Did man create God?

Did man create God? Yes.

I like to pick questions a part a little, and so I’m going to do that with this question, focussing on the words “create” and “God”. Firstly, I’m going to present a slightly facetious argument to help unpick the word “God”, and then I’m going to present a much more sincere argument to show man definitely created God.

The facetious argument: what does the question mean by ‘God’?

All Gods were created. There may be an exception, in that a sect of a religion may be true. But, apart from that God, all Gods were created.

I suspect the reason that this answer somehow doesn’t satisfy your thirst for an answer, no matter your position, is because the question seems to somehow misunderstand “God” in this sense. It seems to miss that point that if Hinduism is the true religion, then Allah was created by man. It’s almost as if so long as at least one religion is true, then we cannot say man created God. As such, as soon as I say “a religion may be true” I have failed in properly addressing the question.

And to that I agree. It seems clear that the question is not referring any religion or God of any religion. Instead, the question appeals to the essential concept of a God. Really, the question is ‘Did man create the essential idea of a God?’ In this question, it does not help us to talk of religions because we are talking about a cloud of publicly amassed philosophy referring to a God.

The sincere argument: what do I mean by ‘create’?

In this context, one about knowledge, I mean create, in a sense, in opposition to ‘discovered by evidence or revelation’. If the idea of a God were composed from evidence, then I would say that man ‘discovered’ God, and that excludes man from having ‘created’ God. In this context, I’m also happy to say that man ‘knows’ God if God was discovered.

This is a question of epistemology (which is a fancy word to describe the question ‘how do you know?’). And to that I have quite a simple argument:

  1. If there is no way by which one can know, then one cannot know.
    I don’t think this will be controversial, but it’s basically the idea that if you guess at something without any methods underpinning how one could come to that knowledge, then even if you happen to be correct, you still don’t know.
  2. There is no way by which one can know God.
    Religious people often claim this: God works in mysterious ways; God is beyond human understanding; God is unknowable. Atheists tend to accept this.
  3. One cannot know God
    That follows.

However, the essential idea of a God does exist. And, if it did not come about by knowledge or discovery, then it was created.

Did man create God? (Or was it Homo ergaster?) Taking a broader definition of the word “man” (to mean hominid regardless of gender), yes.

You’ll be careful to note that this answer is completely independent of whether or not a God exists. Nothing about this answer rules out there being a God looking down on us and saying ‘Well, they got that all wrong’. It’s just that even if that is so, the essential idea of a God was not discovered, but was instead created. Guesswork that is, regardless of whether it is accurate, a human creation.


43 thoughts on “Did man create God?”

    1. Well, do we distinguish between “God” — the actualisation of a fundamental concept — and “The idea of a God” — the concept?
      I ask, because, to me, God is no more than the concept. There’s a number of reasons for that, including I don’t think there is any agreed “idea of a God”.
      If you don’t distinguish between the two, and I don’t — the idea a God is the the God — then “God” is entirely reliant on the religions that underpin it.

      1. This treads into the philosophical area for me — not really my area. The idea of God verses the concept of God. Interesting.

        One might say the idea of god might be a social expression by those who revere the abilities of others — with style — and not a direct assertion. Thus, one might say “This man has god-like math skills.” Now, ignore the direct reference and pay attention to the social concept.

        Does the social concept lend credence to the cultural connotation for a god, or simply a meme? Further, are either the basis for many who simply “feel” there is a god — because of the vast cultural reference is simply too large not to reconcile?

        As per the [idea] that God — is the God — drawing a straight line to religious foundations, this is interesting for sure. To that, one might say religion is the temple of God’s meme, or something to that effect.

  1. How about this argument:
    1. There was a time before the idea of gods existed.
    2. Then there was the idea of gods.
    3. Ideas do not create themselves.
    Therefore man created the idea of gods.

    You can substitute “gods” for “the idea of gods” as gods are ideas, too … there being no physical evidence, etc. etc.

