Creator deity

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A creator deity or creator god (often called the Creator) is a deity responsible for the creation of the world (cosmos or universe). In monotheism, the single God is often also the creator deity. A number of monolatristic traditions separate a secondary creator from a primary transcendent being, identified as a primary creator.[1]

Polytheism[edit]

In polytheistic creation, the world often comes into being organically, e.g. sprouting from a primal seed, sexually, by miraculous birth (sometimes by parthenogenesis), by hieros gamos, violently, by the slaying of a primeval monster, or artificially, by a divine demiurge or "craftsman". Sometimes, a god is involved, wittingly or unwittingly, in bringing about creation. Examples include:

Platonic demiurge[edit]

Main article: Demiurge

Plato, in his dialogue Timaeus, describes a creation myth involving a being called the demiurge (δημιουργός "craftsman"). This concept was continued in Neoplatonism and Gnosticism. In Neoplatonism, the demiurge represents the second cause or dyad, after the monad. In Gnostic dualism, the demiurge is an imperfect spirit and possibly evil being, transcended by divine Fullness (Pleroma). Unlike the Judeo-Christian God, Plato's demiurge is unable to create ex-nihilo.

Monolatrism[edit]

See also: Brahma

Monolatristic traditions would separate a secondary creator from the primary transcendent being, identified as a primary creator.[1] According to Gaudiya Vaishnavas, Brahma is the secondary creator and not the supreme.[4] Vishnu is the primary creator. According to Vaishnava belief Vishnu creates the basic universal shell and provides all the raw materials and also places the living entities within the material world, fulfilling their own independent will. Brahma works with the materials provided by Vishnu to actually create what are believed to be planets in Puranic terminology, and he supervises the population of them.[5]

Monism[edit]

Main article: Monism

Monism has its origin in Hellenistic philosophy as a concept of all things deriving from a single substance or being. Following a long and still current tradition H.P. Owen (1971: 65) claimed that:

"Pantheists are ‘monists’...they believe that there is only one Being, and that all other forms of reality are either modes (or appearances) of it or identical with it."

Although, like Baruch Spinoza, some pantheists may also be monists, and monism may even be essential to some versions of pantheism (like Spinoza's), not all pantheists are monists. Some are polytheists and some are pluralists; they believe that there are many things and kinds of things and many different kinds of value.[6] Not all monists are pantheists. Exclusive monists believe that the universe, the God of the pantheist, simply does not exist. In addition, monists can be Deists, pandeists, theists or panentheists; believing in a monotheistic God that is omnipotent and all-pervading, and both transcendent and immanent. There are monist pantheists and panentheists in Hinduism (particularly in Advaita and Vishistadvaita respectively), Judaism (monistic panentheism is especially found in Kabbalah and Hasidic philosophy), in Christianity (especially among Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglicans) and in Islam (among the Sufis, especially the Bektashi).

In Advaita Vedanta, Brahman is the abstract notion of "the Absolute" from which the universe takes its origin and at an ultimate level, all assertions of a distinction between Brahman, other gods and creation are meaningless (monism).

Buddhism[edit]

The Buddha rejected the existence of a creator deity,[7] denied endorsing many views on creation[8] and stated that questions on the origin of the world are not ultimately useful for ending suffering,but stated before he attained samadhi, in the Lotus sutra that the universe and world and all possible matter are governed by the Mystic Law .[9][10]

Some gods in Buddhism have the view that they are creators of the world. For example, Baka Brahma. However, Buddha pointed out to them that they do not know the whole extent of the universe (he said they have no knowledge of some of the highest heavens), and further, the spiritual power of the Buddha was greater than the spiritual power of these gods who thought they created the world. One of the Suttas dealing with this subject is the Kevatta Sutta.

The Buddha said (in DN1 - the Brahmajala Sutta or The Net of Views) that their view of being the creator of the world is a misconception, and that these Brahma-gods actually have a cause which lead their origination (taking birth as a Brahma-god). Buddha even tells how the views concerning 'creator gods' originate in the world - through junior Brahma-gods (with a more limited life-span) who, on their passing away, get reborn as a human, and through practicing meditation are able to remember their previous life as a junior god to a Brahma god. Then, he starts to preach this view of a 'creator god' to others (see DN1 - the Brahmajala Sutta).

