physical, but eternally invisible and mystic existence does not relate to our need for the practicality of God in our thoughts and deeds.
And while on the progressive path one can explicitly observe that in our religious places, God’s existence is marred by elaborate rituals and customs which impact and disturb invoking His presence in the prayers and reverence for Him.
Furthermore, our antiquated scriptures are not of much help either in His realization.
Written in the language(s) of bygone eras, their meaning, and interpretations of the wisdom contained in them are tough to comprehend for most of us at any intellectual, and educational levels. These sacred writings need to be edited and rewritten to conform to the demands and concerns of the contemporary civilization. We seek easy and clear understanding of the scriptural teachings and knowledge with or without the services of priests.
In this age of explosion of intelligent knowledge available through mass media like Google and internet, we can rediscover God who can create righteous thoughts to stimulate righteous deeds in creating a righteous world around us.
We need a God which is more of an action, a verb, rather than a non-action or noun.
In other words, the practicality of God is the modern prayer towards Him instead of offering symbolic rituals. He offers a meaningful perspective which can be created by the assembly of good thoughts. And the divine residency begins in that on-going construction.
Basically, it is an ardent temperament we are trying to build which gives rationality, practicality, and the feel of God.
The temperament holds the universal principles of being honest, humble, and sincere, be considerate, and helpful to others, be merciful, forget and forgive, love fellow beings and care for the environments, including animals, plants, and the nature. And everything else which is pious, pure, and morally firm.
That is all we need to create and live in the image of God while abating the duality factor between Him and man.
After all, our endeavor to leave the duality is the way to enlightenment.
And while we are on the pathway to divine Oneness, the ongoing debate, if man created God, or God created man, can be settled as the Creator and the created are eternally One entity.
Promod Puri is a writer and author of Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs, And Traditions.