      1. Did man invent all the religions of the world, or did a supreme being thought it was funny to create them all to watch us kill each other over the differences?

      2. Drexus,

        You answering my legitimate question with another stupid questions presents the grave problem rational people face when trying to converse with atheists.

        You are using an age old technique called sophistry, which substitutes word games for an actual pursuit of the truth.

        If you can’t answer my question, I will be happy to educate you.

      3. In Drexus’ defence, his question relates to the topic at hand, whereas yours was an analogy with many pitfalls. The fact you declared it irrelevant does nothing to actually make it so.

      4. Drexus,

        You beg relevance because you have no idea what I’m talking about.

        Everything say, everything example I give, comes right out of Western Tradition philosophy.

      5. I thought it all came from modern science. It’s like talking to a chatbot: you seem to be ejaculating preprogrammed lines regardless of context.

      6. “Everything say, everything example I give, comes right out of Western Tradition philosophy.“

        Including the incompressible spelling and grammatical blunders?

      7. Now that’s deep. I simply like using math to support the ideas I’d like to explore, but to see math as a universal language separate of it’s logic? — deep.

        Richard Feynman invented his own algebraic functions when he couldn’t express interactions from the functions known at the time. Does this mean he invented math, or simply a way to interpret an unrevealed constant?

  2. Here is an interesting twist. Let us say that a particular God is considered to exist. Following the typical behavior of gods, there was no physical evidence to support His existence, so this methodology results in the conclusion that man invented this God. Time goes on and He reveals Himself to one man. That is, this man is provided with evidence sufficient to all him to “discover” God and “know” Him to the degree humanly possible, which shows that man did NOT create this God. However, the man cannot prove what he experienced since the evidence was transitory. However, he does some seemingly impossible things which seem to support his claims about the God. And eventually the man dies, so can no longer attest to knowing God any more. And the people who witnessed the man’s actions die, so can no longer attest that the man who claimed to know God did some things which seemed to support that claim. We are back to the position that man created this God.

    1. How did this God become “considered to exist”? The fact people happened to invent something that happened to be true doesn’t vindicate the fact it was blindly invented.
      My mother got a letter from the DVLA (the UK version of the DMV, I guess) and I exclaimed, before it was opened, “It’s a recall for your car”. I made that up. We then opened it and it was a recall for her car.
      What I exclaimed was made up. It happened to map to another thing that was real.

  3. Of all the religions of the world (quite a few) and of all the past historical religions (quite a lot) — if only one religion were true as promoting the existence of a specific god — as actually responsible for creating life on earth, would that not mean all other religions of the world (past a present) had gods that were created by man?

    For the hundreds (or thousands) of gods claimed by as many religions — what is the probability that all gods are created by man verses one actually existing before man? 0.05%?

    If 0.05% of all gods might have existed before man, what is the probability that one god might be made by man?: 99.5%

    1. Well, for balance, consider whether Newton was ‘wrong’ about gravity. Newton claimed the multi body problem was not solvable and not even natural, but the domain of a God. But Laplace solved it with perturbation theory, and Einstein developed a new model of gravity.
      It might be that if we’re not willing to call Newton ‘wrong’ that we might have to consider every religion that discusses a God as being approximately right, if there is a God.
      There are obvious flaws in the analogy: one is given by data and evidence and so progress and development are expected. Whereas religions are by revelation and so progress isn’t as easily explained.
      Also, that argument depends on a God actually existing, which there is shaky (at best) evidence for.

      1. Newton was brilliant for sure, but even he invoked God when confronted with problems he couldn’t solve (perpetuating the god of the gaps). The thing about science and scientists using the scientific method, we’re ready at the very start to seen wrong — that’s how we test our material using this method.

  4. The existence of God, proven by modern science and reason, has his own being.

    Just like your own existence, the existence of God doesn’t depend upon on what anyone else thinks or believes.

    And religion is about much more than the belief in supernatural beings called gods (please don’t ask me for citations on what is obvious).