In Buddhism, causality is the responsible for creation. Dharma and enlightenment being interrelated with empty causal phenomena (sunyata). In Mahayana the potential enlightenment inherent in empty causal phenomena is represented in the form of the omnipresent eternal Buddha. However, this is not equated with a literal belief in a creator deity. [11]

Hinduism[edit]

Hinduism includes a range of viewpoints about the origin of life, creationism and evolution. The accounts of the emergence of life within the universe vary in description, but classically the god Brahma, from a Trimurti of three gods also including Vishnu and Shiva, is described as performing the act of creation, or more specifically of "propagating life within the universe" with the other two deities being responsible for preservation and destruction (of the universe) respectively.[12] In sectarian versions of creation, often the patron deity is termed the Creator. In Vaishnavism, Vishnu creates Brahma and orders him to order the rest of universe. In Shaivism, Shiva may be treated as the creator. In Shaktism, the Great Goddess creates the Trimurti.

Most Hindu schools do not regard the scriptural creation myth as a literal truth, and often the creation stories themselves do not go into specific detail, thus leaving open the possibility of incorporating at least some theories in support of evolution. Some Hindus find support for, or foreshadowing of evolutionary ideas in scriptures, namely the Vedas.[13] An exception to this acceptance is the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), which includes several members who actively oppose "Darwinism" and the modern evolutionary synthesis.[14]

Jainism[edit]

Jainism does not support belief in a creator deity. According to Jain doctrine, the universe and its constituents - soul, matter, space, time, and principles of motion have always existed (a static universe similar to that of Epicureanism and steady state cosmological model). All the constituents and actions are governed by universal natural laws. It is not possible to create matter out of nothing and hence the sum total of matter in the universe remains the same (similar to law of conservation of mass). Similarly, the soul of each living being is unique and uncreated and has existed since beginningless time.[a][15]

The Jain theory of causation holds that a cause and its effect are always identical in nature and therefore a conscious and immaterial entity like God cannot create a material entity like the universe. Furthermore, according to the Jain concept of divinity, any soul who destroys its karmas and desires, achieves liberation. A soul who destroys all its passions and desires has no desire to interfere in the working of the universe. Moral rewards and sufferings are not the work of a divine being, but a result of an innate moral order in the cosmos; a self-regulating mechanism whereby the individual reaps the fruits of his own actions through the workings of the karmas.

Through the ages, Jain philosophers have adamantly rejected and opposed the concept of creator and omnipotent God and this has resulted in Jainism being labeled as nāstika darsana or atheist philosophy by the rival religious philosophies. The theme of non-creationism and absence of omnipotent God and divine grace runs strongly in all the philosophical dimensions of Jainism, including its cosmology, karma, moksa and its moral code of conduct. Jainism asserts a religious and virtuous life is possible without the idea of a creator god.[16]

Monotheism[edit]

Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism and Atenism teach that creation is the origin of the universe by the action of God.

Judaism[edit]

Further information: Genesis creation narrative

Christianity[edit]

The original Jewish idea of creation as expressed in Genesis 1 was that the act of creation involved giving form and purpose to pre-existing chaos - i.e., it assumed that "matter" already existed prior to creation, and God's work was to make this habitable by man. By the end of the first century, Clement of Rome had repeatedly referred to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and linked the Father to creation, 1 Clement 19.2 stating: "let us look steadfastly to the Father and Creator of the universe".[17]

Bahá'í[edit]

Bahá'í teachings state that God is too great for humans to fully comprehend, or to create a complete and accurate image of, by themselves. Therefore, human understanding of God is achieved through his revelations via his Manifestations.[18][19] In the Bahá'í religion God is often referred to by titles and attributes (e.g. the All-Powerful, or the All-Loving), and there is a substantial emphasis on monotheism.

