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Question 5: Did God create the universe, Earth or your back yard?

March 12, 2013

In a previous chapter, I left God’s options open on whether there’s much interaction between God and the physical universe. Based on my God’s commitment to certain values, I can’t argue for complete control nor rule out this ability. When it comes to answering the question of creation, I can unequivocally say:

“I don’t know.”

Having read arguments from atheists to religious zealots, I’m thoroughly convinced no one else knows either. One of the reasons no one can claim a definitive insight is our inability to really address the questions any answer generates:

a)     If God created the universe, who created God?
b)    If God existed before the universe how was the most complex being created first not last?
c)     Regardless of who or what created the universe, was there ever “nothing” and if not, why not?
d)    If there was “nothing” at some stage, how did it become something?

These questions are key to the ongoing conflict between science and some religions – if you don’t have faith, the evidence seems at odds with a creationist God but is short of a completely satisfying answer. However, we can “hang our hat” on:

1.     The universe is probably billions of years old, not thousands.
2.     Earth is a very, very (insert “very” several billion more times) small piece of the universe[1].
3.     Humans have existed for a miniscule portion of the universe’s existence.

These three observations are supported by the evidence we currently have at hand. At some stage in the future, it is possible God will let us in on the joke and advise us all of the evidence was skewed to lead us to a misguided conclusion, but I wouldn’t hold your breath[2].

While the evidence has clear implications for how we should interact with  God, and understanding our place in the universe, it doesn’t preclude God from “setting it all in motion” – maybe God created the framework for evolution, the expansion of the universe, atomic structures and all the other stuff. I’m open to this argument but would make the following observations:

a)     If humans are the “center of the universe” God has a very inefficient strategy for reaching the goal.
b)    If God planned life to be unique to Earth, what’s the rest of the cosmos for?[3]


So did God create the universe? I’ve already admitted I don’t know and you should feel comfortable that writing a couple of hundred words hasn’t crystallized it much further for me. However, the answer probably doesn’t matter anyway – creating the universe is not a prerequisite for my God. I’d be much more impressed By a God who:

1.     Valued creation
2.     Supported the improvement of what was created
3.     Led by example

So let’s explore further…

[1] As an aside, using some “back of the envelope” math, if our oceans represented the entire universe, Earth isn’t even a fish – it’s less than one water molecule – math available on request – but don’t wait too long – I might lose the envelope!

[2] This is especially true given the billions of years we’ve taken to get this far!

[3] This implies there has to be a reason the rest of the universe exists which is, of course, an unfair assumption but still a valid question

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