The origins of God

Okay, so about 4.5 billion years ago, there was nothing. And then, in that nothing – where there was no light, not even darkness, because there was nothing at all — there was a spark. A point.

Technically, a point has no dimensions. No height or length or width. No mass or density. No volume. A point is a point is a point, as Gertrude Stein might have said, and nothing more than a point.

But that point somehow included all the matter that eventually became the universe we know, a universe billions of light-years across, a universe filled not only with atoms and molecules but with energy. And also filled with some mysterious stuff called dark matter and dark energy, which we don’t understand and can’t define, but which must be there, or the universe as we know it wouldn’t work.

That’s the Big Bang theory.

And we’re not satisfied with it. Not just because we’re suspicious of a mathematics that has to invent an indefinable something to offset a 90% discrepancy between what the formulas prescribe and what we actually observe.

Rather, because we wonder where that spark, that infinite but infinitely small point, came from. It must have come from somewhere, mustn’t it?

And so some people theorize that there may have been a previous universe. Which, perhaps, collapsed into a black hole so violently that that the momentum of its collapse compressed itself into that single point and ruptured through space and time to come out the other side…

But then we wonder where that previous universe might have come from….

The Judeo-Christian-Islamic religions assert that God was there all along. However it happened, God created the universe, the earth, and us.

But then where did God come from?

A friend, John McTavish, was asked by The United Church Observer to write an article called, “Was God Ever Born?” Because it’s for the magazine’s December issue, the article naturally deals with the controversies about whether Jesus was the incarnation (that is, the human embodiment) of God, or was a human like everyone else.

John McTavish says “Yes.” Yes, God was literally born. Yes, God went through a nine-month gestation, was squeezed through a human pelvis, suckled at a human nipple, got chickenpox and malaria…

I admit being a little disappointed by the limitation of John’s topic. My initial reactions led me to hope he might look at the origins of God. Because God was certainly around before being born of Mary.

Really, where DID the original God come from? Did God have parents? Did God grow up over millennia, learning by experience how to be God?

In one sense, those are meaningless questions. It’s like asking what happened before there was time – you can’t have a “before” until you have “time.”

In another sense, they’re crucial questions. Because if God can learn and grow, then God might not do the same things now as God did way back then.

Our puzzling won’t resolve the question of where God came from. But it certainly might affect how we understand our relationship to God today.

 

Jim Taylor is an Okanagan Centre author of 17 books and several thousand magazine and newspaper articles. He welcomes comments; rewrite@shaw.ca.

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