    Because the atheist is marooned in time on the isolated, small desert island of his own provincial, biased mind, he is unable to know by reason, the truth world around him.

    For the atheist, reality is simply a matter of opinion.

    This issue of bias and the sophistry it spawns was discussed by the ancient Greeks over 2500 years ago.

    Recommended reading for anyone, especially the atheist, are the works of Aristotle and Plato.

    1. “Because the atheist is marooned in time on the isolated, small desert island of his own provincial, biased mind, he is unable to know by reason, the truth world around him.”

      Enter subjective assertion — common of those who honour faith over reason.

      “For the atheist, reality is simply a matter of opinion.”

      For religious people, reality is accepted by the definitions of a subjective social construct — ignorant of such detriment.

      “Recommended reading for anyone, especially the atheist, are the works of Aristotle and Plato.”

      Those of faith have a sizeable disposition for following the writings of an extinct society. They are welcome to stay in the caves, leave me with the future.

      1. Drexus,

        Christian Western Civilization is hardly extinct. Neither are the nations and cultures of Israel, Arabia and Egypt, China and Japan.

        Again, you are trying to hallucinate an alternative reality to take the place of the real reality that actually exists.

        Atheists must do that in order to get their bizarre manifestations of personal bias to work out for them.

      2. You present a straw-man argument — at no point did I infer a civilization as being extinct, just the society.

        Please, continue providing more subjective assertions — they make all the difference in reaching some form of truth.

      3. Drexus,

        Civilization = society for anyone not playing word games.

        Either get with the program or get lost.

        I’m not going to waste my time trying unravel your sophistry.

      4. “Civilization = society for anyone not playing word games.”

        No. A species of sociality has nothing to do with civilization. Social reform has nothing to do with civilization. Social values has nothing to do with the civilization of a people. A civilization contains many social groups and cultures — representative of a much larger body of people with respect to achievements in literature, architecture, law — as spanning many generations and the passing of social systems, movements in art, and dynasties.

        Don’t quote the literary ramblings of Plato while ignorant of the society he represented.

        Please, don’t waste your time trying to unravel a sophistry not offered — it’s tiresome to hear the righteous voice of religious zealots only to cry foul if you poke holes in their fragile world with answers to their own questions — unconscionably immature.

      5. I present to you Aristotelian physics, as a debunking of the idea Aristotle’s ideas are still relevant.
        What is relevant is the extent to which his thoughts still influence thoughts today, so we should be able to stick with more modern sources.

      6. Hey drex-
        Perhaps you never heard of the temple of Solomon……….building and construction that would make Clyde the carpenter and Bob Vila jealous.

        Then there is the simple design of arithmetic, that perfect math which cries out for Design, and the beginning of all that can be proved and trusted.

        Then there is the alphabet……….yeah, as in the Alpha and the Omega………but wait, your futuristic buddies can improve upon the perfect ingenuity of the past.

        You have lost this argument, and you will lose every argument against the timeless treasures of the word of God..

        Perhaps you should read of the downward spiral of man; the cave dwellers were somewhat brighter. The internet is proof of mans stupidity where men choke on information as in indigestion.

      7. I just explained what I was talking about. No need to repeat it. But the achievements by they who SOME say are deficient in learning, skill, or knowledge, is a pretty good clue.

      8. Seriously Allalt? A reply to drexus which was clear as a bell.

        But for you now to chew upon, man is not smart enough to dream up God. He is however stupid enough to deny Him.

      9. Seems to me like pretty much every primitive culture dreamed up God or gods. Maybe some were inspired by God, but since not all of them could possibly be real (contradictions with each other), almost certainly not all of them were inspired by God.

    2. I know we always do this dance, and I know you’ve specifically asked that I don’t, but still: what sources are you using for your claim that God is proven by modern science? Because last time it was a description of molecular biology that couldn’t be verified by reading scientific research and papers.

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