Chinese traditional cosmology[edit]

Pangu can be interpreted as another creator deity. In the beginning there was nothing in the universe except a formless chaos. However this chaos began to coalesce into a cosmic egg for eighteen thousand years. Within it, the perfectly opposed principles of yin and yang became balanced and Pangu emerged (or woke up) from the egg. Pangu is usually depicted as a primitive, hairy giant with horns on his head (like the Greek Pan) and clad in furs. Pangu set about the task of creating the world: he separated Yin from Yang with a swing of his giant axe, creating the Earth (murky Yin) and the Sky (clear Yang). To keep them separated, Pangu stood between them and pushed up the Sky. This task took eighteen thousand years, with each day the sky grew ten feet higher, the Earth ten feet wider, and Pangu ten feet taller. In some versions of the story, Pangu is aided in this task by the four most prominent beasts, namely the Turtle, the Qilin, the Phoenix, and the Dragon.

Shangdi is another creator deity, possibly prior to Pangu sharing concepts similar to Abrahamic faiths.

After eighteen thousand years[20] had elapsed, Pangu was laid to rest. His breath became the wind; his voice the thunder; left eye the sun and right eye the moon; his body became the mountains and extremes of the world; his blood formed rivers; his muscles the fertile lands; his facial hair the stars and milky way; his fur the bushes and forests; his bones the valuable minerals; his bone marrows sacred diamonds; his sweat fell as rain; and the fleas on his fur carried by the wind became human beings all over the world.

The first writer to record the myth of Pangu was Xu Zheng during the Three Kingdoms period.

Islam[edit]

According to Islam, God, known in Arabic as Allah, is the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator, Sustainer, Ordainer, and Judge of the universe. Islam puts a heavy emphasis on the conceptualization of God as strictly singular (tawhid). God is unique (wahid) and inherently one (ahad), all-merciful and omnipotent. According to tradition there are 99 Names of God (al-asma al-husna lit. meaning: "The best names") each of which evoke a distinct attribute of God. All these names refer to Allah, the supreme and all-comprehensive divine name. Among the 99 names of God, the most famous and most frequent of these names are "the Compassionate" (al-rahman) and "the Merciful" (al-rahim).

Creation is seen as an act of divine choice and mercy, one with a grand purpose: "And We did not create the heaven and earth and that between them in play."[21] Rather, the purpose of humanity is to be tested: "Who has created death and life, that He may test you which of you is best in deed. And He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving;"[22] Those who pass the test are rewarded with Paradise: "Verily for the Righteous there will be a fulfilment of (the heart's) desires;"[23]

According to the Islamic teachings, God exists above the heavens and the creation itself. The Qur'an mentions, "He it is Who created for you all that is on earth. Then He Istawa (rose over) towards the heaven and made them seven heavens and He is the All-Knower of everything."[24] At the same time, God is unlike anything in creation: "There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the Hearing, the Seeing."[25] and nobody can perceive God in totality: "Vision perceives Him not, but He perceives [all] vision; and He is the Subtle, the Acquainted."[26] God in Islam is not only majestic and sovereign, but also a personal God: "And indeed We have created man, and We know what his ownself whispers to him. And We are nearer to him than his jugular vein (by Our Knowledge)."[27] Allah commands the believers to constantly remember Him ("O you who have believed, remember Allah with much remembrance"[28]) and to invoke Him alone ("And whoever invokes besides Allah another deity for which he has no proof - then his account is only with his Lord. Indeed, the disbelievers will not succeed."[29]).

Islam teaches that God as referenced in the Qur'an is the only god and the same God worshipped by members of other Abrahamic religions such as Christianity and Judaism.

Sikhism[edit]

Main article: Sikh beliefs

One of the biggest responsibilities in Sikhism is to worship God as "The Creator", termed Waheguru who is shapeless, timeless, and sightless, i.e., Nirankar, Akal, and Alakh Niranjan. The religion only takes after the belief in "One God for All" or Ik Onkar.

Atenism[edit]

Initiated by Pharaoh Akhenaten and Queen Nefertiti around 1330 BCE, during New Kingdom period in ancient Egyptian history. They built an entirely new capital city 'Akhetaten' for themselves and worshippers of their 'Sole Creator God' on a wilderness. His father used to worship Aten alongside with other gods of their polytheistic religion. Aten, for a longtime before his father's time, was revered as a god among the many gods and Goddesses in Egypt. Atenism faded away after death of the pharaoh and was forgotten from people and history. Despite different views, Atenism is considered by some scholars to be one of the frontiers of monotheism in human history.

