It is common belief that the world was created by God. According to Adherents.com over 80% of the world’s population believe in some sort of creator. Where do these ideas of God come from? What kind of characteristics does God have?
The major religions, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism attempt to answer these questions through their respective Holy Books. Each of these religions have their own religious texts that discuss God, his creation and his role in the world. But are these holy books (Bible, Tanakh and Quran) the best place to look for clues about the nature of God? Should our beliefs about God be based on the writings of others? Or should it be based on first hand observations?
First hand observation of God? Is this possible? That’s something we could debate. Does God intervene in the world? Does he talk to people in a tangible way? Those are all fascinating questions. But we don’t need to answer them to get clues about God’s nature. For we have something that all religions agree on that defines God, his creations.
Nature is God’s handiwork. It’s his first hand example of how the world works. By studying it we can get clues about the Character of God.
The Almighty Lecturer, by displaying the principles of science in the structure of the universe, has invited man to study and to imitation. It is as if He has said to the inhabitants of this globe that we call ours, “I have rendered the starry heavens visible, to teach him science and the arts. He can now provide for his own comfort, and learn from my munificence to all to be kind to each other.Thomas Paine
What does nature tell us about God? First, we need to define God. When I say God, I’m not referring to a grandfather in the sky, or a judge, or anyone with human like characteristics. I’m referring to the creator of this universe, in whatever form he might take. Also, I know I just referred to God as a he, but I do not think God has a gender. English simply works better if you refer to beings by using a pronoun so I will refer to God as a “he” in this piece, since that’s the traditional way he has been spoken of.
So what does nature teach us about God?
God Does not Exist within the Physical Universe.
The Big Bang theory teaches us that the universe expanded from an extremely high density and high temperate state 13.8 billion years ago. Mainstream scientists believe that the universe expanded from this very hot and small state very quickly, which eventually lead to the formation of stars and galaxies.
What was it that expanded rapidly? The four fundamental forces. What are the four fundamental forces? The gravitational force, electromagnetic force, strong force that binds protons and neutrons and the weak force that causes beta decay.
Where did these forces come from? What created them? Mainstream science does not have answer for this. That’s not to say that they never will have an answer, but right now they don’t.
It is my belief that these forces were created by God.
We have zero examples of anything being created within our universe. We can’t create matter, gravity or energy. We can mold it, shape it, transfer it, but we can’t create it. We also have no reason to believe that at the beginning of time the scientific laws were different enough to allow this.
Therefor it is logical to assume that whatever was the cause of the Big Bang, and the creation of the four fundamental forces lies outside of our universe.
If science were to ever find God, it will be here, outside of the physical world, in a place beyond our current imagination.
God can Interact with the World
This is not to say that he does, or will, but simply that he can. If he pushed the start button at the beginning of time, he will be able to interact in one way or another.
It’s like a computer program. The programmer, or programmers, design the program. They create the rules and laws of their software, then when it’s ready they push the start button.
Once their software is running it is bound by the rules created by the designer. The computer software has no concept of anything outside of the computer. It is limited by outside constraints, just like our world. However, the person who designed the software isn’t. They can interact with it, and change it whenever they want.
God Likes Detail and Complexity
Go outside, look at the trees. There are so many different types and variations. Look at a birch tree. In a forest filled with millions of them, no two trees look the same.
Now look closer, look at the leaves. Out of the thousands of leaves on the tree, no two leaves look the same.
What happens if you look even closer? You realize that it becomes even more complicated than one would first assume. The leaf is made up of cells, and the cells in turn are made up of molecules, which are then made up of atoms. Atoms are composed of a nucleus and one or more electrons. The nucleus is made up of protons and neutrons. Protons and neutrons are the smallest building blocks that we know of. They are considered subatomic particles because they are not comprised of other particles.
How small is a proton? About a quadrillionth of a meter, give or take a few percentage points. It’s hard to measure accurately when dealing with items that small.
What does this tell us? That the universe is really complex. It’s really, really complex. It’s built in layers, just like Shrek and onions. It’s not infinity complex, it has an end. We know what the smallest building blocks are and can somewhat grasp the level of detail that comprise the universe.
If the universe is this detailed and complex, our creator must be too. For we can’t design anything that is more complex than ourselves, so it stands to reason that if God created the entire universe, then he must be at the very least as complex as the world he created.
We are Created in the Image of God (kind of)
We have the ability to shape our reality. We do it every day, we just aren’t aware of it.
It comes down to the old question of “if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
Let’s imagine a tree falling down in the woods. A gust of wind blows down a tree. As it falls it comes in contact with particles. The particles (air) gets pushed out of the trees path and pushed in to other air. As the air particles get pushed together, it creates pressure, which pushes these air particles against other air particles. These in turn are pushed in to other air particles creating a wave like effect. These waves then radiate through the forest.
If you were there watching this tree fall, the pressure wave would be picked up by your ears. Your ear then measures the pressure wave and sends the measurement to your brain. Your brain then translates the measurements to sound.
Without any human, or animal being present at the time the tree falls, there is no sound, only a wave. It is the act of observing the tree falling that creates sound. By being present we our shaping reality.
The same thing happens when you look at an object. The object doesn’t actually have color. Take a car for example. It appears red. But it isn’t actually red.
The sunlight shines on the car, some of the light is absorbed, the rest is reflected. Your eyes take in the reflected light. Your brain then translates the light in to color. It is the act of looking at the object that gives it color. Without observing it, it would simply be an object reflecting and absorbing light.
By observing the universe, we are creating the reality that we live. We aren’t shaping the physical world, but we are shaping the way we see it. By observing it, we give it meaning. Without an actual observer it would simply be pressure waves, and reflecting light with no intrinsic value. It is through observation that gives it meaning.
I imagine that God works in this way, just on a much grander scale. His act of observing the universe is what makes it what it is. Just as we create our reality through the act of witnessing it, God too does the same to our world by being present.
Perhaps this is what the Bible means when it says “we are created in the image of God.”
We each have the ability to create our own reality. By observation and interaction, we shape the reality of the world around us, we just don’t realize it.