Other[edit]

According to Kazakhs folk tales, Jasagnan is the creator of the world.[30]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b (2004) Sacred Books of the Hindus Volume 22 Part 2: Pt. 2, p. 67, R.B. Vidyarnava, Rai Bahadur Srisa Chandra Vidyarnava
  2. ^ "The Great Hare". Community-2.webtv.net. Retrieved 2010-06-29. 
  3. ^ "Nanabozho, Access geneaology". Accessgenealogy.com. Retrieved 2010-06-29. 
  4. ^ Nandalal Sinha {1934} The Vedânta-sûtras of Bâdarâyaṇa, with the Commentary of Baladeva. p. 413
  5. ^ "Secondary Creation". Krishna.com. Retrieved 2009-08-06. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Monism". Columbia Encyclopedia. Columbia University Press. 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-23. 
  7. ^ Thera, Nyanaponika. "Buddhism and the God-idea". The Vision of the Dhamma. Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society. "In Buddhist literature, the belief in a creator god (issara-nimmana-vada) is frequently mentioned and rejected, along with other causes wrongly adduced to explain the origin of the world; as, for instance, world-soul, time, nature, etc. God-belief, however, is placed in the same category as those morally destructive wrong views which deny the kammic results of action, assume a fortuitous origin of man and nature, or teach absolute determinism. These views are said to be altogether pernicious, having definite bad results due to their effect on ethical conduct." 
  8. ^ Bhikku Bodhi (2007). "III.1, III.2, III.5". In Access To Insight. The All Embracing Net of Views: Brahmajala Sutta. Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society. 
  9. ^ Thanissaro Bhikku (1997). "Acintita Sutta: Unconjecturable". AN 4.77 (in translated from Pali into English). Access To Insight. "Conjecture about [the origin, etc., of] the world is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it." 
  10. ^ Thanissaro Bhikku (1998). "Cula-Malunkyovada Sutta: The Shorter Instructions to Malunkya" (in translated from Pali into English). Access To Insight. "It's just as if a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would provide him with a surgeon, and the man would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the man who wounded me was a noble warrior, a priest, a merchant, or a worker.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know the given name & clan name of the man who wounded me... until I know whether he was tall, medium, or short... The man would die and those things would still remain unknown to him. In the same way, if anyone were to say, 'I won't live the holy life under the Blessed One as long as he does not declare to me that 'The cosmos is eternal,'... or that 'After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist,' the man would die and those things would still remain undeclared by the Tathagata." 
  11. ^ http://hhdl.dharmakara.net/hhdlquotes22.html
  12. ^ "Religion & Ethics-Hinduism". BBC. Retrieved 2008-12-26. 
  13. ^ Moorty, J.S.R.L.Narayana (May 18–21, 1995). "Science and spirituality: Any Points of Contact? The Teachings of U.G.Krishnamurti: A Case Study". Krishnamurti Centennial Conference. Retrieved 2008-12-26. 
  14. ^ Smullen, Madhava (27 December 2008). "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed". ISKCON News. Retrieved 21 February 2010. 
  15. ^ Nayanar (2005b), p.190, Gāthā 10.310
  16. ^ *Soni, Jayandra; E. Craig (Ed.) (1998). "Jain Philosophy". Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (London: Routledge). Retrieved 2008-06-27. 
  17. ^ The Doctrine of God: A Global Introduction by Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen 2004 ISBN 0801027527 pages 70-73
  18. ^ Hatcher 2005, pp. 1–38
  19. ^ Cole 1982, pp. 1–38
  20. ^ (Note: In ancient China, 18,000 does not exactly mean eighteen thousand, it is meant to be "many", or "a number that could not be counted").
  21. ^ Qur'an [21:16], Sahih International Translation
  22. ^ Qur'an [67:2], Muhsin Khan Translation
  23. ^ Qur'an [78:31], Yusuf Ali Translation
  24. ^ Qur'an [2:29], Muhsin Khan Translation
  25. ^ Qur'an [42:11], Sahih International Translation
  26. ^ Qur'an [6:103], Sahih International Translation
  27. ^ Qur'an [50:16], Muhsin Khan Translation
  28. ^ Qur'an [33:41], Sahih International Translation
  29. ^ Qur'an [23:117], Sahih International Translation
  30. ^ 人类起源神话:西北地区民族(04):哈萨克族2-1

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